Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Top 100 Films of the 1990's: Part VIII
28. The American President (1995) - Still a personal favorite, The American President is every liberal politico's film wet dream. It tells the story of a man who stands by his principles, who overcomes nasty conservative hypocriticism, and openly goes after causes that are near and dear to liberals hearts such as gun control and higher environmental standards. It is a perfect combination of Aaron Sorkin detailed political analysis, sharp comedy, and budding romance. It is impeccably acted by Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Anna Deveare Smith, Martin Sheen, and Michael J. Fox, and while educational of the inside nature of politics, is also impeccably entertaining. For me though, The American President was one of those films, that while it ended up not being an Oscar favorite (although some of the nominees that year across the board were not as good), it is one of those that has stood the test of time. It shows a politician standing up for what he believes in, as well as standing up for the people that he loves, no matter the political cost. And whether you are a liberal or a conservative, I think that is something we all can admire.
22. Beauty and the Beast (1991) - It truly is a tale as old as time, and if I need to spend paragraphs describing why Beauty and the Beast is great, then you have a heart made of stone. It is one of the most beautifully drawn Disney animated features, and remains the first and foremost of the genre to receive a Best Picture nomination. That is because, not only is it a master class in animation, but it provides a classic love story, mixed perfectly with humor, clever songs, mystery, horror, and of course love. It is action-packed, fast-paced, and more importantly, offers something that kids of all ages, from 1 to 92, can enjoy. Finally, and most importantly, it is the perfect fairy tale that transports us to a magical world, filled with fascinating characters, and dangers and joys alike. It reminds us what it is like to be a kid again, to take awe in such feats. It reminds us of a simpler time. And if you are ever feeling nostalgic for your happy childhood, this is the quintessential film.
21. Apollo 13 (1995) - The events of Apollo 13 were some of the most harrowing in American space history. And in 1995, Ron Howard, along with an excellent cast including Tom Hanks, Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, and Gary Sinise, this true experience was brilliantly brought to the silver screen. Howard and his team took great care to paint a picture of these astronaut's lives, to adequately build the tension and the emotion that they felt locked in this situation far from home. But more importantly, they fascinated viewers by making a film that was true to its heroic characters as well as a perfectly entertaining Hollywood endeavor. It is one of those films that you can't look away from until you know what happens. And no matter how many times you tell yourself how it ends, it doesn't make it any less anticipating. It is one of the best films of the 90's, the best of Howard's directing career, and a truly American film that reminds us of the bravery and importance of America's space program, and the astronauts who make it possible.