I've been enjoying these podcasts. I'm listening to the new ones and trying to catch up on the earlier ones. I have one general comment on the ongoing discussion of whether this or that film should be on or off the list. I begin with the proposition that the notion of ranking the best American films is absurd. There is no reliable formula through which one can accurately rank films, and the project becomes especially difficult if we factor in changing technology and changing cultural values. Anyhow, art is not a contest. But I do like the list to the extent that it suggests that the films on it are worth watching--100 or so films that everyone ought to see. So I'm less interested in taking a film off the list than I am on expanding the list, which I would put in alphabetical order.
Oh, on films by women directors that should be on the "worth watching list," how about Katheryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker? And although it probably has no chance of making this list, I thought Chloé Zhao's The Rider was superb.
Finally, a comment on Chinatown, which I will preface by saying that Amy and Paul did as wonderful job (as usual and despite my lingering doubts about the seaworthiness of the Titanic). Toward the end of the episode, Amy suggested that some glimmer of hope would have created a better tone, maybe a better sense of Towne's L.A. But the flag of hope was raised when Jake stepped out of his role as an indifferent and disinterested divorce P.I. and tried to help Mrs. Mulray escape to Mexico. To me, he was not motivated by ego or self interest. He wanted to do the right thing, and he briefly dons the armor of Raymond Chandler's good knight--dressed down as Paul pointed out--and enters the true film noir world of the night in the climactic scene. Here hope perishes, just as it does it most noir films, and the film ends just as one might expect from a director whose parents perished in the holocaust and whose wife died at the hands of Charles Manson. No, it's not Towne's L.A. It's Polanski's harsh reality.