Culture, Film

Opinion: It’s the Wrong Movie Question (Part One)

Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, Ben Hur, 1925What’s the best movie ever made?

Are you asking me? How are we measuring ‘best’?

Movies are not an Olympic sport. There is no objective scorecard for content, artistic impression, or execution. Box office takings are no guide, otherwise Michael Bay would be in the top ten directors of all time. He isn’t.

Similarly, with apologies to Mr Cameron, Titanic is a terrible, cliche-ridden, rip-off of a movie (A Night to Remember, if you must know). Avatar is technically good, but think of it as Dances with Smurfs, or Smurf-a-hontas; the 1950’s Western script and that honking dialogue…

Are You Talking to Me…?
Prizes are no guide. Oscars and Golden Globes are traded, propagandised, awarded in turns, often like gold watches for time served. Meryl Streep is supposed to be one of the great actresses of all time. I can’t abide her. Daniel Day-Lewis I can SEE acting his socks off in Gangs of New York. The pantomime performances in Barbarella make it an under-valued kitsch-classic time-vault of joyous 60’s optimism.

Well I don’t see anyone else here…
Critics are no help. I don’t always agree with Roger Ebert, or Mark Kermode; the good Dr. Kermode insists The Exorcist is the greatest movie ever made. I thinks its a ragged, tacky, comical piece of fluff, a sub-Corman B-movie about as scary or meaningful as Mr Magoo. Ever contrary, I still won’t voluntarily sit through any of Mike Leigh’s whimsical working class misery, or Len Loach’s gritty socialist clap-trap, with amateur actors keeping it real to the final kestrel-strangling or its’ equivalent.

Is it age? Epic scope? Intimacy? Social relevance? Spectacle? The 1925 Ben Hur is a greater achievement than the 10 Oscars awards given the Charlton Heston remake, say I.

It’s impossible to come to an objective decision. As a species we excel at disagreeing. And our choices will be different tomorrow, next month, next year. All you can do is ask the question and revel in the discussion as everyone pitches for their personal favourite. I love it. RC

Image: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, Ben Hur, 1925

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.


2 thoughts on “Opinion: It’s the Wrong Movie Question (Part One)

  1. It’s all just a game people play. It’s like award ceremonies. Of course you can’t ‘rate’ art like you can a running race. X.

    Posted by X. Sebis | July 22, 2012, 11:14 pm
  2. congratulations for the writing.

    Posted by cesar lima | July 25, 2012, 3:41 am

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