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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 19 Sep 2016 10:59
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30 From 97: My Favorite Films From 1997

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People who added this item 1088 Average listal rating (737 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
I remember that at the time that this movie came out, the bankability of what was expected from a top tier actor was reaching a fever pitch in the "hollow" eyes of Hollywood. Because of this, all eyes were on the box office of Conspiracy Theory since the two leads actors, Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts were, at the time, about as big as it got.
Yet despite it's bountiful returns, this film still got a bad rep in terms of it's overall quality.

Therefore, since word of mouth wasn't all that grand, I didn't bother going to see CT when it was in the theaters. I finally got around to watching it when it made it's way to the television screen, and TBH, I didn't think it was as bad as the detractors say it is.
In fact, while I don't view it as a masterpiece of any kind, I found myself liking enough of it, that, even though it's not very high, it still has a ranking here on my list of favorite films from 1997.
Which, if you've been paying attention, is what you are currently reading right now.

The Mighty Celestial's rating:
People who added this item 5048 Average listal rating (3594 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
When I heard that alot of the visuals of this film were gonna be based off the works of French comic-book illustrators Moebius and Jean-Claude Mézières, as a comic-book nerd, I was super stoked. I didn't just want to like The Fifth Element, I wanted to love it.
Therefore, I was bit disappointment by the avant garde goofyness of the plot which, IMO, only simulated the depth more than it actualized it.
I really wanted a story with a stronger structure & a more cohesive point, that would match the grandness of the visuals.
As good as it looks, story-wise, I was really looking for more.
I think that this is just one of those examples of either you get it or you don't. And I didn't.
All that said, there is still an over-all creative beauty to this film that prevents labeling my reaction to it as "dislike". On the surface level, I still like it.
But only as a friend.

The Mighty Celestial's rating:
People who added this item 3158 Average listal rating (2022 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3
Eastern folklore and environmental symbolism meet head on, anime style, in this richly textured and complicated fairy tale.
Even though I enjoyed this as a movie that features mythological beasts and forest gods, gremlins and spirits, that focuses more on the adult sensibilities of it's viewers, I probably would've liked it a bit more had I not been so distracted by the heavy accented (and IMO, the terribly miscast) voices of Billy Bob Thornton and Minnie Driver in the English dubbed rendition.
In other words, if I were to recommend to anybody to watch this movie, I would advise to sticking to the original version, which is undubbed and subtitled.
Plus, as far as I'm concerned, I think the original language helps to enhance atmosphere of the Japanese fable that this story is supposed to be.

People who added this item 7129 Average listal rating (5094 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
Men in Black (1997)
They say what you don't know can't hurt you.
And in this movie, this applies to idea of aliens as well.
Extra-terrestrials have not only touched down to Earth, they are living amongst us and have been doing so for quite some time. So, how did we get by for so long without knowing?
The MIB, a secret organization that makes sure that unidentified flying objects remain unidentified and that extra-terrestrials remain "extra" (I hope that mkaes sense...).
And it's not a conspiracy, it's for you're own good.
These black suited, dark sunglassed agents know that if any of us average joes were aware of the fact that we had been being visited for years now, it would be too much information for us to handle.
In short, to save from us being taken away by the men in white, we need the Men In Black.
We just don't know it.

