- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
AFI 100: 'Kane' still number one
By Roger Ebert
Welles' "Citizen Kane" is still the greatest American film of all
time. Coppola's "The Godfather" is second. Scorsese's "Raging Bull"
and Hitchcock's "Vertigo" have cracked the Top 10, booting out "The
Graduate" (No. 7 to No. 17) and "On the Waterfront" (No. 8 to No.
19). And Ford's "The Searchers" hurtled from No. 96 to No. 12.
So says the American Film Institute. Its list of the Top 100
American Films, voted on by a group of 1,500 filmmakers, critics and
historians, was revealed Wednesday night on a TV special hosted by
Morgan Freeman, star of "The Shawshank Redemption" (No. 72).
Lists like these cry out to be disagreed with. Seconds after an
advance copy was sent to news outlets, film critic Peter Debruge e-
mailed me: "Of all the issues surrounding this list, my biggest
question: Where did 'Fargo' go?"
What? "Fargo" not on the list? Unthinkable, considering that, well,
I was going to name a title that has no business being on the list,
but actually they all have a claim, even the few like "High Noon"
that I personally don't much like. It's just that -- what?
In the aftermath of the first list, issued in 1998, I received
enough complaints about missing titles to supply two or three more
lists. No doubt most of those 1,500 experts are themselves dismayed
by titles that did and didn't make the cut. But such lists serve two
functions: (1) The television special makes money for the American
Film Institute, which is a noble and useful institution, and (2)
some kid somewhere is gonna rent "Citizen Kane" and have the same
kind of epiphany I had when I first saw it as a teenager.
New films become old films so fast. "Raging Bull" came out 27 years
ago. It's older than "Casablanca" (No. 3) was when I became a film
critic. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, more
than 50 percent of moviegoers are under 27. They are going to find
movies on this list that were made before their grandparents were
born -- and, if judging by the kids I saw Buster Keaton's "The
General" (No. 18) with, they might love them.
Ah, but there's the problem: Will they find out about them? Too many
younger moviegoers are wasting their precious adolescence frying
their brains with vomitoriums posing as slasher movies. A list like
the AFI's can do some good. During a Google search for "age of
average moviegoer," I came across a column by critic T.C. Candler
that opened with this quote:
"I have here a heartfelt message from a reader who urges me not to
be so hard on stupid films, because they are 'plenty smart enough
for the average moviegoer.' Yes, but one hopes being an average
moviegoer is not the end of the road: that one starts as a below-
average filmgoer, passes through average, and, guided by the labors
of America's hardworking film critics, arrives in triumph at above-
Candler was quoting me, and I cannot agree more. To take a
hypothetical possibility, if you were to see all 100 films on the
AFI list, by the end of that experience, you would no longer desire
to see a Dead Teenager Movie. (Yes, there could be a great Dead
Teenager Movie. Please send me a list of the 100 greatest.)
To read over the film institute's list is to remember spine-tingling
moments in movie theaters. The ballet of space ships in "2001." The
soaking-wet dance in "Singin' in the Rain." The scary perfection of
Astaire and Rogers, the perfect anarchy of the Marx Brothers, the
anarchic warfare in "Apocalypse Now," the warfare of obsession
The list will become a retail tool. AOL, Best Buy and Moviefone have
scheduled promotions. You know that Netflix and Blockbusters will
push it. The movie channels will feature titles from it. Some newbie
will find out who James Stewart or Ingrid Bergman was.
So in the last analysis, it doesn't really matter what movies are on
the list. What matters is the movies on the list, voted by 1,500
above-average moviegoers who don't think "Citizen Kane" has aged one
Sixty-nine of the films on the American Film Institute list are
reviewed as Great Movies at www.rogerebert.com.
AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE'S GREATEST MOVIES
1. "Citizen Kane" (1941)
2. "The Godfather" (1972)
3. "Casablanca" (1942)
4. "Raging Bull" (1980)
5. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
6. "Gone With the Wind" (1939)
7. "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962)
8. "Schindler's List" (1993)
9. "Vertigo" (1958)
10. "The Wizard of Oz" (1939)
11. "City Lights" (1931)
12. "The Searchers" (1956)
13. "Star Wars" (1977)
14. "Psycho" (1960)
15. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)
16. "Sunset Boulevard" (1950)
17. "The Graduate" (1967)
18. "The General" (1927)
19. "On the Waterfront" (1954)
20. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)
21. "Chinatown" (1974)
22. "Some Like It Hot" (1959)
23. "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940)
24. "E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)
25. "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962)
26. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939)
27. "High Noon" (1952)
28. "All About Eve" (1950)
29. "Double Indemnity" (1944)
30. "Apocalypse Now" (1979)
31. "The Maltese Falcon" (1941)
32. "The Godfather, Part II" (1974)
33. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975)
34. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937)
35. "Annie Hall" (1977)
36. "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957)
37. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)
38. "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948)
39. "Dr. Strangelove" (1964)
40. "The Sound of Music" (1965)
41. "King Kong" (1933)
42. "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967)
43. "Midnight Cowboy" (1969)
44. "The Philadelphia Story" (1940)
45. "Shane" (1953)
46. "It Happened One Night" (1934)
47. "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951)
48. "Rear Window" (1954)
49. "Intolerance" (1916)
50. "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001)
51. "West Side Story" (1961)
52. "Taxi Driver" (1976)
53. "The Deer Hunter" (1978)
54. "M*A*S*H" (1970)
55. "North by Northwest" (1959)
56. "Jaws" (1975)
57. "Rocky" (1976)
58. "The Gold Rush" (1925)
59. "Nashville" (1975)
60. "Duck Soup" (1933)
61. "Sullivan's Travels" (1941)
62. "American Graffiti" (1973)
63. "Cabaret" (1972)
64. "Network" (1976)
65. "The African Queen" (1951)
66. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)
67. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966)
68. "Unforgiven" (1992)
69. "Tootsie" (1982)
70. "A Clockwork Orange" (1971)
71. "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)
72. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)
73. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969)
74. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)
75. "In the Heat of the Night" (1967)
76. "Forrest Gump" (1994)
77. "All the President's Men" (1976)
78. "Modern Times" (1936)
79. "The Wild Bunch" (1969)
80. "The Apartment" (1960)
81. "Spartacus" (1960)
82. "Sunrise" (1927)
83. "Titanic" (1997)
84. "Easy Rider" (1969)
85. "A Night at the Opera" (1935)
86. "Platoon" (1986)
87. "12 Angry Men" (1957)
88. "Bringing Up Baby" (1938)
89. "The Sixth Sense" (1999)
90. "Swing Time" (1936)
91. "Sophie's Choice" (1982)
92. "Goodfellas" (1990)
93. "The French Connection" (1971)
94. "Pulp Fiction" (1994)
95. "The Last Picture Show" (1971)
96. "Do the Right Thing" (1989)
97. "Blade Runner" (1982)
98. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942)
99. "Toy Story" (1995)
100. "Ben-Hur" (1959)
Peter Phillips and Kate Sims: Corporate Media Entertains but Fails
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 06/22/2007
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Peter Phillips and Kate Sims
"Paris Hilton's Symptoms Said to be from Prescription Drug
Withdrawal," was the headline news on the Fox News Channel on June
13, 2007. This was the 56th headline on Paris Hilton covered by Fox
in the previous 30 days. Even The New York Times got in on the Paris
Hilton hoopla with a front-page story June 9 entitled "Celebrity
Justice Cuts Both Ways for Paris Hilton."
Regular readers of Project Censored are familiar with our annual
list of Junk Food News -- in which we select a list of the dumbest,
least important, most overplayed stories of the year. Almost
certainly, the incarceration of Paris Hilton will feature
prominently in next year's Junk Food edition, but it will have to
wait until then to be considered.
Meanwhile, here are the Junk Food News stories of Project Censored's
annual April-to-April listing for 2006-07:
1. Britney Spears has a meltdown
2. Anna Nicole has a baby
3. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie have a baby and adopt others
4. Jon Benet "killer" is a fraud
5. The rise and fall of OJ Simpson's book
6. The feud between the Donald and the O'Donnell
7. Miss USA "party girl" drinks and takes drugs
8. Paul McCartney's divorce
9. An astronaut wears a diaper to attack her romantic rival
10. Madonna adopts an African baby
Moving up from number 7 last year to number 1 on this year's Junk
Food list is none other than Britney Spears. On February 17, Ms.
