inspired by JRo's anti-AFI "Alternative 100" list from '98, an attempt at constructing a canon which highlights what i think is meaningful, fascinating, significant, etc in the north american cinema. the purpose here is not the creation of another "greatest american films" list, but rather a list of american films, some great and some merely good, which together will equip the thoughtful viewer with the intellectual tools necessary for engaging with this continent's* cinema in its true breadth and depth (or at least something approximate to it). two by griffith, chaplin, and ford (naturally), one per for the rest. chronological order – this is a starting point, not a finish line.
*yes, this means canadian productions too; american critics routinely lump countries outside the global north together in this way, why not turn that lens around. the degree of cross-pollination between canada and the us makes any real distinction tenuous at best, anyway