RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
Let’s REWIND to 1997.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics.You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
1997 was ruled by indie cinema (for me, at least) with several incredible hidden gems… along with the blockbuster juggernaut – the #1 movie at the box office, TITANIC, with $1.8 billion worldwide (not adjusted for inflation). With the awesome list of Honorable Mentions, this year has 20 films that are can’t-miss impressive. Meanwhile, in the dark corner of abandoned cinemas, shining turds like Chris Farley’s BEVERLY HILLS NINJA, the Keanu Reeves-less SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL, fab 5 flop SPICEWORLD, and Shaq’s STEEL stunk it up.
NERD ALERT: 1997 was the year of the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION. It was fantastic to see the movie on the big screen for teenage nerds like me at the time, but many of us were left scratching our heads at some of the revisions – ie: Han always shoots first.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the Best of ART VS POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Compelling film noir starring Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Kim Bassinger, and Guy Pearce.
9. EVE’S BAYOU
A hidden gem mystery / coming of age. Amazing character piece. Starring an all black female cast (and director) with Samuel L Jackson producing and in a small role.
8. THE ICE STORM
Ang Lee takes on the 70s focusing on an average suburban family in Connecticut. Events center around infidelity and a key party. Incredible cast led by Kevin Kline, Tobey Maguire, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, Katie Holmes, and Elijah Wood. Dark comedy and cynical social commentary. A real surprise.
Sci-fi fans who dug on ARRIVAL take notice! Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey star in this realistic approach on alien contact from mastermind scientist/author Carl Sagan.
6. CHASING AMY
One of Kevin Smith’s best films. While it may not be his funniest, it is his most dramatic. The emotion rings true. Dialogue crackles. R-rated raunchy comedy with honest heartfelt romance. Ben Affleck stars as a comic book artist who falls in love with a lesbian.
5. JACKIE BROWN
Quentin Tarantino takes on someone else’s material for the first time with this Elmore Leonard film noir adaption. The flavourful dialogue is still there, but the story may take some getting used to as it settles in. For cinephiles who like hanging out with interesting characters. Stars 70s blaxpoitation star Pam Grier with an impressive performance.
4. BOOGIE NIGHTS
Paul Thomas Anderson (THERE WILL BE BLOOD, MAGNOLIA) takes on the porn industry. What starts as a comedy shifts into tragedy. Mark Wahlberg proved he could act with his layered performance here. An astounding supporting cast includes Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham and Burt Reynolds.
3. THE FIFTH ELEMENT
The most imaginative sci-fi fantasy not called STAR WARS. Original in concept and in style, Luc Besson takes us on a truly phenomenal adventure. Stars Bruce Willis in his last best role, Gary Oldman as an over-the-top villain, Chris Tucker as a love him or hate him scene-stealer, and introducing Milla Jovovich as a ‘supreme’ ass-kicker. If it wasn’t for some all-time greats above it, this cult classic would have been the best of the year.
Combining spectacle, adventure, tragedy, and romance in all the best ways, James Cameron crafted one of the best movies ever made. The legend is obvious. While many have learned to crap on this epic tale, the first experience was undeniably entirely enthralling. Made a mega-star out of Leonardo DiCaprio and a critical darling out of Kate Winslet.
1. PRINCESS MONONOKE
This may shock some readers. As a fan of adventure and fantasy, rarely has a film transported me as completely as Miyazaki’s masterpiece. Imbued with rich themes. Totally intense R-rated action. Stunning spectacle. Beautiful imagination. A full heart. This movie is what makes cinema special. If it wasn’t for animation, this story couldn’t be told. Today, 20 years later (?!), technology may pull it off, but it won’t match the whimsy of hand-drawn art.
NOTE: Just because this is Japanese and subtitled, don’t dismiss it. Miramax bought the film and added an all-star cast which includes Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett, and Gillian Anderson.
AUSTIN POWERS / DONNIE BRASCO / FACE/OFF / THE GAME / GOOD WILL HUNTING / LOST HIGHWAY / THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK / MEN IN BLACK / SCREAM 2 / STARSHIP TROOPERS
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
AIR FORCE ONE / ALIEN: RESURRECTION / AMISTAD / ANACONDA / AS GOOD AS IT GETS / BATMAN & ROBIN / BOOTY CALL / THE BOXER / BREAKDOWN / CON AIR / CONSPIRACY THEORY / COP LAND / CUBE / DANTE’S PEAK / THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE / THE DEVIL’S OWN / THE EDGE / EVENT HORIZON / GATTACA / G.I. JANE / GRIDLOCK’D / GROSSE POINTE BLANK / I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER / KISS THE GIRLS / KUNDUN / LIAR LIAR / LIVE FLESH / MIMIC / MONEY TALKS / MURDER AT 1600 / NOTHING TO LOSE / ORGAZMO / PRIVATE PARTS / THE RELIC / ROMY & MICHELLE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION / SELENA / SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET / THE SPANISH PRISONER / SPAWN / THE SWEET HEREAFTER / U TURN / VEGAS VACATION / VOLCANO / WAG THE DOG / WAITING FOR GUFFMAN
MY MUST-WATCH LIST
notable films i must see
ABSOLUTE POWER / THE FULL MONTY / MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING / NIL BY MOUTH / ULEE’S GOLD / WELCOME TO SARAJEVO / THE WINGS OF THE DOVE
What do you think?
Stay tuned for more REWIND & RANK.