Because my other review is still in progress, I just decided to do an entire journal of reviewing films, from a specific year. Now, I wasn't born until the very end of 1998, but looking at the movie industry that year, it was full of a lot of blockbusters, or at least until the next year with The Matrix, Toy Story 2 and others..
So, I decided to compile all the films I've of 1998, (so far...), and review them. So here we go:
Half Baked (January 16)
Boy, this one is odd. The film stars Dave Chappelle as a janitor who is also a stoner, who two other friends, and himself, have to bust out their friend in jail after over feeding, yet killing a diabetic horse. Alright, so this film is classified under being a cult classic, but for me, it's well... alright for being a cult classic. I mean, the humor isn't piss-myself laughing comedy, but for a stoner film, I guess it works.
Dark City (February 27)
But after a weird stoner movie, we get what is perhaps my favorite Sci-Fi movie of all time, (SO FAR...) This film is about a man who wakes up in the middle of a murder scene, with no memory of what happened, of his wife or who he is, and he is stuck in a world controlled by some type of mutant race who have powers. Honestly, I really do love this movie. The cinematography is great, the plot keeps us hooked to the screen, and sets the record for SCI-Fi films, even if it is underrated. One little nitpick I have is while the acting fits the scenarios, the constant breathing while talking could get a little annoying, but I'll let that slide. Please, forget the director's other work (I, Robot and Knowing), and watch this if if it's on Max now.
The Big Lebowski (March 6)
Oh boy, we are back to weird movies again. Since everyone of you, if you do exist, do know what this film is about. Dude is mistaken for a millionaire, seeks revenge for his carpet which was peed on, you get the idea. Honestly, this is also a weird movie. But it's still entertaining for what it is, due to it's writing, it's memorable characters, and it's style of being edgy.
Deep Impact (May 8)
Great, another disaster movie that follows the formula: edge of your seat moments, breaks every logic of science. However, this is ONE of the disaster movies that are actually entertaining for once. The film is about a comet that will collide with Earth, and soon wipe out the human population, while the Earth prepares for what will happen, by building arks that will save millions of lives, with a selected lottery. Alright, while the film still breaks logic that no one but analyzers see (even though I can't analyze), it's entertaining for it's build-up and actors, while Morgan Freeman, who delivers the best performance as the president. But while the actors are great, the big problem is that they play characters who we barely pay attention to. Like the whole sub-plot with Elijah Wood who discovered the comet, and wants his girlfriend, played by Leelee Sobieski, to come, as he tries to marry her, even though they are only like 14! It's really hard to root for them to live, considering that there wasn't enough screen time. But the film still has it's powerful moments, like the news reporter, played by Tea Leoni, spending her final moments of life with her father near the ocean, or heck, even how forced it is, SPOILERS, the ending sacrifice was a bit heart-string pulling. And the climax was just downright jaw-dropping, even if the visuals weren't so great. Overall, while Deep Impact is the same formula, it's still thrilling, and WAAYYYYY better than Volcano, which has every cliche.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (May 22)
And now, we're back to weird movies. And this is the cherry on top. So the movie is about a journalist and his lawyer going in Las Vegas, and honestly, I have no idea what the hell this movie is about, because it is BEYOND strange. It's a stoner comedy, and the movie doesn't fail to show it, because I swear to god, every shot, every color, and every actor makes it feel like I'm tripping on drugs. Yet, that's what gives the movie it's charm. I honestly have nothing else to say, because while the movie IS a bit long, it's still fun for it's atmosphere.
The Truman Show (June 5)
And here is another favorite from others, and me. Jim Carrey stars at Truman Burbank, a man who's been living his whole life inside a dome for a TV show, where everything is perfect and everyday is like the same, until he discovers his surroundings, as the tv makers go out of their way to stop him before he enters the real world. To be honest, the movie was very slow during the first 20 minutes, but when Truman starts to question things, THAT'S where the movie starts to get my attention. Not only does it have a great plot, but Truman is also a very well-acted and likable character, we root for him to find a way out, and how the producers constantly block his path is very diabolical, yet funny. Probably the best of Mr. Carey other than Eternal Sunshine.
