25 Years

Andy Horbal is conducting a survey, asking one simple (or not so simple) question: “What is the single best American fiction film made during the last 25 years?” Be sure to drop by a leave Andy a comment or send him an email naming your choice.

I chose Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, a film I always enjoying teaching in my Introduction to Film classes because of the discussions it invariably sparks (in fact, I just taught DTRT last week). What often gets lost, however, is that it’s a beautiful film, with Ernest Dickerson’s cinematography bringing the film’s Brooklyn neighborhood vividly to life.

So far, about 35-40 people have responded to Andy’s question with some interesting results.


  1. Shaun Huston Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

    Do the Right Thing is a good choice, although the Spike Lee film that came immediately to my mind was Malcolm X (I suspect that by the end of this year and in the future I will also be looking fondly on Inside Man). I ended up voting for Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, partly becuase I do love the film, partly to vote for something different, and partly because there are many moments when it is actually my favorite Scorsese picture, from the past 25 years or otherwise.

  2. Chuck Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

    I need to see Malcolm X again. I’ve only seen it once on a worn VHS tape, and because of that, the film didn’t leave a huge impression on me (I also think I saw it in a cramped studio apartment which may have been a distraction).

    My second favorite Lee movie (and another I considered nominating for Andy’s listmaking enterprise) was 25th Hour, which might have been my choice for favorite film of the last five years.

    Innocence is an interesting choice. I prefer Goodfellas, but Scorsese’s decision to look at a different moment in New York’s history was an intriguing one. I don’t think I’ve seen Innocence since about 1994-95, so I probably ought to give it a second look as well.

  3. zp Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

    I voted Goodfellas over Age of Innocence, though both films occur to me regularly as I move through my days . . . And both contain some really amazing fabric textures. But the way Goodfellas uses music . . .

  4. Chuck Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

    Yeah, I just showed the famous tracking shot from Goodfellas. The music in that scene (“Then He Kissed Me,” by the Crystals) works incredibly well. And I love the use of the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”

  5. Chuck Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    While I was checking out the tracking shot, I found a trailer mashup for “Brokeback Goodfellas.” Pretty funny stuff.

  6. Shaun Huston Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    The one quality that most great Scorsese films have that is missing from The Age of Innocence is scoring with contemporary music. The score for Innocence is fine, but it isn’t nearly as memorable as the musical soundtracks for his 20th century American films. Just about every one of those movies has at least one moment where song and image are perfectly matched.

  7. Chuck Said,

    September 29, 2006 @ 6:35 pm

    Yeah, his appreciation of rock and roll (seen in most of his “contemporary” films) really adds a lot to his films, and it’s clearly reflected in his adept direction in the Bob Dylan doc last year.

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