A friend, who does not much care for about 90% of the films on my 2010 Top Ten List, noticed my reference in said list to the fact that I’m not too keen on many Alain Resnais films, and asked me if that means I prefer The Prestige over Last Year at Marienbad. The answer to that question is: Well, yes, since I really like – nay, love -- The Prestige but do not much “like” Marienbad (which I’ve actually seen a couple of times). But it also reminded me of a recent episode wherein Movie Nerd Friend A called out Movie Nerd Friend B for giving The Breakfast Club a higher grade than The Godfather Part II.* Which got me thinking about false comparisons…
We all know how false comparisons work. Everybody has a number of movies they like that (most, or many) other people don’t. And everybody also has a number of movies they don’t like that (most, or many) other people do. So you just compare films from the first category to films from the second category (even if they have absolutely nothing to do with one another) and watch the outrage pour forth. You can maximize the outrage if you also make sure that the films from the second category are widely-acknowledged classics. (I realize that Armond White kind of does this with his annual “Better Than” list, though he confines it to new movies.)
So, anyway, here are a few personal false comparisons that come to mind. Would love to hear other people's personal favorites, if anyone feels like sharing.
I think Resident Evil is better than The Maltese Falcon.
I think Blue Crush is better than The Sting.
I think Stephen Sommers’s The Mummy is better than Howard Hawks’s Twentieth Century.
I think Joy Ride is better than Hiroshima, Mon Amour.
I think Ishtar is better than The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.
I think Sorority Boys is better than American Beauty.
I think I Love You, Man is better than Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris.
I think Freddy Got Fingered is better than Touch of Evil.
* I should note that Movie Nerd Friend B really likes the first Godfather, and he mostly likes Part II, though he has a lot of problems with it. And he recognizes that in terms of ambition and reach and historical importance and all that, it’s a more significant film than The Breakfast Club. It’s just that he thinks The Breakfast Club is a more successful film for what it’s trying to be. Or…better, if you want to put it that way. (I guess I should also note that I disagree pretty vehemently with Movie Nerd Friend B.)