Arts Desk

On the National Film Registry’s 2010 Additions

Every year the National Film Preservation Board decides to gently place up to 25 American films in the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress via the National Film Registry. There's no real pomp or circumstance here, but apparently there's a lot of deliberation behind the scenes. Anyone can vote on the films (just shoot the NFPB an e-mail), and "the number of public votes a film receives is a factor seriously weighed during the selection process." (One assumes, of course, that the avant-garde short Our Lady of The Sphere didn't make it in this year on popular demand alone.) There are experts and board meetings and all sorts of important gatherings. Considering Little Fockers just beat out True Grit in the box office last weekend, it's probably best that the American public isn't the only curator of what national cinema gets preserved indefinitely.

That's not to say the board should only reserve spots for high-minded art films. In fact, their inclusion of Airplane! this year is probably one of their best choices yet—every time I see Leslie Nielson, God rest his soul, I hate poorly executed observational comedy a little bit more. I've never been able to make it all the way through Grey Gardens (too uncomfortable), but I hear Edith was actually dead the whole time. Nerds of the world can rest easy knowing The Empire Strikes Back will be preserved for many decades to come, and we can all relax knowing that generations from now, kids will still have the chance to gag at split pea soup in The Exorcist.

Here's the complete list of what the NFPB believes to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2010:

1)  AIRPLANE! (1980)

2)  ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976)

3)  BARGAIN, THE (1914)

4)  CRY OF JAZZ (1959)

5)  ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB (1967)

6)  EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE (1980)

7)  EXORCIST, THE (1973)

8)  FRONT PAGE, THE (1931)

9)  GREY GARDENS (1976)

10) I AM JOAQUIN (1969)

11) IT'S A GIFT (1934)

12) LET THERE BE LIGHT (1946)

13) LONESOME (1928)

14) MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937)

15) MALCOLM X  (1992)

16) MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER (1971)

17) NEWARK ATHLETE (1891)

18) OUR LADY OF THE SPHERE (1969)

19) THE PINK PANTHER (1964)

20) PRESERVATION OF THE SIGN LANGUAGE  (1913)

21) SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)

22) STUDY OF A RIVER (1996)

23) TARANTELLA (1940)

24) TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, A (1945)

25) TRIP DOWN MARKET STREET, A (1906)

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