« Patenting Plots? | Main | Mike Argento and the Dover, PA ID Trial »

November 04, 2005

Rough Guide Movie Books: Pick a Canon


You may not have known this, but The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies was just one of four Rough Guide Movie books released on the same day. I just got sent the other three today (along with some very cool postcards based on the cover of my book), and I thought I would show them off: The Rough Guides to Gangster, Comedy and Horror Movies, respectively. All four books have more or less the same format: chapters on the history of the genre, icons of the field, examples of the genre from around the world, and so on. Each also includes "The Canon" of its field -- the 50 most significant movies in the genre.

When I listed the science fiction canon here, motivated individuals took it and made a blog meme out of it; I think it would be fun to do the same with these other canons. But where to begin? This is where you come in: On Monday I'll post the canon of one of these books and note my thoughts on the selections. But as to which canon, I'll put it up to a vote. Tell me in the comments which canon you'd like to see: The one from Gangster, the one from Comedy, or the one from Horror. The one that gets the most votes when I sit down to write on Monday wins. One vote each,  please (no, I'm not going to check to see if people are cheating. Just, you know, don't be that guy).  

Which do you choose? 

Posted by john at November 4, 2005 04:03 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Randy | November 4, 2005 04:36 PM

I vote Comedy

but I bet Horror wins.

John Scalzi | November 4, 2005 04:46 PM

Well, comedy is in the lead so far.

Bethany | November 4, 2005 04:53 PM

I also vote for Comedy, there are too many Horror cannons out there already.

Ben | November 4, 2005 04:55 PM


John H | November 4, 2005 04:57 PM

I think Comedy would be the hardest to whittle down to 50 entries, so I'll pick it as well. That should make for a nice debate!

Elizabeth | November 4, 2005 05:01 PM

I vote comedy. I could use some good funny movies.

Bryan | November 4, 2005 05:02 PM

Another vote for Comedy.

James Goodman | November 4, 2005 05:07 PM

I am torn between Gangster and Horror.

Alas, I must vote for Horror.

Ann | November 4, 2005 05:16 PM

I vote Comedy.

John Popa | November 4, 2005 05:23 PM


The comedy canon begins and ends with 'Caddyshack' after all.

Mark | November 4, 2005 05:26 PM


sxKitten | November 4, 2005 05:33 PM

Comedy for me, please!

JohnL | November 4, 2005 05:38 PM

"People called Romanes they go the house."

From one of the best comedies of all time.

What? Oh yeah.

Comedies, please.

RobRoy | November 4, 2005 05:46 PM

I vote comedy, because I am more likely to recognize names off that list than the others.

David McNelis | November 4, 2005 05:52 PM

Comedy for sure...I suppose I don't really get into gangster movies much, and being the pansy I am, can't watch horror movies unless vampires are involved (why the fascination with vampires I have no idea).

Mark L | November 4, 2005 06:02 PM


Dawn B. | November 4, 2005 06:17 PM


Scott | November 4, 2005 06:28 PM

I vote Comedy... be stricken from the available options on account of its overwhelming lead at this moment in time.

It's not fair to the other genre of movies to have a clear front-runner of this sort.

Or rather, what I was trying to say is... I have nothing menaingful to add to this vote, because I'd be interested in seeing any of the three lists.

Mark J Musante | November 4, 2005 06:55 PM

I vote gangsters, because Christopher Walken is right there on the cover, and who can turn him down?

Justine Larbalestier | November 4, 2005 06:56 PM


Derryl Murphy | November 4, 2005 06:56 PM



Leslie | November 4, 2005 07:16 PM


Night Dog | November 4, 2005 07:21 PM


D.F. Manno | November 4, 2005 07:56 PM

Gangster, because comedy is too subjective and I don't like horror films.

Brandon | November 4, 2005 08:10 PM


If it keeps up, it'll win by a landslide.

