A stellar year? Well, sort of. There wasn’t nearly enough to get passionate about, but the movies I saw in ’98 were more disparate than usual, in large part because Hollywood let a few maverick visions slip through the cracks (just as well, since U.S. indies continued to suck en masse). As for the films that did inspire passion, no surprises: Todd Haynes can be counted on to make the most brilliant and most misunderstood film of any given year, and Wong Kar-wai tops my best-of for the second year running.
Obsessive-compulsive qualifications: I compiled this Top 10 at 11:30 p.m., December 22 (having just emerged shell-shocked from The Thin Red Line, it should be said). At any other point in time, any number of the following might have made the final cut: The Truman Show, Mother and Son, Buffalo 66, Comrades: Almost a Love Story, First Love, Last Rites, Life of Jesus, La Sentinelle, Gonin (not Ronin), The Kingdom 2, Rushmore, Beloved, The Eel, The Big Lebowski.
1. (tie) Fallen Angels
4. The Thin Red Line
5. The Butcher Boy
6. Out of Sight
8. There’s Something About Mary
9. Love Is the Devil (John Maybury)
10. The Hanging Garden (Thom Fitzgerald)