Friday, January 17, 2014

The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 1998

1998's Oscar race isn't nearly as exciting or interesting as 1997.  I remember the ceremony being the Roberto Benigni night.  Perusing through the movies released this year, I noticed it appeared to be a really grand year for me and comedy movies.  Not all of them made the list mind you, but there were plenty of ones I really enjoyed.  Also, my favorite Gwenyth Paltrow film of 1998 wasn't Shakespeare In Love, it was a little unseen film by the name of Sliding Doors.  It didn't make the list, but I figured I'd say something about it right here, as I do like the film quite a bit.  What knocked it out was 6 films I just frankly watch a lot more than it.

Here's your Oscar breakdown

WINNER - Shakespeare In Love
Life Is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan
The Thin Red Line

And now mine

The Big Lebowski

I went opening night to see this movie to rather dead theater.  Maybe about 12-15 people in there total.  It didn't take the box office by storm, but neither did the Coens previous film, Fargo.  For a small film like this, 17 million was a solid take.  Why am I talking about this stuff?  Because I am still to this day stunned at the phenomenon the film became.  I, myself went and laughed my butt off and thoroughly enjoyed this movie back in 1998.  I really thought John Goodman gave quite an amazing performance too.  So, color me surprised when this film has the following it now has as I was only able to share my love for this one with the 2 friends I went and saw it with back in 1998.  And the phenomenon for this movie didn't just happen when it came out on video, it took a while to get there.  I honestly think this movie does play better now than it did back then, plus its loaded with stuff you won't notice til later viewings of it.

Can't Hardly Wait

While the 80s were loaded with fun memorable and classic teen comedies, the 90s was kind of a rocky road for the genre.  Most of them were pretty dumpy, forgettable and crutched on being rom coms for teens.  Can't Hardly Wait was one that I think was lost in the fold of a lot of that mediocrity.  On a boring summer night, I just kinda wanted to see a movie and this was at the dollar theater why not.  I was shocked to find a film that kinda nailed my generation's cliques and personalities.  I was laughing at myself and at my classmates tropes/personalities/dopplegangers on the screen.  I had a total blast with the film.  I still enjoy it to this day.  While American Pie would come the following year and get all the rants, raves and glory I really think Can't Hardly Wait was able to pull it off first and not have to crutch itself on the always easy sex humor and have some genuinely funny, whacky quirk to it.

Halloween: H20

Not so much a scary movie any more as it is a fun one.  If you're a big fan of the first film, its enjoyable to see the attempt to pay some respect to the style and ways the original was done while using the modern template for slasher films at the time.  Yes, its Michael Myers meets Scream, but that's what they were going for in the first place, so I don't see the big deal.  Had Jason or Freddy returned in wake of Ghostface they would have been in the same boat.  I think upon multiple viewings, cracks begin to show and the many flaws of it become apparent, but I still argue that the final act is worth every penny and makes the whole thing worth it.  This was the logical ending point for the original cannon but...OH NO...they couldn't stop there.  For more on this one click HERE as it was covered here on Naptown Nerd in the epic "31 Days Of Halloween" retrospective.

Lola Rennt (AKA Run Lola Run)

When I first saw Lola Rennt I was floored.  I had heard the title and seen the box at the video store, but thought nothing of it.  Holy crap this one grabbed me by the balls and I think is still holding on at the moment.  It won't take long when watching it to see how this film became an inspiration for many.  I think its also the first film to take the video game culture and translate it adequately.  I love "Point A to Point B in X Amount Of Time" movies, and this one gives you 3 separate shots at it.  Its a shock to me that this remains still the most noteworthy mark in Tom Tykwer's career.  I really enjoyed his next film, The Princess And The Warrior as well.  I'll also give Lola Rennt at ton of credit as it was the first foreign film that actually opened up my horizons and had me interested in films in all parts of the world.  It had broken down the barrier for me and showed me that film could be just as badass and powerful outside of America.


In 1998 I laughed and appreciated Rushmore.  I don't think it was until I was older that I laughed and FULLY appreciated Rushmore.  I don't think I was at an age and place to fully understand what was going on here from the style, perspective and homage Wes Anderson was going out to display.  Rushmore remains one of his best.  Its awesome to see that his approach at an earlier stage where its not fully consuming his picture.  I guess I'm trying to say its the most kind of real world experience he's delivered.  There are some very fantastical and cartoon elements indeed, but its one of the more grounded movies in the guy's repertoire.

The Wedding Singer

Believe it or not, there was a time when even Adam Sandler's biggest detractors were some of his biggest fans.  I've never hated the guy (still don't) but I've never been a huge fan either.  This was a movie I completely wrote off, but when it came to one Saturday afternoon where I just wanted to go see a movie, this was new and I just decided...sure.  And once again, I was shocked that I totally feel in love with this movie.  I thought all the 80s parody stuff was brilliant and at the time, it was pretty original.  I think this film has actually inspired more comedies to just transplant your story into a different decade and relish in its pop culture.  I would also place Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's onscreen chemistry as an all time best int he world of movies as well.  They work out brilliantly together here.  This movie completely wrapped me around its finger and it still does today.  This is easily Sandler's best and if there's one film of his people have to see of his in their lifetime it should be this one.

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