In retrospect, 1997 is absolutely stacked with fine films and fine performances and, thus, I thought it might be fun to hop in the old blogging time machine. So today I will retroactively name my Top 10 Films Of '97 and tomorrow I will name my Top 10 Performances Of '97. (Note: I don't much care for "As Good As It Gets." I didn't get the hoopla then and I sure as hell don't get it now. Give back Kate's Oscar, Hunt! GIVE IT BACK!!!)
My Completely Personal, Totally Subjective Top 10 Films Of 1997
1. The Myth Of Fingerprints. Is it the "best" film of '97. Heavens, no. Is it my Favorite film of '97. God, yes. I carry this bit of miraculousness with me like William Wallace carried the thistle with him.
2. Titanic. I've gone on at length about this movie many, many times so today let's quote William Goldman, shall we? (Italics his.) "If movies are story, and they are, then screenplays are structure. And what makes this movie the unique experience that it is, is not Cameron's ear for dialogue or his skill at camera placement or his brilliance with special effects. It's his storytelling, folks. If he doesn't deserve a nomination for screenplay, no one does."
3. Boogie Nights. I wrote about this brilliant trashy opera for my 1,000th Post and, yet, it only makes it to #3 on this list. That's how awesome 1997 was at the movies.
4. Wag the Dog. Detailing the elaborate attempt to manipulate a Presidential election, this is a piece of absolute comedic genius. I like it more every time I watch it.
5. Gattaca. Set in a futuristic world where genetic engineering is used to create perfect children, Andrew Niccol's eternally and unfairly underrated powerhouse directorial debut is as much a melodramatic epic as 50's-styled sci fi. And that is why I cherish it so.
6. Jackie Brown. Q.T., the ultimate fanboy, crafts not just a heist picture but an understated adult romance about the frustration and allure of starting over at any age.
7. A Life Less Ordinary. I.LOVE.THIS.MOVIE. Do you hear me, world?! I love it! And I don't care what anyone says!
8. L.A. Confidential. Reader: "Seriously? This jackass put 'L.A. Confidential' AFTER a 'A Life Less Ordinary?'" Yes. I did. Deal with it. "L.A. Confidential" is great and all (such a fine employment of Russell Crowe's talents) and has such an elegant look but how does everyone always forget about the utterly crap ending? Denial?
9. Starship Troopers. A subversive satire of the highest order. (See, Daryl?! It's on here! Don't worry, be happy!)
10. The Castle. Directed by Rob Stich, who directed my #1 movie of 2001 ("The Dish"), this hard-to-find (in America) Australian comedy is not just funny, but funny in a way that oozes absurdity and sincerity equally. Oh, how I wish Stich made more movies. He - to paraphrase Melanie Laurent in "Beginners" - is one of the people who believes in magic.