Can't Hardly Wait (June 12)
Another cliched genre: the teen movies. So, this film is about a graduation party, as many characters want to accomplish things. One boy wants to win the love of a girl, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, while one geek, played by Seth Green wants to lose his virginity, as other things crumble down. So, in other words, this is the original Project X, except better. While Project X was entertaining with it's raunchiness, Can't Hardly Wait had meaning, and while it's a bit cliche, at least it's entertaining for what it is.
Mulan (June 19)
Here we go, the most popular animated film that year. You guys all know the story, girl takes her father's place in the army to save him. But does it hold up? Well yes. The animation is great, the songs are memorable, and it is funny at times. But it does have many flaws. One, the Mushu character is another funny sidekick is somewhat pointless, but not as annoying as the Gargoyles. Two, the villain is forgettable. Even though his army burned down a village, he has little screen time or chemistry with Mulan or any characters, and is defeated easily. But other than those flaws, it's still enjoyable.
Doctor Dolittle (June 26)
So yeah, here we come to the first bump of 1998. The movie is a remake of a classic film, which is about a doctor who has the power to communicate with animals. Honestly, this movie is very hit and miss for me. I mean, the jokes in this are not even that funny, like the one where sniffing butts are just like handshakes, and the film is also filled with a lot of dirty jokes, or wait, is that the sequel? And even the animal characters are just bland, like the tiger who is possibly suicidal, or Chris Rock's ANNOYING GERBIL CHARACTER!! I guess it works for kids, but for me, it's just weak.
Armageddon (July 1)
Behold, the blockbuster of the year. Not the best, but the highest grossing. So in this one, an asteroid is heading towards Earth and it's up to a pack of Astronauts to blow it up. Between, this and Deep Impact, DI is a better film, but then again, it's been two years since I've seen this. I don't know, this one DOES have more identifiable characters, but they are mostly played for laughs, and some of them do nothing on the trip, like MCD's (may he continue to rest in peace). I don't know, I guess the movie is a bit long, and just feels, BLEH.
Small Soldiers (July 10)
Here we go, a childhood classic for everyone. In this one, a chip is implanted in the brain of Army toys, which gives them life, as they fulfill their mission to destroy the Gorgonauts, who are also toys, while the owner's son, must help stop the war. Honestly, while this might be considered dark for kids, I enjoy this movie. It works for a kids movie, and while some of the humans are bland, the entire plot between the war of the toys is where the movie shines.
Pi (July 10)
Now, we come back to weird movies. Pi is about a man who discovers a formula with the number PI, which has leads to answers for the stock market, but he becomes to attached to it, causing him to start to lose his sanity. This movie is just...insane. I mean, the way the film is edited and how it's atmosphere goes will drain you, especially with some scenes involving the main character. It's black and white colors fit the picture. While it isn't perfect, it puts you at the edge of your seat, with brilliant writing and very disturbing scenes. However, director Darren Aronofsky managed to make an even more draining film two years later, for this year, it's just great.
Saving Private Ryan (July 24)
How can nobody love this movie? Alright, NC can't, but really, this is a masterpiece. The movie is about soldiers going as far as to retrieve and save a lost soldiers who brothers ended up being killed. Let's see, the war scenes are epic, the acting is spot on, and it's very engaging. However, I hate to admit it, but some of the talking scenes never caught my attention, I don't know why, but it's still one of the best pictures of the year.
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
I hate to admit it, but I found this one better than Disney's Cinderella. So this movie is a retelling of the classic tale of a Cinderella, only as a romance story in real times, with no Fairy Godmother. Honestly, while the beginning of the film is slow, why I find it better is because of how the love story actually works. I mean, I don't mean to diss Walt Disney's movies, but what love story was there? What, just a dance, and to see who's foot can fit in the glass slipper, with no chemistry? This is what Kristoff from Frozen was poking fun at! In this one, we get to see Cinderella, or Danielle, played by Drew Barrymore, actually communicate with the Prince. Plus, the acting is spot on. Drew Barrymore is great as the role of Cinderella, as I can say that it's what Leonardo Dicaprio as Romeo the Montague from Romeo + Juliet wasn't. Plus, Baroness and the Stepsisters were more despicable in here than they were in the animated film. So yeah, this is Maleficent done better.
