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Thread: Favorites Of 1999

  1. #1
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    Favorites Of 1999

    1. EYES WIDE SHUT (Stanley Kubrick)
    2. AMERICAN BEAUTY (Sam Mendes)
    -- BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (Spike Jonze)
    -- FANTASIA 2000
    -- TOPSY TURVY (Mike Leigh)
    6. BOYS DON'T CRY (Kimberly Peirce)
    -- THE INSIDER (Michael Mann)
    -- THREE KINGS (David O. Russell)
    9. GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (Jim Jarmusch)
    -- MR. DEATH: THE RISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LEUCHTER, JR. (Errol Morris)
    -- THE STRAIGHT STORY (David Lynch)

    Runners Up

    Magnolia, Besieged, The End of the Affair, Cradle Will Rock, Election, Felicia's Journey, Titus, The Limey, eXistenZ, Limbo, Dick.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 08-15-2007 at 05:16 PM.

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    Favorite Foreign-Language Films of 1999

    1. THE WIND WILL CARRY US (Abbas Kiarostami/ Iran)
    2. ROSETTA (Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne/ Begium)
    -- TIME REGAINED (Raul Ruiz/ France)
    4. ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Pedro Almodovar/ Spain)
    -- BEAU TRAVAIL (Claire Denis/ France)
    6. BUTTERFLY (Jose Luis Cuerda/ Spain)
    -- HUMAN RESOURCES (Laurent Cantet/ France)
    8. JUAN, I FORGOT, I DON'T REMEMBER (Juan Rulfo/ Mexico)
    -- NOWHERE TO HIDE (Lee Myung-se/ S. Korea)
    -- YEPETO (Eduardo Calcagno/ Argentina)

    Runners Up

    Himalaya (Nepal/Fra), The Letter (Portugal), The Color of Paradise (Iran), Crane World (Arg), No One Writes to the Colonel (Mex), Molokh (Russia),Humanite (Fra) Pola X (Fra), Flowers From Another World (Spa), Tell Me Something (S. Kor), Romance (Fra), Goya in Bordeaux (Spa).
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 06-22-2013 at 01:04 AM.

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    I agree almost totally on your favorites. except I would rate Magnolia up there. I consider it a masterpiece.

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    P.T. Anderson again? Just had some nice exchanges with H. Tree and Johann about him in the 1997 thread. Actually, posts dealt primarily with Boogie Nights and Hard Eight, which I like but not as much as Magnolia. It's first runner-up which means it could have easily squeezed into the main list. Magnolia is bold, sprawling, and ambitious. And a lot of it works. It has a lot to say, about the ties between fathers and sons, about what can happen to the best laid plans, etc. The performances are something to savor, some very intense but wholly believable. Mr. Cruise's character even works as a critique of aspects of his public persona. But you probably want to know why I don't rate it even higher. Well, I dislike the excessive and somewhat crude cross-cutting between subplots. I wish a number of scenes were allowed to unfold longer rather than get chopped up into shorter segments. You might call it the "MTV" or "music video" effect. It's a sign of the times. Or maybe Mr. Anderson was anxious about (young?) audiences staying alert and engaged for the 3-hour+ duration. I think it detracts from certain scenes achieving maximum dramatic impact. Moreover, I'm not convinced the apocalyptic ending is fully justified.

    Aside: I remember reading that that scene in which a guy jumps off the roof to a net that would save him, only to be fatally struck by a bullet as he passed by his apartment's window is based on an actual event. Apparently the guy's mother meant to shoot his father but missed. I don't have confirmation that this actually happened though.

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    Come on, man, the rain of frogs is absolutely ridiculous! Not sure it's "justified"? You're being too serious. I am convinced that Anderson is a genious, pretty much a prodigy--and that closing sequence really avoids getting too maudlin, too linear, or too tendentious; it's also incredibly audacious, which is what a prodigy is.. He gets incredible performances out of his actors in Magnolia. Cruise's isn't just a comment on his persona, it's the most edgy and daring and selfless thing he's ever done. You could just go down the list of the cast one by one. I don't get that the scenes are too short. I never thought that. Yes, you can see it as MTV-generation attention-span pacing (why not just call it the energy and impatience of youth?), but all I know is that indeed this was a time when I watched a first run film in a packed mainstream NYC cineplex and nobody moved, and the three hours streaked by. That's all I can say. It works. This symphonic rondo ramble style has become an influence (I think manyh have copied it, possibly Gabriele Muccino in The Last Kiss is one of the more successful examples--so to say one doesn't like it becomes irrelevant, though what one can say is that it has been a bad influence. But when something becomes a bad influence (if that's even true) that doesn't fault the brilliant original.