Heck, a being from another planet could be writing these very words that you are reading right now.
   When the first Jurassic Park came out, it did monster business at the box office. Commercially and critically, it was probably Steven Spielberg’s biggest success since any of the Indiana Jones flicks. Probably two of the biggest factors in that success were the groundbreaking computer generated images and the scientifically accurate script (obviously when I say “scientifically accurate”, what I mean is accurate to the science of a fictionally conceived concept of reintroducing prehistoric dinosaurs to the world). Contradictally, those two aspects of the film were also two of the things that worked against the sequel. The CGI from the first film was such a visua stunner, that it was the surprise of seeing such realistic dinosaurs onscreen that attracted people to movie theaters to see Jurassic Park.   Yet after so many people saw it, not just once but multiple times, that meant that the visuals in the The Lost World lost some of its overall impact. The computer graphics were still amazing, they just didn't initaiate the eye-popping oomph that results from seeing such imagery for the first time. 
  Also, the accuracy from the first trip to the Park led to a theme of logistics that was emphasized by Jeff Goldblum's character, Iam Malcolm. A professor of chaos thoery, who's  constant questioning of the logic , sensibility and obverall practicality of bringing dinosaurs back from the "dead" was continually being validated throughout the chaos of the first adventure. To quote Pof. Malcolms near the beginning of the movie, "Your scinetists were so preoccupied with whether or not the could, they didn't stop to think if they should". By the end of the movie, the argument of whether they should or should not , was pretty much summed up by the visual a giant T-Rex roaring amidst the rubble of one of the Park's museum's as a torn promo banners falls to its feet. This is a symbol that would lean strongly towards a sense of "lesson learned" from the whole disastrous affair, which would prove as somewhat problematic for any kind of plot premise for a sequel.
But, the wasn't enough to stop the money making machine of movie making to try and meet the challenge. 
 The Lost World was that answer, but by the time the movie is over, the flaw to the movie's premise is only reinforced towards demonstrating that all those involved in the Park were blinded so much by greed that no lesson was learned even to the slightest degree.

People who added this item 675 Average listal rating (454 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
Geri's Game (1997)
check it out....
I got a film, or an animated short in particular, that only lasts for five minutes on this list of what I think are the best flicks of 1997.
B'cuz as short as it is, it's that good.

People who added this item 379 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
With it's cinematic visuals and rich score, Kundun is a film that sounds and feels like a sweeping epic, but silently sneaks passed all the Hollywood hub-bub to leave it's mark under the radar as a beacon for those who are in a constant search for under-appreciated cinema.
Directed by the ever capable hands of Martin Scorcese, it's an illuminately layered biopic that covers several stages of the life of the 14th personage of the Dalai Lama. A life dedicated to the pathway of peace that is the heart of the Tibetan tradition, but which proves ineffective against the oppressive invasion of Communist China.

People who added this item 117 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
After the crumbling and desolation of the Soviet Union, ex-military clerk Danila must find a way to make it through the financially broken remnants of an emerging democracy. So he heads out to be with his brother in the "saint-lacking" city of Petersburg and enters into a world full of mob hits and treachery. And quickly discovers where the fine line is between surviving in an ineffective society and what is right and what is wrong.

People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 0
The Ugly is one of those stories that relies heavily on it's ending to give it a distinction that separates it from others of it's kind. So, in order to prevent myself from revealing any spoilers, I should probably try to keep my comments about this flick as short as possible.

While the "job" of killing people "serially" is never a pretty one, here is a movie that shows that trying to live with the ghosts of those you've killed can get pretty ugly.
People who added this item 719 Average listal rating (485 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
Sylvester Stallone was hoping to expand the roles he was doing with this movie. However, if I recall correctly, this film got so-so reviews, and I guess never got Sly's career rolling in the direction he wanted. Which is too bad, cuz I didn't think this was bad at all & also that Sly shoulda kept at trying new things ( which he didn't.... I mean, c'mon.... Rambo as an old man....?).
Ah well, maybe it's not too late for Vin Diesel or the Rock.

People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (57 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
A Hitcthcockian style con-job film written and directed by critic and connoisseur favorite David Mamet.
The Spanish Prisoner referred to in the movie's title is a term used for identifying a mark in a certain type of confidence scheme. Featuring Steve Martin playing out of character as a protagonist of a mortiferous nature, it's a con game written with the intellectual lethalness that usually comes with a Mamet movie. And just like his first foray into flim-flam films, 1987's House Of Games, Prisoner is an elaborate shell-game that raises the stakes of the genre to a much more dangerous level.

People who added this item 593 Average listal rating (373 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
I always wanted to know how to make rain.
So I watched this movie.
Turns out,
it's a courtroom drama, not a how-to on the subject of instigating precipitation from the skies.
I still consider it a good movie,
but it probably would've made it higher on this list if it's plot ran more directly along the lines of it's title.
Oh well, I guess I'm just stuck with a yellow lawn until Mother Nature finally decides to take piss.......