Rounders (September 11)
And here, we get to the slow, but good movies. So this one stars Matt Damon, a professional gambler, who loses all his money in a game and gives up. However, as his friend, played by Edward Norton, gets released out of jail, he convinces him to get back on his feet. Honestly, this is somewhat a really slow movies, since it's a full two hours of gambling. But what keeps it from being not good were the acting and it's characters, as we do want to see Matt Damon's character win everything back, even if it does involve losing things in his life. But overall, very fun if you have patience.
A Night At The Roxbury (October 2)
This honestly would've been a terrible movies for others, but for me, it's somewhat entertaining, until the last 20 minutes. So yeah, the entire movie is based off a sketch of three guys who go to clubs bobbing their heads, so what does the movie involve? Two guys who go to clubs, but have to get jobs by their father. Honestly, the two character portrayed by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell had me laughing my ass off in the club scenes, even though it's based on one joke, and the soundtrack isn't that bad. But what kills the film is the final 20 minutes, to where the movie tries to go to the emotional route, even though this is a SNL movie! I mean seriously, out of all the comedies to try to have heart, THIS is the movie? About two guys who just bang their heads? Otherwise, it's just okay.
Antz (October 2)
Probably known as the best animated film of 1998, and to me, I think it's overrated. Now HEAR ME OUT! So the movie is about this worker named Z, who meets the princess at a bar, and impersonates a soldier just to see her again. While he ends up causing liberty for the colony, he ends up taking the Princess out of the colony, as they go on an adventure outside. Okay, I honestly prefer A Bug's Life, because well.. It's a bit more memorable. I mean, YEAH, it has a concept that's been done to death, but the characters is where the movie shines. This one, while it's probably better written, it just feels so BORING, as none of the characters felt memorable, and some of the only characters I actually gave a crap about, like Barbadus, or the stoner flies, are barely in it, ( the soldier does die.). While the animation is good, and the movie isn't mediocre, it's just, meh.
What Dreams May Come (October 2)
You might of heard of this because of Family Guy, but this isn't actually a bad film. Robin Williams is a dad who's children have died in accident many years, but then he dies due to a car collision. He ends up in Heaven, where he finds out that his wife, Annie, has committed suicide, and since all suicides go to hell, he has to retrieve her out of there. While this film isn't a masterpiece, it's good for the environment it creates, and it has an AMAZING interpretation of Heaven and Hell, with beautiful visuals, and cinematography. While the film could be a bit cliche, it's enjoyable to see what can come after death.
Practical Magic (October 16)
How can a fantasy like this NOT WORK? So, the film is about two sisters, played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, who have witch powers, that grow up with a curse of death to the boys who fall in love with them. However, They both end up killing one man, who was an alcoholic boyfriend, as his spirit is unleashed upon the house. My problem with this movie is that it could've been a great fantasy film, but it's just so dull between genres, like what Roger Ebert said. Whenever a comedy or romance, it is just so dull, and feels less like a Fantasy film.
American History X (October 30)
Talk about Oscar Snubs. So, the film stars Edward Norton as a man who is part nazi, that despises the black race in his neighborhood, after they killed his father while doing his job. However, after being in jail, he comes to find out that his younger brother is going down his path, and tries to stop it. While the film isn't told in order, it actually works that way, for a certain extent. The best thing about this movie, are the performances. Edward Norton, my GOD, does this guy perfect the art of acting. I actually saw him actually BEING that character, rather than acting as him, because he delivers a lot of powerful dialogue, and when he's angry, he will drain you, mostly for the flashbacks. Even if they are constantly dropping "F" bombs, it is NEEDED for all of the dialogue. While the flashback of being jail takes up the film, I guess it helps, but seriously, how the HELL did Edward Norton lose to a man in a comedy about the holocaust? Guess I have to see for myself, but right now, please check this film out.
Belly (November 4)
Well, this one is...mixed. So, the film takes place in the future, or at least three months up to a year and a half when the film was released, in where two gangsters...I honestly don't know what this is about either. What I mean by mixed,is that it's somewhat a boring yet entertaining film. On the other hand, I have no idea what's going on, but on the other hand, it's the style of the film. The cinematography is amazing for the film, with each color showing the environments of each scene, and it does have a kickass opening, with a great ending, but that's all I get.
