Reeling in the Year

From South Park to Pokémon, 1999 was almost an American beauty.

And speaking of religious fervor, Bratt Pitt starred as a self-proclaimed Nietzschean superman in David Fincher's hyperkinetic ode to violence, Fight Club. Kevin Costner, who just won't hang up his spikes, returned to the diamond as an aging Detroit Tiger with one last shot at a no-hitter in For the Love of the Game. And in a bruising, field-level epic about pro football, Any Given Sunday, Vietnam vet Oliver Stone insisted that the game is not a representation of war, but war itself. Ollie's most brilliant stroke? His casting of retired pro bowler Lawrence Taylor as an old warhorse who clings to the gladiator code.

Annette Bening lectured Kevin Spacey in American Beauty.
Annette Bening lectured Kevin Spacey in American Beauty.

Arnold Schwarzenegger prepared for the End of Days.
Arnold Schwarzenegger prepared for the End of Days.


Gallo's Top Ten
Although some of 1999's best films have yet to open in Denver, they're worth waiting for. Fortunately, the year's best movie is still playing here. In order, the top ten:

1. American Beauty
2. Being John Malkovich
3. The Insider
4. Magnolia
5. Topsy-Turvy
6. The Matrix
7. The Dreamlife of Angels
8. Election
9. An Ideal Husband
10. Holy Smoke

Maybe Sharon Stone gave Oliver Stone that bright idea. But there are some movie people that no army of muses could bail out in 1999. Consider Spike Lee, whose Summer of Sam squandered the chance to examine hypertension as a serial killer stalks the big city. Or Robin Williams, who was a misty-eyed Polish Jew holding off the Nazis with a heart of sap in Jakob the Liar and an android who yearned to be human in Bicentennial Man. Or Mark Borchardt, an aspiring moviemaker from Milwaukee who was the subject of a touching and hilarious documentary called American Movie. Still living in his parents' basement at the age of thirty, this Midwestern Ed Wood dreamed of making art but trudged off to a cemetery each day to vacuum rugs and shovel snow. He imagined himself Ingmar Bergman but had to use his bewildered mother as a camera operator. He had the soul of a poet but the skills of a factory worker. Certainly, he never visited the inside of John Malkovich's head.

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