- Hoop Dreams
- Freedom On My Mind
- Burnt By The Sun
- Pulp Fiction
- Four Weddings And A Funeral
- Heavenly Creatures
- Muriel’s Wedding
- Little Women
- Bullets Over Broadway
If we’re talking comedy that lasts forever, there’s nothing to match the style that Terence Stamp brings to The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, a film whose qualities have not waned with time (and recently inspired a Broadway musical). Stamp ended years of playing villains in bad American movies with this career-reviving performance in which he not only struts his stuff as the world’s most gorgeous middle-aged transsexual, he also gives the film much of its sophistication. He also delivers cracks like “I’m gonna to smack his face so hard he’ll have to stick his toothbrush up his arse to clean his teeth!” as if he’s been living in a drag bar for the last thirty years.
The Academy has a rule that a film that premiers on television before its theatrical release is ineligible for the award, and as a result the terrific performance given by Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction was prevented from garnering her a nomination (though given how marginal the film was, I don’t know how likely a nomination would have been for her anyway). Either way, it’s a terrific little boiler about a modern-day femme fatale who gets away with murder in the most gleefully hilarious way. Fiorentino enjoys every second of it, and despite not getting awards attention, she did go on to have a few lucrative years in bigger movies.
Martin Landau‘s portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood is one of the funniest, richest and most cantankerously vital roles ever displayed on film, and Landau gives every single inch of it his all. It’s hard to pick out a favourite moment, he burns with brilliance throughout the entire thing, which in a film that has a hilariously fey Johnny Depp as the title character, Bill Murray drily portraying Bunny Breckenridge and Lisa Marie’s dead on impersonation of Vampira, is no small feat.
Standing out from an overall perfect cast is Dianne Wiest, the richest and most delightful character in one of Woody Allen’s most pleasurable films, Bullets Over Broadway. After years of stealing hearts as everyone’s favourite mom in movies like Parenthood and Edward Scissorhands, Wiest created her most fruitful collaboration with Woody Allen and became only the second actress to win Best Supporting Actress twice with her performance as Helen Sinclair, the Big Apple diva whose career has seen better days. With a deep, gin-soaked voice and a frustrated countenance, Wiest leaves behind all her sweetness and settles the dark recesses of her character’s anger into her eyes while delivering Allen’s hysterical dialogue (“DON’T SPEAK!”) The result is a glory of a kind that her career has, sadly, not revisited since.
sex, lies and videotape launched the Independent movement, Reservoir Dogs gave it cult status and widened its reach, and then Quentin Tarantino made himself a genuine star when Pulp Fiction put indies fully on the map. Celebrated at Cannes and followed by an illustrious round on the awards circuit (where, typically of Hollywood, it lost almost everything major to Forrest Gump), the film was a rightfully successful combination of sharp, intelligent dialogue, retro-cool visual élan and aggressive male brutality. It also spawned a whole legion of bad imitators that, for a while, made one regret its existence (not to mention the fact that it became every meathead’s favourite movie). However, in the years since the copycats have died away into obscurity, and Tarantino’s style has only improved, this one shines even better than ever before. Plus, it provided John Travolta with possibly the greatest career comeback since Marlene Dietrich asked what the boys in the back room would have in Destry Rides Again.