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Nov 27, 2007

The 11 worst films on the IMDb Top 250 (and other random thoughts)

As far as the internets go, the Internet Movie Database is one of the most credible non-news sites (not that those sites are credible - heyo!). However, aside from housing a mini-encyclopedia of every film you never wanted to know that much about, it's also home to probably the most comprehensive ranking system for films.

I like their Top 250 (and it's sub-lists) for a number of reasons, chief of which is probably related to my age (31) and the average age of internet denizens (and therefore voters on IMDb). I'm not sure what that average age is, but I'm fairly certain it's significantly less than the average age of an American Film Institute member. The IMDb list, taken as a whole, is both critically and commercially minded, with all of the standards that you might expect to see on a typical critics' Top 10 Best Ever list, but it also includes films that go beyond mere critical success, ones that have had a cultural impact - in short, ones that are loved.

Here's their Top 10:

1. The Godfather
2. The Shawshank Redemption
3. The Godfather: Part II
4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

5. Pulp Fiction
6. Schindler's List
7. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
9. Casablanca
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

A diverse group, and one that spans from 1942 to 2003. They might not make my all-time list (or yours), but I respect them all, even the ones I haven't seen.

Which is another story altogether: of the 250 films that currently inhabit the list, I have seen a mere 112, or 45%. While this might seem a shockingly low number for someone who has a movie blog, let me remind you, in case you don't already know, that I'm an ageist when it comes to film. For a number of reasons that don't need to be re-hashed right now, I'm not all that interested in seeing films made prior to 1963 or so. Breaking the list down by decade, I saw that 106 of the 112 flicks I've seen were made in 1960 or later (which translates to my seeing 63% of post-1960 entries and 7% of pre-1960 entries).

This does, however, bring us to a major flaw with the system: as you might expect, most people go to the site to read up on movies they are looking to see or have seen lately. Not surprisingly, people are seeing (and ranking) recent films on a much higher level than movies from even a few decades ago. A look at the top 50 ranked films by decade shows a large disparity in terms of total number of votes:

Top 50 2000s: 3,949,364
Top 50 1990s: 5,014,524
Top 50 1980s: 2,605,708
Top 50 1970s: 2,297,339
Top 50 1960s: 954,565

I think you get the point. Keep in mind that, though the 2000s have a lower total than the 90s, there's still more than two years worth of films (and votes) to come. Long story short - for the films made prior to the 90s, the cream will rise to the top, but there's not enough cream represented and it probably doesn't rise as high as it should. The films of the last two decades receive more votes (and higher ones than you might think they deserve) by the "kids" of today, leading to a list that is dominated by films from our recent past (a full 53 have a release date of 2000+). All this leads me to the point of all these numbers - the 11 worst films in the Top 250:

1. Stardust (2007; #247)
Ok, full disclosure - I haven't even seen this, but c'mon people - really? As I said upon its release - if it's reminiscent of The Princess Bride, wouldn't you just rather watch that instead? I can't see this staying on the list too long. (Ed. note: it's gone already. My in-depth look at the top 250 came about a week ago, and there have been, as you might have guessed, a number of changes already.)

2. The Prestige (2006; #86)
Chris Nolan is apparently the Spielberg of his generation, with 3 entries from his short career charting in the top 100 (Memento comes in at #27, Batman Begins at #96). However, as much as I like Nolan, this film has no business being anywhere near this list, especially when you consider that it wasn't even the best "magic" movie of 2006 (that would be The Illusionist).

3. Hot Fuzz (2007; #180)
In case you were thinking I might not like these films that are making this list, here's a reminder that that's not the case at all. This entry from the makers of Shaun of the Dead (#229) is a terrific, funny movie. But it's a joke that it's on a list of the top 250 films of all time, made even more ridiculous by the fact that it outranks Shaun.

4. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007; #105)
A similar situation here: I thought this was good, but the first is far superior to the shaky-cam riddled sequels, and neither the first nor second Bourne film can be found anywhere. A travishamockery.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003; #227)
Wait a few years, watch it again, then tell me if it belongs as one of the best films of 2003. A fun ride, but that's where it stops.

6. Casino Royale (2006; #224)
I'll take Goldeneye (not ranked) over this in terms of recent Bond films any day of the week. Of course, that one doesn't belong, either, as I don't think a single other Bond film made the list. I'm sure some representation is due, but give the love to Connery where everyone knows it belongs. Besides, Royale was a good 1/2 hour too long. Ugh.

7. Superbad (2007; #215)
For the record: Dazed and Confused? Not ranked. Knocked Up? Not ranked. Superbad? Funny as hell. That's it.

8. 3:10 to Yuma (2007; #163)
This has to be one of the least acclaimed movies on the entire list - I'll be shocked if it makes many top 10 lists at the end of this year, much less gets any Oscar consideration. That and I just don't like Russell Crowe all that much.

9. Grindhouse (2007; #152)
If you read my review, you know I loved this movie, yet it seems too soon. I need to see it again, more of the general public that avoided it at the theater needs to see it, and damnit, neither True Romance nor Jackie Brown are anywhere to be found, and I'm just pissy about that.

10. Groundhog Day (1993; #179)
It actually kills me a little bit to put this movie on here, but I just don't feel like it has had enough cultural impact and/or has been loved as much as some other films that could take its place (Caddyshack, anyone?). That and Mrs. Fletch hates it. How that's possible, I'll never understand, but I'm sure she's not the only one.

11. The Elephant Man (1980; #85)
This may in fact be a great movie, but it gave me nightmares as a kid and I hate seeing it pop up anywhere, much less on a list of the best films of all time. Damn you, John Hurt! You too, Eric Stolz (Mask). To this day, I can't look at a still of the Elephant Man, much less watch it - stop laughing, I'm sure there's something out there that bothers you in a similar fashion...

The IMDb Top 250

111 people have chosen wisely: on "The 11 worst films on the IMDb Top 250 (and other random thoughts)"

Farmacy said...

If movies are falling out within weeks time, I would say that the list just simply doesn't have enough votes yet.

I agree with your 11 assessments, exeept for Groundhog Day. If only 1 Bill Murray movie is in the top 250, I'm comfortable with this pick.

WampaOne said...

Fletch, one of the best non-star wars related post (although ESB shows up in the top 10, although at 7, it´s definitively very low) on this blog ever. Extremelty cogent.

I saw Casino Royale and I liked it, surprisingly. Still, when talking about James Bond movie, Roger Moore is da man!

Robb said...

For your sake, I hope Mrs. Fletch has better taste in men than she does in movies, because Groundhog Day rocks, even if Andie McDowall does kind of suck (despite being beautiful). While hardly being a top ten kind of movie, it definitely belongs in the top 250, or at least in my top 250. Whenever I catch it on TV it just makes me happy, right along with "Beetlejuice" or "The Secret Of My Success" or, even better, "Fried Green Tomatoes".

I still need to see Grindhouse, I keep meaning to Netflix that...

Fletch said...

wampa - muchas gracias! I take that as high praise coming from you. Though I'm sure the inclusion of any Star Wars films certainly helped. ;)

robb/farmacy - I'm with you on Groundhog Day. I own it and love it, but it just seems too out of place on this list (though not necessarily, considering the company on my list here). Either way, that's why it's listed towards the bottom, with the most egregious offenders at the top.

At the same time, I can kinda sorta see Mrs. Fletch's reasoning - she hated the concept of seeing the "same thing over and over again," despite my best efforts to convince her that that's not what it's all about. To each their own, I guess.

Jason said...

I feel the same way about Elephant Man ... if only I hadn't seen it at a young age.

To me, the IMDb's list loses all credibility at #2. Shawshank is certainly enjoyable (even after umpteen random encounters on TNT) but nowhere near the second-best movie of all time.

