18 November 2011

Andy's Friday Five: 1998

1998 is really the year of my guilty pleasures. I doubt most of the films in my Top 5 will be on any other, and I'm perfectly fine about that. These films are just, in my humble opinion, bloody friggin' awesome. The category before the Top 5 list a lot of regular titles you'll see on lists, and although they are good - hell, even great films - when compared to the flicks on my Top 5, I just don't watch them as frequently as I do the ones I selected, nor does my heart flutter quite as much. Yeah, yeah, here's me going all mushy over flicks. Anyway, so check out below for my top picks of 1998. Now what are yours?

Previous Entries:
1990 | 1995 | 1997 | 2000

I Still Love These Movies, But They Don't Take the Cake
Lost in Space - Just had the pleasure of rewatching this recently, and with the exception of a really bad Gary Oldman, I frakkin' LOVED this. The story was tight and intelligent, the kid roles were tolerable, the leads were fun, Matt LeBlanc did a hilariously bad Han Solo impression, the miniature effects were really well done (highly detailed), the SPFX was spiffy and hold up even now over a decade later, and frankly, I love Lost in Space enough that I want a damn sequel.

GODZILLA - Since the age of 3, I have loved Godzilla more than nearly anything else, a love rivaled only by Batman. I like this movie, but it's more a remake of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms than it is remotely a Godzilla film.

Can't Hardly Wait - Teen sex comedy. <3 Furthermore, this flick is basically one giant 'Hey, it's THAT guy!' celebrity cameo fest. For realziez.

Halloween: H20 - Could have been sooo much better, but for what it is, this seventh film of the franchise ain't terrible. Boasts one hell of an ending. But the Michael Myers mask...ugh, I cringe to this day.

Deep Impact - Move aside Armageddon, I choose this world-ending-by-asteroid film over you any day of the week.

Saving Private Ryan - Without fail, whenever this film is playing on TNT, I always tune into the scene where a soldier gets a knife slowly pushed into his heart, and by God, does that just irk me. As for the whole movie, well, it's fantastic. Don't watch it often, but when I do, it's always a heart-pounding experience.

American History X - Also just saw this fairly recently, and was mighty impressed.

Meet Joe Black - Dunno what it is with me and liking films that include manifestations of Death. Though, I'm quite confidant the inclusion of Claire Forlani has something to do with my like for this movie.

Andy's Favorite Five of 1998
5. Run, Lola Run
Similar to choice #1, Run, Lola Run (that sorta rhymed) was a result of class assignment. We watched it together about three or four years ago, and it was just another one of those 'falling in love' moments. This is one of those instances where a clever idea and a creative director come together to make one hell of a fascinating movie. It's basically one story told different ways three times, each time with factors that create a different endgame in the 20 minutes the redhead, Lola, is allotted to save her boyfriend, Manny, who honestly doesn't seem worth the hassle. But it is what it is. The inventiveness of the situations, and surprisingly, the emotions that come out of it - especially during the bank scenes, where revelation after revelation hits Lola - is surprising, fresh, raw, and real. For someone who wants action, they'll get plenty of that; for someone looking for good story and characters, there's still that, too, which is even more impressive given its small runtime. Run, Lola Run is an experience. Much like 24. Oooooh! Now THERE'S a show: Lola - 20/4. Alright, I'm sold. Wait, what was I saying? Yes, Run, Lola Run: one hell of a wild ride that you'll want to get on again and again and again.

4. The Mask of Zorro
Every frame, every line, every track, every performance: frakkin' phenomenal. The Mask of Zorro is one of those movies, for me, that no matter the amount of hateration someone else throws on it, no matter how much someone points out whatever flaws it may have, or no matter someone just disagreeing flat out that this flick has any redeeming value - I will be unfazed. I love this movie. I fell in love instantly at the age of eight, and at my ancient age of 21, I'm still head over inexpensive shoes in love with it. There is not one bad beat in the whole film. The cinematography is gorgeous. Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous. Anthony Hopkins is awesome. Antonio Banderas is awesome, hilarious, and can kick major ass. The sword battles - which I admit helped my eight year old self fall in love far easier than the 'talkie' scenes - are spectacular, swift in motion, beautiful and mesmerizing to watch. There's revenge, there's morality, there's romance, there's action/adventure, there's humor. That's what you get when you have a fantastic cast and crew on hand. Martin Campbell directs this beautiful film, a man who, until Green Lantern, I was pretty confidant could do no wrong; Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio prove right here that they are the cleverest screenwriters around, and each of the actors display their rightful star power with every scene. Love, love, love, love, LOVE me some Mask of Zorro. So you can only imagine how much I was looking forward to its sequel. Yeah, that didn't sit well with me...

