Nota Bene: The New Canon

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The Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday has just addressed an obvious lacuna in movie criticism by declaring first that not only has the Great Movie Canon remained stubbornly fixed for too long (Vertigo, Citizen Kane) but that there are many movies post-2000 that stand up alongside all the greats of yesteryear.

Hornaday’s article “The New Canon” is an absolute must-read. She also selected a fairly unassailable list, excepting maybe Spike Lee’s adventurous but uneven 25th Hour and Kenneth Lonergan’s solid but somewhat unremarkable You Can Count on Me. Her list is here but it’s best reading her arguments are each of them as well:

  • Children of Men
  • 25th Hour
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Michael Clayton
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • There Will Be Blood
  • Boyhood
  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
  • Old Joy
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Hunger
  • You Can Count on Me
  • No Country for Old Men
  • I’m Not There
  • Minority Report
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • Spotlight
  • Son of Saul
  • Stories We Tell
  • The Fog of War
  • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Spirited Away

‘Citizen Kane’ Gets a Downgrade

Those glorious Brit cine-eccentrics over at Sight and Sound have just put out their annual critics’ poll of the Top 10 films of all time, which wouldn’t normally be that newsworthy. However, given that they were one of the critical organs that was responsible for elevating Citizen Kane to its current stratospheric ranking in the canon, here’s the shocker: Vertigo is now number one. This is the first time a film besides Kane has occupied that position since 1962. It’s now been relegated to number two.

It was probably about time for a change of leadership. Does anybody really think Vertigo is the best film of all time, or even Hitchcock’s greatest work? Certainly one of the master’s more impressive films, but no Rear Window or even Shadow of a Doubt. Many other issues besides that with the list — no documentaries, not a Lean, Scorsese, or Kurosawa to be seen — but they could at least pick the right Hitchcock…

Vote yourself: