My Top 12 Best Movies of 1997 Picture

I just created this picture with my 'Paint' program. As the title says, this shows my personal picks of the best movies of 1997.
I shall explain my reasons of these choices.

12. "Liar Liar" by Imagine Entertainment
From Rotten Tomatoes - An attorney who tells the truth for 24 hours straight? This has got to be the movies! Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is a lawyer obsessed with his career, and he's devoted his life to bending the truth to his advantage. This habit has broken up his marriage to Audrey (Maura Tierney) and isn't doing much good for his relationship with his young son Max (Justin Cooper). Fletcher repeatedly promised Max that he'll be there for Max's eighth birthday party, but when an important assignment comes up at work, Fletcher calls Audrey and makes an excuse so flimsy that even Max can see through it. When it comes time to blow out the candles on his cake, Max makes a wish: that his Dad could go just one day without telling a lie. Suddenly, Max finds himself physically incapable of saying anything that isn't true -- which, given the divorce settlement case he's just been handed, is going to make his next day in court very interesting indeed. While designed to show off a warmer and more likable side of Jim Carrey's personality, Liar Liar still revels in the broad physical comedy that made Carrey a star in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective -- which makes sense, since both were directed by Tom Shadyac. Both Carrey's fans and foes will get a chuckle out of Swoosie Kurtz's tongue-in-cheek insult to the film's star in the blooper reel that runs under the final credits. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

I may not have seen all of it, but I could tell that it is a good movie that teaches us how lying can be bad if carried too far. Do you find it amusing to beat yourself up because you can't lie? That would've been something. I have learned that this movie has a plot resemblance to an episode titled 'The Whole Truth' from The Twilight Zone TV series. It even was remade into a Bollywood film titled 'Kyo Kii...Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (Because I Don't Lie)'. In other words, 'The Whole Truth' inspired 'Liar Liar', and 'Liar Liar' inspired 'Kyo Kii...Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta'.

11. "Life is Beautiful" by Cecchi Gori Group
From Rotten Tomatoes - In this WW II tragicomedy, famed Italian funnyman Roberto Benigni (The Monster) portrays Guido, who moves during the '30s from the country to a Tuscan town, where he is entranced by schoolteacher Dora (Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni's real-life wife). Dora likes Guido, but she remains faithful to her pompous fiancé, so Guido has an uphill struggle. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic attitudes lead to attacks against Guido's Jewish uncle (Giustino Durano). Leaping ahead to five years later, during WW II, Guido and Dora are married and have a son Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini). After they are imprisoned in a concentration camp, Guido goes to elaborate lengths to keep his son from understanding the truth of their situation. He tells the boy that they are competing with others to win an armored tank -- so everything from food shortages to tattoos is explained as necessary for participation in the contest. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

I think I may watch this interesting film when I have the chance. Telling your kid that a concentration camp is a game seems pretty amusing yet noble to keep your kid in the dark of what's really going on.

10. "Men in Black" by Amblin Entertainment and MacDonald/Parkes Productions
From Rotten Tomatoes - For his fifth effort as a feature-film director, one-time cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld brought his cartoonish visual style and darkly humorous sensibilities to this adaptation of, appropriately enough, a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi comic book. Will Smith stars as James Darrel Edwards, a New York City cop with an athletic physique and a flippant, anti-authoritarian attitude toward law enforcement. After chasing down a mysterious perpetrator one night who turns out to be an alien, James is recruited by "K" (Tommy Lee Jones), a veteran of a clandestine government agency secretly policing the comings and goings of aliens on planet Earth. Nicknamed the "men in black" for their nondescript uniform of black suit, shoes, tie, and sunglasses, the agents are assigned to recover a bauble that's been stolen by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D'Onofrio). It seems the item is none other than the galaxy itself, and its theft has plunged humanity into the center of what's shaping up to become an interstellar war, unless K and his new wisecracking partner, now renamed "J," can stop the bad guy. On their side but somewhat in the dark is a pretty, unflappable city medical examiner (Linda Fiorentino) who has been zapped one too many times by K's ingenious memory-sapping device. Men in Black was a box office smash, inspiring an animated children's television series and a hit soundtrack album that featured a performance by star (and rapper) Smith. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

We've heard about it before, men dressed in black suits, wearing sunglasses, being involved in Area 51 and alien sightings, that load of stuff. This movie may give you a different view on what they do. Do you think their getup is what inspired the Agents from The Matrix trilogy?