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    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    This symphonic rondo ramble style has become an influence (-so to say one doesn't like it becomes irrelevant, though what one can say is that it has been a bad influence. But when something becomes a bad influence (if that's even true) that doesn't fault the brilliant original.

    I haven't said Magnolia or the narrative structure of it has become a "bad influence" and I'm not about to do it. I would agree that parts of it are "brilliant". But I strongly disagree with calling it an "original". The modern-era model would be Altman's Short Cuts, or perhaps his even more masterful Nashville. Films like Two Days in the Valley ('96) and Magnolia are both products of an established narrative tradition. My favorite films which utilize it are much older: Mikio Naruse's Late Chrysanthemums and that seminal work of film art called Greed, which crosscuts furiously between thematically-linked subplots to breathtaking effect.

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    You're quite right; Altman is the starting point, and before Altman others swung back and forth among scenes and situations too. But with young directors Altman is now an influence through Anderson. Magnolia is more of a focal point than Altman. Because in Anderson the method is used with the eye of a new generation.

    Gabriele Muccino's The Last Kiss/L'ultimo bacio has frequently been said to have a heavy debt to Magnolia. Indulging in some wordplay one Italian wrote, "Muccino cucina una magnolia all'amatriciana." No doubt about it, Magnolia is a big influence now, and since Anderson is arguably even more self-indulgent than Altman, the influence can't always be for the best.

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    My apologies for my obscene absence from this site. I've been without a regular internet connection for about 6 months, and am only now slowly getting back into everything. Although I saw several replies to this topic, I only saw the two lists from Oscar. I've been slowly putting together top tens from every year from about 1927 on up, but this is a slow project that I may never finish. I did throw a quick 1999 list together. This might get altered soon, because Werner Herzog is absolutely mesmerizing in Julien Donkey-Boy. I'm relatively familiar with all the films on Oscar's main list, but as you can see from mine, we have few agreements.

    For the record I picked international release dates whenever possible, otherwise other films would have made this list.

    1. Magnolia (Anderson)
    2. Fight Club (Fincher)
    3. Toy Story 2 (Lasseter)
    4. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (Parker)
    5. American Beauty (Mendes)
    6. Three Kings (Russell)
    7. Election (Payne)
    8. The Emperor and the Assassin (Kaige)
    9. The Matrix (Wachowksi)
    10. Bringing Out the Dead (Scorsese)

    I know some of my choices might seem odd, but they're mine. Some people have disliked Fight Club, but perhaps I've given it far more chances than the average man. Its one of the few times I've actually read the book, and on top of that I've seen the movie at least 6 times, and I think it's a near perfect realization. South Park however tops the list in terms of most times seen, and I can't even begin to count how many. As far as Magnolia, I think Chris said pretty much everything I would have.

    As for what's left out, my first runner up would be Norman Jewison's The Hurricane, and then probably Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Both Kubrick's film as well as Almodovar's All About My Mother are the two films from the year I'd most like to revisit. I'm bad with foreign films from the year, and in particular French movies, so there's nothing about this list that's permanent.

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    Welcome back. I missed ya, wpqx.
    I'm curious about your take on Fight Club. I'm taking about any message/ implications of the narrative/meaning/subtext, any of that.
    The South Park movie got close to making my list because of the socio-political satire, but there's also a childish side to it (joys of farting and saying fuck,etc.).

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    Welcome back from me too. Yours is more of a young person's list. And since I'm very far from a young person, my list would be different, but I'm big on Magnolia and Three Kings. I used to be big on American Beauty. It doesn't seem to have the zing it had at first.. Fight Club sure is a movie you have to look at, Matrix also.

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    Yeah but Michael McDonald singing "Up There" makes it all seem worth it. I'll admit that the childish side of South Park is what initially won me over. I never laughed harder in my life than the first time I saw this in the theater.

