In 1998 when the American Film Institute published its corny list of the top 100 American Movies of All Time they endured some well deserved criticism for their omission of documentaries, no independent movies, and not a single film directed by a woman or a person of color.
Well, they've come out with a new list -- their Century of Film edition -- and the song pretty much remains the staid and expected same. No docs, no indies, and except for Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing coming it at a pathetic #96, only white guys need apply. (Why Spike's classic 1988 movie somehow failed to make the 1998 list but suspiciously pops up in 2007 is not explained in the AFI update. I mean, if you're going to have a token entry at least put it in the top 50. Mensos.)
But don't get me wrong. I like most of the films on the list. Duck
Soup, Annie Hall, Raging Bull, Singing in the Rain -- and Cary Grant in
Bringing Up Baby? -- all badass. (But Forrest Gump?! What's up with
that?) It's just AFI's narrowly defined parameters of what constitutes
a "film," or what "American" means, or what the hell "best" means, for
that matter, that drives me crazy. And apparently it annoys other raza
In response to the original AFI list, the wonderfully self-proclaimed Aztlan Film Institute came out with their own list of Top 100 Films. Check it out. And if you didn't think there were 100 Chicano/Latino movies out there you'll be pleasantly surprised. Now if we could only solve the distribution problem and actually make these fine films available for your alternative viewing pleasure things would be right in Occupied America. It's criminal, for example, that Luis Meza's deadpan masterpiece Staccato Purr of the Exhaust (1996) is so little know and appreciated as a great American indie film. But I'll leave rant that to some future blog post.
Here, then, is a classic scene from a movie that would for sure make my own top 100 list, 1980's Cheech and Chong's Next Movie. It's a comedy, it's a musical, it's a satire...it's irreverent genius.