People who added this item 287 Average listal rating (188 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Private Parts (1997)
The real life story of the world's most famous shock jock and his the meteoric rise to the top of talk show radio.
And by "real life", what I mean is that it's true.
Who woulda thunk that a movie about Howard Stern's early life on the air woulda made for a pretty decent movie?
And by "decent", what I mean is that's it's not dirty.
At least, not as much as one would expect it to be considering it's about the self-proclaimed "King Of All Media".

People who added this item 2178 Average listal rating (1406 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.2
Scream 2 (1997)
In the same manner that the first Scream movie reinvigorated the slasher genre, the second Scream movie help to invigorate sequels to the slasher genre.
Except now, these groups of movie installments were being called franchises.
The benefit being that now movie goers didn't consider themselves fans of a particular film, now they were fans of film franchise.
Now movie companies felt an obligation to pump out chapter after chapter of a franchise with more of a guarantee that "fans of the franchise" will still flock to see 'em. And whenever a certain chapter in the series hits a lull, all you have to do is "reboot" the series with a new first chapter, and start all over again.
To be honest, for me personally, is comes more as an endless cycle of movie marketing that is enough to make any serious connoisseur of the medium scream.

But still, Scream 2 was a good slasher flick.
Displaying vociferous success in terms of both script and box office, this is a sequel that shows that when it comes to this type of usually overwrought sharp edged thriller, screaming twice can be just as nice.
People who added this item 2361 Average listal rating (1580 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.8
Yep, we live in a time when science fiction films are expected to be star-faring vehicles of blockbusting escapism more than cosmic catalysts for provoking thought. And the truth is, it was for the latter that the genre was invented in the first place.
Gattaca is a film that goes back to the roots of what fiction written through the use of futuristic fantasy was originally dreamt for.
Set in the ever popular "not too distant" future, it tells the tale of a social system founded on the belief that genetic superiority is "valid" and the best means in which to effectively run a Dystopia.

People who added this item 2038 Average listal rating (1262 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Boogie Nights (1997)
Here's a movie about the adult film business that features an actual adult filmstar in it, 90's porn icon, Nina Hartley.
And boy, lemme tell ya....
that Nina Hartley.....
if God could be embodied into the form of an ass,
it would definitely be hers.
Hell, just thinking about it is enough to make me want to wag the dog....

People who added this item 801 Average listal rating (488 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
Wag the Dog (1997)
And speaking of which....

Just like my parents taught me, I've come to believe that "wagging the dog" was likely to leave a person blind.
And I mean that in a political sense, not a masturbatory one.
Seriously, though,
in this film the Dusty Hoffman teams up with De Nironator to prove that this duo combo of actors does not need to rely on the sophomoric use of the name of "Fockers" in order to provide a piece of quality cinema entertainment.
A satisfying and smart satirical spin on the process of the political art known as spin doctoring.
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.6
Being the new kid on the block is never easy. In the business world, being the new kid on the corporate floor is worse. Especially if you're just a "temp" at the lowest rung of the ladder.
Iris is an unambitious introvert who along with three other female temps in the employ of Global Credit Association band together as friends and as colleagues against the rest of the ladder climbers of their office building.
When word gets around that a mysterious thief is stalking the cubicles and stealing office supplies, Iris and her the "bosom" buddies start to feel the partnership between them put through the paper shredder. Torn between the survival of her job and the loyalty of friendship amidst the inter-office "scandal", she soon finds herself just trying to get through the day by watching the clock.

People who added this item 9373 Average listal rating (6809 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.9

Wanna know how good Titanic is?
Because of this movie,
I have developed a lifelong hatred towards icebergs.
for a brief moment there,
this film actually had me believing that a man would actually allow himself to freeze to death in the icy ocean waters of the North Atlantic, just b'cuz he loved a girl so much that he couldn't bring himself to ask her if she could maybe scoot her fat ass over on the drift board just a little bit,
to make room for his skinny butt.