David said...

I would have to agree with you for the most part (I think Prestige was lot better than The Illusionist, but I am completely biased to Christopher Nolan's genius so I will give it to you). This list shows exactly what you are saying is true. People that are voting are focused on the newer films. I have seen all but Stardust from your list and you are right, they do not belong on the list. This is just what people have voted though. I remember Citizen Kane being up in the top ten at one point, so it just changes with the people that are reading on imdb. Thanks for the great post.

DCMovieGirl said...

Haha!! Good List!

I do however, disagree with you about The Prestige. It is the far superior magician film in the battle with the Illusionist.

Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti are the men, but Jessica Biel and the predictable, full-of-holes twist put it a few rungs below the Spy vs. Spy goodness that was The Prestige.

Plus, hello? Bowie as Tesla = coolness infinite.

As for my Elephant Men...That would be the clown in Poltergiest and David Tennant's (Dr. Who) ears.

I think Hot Fuzz and Superbad will survive the test of time, but those other flicks are waaay out of their league.

Adam said...

The Illusionist was a piece of crap, sorry man - but it was completely boring. The only thing that movie had going for it was Paul Giamatti.

I don't care much for The Bourne Ultimatum, so I'm with you on that - but Casino Royale? It's like the only James Bond movie I find tolerable.

Fletch said...

Illusionist predictable and The Prestige not? Please...

I liked The Prestige, but I liked The Illusionist a lot more. Guess I'm in the minority on this one, though.

Bowie's presence was cool though, I'll give you that.

I probably would have liked Casino Royale more had everyone stopped gushing about how great it was. It was okay, but humorless and it's not like the action (outside of the opening scene) was anything special. And it NEVER ENDED.

Robb said...

I second the motion that the clown from Poltergeist was the scariest thing ever, and remains the reason I hate clowns today. I recently watched the movie with my little brother, and we had to stop the movie about five minutes in to explain that, yes, TV wasn't always 24 hours and turned off at night to static. ::sigh::

And speaking of Superbad and Hot Fuzz - anyone remember Super Fuzz from the early 80s? Surely a terrible movie, but one of my favorites as a kid.

Tripya said...

By mentioning crap such as Star Wars or LOTR in your personal favourites, you just proved your pointlessness.

Anonymous said...

>I'm not all that interested in seeing films made prior to 1963 or so<

You lost me with that. Why deny yourself the pleasures of years and years of excellent moviemaking? You know, there is a reason they say "They don't make 'em like they used to."

See ya, fanboy.

Anonymous said...

Bleh, get a life.

stinger said...

Whoa... if you don't want Groundhog Day in the top 250... pick a better reason then "no cultural impact". Come on... the name of the movie itself has become a replacement phrase for deja vu. In terms of that reason alone, it far outranks most other movies in the list!

Anonymous said...

The best films were made in the 1930s-50s, which you should have learned by 31. Your taste in film is apallingly poor. I won't hold it against you, however--you're young and still have years in which to develop good sense. :)

I am Jack's username said...

IMDb put your list in their poll, and if you ignore the wording of the females under 18's "defend to the death" the current movies voters are saying deserve to be in the top 250 are:

14.0% Groundhog day (1993)
12.6% The prestige (2006)
11.6% The elephant man (1980)
11.4% I wouldn't defend any of these films
09.7% Pirates of the Caribbean: the curse of the black pearl (2003)
07.1% Casino Royale

So, the voters mostly agree that the 2007 movies shouldn't be there but that The prestige does despite being recent. Groundhog day, despite the very last scene, is a great movie and I think deserves to be much higher than 179.

Anonymous said...

god, you're a joke, aren't you?

The Pope said...

And THIS asinine article ends up as an imdb poll?

The fact that Groundhog Day is even mentioned in such a context is disgusting.

There is no justification.

Adam Villani said...

I have to admit, I was bothered by all the recent movies in the IMDB Top 250 list a few years ago when I was paying attention to it, but after watching the list evolve over the course of several months, I realized that it was VERY common for a newish movie (basically, one still in theatrical release) to vault into the top echelons of the the list, and as time went on (basically, as more people voted who'd seen the movie on video vs. fanboys who voted in the first week of release), most of these movies inevitably sank toward the bottom and eventually left the Top 250. Only a handful of films from each year stay in the Top 250 longer than a year or so. So, while, yes, a lot of these movies don't deserve to be anywhere near the top 250 (I'd disagree on The Prestige, at least, and possibly a couple others, but then, I also think The Shawshank Redemption was mediocre) I wouldn't get too worried about it, since they're not going to stay in.

The absurdity of the voting on the IMDB is borne out if you look at the distribution of votes for individual films. A movie with a 8.0 rating generally doesn't have a vote distribution that looks anythingg like a bell curve around 8. What it'll have is a bimodal distribution with a clump at the top, probably with a whole bunch of 10s, and then another big (but smaller) group down at the bottom with a whole bunch of 1s. In other words, a lot of the voters are the typical drooling fanboy for whom everything either sucks or rules. There's pathetically little room in their votes for shades of gray.

Also, yes, the votes are heavily skewed toward films from recent decades, but you essentially admit that you're part of the problem here. There's no point in arguing over taste, but I've got to say that if you're excluding movies made before the 60s or 70s, you're really missing out.

Anyway, lemme check my own tallies... as of right now, I've seen 196 of the top 250. Most are pretty good movies, but there are a LOT I wouldn't put on my personal top 250, and a few real stinkers (I'll call out Snatch, Little Miss Sunshine, and Harvey, but there are others, too.)

As for my pre/post 1960 split, I've seen 57/79 pre-1960 films, or 72%, and 139/171 films released in 1960 or later, or 81%. Overall I've seen 78.4%.

Maarten from Holland said...

Yes, I would say that’s a shamefully low number, especially for a movie-blogger, 112 films of IMDB’s top 250. And yes, I’ve seen all 250. Not only that, but I estimate that I’ve seen about 3500 to 4000 movies over the last 15 years. Also, I’m 31 years old, like you.

Now, I don’t distinguish between a film from today or a film from 1930. There are old films I’ve been looking for for over 10 years, which exalt me when I find them, even more then when someone finally succeeds in making The Lord of the Rings into a movie franchise. I guess today’s cinema is of course far superior in it’s technological aspects, but there’s so much more to cinema than that. How about story-telling, suspense, humour, good acting, and what have you. All these qualities can be found in a 1930 film just as well as in a film of today. For a writer of literature it really doesn’t matter if he writes today, or 200 years ago, since he’s got still the same tools to work with: words. So it’s a common mistake to think that newer films are better than old ones. On the contrary: today’s crap is very often sold as to be original, where it more often is not.

Now, I did not register on IMDB for one simple reason: The Shawshank redemption being at number 2. This is just plain arbitrariness for me (Ever seen so much artificial lighting? Ever seen a lightning-storm like that? Ever heard of straining after effect?), since it’s not per se a bad movie, but it could have been thirteen other films from the same dozen. I could’ve probably understood it better if the number two was simply a plain abominable piece of crap.

The film that’s not supposed to be on your list is of course The elephant man, for which you really don’t give any good reason to kick it off the top 250. You just give a very subjective approach. It also is the only ‘older’ movie on your list. It is typical for what’s wrong with the imdb-rating in general: newer films are more highly rated than old ones. There’s more than one explanation for this. First off, most people, like you, don’t even watch films from before 1960. The people who do, are often more critical. So if a movie from 1940 gets a 7.9, it’s guaranteed a good movie. When a recent movie gets a 7.9, that still remains to be seen. Secondly, what is especially noteworthy is that the first 5000 voters on new releases are always way more enthusiastic than the mass that follows. These people are just so happy to have been to some pre-screening, being the first ones to see this film. Like that means something. When a movie is released on dvd, the rating usually drops 0.5 to 1.0 point. I personally take at least 1.0 point off of all the ratings for films from past 1990, to get me a realistic perspective.

