Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore .

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore .

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT SOERGEL

Well, that was close. We almost thought we'd have to get the Supreme Court involved in this decision.

But the final tally stands - and as voting closed at noon Tuesday, Star Wars slid by The Wizard of Oz by just seven votes to win the science-fiction/horror/fantasy bracket of the Great American Movie Showdown. The final tally: 669-662.

The lead changed several times in the last hours, reflecting how popular each movie is. Oz is one of the most beloved and most-watched films in history, with classic tunes, iconic images and characters, and a story that's inspired nightmares and dreams. But it fell to the cultish fever that has stricken so many ever since Luke Skywalker first strolled up the Tatooine desert, a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away - in other words, in 1977 in the two-screen theater in your neighborhood shopping mall.

Apparently not even Jar Jar Binks and the embarrassing lovey-dovey talk of George Lucas' Star Wars prequels could soil the luster of the original. So now it's only one of four films left standing out of the 64 that began the Great American Movie Showdown back on March 15.

Oz was the first top seed to fall. The other three made it to the final four, setting up today's showdown of Star Wars vs. Animal House and Gone With the Wind vs. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Eat your heart out, NCAA.

Neither of the top Sci-fi/Horror/Fantasy films had a serious challenge on the way to this squeaker of a showdown. Oz crushed Night of the Living Dead, Silence of the Lambs and the first Lord of the Rings. And Star Wars had it easy with Back to the Future, The Exorcist and even E.T.: The Extra-Terrrestrial.

In the comedy contest, let's pause here to give kudos to Mel Brooks' nutty Blazing Saddles. It raised some eyebrows - OK, those were our eyebrows - as it beat Brooks' own Young Frankenstein by an almost two-to-one margin before galloping by Airplane! and into the final eight. Didn't see that coming.

But it couldn't survive its duel with the top-seeded comedy, Animal House. That fraternity romp was fondly remembered by voters, who had given it easy victories over the lightweight Sixteen Candles, the classic It Happened One Night and the whimsical Princess Bride. …

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