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When shown in list order, the award winner is noted above its fellow nominees. As of December 31, 2014, nominees and their year of nomination is also noted.
Last updated February 28, 2017.
American Beauty (1999)
Post-Modern America at its finest in dysfunctionality
From trailers alone, "American Beauty" showed the most interest in my mind this year. It is a deep, dark, and sometimes depressing movie about that which makes up our post-modern America. We have Lester Burnham, who Kevin Spacey brilliantly brings to life, starring as a 42-year old man in the midst of a mid-life crisis. He does not pull any punches on the decline of his life. He is stuck in a dead-end job for a company looking to lay people off. He has a wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), who is a typical working mom: She truly believes she is Supermom, despite that she treats young Jane (Thora Birch) like dirt. At first, you may think that this family's values are the core of the film, but this is an idea shortly put away.
On one side of the Burnham house is a homosexual couple who do not flaunt their sexuality but are not ashamed of it. On the other side is an empty house, finally sold at the beginning of the film by Carolyn's long-time real estate rival, Buddy King. Buddy is the very successful business person that Carolyn only wishes she could be.
The new family that moves in is the Fitts. They are a retired member of the US Marine Corp, his stay-at-home wife, and their son, Rickey. Colonel Fitts is a 'stereotypical' military man, full of homophobia. Barbara Fitts is mentally depressed. Rickey has an illustrious aura about him from the very beginning of the film, full of voyeurism and mind-expanding drugs.
At this point, one is compelled to think we have all the makings of our society, but alas, we have yet to meet Jane's friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). She is the super-skinny, sex-minded wanna-be model. She tries to flaunt her body so that she can have any boy or man, whenever she wants it.
At any rate, Kevin Spacey is flawless in his sarcastic delivery. In the movie trailer, we see the Burnhams eating dinner and we get to hear Kevin say "I just quit my job and blackmailed my boss for almost $60,000! Pass the asparagus."
As serious as the movie gets, it also left me in stitches. In the midst of fights, in the midst of everybody's personal dysfunctional flaw, there is black comedy that is a notch below disturbing, and in this, it should invoke laughter. This movie was well worth the $9.50 per ticket to see it in limited release, and I highly recommend it.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
a waste of matinee movie money
I never thought a movie with this much hype and such a low budget would ever be worse than "Star Wars, Episode 1," but "The Blair Witch Project" leaves much to be desired.
The fictional story of the three college film students who attempt to make a documentary of the phony Blair Witch would have had a bigger hit on their hands had they decided to fool the country into believing it was all real. Instead, you have a movie filmed on home cameras with batteries that never die, and the realism is lost to the constant scary points being interjected by requests on how the cameras are running. Hypothetically speaking, "Don't kill me... is this in view?" is not good acting.
The movie wasn't the least bit scary once the directors let the cat out of the bag on the public. The movie should be divided into three parts: The beginning, with cheerfulness, the 90 percent middle, chock full of leaves, leaves, and more leaves, and the ending. The best part of the film was the end. The credits rolled and the crowds roared that this was a hoax.
I was displeased with this movie. The constant running and moving, with most of what we saw being foliage on the ground, gave me queasiness. I welcomed the end of the movie for this reason as well as for my utter disappointment in the flick. The premise is great; however, it was the actors, actresses, and filmmakers themselves that ruined it in my eyes. If the IMDb offered a "0" as a rating, I would still have asked for negative numbers.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Sex, beauty, perfection
In Eyes Wide Shut, we have real-life married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman going from happy couple to a marriage almost in shambles. The trip is a fun one, full of suspense and mystery, but if you are anything like me, you will find yourself wondering why Tom Cruise has trouble reciting lines that are scripted.
Sexual lust, always a hot topic, is a part of this movie, but it is story about beauty. The obsession of beauty is throughout the film, as rarely will you find a person disfigured or a physique too flabby. Even the set of New York City is misleadingly beautiful and perfect in and of itself. Beauty and perfection close the chapter of the career of the genius that is Stanley Kubrick.
Too Little, Too Much, Too Late
The prequel to the famed Star Wars movies was nothing but disappointing at best. While it is understandable that every story needs a plot, the plot took too much development. The action of the movie culminated too late with too many scenes.
The story of young Anakin Skywalker is nothing grand. It is an alien version of any 1800-era slave in America, fortunate enough to be free of his shackles of solitude. Qui-Gon was too stuck up throughout the film, be it towards Yoda or Anakin. Obi-Wan Kenobi had the edge of playful, helpful youth attached and was welcome whenever Qui-Gon was on screen.
But then again, any movie you take a nap during is not a good movie at all, and my ten minutes of sleep during the prequel was probably the best part.
full of foul language and... singing??
The boys from South Park get to speak their minds without Comedy Central's bleep for the naughty words. It is absolutely hysterical, with most of the humor being found in that they know not what they say, yet they are emulating their heroes and are thus happy. This is a stinging satire of the state of affairs in many homes across the US. Some of the language is iffy and made me feel that this should have been an NC-17 movie.
However, with all the singing, you might think you wandered into a very crude Broadway play. Less singing and more humor would make this the "movie of the summer."