Going medieval on AFI
The American Film Institute has cannily raised its public profile through a series of television tributes and the releases of myriad “top 100” lists. Their latest — which suggests they’re running out of ideas — is “100 Years… 100 Songs..” As a courtesy to readers of danieldrezner.com — or burden, take your pick — the ...
The American Film Institute has cannily raised its public profile through a series of television tributes and the releases of myriad "top 100" lists. Their latest -- which suggests they're running out of ideas -- is "100 Years... 100 Songs.." As a courtesy to readers of danieldrezner.com --- or burden, take your pick -- the following is a reprint of my interior monologue as I was perusing the list:
The American Film Institute has cannily raised its public profile through a series of television tributes and the releases of myriad “top 100” lists. Their latest — which suggests they’re running out of ideas — is “100 Years… 100 Songs..” As a courtesy to readers of danieldrezner.com — or burden, take your pick — the following is a reprint of my interior monologue as I was perusing the list:
“Hmmm…. “Over the Rainbow,” yeah, I can sorta see that being #1, though my vote would have been for “As Time Goes By.”…. Hold on — Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” comes in at #14? I’m sorry, I will not raise my children in a world where a Celine Dion song is ranked higher than Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft“!! These AFI people are some dumb mother– [Shut your mouth!–ed. But I’m talking ’bout Shaft. Then I can dig it!–ed.] OK, “Fight the Power” from Do the Right Thing belongs there… Yes, yes, “Goldfinger” is a good choice…. “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard???!!! That’s like the fifth over-the-top ballad they’ve put on this list…. I know a few of them belong here, but is “It Had to Be You” from When Harry Met Sally really one of the top 100 songs in film? Glad to seee Mel Brooks gets “Springtime for Hitler” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Too bad “I’m Tired” from Blazing Saddles — or even the Esther Williams tribute in the Spanish Inquisition sequence from History of the World, Part I — wasn’t included. Ah, somewhere Kevin Bacon is smiling about “Footloose.” Still, Kenny Loggins appearing on any top 100 list about anything seems…. wrong, somehow…. No, no, no “All That Jazz” from Chicago is fine, but “Cellblock Tango” is the real showstopper from that movie….. Wait a minute, wait a friggin’ minute — that’s it?!! THAT’S IT??!!! Oh, man, did AFI leave a lot out!!! How the hell do they get through this kind of list without anything from either a Quentin Tartantino or Cameron Crowe film? That’s just wrong. Where’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” from Reservoir Dogs? “Jungle Boogie” from Pulp Fiction? Man, is Quentin Tarantino going to go seriously medieval on John Travolta for hosting the AFI’s TV special….. As for Crowe, I mean, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High alone, there’s “Moving in Stereo” and “Somebody’s Baby”! “In Your Eyes” from Say Anything!! Even “Secret Garden” from Jerry Maguire is better than a quarter of the ballads on AFI’s list!! There are whole soundtracks better than a lot of this list!! South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Eve’s Bayou, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Rock N Roll High School, Run Lola Run, Victor/Victoria, The Blues Brothers, Monsoon Wedding — hell, even Vision Quest is better than some of the dreck on AFI’s list…. And what about the great musical set pieces? “Twist and Shout” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? “Shout” from Animal House? “Making Whoopee” from The Fabulous Baker Boys? Was there anyone under the age of 70 who contributed to this list….. Now random great songs are coming up…. “In the Garden of Eden” from Manhunter — AFI has nothing from any decent action movie…. “I Got You, Babe” from Groundhog Day — both of these are better than any sugar-frosted confection from Carly Simon in Working Girl!! Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with AFI’s dumb-ass list….
If you’ll all excuse me, I have to go cut someone’s ear off — well, that or alert Roger L. Simon to the crimes committed on this list. While I’m away, readers are hereby invited to submit other glaring omissions (or glaring inclusions) from AFI’s list.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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