I do like to say that IMDB is the greatest piece of reference work on the audio-visual media ever assembled. So I would recommend it to anyone who loves movies. But like Judd Apatow, who was recently chosen by Entertainment Weekly to be the smartest guy in Hollywood, we’ll soon forget all these hypes of today, and not even one of the remaining ten films you’ve listed, will still be on the list in 20 years time. Make no mistake about that.

Anonymous said...

Illusionist better than the Prestige? The Elephant Man is one the 'worst' 11 films because it gave you nightmares as a kid? Lol.

Batesy said...

In principle I agree with the list and if it is true that films like Stardust, which I did find entertaining, have already dropped out of the Top 250 then it justs goes to show that this list is more like the music charts.

However two films which do deserve to be in the list are Hot Fuzz and Groundhog Day. But if I had to choose between the two then I would say Groundhog Day. It's a classic and definitely deserves to be in the list

Anonymous said...

grow up. just because you're a big puss doesn't mean The Elephant Man doesn't deserve it's rightful spot.

yellahfellah said...

I totally agree that there is definitely something wrong with the IMDB Top 250 ranking system, even though it's the most comprehensive film ranking system available. But instead of bashing someone else's opinon on their choice of movies, I would like to suggest that IMDB come up with a Top 50 Movies per Decade. Since the majority of IMDB voters are obviously from the younger generation, it would just be natural for them to appreciate and vote for the films they've actually seen (and not just heard about from their parents or other older guys). Having a Top 50 per Decade would ensure that the "older" movies which were the best "during that time..." be given due recognition.

Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Your analysis of "young films" is indeed accurate. I believe the voting should take into account date of release, as newer films get votes at the spur of the moment. I have a 380+ vote list, which I reviewed one by one on the 350th. I think voters with less than 50-100 votes or without x votes per month should not be considered for the 250 list as they may not have a sufficient interest in films.

Fletch said...

Whoa. Just whoa.

Getting linked by IMDb? On the front page? The bible?!?!

First off, let me say that I'm truly honored. Second, let me say to you, the angry reader - please don't take this list so seriously. If I have one gripe about being listed on the FRONT PAGE OF IMDB it's the fact that I've been misquoted/taken out of context. The title of this post is "The 11 Worst Films" (not "Which films should be booted") and it is entirely subjective, partly tongue-in-cheek, and not meant to be taken absolutely literally.

In short, of all the films that I've seen on the list (which is an admittedly low percentage), these are/may be my least favorite 11.

So, to anyone out there that may stone me for daring to put Groundhog Day or The Prestige on this list, keep in mind that I own and love Groundhog Day and that I generally liked The Prestige (though I still stand by my thinking that The Illusionist is better; it's obvious that I'm in the minority there).

Moreover, lighten up! This blog is supposed to be fun!

Thanks to all for reading (provided that you do actually read and don't just make quick assumptions). ;)

Kubrick Forever said...

There's no way that there are 250 films in existence that are better than The Elephant Man, it's a classic!!!

You must not be intelligent or sophisticated enough to understand true art....

pristine said...

Fletch, congrats on being featured on IMDB! It was a lovely read, though I disagreed with The Prestige (it got my vote for the poll). Anyway, keep up the great work! I see the site's traffic has increased exponentially. ;) I didn't really get your point about older films.

"Long story short - for the films made prior to the 90s, the cream will rise to the top, but there's not enough cream represented and it probably doesn't rise as high as it should."

Yeah, I see what you mean about the better lot of older films surfacing...but sometimes, the ratings on older films tend to quite skewed. For example, the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre (granted, that's not a film, but a TV series) has a pretty high rating (which I don't think it deserves). I think the high rating is due to the small number of voters. So...maybe I end up where you were before, that the more votes, the better. :)

Anyway, congrats and you've got a regular reader from me now :D

LeAnna said...

IMDb needs to put in a thing where movies that are new cannot be in the Top 250 until after some time. The title is "All-Time" not "Right Now."

Anonymous said...

The IMDb's top 250 movie list is nothing more than a popularity contest foe movies. It is impossible to compile a list of good or bad movies based on quality cause a movies quality is entirely subjective to each individuals opinion. As you have clearly illustrated in your blog since most of your reasons for including these movies together as not belonging there is entirely your own opinions on them. Example is that include Stardust when by your own admission you cannot even form a valid opinion of the movie cause you HAVE NOT seen it. So to you it doesn't belong simply cause it somehow reminds you of The Princess Bride. I am having a real tough time seeing that one. The reason these movies make it to the top 250 is cause there isa large audience out there who think they were great. Which to me is exactly why even if I don't like some of these movies they do in fact all deserve to be on there.

Fletch said...

Thanks, pristine - I appreciate the kind words.

Forgot a couple things - first of all, thanks to all who are taking the time to read through it and give their opinions (especially the lengthy ones).

Second, some have mentioned how some of the films are no longer on the list. My editor's note, which is located in the post, states: "it [Stardust] is gone already. My in-depth look at the top 250 came about a week ago, and there have been, as you might have guessed, a number of changes already."

So yea, I'm aware that it is an ever-changing (by the minute, even) list. I appreciate the accuracy tips, though.

IMDB250VotersSuck! said...

How come whenever IMDB comes up there are always the idiots that start crying about Shawshank. Shawshank at #2 is only a travesty because The Godfather is at #1.

Anyone who has ever watched all of the Godfather films knows that the second was better than the first. Obviously not everyone has seen all of them though, as The Godfather Part II has over 100,000 votes less than the original. How a movie that is not even the best of 3 can be considered the best of all time is beyond me.

Shawshank should be #1, The Godfather Part II should be #2, and The Godfather should be somewhere else ... maybe in the 750-1000 range.

Sloopydrew said...

My interest level in your post dropped significantly after you said you are "ageist" and didn't like watching movies pre-1960. That irritates me to no end and was like chalk on a chalkboard -- only to my eyes rather than my ears. The only disagreements we had over your list was Groundhog Day being present (it is top 250 material) and your putting The Illusionist (which was mediocre at best) above The Prestige (an excellent film and everything that The Illusionist tried to be).

I think Groundhog Day and Grindhouse (as presented at U.S. and Canadian movie theaters) deserves to be on the list. The Prestige? It doesn't bother me, as it was an excellent movie. I agree with you on the rest. Pirates, Stardust, Bourne and Superbad being the worst offenders, even though I enjoyed 3 out of 4 of them (wasn't a fan of Stardust at all).

The other problem with your list was that it used relativity as a crutch. Most movies on the list you merely compare to other movies that you think are better as a way to say they shouldn't be on the top 250. But that's based solely on your opinion. While I agreed with much of what you wrote, that only means that my opinion is similar to yours. You picked Bourne because the first was better (agreed). Casino Royale because Connery's films weren't represented. The Prestige because it was no Illusionist (how can you possibly think that?). Hot Fuzz because Shaun of the Dead isn't present (and I agree that Shaun of the Dead was twice the movie the still funny Hot Fuzz was). Grindhouse because there's no Jackie Brown. Superbad because there's no Dazed and Confused or Knocked Up (Dazed should be in the top 250. Knocked Up? Good movie, but top 250 material? Not so much.). You get the idea.

How did you get IMDb to link to your post, anyway? That's a major achievement that must have brought in a ton of traffic (full disclosure - I hadn't heard of or saw your blog prior to their poll question). Do you work for the site? I've never seen a personal blog linked to from there prior to this and I've been visiting the IMDb long before Amazon bought it and registered there in 2000 after the Amazon buyout.

