The nice people at Entertainment Weekly have been good enough to entertain us with a set of “new classics” top 100 lists. These lists, thank goodness, recognize the inherent bias in the “of all time” lists I’m always griping about and make it clear that these are the top 100 of the last 25 years. That’s really a good idea because nobody should put themselves in the position of having to compare Harold Lloyd with Steve Martin, or Bing Crosby with Nirvana.
I took a look at the movie list, and threw the dates into Excel to see what I could see. Turns out, the people at EW are a bunch of grownups, and there are movies from every year, within a reasonable variation. The “best” year, that is to say the year with the most movies, is 1999 with eight. Three of those are the last three on the list, so it’s not exactly an annus mirabilus. The worst years were 2005, 2003, 2000, 1982 and 1983 with just two entries each.
It’s a pretty interest, eclectic bunch, with a lot to question. Sure, Pulp Fiction is a heck of a movie, but better than the entire Ring trilogy put together? I’m pleased they recognize the wacky genius of Moulin Rouge, something that the people who put together the “movies not to see” list just didn’t get.
The books list is also one to get you thinking. The Road is an interesting choice for Number One. While I’m glad to see McCarthy get recognized, and I liked the book a lot, it’s his only entry even though it’s not even his best.
But the list as a whole is wonderfully diverse. Non-traditional entries like Maus and John Stewart’s America make the list, and novels are mixed in with Nickel and Dimed, and Predator’s Ball. Stephen King makes the list — with his nonfiction entry “On Writing.” There’s some sci-fi, a collection of David Foster Wallace’s essays, a couple of children’s books (the kind that are great for adults, too), investigative journalism and economics.
I’ve got to admit that a lot of the music I’ve never heard. Still I’ve got to wonder, The Joshua Tree only #63? Interestingly, local girl Lauryn Hill (she went to the same high school as my kids) makes #2. Too bad her career imploded.
Do I even need to talk about TV? All together now … “Number one is The Simpsons.”