- Published: 13 January 2002
The following movie overview was written by a friend of mine, Jennifer, and now is published here under her kind permission.
Hi! My name is Jenn. I'm from BC, Canada and I am a HUGE movie fan. I have been since I was little. I'm 21 now and I have seen almost every movie that has been released in North American theatres in the past 5 years. (Well, that may be a tiny exaggeration, but I've seen a lot!) My tastes tend to lie with movies that are a little bit different. I don't like sappy or cheesy romantic comedies (although I do like SOME romantic comedies like The Wedding Singer, which is not on my list). I love movies that mess with my mind, especially with surprise endings. There are a few of those on my list, but I also love a well-crafted comedy. Anyway, enough talking. Here is my list!
Staring: Alicia Silverstone
A lot of people I know never gave this movie a chance because it seemed like a silly throwaway teen girl movie. But it really isn't. The writing is incredibly sharp and I think it's a great portrayal of teen life. It is actually based on Emma by Jane Austen and if you know that story at all (or have even seen the movie Emma staring Gwenyth Paltrow) Clueless is even more fun. I own this movie and have seen it at least 20 times. And I still laugh uproariously at all the jokes.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The Lion King (1994)
These four movies represent Disney Studios at the height of its animation power. They were released successively, each one better than the last. They are all beautiful, funny, and touching. The Disney movies before The Little Mermaid are still good, though I don't have much to say about the ones released after The Lion King, especially the 2001 stinker Atlantis. Chances are you've seen all or most of these since they were so huge at the time, but a second viewing couldn't hurt, right?
American Beauty (1999)
Staring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
This is a hard movie to describe when someone asks, “What's it about?” It also hard to describe why I like it. I just do. It's both funny and sad, and also a little weird. One thing I can say for sure, is it's beautiful. It's a real treat just to look at. And the acting is superb, especially that of Kevin Spacey (remember he won the Best Actor Oscar for this one).
Toy Story (1995)
A Bug's Life (1998)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story was the first entirely computer animated feature-length film. Not bad for a first effort, is it? All three movies are laugh-out-loud funny and A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2 both include bloopers during the end credits which are almost worth watching by themselves! The success of these three movies, as well as that of Shrek and Monsters Inc. during summer 2001, seem to be marking the end of the age of hand-drawn animated movies. As long as all the CGI movies are as good as these three, I have no problem with that at all.
The Game (1997)
Staring: Michael Douglas
The first time I watched this movie, I was literally spell-bound. Absolutely gripped to my chair, eyes wide, breath held. A tornado could have ripped through the neighbourhood and I would not have noticed. (The only problem is, that feeling wasn't there the second time I saw the movie, or else it would be higher on my list.) The reason is because it has twist after twist and twist and then the mother of all surprise endings. Just when you think you've got it figured out, the movie wrenches you in another direction. And I loved every second of it.
As a side note and a way of fitting in yet another movie, Memento was released in 2001 and it is very similar. A true thriller. If you like getting jerked around by the plot, you will love these two movies.
The Princess Bride (1987)
Staring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal
The movie is based on the book by William Goldman which I think is better than the movie of course, by Goldman also wrote the screenplay and it is very, very true to the book. One of the best movie adaptations I've seen. This is such a classic movie. It's funny and romantic. Would have made a great date movie.
The Matrix (1999)
Staring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Carrie-Anne Moss
I truly hope you saw this movie in the theatre because it requires the big screen to get the full effect. Of course, it's still good on a small screen. This movie raised the bar for special effects. Mind-bending fight scenes AND a mind-bending story! I can't wait for the sequels!
Forrest Gump (1994)
Staring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Forrest Gump was also based on a book, but I preferred the movie (maybe just because I saw it first). Tom Hanks is the best part of this movie and won the Best Actor Oscar for it. There are really funny parts, and really sad parts. Yes, I cried at the end. The way the movie spans about 40 years is great too. It's almost a lesson in 20th century American History.
- (Tied for 3rd)
A Few Good Men (1992)
Staring: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon
A well acted, great courtroom drama. And of course, the famous line “You can't handle the truth!” appears, as well as several others worth quoting. I can watch this movie over and over again and it's always just as exciting as the first time.
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Staring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Beautiful movie. Just amazing. It didn't do very well in theatres but made a big showing at the Oscars and had HUGE success once it came onto video. (It's based on a story by Steven King, but don't let that fool you. It is not a horror story.) It's very moving. This one has a place of honor in my video collection.
Primal Fear (1996)
Staring: Richard Gere, Edward Norton
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Staring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment
Primal Fear was the first movie Edward Norton was ever in and he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. His performance will blow you away. I have been a huge fan of him since this movie. (Check out Fight Club and American History X if you want to see more of him.) Primal Fear is also based on a book, and of course not all of it makes it to the screen but I think the movie did the book justice.
The Sixth Sense was a huge movie when it came out and rightfully so. The young Haley Joel Osment is amazing and shows great promise as an actor. (He is the young Forrest in Forrest Gump too.) Bruce Willis did a great job, departing from his usual role as the action hero. I suppose this is classified as ghost story, which I normally don't like (I get scared too easily) but this movie was full of delicious goosebumps and no cheap scares like someone jumping out and yelling “Boo!”.
The reason I included these two together is because they both have surprise endings that will make you fall out of your seat. The feeling I had when all was revealed is why these movies top my list. The Sixth Sense holds up a little better upon repeated viewings but the job Edward Norton does kept Primal Fear at #1 for me.
So that's my list. I truly hope you do your best to see all of these movies! Enjoy!