....godd@mn icebergs......!

Take a crime story out of the pages of those old detective pulp magazines from the 50's, the glamour of southern California scene back in it's heydey and mash it up with a revealingly gritty view of paparazzism, racism and corruptionism (uhmn...that's is a word, right?) along with a great cast of characters, whom almost all seem to share the lead role,
and you end up with an L.A. story that comes off as tough, fresh, modern and nostalgic, all at the same time.

People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Ah, if there's one thing that we never seem to get enough here in the States, it's a heist film in the form of a hard-edged British crime drama.
A caper gone good gets bad as, one by one, the perpetrators find themselves going down in a "murderous flurry of recriminations." A slope that steepens all the way down to the local police station with an all-out shoot with the boys in blue.
Sometimes, crime doesn't pay. And other times, in doesn't pay in spades.
Featuring a Brit Pack of actors such as Robert Carlyle, Ray Winstone, Phil Davis and Lena Headey.

People who added this item 1395 Average listal rating (886 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Chasing Amy (1997)

A comicbook nerd/artist actually scores with a chick.
And not with just a "regular" chick, but more specifically,
he scores with a chick who is a lesbian.
And this comicbook nerd/artist not only scores with a lesbian,
but he scores enough with her to the point where she decides to switch teams.

People who added this item 358 Average listal rating (200 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5

A small Canadian town is left emotionally reeling when a school bus has a fatal accident resulting in the loss of several of the local children.
An out of town lawyer, driven by his failure to protect his own daughter from the devastation of drug addiction, tries to convince the towns people to sue for a big settlement.
However, with the class action suit depending on the few kids who did survive, one of the primary (and potentially hopeful) witnesses, a now paralyzed 15 year old once budding music prodigy may have ulterior reasons for sitting in the witness chair.
Emotionally gripping from beginning to end, director Atom Egoyan (now is that a name or what?) reaches the pinnacle of his ability to intertwine the stories of different characters and their situations into one final restrained yet powerful climax.
People who added this item 100 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
The Apostle (1998)
Basically, The Apostle is just an excellent independent effort by Robert Duvall in an "engripping" tale of a troubled on-the-lam minister who finds a new ministry and as a result, a newfound chance at redemption.
Also includes great supporting performances by Farrah Fawcett and Billy Bob Thornton.

People who added this item 1920 Average listal rating (1183 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Al Pacino in the mob, but this time, on the opposite side of the heirarchy. A low-level aging hitman who can't get no respect. One of the few times Al gets to expand his acting muscles as opposed to just flexing 'em with a loud performance, which, over the years, has sorta become his standard.
For me, a great gangster movie isn't just about "wacking" people. It's when it shows the inner-most details of how the mob works. This one goes towards the very lowest part of the totem and shows us how the "cogs" grind thru a living in hopes of someday climbing that mafia ladder.

People who added this item 2076 Average listal rating (1398 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Contact (1997)
What Close Encounters Of The Third Kind did back in the 70's, this film takes to the next evolutionary step, in terms of the actual physics and concepts of an actual meeting 'tween us mere mortals and any life-forms from beyond.

For my money, Contact contains some of the best discussions of religion and atheism in any film ever made. It's depictions of the manner that things like general fear and politics can get in the way of a true quest for knowledge is both basely intelligent and comprehendibly poignant. This film's plot does a great job treading on the subject of how our society is constantly struggling between the comfort of what we already know and the confrontational truths about our species that can be revealed as result of the discovery of what is new, especially if seen through the "eyes" of a life-form that's a lot smarter than us.
People who added this item 656 Average listal rating (381 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
The Ice Storm (1997)
A solid flick with a solid script about a not so solid family, directed by the one guy who directed the Hulk, and starring a quality ensemble cast that includes that one bad-ass chick from Alien and that one guy from Spider-Man, who, coincidentally, throughout this movie, is reading a comic-book about the Fantastic Four.

