Yesterday I was reading a chapter of literary critic Stanley Fish’s collected works. The essay was basically a top ten list of his favorite films, which is unusually Buzzfeedish for a scholar of such merit. You can read the piece here in The New York Times where it originally ran.
Fish was born in 1938 and most of his choices reflect his age. Sunset Boulevard, Shane, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn are all from the first half of the 20th century. His two most recent picks are 1980’s Raging Bull and 1993’s Groundhog Day. Both excellent choices. The entire list is pretty great, but I have to wonder what he might’ve picked if he had been born a little later.
My own top 10 list would be completely different and I think it’s largely a result of age related subjectivity rather than critical objectivity. I’d have to think on my won picks a little more, but I’d be willing to bet it’d end up weighted towards genre films like Empire Strikes Back, Aliens and Fight Club.
Wayne’s World wouldn’t make my top ten, but I consider it to be fairly influential in my life because it’s about fandom. Wayne and Garth are in many ways the archetype of the type of fan based media we see all around us today. Their public access show has the same kind of mirth and obsessive joy you see in popular YouTube channels and Podcasts. The film and its sequel also have some great things to say about what to means to sell out and compromise on artistic vision.