- “What is the greatest Hollywood movie ever?” Though this question does not have a true definitive answer, because it can be subjective depending on our preferences, but most would agree that for a film to succeed and be regarded as one of the greatest Hollywood film ever made, it must meet criteria formed by many reputable critics that would allow it to be, at the very least, outstanding. We should refrain from answering this question solely by our preferences, but rather, through deep thinking processes with considerations for many important elements that would typically make a film meaningful. To truly understand what makes a film great, we must first explore about the criteria of what makes a particular Hollywood movie the greatest, or one of the greatest ever created. According to the article “TEN GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME” published on April 1st, 1991 by Roger Ebert, “If I have a criterion for choosing the greatest films, it's an emotional one. These are films that moved me deeply in one way or another”, “And so my greatest films must be films that had me sitting transfixed before the screen, involved, committed, and feeling.” – Roger Ebert, an extremely reputable film critic who earned a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as being an honorary life member of the Director’s Guild of America, he also won Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriter’s Guild, and achieved honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Roger Ebert’s criteria for choosing the greatest films of all time suggests that for a film to be rated as one of the best ever made, it must be emotionally provoking and engaging to the audience, it must makes us feel as if we are a part of the film, while allowing us to experience roller coaster of emotions, and at the same time makes us question the very concept of emotions, including their cause and purpose. The movie “Citizen Kane” is considered by Roger Ebert, as one of the greatest films of all time, “It tells of all the seasons of a man's life, shows his weaknesses and hurts, surrounds him with witnesses who remember him but do not know how to explain him.”, “some critics say the image is superficial, I say it is very deep indeed, because it illustrates the way that human happiness and pain is not found in big ideas but in the little victories or defeats of childhood.” – Roger Ebert.
- Roger Ebert’s unique understanding of the film tells us that the film was able to engage with him emotionally, it allowed Roger Ebert to feel involved, and be in the shoe of a character within the film. The film’s content made him understand a man’s weakness, hurts, and it displayed an image, an idea that human happiness and pain is not so easily defined in the general picture, but it in fact lies beneath the very happiness and sadness moments of one’s childhood, which is considered as one of, if not, the most important and impactful time of a person’s life. The film explicitly implies that depending on how a person’s childhood goes, it can very well decide the outcome of their future, this idea is also heavily supported by the theory of nurture, which generally states that the outcome of human behaviors as they become adults is very likely to depend on their environment, their childhood. Evidently, many horrible mental illnesses such as Borderline Personality Disorder have been studied by many professionals, and they concluded that the cause of such mental illnesses is highly likely to stem from childhood traumatic events such as abuse, bully, separation, neglect, which can scar the victim’s brain permanently. The film “Citizen Kane” had not only managed to illustrate an image surrounding the concepts of our emotions that is strongly supported by scientific evidence, but it also allowed most, if not, all of its audiences and nearly every single human being on Earth to be able to relate themselves to the characters presented within the film. It is to no surprise that “Citizen Kane” was able to rank in the very top as one of the greatest Hollywood movies ever created.
- “A Bug’s Life” is another film that had become widely successful, especially to younger audiences, it has shown itself from time to time again, as one of the best Hollywood movies ever created. The film, especially to young students, is considered to be very entertaining, with an interesting and engaging story that has an intimate relation with “Marx’s theory of exploitation, class consciousness, and ideological control.” A well thought connection made by TheSocycinema from “Sociology Goes to Hollywood (or why we must use Hollywood clips in our sociology classes)” blog published on 11/20/2014. Aside from the entertaining aspect of the film, “A Bug’s Life” managed to enlightened its viewers on Marx’s theory, a philosophical theory or an economic and social system, dating all the way back to the 1800s, created by Karl Marx who was a well-known philosopher, economist, historian, journalist, and a socialist. According to the Marx’s theory, there is one social element that would determines where one would fit in the social class hierarchy: it is who controls the means of production, and one’s social class or status would dictates one’s social life, for example, If one had control of resources (means of production) necessary to produce for other’s survival, that one would be considered wealthy, while the people who does not control the means of production will face poverty, working minimum wages for the ones who are wealthy and are in control of resources. The wealthy ones, or the upper-class in this society will face the least hardship, their lives would typically be of leisure, while the lower working class would face hardships and sufferings, for as long as a revolt or a revolutionary was to not occur. The film “A Bug’s Life” had a strong connection with this theory. In the film, Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers represented the wealthy upper class, “those puny little ants outnumber us 100-to-1, and if they figure that out, there goes our way of life." This was one of Hopper’s lines in the film as he discusses his thoughts to his fellow grasshoppers about how him and his crews were able to control the ants due to their lack of insight. Hopper had managed to exploit the lower class, represented by the ants, from their hard working labour, innocence, and unawareness of the situation. This allowed the grasshoppers to live a comfortable life of abundance, free from hardships, and this was total contrast for the ants. The film had successfully showcased Marx’s theory in its brilliant animation, it enlightened the audiences, the young students, of the horrible society that used to exist hundreds of years ago, and perhaps we may even be living in that same exact society today. The film had also taught the audiences the importance of being enlightened, which had allowed the ants to see further to the bigger picture, thus beginning their revolt against the upper-class grasshoppers, as their final resolution to free themselves from the unfairness that was brought upon them by the grasshoppers. It also allowed the audience to perceive, sympathize, empathize, and be in the very shoe of the hardship and poverty that the ants had to endure in the film. Furthermore, the film had possibly pushed the audience, especially the open-minded young minds away from behaving like the tyrannical upper-class grasshoppers, it had successfully taught the audience a valuable life lesson that can change their understandings and views on the world for the better. It’s no wonder that the film “A Bug’s Life” was considered as some of the most valuable, widely successful, and one of the greatest Hollywood films that has been proud to be watched by many children, and young students worldwide.
- As for my final answer to the question “What is the greatest Hollywood movie ever?”, I truly don’t know, but I know for a fact that it must challenges our thinking, our mind, our conscience, that also teaches us valuable lessons, virtues, concepts, and much more, as well as shaping our fundamentals, our views, our understandings, our emotions and the way we think, forever and for the better.
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