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

Monday, December 24, 2018
THE YEAR OF THE LEWINSKY: On Saturday I told you my favorite films of
2008. Now we'll jump back another 10 years.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked at 1998, it gave its Best Picture award to a trifle called Shakespeare in Love. These are all better than that:

1. The Big Lebowski
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

"Fair? Who's the fucking nihilist here?"

2. Happiness
Written and directed by Todd Solondz

Daniel Clowes drew this picture's poster, and the movie matches his sensibility. When I think back to the darkly funny final scene, my mind usually distorts the memory so that I'm imagining a Clowes comic, not a film.

3. After Life
Written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

My favorite Japanese movie of the '90s, and my favorite cinematic vision of the afterlife ever.

4. Rushmore
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Anderson and Owen Wilson

It has what may be Anderson and Wilson's best script, it has what may be Bill Murray's best performance, and it has what is definitely the best use of the Who on a motion picture soundtrack. Yes, that includes Tommy.

5. The Celebration
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov

It would be a spoiler to reveal what this story is about. I'll just say that there are approximately 10,000 films on that particular subject, and that this is one of maybe five that are good.

6. Oz 2
Written by Tom Fontana with Sean Jablonski, Bradford Winters, and Debbie Sarjeant
Directed by Nick Gomez, Uli Edel, Bob Balaban, Keith Samples, Kathy Bates, Alan Taylor, Mary Harron, and Jean De Segonza

Your reminder that the Golden Age of HBO was already underway before The Sopranos came along.

7. A Simple Plan
Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by Scott B. Smith, from his novel

Raimi's best movie.

8. Out of Sight
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Scott Frank, from a novel by Elmore Leonard

Part of a great run of Elmore Leonard adaptations in the mid/late '90s, along with Barry Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown.

9. Velvet Goldmine
Directed by Todd Haynes
Written by Haynes, from a story by Haynes and James Lyons

"According to legend, when Curt was 13 he was discovered by his mother in the family loo at the service of his older brother and promptly shipped off for 18 months of electric shock treatment. The doctors guaranteed the treatment would fry the fairy clean out of him, but all it did was make him bonkers every time he heard electric guitar."

10. High Art
Written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko

"I haven't been deconstructed in a long time." "Yeah, I bet you hate that."

Honorable mentions:

11. Pi (Darren Aronofsky)
12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2 (Joss Whedon)
13. O Night Without Objects (Jeanne C. Finley, John H. Muse)
14. There's Something About Mary (Bobby and Peter Farrelly)
15. Buffalo '66 (Vincent Gallo)
16. Dark City (Alex Proyas)
17. Billy's Balloon (Don Hertzfeldt)
18. The Truman Show (Peter Weir)
19. The Last Days of Disco (Whit Stillman)
20. Babe: Pig in the City (George Miller)

And a shout-out to Kurt and Courtney, which is brilliant if you take it as a mockumentary.

Of the films of 1998 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Apple and The Decline of Western Civilization III.

posted by Jesse 8:44 AM
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