As my good friend Pete over at Slashfilm points out, Pixar’s Toy Story 2 has held the title of ‘Best Reviewed Film of All-Time’ as aggregated by RottenTomatoes.com for almost a decade. It has held its perfect 100% Fresh rating, which means that every review has been of a positive nature, for 125 reviews. Other films, such as the first Toy Story or The Godfather have also received unanimously positive reactions, but were reviewed by a smaller number of critics. So while it isn’t the only film to have a 100% positive rating, as over 100 other films also share the perfect mark, it is the one that has withstood the most opportunities for that one negative review.
That said, it is something special for a film like Man on Wire, the documentary release from Magnolia Pictures, to have overtaken that mark with 129 out of 129 positive reviews. From director James Marsh, Man on Wire tells the story of the eccentric and infinitely intriguing Philippe Petit, who made it his life’s work as a tight-rope walker to walk across a cable connecting the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Having seen the film, I can say with absolute certainty that it is no surprise that Man on Wire has taken over the top spot on the RottenTomatoes list — it is a riveting and infectious experience that plays out like nothing else you will have seen in a theater all year. It combines the thrill of Petit’s 1974 journey to the top of the world with the emotional power of the World Trade Center. But beyond the weight of seeing the WTC in its early years, the film triumphs on the shoulder’s of its primary subject, Philippe Petit — who is quite possibly one of the most interested people I have ever seen on film. Director James Marsh could very well have made a film that is two hours of Petit talking about his life and it would have been just as engaging. This is a film that currently sits near the top of list of the best films of 2008.
Man on Wire hits DVD on December 9th and is already available for pre-order on Amazon.com. To celebrate its achievement, Magnolia Pictures released the following press release, which is one of the more entertaining press releases I’ve seen in quite a while:
MAN ON WIRE – THE BEST REVIEWED MOVIE OF ALL TIME!
James Marsh’s critically acclaimed doc claims top spot on Rottentomatoes.com
THE INTERNET – October 30, 2008 – After a protracted draw, Magnolia Pictures’ MAN ON WIRE finally edged out long-time record holder TOY STORY 2 to claim the coveted top spot on Rottentomatoes.com as the best reviewed film of all time: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/top/bestofrt_year.php. With its 100% positive rating over 128 reviews, MAN ON WIRE breezed past its contemporaries and now sits above such notable films as CITIZEN KANE, THE GODFATHER (parts I and II), THE WIZARD OF OZ, VERTIGO, SUNSET BOULEVARD, CHINATOWN, THE 400 BLOWS, ON THE WATERFRONT, RASHOMON, TAXI DRIVER and BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA.
“All kidding aside, we’re pretty thrilled,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “The reception that this documentary has received from the critical community and audiences alike has been really validating. James Marsh made an incredible film of an incredible story – it’s great to see it get the recognition it deserves.”
James Marsh’s thrilling documentary about Philippe Petit’s 1974 high wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center has been a box office hit as well as a critical one: to date it’s grossed more than $2.73 million, making it one of the highest performing documentaries of 2008.
MAN ON WIRE is not the only film in the Magnolia family enjoying a stint on Rottentomatoes.com’s “best of” page. Magnet Releasing’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (the first film in the SIX SHOOTER FILM SERIES) is currently ranked as the best reviewed film in theaters. Additional, Chris Bell’s steroid documentary BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* (released theatrically by Magnolia last summer) ranks as the third-best reviewed movie recently released on DVD.
Despite rumors, Rottentomatoes.com is an unbiased entity with no ties to Magnolia Pictures or the Wagner/Cuban family.