spends a lot of hours in the dark. Yeah, its hard
to believe that I get paid for this, and it is also harder
work than youd think. Most of the time, when the end
credits roll, Im out of the theater faster than buckshot
out of a shotgun. The Best Film of the Year left yours truly
so emotionally ragged that I couldnt get my legs moving
for a good ten minutes when it was done. More affecting
than his Schindlers List (and dontcha know
that this MOT is going to burn for that one), Saving
Private Ryan and its director Steven Spielberg
take top honors in both categories. And, even though its
usually not mentioned in any year end wrap-up, the flicks
sound design, supervised by Gary Rydstrom is the
most truly amazing piece of work this ex-soundman has ever
heard coming from the big screen.
in alphabetical order:
Civil Action which, had all my body parts
continued to work after SPR, would probably have the
top slot. Across the board great casting and performances
from John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub
and William H. Macy in a legal tale where
every twist of the law was explained simply and cleanly.
and Monsterswill appear several times on
this list. In the same way that Truman Show and
Pleasantville are similarly themed, so are Gods
and Monsters and the earlier Love and Death on
Long Island (with a great perf by John Hurt).Outstanding
acting across the board from Ian McKellen, Brendan
Fraser and Lynn Redgrave in another one of
those "based on a true story" flicks that
normally would make you groan. Keep reading.
is Beautiful from Italian artist Roberto
Begnini achieved the impossible by using the Holocaust
as backdrop for an intensely touching and romantic story
of a father doing his utmost to protect his child and
the Catholic wife who will not be separated from her
started at the top of the "movies" list, but
Cranky's seen it three times now and it gets better
with every viewing. Once you get past the real people
in TVland premise watching the imaginary world come
into its own and make its own discoveries is a bewitching
thing. William H. Macy, Jeff Daniels and Joan
Allen all made my best of list. But only one gets
his/her picture on page four . . .
Colors is probably gonna get overlooked
because we're all sick of Bill Clinton and the Washington
right wing, but this was a great flick. From Joe Klein's
"anonymous" novel, if you watch Emma Thompson's
perf closely, and make the great assumption that what
comes out of her mouth probably came out of Hillary
Clinton's as well, the entire Monicagate mess is revealed.
John Travolta is fab as the Prez, but he'll get
his nomination for A Civil Action. Available
in Love is even more clever than the next
film on this list. Only an English neighbor, who reports
that Gwyneth Paltrow can't do a Brit accent worth
a damn, didn't like it. It's a great story spun from
no historical fact but the words penned by one William
Shakespeare. You don't have to know anything more than
basic Bard, 'cuz this sucker is funny and romantic and
beautifully produced; an out and out good time with
great perfs by Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Rupert
Everett and Tom Wilkinson.
Truman Show was the first "most clever"
of the year, and the first to insert a real person into
a television show. That being said, it also marked Jim
Carrey's breakthrough as a dramatic performer and
was cynical enough that the GenXers bore with it. Ed
Harris was a helluva lot more fun in this flick
than he was in Stepmom.Available
General, from director John Boorman
tells the tale of an Irish thug who ran rings around
legit and illegit society. What could have been bleak
and nasty -- the lead character is not a nice guy
-- has a lot of humor and is downright interesting
to watch. Brendan Gleeson is a name to remember.
Jon Voight gives one of his most subtle, and
best, performances in forever.
I'll be damned if I list Edward Norton for American
History X, when he gives a more rounded support
performance in this flick, with star Matt Damon.
You don't have to know poker to like a tale with good
characters and a clear story.