Quid pro form letter

Let’s blow the dust off the Gordon Brown kerfuffle and have some fun this evening. We’ve all heard about the pen holder made out of wood taken from the anti-slave ship HMS Gannet presented by Prime Minister Brown to Obama as a gift when he came to Washington. Just the sort of well-thought-out, meaningful gift you’d expect from a cultured English leader to the historic first black President of the UK’s most steadfast ally. In return Obama gave him a box set of 25 American films on DVD.

It’s the thought that counts. Apparently nobody gave it much thought. The 25 films are lifted straight from the American Film Institute’s Top 100 films list of 2007. Of course you could never predict someone is going to present you with such a heartfelt, unique gift. Still, the least he could have done is select some films based on his own viewing experience. It can’t be a coincidence because two of his five favorite films cribbed from his Facebook page are missing.

Then there’s the whole US DVD in a European DVD player conundrum if you really want to get snarky.

Anyway, let’s make with the fun. Below the fold – so I’m not bumping stuff off the front page – are the 25 films AFI/Obama selected for Gordon Brown. And just for shots and giggles I put together a list of 25 films suitable for foreign dignitaries visiting the Von Ottomatic White House…

Update: As noted in the comments Gordo was – like Tony Blair – born in Scotland, not England. So he’s not a cultured English leader at all, but a filthy, kilt-wearing Scot. Let him rot with his DVD’s.

First up is the AFI:

* Citizen Kane
* The Godfather
* Casablanca
* Raging Bull
* Singin’ in the Rain
* Gone with the Wind
* Lawrence of Arabia
* Schindler’s List
* Vertigo
* The Wizard of Oz
* City Lights
* The Searchers
* Star Wars: Episode IV
* Psycho
* 2001: A Space Odyssey
* Sunset Boulevard
* The Graduate
* The General
* On the Waterfront
* It’s a Wonderful Life
* Chinatown
* Some Like It Hot
* The Grapes of Wrath
* ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
* To Kill a Mockingbird

Meh, not a bad list…but not a great or particularly insightful list. I suppose if you were teaching a class on American films it would make a decent “reading” list. Then again, I wouldn’t pass up a Married with Children mini-marathon for half of them.

With a minimum of effort I cooked up 25 films suitable for presentation to a foreign dignitary. Which means no Porky’s, no Russ Meyer, no Up in Smoke, no Texas Chainsaw Massacre, no Fast Times at Ridgemont High, no blaxploitation, very little gratuitous nudity and silliness. Although naturally, the aforementioned Married with Children and a Three Stooges box set would be included. I did poach three classics off the AFI list, but otherwise and without further ado:

* Gone With the Wind
* The Wizard of Oz
* Casablanca
* The Ten Commandments
* Arsenic and Old Lace
* Groundhog Day
* Easy Rider
* Patton
* The Blues Brothers
* It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
* The Alamo
* The Manchurian Candidate
* Airplane!
* The Longest Yard
* The Thin Man
* The Great Escape
* Trading Places
* Raiders of the Lost Ark
* Jaws
* L.A. Confidential
* Young Frankenstein
* McClintock!
* The Wind and the Lion
* Cool Hand Luke
* Dr. Strangelove

I want to be entertained by movies and don’t really view them as high art. If nothing else that list might give old Gordo something to think about. Nothing special, but they always keep me tuned in and turned on.

Not that the Von Ottomatic White House would be handing out DVD’s. If I’m going to bequeath a gift upon the Prime Minster of England that he can’t even use once he gets back home it’ll be a custom engraved M1911.

The Knucklehead of the Day award
The Manipulator-Fearmonger-Deceiver in Chief