Pop Rocks: Everybody Relax, I Figured Out What the Greatest Movie of All Time Is
The AFI has their list, Filmsite has a bunch as well, there's also the IMDb Top 250, TotalFilm's top 100 and Roger Ebert's Great Movies. Rank and format differences aside, all offer -- in some fashion -- a list of the greatest movies ever made.
Of course, as soon as you start making lists like this, everyone immediately comes out of the woodwork to either question those casting actual judgment (nobody knows the identities of the AFI voters) or their methodology (TotalFilm only considered movies with 5-star reviews) or what the IMDb voters are smoking (The Matrix is 14 places higher than Dr. Strangelove?).
And just what makes a film "great," anyway? Is it as simple as a memorable screenplay? Some powerful performances? A director with singular vision and control? How about a moving soundtrack? Or a compelling story? Rewatchability? Cultural impact? A superintelligent dog? All of the above?
Mankind has waited for the truth long enough. Not only am I going to tell you, once and for all, what the greatest movie of all time is, I'm going to dispense with some of the more well-known pretenders to the throne. This should settle all these arguments once and for all.
And seriously, The Matrix?
But first, to dispense with the also-rans.
Citizen Kane (1941)
What It's About: The rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), newspaper magnate and winter sports enthusiast.
Why It's Great: Shot in black-and-white, which is always a good choice if you want your movie regarded as a classic. The film was also groundbreaking in areas such as cinematography and special effects, and Welles would later appear in The Muppet Movie, which is more awesome than any of that other stuff.
Why It Isn't "The Greatest:" A *sled*? Weak. Citizen Kane needed a lot more car chases and "Rosebud" should have been the name of CFK's pet black panther that posthumously hunts down and kills Jim W. Gettys.
What It's About: Lots of people were trying to get out of Europe during World War II, for some reason.
Why It's Great: No shit, Claude Rains's Capt. Renault is one of the greatest characters in any movie ever. And nobody smokes like Bogart.
Why It Isn't "The Greatest:" Inexplicable use of excessive soft focus on Ingrid Bergman. And in addition to more car chases, that ending needs work. Victor Laszlo should've had to dogfight his way out of German airspace, but then he'd get shot and Ilsa would have to take over, steering the damaged plane back over Europe where she'd crash-land and start her new career as, you guessed it, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.