Top 10 Best Movies of 1997
10. The Full Monty
The surprise hit comedy which took America and England (and the Academy Awards) by storm. Earning four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, the film starred a down-to-earth cast with a lot of energy. The screenplay begins with a seemingly normal situation, but then expands into a hilarious comedy. What makes this film so funny is that it contains true-to-life humor, a great cast, and some truly surprising twists. Robert Carlyle leads the cast with a star-making performance which will make him famous (especially over in Europe). Certainly one of the best films of the year.
9. The Ice Storm
This stunning portrayal of society and family life in the 70s is pure poetry. Kevin Kline gives a rather subdued but emotional performance, and Sigourney Weaver shines as the strong, influential mistress. But it's Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood that make the film what it is. Both give exhaustingly powerful performances that were screwed by the Academy (Ricci in particular). The film's final moments during the ice storm is one of the best moments of the year. Shocking, emotionally charged, and very entertaining, The Ice Storm is definitely a great film.
Forget The Sweet Hereafter or Titanic. If you want an emotional film, watch Bliss, one of the most enchanting and shocking films I have ever seen. Director Lance Young has created his first film, and it's emotionally disturbing. Comparable to In the Company of Men with the amount of emotional disturbing details it contains, this film is better directed and much more successful in coming off as not a debut film (LaBute's film had its moments of inexperience). Craig Sheffer and Sheryl Lee give two powerful performances. Dealing with sex in a realistic way, it's more than likely to make more than a few people shrink in their seats.
7. The Sweet Hereafter
Atom Egoyan's emotionally charged film is certainly one of the year's best films. The thematically rich story is propelled through a non-linear storytelling method which creates a complex web of mystery and uncertainty. Iam Holm gives a brave and subtle performance which allows the visuals and story to come to life. Egoyan has crafted a genuinely heartfelt motion picture which defies all expectations. The final revelation is sure to leave any viewer dazzled and bewildered for days.
6. In & Out
In one of the more well-received comedies of this year, Kevin Kline gives a very good and very subdued performance in In & Out. Kline's portrayal of a sexually-frustrated English teacher who is outted by a former student is one of his best performances ever. Joan Cusack gives a scene-stealing performance as Kline's bride-to-be. However, Tom Selleck tops the film with an utterly shocking kiss with Kline. The humor is sharp, and the satire is well-written. Director Frank Oz has produced a comic gem that deals with a very touchy subject.
5. L.A. Confidential
Finally getting the chance to see L.A. Confidential, I was surprised to find this film completely compelling and entertaining. What starts as a routine film noir picture, turns out to be one of the best films of the year. Rich in color and style, director Curtis Hanson has brought James Ellroy's novel to the silver screen. With a screenplay that is the smartest of the year, and a high-profile cast, L.A. Confidential is one of the year's most challenging and entertaining films.
4. Cop Land
Sylvester Stallone gives an incredible performance as a hearing-impared cop in Cop Land. Apart from that, the film is powerfully written, with surprising twists around every corner. The acting from the entire cast, especially Ray Liotta, is terrific. But it is Stallone's film, and he runs with it. Compelling and convincing, Cop Land leaves you with a new impression on New York cops and Stallone himself.
3. Boogie Nights
Director Paul Thomas Anderson created an incredible film at the age of 27. Considered to be the next Quentin Tarantino, Anderson introduced the 70s porn industry into the mainstream audience. With style and audacity, Anderson created a wonderfully exciting and shocking film that revealed a lot to the audience. Mark Wahlberg made an incredible jump from mediocre actor to great actor in one film. However, it was Burt Reynold's scene-stealing performance that took critics by surprise (well, that extended look at Mark Wahlberg's surprise was quite shocking too).
After the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump (which I hated personally), Robert Zemeckis turned his attention to Carl Sagan's science-fiction novel, Contact. Contact turned out to be one of the best sci-fi films ever made, finally balancing the dangerous science vs. religion issues. Unfortunately, more than likely Contact won't be remembered during Oscar nominations (the Golden Globes hardly gave Contact a nod). Jodie Foster, however, should receive at least an Oscar nomination for her role in the film. Powerful, thought-provoking, and wonderfully acted, Contact is indeed one of the best of the year.
James Cameron's epic motion picture is by far the best film I have seen all year. Nothing comes close. It's probably the best film I have seen since 1993's Schindler's List. This is truly an incredible film, despite what several critics say. The script is solid, the acting is incredible, and the special effects are flawless. The daunting time length may seem a little too long, but it is perfect, and seems shorter than many two hour long films. The final hour is especially impressive, with some of the most amazing special effects seen on screen. From beginning to end, Titanic is near-perfect film making.