The American Film Institute does many wonderful things in the world including the highly enjoyable AFI film festival in Los Angeles each year (free for movie-lovers! and not many things are) but each year I feel the side-eye urge when they announce their top Ten American films and TV programs.
They use a shifting jury each year but I always wonder how they choose those jury members because the lists often betray an obvious desire to be "relevant" when it comes to TV usually including a defining popular hit even if the quality is shit (Look, I think "trash" has a place in "best of" lists but it needs to be good trash and How to Get Away with Murder is, frankly, bad trash. Poorly written, unevenly acted. Etcetera. I watched it and wrote about it, so I know) whereas with movies they seem quite beholden to Oscar buzz each year, often opting for films that don't fit their criteria as a result (The Imitation Game is a movie about Engand, starring British actors and directed by a Norwegian) or which haven't opened; this year's top ten list, which includes 11 films so AFI is even worse at math than I am, is 36% movies that haven't opened yet.
- American Sniper
- Birdman (Or, the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- The Imitation Game
- Into the Woods
Aside from Nightcrawler you could have lifted that list from virtually any 15 wide Oscar Best Picture prediction chart (like uh my own) and simply extracted the other British film (Theory of Everything), the film that opened the longest ago because "old" things are gross (Grand Budapest Hotel), Gone Girl (even though the AFI usually does try and throw one zeitgeist blockbuster into the list so its absence is surprising and at the very wrong time when we're trying to get people to notice Carrie Coon! ) and there it is, no thought processes required beyond Oscar-watching expertise!
Here is my favorite tweet about the list from A24 Films which missed...
And my own because, you know, i WOULD waste the question this way...
When I die and can ask God any question I’ll be like “can you please explain the worship of Eastwood films to me? I don’t get it”— Nathaniel Rogers (@nathanielr) December 9, 2014
AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
- The Americans
- Game of Thrones
- How to Get Away With Murder
- Jane the Virgin -keep hearing this is great. guess I should watch
- The Knick
- Mad Men - here's to consistent pleasure even if the half season is a cheat
- Orange is the New Black
- Silicon Valley
- Transparent - brilliant. addictive
WHERE IS BOB'S BURGERS!?!?!? My heart just pooped its pants.