Spears was photographed in a Los Angeles salon receiving a buzz cut.
The corporate media went into frenzied overdrive, offering incessant
speculation on why poor Britney might be coming unglued. While
undeniably important to 13-year-olds, adults might have been
interested to hear about the newly released analysis of 2005 census
figures showing that nearly 16 million Americans are currently
living in deep or severe poverty. Mainstream news anchors had enough
time to wonder if Ms. Spears was too young and immature for the
pressures of motherhood. Yet, they weren't able to squeeze in the
fact that female-headed families with children account for the
lion's share of the severely poor.
During the recent Paris Hilton exposition, the Senate Judiciary
Committee passed the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act, without a peep
from Fox or The New York Times. Apparently the corporate media is
too busy entertaining us to cover the most serious civil liberties
issue in America. The Military Commissions Act of last October made
it legal for the President to suspend Habeas Corpus for any person,
citizen or not. While Democrats in the Senate are trying to restore
this basic legal right, the corporate media seems more concerned
with keeping us up-to-date on how much phone time Paris gets while
On September 7, 2006, Anna Nicole Smith gave birth to a baby girl
and everyone held his or her breath for the ultimate piece of the
puzzle, who was the father? For those of you who missed it, the
birth certificate listed none other than Anna Nicole's personal
attorney Howard K. Stern. Now for those of you who didn't miss the
Anna Nicole goings-on, here's what you did miss: A September 2006
report found that the Iraq violent death toll for August was three
times larger than the preliminary count. The final tally disproved
official U.S. and Iraqi claims that a "security crackdown" had led
to a drop in the number of deaths that month.
In the early afternoon of February 8, 2007, Anna Nicole Smith was
found unresponsive in her hotel room, rushed to the hospital, and
pronounced DOA at 2:49 p.m. While this story filled the corporate
media in the U.S., that same week, the former U.S. Ambassador of
Iraq failed to explain what happened to $12 billion in newly
printed, shrink-wrapped, $100 bills that he had flown to Baghdad,
and had since been misplaced.
We are now in an era of witnessing corporate media's complete
failure to keep us informed on powerful issues that concern all
Americans. We deserve better and must remedy this situation by
building tax supported independent media and returning investigative
reporting to the American people.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State
University. Kate Sims is a staff researcher with Project Censored.
SSU students Jocelyn Thomas, Toni Faye Catelani, Jenni Leys, and
Christina Carey assisted with research on this op-ed. The full
report can be seen at: www.projectcensored.org.
World's biggest airliner to serve as private jet
Jun 19, 2007
Attention hip hop stars and billionaires: the world's biggest
airliner, the 73-metre-long (239-feet) Airbus A380 superjumbo, has
been ordered by a mysterious buyer for use as a private jet.
The order sets new heights in the private plane sector, leaving the
Learjet, which used to be the ultimate symbol of ostentatious air
travel, in second class.
The doubledecker A380, which enters service later this year, is
capable of carrying 840 passengers, has 900 square metres (10,000
square feet) of cabin space and towers over its biggest rival, the
Airbus sales director John Leahy declined to say when or to where
the jet would be delivered, but fitting the plane to the
specification demanded from the buyer is expected to take more than
"It will be for personal use for him and his entourage," Leahy told
AFP on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
"I can't tell you who it is but he's not from Europe or the United
The buyer is likely to have paid over 300 million dollars (224
million euros) for the standard plane, according to the latest
Airbus catalogue prices, but will then have customisation costs
estimated at 50-150 million dollars.
Aage Duenhaupt, communications director for Lufthansa Technik, which
converts large commercial aircraft into private jets, said most
clients for private airliners came from the oil-rich Middle East.
"Buyers are rich individuals or governments and mostly situated in
the Middle East," he told AFP.
He estimated that there were 20 Boeing 747 jumbojets around the
world being used as private jets and that the order for the A380 was
a logical next step.