    Fight Club to me is all about masculinity. Its a story about a generation of men raised by women who are trying to find their own male voice. They grew up without any real father figures and they're trying to "be men". The story of course progresses to how men can be led like sheep and how too much testosterone can be quite literally destructive. Watching the film again you notice how clever certain devices are. The film got almost no notice when it came out considering everyone thought the great "surprise" ending was The Sixth Sense. Fight Club's ending was a little more inventive, and I think a tougher task to pull off.

    Palahniuk's book says a hell of a lot about the modern man. I really think his writing has captured a side of the male gender never better represented. But on the other hand his book isn't all about fucking and getting drunk which people generally assume is all men think about or do. Not a single person watches a sports game, and aside from Marla there are no females, the only other one given a name is Chloe ("Who looks like Joni Mitchell's skeleton"). I'll admit the message of the movie has gotten a little misinterpreted by groups of guys beating the shit out of each other in basements. The book and film is just as much about searching for your masculine voice as it is a tale of thinking for yourself and avoiding blind consumerism. The mindless "space monkeys" are simply cogs in the wheel. Palahniuk's book ends a lot more interestingly. We're left to believe that "Tyler" has woken up, realized who he is himself, and will put a stop to Project Mayhem and all its misguided mischief. In the book however his creation becomes something much greater and bigger than himself, and there is no way of stopping it. I don't know if I'm shedding light onto anything new regarding the film, but the way it's executed, the dialogue, the wonderful interior monologues make the film a joy to watch over and over again. The book too can easily be finished in a day as well.

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    I agree it can be rewatched -- on a plane anyway. But when I first saw it I thought the ending was a cheat, too tricky.

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    Originally posted by wpqx
    Fight Club to me is all about masculinity. Its a story about a generation of men raised by women who are trying to find their own male voice.
    Palahniuk's book says a hell of a lot about the modern man. I really think his writing has captured a side of the male gender never better represented. I'll admit the message of the movie has gotten a little misinterpreted by groups of guys beating the shit out of each other in basements. The book and film is just as much about searching for your masculine voice as it is a tale of thinking for yourself and avoiding blind consumerism. The mindless "space monkeys" are simply cogs in the wheel. Palahniuk's book ends a lot more interestingly. We're left to believe that "Tyler" has woken up, realized who he is himself, and will put a stop to Project Mayhem and all its misguided mischief. In the book however his creation becomes something much greater and bigger than himself, and there is no way of stopping it.


    Disdainful of films directed by music-video veterans like Fincher, I approached Se7en with low expectations and was instantly smitten. It's been a series of disappointments ever since. Fight Club perhaps the most frustrating because of high production values and obvious technical skills. I do like the bits about "blind consumerism" and "cogs in the wheel", but since I believe strongly that what males need is MORE female influence and less alpha-male crap (war heroism, Darwinism, etc), I find the testoterone-fueled content on the verge of being offensive (misogynism, etc). I don't think that the message of the film has gotten "misinterpreted by groups of guys", I think this is a direct consequence of choices made by the filmmakers. Perhaps the book is indeed partly about "how too much testosterone can be destructive", but the film seems worried that the target demographic won't be interested in that message. Ebert called it "macho porn".

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    "Macho porn"? Well.... There's lots of macho porn, but this is intelligent macho porn, with ideas. I should thinjk the exploration of two sides of a personality would interest you, as a psychologist. I'm surprised at your sayiing you were "smitten" with "Se7ven," as if that were a love affair. I found it repulsive in the estreme, though its kind of psychological ultra-violence has become an influence. Michel Gondry and others came out of video, I don't think it's useful to condemn people for such beginnings, any more than it would be worthwhile to condemn filmmakers or actors for coming out of TV..

    Just a couple of comments to show I'm listening.

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    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    But when I first saw it I thought the ending was a cheat, too tricky.

    Trust me, the ending in the book was much worse, although it ultimately does a better job of conveying ideas than the film.

    While I love Fight Club, I hate its fan base for the most part, because they think it's about getting out of one's societal shell and doing what they want. But it's ultimately about the failure of this system and the need for some small sort of established order in order to progress. Ebert said it was trying to be one thing, but ended up being fascist. I think it's about the dangers of anarchy vs. fascism.
    "So I'm a heel, so what of it?"
    --Renaldo the Heel, from Crimewave

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