Kevin Q | November 4, 2005 08:12 PM

As Stephen Sondheim said:
Nothing portentous or polite
Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight


Bob | November 4, 2005 08:17 PM

Comedy, please.

Audrey Estock | November 4, 2005 08:40 PM

A vote for Comedy from me, as well! (on the basis that I'm likely to have seen at least a few of the films on the list, unlike the other two where I doubt I'll have seen even one).

Keith Chaffee | November 4, 2005 09:00 PM

Comedy, please.

Carson Cooman | November 4, 2005 09:28 PM


Jaxon | November 4, 2005 09:28 PM

Something Familiar,
Something Peculiar,
Something for Everybody,
Comedy Tonight!

Randy | November 4, 2005 09:42 PM

Wow. I thought for sure Horror would be kicking butt. I guess most people are horror'ed out after just watching them all for Halloween.

Randy | November 4, 2005 09:46 PM

Interesting that the cover of the Comedy book is from "Life of Brian", not usually touted as the best of the Python movies. People usually rush to "Holy Grail"

Dinesh Rao | November 4, 2005 11:05 PM

yet another vote for Comedy

Dean | November 4, 2005 11:05 PM

Without looking at the other votes: Gangster

wil | November 5, 2005 01:01 AM


Stripes | November 5, 2005 02:40 AM


Burns! | November 5, 2005 02:50 AM

Comedy, please.

David Goldfarb | November 5, 2005 04:00 AM

I also vote comedy, and my thought on the Rough Guide was indeed that they ought to have used _Holy Grail_. (I rewatched _Life of Brian_ recently and fell asleep during it. I mean, yeah, I was tired; but I can't imagine falling asleep during _Holy Grail_.)

claire | November 5, 2005 05:29 AM

yeah, i wish i could be contrarian but i wanna know about comedy, too.

dave munger | November 5, 2005 08:35 AM

Just in case a bunch of horror fans come in and try and spoil everything at the last minute, let me just put in another vote for comedy.

Anonymous | November 5, 2005 10:34 AM


DonBoy | November 5, 2005 10:53 AM

There are 50 canonical gangster movies? I'm not sure I could get above naming 20 of any sort without help. That list would be more of a learning experience for me than the other two, where I'd expect to have seen 90% of the comedies and some smaller percentage of the horror movies.

Steven | November 5, 2005 11:43 AM


Doug Hoffman | November 5, 2005 11:44 AM

Tail wag for comedy.

John H | November 5, 2005 11:47 AM

How about war movies? Oh wait, that's not on the list.

Oh well - I already voted so I won't do it again.

Richard Campbell | November 5, 2005 01:05 PM

Gangster, although the odds don't look too good for it right now.

mdhatter | November 5, 2005 01:07 PM


also, GREAT! cover photo for the sci-fi. The horror should have had the Cabinet of Dr Caligari to keep pace.

Tom Nixon | November 5, 2005 01:35 PM


Spencer | November 5, 2005 02:12 PM

Horror, please

Nina Armstrong | November 5, 2005 03:03 PM

Comedy, please.

Paul | November 5, 2005 04:19 PM

I wasn't going to vote, because it looks like comedy has a pretty strong lead, but you never can tell.


Jan | November 5, 2005 04:56 PM

Gangsta, please.

Harry Connolly | November 5, 2005 05:02 PM


Djscman | November 6, 2005 02:59 AM

Comedy, please.

wendell | November 6, 2005 04:06 AM

Let's see... Comedy is just more fun, but with Horror we get to see a possible overlap with your SciFi list... Gangster movies? What editor woke up with a horse's head in his bed and decided to give them their own book?

Post a comment.

Comments are moderated to stop spam; if your comment goes into moderation, it may take a couple of hours to be released. Please read this for my comment moderation policies.
Preview will not show paragraph breaks. Trust me, they're there.
The proprietor generally responds to commenters in kind. If you're polite, he'll be polite. If you're a jackass, he'll be a jackass. If you are ignorant, he may correct you.
When in doubt, read the comment thread rules.

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)