Monday, October 09, 2006

Enough With The Lists

I love lists. Who doesn't? I even owned and read The Book of Lists once. And I don't mind if any publication takes the time to come up with a list. If The Weekly Standard does a list of top Washington scandals, fine. If The Christian Science Monitor does an annual hot list of top saints, great. What I can't handle is OTHER media outlets treating these lists as if they're news. The BBC -- a rather august news organization, don't you think? -- has a headline saying "'GoodFellas' Named Greatest Movie." Makes sense to me: it's certainly the Scorsese movie I've watched the most and while "Raging Bull" is right there with it, let's be frank and admit it's pretty punishing (in a good way) and that "GoodFellas" is its equal in almost every way. But who said? The AFI? The BFI? Is it time for that every-five-years poll of film critics around the world? Nope, it's a list compiled by Total Film magazine. No, I've never heard of them either and I read a lot of British magazines and go to the UK regularly. It's not even Empire, for heaven's sake. Is a list by the un-august Total Films magazine really worth reporting on by the BBC? I don't think so. But it's not as bad as the list the BBC covered a week earlier. This one was a list of the Top 100 "landmark" films which included -- rightly, given the criteria they set forth -- "Deep Throat." And who made this list? The Radio Times. THE RADIO TIMES. Because no one knows movies like a magazine covering radio.

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