The 5 Best Films I Saw In 1997

It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty five years since 1997; while many people often cite it as a year of bad music (False), and bad movies (Falser), and bad Television (Falserer). I’s a year I am quite fond of (warts and all). It was my coming of age year. It was a year of massive change. 1997 is one of the first years I began my passion for movies, and one of the first times I’d ever really experienced the internet. Pretty much overnight, it went from an odd novelty for computer geeks to something literally everyone was taking notice of. I also discovered “Monstervision,” “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” Troma, and so much more that would influence my foray in to teendom.

That said, here are the five best films I saw in 1997. There were more than five that I planned to feature, but in the end these stood out most for me and had the most significance.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Yes, this isn’t a great sequel, nor is it a very good sequel, but it has a ton of sentimental value that I can’t help but resist. Even at its worst, the movie packs so many memories. I saw it twice in theaters, once with my eighth grade class, and another with my family that very weekend. Even though it’s such an uneven and overstuffed sequel, it still has some great moments of pure terror, as well as some classic cheesy sequences that people still laugh about today.

Princess Mononoke
“Princess Mononoke” was my gateway drug to the glory of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. As a film it’s their most accessible, excelling as a wonderful dark fantasy about demons, an industrial war, the fragility of the environment, and much more. Miyazaki’s animation is amazing, with sweeping battle sequences, incredible creatures both sinister and lovable, and some classic Ghibli heroes. It never fails to amaze me.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
The key to a good spoof is that you don’t have to have seen the films that said movie lampoons in order to enjoy the experience. Take for example “Airplane!” or “Young Frankenstein.” With “Austin Powers,” whether you’re familiar with what Mike Meyer is going for, it still ends up being an absolutely hilarious, refreshing, and kind of brilliant spy comedy. Everything from the Bossa Nova opening number, right down to Dr. Evil’s introduction, it’s all so damn good. Meyers manages to re-invent himself after his time as Wayne Campbell, and what would be a pop culture milestone.

L.A. Confidential
Curtis Hanson’s noir crime thriller is a masterful film filled with an amazing storyline that unfolds with unique twists and turns with every passing moment. It’s a crime thriller that demands your attention from start to finish and rewards you endlessly. What begins as a slaughter in a diner turns in to a massive conspiracy, and there’s never a dull moment. Made with as much accuracy toward the era as possible, “L.A. Confidential” packs in immense replay value and is absolute favorite that lost out to—ugh—“Titanic.” Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce, Danny DeVito, you can’t beat that cast.

Boogie Nights
Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventies epic about a group of misfit porn stars is one of the most entertaining drama/dark comedies I’ve ever seen. Led by a magnificent ensemble cast (Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, et al.), “Boogie Nights” is about excess, sex, the search for fame, and a group of people that always end up re-uniting through thick and thin. Even with the sinister implications in the climax (neither of these people are going to have a very bright immediate future), it’s a fantastic movie filled with iconic scenes (the firecracker scene is priceless), infinitely quotable dialogue, and some of the best music ever made.

What are some of your favorite movies from 1997? Let me Know!