Enemy Of The State (November 20)
Will Smith stars as a lawyer, who the government believes is holding a tape to a political murder, as he is put under surveillance. Also stars Gene Hackman. This is such a great thriller from the late Tony Scott. The action scenes are entertaining, and the chemistry between Smith and Hackman is also where the movie shines. While the plot isn't new, how it's executed is where the film is at.
The Rugrats Movie (November 20)
The Rugrats' Fairly Oddbaby, except told much better. So, this movie gives birth to Dil Pickles, the show's most despised character. With a mishap with the Reptar wagon, the babies get lost in the woods, where they go on an adventure to find the "Lizard Man", while the adult go after them. What else can I say? The movie has so many heartwarming and tear jerking moments, and while Dil can be annoying, at least he learns at the end. But the songs, are just meh. I mean, we have an entire song with The B52's, Iggy Pop, Lenny Kravitz. Beck, and freakin' B-Real from Cypress Hill. How did THAT go wrong? While they are not bad, they are just somewhat not memorable enough. But was still great, until Rugrats In Paris overshadowed them.
A Bug's Life (November 25)
Just like I said in my review of Antz. The film is about an ant named Flik trying to protect his colony from grasshoppers who force the ants to give them an offering every now and then, as he turns to circus bugs who he believes are warriors. So while the film has a concept that's been done already (Seven Samurai much?), the characters are just amusing, plus a great villain. Antz might be better written, but just executed poorly, in my opinion. But even this isn't the best animated film of 1998...
The Prince Of Egypt (December 18)
This is. My god, is this movie breathtaking. The movie is the animated retelling of Moses, and let me just say that, not only do I think that this is the best animated film of 1998, but this is my favorite animated film, next to Wall-E. What this films perfects is the animation, which is beautiful for every shot, and every background. There's even a nightmare scene, with great animation just by wall art. Plus, the film doesn't dumb down anything for kids. There is no pointless sidekick for laughs, and nothing is factually changed. Alright, there's a chariot scene, but that's it. Heck, Steve Martin and Martin Short aren't even the comedy relief. Then we get to the songs, and not one of them is forgettable. My favorite being The Plagues, for it's dark atmosphere and vocals between the two feuding brothers. Just wow, this is the probably the best of early Dreamworks. Thank god it took home Quest for Camelot's Oscar for Best Song.
Stepmom (Decemeber 25)
Back to confused genres. So this one is about a mom, played by Meryl Streep, who is dying of cancer, as their kids must settle with their stepmother, played by Julia Roberts, now, this movie does have it's moments, but what strikes me, is how the movie is PG-13, yet it acts like a kids movie. I mean, they could've just cut out all the cussing, or all the other adult things, and it would've at least redeemed itself, but really, it's kind of weird with all it's elements. BUT, the acting and the moments are what redeem the film. So yeah, it's fun for what it does, but not for what it is.
The Faculty (December 25)
Another mixed movie. So, the film is about aliens who take over all the teachers in the schools' body. So it's up to Elijah Wood, once again, with a group of students, to save the school from taking over the world. So, what's my problem? This concept sounds like something out of a b-movie, yet the movie doesn't take full advantage of that. I mean, the movie doesn't try to take advantage of his cheesiness, and actually just makes it just plain cheesy, with clichéd ideas. It's also very predictable who the head alien is, yet the movie actually tricks us, until we were proved right. At the same time, the movie SOMEWHAT MAKES characters, which is what keeps our attention. So, I'll just say, meh, and BLEH.
So far, here are my top 5 best:
5.The Truman Show
4.Saving Private Ryan
3.American History X
1.The Prince Of Egypt
And here are the top 5 WORST (disqualifying Half Baked and Belly)
5.A Night At The Roxbury
And I didn't hate any of these, just didn't like them, well, MAYBE Roxbury.
I will come back with more reviews of films from 1998, because next time it's Fallen, Phantoms, Lost In Space, Dead Man On Campus, Pleasentville, and many others.