Friday, April 04, 2008

Some Great Nineties Films

This week’s Friday Feature lists ten amazing films of the nineties. And to make the usual disclaimer, listing a film does not mean I therefore endorse all of its content, any more than reading Macbeth is a tacit shout-out to regicide.

1. Braveheart: Virtually flawless, and that without CGI. A friend and I saw the midnight sneak preview in Budapest and were just blown away. Mel Gibson as William Wallace is great, but Robert the Bruce steals the show: “My hate will die… with you.”

2. Twelve Monkeys: Best time-travel movie ever, especially because it’s one of the few in which the past cannot be changed. And Brad Pitt is brilliant.

3. The Big Lebowski: What made this a-here story that Sam Elliot unfolded so perfect was that the plot was so convoluted, and The Dude was about the most ill-equipped person to deal with it. This film, for me, will forever be associated with the “Big Lebowski Night” that a few of us seminarians celebrated with Darryl Hart, which consisted of, among other things, In ‘n’ Out Burger, White Russians, and a bowling tournament featuring the Nihilists vs. the Caucasians, complete with a Big Lebowski Cup which Darryl made out of a Folgers can and stick-on letters.

4. Forrest Gump: Call me sappy, but I love this movie. Only a great film can make you nostalgic for a period of time during which you weren’t even alive (not that I need more reasons for nostalgia, mind you).

5. The Usual Suspects: So unique a film, so unexpected an ending. And what a cast.

6. Good Will Hunting: If you’ve not seen the extended scenes on the DVD, you must. It’s hard to believe that Matt Damon and (pre-toothjob) Ben Affleck were unheard of until this film came out. In my opinion, this movie represents the best work from either of these actors (though for the latter that’s not saying much). And is it me, or could you slay a thousand Philistines with Minnie Driver’s jawbone?

7. Se7en: I’m still shuddering, especially about how eerily correctly a serial killer can understand and interpret natural law (excuse the profanity, all you Barthians).

8. Fight Club: OK, this is the last Brad Pitt film, I promise. Though some see Tyler Durden as the butt of David Fincher’s joke, I like to think that that honor belongs to you, the American consumer.

9. American Movie: You probably haven't heard of this one, but you must see it immediately. You will swear after ten minutes that it is a "mockumentary" akin to Waiting For Guffman, but, unfortunately, it is very real. Words fail to capture the horror and glee that we felt when DRD's own "ACD" found this film on VHS at some thrift store while we in seminary and screened it for us. Long live Mike Schank, vot-ka, and scratch-off lotto.

10. The Matrix: Ever feel like Neo, and that "there is no spoon"? If you see this film while simultaneously reading Orwell’s 1984, I’d say you need a healthy dose of Vosian eschatology to cure your depression.

Honorable mentions go to Reality Bites, Dances With Wolves, The Shawshank Redemption, Rounders, Before Sunrise/Sunset, The Sixth Sense, and Donnie Brasco.