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.)
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.
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
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
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
"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.
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.
"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
"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
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:
South Park: Bigger,
Longer and Uncut
T2:3D (only at Universal
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