Monday, September 08, 2014

10 Favorite Films of the Last 25 Years

While traveling on a recent road trip I enjoyed passing some time by putting together a list of my favorite films of the last quarter century, and here it is!

I suspect these well-known films are also favorites for many of my readers, but perhaps this will provide ideas for trying out something new.

The titles with links have been reviewed here by me in the past; click for more information.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989) - This film kicked off the Second Golden Era of Disney animation, and it also contains what might be my all-time favorite Disney song, "Part of Your World." The instrumental of this frequently brings me to tears.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) - Another great Ashman-Menken score in another animated film which is pretty much perfect.

LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992) - At its heart this Colonial adventure is an old-fashioned Western story about traveling strangers banding together in enemy territory, with Daniel Day-Lewis an imposing, reassuring hero and Madeleine Stowe a courageous heroine. I'll be reviewing this here in the future.

GROUNDHOG DAY (1993) - A film which only gets better on each viewing, blending delicious humor -- some of it quite dark -- with a profound moral message. Bill Murray will never be better than he was as weatherman Phil.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995) - One of two Jane Austen films on my list, and perhaps the best filming of an Austen novel ever. A beautiful script by Emma Thompson, with marvelous peformances by Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, and Hugh Grant, plus a fantastic supporting cast including Gemma Jones, Robert Hardy, and Hugh Laurie. Movies don't come any better.

EMMA (1996) - I'm very fond of this lovely filming of another Austen novel, with excellent performances by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. There's a great deal communicated between the lines in this film, especially by Northam. Beautiful.

YOU'VE GOT MAIL (1998) - This is one of those special films where the remote immediately stops clicking forward if this comes on our TV screen. Our entire family can quote most of the script of this endlessly enjoyable retelling of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER/IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME/SHE LOVES ME, with perfect lead actors in Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

NOTTING HILL (1999) - Perhaps more than any other, this movie captures the feel of London for me, including its beautiful parks, and it's also my favorite Julia Roberts film. A great supporting cast including Hugh Bonneville and Gina McKee. I return to it regularly.

ENCHANTED (2007) - A terrific Menken-Schwartz score and a delightful acting and vocal performance by Amy Adams in a film filled to the brim with sly tributes to many of Disney's great animated films. It perfectly walks the line of being a funny riff on Disney's animated princesses and storytelling conventions without actually making fun of them, thanks in part to Adams' sincere performance. Strong support by Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009) - This story of the start of the loving marriage between Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) and Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) has already stood up to several repeat viewings, always with great enjoyment.

The list could probably be summed up as centering on Disney, the classics, and London! It's definitely apparent from this list what types of movies have worked best for me in the last couple decades.

Honorable Mentions: WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989), FIELD OF DREAMS (1989), SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993), WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995), APOLLO 13 (1995), MR. AND MRS. SMITH (2005), and ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011). Hopefully I'm not forgetting a favorite!

Favorite film actors of the last quarter century: Kevin Costner and Julia Roberts.

Please feel free to share your own "Top 10" lists and/or recommendations in the comments!


Blogger john k said...

For what it's worth here are my faves from the last 25 years.
As you can see it's top-heavy with Eastwood titles but then I'm biased.
In fact I could have made all 10 choices Eastwood flicks but even I have to
show some sort of restraint at times!
Anyway here goes:

(1) WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART (Clint Eastwood 1999)
(2) UNFORGIVEN (Eastwood 1992)
(3) A PERFECT WORLD (Eastwood 1993)
(4) LONE STAR (John Sayles 1996)
(5) GHOST DOG (Jim Jarmusch 1999)
(6) O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU (Coen Bros 2000)
(7) MILLION DOLLAR BABY (Eastwood 2004)
(8) EASTERN PROMISES (2007 David Cronenberg)
(9) BREACH (2007 Billy Ray)
(10)IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (2007 Paul Haggis)

BTW I am delighted to see that George Clooney is going to direct a film about
the notorious UK phone hacking scandal.
Here is my list of ideal casting for George's film:

Richard Wilson as Rupert Murdoch
Lucy Liu as Wendi Murdoch
Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman as Rebekah Brooks
Jack Dee as Andy Coulson
David Morrissey as Charlie Brooks
Ross Kemp as himself
Jeremy Northam as The Grand Inquisitor who's name escapes me!

4:53 AM  
Blogger Melissa Clark said...

What a fun list! I absolutely couldn't narrow mine down to 10, though. I got it down to 20 but even that was hard, which surprised me given that I tend to make a lot of comments about how much I dislike movies made after the 1960s. I guess that's not always true! ;-) Anyway, in no particular order, except that Amelie is my very favorite on the list, no question:

Amelie (2001)
Before Sunrise (1995)
Before Sunset (2004)
Persuasion (1995)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
You've Got Mail (1998)
Bright Star (2009)
Metropolitan (1990)
The English Patient (1996)
The Artist (2011)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
The Straight Story (1999)
About a Boy (2002)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Waiting for Guffman (1996)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Midnight in Paris (2011)

8:58 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

John and MC, thanks so much for sharing these lists -- it's fascinating in part how completely different they are! I see I share a couple with MC -- interesting how highly Eastwood rates with you, John -- many of these films I don't know at all.

That's a very interesting cast for the Clooney film, John. He's a good filmmaker, I've enjoyed many of his movies.

Thanks again for sharing your lists!!

Best wishes,

4:25 PM  
Blogger James Corry said...

To that list Laura, I would add "The Horse Whisperer" a fabulous picture and far better than the book it was taken from.


5:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Brad! That's another movie I don't know at all.

Best wishes,

5:48 PM  

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