Well this list is somewhat personal to me. Years ago (8 years to be exact) I got into film. My go to list was the American Film Institute's ranking of the 100 best films. I didn't take it as the word of god, but without any real idea where to start, this seemed like a decent launching ground. Still today a great deal of my top 100, and all but one film in my top 10 were featured on this original list. 9 years later the AFI is redoing the list, and although you lose the 10 year significance, it does seem like the list would be quite different. Looking at the ballot today I found myself dismayed for a couple reasons. For starters, I have only seen about 384 films of the 400 ballot (I honestly thought I'd need to see 5). Then I looked at the films I haven't seen and I shook my head that these were being even considered for the list. Throughout the 400 I shook my head and said "please don't vote for that". I literally just breezed through it to find films I haven't seen yet, so I can't complain much about worthwhile films that were secluded. Of the films I haven't seen there are a few surprises:
Cabin in the Sky (Minnelli, Vincente; 1943; US)
The Cheat (DeMille, Cecil; 1915; US)
Hoosiers (Anspaugh, David; 1986; US)
Pillow Talk (Gordon, Michael; 1959; US)
The Poor Little Rich Girl (Tourneur, Maurice; 1917; US)
Porgy and Bess (Preminger, Otto; 1959; US)
Return of the Secaucus 7 (Sayles, John; 1980; US)
Risky Business (Brickman, Paul; 1983; US)
Sleepless in Seattle (Ephron, Nora; 1993; US)
Stormy Weather (Stone, Andrew; 1943; US)
There's Something About Mary (Farrelly, Bobby, Farrelly, Peter; 1998; US)
Risky Business I have a bit of a problem with, and I can't understand the AFI's fascination with Hoosiers. It was bad enough that Dennis Hopper was nominated for that over Blue Velvet, but I figure 20 years later people would rightfully ignore the film. Also seeing Poor Little Rich Girl as opposed to Tourneur's much better regarded Blue Bird, but I think the film is more for Mary Pickford than Tourneur. The inclusion of both Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather seems very much in tune with the industry's dire need to feel like they're embracing black people, and the recent DVD releases of both films could have something to do with it. Ace in the Hole is the first film alphabetically on the list, and that is a remarkably good sign. The only problem is based upon the AFI's criteria that the film must be available, I don't know how that qualified.
Curious to note is Last Tango in Paris is on the list, and if that's an American film, well it just goes to show you how pointless these distinctions are. George Cukor's Star is Born was nominated, but Wellman's superior (IMO) earlier version was not. Sleepless in Seattle as well as An Affair to Remember represent the safe bland crap that typically populate such AFI lists. Philadelphia is also on the ballot, but I doubt it has a chance in hell of making the list. So here's a copy of their PDF ballot, take a look and voice your complaint. Lots of new additions to the old list, including The Shining.