BostonSucksMyBlog said...

Wow dude, congrats on the link. Thats awesome.

I agree, The Illusionist was clearly better than Prestige. i dont remember Ed Norton being in The Prstige...

Fletch said...

sloopydrew - in regards to how I got linked: I have no idea, and if I could replicate it this feat, I surely would.

I didn't realize bloggers weren't usually linked. To be honest, I'm on the site all the time, but don't participate in the polls or message boards or any other things like that. If I did, I wouldn't have a job. :)

And yes, traffic is through the roof. If I knew who to thank, I would do so in a heartbeat.

Scott said...

I agree with most the list but I have no problem with Stardust being ranked near of the bottom of the top 250. It's a really fun movie and a hundred times better than POTC which is ranked much higher.

BDiddy said...

You make a good point one that I bring up all the time new movies have a great advantage. If you look at the formula IMDB uses more votes automatically equal a better weighted ranking.However, the prestige is one of the best movies i've ever seen. Far far far better than the illiousionist. Hugh jackman is suprisingly great Bale is good as always and it has amazing rewachabilty. I think it's Nolan's best movie and i do think he can become one of the greats.

Anonymous said...

Why stop at eleven? There's why more that doesn't deserve to be there...

Peter Slattery said...

The Illusionist was better than The Prestige?! AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ha.. heh... but seriously... AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

MilwGonzo said...

If I had to defend several the films listed as not being "worthy" of being in the Top 250, this list would certainly include Groundhog Day, Elephant Man and Grindhouse. GD was funny, clever, innovative and stands the test of time. It's one of Bill Murray's best. EM was and is an great example of creative filmmaking and storytelling. It still awes me. The recent Grindhouse was a very pleasant surprise and throughly enjoyable, I would gladly watch it again and recommended it to just about everyone I knew that didn't see it.

It's very difficult to have a comprehensive list of best films that spans the history of movies. The age of the reviewer and their movie-watching experience is a major factor; I grew up watching lots of old movies on TV in the 1960's, long before cable, VCRs, DVDs and the internet. Most of those movies are never shown on TV now and are largely unknown to younger movie fans. It was much less common to be able to see a movie over and over again then that it is now.

I also heard lots of stories from my parents about their favorite movies from the 1930s and 1940s, back when going to the movies was more common, like watching TV today ("In 1922, average weekly movie attendance was 40 million with an average weekly household attendance of 1.56. This continued to grow until weekly attendance peaked out at 90 million in 1948 with an average weekly household attendance of 2.22 (Salvaggio and Bryant, 1989)").

The criteria for judging movies as "good or "great" or "loved" has changed too. Technology has altered movie making to the point that the what's entertaining, clever, creative or nostalgic for some reviewers doesn't even make sense to others. Look at the differences in the technology used in making King Kong (1933) and Wizard of Oz (1939).

Anyway, as others have pointed out, this is just a popularity list. But it's a great one and I love reading what others have to say about movies!

afroshing said...

Except for The Prestige, Hot Fuzz, and Superbad, I think that you are pretty much right.But I still have no idea what you are talking about when you say that the Illusionist is the better magician film. *Throws up*

Steven Santos said...

The Elephant Man was the only one that stuck out on this list. Some of the others aren't bad, but just don't belong on the list. Elephant Man is one of Lynch's best and most underrated films. It definitely belongs there.

I'm surprised this list was compiled and didn't include "American History X" and "Sin City", which sit at # 42 & 75, respectively. One is a simple-minded look at skinheads and the other is a childish and pointless comic book adaptation enamored of its own style.

Apathygrrl said...

Like many of the other people who have visited your site I have issues with your list. I agree that Shaun of the Dead is a better move than Hot Fuzz. Hot Fuzz is still a damn good movie and isn't one of the worst movies on the IMDB 250. Grindhouse and Superbad should be nowhere near the 250, they do not even close to being among the best movies of all time. I liked the Prestige far more then the Illusionist. I found Jessica Biel's performance dull and her accent was poor. I haven't liked Jessica in any movie that I've seen her in, I don't find her convincing... most times I find her mildly irritating. Although Ed Norton & Paul Giamatti were brilliant as always, Jessica brought down the movie for me. Also, I predicted the ending about 1/3 of the way through, whereas with the prestige I had the ending mostly correct about 4/5 of the way through, but I was still surprised by the magnitude of the events. Christopher Nolan is an incredibly gifted director and I'd give the vote to the Prestige over the Illusionist. I don't agree with your stance on Casino Royale but I do agree that it was about 15-20 minutes too long (and I personally liked Goldeneye better). I don't agree with the Elephant Man, it's a classic, and I don't agree with Groundhog Day. I am a little biased when it comes to Pirates, I enjoyed it immensely (Undead pirates + Johnny + Orland = happy) although I admit I found it's run time a bit long. I wish I could disagree with Bourne Ultimatum but the shakey-cam killed that movie for me. I got Blair Witch motion sickness while watching it. I really would have enjoyed that movie so much more if the camera would stop bouncing around like it was sitting on top of a washing machine the whole time. I mean, when two people are sitting at a table talking calmly does the camera have to vibrate like that? What's the point?? I think the action scenes were better than the first movie but it's hard to tell since I could barely see what was happening.

mrs. fletch said...

apathygrrl - I also suffer from the "Blair Witch Symdrome." Try taking two non-drowsy Dramamine prior to watching potentially shaky-cam movies (we knew The Bourne Ultimatum would be that way since it was the same director as Supremacy) - it helps a lot!

Fletch said...

Attention all Elephant Man lovers! Its inclusion on this list, in case you couldn't tell, is more tongue-in-cheek than his face was deformed.

As for the Groundhog Day chatter - I think I might have made an egregious error. I've seen a few people say it, and I agree - Sin City belongs on this list more than Groundhog Day. By far. Please forgive me.

I've always considered American History X to be a "very good" film that has an amazing performance - one that should have hands-down won the Oscar for Norton. From the first viewing, it felt a little too "afterschool-special," but I still enjoy it immensely and have no problems with its inclusion on the 250. A valid comment nonetheless.

apathygrrl - I love your point about the ending of The Prestige. Though I think it was much more predictable than The Illusionist, I have to agree that the finale is much more powerful in terms of what Jackman's character was doing.

Thanks for reading, all!

ec said...

Elephant Man!!! c'mon! One of the best and most atmospheric movies of all time. Up for best picture in 1979. No way does it belong on your list because it gave you nightmares as a kid. I saw this movie at the theater in 1979 and..yes..it haunted me, but I still catch it every time it's on. The atmosphere and darkness that Lynch creates absolutely captures the era and the what Merrick's life must have been like. There were also moments of sublime beauty. Lastly, the music was incredible - sort of a twisted carny theme. Great, Great Movie!

Note: I do agree that some of the other movies are not worthy of the Top 250, although I generally liked all on the list.

Anonymous said...

STFU! 3:10 to Yuma is a great movie and deserves the spot in the IMDb Top 250. Your list fails and so are you.

Farmacy said...

It's funny to me how upset people have gotten over the "I don't watch movies from before 1963"... I 100% agree with the concept.

I took a film and philosophy class in college, and we watched a number of films from before then. I don't like them.

It's neat to learn about the evolution of film, and "Man with a Movie Camera" (I think a Russian silent film about city life and filming) and Buster Keaton's movies were interesting to watch... but only as movie history.

They are entertaining, and definitley informative, but I wouldn't say they are the best. It's the same as classic rock.

Yes, it started it all... but that doesn't mean new music has no significance. You can't ignore the present simply because you think the past was "better".

Old movies are worth watching, but from a historical perspective. They aren't necessarily the cream of the crop.

Cat said...