9. "Face/Off" by Paramount Pictures and Touchstone Pictures
From Rotten Tomatoes - The third of John Woo's American-made feature films, Face/Off stars John Travolta as Sean Archer, an FBI agent obsessed with capturing Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), a criminal genius who years before killed Archer's son while trying to assassinate the agent. Archer's single-minded pursuit of Troy has caused serious harm to his marriage, but Archer thinks the light may have appeared at the end of the tunnel when a seriously wounded Troy is captured in a bloody shootout. However, it turns out that Troy has planted a time bomb, with a biological payload that could destroy the entire city of Los Angeles -- and Troy isn't about to say where it is. The only other person who knows the bomb's location is Troy's brother, Pollux (Alessandro Nivola), who is no more helpful than Castor. FBI scientists hatch a plan: they have developed an experimental surgery which would allow them to graft Troy's face temporarily on Archer's head and allow him to question Pollux as if he were his brother. But after Archer has taken Troy's face, Troy regains consciousness and forces the doctors to give him Archer's face. Now the criminal mastermind has the FBI at his disposal, and the lawman is underground with few places to turn. Along with Woo's usual elaborately choreographed action scenes, Face/Off features a number of notable supporting performances, including Joan Allen as Archer's wife, Colm Feore and C.C.H. Pounder as FBI scientists, and Gina Gershon as Troy's loyal but long-suffering girlfriend. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Sound like an inspiration from The Prince and the Pauper story? Obviously not. I might look up this one.

8. "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" by Aurum Films and Capella International
From Rotten Tomatoes - Less a parody of the early James Bond film than a parody of the films that parodied the early James Bond films, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery stars Mike Myers as Austin Powers, by day a hipster fashion photographer in mid-'60s swingin' London and by night a crime-fighting secret agent. Austin's wardrobe is pure Carnaby Street at its most outrageous, his vocabulary is crowded by the cool lingo of the day ("Groovy, baby! Yeah!!"), and he's irresistible to women, despite the fact that he can be charitably described as "stocky" and has teeth that strike fear into any practicing dentist. When his nemesis, the arch-enemy Dr. Evil (also played by Myers), has himself cryogenically frozen and sent into space, Powers also has himself put on ice so he can be thawed out when Dr. Evil returns. Come 1997, Dr. Evil returns to Earth and is back to his old tricks, so Austin is thawed out and returned to active service -- though he soon discovers his style doesn't play so well 30 years on. The supporting cast includes Elizabeth Hurley as Austin's sidekick, Vanessa Kensington; Michael York as his boss, Basil Exposition; Robert Wagner as Dr. Evil's assistant, Number Two; and Seth Green as Dr. Evil's troubled son, Scott Evil. Ming Tea, the swingin' pop band that periodically backs up Austin, includes real life pop-rockers Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was a mild box-office hit but an even bigger success on home video, which led to the 1999 sequel, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

It is amusing that Myers, who you know best as that green ogre, wrote up this parody and stars as the protagonist AND the antagonist. The main character's style of 'handsome' and 'tough guy' is certainly funny.

7. "Amistad" by HBO Films
From Rotten Tomatoes - This Steven Spielberg-directed exploration into a long-ago episode in African-American history recounts the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and captures the complex political maneuverings set in motion by the event. Filmed in New England and Puerto Rico, the 152-minute drama opens with a pre-credit sequence showing Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) and the other Africans in a violent takeover of the Amistad. Captured, they are imprisoned in New England where former slave Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman), viewing the rebels as "freedom fighters," approaches property lawyer Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), who attempts to prove the Africans were "stolen goods" because they were kidnapped. Running for re-election, President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne) overturns the lower court's decision in favor of the Africans. Former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) is reluctant to become involved, but when the case moves on to the Supreme Court, Adams stirs emotions with a powerful defense. The storyline occasionally cuts away to Spain where the young Queen Isabella (Anna Paquin) plays with dolls; she later debated the Amistad case with seven U.S. presidents. The character portrayed by Morgan Freeman is a fictional composite of several historical figures. For authentic speech, the Africans speak the Mende language, subtitled during some scenes but not others. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

I've watched this in my high school years, and I was fairly captivated by Joadson's and Baldwin's noble kindness toward Cinque and the slaves. It furthers my belief that slave trade is stupid and full of crap.

