Trolling #52: Citizen Kane SUCKS!

CITIZEN KANE, Orson Welles, 1941, astride stacks of newspaper

I would have to go after the big dog eventually.

Do I need to recount the reputation that Orson Welles’ 1941 classic Citizen Kane has in the eyes of the world? This was the film that, despite having lost the Best Picture Oscar to How Green Was My Valley, has gone on to be voted the #1 film of all time on every single BFI Sight & Sound poll starting in 1962, only losing the top spot in 2012 (Vertigo, man… I sense a rivalry growing). But beyond that, I shouldn’t need to say that there is a general critical consensus amongst both critics and casual filmgoers that Citizen Kane really is the greatest film of all time. On any and all casual film polls, it often beats out everything, only ever vying with Casablanca or maybe Bicycle Thieves as the best ever.

There is, however, a strong and vocal contingent of naysayers in the world. Professional critics tend to vaunt Citizen Kane without question, but there is a camp of civilian Kane-haters who find the film to be – horror of horrors – less than perfect, and who are particularly annoyed by the world’s constant insistence that they should be enjoying this film they find boring. How could you not, naysayers? How could you not like the greatest movie of all time?

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To them, this installment Trolling is dedicated. If it is the job of Trolling to look at beloved movies and put our fingers in the cracks, then it was just a matter of time before we got to the best movie of all time. And here’s the thing: Citizen Kane, for however brilliant its reputation would insist it is, has cracks to probe. Indeed, once, you start rooting around, one may find that this glittering untouchable edifice might be worthy of a few solid cannon shots. I offer a voice of dissent to the small klatch of Kane naysayers. Putting my critical reputation on the line, and bravely standing in a contrary position, I declare the following: Citizen Kane SUCKS.

Trolling has been active for one year. Let’s get to pissing some people off:  

 

Citizen Kane is, to most people, a towering drama, a visually complex masterpiece, and, plainly spoken, a great film. There are hundreds of essays and books and lectures that detail exactly why Citizen Ken deserves to be called the greatest movie of all time (and indeed, I wrote one myself for CraveOnline in the past). But for every 1000 people who say that Kane is peerless, grand, untouchable, the greatest film of all time… there will be one quiet voice who dares to speak the truth: the film is arch, conceited, needlessly complicated, and even boring. Citizen Kane, we may declare, is overrated.

If you haven’t seen it, of course, let me know what you think.

Until next week, let the hate mail flow.  


Witney Seibold is a contributor to the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly Trolling articles here on Crave, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.