"We at Lufthansa Technik expect three to five A380s to be sold for
VIP purposes in the coming years," he said, adding that the Boeing
had also had orders for its new mid-sized 787 Dreamliner from
Lufthansa Technik, which has about 40 percent of the market for
fitting out large airliners, has proposed its own interior for the
A380 that includes a three bedrooms, a lounge and dining area, a
sauna and exercise bikes.
Using the A380 as a private jet could have its problems, however.
The weight of the aircraft and its wingspan of 80 metres means it is
unable to land at many airports and it can only be flown by
specially trained pilots.
It was designed to fly a maximum number of passengers on longhaul
routes between major travel hubs, offering savings on kerosene and
reduced noise pollution for airlines.
The aerospace industry has been at pains to stress its environmental
credentials at the Paris Air Show this year, which began on Monday,
amid growing concern about aircraft pollution.
But campaigners against air travel reacted with anger to news of the
"Aviation is now so out of control, we're not only seeing
unnecessary binge-flying, it seems we're starting to see 'bling-
flying' too," said Joss Garman, from the British anti-pollution
group Plane Stupid.
"Buying a superjumbo like this to use as a private jet is like
buying a filthy coal-fired power station just to use to charge up
your mobile phone."
The A380 is Airbus's star product and the plane performed an
acrobatic display at the Paris Air Show show on Tuesday.
The European group, headquartered in southern France, has had major
production problems with the plane and has been forced to offer
compensation to airlines, many of which will have to wait two years
longer than expected for deliveries of their aircraft.
Singapore Airlines is to be the first airline to put the plane into
service in October this year.
Dubai-based Emirates is to be the biggest single client for the A380
however, after announcing plans to buy 51 aircraft to meet its
ambitious growth targets.
Newsweek Poll: How Low Can Bush Go?
President Bush registers the lowest approval rating of his
presidencymaking him the least popular president since Nixonin the
new NEWSWEEK Poll.
By Marcus Mabry
June 21, 2007 - In 19 months, George W. Bush will leave the White
House for the last time. The latest NEWSWEEK Poll suggests that he
faces a steep climb if he hopes to coax the country back to his side
before he goes. In the new poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday
nights, President Bush's approval rating has reached a record low.
Only 26 percent of Americans, just over one in four, approve of the
job the 43rd president is doing; while, a record 65 percent
disapprove, including nearly a third of Republicans.
The new numbers a 2 point drop from the last NEWSWEEK Poll at the
beginning of May are statistically unchanged, given the poll's 4
point margin of error. But the 26 percent rating puts Bush lower
than Jimmy Carter, who sunk to his nadir of 28 percent in a Gallup
poll in June 1979. In fact, the only president in the last 35 years
to score lower than Bush is Richard Nixon. Nixon's approval rating
tumbled to 23 percent in January 1974, seven months before his
resignation over the botched Watergate break-in.
The war in Iraq continues to drag Bush down. A record 73 percent of
Americans disapprove of the job Bush has done handling Iraq.
Despite "the surge" in U.S. forces into Baghdad and Iraq's western
Anbar province, a record-low 23 percent of Americans approve of the
president's actions in Iraq, down 5 points since the end of March.
But the White House cannot pin his rating on the war alone. Bush
scores record or near record lows on every major issue: from the
economy (34 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove) to health care
(28 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove) to immigration (23
percent approve, 63 percent disapprove). Andin the worst news,
perhaps, for the crowded field of Republicans hoping to succeed Bush
in 200850 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's
handling of terrorism and homeland security. Only 43 percent
approve, on an issue that has been the GOP's trump card in national
elections since 9/11.
If there is any good news for Bush and the Republicans in the latest
NEWSWEEK Poll, it's that the Democratic-led Congress fares even
worse than the president. Only 25 percent of Americans approve of
the job Congress is doing.
In the scariest news for the Democratic candidates seeking their
party's nomination in 2008, even rank-and-file Democrats are unhappy
with Congress, which is narrowly controlled by their party. Only 27
percent of Democrats approve of the job Congress is doing, a
statistically insignificant difference from the 25 percent of
Republicans and 25 percent of independents who approve of Congress.
