Back again to contribute my list to the Top 10 Show list. This week, they chose a random year and listed their top ten movies from that year. The episode featured Top 10 Movies of 1997.
When I was going over the list, I noticed that there are some holes in my own viewing from this year. I have not seen L.A. Confidential, which was very high on both Matt and John’s lists. There were some others that I have not seen: Grosse Point Blank, Princess Mononoke (which is on the list to see), and a few others. So my list will be different from John and Matt.
There are also some really great movies that I saw and liked, but did not make my top ten. You can see those in the honorable mention section.
#10. Wag the Dog. Interestingly enough, this was number ten on both Matt and John’s list. I have not seen this movie in quite awhile and listening to the guys talk about it, I added it to my list of movies to rewatch. It feels like it is an important film to understand with the state of our political system today.
#9. Scream 2. Scream was such a revelation in the world of horror/comedy. The sequel does a really great job of building on the success of the first film and bringing something original. They brought another level of meta into the franchise with the introduction of the film “Stab” as a center piece of the plot. This is cleverly written and constructed, with the central mystery effective in keeping the crowd guessing.
#8. As Good as it Gets. The film starring Jack Nicholson as an obsessive-compulsive author who is very mean spirited. He gets roped into dog sitting his neighbor’s, who has been attacked and cannot take care of himself, dog. This is the first step in sanding off the rough edges of this rotten man. I rewatched this recently and I did not find it as charming as I did when it first came out, but it does provide a great performance from Nicholson, as well as Greg Kinnear and Helen Hunt.
#7. Waiting for Guffman. Christopher Guest’s excellent mockumentary on the celebration surrounding the sesquicentennial of town Blaine, Mo with the creation of a musical “Red, White and Blaine.” The arrival of former Broadway director Corky St. Clair brings a new level of excitement. Waiting for Guffman brings together the troupe of improvisational actors that Christopher Guest has used before and gave them an amazing opportunity to show how talented they were.
#6. Liar Liar. This was one of my favorite Jim Carrey comedic performances. I was never a huge fan of his early films, but Liar Liar tapped into a sweet spot. I enjoyed the story, which uses that magical lesson type plot that worked for Big. Some of the court scenes are simply hilarious and the sweet relationship between Carrey and his son (who had appeared on General Hospital before this) gave this movie its heart.
#5. Hercules. The Disney animated film may have been overshadowed by some of the other big time films coming out from the House of Mouse, but Hercules holds its own in comparison. Taking the classic myth of the mighty Hercules and adapting it into the Disney family is a great idea. Matt and John mentioned in their discussion of this film the classic villain that was Hades. James Woods does an amazing job in this movie.
#4. Air Force One. Get off my plane! Harrison Ford as the President of the United States sells itself. Then throw in the villainous Gary Oldman as a Russian bent on taking over the plane and how could you fail. 1997 seemed to be a pretty good year for Oldman, who will appear on this list again soon. This is just a great action film.
#3. Men in Black. The best of this film franchise, Men in Black had two great leads in will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and used their chemistry to great levels. Sadly, none of the other MiB sequels came anywhere close to this. Not only do we get Jones and Smith, but there is a fantastic villainous turn from Vincent D’onofrio as Bug, one of the most disturbing villains you are going to get in a comedy/adventure film. Him wearing an Edgar suit… come on.
#2. Good Will Hunting. This is a great film. An Oscar winning script from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It includes a seminal performance from Robin Williams. The late, great Williams gave us a performance that was quiet and, very much, unlike his typical chaotic tornado-like work. The film was based int he dialogue between characters and gave us a fantastic character-based story with a ton of real heart.
#1. The Fifth Element. One of my favorite films around, this Bruce Willis vehicle was an amazing, over-the-top film with insanity everywhere. It was funny, exciting, and creative as could be. This was still in the point where I loved Bruce Willis and everything about The Fifth Element worked for me. It is magnificently quotable. I am a meat popsicle. Leeloo Dallas Multipass. Chicken…good. Just some of the quotes that I use on a regular basis in my real life. Gary Oldman appears here too in a fantastic villainous role as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, an antagonist that can build the tension without ever meeting the protagonist. Milla Jovovich is transcendent as Leeloo. Chris Tucker brings a wild humor to Ruby Rod. The late, great Ian Holm is wonderful here too. I love the Fifth Element.
Honorable Mentions: Okay, there may be some controversy with the films I left off the list, but that is okay. This is my list. Feel free to make your own. Donnie Brosco was the film I dropped off when I realized that I had forgotten As Good as it Gets. I loved Donnie Brosco, but I have only seen it once and that was what cost it the spot. I wanted to include The Game with Michael Douglas, but it did not reach the list either. Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery is decent, but I never loved that film. Boogie Nights is another that is a great film, but I do not go back to often. I know it was high on Matt and John’s lists. Demi Moore’s G.I. Jane was a strong film that I considered as well.