I agree with this assessment. People are very quick to give movies a "10 star" rating after they've seen a movie that they've enjoyed. Stepping back a little bit from the fun is the only way to be somewhat objective.

I can't believe "Stardust" was on there even for a minute! Not a good movie. That's the Neil Gammon fans, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

dude, I've seen over 200 of the top 250 and while I agree with all 11 of the films you chose, I can't imagine making at top 10, 11, or even top 5 list that didn't include many films from pre-1960. get over yourself and start watching some of the best films ever made by guys like Kubrick, Bergman, Welles, Ford, Wyler, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Keaton, Chaplin, Cocteau, Curtiz, Wilder... you get the picture.

Matt said...

Wow, you're famous!

In principle, I agree with you but I bet I could find a few movies to switch out for Groundhog Day. I also happen to think 3:10 to Yuma deserves to be on the list, but Casino Royale should probably be just off the cut. All the others, with the possible exception of Grindhouse, shouldn't be on the list either. Superbad was great, but it's so "fad-ish" that I'll have to look at it in another five, ten years to decide if it still holds up.

Congratulations on all the acclaim buddy!

rkg said...

I still want to see The Elephant Man....but I totally disagree with you on The Prestige. that was one of my greatest movie experiences of the past few years. The Illusionist was okay but not as intriguing.

Serriform said...

You're an insufferable douchebag.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with some of your picks.
Unlike you, I watched films from every single decade since 1920. That includes american movies as well as other international titles.
-I agree with you on Stardust: Enjoyable. But that's it.
-I can't help but disagree with you on The Prestige: It far surpasses The Illusionist. The direction, the narration and the acting are all top notch.
-I definitely agree with you on Hot Fuzz: While funny, this movie has nothing that makes it stand alone.
-I also disagree with you on The Bourne Ultimatum: This film is the very definition of what action movies should be like. And I do love the shaky camera because it makes the action a lot more frenzy.
-Pirates of the Caribbean: I couldn't agree with you more. That movie is like a piece of candy; attractive, sweet and easily forgotten.
-Casino Royale: I agree with you. Actually, it's one of the most boring James Bond movies ever. They could easily have shoved an hour. In my opinion, From Russia with love is the Best James Bond movie Ever: Connery in the lead and a balance between seduction, suspense, action and gadgets.
-Superbad: Well. If this movie made it to the Top 250, it explains well how low our standards for humour are. Totally stupid and insignificant.
-3:10 to Yuma: Give me a break! I don't like Russell Crowe either, but I liked his performance. Christian Bale is impressive. And the photography: Stunning.
-Grindhouse: Definitely worth being listed, simply because it's the first time someone thought of such a concept. I have to admit that Rodriguez's exercise was better than Tarantino, who seemed to recreate a Reservoir Dog-like atmosphere with a female cast. And Jackie Brown and True Romance don't fit in the top 250...
-Groundhog Day: It deserves the spot. Funny and very intelligent at the same time.
-The Elephant Man: Wait a second there! You put this movie on your list because it gave you nightmares as a kid ??? I watched the Original King Kong when I was 5 years old. It did give me nightmares, but the more I watched movies, the more that movie become relevant and the more I liked it. Don't base your judgement on your personal experiences and be objective. The Elephant Man is a great movie and it deserves its spot in the Top 250.
Here's my list of the movies that shouldn't be near the top 250:
-The Godfather Part one, Part two and Goodfellas.
-The first Terminator as well as T2.
-Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima and Mystic River.
-Ying Xiong or Hero if you prefer the english title.
-Cinderella Man.
Here are some that should be in the top 250 but are not:
-Blood Diamond.
-Ocean Eleven (With Clooney, Pitt and Damon).
-Kingdom of Heaven.
And many others...

Don John 80 said...

If you haven't seen Stardust then I don't think you have the right to say that it doesn't belong on the list.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Groundhog Day is shaping up as the film most people disagree with you about. I have to join them--this is a classic movie that takes a great idea and runs with it, exploring all the possibilities to great comic effect. I also need to agree with others that your comment that you won't watch movies pre-1963 pretty much rules out much of your credibilty as a critic, though way to go and get your blog featured on the IMDB!

Anonymous said...

For the record, The Illusionist sucked ass compared with The Prestige.

Anyway, the 250 list is based on average votes. Recent movies get more votes because more people visit their entries, and popular movies get more high-rating votes than "good" movies. So this list is biased towards recent and popular movies, not good movies. Get over it.

The only reason you've gotten so much traffic on this site recently is because IMDB thought the entry was interesting. And despite the fact that I read most of the entry, rest assured that I won't check back to stay updated on your opinions.

Anonymous said...

Lost credibility when you denied a movie you haven't even seen yet from being in the top spot.

Anonymous said...

You're a complete idiot, you act as though you are clued up on films, because you have a movie blog. Yet you refuse/have no desire to watch films prior to 1960. There are an incredible amount of films that fall before this date, and you're going to push them aside. I think all but 2 of Hitchcocks works are pre 1960, as is the case with Kubrick's films. Theese are 2 of the greatest directors of our time in my opinion, and you refuse to watch them. Ignorance aside (Or not) but I was incredibly annoyed when you listed Stardust as a film that shouldn't be on the top 250 list, despite having NOT SEEN IT! How on earth you could have an opinion on a film you haven't seen is beside me. Oh - and saying that The Elephant Man shouldn't be there, simply because it scared you as a child is purely ridiculous. I realise that theese are you're opinions; but quite frankly, you should keep them to yourself.

Anonymous said...

You're a complete idiot, you act as though you are clued up on films, because you have a movie blog. Yet you refuse/have no desire to watch films prior to 1960. There are an incredible amount of films that fall before this date, and you're going to push them aside. I think all but 2 of Hitchcocks works are pre 1960, as is the case with Kubrick's films. Theese are 2 of the greatest directors of our time in my opinion, and you refuse to watch them. Ignorance aside (Or not) but I was incredibly annoyed when you listed Stardust as a film that shouldn't be on the top 250 list, despite having NOT SEEN IT! How on earth you could have an opinion on a film you haven't seen is beside me. Oh - and saying that The Elephant Man shouldn't be there, simply because it scared you as a child is purely ridiculous. I realise that theese are you're opinions; but quite frankly, you should keep them to yourself.

wme said...

You said, "A diverse group, and one that spans from 1942 to 2003. They might not make my all-time list (or yours), but I respect them all, even the ones I haven't seen."

Since you do not watch films prior to 1960, you've seen, what, one of those films? -_-

wme said...

Make less assumptions next time and you're sure to have a good blog.

jic said...

"spans from 1942 to 2003"

True, but misleading. What you actually have is a group that spans from the mid-'60s to more-or-less the present day, with an 'outlier' in the '40s. I suspect this reflects the birth dates of the majority of voters. Speaking of which, I find the abuse you are getting for not being interested in movies made before the early '60s disgusting. I do watch movies that are older than that; but as with all art forms, movies have changed a lot over the years. For example, (with the exception of Marx Brothers movies), I've never found a comedy made before the '70s very funny. I've enjoyed a lot of them, they just don't make me laugh much. Similarly, thrillers from before the '60s can seem uneventful if you are not used to them. If you don't like older movies, you don't like them, simple as that. It doesn't mean that you are an idiot or a philistine. People don't get that kind of abuse for not being into '30s or'40s music.

"It actually kills me a little bit to put this movie [Groundhog Day] on here, but I just don't feel like it has had enough cultural impact and/or has been loved as much as some other films that could take its place."

As you have probably realised by now, you have vastly underestimated both the love for and the "cultural impact" of Groundhog Day. It deserves a higher place in the Top 250 for that alone. I have to say however that personally, I never really loved that movie. In that way, I would definitely rank Caddyshack higher.

jic said...