6. "Cat's Don't Dance" by Turner Feature Animation
From Rotten Tomatoes - This animated comedy for the family, which gently parodies the movie musicals of the '30s and '40s, follows Danny (voice of Scott Bakula), a cat from Kokomo, Indiana, who loves to sing and dance and longs to be in show business. One day, Danny decides to do something about his ambitions instead of just wishing, so he heads for Hollywood, convinced that he can become a star in a week. However, Danny quickly becomes aware of the species barrier in Tinseltown; the studios don't much care for animals, even ones with star quality, and the best Danny's agent can get for him is a tiny role in a movie with adorable child star Darla Dimple (voice of Ashley Peldon), who turns out to be a mean-spirited brat who loathes animals as soon as the camera is turned off. Danny soon makes the acquaintance of several other animal performers stuck in the same bind as himself, including Sawyer (voice of Jasmine Guy), a pretty but cynical cat; Woolie (voice of John Rhys-Davies), a piano-playing elephant; Tillie (voice of Kathy Najimy), a singing hippo; and Pudge (voice of Mathew Herried), a performing penguin. Together, the critters struggle for acceptance and a chance to show the world what they can do. Sawyer's singing voice for the musical numbers was provided by Natalie Cole; Randy Newman wrote several original songs for the film, and Gene Kelly was a consultant for the character's choreography. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Even animals are as normal as we are.

5. "Anastasia" by Fox Animation Studios
From Rotten Tomatoes - Timeless Tales: Anastasia offers a family friendly animated story about the daughter of the last Russian Czar. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

I'd not be surprised if this movie's events happened in a parallel universe. Even the best songs from it are top notch.

4. "Titanic" by 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Lightstorm Entertainment
From Rotten Tomatoes - This spectacular epic re-creates the ill-fated maiden voyage of the White Star Line's $7.5 million R.M.S Titanic and the tragic sea disaster of April 15, 1912. Running over three hours and made with the combined contributions of two major studios (20th Century-Fox, Paramount) at a cost of more than $200 million, Titanic ranked as the most expensive film in Hollywood history at the time of its release, and became the most successful. Writer-director James Cameron employed state-of-the-art digital special effects for this production, realized on a monumental scale and spanning eight decades. Inspired by the 1985 discovery of the Titanic in the North Atlantic, the contemporary storyline involves American treasure-seeker Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) retrieving artifacts from the submerged ship. Lovett looks for diamonds but finds a drawing of a young woman, nude except for a necklace. When 102-year-old Rose (Gloria Stuart) reveals she's the person in the portrait, she is summoned to the wreckage site to tell her story of the 56-carat diamond necklace and her experiences of 84 years earlier. The scene then shifts to 1912 Southampton where passengers boarding the Titanic include penniless Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and society girl Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), returning to Philadelphia with her wealthy fiance Cal Hockley (Billy Zane). After the April 10th launch, Rose develops a passionate interest in Jack, and Cal's reaction is vengeful. At midpoint in the film, the Titanic slides against the iceberg and water rushes into the front compartments. Even engulfed, Cal continues to pursue Jack and Rose as the massive liner begins its descent. Cameron launched the project after seeing Robert Ballard's 1987 National Geographic documentary on the wreckage. Blueprints of the real Titanic were followed during construction at Fox's custom-built Rosarito, Mexico studio, where a hydraulics system moved an immense model in a 17-million-gallon water tank. During three weeks aboard the Russian ship Academik Keldysh, underwater sequences were filmed with a 35mm camera in a titanium case mounted on the Russian submersible Mir 1. When the submersible neared the wreck, a video camera inside a remote-operated vehicle was sent into the Titanic's 400-foot bow, bringing back footage of staterooms, furniture and chandeliers. On November 1, 1997, the film had its world premiere at the 10th Tokyo International Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

A love story told in this historical moment might be interesting to watch.

