I've checked out Citizen Kane from my local library three times now. But it wasn't until this past Sunday that I actually got around to watching it.
It's the epic story of America's most powerful man, Charles Foster Kane, who managed to burn through a sizable inheritance by pouring it all into his newspaper, The Inquirer. It edged out Casablanca and the grossly overrated The Godfather as AFI's top movie of all time.
Unfortunately, thanks to pop culture (and, specifically, The Simpsons), I've known the ending to Citizen Kane long before I knew anything else about the film. It's a shame, really, considering that it's a bit of a "surprise" (artificial? manufactured?) ending.
I can see why the movie was so highly rated, though. I didn't expect such beauty. Its cinematography easily rivals anything going on today (indeed, it's a lot more experimental than what I would have thought and what happens now -- a simple conversation in a room filmed from the floor's perspective?), and its sheer scope (and length) lend to its epic weight. It's a surprisingly lucid black and white film. Costumes and makeup (which was important since characters are shown at different ages) are very good, and the story is very good. The pacing and development, however, are a little off. It's a grand movie of a grand tale, but it's not absolutely perfect.
On a side note, which is really all they deserve, I also watched Chocolat and The Devil Wears Prada last week. ... Okay, for mindless entertainment, they actually weren't that bad.