1999 was an extremely good year for movies. Usually, I have a hard time finding 10 films that I really loved. But this year, gave me over 20. I still haven't even seen everything I want to, so this list is a little bit premature. I still haven't seen Talented Mr. Ripley, American Beauty, The Idiots, Topsy Turvy, The War Zone or The End Of The Affair.
Usually, it's pretty easy to make a list of my favourite films of the year in order. Not so with this year. The only two spots that are solid are 1 and 2. They're held by Fight Club and Magnolia respectively. Here's my top 10 films of the year in alphabetical order, followed by a list of other great films that were released this year.
Top 10 Favourite Films Of 1999 (In Alphabetical Order)
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
This film is so wonderfully original and bizarre, that it has to be in my top ten. Spike Jonze's direction is fantastically subtle, and really refreshing in a year where everything seemed to be extreme. Brilliant performances by all of the main cast, a great script, Jonze's firm direction, and fantastic cinematography make this film a keeper. It's destined to become a cult film, even though it did reasonably well at the box office.
BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
Martin Scorsese shouldn't have films like this. Bringing Out The Dead is an absolute marvel, and nobody went to see it. Scorsese's name should put asses in the seat. He's currently riding a string of 3 great films with Casino, Kundun, and now Bringing Out The Dead. Bringing Out The Dead is an adrenaline shot, not unlike Fight Club. Its kinetic style brings us into the Nicolas Cage's mind. We feel how crazy it gets out on the road as a paramedic, and we don't forget it soon. It would be a disservice to the film to go into it anymore, but I urge you to see it in a repertoire cinema if you can. It's a beautiful and stark film, that should be seen big and loud.
David Cronenberg is back in top form with eXistenZ. His quick little video game of a movie is the first great film I saw this year, and remained one of the best. I don't really know what to say about eXistenZ except maybe, if anyone says that The Matrix is better, stop talking to them. The Matrix and eXistenZ are nothing alike, so I really don't understand why I need to listen to people comparing them. eXistenZ is a hilarious film (Cronenberg's funniest film for sure), and flies by with a running time of around an hour and a half.
Best film of the year. I've never had a film speak so strongly to me before. Watching Fight Club, especially for a guy in his 20's to 30's is a blow to the gut. It urges you to get your fucking ass from behind that register, get your ass out of that waiter's uniform, and so on, and so on, and do something with your life. Find what you want to do in life, and don't stop until you get to do it. David Fincher directs the film, with incredible energy that puts most films to shame. Everything about Fight Club clicks (direction, performances, cinematography, script, score, effects, editing). Fight Club is an experience, which once again, should really be seen in a good theatre.
THE IRON GIANT
I like well made animated films. I love Toy Story (1 & 2), Aladdin, and The Lion King. The Iron Giant is one of the best animated films I've seen. Don't pay any attention to the horrible advertising job that Warner Brothers did on it. When I first saw it, I was so upset that I had only seen it on video. It's a beautiful film, with magnificent animation, a great heart (it's not sentimental though), and a clever and simple script. Director Brad Bird has a great grasp on how to make an exciting and at the same time, touching film. Go see it! If you can, rent the widescreen version, because the P&S version is horrible.
I don't want to say a lot about this since it just came out in wide release, and a lot of people probably haven't seen it. Magnolia is a giant film about a day in the life of 9 people in the Valley, and how their lives intersect. That's a pretty simple explanation, but it's really all you need to know going into it. Paul Thomas Anderson directs the film with wild assurance, the performances are all perfect, Aimee Mann's music is beautiful (pick up the soundtrack), and when it's all over, it's emotionally exhausting. But I think that's an extremely good thing.
Ravenous is a kick ass cannibal film. It's a perfect kick ass movie. This movie KICKS ASS!!!!!!! That's all I have to say about that.
RUN LOLA RUN
80 minutes of wild fun, with narrative and traditional pacing. Run Lola Run is one of the fastest films I've seen. It's an exercise in energy, that works tremendously well. A young woman named Lola has 20 minutes to get her boyfriend Manni 100,000 marks or else. It gets a little more complicated than that, but not by much. I'd never have thought that watching a film in which about 35 % or more or what happens is a woman with red hair running, would be so damn good. Get the subtitled version, since the dubbing sucks.
SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT
Woohoo! South Park is the funniest film of the year. It's also one of the best satires in years. It's also (and people may think this is a bold statement, but.) the best musical ever! If you're a fan of the show, you've probably seen it and loved it. If you haven't seen it yet, get to it! If you aren't that familiar with the show, I'd suggest watching a few episodes before seeing it, just so you can get to know the characters. At least one of its songs better be nominated for an Oscar! If at least What Would Brian Boitano Do? doesn't get nominated, then there's something seriously wrong with the Oscars (isn't there already though?).
TOY STORY 2
Kick ass, kick ass, kick ass! I've never seen a cartoon that kicks this much ass. Better than the original, and I LOVE the original. I own the laserdisc boxset, which I bought for $175 bucks for god's sake. So for me to say that this, the sequel, is better than the original, is saying a lot. This is an action movie for kids. The kid in me, was in full force when I saw this film. I went out and bought a big toy from the movie the next day. I know I should maybe be a little embarrassed by that, but I'm really not. Toy Story 2 is the best animated film I've ever seen, and I'd go so far as to saying it deserves a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. And if that song in the middle of it gets nominated, I'll scream. It's obviously a joke song, and only a retard would be blind to that.
Other films that I loved, and should be in my top 10 as well (in alphabetical order)
DEEP BLUE SEA
FREEWAY 2: CONFESSIONS OF A TRICKBABY
HANDS ON A HARDBODY
JULIEN DONKEY BOY
THE STRAIGHT STORY
WACKO'S WISH (straight to video Animaniacs feature)
Anyways, it's been a really good year, and I really hope that you folks go out and see films on my list that you haven't seen yet. I know that I haven't exactly been articulate, AGAIN. If you don't know what a movie's about, just go to http://www.imdb.com/ and find out. But please go see some of the films above. That's the only reason I write about them.