an alternative canon of north american cinema

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

  • Something Good - Negro Kiss
  • The Country Doctor
  • Suspense.
  • One Week
  • Way Down East
  • Foolish Wives
  • The Enchanted Cottage
  • The Circus
  • The Wind
  • Morocco
  • Freaks
  • The Music Box
  • Kongo
  • Gold Diggers of 1933
  • The Black Cat
  • Our Daily Bread
  • Maniac
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Crime of Doctor Crespi
  • Holiday
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • December 7th
  • Strangler of the Swamp
  • Duel in the Sun
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • The Pirate
  • Rancho Notorious
  • The Long Gray Line
  • The Big Combo
  • Stranger on Horseback
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • There's Always Tomorrow
  • The Trouble With Harry
  • Wind Across the Everglades
  • The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
  • Hatari!
  • Blood Feast
  • The Patsy
  • Beauty #2
  • All My Life
  • Seeds
  • Targets
  • The Meatrack
  • La Région Centrale
  • A New Leaf
  • The Last House on the Left
  • Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood
  • The Crazies
  • 37-73
  • Cockfighter
  • Phase IV
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • Milestones
  • Date with a Kidnapper
  • Passing Through
  • Opening Night
  • 1941
  • Daughter Rite
  • Out of the Blue
  • Blow Out
  • Losing Ground
  • Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
  • Last Night at the Alamo
  • Perfect Lives
  • American Dreams (Lost and Found)
  • Next of Kin
  • Peggy Sue Got Married
  • The Last Slumber Party
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Walker
  • The Secret Garden
  • Twisted Issues
  • Warm Broth
  • In Titan's Goblet
  • The Bed You Sleep In
  • The Age of Innocence
  • Imaginary Light
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • Showgirls
  • Rage
  • Public Housing
  • The Blackout
  • The Manson Family
  • Psycho
  • American Pie
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Secrets of the Shadow World
  • I Never Left the White Room
  • Freddy Got Fingered
  • Bad Boys II
  • D.E.B.S.
  • Miami Vice
  • Inland Empire
  • Speed Racer
  • Halloween II
  • Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
  • Pompeii
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • The Other Side of the Wind