The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, December 19, 2005
THE MOVIE THING: This blog doesn't run an annual countdown of the year's best films, on the grounds that I never manage to see all the movies I'm interested in before the year is over. That's especially true in 2005: Once you've got a baby, it's a lot harder to make it to the theater, or anywhere else for that matter. (Of the pictures I did manage to see, my favorite is either The Curse of the Were-Rabbit or The Dying Gaul.)

As a substitute, the tradition at The Perpetual Three-Dot Column is to list my favorite movies of 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and on backwards until we all get bored. And so, without further ado: the top ten movies...of 1995:

1. Safe
Written and directed by Todd Haynes

Haynes made several exceptional movies before stumbling with the middlebrow Far from Heaven (which, naturally, became his biggest hit). This one's a parable about an egoless person who consumes her life rather than living it, even -- or especially -- when she turns her back on "consumerism."

2. Smoke
Directed by Wayne Wang
Written by Paul Auster

A loving ode to coincidence.

3. Trainspotting
Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by John Hodge, from a novel by Irvine Welsh

A sad, hilarious, disgusting, and inspiring movie about drug abuse. Refreshingly, it never condescends to its characters: There's no question that these are individuals making choices, not zombies possessed by a disease.

4. Twelve Monkeys
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by David and Janet Peoples, from a story by Chris Marker

That shot of a giraffe galloping through the city is one of my favorite moments in any film.

5. Mabarosi
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Written by Yoshihisa Ogita, from a novel by Teru Miyamoto

Ozu lives!

6. The Secret of Roan Inish
Written and directed by John Sayles, from a book by Rosalie K. Fry

Aside from Limbo, which doesn't entirely fit the mold anyway, I'm not a big fan of Sayles' big-canvas movies -- those labored flicks where he tries to create a politically engaged portrait of an entire community but ends up producing a clockwork-powered speechmaking machine instead. But his small movies can be wonderful, especially this eerie and endearing fantasy.

7. Toy Story
Directed by John Lasseter
Written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow, from a story by Lasseter, Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft

"One minute you're defending the whole galaxy, and suddenly you find yourself sucking down Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette...and her little sister."

8. The City of Lost Children
Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Written by Caro, Jeunet, Gilles Adrien, and Guillaume Laurant

If Twelve Monkeys was 1995's best semi-surrealist science-fiction saga, then this is the movie for viewers who prefer their surrealism without a "semi" prefixed. Jeunet went on to make Amelie, while Caro seems to have disappeared from the face of the Earth. Anyone know what he's up to these days?

9. Shanghai Triad
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Written by Bi Feiyu, from a novel by Li Xiao

A lush, hypnotic gangster movie. Like Miller's Crossing on opium.

10. Funny Bones
Directed by Peter Chelsom
Written by Chelsom and Peter Flannery

Fellini in Blackpool.

Honorable mentions:

11. Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld)
12. La Ceremonie (Claude Chabrol)
13. Tierra (Julio Medem)
14. Casino (Martin Scorsese)
15. The Drivetime (Antero Alli)
16. A Close Shave (Nick Park)
17. Underground (Emir Kusturica)
18. Clueless (Amy Heckerling)
19. Heidi Fleiss, Hollywood Madam (Nick Broomfield)
20. Exotica (Atom Egoyan)

posted by Jesse 4:38 PM
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