A Film for Every Year, Part II
Action! Here's my part the second of the meme of the moment, where you pick your favorite movie released during each year you've been alive. Part one was 1971-1985. Part two is from 1986 right on up to this very second. Hang on, it's a long one!
Favorite: The Fly -- No contest for me; David Cronenberg's creep-fest easily is among my Top 10 of all time. It's a scary horror flick with more uneasy subtext than most, boasts a career great performance by Jeff Goldblum, and one of the saddest love stories you ever saw.
Runners-Up: Blue Velvet, Aliens, Hannah and Her Sisters, Labyrinth (It's David Bowie, darn it).
Still haven't seen and really should: Platoon
Tie: Evil Dead II, Raising Arizona -- One a comedy, one a horror movie, but not sure which is which. Both madcap fun that are like live-action cartoons, tremendously innovative and kooky fun, and I could watch them both endlessly.
Runners-Up: Robocop, Full Metal Jacket, The Princess Bride, The Untouchables, Dirty Dancing (Not a bad year!)
Still haven't seen and really should: Fatal Attraction
Favorite: Die Hard -- It's a close call this year, but with a bit of time this seems like the utterly perfect red-blooded ultra-violent American action movie. Yippee-kay-yay!
Runners-Up: A Fish Called Wanda, The Last Temptation of Christ, Big, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Still haven't seen and really should: Bull Durham
Never liked as much as everyone else: Working Girl
Favorite: Say Anything -- We all wanted to be Lloyd Dobler my senior year of high school, and all the women wished we were, too. Dare I say it's the best teen movie ever made? At the very least, the most idealistic – everyone here is a little bit smarter, wiser and wittier than real life, of course.
Runners-Up: Do The Right Thing, Crimes & Misdemeanors, The Little Mermaid, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Henry V, When Harry Met Sally (Another damned good year, at least in my memories.)
Not nearly as good as I remember it but still a sentimental favorite: Batman
Favorite: Ghost -- I really have no defense for this one. But poor Patrick Swayze died, y'know, and came back but Demi Moore couldn't see him till the very end and... Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.
Runners-Up: Goodfellas, Darkman, Total Recall
Never liked as much as everyone else: Home Alone
Favorite: Silence of The Lambs -- What I said about "The Fly" for horror movies, this applies to this one too, except it's not about gooey monsters, but the kind of monster that lives next door.
Runners-Up: Point Break (which really should have been nominated for an Oscar too, but I digress), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, What About Bob?
Still haven't seen and really should: JFK
Favorite: Unforgiven -- Clint saddles up for the western to end all westerns. The nasty side behind the western myth, and an inspiration for "Deadwood" and all the revisionist westerns since.
Runners-Up: Dead-Alive aka Braindead (Wikipedia: "currently holds the world-record for the most fake blood used in a single movie"), Glengarry Glen Ross, Hard Boiled, Reservoir Dogs (The year of blood, bullets and bad language)
Never liked as much as everyone else: Batman Returns. Pfeiffer's Catwoman, yes, pretty much everybody else, no. This is when it all went wrong.
Favorite: Groundhog Day -- It's amazing that a Bill Murray/Ivan Reitman comedy could have such longevity and existential angst, but hey, wherever you go, there you are, y'know?
Runners-Up: Singles, The Fugitive, The Piano, Army of Darkness
Favorite: Pulp Fiction -- It's as if a movie were patched together with IMDB Memorable Quotes, but hey, it works. "I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd."
Runners-Up: Clerks, Forrest Gump, True Lies, Ed Wood
Favorite: 12 Monkeys -- Terry Gilliam's most underrated movie, I think, and I loves me a good time-travel yarn.
Runners-Up: Toy Story, Babe, The Usual Suspects, Heat
Never liked as much as everyone else: Braveheart
Still haven't seen and really don't plan to: Billy Madison
Favorite: Jerry Maguire -- Cameron Crowe crafts a top-notch romantic comedy that simultaneously subverts and embraces genre conventions. I know Tom Cruise is radioactive now, but I think he really gets it in this one, making a jackass seem genuinely likeable.
Runners-Up: Bottle Rocket, Fargo, The Rock, Star Trek: First Contact
Favorite: Face/Off -- I know, I'm really betraying my love for genre popcorn fiction here, but again, like Jerry Maguire, it's a shiny piece of mainstream entertainment that's kick-ass fun. An utterly absurd plot, I know, but I'm a big Nicolas Cage fan and think this is one of his best pieces of acting -- and John Travolta is even tolerable in it.
Runners-Up: Chasing Amy, Waiting For Guffman, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Boogie Nights
Favorite: Rushmore -- There are just a handful of movies I watch every year or two religiously. Wes Anderson's tale of quirky, good-hearted and arrogant Max Fischer, teen supreme, is one of them.
Runners-Up: Dark City, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love, The Truman Show
Still haven't seen and really should: Pi
Favorite: Being John Malkovich -- As strange as it is, it all makes perfect sense in the end.
Runners-Up: The Matrix, American Beauty, Fight Club, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Favorite: Almost Famous -- The second Cameron Crowe movie that's a favorite, and an open-hearted, nostalgia coated and utterly huggable ode to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. I am a golden god!
Runners-Up: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Unbreakable, X-Men
Tie: The Royal Tenenbaums and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Both very different movies, but both fantastic, novelistic epics with big talented casts.
Runners-Up: Donnie Darko, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge!, Ghost World
Never liked as much as everyone else: Shrek
Favorite: Spider-Man. In the post-"Dark Knight" era, perhaps Spidey looks a little, well, corny. But I still think this is one of the most accurate and elegant comic book adaptations we've yet seen, and Tobey Maguire is the perfect Peter Parker.
Runners-Up: Minority Report, Adaptation, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Never liked as much as everyone else: Chicago
Favorite: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Hey, I live in New Zealand now. I have to vote for this one by law.
Runners-Up: Lost In Translation, American Splendor, Whale Rider, Kill Bill Vol. 1, X2: X-Men United
Never liked as much as everyone else: Mystic River
Tie: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Spider-Man 2. A third title for Wes Anderson, who is easily my favorite director working in film these days. Sure, his films are kind of precious objects, but the worlds he create fascinate me.
Runners-Up: Kill Bill Vol. 2, Million Dollar Baby, The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hellboy
Still haven't seen and really don't plan to: The Passion of the Christ
Favorite: A History of Violence -- A return to form by "The Fly" director David Cronenberg, with an amazing performance by Viggo Mortensen and Cronenberg's distinct mix of queasy realism and horrible detail.
Runners-Up: Brokeback Mountain, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Walk The Line, Elizabethtown, Batman Begins, Sin City
Favorite: Casino Royale -- After 40 years, they finally made a James Bond movie I really want to watch more than once.
Runners-Up: The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, Borat, Children of Men, Pan's Labyrinth.
Favorite: There Will Be Blood -- The year is a little too fresh to settle on this one for me, but the amazing imagery and fiery passion of "Blood" is the movie that sticks with me the most of 2007's crop. And Daniel Day-Lewis, channeling John Huston, is a bloody marvel.
Runners-Up: I'm Not There, No Country For Old Men, Spider-Man 3, Into The Wild, The Darjeeling Limited
Still haven't seen and really should: Juno
Favorite: (So far) The Dark Knight -- The "Oscar season" is yet to kick off and there's some movies I'm very interested in, like Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Quantum of Solace and Revolutionary Road, but so far, Heath Ledger's terrifying Joker is the most indelible image of the year for me.
Runners-Up: Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, Hellboy II: The Golden Army