AFInity: Some Like It Hot

By Kim Hollis

July 24, 2009

That's some pajama party.

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We're a list society. From Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die to BOP's very own Best Horror Films (one of our most popular features ever), people love to talk about lists. They love to debate the merits of the "winners" and bemoan the exclusions, and start the whole process again when a new list captures pop culture fancy.

Perhaps one of the best-known, most widely discussed lists is the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies. A non-profit organization known for its efforts at film restoration and screen education, the AFI list of the 100 best American movies was chosen by 1,500 leaders in the movie industry and announced in its first version in 1998. Since then, the 100 Years... 100 Movies list has proven to be so popular that the AFI came forth with a 10th anniversary edition in 2007, along with other series such as 100 Heroes and Villains, 100 Musicals, 100 Laughs and 100 Thrills.

In addition to talking about which films are deserving of being on the list and bitterly shaking our fists because a beloved film was left out, we also love to brag about the number of movies we've seen. As I was looking over the 100 Years... 100 Movies list recently, I realized that I've seen 47 - less than half. As a lover of film and writer/editor for a movie site, this seemed like a wrong that needed to remedied. And so an idea was born. I would watch all 100 movies on the 2007 10th Anniversary list - some of them for the first time in as much as 20 or more years - and ponder their relevance, worthiness and influence on today's film industry. With luck, I'll even discover a few new favorites along the way.


#22: Some Like It Hot

"I just always think, 'Do I like it?' And if I like it, maybe other people will come and like it too." --Billy Wilder

If the AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies list is any indication, people liked Billy Wilder's movies. Four of his films appear on the list - both in its original 1998 form and its tenth anniversary edition. The Apartment, Double Indemnity, Some Like It Hot and Sunset Boulevard all provide top-notch entertainment even as they cover a variety of genres. I've long counted myself a great fan of The Apartment and the Humphrey Bogart/Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy Sabrina, but despite my keen interest in Wilder's work, I'd somehow never gotten around to seeing Some Like It Hot (a particularly egregious omission considering that I always love Jack Lemmon). Since it was airing on HDNet Movies, it seemed the perfect time to knock #22 off the AFInity list. Would I enjoy it as much as Wilder (and Lemmon's) other work? And would it stand up alongside other titles from the 100 Years... 100 Movies list?

Some Like It Hot features Lemmon and Tony Curtis as a pair of musicians named Jerry and Joe who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time as they witness a mob massacre in Chicago (on St. Valentine's Day, no less). With the gangster boss threatening to find and eliminate them, the guys decide that it's time to skedaddle. In order to make themselves scarce, they disguise themselves as women so that they can join an all-female band that will be performing in Miami. Complications naturally ensue, particularly when the guys befriend one of their bandmates, the luscious, ditzy Sugar (Marilyn Monroe).

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