I swear the American Film Institute has become obsessed with lists. This is all well and good, but the newest ones are just a bit much as they are broken down by the tops in genres.
Called, “AFI’s 10 Top 10“, the lists are generally well balanced. I’m not going to get nitpicky with them, there are several I would reshuffle, a few movies would be eliminated, but two lists in particular annoyed me: Animation and Fantasy.
The Fantasy list is easy in that I can’t believe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring came in above classics like It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. True, these are sentimental favorites, but I also feel they are stronger films, but I guess it is all “in the eye-of-the-beholder” kind of thing, but still seems wrong to me.
The Animation list is where my ire really got up. Let’s forget that 8 of the 10 spots are Disney films, fine, they are are mostly classics, but it’s the fact that Ralph Bakshi is completely overlooked. Mr. Bakshi may not be a household name, but he has influenced countless animators with his works such as Fritz the Cat and American Pop.
Yes, his work is decidely for a mature audience, but he is such an important part of the animation history of the United States, and fluff such as Shrek makes the list of a group who is supposed to honor the best of American filmmaking… it’s a travesty. Yes, it is a strong word, and it is just a stupid list, but it is saddening to see him not on the list when he worked so hard to show the world that animation didn’t have to be cute and full of talking animals.
Mr. Bakshi is still alive, but he is effectively retired due to the debacle that was Cool World, where he lost all faith in the studio system. Maybe someday he will finally be recognized for his contributions to animation.