AFI's Top 100 Thrillers Overlooked One Important 'Muse': Sharon Stone

The recently unveiled list of the 100 greatest movie thrillers contained few shocks for me. "Psycho" (1960), of course, was No. 1 in the American Film Institute's ratings.

Don't know if you remember, but the turning point for the Janet Leigh character occurs near the start of the movie when she is driving this way from Phoenix and comes to a fork in the road. A sign says Bakersfield is one way, L.A. the other. She chooses Bakersfield. She gets no sympathy from me.

Anyway, "Jaws" (1975) was No. 2, followed by "The Exorcist" (1973), "North by Northwest" (1959) and "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991).

I was mildly jolted by the No. 43 ranking of "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). I haven't seen it in a long time. It's a thriller? Did Anthony Perkins play the Wicked Witch?

Then there's "Speed" (No. 99), which is about a Southern California bus that is wired with an explosive that will detonate if the bus' speed falls below 50 mph

In rush-hour traffic, yet.

With a premise that ridiculous, "Speed" should have been ranked on a list of the 100 greatest screen comedies.

Unreal estate: Some of the films on the list, rather than exciting me, bring a lump to my throat. Take No. 24 "Double Indemnity" (1941). Fred MacMurray, the narrator in the murder film, says of the mansion occupied by Barbara Stanwyck: "It was one of those California-Spanish houses everyone was nuts about 10 or 15 years ago. This one must have cost somebody about 30,000 bucks--that is, if he ever finished paying for it."

That's when I start sobbing, thinking about how much we paid for our house.

Buyer beware: H. Donofrio of Glendora found a mansion for sale for quite a bit more than $30,000. This despite a scary interior design (see accompanying) that is reminiscent, I believe, of the house in "Poltergeist" (1982), which is No. 84 on the movie list.

Stupid Driver Tricksters, take note: On a highway in southern Arizona, Arthur Sylvester noticed a sobering sign (see photo) that sounded like something out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956), No. 47 on the list. Actually, Sylvester said, the sponsor is a group fighting world overpopulation.

Fish story: By now you know that Sharon Stone's husband, San Francisco editor Phil Bronstein, was bitten by a Komodo dragon the other day at the L.A. Zoo. The private visit with the big lizard was her Father's Day gift for him.

It occurred to me that she (and Bronstein) could have avoided this disaster if she had heeded her own advice in the movie "Muse" (1999) and chosen another local attraction.

In "Muse," Stone portrays a mysterious character who can inspire artists. She is hired by writer's block-sufferer Albert Brooks and theorizes that the one place that can revitalize him is an aquarium.

Thus, her unforgettable line in the movie: "Let's go to Long Beach!"

I can't remember a Long Beach Aquarium creature ever attacking a visitor. Of course "Muse" didn't make the list of 100 top thrillers, either.

miscelLAny: Michael Schwartz of L.A. spotted a domain-for-sale sign on Mulholland Drive and wondered if it had represented a now-defunct business (see photo). As Schwartz said of the owner: "Think his luck ran out?"


Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., 90012 and by e-mail at

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