"Make less assumptions next time and you're sure to have a good blog."

Says the person who didn't bother to find out that only one of the movies Fletch was talking about was made before 1966.

Gopheur said...

You are an asshole and an idiot. You are saying movies that you haven't even seen shouldn't be on the list? That's ridiculous. You should be stripped of your blog.

wme said...

"Says the person who didn't bother to find out that only one of the movies Fletch was talking about was made before 1966."

Read the post above it, wise guy.

jordi said...

I surely agree with Fletch's intentions for this blog: indeed, the IMDb Top 250 contains too much films that really don't earn a place there. But the main problem is a certain lack of evaluation, and that can also be concluded out of this Flop 11: most of the films you name are recent movies. If IMDb would find a way to really evaluate this movies, it would be much better.
I hoped you would name in your Top 11 other, more debatable titles like, if you ask me, THe Shawshank Redemption... :)

jic said...

"Read the post above it, wise guy."

I did. Fletch, referring to the IMDB Top 10, said:

"A diverse group, and one that spans from 1942 to 2003."

You commented:

"Since you do not watch films prior to 1960, you've seen, what, one of those films?"

You then posted:

"Make less assumptions next time and you're sure to have a good blog.

I then pointed out:

"Says the person who didn't bother to find out that only one of the movies Fletch was talking about was made before 1966."

So, just you making assumptions again.

wme said...

I said he has seen only one of the top 10 films, considering he avoids those prior to 1960. You're telling me I'm making assumptions because only one of the films he was talking about was made before 1960. I may misunderstand what you're saying, but it looks like you're just repeating what I claimed.

fletche'spop said...

Now look what you've gone and done!! Great job of stiring up a hornets nest:D

jic said...

"I said he has seen only one of the top 10 films, considering he avoids those prior to 1960.

We are having a communications problem here. If he avoids movies made prior to 1960, he would only avoid the one film on the Top 10 made before 1960.

Peter said...

Just for the record, 3:10 to Yuma has an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 7.5 out of 10. This puts it squarely between American Gangster (79%/7) and No Country For Old Men (96%/8.6), two serious contenders for this year's top Oscars. The fact that you don't like Russell Crowe doesn't change the fact that he's a serious critical favorite, or that his performance drew raves. Say what you will about the movie, it's actually VERY acclaimed, probably the M0ST acclaimed movie on your list of 11.

The Illusionist was okay, but the Prestige was better by an order of magnitude. Every time anyone says otherwise I feel like I'm in bizarro-universe.

Stardust was absolutely atrocious, but everyone above is right...if you didn't see it, how can you comment? And yes, I AM a fan of both the Princess Bride and the Stardust novel - which is probably how I know this movie's awful.

Fletch's Mom said...

GREAT movie blog! Magazines will soon be trying to solicite you to review movies for them! IMBD found you and magazines can also!

Love your blog site!

I want to be your AGENT.

another samurai said...

IMDb list is just a popular list. I agree with it to some extend because it have seven samurai at #10, I disagree with it because it doesnt have a single movie by Terrence Malick.

I have seen 117 movies in the list.
it is a good thing that a blogger being noted by IMDb.

Anonymous said...

If you couldn't stand the disturbing images of The Elephant Man you shouldn't have watched it as a a kid. don't blame it on the movie.

By the way I agree with you, some of those movies on Top 250 doesn't make any sense to me...but they're chosen through votes, so I guess that's what they are: Top 250.

RickDVD said...

If you don't watch movies before 1963, you're missing some classic Hitchcock films, not to mention MANY other classic films. You may want to rethink your position about the 1963 statement after watching some Hitchcock, Billy Wilder or David Lean films.

Of course, you can eschew watching them, but you'll never know how much superior Hitchcock's version of Psycho is to Gus Van Sant's copy a few years ago.

It's a crime older films aren't pushed on DVD.

Manda said...

"especially when you consider that it wasn't even the best "magic" movie of 2006 (that would be The Illusionist)."

heard that? that was your credibility falling.

Anonymous said...

Most of those movies are good, but yeah, I agree with you... none of them could even be considered to be part of the best 250 films I've ever seen. By the way, I think you're really missing out not watching movies made before 1963.

Fletch said...

A few notes:

* First, to all those ready and willing to blast me for the inclusion of Groundhog Day and/or The Elephant Man, please read my comments above.

* jic, I LOVE your take on new vs. old flicks ("If you don't like older movies, you don't like them, simple as that. It doesn't mean that you are an idiot or a philistine. People don't get that kind of abuse for not being into '30s or'40s music."). Surely the same could be applied to television as well.

* To all those who are upset about the inclusion of Stardust and/or the reason I give: you have a valid point, but one that I'm guessing is somewhat hypocritical. I challenge you to never make an assumption (and an informed one, at that) that you might not think a film is the best ever (or amongst the Top 250) before having seen it. I read reviews, watch trailers, and get opinions from those I trust. It's not like I'm just reading the cast list or synopsis here.

* To all those who have chimed in simply to call me an idiot or the like: thank you for adding to my comments and making everyone else commenting sound much, much smarter.

* For the record, I did not ask IMDb to link to me (though I would if I knew they would), but I'm grateful for the traffic and exposure.

* Just saw this one: RickDVD - I've long wanted to love Hitchcock's films, but am disappointed with each one that I saw (most likely because they've been built up too much, I assume). For the record, I have seen Vertigo, Rear Window and Psycho. All good movies, but for a number of reasons, they just ring my bell. In fact, I think I have a great idea for a future post: Why Movies Made Prior to Around 1963 Don't Ring My Bell.

Hmmm...I like the concept, but need work on the title.

Anonymous said...

You say you don't watch films made before 1963... Jesus Christ. Why should we even read your little Mickey Mouse club newsletter? You obviously have a colossal misunderstading of the art of cinema to make such a comment. Good day.

Jules said...


your apparent disliking of movies pre-1963 is profoundly ignorant, and makes your "movie" blog completely bias.

Matt said...

Hey Fletch,
I thought I'd check to see what people have been writing since the last time I checked. Heeeeee-larious!

Sounds like you're holding your own though. Congrats once again!

Anonymous said...

Of the movies I've seen, I agree with you for the most part, except for Groundhog Day and especially Elephant Man. I don't think either The Illusionist or The Prestige were particularly great movies. For one thing I figured out the ending for each early in the film.

serasirrah said...

First of all, I would like to echo the congrats on a well-written blog. While it's not flawless in the sense of providing unquestionable objectivity, it shows a well-reasoned stance, which is exactly what an editorial-styled movie blog should provide. I'm a new reader courtesy of the IMDB poll question that linked me here, but I intend to return!

As for the debate of what to include:
Thank you for addressing this. I'm an avid IMDB fan, and I have been since its debut. The ability for the list to provide modern recommendations, though, acts as a double-edged sword, and I've also felt your same frustrations with the overrated current movies.

Regarding the data you reported, though:
You look at the raw number of votes, though. I think that's a problem if you consider the much higher number of movies produced these days. Of course in a time of high-numbered movie productions, I'm not about to do the numbers myself, but there needs to be an analysis of the ratio of votes to the movie. Not that this would sway the final message, but movies are being produced a dime a dozen these days, thereby yielding many more ratings.

The "classic" film debate:
I'm an avid fan of those movies from eras predating my birth (ie, anything pre-1980's), including the world of black-and-white cinema. I do understand that you may not like those movies, please consider watching more of them. Your taste is definitely as personal as one's taste in music, or even something as grand as a life partner. However, not to watch them and to shun a whole world is a fairly presumptuous move.

