|John's Top 10 of 1997
1997 Top 10
Now that we're a month into the New Year, it's time to close the books on the last
Robert Duvall caps a great career as an actor. As a director, he doesn't constantly
resort to master shots like his Slingblade
buddy Billy Bob.
Witty, stupidly funny, and educational (on the impact of inflation). Also high on
my 7- year-old's list, just below Double Team.
David Birdsell's perfect 10-minute short.
One for the home team.
Philip Roth must be fuming.
Fast, Cheap, And Out of Control:
See Split Screen #7
Hands on a Hardbody:
The best documentary that Sundance totally missed still awaits release. See Split
In The Company of Men:
A reason to keep the grainy faith.
Detractors say it's no Chinatown
. I watched Chinatown
recently for the first time in years. Curtis Hanson's film holds its own.
Gustav Deutsch's 100 film loops for 100 audience members with 100 viewers celebrates
the 100th anniversary of cinema.
I want to explain two omissions.
Atom Egoyan's adaption of Russell Banks Sweet Hereafter
is wonderful. Read the book, then read Banks' other novels, especially Rule of the Bone
and Continental Drift (both future films)
. And no matter how good the movie adaptations turn out to be, Angela's Ashes
and A Civil Action
will always be better in prose.
In fact for every four movies you see, read at least one book. A few other books
I savored in '97:
Fred Goodman's Mansion on the Hill
Todd McCarthy's Howard Hawks
& Jane Hamsher's Killer Instinct
(film: serious & scandalous)
H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights
Lars Eigner's Travels with Lizbeth
(life on the street)
And finally, why no Titanic
? For a few weeks, I thought I had an answer in the form of a question for anyone
who called it great: When do you want to see it again? For me, that's a genuine
test of lasting value. Then one day Rick Linklater, who I greatly respect, told
me he's already seen the film twice. So all I can say is if Titanic is analogous to a David
Lean epic, it resembles Dr. Zhivago
far more than Lawrence of Arabia
Oh, and 1998's best film will be Chris Smith's Northwestern