Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 10 Lists: 1999

The last year of the 90's was actually a really great year for film.  Tons of good stuff (with some huge disappointments) and just a nice variety of choices made this a fine way to close out the decade.

10. Beyond the Mat

This is an interesting, at times quite difficult to watch inside look at the world or pro wrestling.  Both enlightening and somewhat disconcerting, it is one of the better sports documentaries of the last twenty years or so.

9. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

This is a thoroughly enjoyable British crime caper from director Guy Ritchie that mixes humor and violence in a fast, energetic manner that is quite memorable.  I especially enjoy Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones.  Ritchie will improve on this in a few years with Snatch.

8. The Thomas Crown Affair

Equally fun is this remake of the 60's Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway film that features a strong performance from Pierce Brosnan and good support from Rene Russo and Denis Leary.

7. The Matrix

While the sequels have diminished the overall effectiveness of the film, it still stands as a landmark in the action/sci-fi genre.  It marked the true emergence of CGI as a viable special effects tool and is still pretty impressive if taken as a standalone piece.

6. Sleepy Hollow

I really dig this Tim Burton horror flick that sports some nice head chopping f/x from Kevin Yagher, good work from Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci and a fun part for Christopher Walken.  It might be the last good film Burton has made.

5. Existenz

A neat little thriller from David Cronenberg, this sports a nice cast and some icky f/x surrounded by an interesting story.  It really marks the man's transition from horror/sci-fi to a more "serious" sort of movie.

4. The Mummy

This one is just plain fun as the classic 1932 film gets an upgrade into a sort of Indiana Jones type adventure with fun f/x, a good cast and nice direction from Stephen Sommers.  It's not deep or anything and to be fair, it;s sort of dumb but it's so much fun that if you go into it with an open mind you will dig it.

3. Bowfinger

Two comedy geniuses team up in this fun satire of Hollywood.  Steve Martin is at his sleazy best while Eddie Murphy does brilliant work in two roles (something he's generally pretty solid at).  Throw in some nice moments of genuine heart and you have a really good comedy.

2. Fight Club

David Fincher knocks it out of the park with this grimy, twisty mind-screw of a movie that sports two great lead performances and a nice sense of atmosphere.  Good stuff.

1. Being John Malkovich

My favorite film of the year is this wacky comedy with John Cusack and the man in the title.  Sporting a brilliantly odd premise that it works for maximum effect, this is one of the most original, inventive comedies I have ever seen.  Just fantastic.

Honorable Mentions:

Frank Darabont directs this pretty damn good adaptation of the Stephen King story.  Good work from Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast is equally solid.

The 19th James Bond film is not entirely awful but a bad script and one really off casting choice make it a bit of a chore to get through.  Still, there are some good bits here and there, just not enough to make it one of my favorites.

A funny, dark comedy about work with some very funny moments though if you actually have a crappy job it can be a little too real at times to be truly funny.

The sequel to the surprise 1997 hit is actually not too bad, provided you can take the copious lowbrow humor and Mike Myers running every single possible laugh into the ground like David Letterman at his worst.

With a better ending, this would have made my top ten.  As it stands, it's still a nice creepy horror remake with a fantastic Geoffrey Rush and some nice gory f/x from KNB.

This is a fairly decent remake of the film Point Blank with Mel Gibson as an unpleasant crook out for money.  Fast and brutal, I have to say probably the best thing about the film is the trailer.

Guilty Pleasures:

It's not that great a film but come on, Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Satan?  Even if it sucks, it's still worth it just for the novelty!  Hell, you even get a great Gabriel Byrne performance free of charge!

I hate to admit it, but the one reason I even sort of like this film is that it was the end of a long, crappy day and I just wanted something to allow me to shut down all of my higher brain functions and just be taken for a ride.  It also says something that a crappy Jamie Lee Curtis flick about killer robots on the high seas that honestly wasn't worth the time effort it took to make it managed that feat.  That's worth something in my book.

Renny (Die Hard 2) Harlin directs this amazingly stupid, yet entertaining as hell action/horror film about super-intelligent sharks ho chase Samuel L. Jackson around a floating lab.  Chock full of cheesy goodness, this is one of the most entertaining bad movies I have ever seen.

Episode I:

I saved the big release of the year for last.  The Phantom Menace marked the return of Star Wars to the big screen and the results were... Well, sort of meh.  I don't hate it with the same ferocity you get elsewhere on the web.  Actually, there are parts of it I feel work rather well.  It looks fantastic but the script is quite bad and the cast sort of falters because of it.   At the end of the day, it's a film I will put in just for the end lightsaber duel and for the extra features on the DVD.  Nothing more.

As I noted, 1999 was a really good year for film with some real great surprises.

1 comment:

  1. Re: "[Sleepy Hollow] might be the last good film Burton has made.", can you give his Alice in Wonderland a well-deserved bollocking sometime? I watched it on TV (no way was I paying for a cinema ticket), and my one thought at the end was "That was pointless". The throwaway line about how it was "really" Underland rather than Wonderland really irked me too.


About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.