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Citizen Kane- Ashley Bergman

I remember my grandfather saying once that Citizen Kane was the best movie of all times, and that Plan 9 from Outer Space was consistently voted the worst. Personally, I enjoy Plan 9 a lot more than Citizen Kane if only for the fact that it induces some serious laughter. So when I first saw Citizen Kane as a senior in high school, I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. I thought Orson Welles was a good actor and that he made a pretty solid movie but—the best movie of all time? I didn’t think so and I still don’t. However, I don’t agree with this comment (seemingly written by either an old man who is wondering where the good old days disappeared to or some sullen teenager):

“Citizen Kane is cited as a great film for its cinematography, symbolism, and message—all things that do not interest film-goers today. If you were to show Citizen Kane to a random bunch of people today, nobody would care.?

This I find to be very harsh (and also, if that’s all it takes to make a great film, I could make one tomorrow!). I would agree that people don’t care too much about Citizen Kane anymore as it is somewhat dated and a story that isn’t really relevant to your ordinary citizen as most of us aren’t multi-millionaires who can do whatever we want, but I don’t agree that the lack of interest is due to the fact that film-goers don’t care about cinematography, symbolism, or message. We do seem to care as the movies that get nominated to win Academy Awards tend to be fluent in all three of those categories. There’s even an award for best cinematography so someone must care.

Let’s look at the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2006. Personally I was very annoyed that Crash, a story about racism, won over Brokeback Mountain, a story about, well, you know, because I felt Brokeback Mountain was the better film and Crash was nothing new. But I guess the audiences and voters felt different and no doubt it was due to the message of the movie: that racism is still prevalent even if it’s not overt. Take a look at the leading-contender for Best Picture this year, No Country For Old Men, which is seeping with symbolism and has a powerful message of its own. Movie-goers do care about these things, just not so much in out-dated, 60 year old movies.