I would much rather surround myself in a world of sweet or intellectual movies, and quickly shun the idea of watching anything that looks too crass (like anything else by the Superbad crowd) or too violent (anything war-related included). However, I realize those movies provide an important look at culture and art. I particularly force myself to see movies like the important historical movies that could inform me a bit about the world where I'm otherwise quite admittedly ignorant (such as a movie about the Bay of Pigs or a movie about the drug scene in the 70s in New Jersey). Sometimes they're flops, and sometimes they're magnificent. Usually, though, if others love them, I get something from them. If nothing else, sometimes I just get a chance to speculate at what others consider to be "good" (I couldn't stand Grindhouse, but now I feel
glad I can articulate why).

Bottom line of advice and judgement: I do really encourage you to slowly make your way through those older films, and seek out what people find so worthy, and so inspiring about those films. Watch it with a friend who loves those movies, and earnestly ask them to explain what they love about those movies. Look at their faces as they explain, and watch the movies closely as though you were in that world. To see something through the eyes of an aficionado does wonders. I even do this with music I do not like, and I encourage people to do this if they don't like someone's partner of choice, too.

After all, what I told my students while encouraging them to see a local musical production of Fame!: the modern movies you do like (in their case, movies like High School Musical) are written by people who grew up inspired by those "old" movies. All in all, it's all relative.

For those who quickly judge and discount you: though, I think there needs to be a breath taken. You admitted this about yourself to explain your bias coming into the blog. You didn't do it to proclaim those movies unworthy, but just to explain the limitations of your perspective. Or at least, that's how I took it.

So for those worst kind of snobs, the intellectual, classic movie snobs, buzz off! :) (And yes, those classic movie folks hopefully caught that easy movie allusion.)

Wow, I didn't plan on being that verbose, but thanks for stirring up some good conversations amongst the readers, and thanks for letting me weigh in.

Cheers, ~sera

Eric said...

Hey don't worry I keep telling my friends that the Illusionist is a much superior movie than the Prestige (for reasons I won't dwell into now) But other than that I agree with your list. Casino Royale, however, I feel may be worthy.

Michael said...

For anyone to dismiss all cinema before 1963 is to discredit anything you say at all. You are not aware of the history of cinema and therefore you are not capable of proper analysis.

I had never heard of you until 5 minutes ago. I wish I never had. I'm livid. You're truly objectionable.

Anonymous said...

"I've always considered American History X to be a "very good" film that has an amazing performance - one that should have hands-down won the Oscar for Norton. From the first viewing, it felt a little too "afterschool-special," but I still enjoy it immensely and have no problems with its inclusion on the 250. A valid comment nonetheless."

American history X treatment of the ABC afterschool special. Hmm, as a kid I think I would have like to see John Travolta as the bubble boy get 'curbed' or Rob Lowe/Jodie Foster/Marion Ross/Scott Baio/Kristy McNichol/Sean Cassidy/....

Eternality said...

I happen to chance upon your blogsite from IMDB, and honestly, it's a pleasure to read your articles and reviews. Being a film critic myself (though my blog isn't as comprehensive as yours), it's heartening to meet another soul with a natural passion for films! Keep up the outstanding work!


Chivid said...

The IMDb has a couple problems with its rating system. First of all, its not a real 10 star system. The lowest you can give any movie is a single star. So that makes it a 9 star system (10 - 1 = 9).

The second problem is that they count votes too soon after they come out. For votes to count towards the IMDb 250, potential voters should have to wait 6 months after the film comes out.

That's my opinion on the matter.

As for the list of movies that shouldn't be there, my biggest problem is the movie Fargo. I never could understand why people liked this shite film - let alone enough to put it on the Top 250. It was a Columbo TV Movie plot wrapped around the "novelty" of a Northern Minnesotan Accent. Big Whoop!

Anonymous said...

The Prestige was a much better movie that The Illusionist. I liked both, but Prestige was a better film. Casino Royale was much better than the other recent Bond movies (despite being a good 1/2 hour too long), and Ultimatum was arguably the best of the Bournes. Other than that I have no problem with your list...

massromanticrights said...

You haven't seen Stardust? Your opinion is thus void.

I don't blame you but the IMDb for mentioning this crap.

Anonymous said...

If this person hasn't seen some of the movies int the top 10, how can we respect their opinion of these movies that are supposedly the worst out of 250?

wad said...

Disagree with your comments about Casino Royale. I prefer Craig and this movie over every Bond movie I've seen. Granted, I've only seen the Brosnan movies. I'll hold my judgment on Connery vs. Craig once I've seen Connery at action.

For the rest, I either agree with your opinion or haven't seen the movie.

Anonymous said...

Elephant Man is worthy.
the rest are flash in the pan

Mrs. Thuro said...

I only disagree about your comparison of The Prestige and The Illusionist. The former won that race.

I figured out the "suprise" ending of The Illusionist about halfway through the film, and Jessica Biel simply cannot act. It just turned out to be sappy romance, while The Prestige, with an amazing boatload of talent, ventured more into the dark side of magic. The Illusionist is nice popcorn-flick, date-movie at best.

clairebear277 said...

pirates does NOT belong on this list. it is a classic (though almost tainted by the atrocities dead mans chest and at worlds end) this is definitly johnny depp at his best. this movie was so original. it wasnt meant to teach some great lesson, it was just meant to be entertaining!!!! it was supposed to be funny, have excellent special fx's, and epic love story...check, check, check. this movie achieved everything it set out to. it was so unique and if you are gonna play the "cultural impact" card on groundhog day, how can you not realize the impact that pirates has had? johnny (while fairly famous before) was definitly not the household name he is now. this movie will not be quickly forgotten and when i look back 10-20 years from now, this is one movie that will stand out.

but wait, you totally declared a movie that you have never seen before as undeserving to be on this list. your blog is a joke if you are seriously that ignorant.

also, superbad is hilarious. definitly the best comedy i have seen since zoolander. just because it is crass does not mean it isnt funny.

Adam Villani said...

Uhh, Chivid, your math is wrong. There are ten possible votes when someone is rating a movie on the IMDB. I think you have maybe overthought things and missed the obvious - there are ten whole numbers from 1 to 10 inclusive.

What *is* true, however, is that the average of all these is 5.5, not 5.0. If a 0 rating were available, then the average of all possible values would be 5.0, but as such, 5 is below the average of all possible values and 6 is above.

Not that that really matters, since most people typically rate a movie around a 6 or 7 anyway. But I suppose that makes sense, since it indicates that one enjoyed watching the film somewhat... if people didn't enjoy most movies they saw, they probably wouldn't see very many!

I am Jack's username said...

If you're going to write that "Why movies made prior to around 1963 don't ring my bell.", I suggest you have a look at some of the movies listed on IMDb's top movies per decade lists.

I also don't think the 1930s music analogy holds. Some people will never like opera, jazz, country and western, or big band; and some will never like musicals or dumb comedies. A more apt comparison may be that some people don't like listening to poorly recorded mono music on scratchy LPs; and some dislike black and white or silent movies. Since great writing long predates movies, getting over the low tech allows you see some some wonderful stories told in the old movies. Some of my favorite old, accessable movies include:

078 03 8.4 Modern Times (1936)
101 06 8.3 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
061 11 8.4 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
045 07 8.5 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

While I haven't seen many old movies, and for most I neither particularly liked or especially disliked them, some of my least favorites include:

178 35 8.2 Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (1920)
n/a 38 8.0 The 39 Steps (1935)
024 02 8.6 Citizen Kane (1941)
144 29 8.2 Smultronstället (1957)

Chivid said...

No Adam, my math is not wrong.

Here I will write it out very slowly, just for you.

