The American Film Institute (AFI) responsible for those “100 Years, 100 _____” lists that get people riled up every year have come out with their list of 2008’s top films. Mirroring their recent Golden Globe nominations, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Wall-E were included in the list of Top 10 of the year. Though, the story here is the movies that were left off the list altogether.
Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the early favorite amongst the critical awards handed out for 2008, was left off AFI’s Top 10 list. This shouldn’t really be a surprise since its a movie directed by a Brit and set in India. However, the film was distributed and funded by Fox Searchlight and Warner Bros.–so I guess you have to look at your own definition when deciding what qualifies as an AMERICAN film. Also left off the list was Revolutionary Road (which is set in America), because it was funded, in part, by the BBC.
Other films that were hailed were Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, Gus Van Sant’s Milk, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, and two indie films, Frozen River and Wendy and Lucy (starring Michelle Williams).
In my opinion, I think AFI needs to reconsider its requirements. Either that or I’m wrong about the requirements and they think that 15 of the 18 films nominated for this year’s Golden Globes in the Best Picture categories are not up to snuff. I suppose that’s possible too, Lord knows the Golden Globes aren’t THAT important. But seriously, if you won’t consider Revolutionary Road or something that is American like Doubt, then what’s the point? Don’t AMERICANS enjoy all types of films from all different locations? I mean, if you’re going to ignore a film because it has a British director then you have to remember that Christopher Nolan is also British and just as much of TDK was filmed overseas as it was in Chicago. I dunno. It is what it is, but I don’t see the point in hailing 10 films as the best of the year, unless you’re willing to step beside them and say “These are bar none the best films we saw released from any corner of the world” as well. If someone will do that for the AFI, let’s see them do it now.
AFI’s full list below (in alphabetical order):
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Wendy and Lucy