3. Mulan
Confession time: I'm 21, in college, and I still sing those damn songs from this flick. "I'll Make a Man Out of You", for instance. So bloody catchy. There's not a lot of Disney movies I love or enjoy, but Mulan is one of the titles that I can't get enough of. When I found it in the $5 bin at Half Price Books, there probably wasn't a happier person on the planet at that time. I'll just list some stuff I love about my favorite Disney flick: the voice of Eddie Murphy as Mulan's dragon guardian Mushu. This is one of Murphy's funniest roles, and Mushu simply looks awesome. I want my own Mushu. The character of Mulan is interesting. This girl who really sucks at adhering to the cultural 'norm' of what her gender should do in society, and out of her compassion for her father, takes up his position in the army to fight in a war, considering she's never even been in battle before [leading to the awesome 'We Are Men' montage]. She's written extremely well, and moreso than coolio dragon Mushu, it's her journey that keeps me coming back for more. The animation is exquisite. At least for me, this is the style I like and appreciate. And how they animated the Huns - man, I was petrified as a kid by the main bad guy, his bright, evily yellow eyes, long flowing black hair, and one hell of a sharp, scary blade. And the climax in the heart of China - spectacular! Explosions, sword fights, even cross dressing in a Disney flick - Mulan is FUN!

2. The Faculty
Pure enjoyment, nonstop from beginning to end. Not only does the cast of people involve make me fall in love with the film alone - Elijah Wood, Kevin Williamson, Robert Rodriguez, Josh Hartnett, Jean Grey - but the movie itself is hilarious, intelligent, intense, and simply awesome. Apologies for using 'awesome' as a descriptive way of talking about a film, but really, it applies. Look at that photo to the left, how does this super-sized alien that wants to take over the planet, starting at a school, not look awesome? For some, this regrettably probably looks rather rubbish, and I don't blame them, but there's something about this film that just clicks with me. A really damn good aliens-invading-my-high-school flick, with a clever script filled with Kevin Williamson trademarks: smart twists, interesting characters, clever/witty dialogue. And, just to compliment how much I love monster suit designs, they give us that gorgeous thing photoed left. Yes, I very much want an action figure of that. So, in conclusion, The Faculty is right up my alley. I love aliens, I like high school stories when they aren't directly related to me, and combining aliens and high school is a pretty nifty idea, and could be entertaining as hell if executed right. The Faculty is executed right.

1. Pleasantville
This is perhaps the most unexpected inclusion on the list. I saw this for the first time as part of a class assignment. Something about symbolism, I figure. Point is, as I was watching it, I fell in love. So much so, that the next day I made a trek over to Sam's Club, and bought this baby for less than $4. If that DVD has a commentary, I probably listened to it. For about a good week or two, I was fully enamored by Pleasantville and everything pertaining to it. I loved the black & white, I love Tobey and Reese, I loved how characters gained color and changed, I loved the different ways a person can interpret the film, how you can tackle it from different perspectives and it somehow works within that structure/theory. It's a movie that's both innocent fun and multilayered. And, even more awesome, the more times I watch it, I pick up on new things. Frankly, it's been awhile, but I hope to remedy that really soon. Pleasantville was a welcome surprise, a flick I didn't expect anything from, and lo and behold, became an instant favorite of mine. This is my Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

1 comment:

GreatMovieProject said...

I own a good third of these, but I still have nightmares whenever I think about Mask of Zorro or Godzilla, both of which were shown on a VERY long flight from Johannesburg to NYC that had run of our alcohol.

LOVE Can't Hardly Wait. One of my favorite movies of that year.