From 1 to 2 is 1 star
From 2 to 3 is 2 stars
From 3 to 4 is 3 stars
From 4 to 5 is 4 stars
From 5 to 6 is 5 stars
From 6 to 7 is 6 stars
From 7 to 8 is 7 stars
From 8 to 9 is 8 stars
From 9 to 10 is 9 stars

IMDb only allows a range of 9 stars in its rating system.

In order to get the FULL range of a ten star rating, they need to include a ZERO rating. Otherwise there is no way possible to get a rating between 0 and 1 to achieve that true first star.

Its the same reason why the Twenty-first century didn't start until January 1st, 2001. There was no year "0" to begin with.

DeadEyeDick said...

Actually that should be 0 to 1 is one star. So there are ten.

Robert Johnson said...

"People don't get that kind of abuse for not being into '30s or'40s music."

Oy, I'm rolling in my grave!

Heather said...


your apparent disliking of movies pre-1963 is profoundly ignorant, and makes your "movie" blog completely bias."

I concur. Many of my favorite movies are before that time you indicate. Geez..and you are over a decade older than me too.

Fletch said...

serasirrah - very well thought out response, and thanks on the congrats. You are correct in your assumption about my proclaimation - NEVER would I be so shortsighted to say "all old movies suck" or something as simplistic as that. Instead, I say that "I don't care for them." There's a big difference, and one that I think people aren't taking into account.

Let me just add that a post on why I feel the way I do about older movies is forthcoming.

eternality - thanks!

chivid - see, this is why I don't get too upset with people calling for blood over my feelings about The Prestige. I wildly disagree with you on Fargo, as I think it's in the Coens top 2 or 3. Great film. To each his or her own, though.

Any who has said so - for the 100th time, I'm sure The Elephant Man is worthy. There's a reason the list is 11 and not 10 films (hmmm, most lists are 10, right?).

clairebear - I like the first Pirates movie. It's a fun ride that I own on DVD. But calling it a classic seems a bit strong. I'm sure others feel the same way. Heck, I love the Ocean's movies (which are also very-well-done-yet-still-mindless-entertainment), but I wouldn't call them classics, either.

i am jack's username - I like your analogy as well, as it's more true to what one of the key issues with older films I have is.

(I'm totally staying out of the IMDb rating 9 or 10 stars debate. ;) )

Anonymous said...

You lost my interest at "I haven't even seen this, but"

Graham said...

Clearly it's time to get this debate started again. I have one thing to say: This post received over 100 comments, and only one of them (Eric) suggests that Illusionist is better than Prestige. Just one. I find that hilarious, although also predictable: Illusionist was only ok. Prestige was great.

I should also probably say that while not liking movies made prior to 1963 is of course your choice, it does make it tough for you to maintain credibility. Not necessarily because you have to know older films to be a credible film blogger, but simply because the internet (and the world at large) are already awash with people who have opinions on The Godfather, Top Gun, and Knocked Up. Without being able separate yourself from them, you'll need to work extra hard to prove your expertise. Like, start an association of movie blogs or something.

Fletch said...

I'll give you this much: I've since re-watched The Illusionist and was much less impressed with it the second time out. Still a good movie, but it didn't hold up very well. Meanwhile, I still need to watch The Prestige again. In time...

I have no need to prove expertise. I've made no claims of being a film scholar or teacher of any sort, and I don't even think reviews are my strong suit. I'm here to offer editorials, insightful commentary and provide some fun for anyone that should happen to stop by. I won't be making a play for Ebert's job anytime soon. This post (and its comments) proved nothing if not this: opinions are like assholes....

Graham said...

Opinions are like assholes...they show up all over the internet, and no one knows where they came from!

If you don't feel the need to prove expertise, more power to you. But I think on some level anyone with a blog about something needs to seem knowledgeable about that subject. I could be wrong (the career of Geraldo suggests that I am), but I would think that people, who do want to hear opinions, want opinions from people they think know something about movies.

On the other hand, I said it might be harder to do so if you don't have classic film cred. I only half believe that. The other half of me is well aware that most people looking for a knowledgeable opinion might care if you've seen The Godfather, but not if you've seen Nosferatu. So the joke's probably on me.

Fletch said...

"If you don't feel the need to prove expertise, more power to you. But I think on some level anyone with a blog about something needs to seem knowledgeable about that subject."

That's casting an awfully big net, no? If someone had a blog about grunge music, would you slight them for not being an expert of ragtime or swing music? Why should my distaste for "the classics" matter? It's not as though this blog is about them.

I know plenty about movies that I know plenty about, if that makes sense. You have a movie blog - does that mean you're knowledgable about the Swedish film industry (or lack thereof)? Or 1970s porn flicks? Or Anime? No one can be considered an "expert" on everything that "movies" encompasses - there's just not enough time in the day.

Graham said...

Whoa Fletch, I think you're making a jump. I was responding to your comment "I have no need to prove expertise." I wasn't suggesting that you didn't have expertise, or that your expertise needed to be more universal, or anything of the sort. I wasn't suggesting that you weren't knowledgeable about your subject. I just thought your statement that you had no need to prove expertise was too general. I think proving expertise of some sort is required to have any readers (which I, you know, barely have).

But I'm much more interested in your grunge analogy, and then the Swedish film/porn/anime analogy. If you had a grunge blog and didn't know anything about punk, that'd be unacceptable. Not knowing anything about ragtime, more acceptable. Communities have a tendency to define their subject differently, and the contemporary study of popular music often doesn't go any further than the 50s.

Film is completely different, however. It's barely been around a hundred years, so we still have a pretty coherent view of it. Which is not to say that to know film means you have to know Anime/porn/Swedish film industry. But I would think that the films of Ingmar Bergman and key anime films are in the larger film canon. You're certainly not invalidated for not knowing them, but I think they fall under the general heading of film "expertise" in the way that we define it. For a number of reasons, ragtime doesn't fall under the heading of music "expertise"; for a whole host of other reasons, classic film usually does fall under that heading.

I'm really just rehashing a tired old argument from some of the classes I've taken, so let me put it in those terms anyway. Obviously, no one can be expected to be an expert on all of literature. But if you study literature in the English language, you're expected to know some Shakespeare, some Chaucer, some Melville and Whitman, Joyce and Faulker, even if your specialty is 21st century South African poetry. That's just how the community defines a general form of expertise.

But this could just be my over-academized way of seeing this problem. It's certainly why I started Film Ignorance; although I've seen lots of films and know some areas very well indeed, I wanted the same sort of general grounding in "great" films that I'm supposed to have in "great" literature. Without it, I felt insufficiently expert. Again, this is probably just an academic anxiety.

Ok, I gotta fucking knock some stuff off my reading list. I'm enjoying this conversation, so if you respond I'll respond as well, but I'll try to be MIA for a few hours at least. Must...read...boring..poetry.

Fletch said...

Sorry - gots to...but don't feel as though you have to respond. Do your work... ;)

Perhaps I did make a big jump, but looking back, I think it was in response to your big jump. The point is, sure, expertise is important, but, as you've expanded upon, the "what" that makes up that expertise is definitely subjective. In short, I don't feel that I need to be an expert, or even watch movies made prior to 1963, to have a blog about contemporary films. I'm not saying that having that education wouldn't be nice, but I certainly don't see it as a pre-requisite.

If the worst that comes of this is that I'm not a certified "general film expert," so be it - as I stated previously, I've never claimed to be, so there's no hypocrisy. It's not for a lack of trying - there's only so many times that I can watch an older film and be disappointed. I don't usually feel educated after watching a classic - I feel depressed and confused as to what I'm not getting about it that makes it so great for everyone else. It's a shitty feeling, and I'm sick of it. After awhile, I must ask myself "what's the point?" Am I doing this for me and my greater film education, or am I subconciously doing it just to appease people who write off those that don't appreciate those films as they do? And which is worse?

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