Confessions of a Listy

OK, I admit it: once upon a time, I actually got excited when some magazine or newspaper would put out a list of the best of something. Rolling Stone magazine put out far more lists than this article would suggest. There were earlier lists of greatest albums and songs, I’m certain. At some point in the mid-1990s, I know there was a list of greatest albums of the 1980s. I remember because I owned 9 of the top 10, and I received the 10th, Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out the Lights (#9) for my subsequent birthday. But the overkill in recent years has diminished the thrill.

Likewise, when the AFI came out with 100 years, 100 movies (1998) or 100 years, 100 legends (1999), I was interested, but when they went after laughs (2000), thrills (2001), passions (2002), heroes & villains (2003), etc., the formula started to wear on me. The one exception was the movie quotes in 2005, only because they have so influenced the language. (The whole AFI list of nominated films and winners can be found here.) There’s a new one tomorrow night on CBS, “100 years, 100 cheers”. Eh. Maybe I’ll record it to watch later in the summer when even JEOPARDY! is in reruns. BTW, “Due to licensing restrictions, the telecasts of the AFI 100…100 Series are not available for distribution or purchase on DVD or VHS.” In case you were looking.

Entertainment Weekly came out with the 25 most controversial films last week. I saw the cover on the floor and tried to guess some of the choices. Interestingly, the first two I thought of were “Last”: “Last Temptation of Christ” and “Last Tango in Paris”, both of which were on the list, and neither of which I have seen. My third was “The Life of Brian”, which I saw, but which was not on the list.
The full list, with the few I’ve seen in italics:
1. The Passion of the Christ (2004) – directed by Mel Gibson
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971) – directed by Stanley Kubrick
3. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) – directed by Michael Moore
4. Deep Throat (1972) – directed by Gerard Damiano
5. JFK (1991) – directed by Oliver Stone
6. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) – directed by Martin Scorsese
7. The Birth of a Nation (1915) – directed by D.W. Griffith
8. Natural Born Killers (1994) – directed by Oliver Stone
9. Last Tango in Paris (1956) – directed by Elia Kazan
10. Baby Doll (1956) – directed by Elia Kazan
11. The Message (1977) – directed by Moustapha Akkad
12. The Deer Hunter (1978) – directed by Michael Cimino
13. The da Vinci Code (2006) – directed by Ron Howard
14. The Warriors (1979) -directed by Walter Hill
15. Triumph of the Will (1935) – directed by Leni Riefenstahl
16. United 93- directed by Paul Greengrass
17. Freaks (1932) – directed by Tod Browning
18. I Am Curious (Yellow) (1969) – directed by Vilgot Sjoman
19. Basic Instinct (1992) – directed by Paul Verhoeven
20. Cannibal Holocaust (1985) – directed by Ruggero Deodato
21. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – directed by Arthur Penn
22. Do The Right Thing (1989) – directed by Spike Lee
23. Kids (1995) – directed by Larry Clark
24. Caligula (1980) – directed by Tinto Brass
25. Aladdin (1992) – directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
I was glad to see this list, if only because it reminded me of films that had slipped my mind (Freaks, The Message), or that I did not know about at all (Baby Doll, Cannibal Holocaust).

Finally, I happen to know, by heart, the list of the greatest home run hitters in Major League Baseball (numbers as of end of Sunday):
Henry Aaron 755
Barry Bonds 716, and counting (OK, kvetch because I know you will)
George Herman Ruth 714
Willie Mays 660
Sammy Sosa (juiced?) 588
Frank Robinson 586
Mark McGwire 583 (probably juiced)
Harmon Killebrew 573
Raphael Palmiero 569 (caught being juiced)
Reggie Jackson 563
Mike Schmidt 548
Ken Griffey, Jr. 547, and counting
Bonds and McGwire were supposedly mortal locks to pass Aaron, as was Griffey, before he started getting hurt. The steroid controversy has diminished the home run, but I’m convinced it has also made certain players more vulnerable to injury, notably McGwire. (I’ve never heard allegations about Griffey, though.) And at the rate he’s been hitting homers this season, Bonds will never pass Hammerin’ Hank, either, which is all right by me.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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