best picture of the 1990s

10

AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)

DIR: Sam Mendes

Finally, it is time to review one of my personal favorites. This is one of those basically perfect films from start to finish. I myself am always a fan of a black comedy, and this film’s comedic moments are perfectly timed and sarcastic; played against the serious subjects of (almost) complete pedophilia, teen troubles, homophobia, cheating, marriage problems, and family struggles. Anyone can relate to some aspect of this story, especially teenagers when it comes to dating struggles, worries about appearances, feeling left out and misunderstood, and the mundane feel of suburban life. 

Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor who fits the role of Lester Burnham perfectly. He encapsulates the trend of 1990s men in film tired of their careers and looking for something new in their lives. Annette Bening also puts on a stunning performance of a neurotic, slightly crazed, and emotional woman. It’s completely believable to where you feel like you’ve met a suburban mom like this before. Her losing Best Actress was very much an upset. Of course, Mena Suvari is a stunning choice for the Angela part. Chris Cooper as Frank Fitts is frighteningly realistic.

I fell in love with this film from the first time I watched it. Which was in 2014, in November, while I was wrapping Christmas presents. A strange holiday choice, sure, but I had heard it was good and wanted to give it a go. I fell in love with the actors and the many beautiful shots. It made me emotional. It made me tear up. The idiosyncrasies of suburban life seemed so realistic to me. The story both charmed and saddened me. 

It is more than deserving of the Best Picture, Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), and Best Director Oscars it received (because yes, it is wonderfully directed, too.) It will make you laugh, charm you, make you emotional, and pull at your heart from the story alone. The amazing details and technical marvels are merely a bonus.

So go ahead and Look Closer into a new movie. You’ll be happy you did.

10

Academy Award for Best Picture:

63. Dances with Wolves (1990, Kevin Costner)

You are the only white man I have ever known. I have thought about you a lot. More than you think. And I understand your concern. But I think you are wrong. The white man the soldiers are looking for no longer exists. Now there is only a Sioux named Dances with Wolves.

But that [the Selma snub] doesn’t diminish the film. Nobody’s talking about motherfuckin’ Driving Miss Daisy. That film is not being taught in film schools all across the world like Do the Right Thing is. Nobody’s discussing Driving Miss Motherfuckin’ Daisy. So if I saw Ava today I’d say, ‘You know what? Fuck ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.‘
—  Spike Lee whose Do the Right Thing was nominated for just Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay in 1990, losing both with Best Picture going to Driving Miss Daisy

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991). Jodie Foster is Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins is Hannibal Lecter in director Jonathan Demme’s thriller that won five Oscars including Best Picture.