A Second Opinion: Blast Contributors Name Their Fave Films of 1997
By Blast Staff
GORDON MAH UNG:
1. "L.A. Confidential": A well-crafted period piece that keeps you guessing. It will certainly be nominated for an Oscar this year.
2. "Contact": Jodie Foster again shows us that she is perhaps the most talented American actress working in Hollywood today.
3. "Jackie Brown": A slow burner that has to be seen twice to be appreciated.
4. "Donnie Brasco": "Death of a Salesman" meets the Mob, plus Al Pacino.
5. "Grosse Point Blank": John Cusack and Dan Ackroyd turn in hysterical performances in this dark comedy.
Best Gunplay: "Starship Troopers." Honorable mention to Robert DeNiro in "Jackie Brown."
Best Performance: Samuel L. Jackson in "Jackie Brown." (If the Academy doesn't give
this man an Oscar this year, I'm gonna send 'em all on a ski trip, if you know
what I mean.)
Best Lines: "Jackie Brown" and "Austin Powers."
Biggest Letdown: "Alien Ressurection."
1. The Full Monty
2. Shall We Dance?
3. The Wings of the Dove
4. Chasing Amy
5. Jackie Brown
1. "Boogie Nights" and "The Ice Storm" (Tie): These two are in a dead heat because they open doors for filmmakers to treat the '70s with dignity, rather than giving us the smiley-faced caricatures we've settled for so far. "The Ice Storm" poignantly captures the confusion that came with the era's freedom, while "Boogie Nights" shows the dangers of unchecked hedonism. Granted, Mark Wahlberg's vehicle is a bit longer than it needs to be -- which could also be said of the "Boogie Nights."
2. "The Full Monty": Some call it a physical comedy, but I say it's an inspirational tale of five guys who regain their self-respect when they hit the bottom. It's amazing how the notion of these five blokes stripping seems entirely reasonable by the time they hit the stage.
3. "The Sweet Hereafter": This poignant mixture of tragedy and hope is classic Atom Egoyan: gorgeous, wrenching, a bit puzzling and totally rewarding.
4. "Donnie Brasco": "Not another '70s Mafia drama," I groaned before seeing it. "Far from it!" I exclaimed afterward. Rarely have such richly developed characters made such a tired genre seem so fresh.
5. "L.A. Confidential": Any film that forces you to take Kim Basinger seriously is worth a mention. If that's not enough, the sets are believable, the dialogue witty, the action intense. Unfortunately, the plot is confusing, but we should be thankful director Curtis Hanson never sees the need to dumb it down for the masses.
Best Sci-Fi Movie Directed by a Non-American: Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element"
Best John Cusack Movie: "Grosse Pointe Blank"
Best Laugh-Your-Ass-Off Film: "The Full Monty"
Best Hollywood-type Movie: "L.A. Confidential"
Weird Movie of the Year: "Lost Highway" (David Lynch. Go figure.)
1. "Titanic": This film has the simplest of stories, where a dreamer has her eyes and heart opened by a drifter with the soul of an artist. Their tale is told amid the backdrop of the historic tragedy. Director James Cameron pulls at the heartstrings with a visual grandeur that few movies have achieved in the year. Treading a fine line between the romance film and disaster movie, "Titanic" will be enjoyed by those who remember how to love and the courage to show it.
2. "Starship Troopers": The most thrill-packed satirical look of a militant futuristic Earth, this movie is sure to excite those looking for an adrenaline rush of action and special effects. Director Paul Verhoven holds no punches, and it's sure to offend people of weaker constitutions.
3. "Face/Off": Director John Woo and actors John Travola and Nicholas Cage. Blazing guns. Blurred identities. Slow motion. Dissolves. Billowing clothing. Action, action, action. What more do you need? How long can you eat a peach?
4. "Chasing Amy": Are there people like this that exist in reality? Director Kevin Smith's depiction of Gen-X slackers has evolved so thoroughly, his characters are as surreal as comic books, like Peter Parker without the Spider-Man. Let's face it, we all wish we were as quick-witted, bluntly honest and beautiful looking as the Chasing Amy characters.
5. "Con Air": Forget any semblance of reality and any pretention of social value. "Con Air" is fast, funny and entertaining. Who knew Nicholas Cage, of quirkly roles like in "Raising Arizona," would get his chance to play a buff and hunky hero? This is a must-see if you don't require your films to comment on Chinese-Tibetan relation.