Part 1 (#20 - #11)
Part 2 (#10 - #6)
Yesterday we got down to #6, and I was almost astounded that HEAT, SEVEN and TOY STORY didn't make the Top Five. I mean, how strong a year is it when those films don't make the cut?
Before we get to the Top Five I want take a moment for an
Honorable Dishonorable Mention: SHOWGIRLS - I can't argue that the film is cheesy (and gets more so with the passage of time), but it deserves special recognition for its landmark status in pop culture. When the MPAA came up with its idiotic NC-17 (why oh why can't we have a simple "A" ?), there were a few artsy attempts, like THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER and more infamously HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. While both have merit, they barely registered outside of the film school congnoscenti. But in 1995 two films made an attempt to craft mainstream Adult Entertainment (not porn, but just subject matter for adults). KIDS was such a great film I put it in my Top Ten list, while SHOWGIRLS...was the first (and only) NC-17 movie to hit #1 in the Box Office. While not a great movie, it was very entertaining, which explains why people went to see it. We could have ushered in an age where movie makers weren't scared by the X-rated associations and would venture to make adult movies...except somehow the tide turned and people were too embarrassed to admit what a fun movie it was, and SHOWGIRLS became a laughing stock. It's too bad, because I doubt there was a better time in the theatre all year.
Okay, on with the
#4 THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH - A perfect movie. As per my review, recommended for anyone and everyone. Such a wonderful story. Sigh. I could go on and, but just read the review for more.
#3 BRAVEHEART - When an epic like BRAVEHEART only makes #3 you know you're in a killer year. I love everything about the film. The first real attempt to get hand to hand combat right. An epic love story (I love arguing with people over which girl you'd rather have). Heroic sacrifice, the mother of all speeches, and some nice tasty bums too. BRAVEHEART has it all, and you can't fault the Best Picture victory. And even though in retrospect Mel Gibson's torture obsession may well have started here, I can well forgive him for such passion, power and purpose.
#2 THE USUAL SUSPECTS - We owe so much to this little film, like the resurgence in legitimate twist endings, a rebirth of noir, ensemble character acting, of course the coolest movie character in history that you never meet; Keyser Soze. I would call THE USUAL SUSPECTS the second best script of the decade (behind PULP), and the second best movie in a killer year
And the number one film of 1995 isÂ ..
#1 SENSE AND SENSIBILITY - I know. Your jaw just dropped to the floor. I passed over BRAVEHEART and THE USUAL SUSPECTS for a period piece? Hear me out. First of all, I am NOT a Jane Austen fan. I can't stomach her books and never bought into the cult of P&P. That said, Emma Thompson has made one of the greatest adaptations in history (easily top 15 of all time) to bring this work alive. She won a richly deserved Oscar, and easily could have doubled up with her fantastic performance of a woman forced to put her responsibilities over her heart. Kate Winslet should have won an Oscar herself with a mesmerizing performance as MaryAnne. Alan Rickman is awesome, as is Hugh Grant, and even Hugh Laurie in a precursor to Greg House! Even if you're not a period piece kind of guy, you need to give SENSE AND SENSIBILITY a try. Even if you find the trials and tribulations of rich people just silly-as I do-you need to give it a try. Ang Lee (one of the great modern directors) delivers a wonderful fantastic movie.