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The Best Film Of The Last Decade... At Least
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) D: Michel Gondry.
This is the best film to come out of Hollywood since "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995). I've seen "Eternal Sunshine..." five times now and it keeps getting better every time I see it. Its clear by other comments that I've read that this movie really strikes a chord with many people. They see themselves as Joel who has known a Clementine in their lifetime and as Clementine who has known a Joel in their lifetime. And that's the magic of this film. Those who have really been affected by it see portions of previous relationships in the movie.
I can't see any movie that comes out for the rest of this year topping this one. Not that 'Oscars' mean much, but if the value of a movie is defined by Academy Awards then "Eternal Sunshine..." deserves Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score.
Men Don't Leave (1990)
one of the unheralded gems of the 1990's
It usually takes me two viewings of a film to decide whether I think it is a great film. The second that "Men Don't Leave" ended I knew it was a great film. It tells the story of a middle aged woman (Jessica Lange) who moves her two sons to Baltimore following the death of her husband. There she meets a quirky musician (Arliss Howard) and her older son starts dating an equally quirky x-ray technician (Joan Cusack). This film is by turns joyful and heartbreakingly sad and features sure-handed direction by Paul Brickman and a beautiful score by Thomas Newman who also scored "American Beauty". The performances are wonderful, most notably Jessica Lange's and Joan Cusack's. If you're looking for a wonderful family drama with comedic moments then "Men Don't Leave" is for you. One of the best films of the 1990's.
One of the most underrated films ever made
William Friedkin once said that when he dies his tombstone will read "The Director of 'The Exorcist'". While "The Exorcist" is a brilliant film, I believe his best film is "Sorcerer" released in 1977. It is a remake of the French film "The Wages of Fear" and tells the story of four fugitives from different parts of the world who end up together in a seedy Latin American town. When there is an explosion at an oil refinery the fugitives agree to take the job of transporting two trucks carrying nitro glycerine to put out the fire. This film is filled with incredible tension. The most famous actor in the film is Roy Scheider of "Jaws" fame but all of the actors are very good. The film features a great score by Tangerine Dream (with other music by Keith Jarrett), brilliant direction by Friedkin as he sets the story up gradually, and great work by the sound men and the cinematographer. It is a shame that this film is more famous for how it bombed at the boxoffice than for its aesthetic qualities. It is one of the best films of the 1970's and one of the most underrated films ever made.