3. "Hercules" by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Feature Animation
From Rotten Tomatoes - Disney's animation team dipped into the rich well of ancient mythology for this musical comedy. The son of Greek gods Zeus (voice of Rip Torn) and Hera (Samantha Eggar), Hercules (voice of Josh Keaton) is stolen as a boy by the minions of Hades (voice of James Woods), lord of the underworld. Forced to live among humans, Hercules is turned into a half-god and half-mortal after drinking a forbidden potion brewed by Hades' right hand men, Pain (voice of Bob Goldthwait) and Panic (voice of Matt Frewer). Now Hercules has the remarkable strength of a god, but is trapped in the body of a human, and before he learns how to use his power properly he goes through a typically adolescent awkward period. In order to become a god and return to his home on Mount Olympus, Hercules must prove himself a true hero on Earth. With the assistance of Philotes (voice of Danny De Vito), a plucky satyr known as "Phil," the grown-up Hercules (voice of Tate Donovan) learns to use his strength to his advantage and becomes a famous and benevolent protector of those around him, successfully battling a variety of gods and monsters. However, Hades, wanting to cut Hercules down to size, sends his secret weapon after him -- Megara (voice of Susan Egan), a seductively beautiful woman under Hades' control, who is to win Hercules' heart and render him helpless against the forces of the underworld. Acclaimed British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe served as production designer for this project, while Alan Menken wrote the musical score. Incidentally, for the Spanish language version of the film, Latin pop singer Ricky Martin provided the singing voice of Hercules, two years before he became a chart-topping sensation in America with his hit single "Livin' la Vida Loca." ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

A mythological telling altered by everyone's favorite kid's company doesn't seem bad in anyone's view. Fun fact: This film and Face/Off were released in theaters on the same day, and on my fourth birthday!

2. "Janguru Taitei (Jungle Emperor Leo)" by Tezuka Productions
From Rotten Tomatoes - Leo, a rare white lion, is not only a proud father and husband, but reigning king of the jungle. His life with Riya, his wife, and two children, Rune and Rukio, is just as it should be until a greedy mercenary and his flunkies visit the jungle in search of the mysterious but precious moonlight stones. Though the animals of the jungle are enraged by their presence, the humans take no notice unless their lives are personally threatened--and in that case, they let their weapons do the talking. To make matters worse, a highly contagious germ is devastating what little jungle the mercenaries haven't destroyed themselves. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

Let me be clear on this one. This movie brought out certain feelings in me as I watched it. I was in awe of the grand moments, freaked out by Leo's son's interpretation of the human world (shudder) because it reminded me of the Pink Elephants, and was deeply saddened by Lyre's death of the disease, and Leo's sacrifice. This film is a take on episodes 5, 25, and 26 of the sequel series Leo the Lion, but it stays faithfully to Osamu Tezuka's manga of of the same name. I was fairly surprised when I recognized the English Dubbed voices of that film, like Dan Green as Leo, Veronica Taylor as Lyre, and Ted Lewis as Ham Egg. It is a best animated classic worth watching.

And finally...

1. "Good Will Hunting" by A Band Apart and Lawrence Bender Productions
From Rotten Tomatoes - Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-scripted and star in this drama, set in Boston and Cambridge, about rebellious 20-year-old MIT janitor Will Hunting (Damon), gifted with a photographic memory, who hangs out with his South Boston bar buddies, his best friend Chuckie (Affleck), and his affluent British girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver). After MIT professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) stumps students with a challenging math formula on a hallway blackboard, Will anonymously leaves the correct solution, prompting Lambeau to track the elusive young genius. As Will's problems with the police escalate, Lambeau offers an out, but with two conditions -- visits to a therapist and weekly math sessions. Will agrees to the latter but refuses to cooperate with a succession of therapists. Lambeau then contacts his former classmate, therapist Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), an instructor at Bunker Hill Community College. Both are equally stubborn, but Will is finally forced to deal with both his past and his future. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

Seeing Mat Damon, who you best know as the voice of Spirit from "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron", and Robin Williams, who you best know as the Seller and Genie from Disney's "Aladdin", star in a drama so awesome is very outstanding. If you're interested in this movie, you'll have to tolerate a ton of coarse language from the actors, even from Robin Williams.

What are your thoughts?
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