Overall, 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is
doing, including 60 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans
and 64 percent of Independents. Apparently, voters aren't happy with
anyone in Washington these days.
Fans flock to 'Sopranos' Jersey haunts
By JANET FRANKSTON LORIN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 21, 2007
Fade to black? Not a chance for fans of "The Sopranos." Almost two
weeks after the series finale, the addiction to the show seems
stronger than ever, with legions of fans making a journey to Jersey
to see real-life remnants of the hit TV mob drama.
For many, their obsession starts at the place where the series
ended: Business is booming at the diner where lead character Tony
Soprano sat with his family in the controversial series finale.
Fans not only want to eat at Holsten's (actually an ice cream parlor
in Bloomfield), they want to sit in the same booth where Tony, the
fictional New Jersey mob boss, played the Journey song, "Don't Stop
"The phone just rings constantly all day from people wanting to make
reservations," said co-owner Chris Carley. "They ask `Can we reserve
the booth? Can we get a T-shirt?'"
Carley, who watched the final scenes filmed there over two days,
fields calls from fans wanting to talk about the ending. Customers
who want to relive Tony's last meal can buy some of the onion rings
he raved about(for $2.50), but they cannot listen to the juke box,
which was a prop for the show.
"It's just so funny that people want to sit in that booth," Carley
said. "A lot of people are taking pictures."
The Emmy-winning HBO show explored the life of the fictional Jersey
mob boss and his family, and scores of scenes have been shot across
the Garden State since it debuted in 1999.
The series buzz-inducing final scene ended abruptly with the screen
suddenly going black as Tony and his family sit down to dinner at
Holsten's, leaving fans guessing about what happens next.
Part of "The Sopranos" fascination is fueled by the lack of a real
ending, said Roland T. Rust, chairman of the marketing department at
the University of Maryland.
"The fact you don't have that resolution makes it more difficult for
people to let go," Rust said.
Some fans are flocking to a "Sopranos"-themed bus tour. With 47
sites, it's one way fans can still connect with the show. The cost
is $42 per person, which includes a cannoli (a nod to "The
Godfather"). Afternoon tours for the next two weekends are already
The tour begins in Midtown Manhattan and transports up to 54 people
through the Lincoln Tunnel into Jersey (the start of Tony's journey
in the opening credits). Fans see the fictional Satriale's pork
store in Kearny and the diner under the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey
City where Tony's nephew, Christopher, got shot.
For many the highlight is Satin Dolls, a strip club that fronts for
the "Bada Bing," on Route 17 in Lodi.
"People are really in withdrawal," says Georgette Blau, president of
On Location Tours. A third tour has been added, and a fourth is
likely to begin next month, Blau said.
Satriale's, which is one of the most popular stops, is slated to be
whacked come August or September.
Manny Costeira, the owner of the building who leased it to HBO, is
demolishing it to make way for nine condos and a garage, aptly
named "Soprano Court."
Costeira said construction will begin in the fall or spring and fans
can buy a piece of the building.
"We'll be salvaging the stones off the building for those people who
are totally heartbroken about the pork store going down," he said.
The obsession with "The Sopranos" doesn't just include New Jersey.
Music downloads of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" jumped 371
percent in the week after it played in the show's final scene,
according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign borrowed
from the series ending when it unveiled its new campaign song with a
Web video spoof of the "Sopranos" exit.
Even Pizzaland, a shack that zips by in the show's opening credits,
has seen a huge spike in business from fans trying to still starving
for the show.
The store got so busy fielding requests for custom pizzas from
across the country the pies are sent by mail in dry ice that it
had to shut its doors to walk-in customers five days before the
final episode aired.
"We had to stop answering the phones," said owner Todd Maino.
His employees worked for 48 hours straight to accommodate 800 to
1,000 orders before the finale, and they're still taking 300 to 400
weekly orders for the thin-crust pizza.
Pizzaland shipped two pies to Jeri Hershberger last week in Spokane,
Wash. The 56-year-old is still looking for a connection to the show.
"It never was finalized," she said. "It keeps people's imaginations
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