List: My 20 favorite films from the last 25 years
05:00 AM, Apr 24, 2013
What’s the best movie of the last 25 years?
I just read a roundup of critics’ picks for this honor, and I was surprised by several of the choices, which I’d be OK with never seeing again. (Zodiac?)
Of course, topics like these are purely subjective, and the fun is in debating the answers. Below I list my favorite 20 movies from the last 25 years. I’m sure I’ve omitted a bunch (though I’m fully aware Lord of the Rings isn’t on here!), so I encourage you to chime in.
Running the risk of having Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino or someone else dominate the list, I decided to only allow one film per director. Other than that, the field was open:
20. Napoleon Dynamite. Maybe it won’t stand the test of time, but I’ll admit I adored this movie when it came out and thought it presented a character unlike anyone I’d seen on the big screen before.
19. Donnie Darko. A few years before we had Lost to pick apart, there was this twisted and layered movie, which I still haven’t completely figured out.
18. Dazed and Confused. One simple premise it’s the last day of high school in 1976 is executed flawlessly by director Richard Linklater.
17. The Cruise. Bennett Miller’s film about a charismatic New York City tour guide is right up there with Grey Gardens on my list of all-time favorite documentaries.
16. Crimes and Misdemeanors. One of Woody Allen’s best movies also is one of his most serious and nabs a bunch of acting legends (including Alan Alda and Martin Landau) at the top of their game.
15. Fight Club. David Fincher jolted me out of my seat with this one. The twist still seems both preposterous and amazing.
14. Lost in Translation. Here’s another film where everything seemed to come together seamlessly, from the writing to the soundtrack to a performance that could only be given by Bill Murray.
13. Being John Malkovich. Now it seems like everyone wants to make a postmodern comedy, but Malkovich was one of the first.
12. Edward Scissorhands. In my opinion, it’s the finest example of the decades-long partnership between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.
11. Clerks. With his low-budget debut, Kevin Smith helped change the way we think about indie movies and brought them into the mainstream. (It’s also incredibly funny!)
10. American Psycho. Christian Bale and director Mary Harron create the darkest of dark comedies.
9. Rushmore. This Wes Anderson comedy remains my favorite, though Royal Tenenbaums comes super-close …
8. Heathers. The 1988 flick ripped open the teen movie genre, which, by the end of the ’80s, needed a fresh perspective.
7. Boogie Nights. I’m among the moviegoers who have remained devoted to Paul Thomas Anderson ever since being blown away by this epic (and the wisdom of casting Burt Reynolds as a porn king).
6. The Matrix. Though I wasn’t really down with the sequels, the original was almost as fun to discuss afterward as it was to watch.
5. Short Cuts. What a cast! If it weren’t for this excellent Robert Altman movie, I’m not sure Boogie Nights would’ve been made.
4. Pulp Fiction. There’s nothing better than when someone who absolutely worships movies makes one of his or her own.
3. Say Anything. It may seem like a surprise pick, but there are few films I’ve seen more often in the last 25 years, and I still haven’t tired of it.
2. Goodfellas. I know The Godfather is the one critics like more, but I’ll take Goodfellas instead any day.
1. The Big Lebowski. Yes, I probably could’ve just compiled a list of Coen brothers movies from the last 25 years and heard little argument. But this one edges out Fargo as my top choice, and it has all the markings of a classic: original script, excellent cast and the fact that repeated viewings only make it better.
OK, your turn! What’s your favorite film of the last 25 years?