There is no more simultaneously amusing and infuriating page on all the world wide web than the Internet Movie Database Top 250. The listing rates the best 250 films ever made, as determined by the votes of registered IMDb users. It changes from day to day, and well regarded recent releases usually rank way too high until enough time passes for them to settle into slightly more appropriate positions, but there are still a few insights to be gleaned from checking the Top 250 every few weeks.
For one thing, there are a hell of a lot of people out there who think The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie ever made. It seems like Shawshank and The Godfather trade the #1 spot more often than Triple H and The Rock traded the WWF Championship in 2000.
Today, they’re fighting over the second spot, as there is a hot new babyface on top at the moment:
The Dark Knight — the Kurt Angle of the IMDb Top 250, if you will. It won’t last. And it shouldn’t — for as much as I loved it, The Dark Knight isn’t The Godfather, or Pulp Fiction, or Schindler’s List, or Casablanca, or a few dozen other brilliant films that aren’t in that cap of the top ten. But at least Dark Knight is a legitimate great movie, unlike certain others I could mention that are constantly trying to crawl up the list, like spiders up a downspout.
I just happen to have an illustration handy:
Yep, there’s that Tolkien-spawned nerd-fest Return of the King at #14, ahead of City of God, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rear Window, and fucking Goodfellas, for Christ’s sake. And there’s its predecessor a few spots down, The Fellowship of the Ring at #20, ten spots ahead of Sunset Boulevard, four up from Dr. Strangelove, and eight ahead of goddamn Citizen Kane, for the love of Willem Dafoe (Platoon’s at #139, by the way).
All you fucking Frodophiles who can’t get through all 36½ hours of your extended director’s cut DVDs without popping a hard-on should be ashamed of yourselves. Pull yourselves away from your fucking World of Warcraft session for a few seconds and listen up: Return of the King is ranked 16 spots ahead of Citizen Motherfucking Kane. If an advanced alien race of film buffs is secretly monitoring our culture, they are laughing at us. That’s your fault. Giving Return of the King the Oscar over Lost in Translation and Mystic River a few years ago was bad enough, but the Academy is only a few thousand industry types, and they were mostly giving Peter Jackson a great big blow-job for all those millions of bucks his overwrought computer-generated D&D scenario brought in. The high rating given these feature length cut scenes on the populist IMDb is not so easy to explain away.
When the movie-loving aliens come to Earth and obliterate our civilization for pushing aside the City Lightses and The Third Mans in favor of bloated, charmless adaptations of that Wagner-robbing hack Tolkien, in the moments before their particle beam death-ray vaporizes us all into quarks, I’m pointing the finger at you.