Top 16 Of The Year
Fight Club - The only movie that raised even a touch of
controversy this year turned out to be nothing more than a catharsis
of nihilism with cool guys saying cool things shot from cool angles.
This almost makes up for the Mortal Combat movies.
Being John Malkovich - It starts off weird and just KEEPS...
GETTING.... WEIRDER. Thank you Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman for
the puppetry, the monkey flashback and the Catherine Keener.
The Insider - Like Apollo 13, Man on the Moon
and other real-life docu-pics that you know the ending going into
the movie, The Insider's surprises come from the characters'
portrayal of the familiar and what they add to it. Russell Crowe
more than holds his own with Coach Hoo-Wah!, and even if Christopher
Plummer doesn't look a thing like Mike Wallace, he's the only person
in the movie that gets Pacino to yell.
American Movie - We laughed out loud. And then we wanted
to go make movies.
American Beauty - Could be subtitled "I LIKE IT WHEN YOU
CALL ME BIG POPPA". Once you get past the creepy Lolita-redux,
you're left with a well-documented American male mid-life crisis.
Whether the world needs another paean to male empathy is a reasonable
question, but it's Spacey that turns this into a masculinized Sunset
Boulevard (check out the beginning of both movies...William
Holden face down in the pool, Kevin Spacey face down in the bed,
both with voiceover. Hello?)
Magnolia - Some say its' too long, some say it's been done,
but I say they are going to be picking this movie apart in film
school long after Philip Seymour Hoffman receives his first actor
Rushmore - Sure, it came out in '98 in L.A. and New York
to qualify for Oscar nominations (and a lot of good that did Bill
Murray! For shame, Academy!) Still, it's all the good Hal Ashby
movies rolled into one, and a soundtrack that actually IMPROVED
your record collection.
The Matrix - Witty in a way that the best comic books are,
The Matrix's left-field success is usually attributed to
its' story, or the never-before seen effects (which aren't as impressive
now that they are used in K-mart commercials), but I think in our
pop culture-craving / nostalgia-fueled ltimes, The Matrix
stood out because it had genuinely cool catchphrases.. THERE IS
NO SPOON may be the non-sequitur of the year.
Go! - Because of its fiddling with non-linear story-telling,
no critic could resist comparing Go! to Pulp Fiction.
When Go! hit theaters, nobody went because we're all very
full of Mr. Tarantino, thank you. Thankfully, a lot of people are
checking out Go! and it's ELEVEN deleted scenes (more Sarah
Polley, s'il-vous plait) on DVD. We would encourage you to as well.
Election - Ferris Bueller's Rainy Day. Alexander Payne makes
a high school movie for adults that makes you want to find out who
at MTV films green-lighted this movie and give them a Head of Production
job at MGM.
The Blair Witch Project - The best ending to a movie this
Limbo - The best non-ending to a movie this year.
Run Lola Run - Caffeinated crack. It's dazzling and you
almost don't even need subtitles.
Twin Falls Idaho - What I thought was going to be dark and
Lynch-ian turned out to be as warm and fuzzy as Lynch's own film,
The Straight Story. Double your weirdness with the best siamese
twin love triangle of the year.
The Iron Giant - For a long time, this was one of my favorite
movies of the year. Now I know it is my favorite movie of the year.
The Iron Giant is one of those Jumanji-style movies
that years from now, children walking on a beach in Africa will
find and discover the wonder of it for the first time. Enjoy it,
Three Kings - Another movie that took a left turn as soon
as you sat down and kept going in the most unexpected places. Clooney
and Wahlberg can have their homo-erotic chemistry. It's Spike Jonze
again who steals all the love with his backwoods Walter Huston who
doesn't have a day job.