Super-hero references aside, here is a Thanksgiving flick that, as far as Thanksgiving flix go, this one might not be the most positive,
but let's be honest, Thanksgiving is a holiday when everyone gets together just to be reminded of how deep the level of dysfunction runs within your loved ones.
Besides, there are so few Thanksgiving flix to begin with, let alone quality Thanksgiving flix, that we should all give thanks for the few, like this one, that we have.
And maybe your family isn't as effed up as the one in this movie (or maybe, your family is worse). But, after viewing Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, you'll be left with the perfect feeling of indigestion, bitterness and hopeless depression that can only come after an over-bloated feasting of dead bird, pumpkin pie and thickly gelatinous cranberry sauce from a can.
People who added this item 2725 Average listal rating (1808 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.7
I've never really been into romance flicks all that much. The few that I do enjoy usually tend to have a sort of a sharp or jagged edge to 'em. And this one definitely does thru Jack's portrayal of a writer with "redrum" on his mind. At least, he does with the little dog during the opening sequence.
Nicholson eases thru the role of a crusty curmudgeon with psychologically-based anti-social issues (Is it just me or does it seem that the majority of Jack's most memorable roles always have something seriously askew upstairs? Or am I just being crazy?), and he does so with the insane-like smoothness of an actor who can do this stuff blindfolded.
Add the fact that, at the same time, he still manages to allow himself to genuinely deliver the kind of lines that make the ladies go "awwww...", therefore substantially increasing the chances of me "gettin' some" with my date on the night I saw this film, and it becomes easy to see why this is a romantic comedy that provides an end-result that can be pleasing to both males and females alike.

People who added this item 2703 Average listal rating (1816 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
A great come back vehicle for Pam Grier,
Robert Deniro does an awesome job stretching hmself outside his usual Deniro persona,
Samuel L. Jackson, at the height of his career, is slicked-back and just downright evil,
and last but not least,
Bridget Fonda is perfect as a trouble brewing pot stewing "slacker-ho", not to mention that she simply looks fine as hell in this flick.
Oh, and the script ain't too bad either.

People who added this item 3980 Average listal rating (2601 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.3
  Will Hunting is a troubled youth from the south of Boston who does an honorable job of working as a janitor at a very prestigious college. But that's not what makes him good.
 Will Hunting is a genius.
In the purist sense of the word.
   But, as super-duper smart as he is, he's not intelligent enough to see that he needs therapy. Or intelligent enough to keep himself out of jail. Or intelligent enough to hold onto a good thing when he's got one.
 In other words, despite his extraordinary talents, he's still human. And any human, particularly one with an abusive past, can walk around with a shadow that no one else can see. That's a simple kind of math that requires more heart than brains to figure out.

  I pretty much ignored Good Will Hunting when it first came out. I remember seeing the trailers for it, and even though I love me a good drama, I usually have to be in the mood for it. Seeing as to how Hunting seemed like a typical troubled teen type plot, there wasn't much shown that made me want to rush out and see it. Even after it was the film that finally got Robin Williams his first Academy Award. That, combined with the critical hype that keep buzzing long after the film stopped showing in theaters, I just didn't feel any kind of motivation to finally give this thing a watch.
   A couple of years after it's release, I was out on a business trip, doing some work up in my hotel room. I decided to rent a movie off the hotel TV menu as I worked and noticed that GWH was one of the options available. I still wasn't jumpin' up and down about it, but I knew this was a good time to give this movie a looksee and see what all the hype was about.
Even though I wasn't surprised that it indeed was a good film, what I didn't expect was that it would end up being one of my top ten favorites of all time.
  But here we are.

Matt Damon stars as an orphaned hard-hitting Southie street punk who pays the bills as a custodian but solves almost impossible mathematics for fun.

Robin Williams costars as a unambitious widower who teaches for a living, does therapy work as a side gig, and is blessed with a sympathetic ear.

   Both actors won Oscars for this movie, Williams for "Best Supporting Role" while Damon for "Best Original Screenplay".  The whole movie won accolades all across the board from various film award organizations and, from my point of view, it's one of those few that I feel definitely deserved 'em. But  what this movie won that matters most for the purpose of this list is the number one position of my favorite films for the year.

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