One thing we at Place to Be Nation like to celebrate is the subjectivity inherent in entertainment — be it in wrestling, comics, music, television or, indeed, film. With that in mind, ten members of the PTBN staff spent the last several months picking the movies of the PTB generation. In this series, panel members collected their five favorite films of each year, beginning with the year in which the oldest writer was born — 1976. The only rule given to each contributor was to provide his or her own criteria. Some writers went with the most artistic films, while others might side with the most iconic blockbusters. After several months, the year-by-year project has come to a close. Each year has a top 5. But, that leaves the question — what is THE movie of the generation? Well, we’re about to find out. The Movie of the Generation tournament will see 64 movies battle for that title over the course of a single-elimination tournament. A film earned its way into the tournament by winning or tying for the top spot in its given year or by earning a total of 20 or more points. The movies are seeded from 1-64, much like the NCAA basketball tournament. Each round, our panel will be giving you its take on each matchup and providing you with its votes on which films have earned the rights to advance. In the case of a tie among the 10-member panel, special contributor Tim Capel has been called upon to break any ties. So, without any further adieu, let’s take a look at this edition’s matchups.
It’s time to kick off the second round of our tournament, as we return to the Tattooine Region for four second-round matchups. Can Jurassic Park, seeded 11th, pull off another upset and advance to the Sweet 16? Will Star Wars continue its march towards the overall crown? Only time will tell. Before we get started, let’s take a look at what the overall tournament bracket looks like. A larger version can be viewed here.
And with that, let’s get into the matchups.
(1) Star Wars vs. (9) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Star Wars: Finished No. 1 in 1977 with 48 points, ranked by 10 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Glenn Butler, Nick Duke, Aaron George, Greg Phillips, Kati Price, Andrew Riche, Russell Sellers and Steve Wille at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated Independence Day 10-0.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Finished No. 2 in 1989 with 23 points, ranked by 6 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Glenn Butler, Russell Sellers and Andrew Woltman at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated Superman II 6-5.
Glenn Butler: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is an excellent movie. It features a main cast that’s comfortable enough in their roles and with each other to let loose and make the script’s sillier moments shine. It features the obligatory globe-trotting high adventure, with the mystical edge of the precious religious artifact. It features some nostalgic callbacks to Raiders, a killer score, a father-and-son reconciliation story that transcends schmaltz, and thrilling action sequences.
So almost all of us voted for Star Wars.
Writing something to justify approval of Star Wars in the year of our Lord Vader two-thousand-fifteen feels exceedingly extraneous. For those of us who absorbed it as children (meaning nearly everyone born since the seventies with access to Western media), it’s become a cultural touchstone. As we’ll see in two other regions of this tournament, it’s hard to go up against a cultural touchstone like the Star Wars trilogy, even after the big followup disappointed as much as it possibly could in just about every way that it possibly could. (Ahem.) But there’s always a place for the first movie, with its conspicuous lifts from the aesthetics & energy of pulp serials and the structure of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey monomyth. It breaks down into an incredibly simple story of good versus evil and the underdog from the backwater come to topple the evil empire, with visual effects boldly pushing the state of the art forward to dazzle the eyes. As much as the effect may be watered down by repetition, homage, and ripoff, nothing can wipe out that first impression.
Final tally: Star Wars 9, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1
(4) The Fellowship of the Ring vs. (5) Forrest Gump
The Fellowship of the Ring: Finished No. 1 in 2001 with 31 points, ranked by 8 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Aaron George, Russell Sellers and Andrew Woltman at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated Rocky III 6-4.
Forrest Gump: Finished No. 1 in 1994 with 31 points, ranked by 7 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Aaron George, Greg Phillips and Andrew Riche at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated X2: X-Men United 6-4.
Steve Wille: Here’s the moment when I turn heel on this tournament, likely drawing a “gasp” and a firm shake of the head from my guy, Glenn Butler. I loathe the Lord of the Rings series of films. It stems from a general disinterest of medieval times, including its namesake restaurant where you sip warm decarbonated Pepsi from a chalice. Fellowship of the Ring was probably the last movie I saw in the theater where I felt disappointed that I went (droll children’s movies aside…I’m looking at you, Rio 2). When I told my wife what I had to write about, she laughed, reminding me of the screenplay of the movie: walk, fight, repeat. So unless Fellowship matched up against an unnecessary sequel of an animated feature set in Brazil, it’s a safe bet that my vote was swinging the other way. When I learned that it was up against Forrest Gump, my decision was a no-brainer.
Twenty years later, it’s hard to describe how all-encompassing Gump was in the time’s pop culture. Not only did it garner six Oscar wins, including Best Picture, but quotes from the movie became a part of our national lexicon. If someone states “Life is like a box of chocolates…” people know exactly where it’s coming from, and teenagers, born after the release of the movie, still shout “Run Forrest Run” at my pasty middle-aged body as I’m out for a jog. Gump’s staying power stems from a combination of its crossover appeal: part romantic comedy, part drama, with a touch of history thrown in for good measure. Though Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise are often justly lauded for their performances, I always believed that Robin Wright’s turn as Jenny deserved more attention. Also highly praised at the time was Gump’s monumental two-disc soundtrack that, like the film it scored, took listeners on a chronological journey through rock and roll’s history. Sure, there were some cringe-worthy goofy moments in the movie, but, overall, Gump remains one of the most endearing films of the 1990’s. The Library of Congress agreed, adding it to the National Film Registry in 2011.
Final tally: Forrest Gump 6, The Fellowship of the Ring 4
(11) Jurassic Park vs. (3) Inception
Jurassic Park: Finished tied for No. 1 in 1993 with 21 points, ranked by 8 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Nick Duke at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 8-2.
Inception: Finished No. 1 in 2010 with 37 points, ranked by 9 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Nick Duke, Greg Phillips, Russell Sellers, Steve Wille and Andrew Woltman at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated Wayne’s World 8-2.
Andrew Woltman: Inception was an amazing concept, executed brilliantly. But it does not stack up to the Tyrannosaurus sized impact created by Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. The haunting nightmares first experienced after viewing stem from the enormous power of the film’s impact. He truly spared no expense.
Final tally: Jurassic Park 6, Inception 5
**Tim Capel served as a tiebreaker when the panel was split.
(10) Groundhog Day vs. (2) Superman
Groundhog Day: Finished tied for No. 1 in 1993 with 21 points, ranked by 5 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Glenn Butler and Anthony Estrada at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated The Return of the King 6-5.
Superman: Finished No. 1 in 1978 with 39 points, ranked by 9 of 10 voters, highest ranked by Aaron George, Greg Phillips, Andrew Riche, Russell Sellers, Steve Wille and Andrew Woltman at No. 1.
Round 1: Defeated Robocop 5-4.
Tim Capel: If I was overly charitable to Groundhog Day in the opening round, don’t count on it being the Cinderella of the tournament with this matchup. Though it pains me to say, the dream is over. Despite having somewhat mixed feelings towards the Christopher Reeve Superman series today, my love for the original is enduring. I can’t make much of a case for any other outcome: Supes bulldozes over the plucky rodent from Punxsutawney.
Final tally: Superman 6, Groundhog Day 5
**Tim Capel served as a tiebreaker when the panel was split.
That does it for the second round in the Tattooine Region. To see how each voter cast their votes, click here. Check back soon to see the second round in the Hill Valley Region!