AFI #1 – Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane - PosterCitizen Kane

1941

Directed by Orson Welles

Netflix says… Still considered one of the greatest films ever made, Orson Welles’s complex and technically stunning film chronicles newspaper baron Charles Foster Kane’s rise from poverty to become one of America’s most influential men.

Well, here we are. We made it to number one on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 films ever made. And I’m just as excited about making it to Citizen Kane as I figured I would be when I started this thing way back at Ben-Hur.

I didn’t like this movie the first time I saw it. I don’t like it now. No, it’s not the longest of the AFI movies I’ve had to sit through on this list. It’s not even the most boring of the movies I’ve had to sit through. But the fact that it’s long and boring and considered number one kind of infuriates me.

It’s not necessarily a bad movie. I’m sure that someone who has more experience watching movies than I have will be able to tell you all the reasons why this is considered a great movie. Personally, I can only give you my opinion.

When I see Citizen Kane, I see a love letter by Orson Welles to himself. Written by Orson Welles. Produced by Orson Welles. Directed by Orson Welles. Starring Orson Welles.

I’m sure I’ve said this about other films that have ranked on on the AFI list. But it seems to me that someone important at some point in time decided that this was a great movie and no one had the balls to say different. And so, here we are 77 years later, still claiming that Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time. Why? Because Orson Welles was a great filmmaker?

I don’t get it. I’ll never get it. And I won’t make Citizen Kane a recommendation for anyone anywhere.

Here’s the thing, movies are a form of entertainment. Sure, they can be works of art. But they are, first and foremost, entertainment. Citizen Kane is not entertaining. If you’re not a fan of a particular artist, you’re not going to go to a museum exhibit featuring that artist, right? This movie may be considered great. It may be considered art. And Orson Welles may be considered an artist. But if I’m going to enjoy art as film, I’ll stick with artists like Capra, Spielberg, Zemeckis… filmmakers who can tell me a story and find a way to make me enjoy the two hours I’m spending escaping into the world they’ve created.

And if I want to experience a poignant message about how all is folly, I’ll go read Ecclesiastes.

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One thought on “AFI #1 – Citizen Kane

  1. Pingback: After AFI – What’s Next? | The Confusing Middle

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