A curdled but beautifully controlled take on the American dream, this black comedy featured brilliant performances by Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening.
Being John Malkovich
The funniest and most original film of the year. A wildly inventive comedy in which actor John Malkovich showed himself to be the ultimate good sport.
The Blair Witch Project
The hype was huge, but this innovative, low-budget film proved that, despite Scream and other slasher bloodlettings, there’s nothing scarier than that which you never even see.
Using high school as a paradigm for life, a profoundly adult satire with Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon showed just how easily folks rationalize bad behavior.
Russell Crowe and Al Pacino gave masterful performances in a tense, true-life thriller about how 60 Minutes and the CBS eye blinked. And Christopher Plummer’s smug Mike Wallace was terrific.
Notting Hill The year’s best romantic comedy sparkled brightly thanks to the big-star chemistry between Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, both showcased perfectly.
Toy Story 2
The niftiest kid’s movie of the year. Smarter, funnier and with more heart than the 1995 original.
Run Lola Run
An audacious German film in which a flame-haired heroine sped through the worst 20 minutes of her life, not once but three times. A total blast.
The Straight Story
Based on a true tale, an affecting drama about an old man’s long-distance journey by tractor mower to visit his ailing brother. Richard Farnsworth was wonderful.
As up-to-date as the Gulf War and yet as noble in heroic sensibility as Casablanca, this wartime comedy drama turned more corners than a maze and demonstrated that George Clooney could be the next Humphrey Bogart.