News Article

Everybody's a Critic

Letters from our readers -- Response was great for our stories on 100 Best Movies on Video and TV's 20 Best Golden Oldies

We are overwhelmed in a couple of ways. When we ran cover stories on the 100 Best Movies on Video (Aug. 10) and TV's 20 Best Golden Oldies (July 20)), we knew we'd get a lot of feedback, and a fair bit of indignation, about the choices. In fact, we included postcards to make it easier for readers to sound off. But we didn't expect the tsunami of mail that deluged our office. A total of 2,398 passionate movie buffs sent in their additions and corrections to our 100 Best Movies on Video list, and more than 1,300 readers suggested alternates for our list of TV's best reruns.

Our informal movie poll had one major surprise besides its size: Harrison Ford is by far the biggest star in the video universe of Entertainment Weekly readers — he is in three of the five movies named most frequently as omissions from our 100 Best list. Here are the top 20, ranked in order, that our readers thought we wrongly ignored:

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. Blade Runner
3. The Exorcist
4. Body Heat
5. Star Wars (the trilogy)
6. Airplane!
7. Batman
8. North by Northwest
9. Red River
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
11. Moonstruck
12. Field of Dreams
13. The Grapes of Wrath
14. Kiss of the Spider Woman
15. A Room With a View
16. The Terminator
17. Mary Poppins
18. The Little Mermaid
19. The Philadelphia Story
20. West Side Story

The more emotional video fans out there tossed zingers our way along with their nominations. We were peppered with such comments as ''A hundred lashes with a wet noodle,'' ''You call that a list?,'' ''Come on, folks,'' and ''I read your list with a mixture of horror and disbelief.'' On the other hand, one reader sent in a card that read simply: ''The most objective subjective 'best' list I've ever read. Don't change a thing.'' So there.

Similar passion was shown in the cards about critic Ken Tucker's top 20 television reruns, and the responses revealed a broad spectrum of tube taste. Here are the top 10 shows readers felt Tucker should have included:

1. The Dick Van Dyke Show
2. Lost in Space
3. All in the Family
4. The Honeymooners
5. Star Trek
6. Leave It to Beaver
7. Soap
8. Get Smart
9. The Waltons
10. Mr. Ed

All memorable shows to be sure, though we should note that some of these are not on the air in many cities these days, and really weren't eligible for our list.

Finally, remember the postcard asking about favorite movie munchies (July 6)? Well, at least 236 people should, because they voted. The four basic snack-food groups were all well represented: sugar, salt, fats, and alcohol. Top choices included such dandy candies as Milk Duds, M&Ms, Twizzlers, Junior Mints, and Goobers (we had made popcorn ineligible for this poll). A few honest souls admitted sneaking their entertainment edibles into movie theaters because concession stand prices make them lose their appetites. As one confessed munchie smuggler put it, ''I can't afford the down payment on the Raisinets.''

Originally posted Sep 07, 1990 Published in issue #30 Sep 07, 1990 Order article reprints