Thursday, February 23, 2012

Listology # 7: Top 10 Films of 1995

Quite a number of key films are missing from this list but I assure you: I did not forget them.

10. Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld)
John Travolta very wisely builds on his comeback during the 1990's with this very funny adaptation of an Elmore Lenoard novel. A loan shark named Chili Palmer decides to get into the movie business and what follows is probably one of the best satires and send-ups of the Hollywood movie industry made by Hollywood. Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Dennis Farina are all very funny in their supporting roles.

09. Babe (Chris Noonan)
This movie turned some people into vegetarians. Not me. I still like bacon...and ham....and pork chops. I mean, it's not a freakin' documentary, people! LOL. What it is is a beautifully made charming fable about a little young pig who wishes to break the mold and prove his self-worth. This is the message of the movie and a lovely message even for unrepentant carnivores.

08. Safe (Todd Haynes)
Julianne Moore gives one of her career-best performances as a suburban housewife who finds herself severely and deathly allergic to the many, many poisonous chemicals that are commonplace in everyday suburban life. This is a compelling one-of-a-kind drama which some interpret as filmmaker Todd Haynes' take on the AIDS crisis. It's a fascinating and very thought-provoking film nonetheless.

07. Se7en (David Fincher)
Pun absolutely intended that coming in at #7 would be Se7en. It's a police procedural, in essence as a young cop (Brad Pitt) and a cop about to retire (Morgan Freeman) investigate a series of grisly murders by a sadistic, methodical serial killer (Kevin Spacey) based around the Seven Deadly Sins. I recently revisited this film and what I realized after watching it is that there's actually very little on-screen violence in the film but the tense, grim atmosphere and the grisly depictions of the murders made the film feel more violent than it really was. This is the film which David Fincher showed that he is a cinematic force to be reckoned with. 

06. Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)
This film is a Western but it's one of the strangest, most surreal Westerns you'll ever see (not THE most surreal, that belongs to El Topo). Johnny Depp plays a meek accountant who goes into a new town for a job only to find really strange things happening to him. This is well worth watching just to see Robert Mitchum in one of his final film roles. 

05. The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer)
This is a twisty intriguing thriller about a heist gone awry and the police detective trying to piece together a crime that involves a group of crooks and a mysterious figure named Keyser Soze. This is one of those films which had film fans and audiences talking for months and months with a twist ending that's now very much iconic. Kevin Spacey won his first and more deserved Oscar for this role. 

04. Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater)
A young American man and a young French woman find themselves talking in a train then find themselves connecting with each other and they spend an entire day together. You'll be amazed by how wonderfully entertaining and how much you get swept up by this film which is essentially just consists of two people talking. Yet it's very cinematic. Not mention also very romantic. This is one romantic drama even macho straight guys would want to watch again and again. Followed by an even better sequel in 2004.

03. Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee)
Having subsequently read the book, I can definitely say that this film adaptation of the Jane Austen classic novel is impeccable. Emma Thompson stars and writes the screenplay where she adds some great lines and a sense of fun to the proceedings which could have been way too stuffy and highfalutin in less capable hands. Director Ang Lee translates that great script into a beautifully realized film.

02. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai)
I know that this is technically a 1994 film but it wasn't released in the U.S. until 1995 so I'm putting it here. Whatevs. They're my lists. Anyway, for those of you not in the know, the screen shot that I use as a logo for my blog came from this film. It's about two lovelorn cops and the women they encounter in two separate but complimentary storylines in one really, really awesome film. It features a great soundtrack, beautiful cinematography and breathtaking editing. 

01. Toy Story (John Lasseter)
PIXAR Animation Studios' string of masterpieces and near-masterpieces started with this film and continued for two whole decades. Toy Story is the first fully CGI animated feature film but more than that, it's a damn good film in and of itself. It's also the first animated film to get a screenplay Oscar nomination. Set in a world where toys come to life when humans aren't looking, the film was an instant classic which still endures today despite all the advancements in the technology. Great voice work too.

Runners-Up: Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins); Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis); 12 Monkeys (Terry Gilliam); Nixon (Oliver Stone); A Little Princess (Alfonso Cuaron). 


Mark said...

I think out of these Babe and Toy Story are the only ones I've watched. I didn't realise Toy Story was that old actually.

YeamieWaffles said...

Great list man. In my opinion Before Sunrise is one of the most magnificent films ever made and so many other films on here are awesome. 1995 was a great year for film.

The Angry Lurker said...

10, 7, 5 and 1 for me, some of the others I never heard of....

msmariah said...

Todd Haynes seems to like casting Julianne Moore as a housewife. Did you hever see Velvet Goldmine? The most memorable film for me that year was Seven.

MynameisEarl said...

Se7en, when I first saw that on DVD as a kid I was practically enthralled by how tense it was when things were slowly counting down to one and whether Brad P. and Morgan F. were going to be part of the death toll.

Not just '95 but the whole 90s! That was the decade of film! It will be sorely missed...

Bersercules said...

I loved the movie Se7en! That ones probably my favourite of 1995!

Simpetus said...

I saw 4. Not so bad.
Se7en may be my favorite.

Anonymous said...

I have only watched Babe and Toy Story... and I like them both!

dopdavid said...

my favorite on this list is dead man, that movie was so awesome :)

G said...

I'd forgotten about Babe (thankfully)...but Se7en and The Usual Suspects were awesome

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Man, 1995 was a good vintage, a good year for cinema.

Mmmmmm, Babe. Not as real/depressing as Charlotte's Web, and the lulzy wave of vegetarianism that occurred afterwards ensured plentiful meat for us carnivores.

Baa ram ewe, I'm gonna eat all of you! Every single major cast member in this movie is made of steak~!

And Se7en! Indeed, the violence is never actually shown and yet is all the more powerful and poignant because of it, y'know? By merely witnessing the gristly aftermath instead of seeing it happens makes the whole thing more visceral to me, real-er.

It's kinda like a good horror or thriller is SUPPOSED to be, y'know? Playing off of one's imaginations rather than showing the blunt object being driven into the victim. Sometimes movies simply cannot trump imagination in that sense, that final fig leaf that tantalizes more than full nudity.

...oh man I'm sick, don't pay attention to me. Coughing my brain out.

MRanthrope said...

now we're talking! Seven, Toy Story, Before Sunrise....all favorites of mine. KIDS and Heat also.