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The Reeler Blog

If It's the Last Thing Jack Mathews Does...

By S.T. VanAirsdale

If I were NY Daily News critic Jack Mathews and I had a forthcoming retirement date, 30+ years of professional experience and a blog all to myself, I, too would probably be taking the kind of stock he's taking over at Movies in Focus. It all started with a question -- or so he wrote last Thursday in a post entitled "Best Movie Dramas and Comedies, According to Me":

A few weeks back, I mentioned here that the question I am most often asked – “What is your favorite movie?” – is one that I can never answer. There are so many favorites that I can’t settle on just one. So, I usually answer the question with a question – “Which genre?”

With that in mind, I have come up with a favorite and four runners-up in the major genres. I'll be posting two or three categories a day. Feel free to tell me where I have gone wrong.

I love how Mathews' impulse is to invite instant disagreement, though it's kind of hard to argue with his favorite drama The Godfather, and I am thrilled to even see Raising Arizona remembered among comedies, let alone counted alongside Some Like it Hot. There's lots more here as well, including Mathews' favorite fantasy, Western, romance and noir flicks, plus a pretty great anecdote to which anyone who's seen Raiders of the Lost Ark can probably relate. (Except for the part about Harrison Ford.) You know I'm not much of a list guy, but give a retiring critic a break and disagree with him if you're in the mood. Here, I'll start:

Dear Jack,

I can't imagine what kind of crack binge lands Jaws at the the top of a horror category that also includes The Night of the Hunter, but I guess if I were calling it a career then I'd be partying, too.

Happy retirement,



Posted at February 11, 2008 4:25 PM

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