|1999 Top Ten|
Copyright © 1999 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
What a wonderful year for film! Some folks say,
"They don't make them like they used to." Save for a
handful of classics spanning the century; each year
cinematography, acting, directing, writing has gotten
better and better! I find that very exciting.
Of the nearly 150 films I've seen this year (drum roll please) here are my top ten picks. The first three stand way out from the crowd. (Btw, surfer's who've sent in their opinions have also selected "The Sixth Sense" as the number one film of 1999.)
The Sixth Sense A+
Excellent. Go see it. "The Sixth Sense" bills itself as a psychological thriller, but it's really more of a supernatural adventure picture that will "raise those prickly hairs on the back of your neck." Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist trying to "heal" a paranoid boy (Osment). The boy's affliction: he's always scared. And he has good reason to be.
Toy Story 2 A+
Magnificent, super fantastic, rich, wonderful, full, stop-what-your-doing-and-go-see-it appeal. Where can I start? Voices? Terrific. How about visuals and art direction? Superb. Action? Comedy? Fun? Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay, then screenplay and story line? Better than the original "Toy Story." A mere ounce of this carefully refined script could fuel a rocketship to infinity and beyond!
"Magnolia" is magnificent! You know those plate jugglers? The ones that start a plate spinning up on a bendy rod. That's impressive enough, isn't it? But they set up another and another, until there are nine plates tottering on sticks all over the stage. Then you're not only impressed, but you start to feel like your attention or your muse or your thoughts themselves are like wobbling plates. You slowly come to realize that the able juggler has a plan larger than tableware ... you've been set spinning on a bendy rod. Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson is that juggler.
Tea With Mussolini A
Cher shines with the spirit of "Life is Beautiful," but she is just one of the many directed to near performance perfection in this finely scripted production of life for elite Brit's in W.W.II Italy.
Runaway Bride A
Galloping onto the screen, a bride in full gown rides horseback through a field of tall grass accompanied by U2's "Still haven't found what I'm looking for." "Runaway Bride" puts a strong hoof forward and never looks back. It's a film full of solid, polished dialogue with a great premise, a clinch cast and veteran director. It won't leave you sobbing at the altar.
Office Space A
"It's not that I'm lazy -- I just don't care," Peter (Livingston) explains to the two shocked efficiency experts hired to down-size the software company at which he works. Peter is the generic every-person toiling with traffic, patronizing bosses, temperamental office equipment and the Y2K problem. One day all that unspoken tension comes to a boiling point, but instead of exploding ... it dissipates, leaving him in a floating state of Nirvana.
Children of Heaven A
This is a sweet film about a boy, his sister and shoes. Ali is a 10 year old living in a small town in Iran. His family is poor and behind in rent payments; his mother ill. Ali sincerely tries to help out, but he ends up losing his little sister Zahra's shoes during an errand to have them repaired. (Subtitles.)
"When one person has the opportunity to live an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself." This quote, scribbled in a book at the Rushmore School library, sums up the eccentric film.
"Tarzan" swings onto the screen with the power and grace of a charging cheetah. The story of a lost infant in an African jungle is told richly with music (Phil Collins) and colorful images. You know the rest: British anthropologists, Professor Porter and daughter Jane, come to observe while their bodyguard, Clayton, upsets the jungle paradise.
Man on the Moon A
Jim Carrey portrays the eccentric, controversial comic Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) who charmed audiences with his Latka character on the 1970's sitcom "Taxi," shocked millions with his disruptive antics on the live-taped "Fridays," baffled all of us with his incitingly sexist challenges to wrestle women on TV, and finally left us in 1984 wondering if his death was just another prank.
The runners up:
Return With Honor
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Anywhere But Here
T2:3D (only at Universal Studios)
So run that tape cleaner through your VCR and stop by your local video rental store. Hey, here's a home sound system tip. Dolby's Pro-Logic Surround Systems are quite inexpensive these days due to the newer digital decks (I've seen the amp + 5 speakers for as low as $250). Pro-logic (make sure the deck says specifically "Pro-Logic") is still a fine product, coupled with a VCR sporting hi-fi Stereo -- you can be hearing movies better in your home than in many theater houses.