Well, there's still four months left in 1999, but I've already seen the Best Movie of the Year!
AMERICAN BEAUTY is it's name, and well, it's just amazing! This troubling but strangely beautiful move will make you laugh just as you wipe a tear from your eye. It has an amazing ensemble cast, and although it's the first movie for both, Director Sam Mendes and Screenwriter Alan Ball can really show some of the Hollywood Heavyweights a thing or two about good film making.
The film stars the always incredible Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham, a burned out sales type. He's married to Carol, brilliantly played by Annette Bening (Hey, I thought there were to n's in her name, but I'm following IMDB's lead here). Their daughter Jane is played by an extremely grown up Thora Birch. The Burnhams get new neighbors; The Military man, Colonel Fitts, played to the hilt by the very talented Chris Cooper. His quiet wife Angela is played by a very talented character actress named Allisson Janney. If you don't know the name, I'm pretty sure you've seen the face. The Fitts have a son named Rickey who is played by Wes Bentley. I have no clue who Wes Bentley is, but let me tell you, the boy can act. He just might be going places in Hollywood! Mena Suvari plays Jane's model type friend Allison, a very different her role from the slightly timid chorus girl Heather in American Pie!
I'm not going to say much about the actual story, because I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that American Beauty is extremely entertaining. I was actually sad when it was over; I wanted more! Basically, Lester rediscovers himself, and his doing so leaves the other characters little choice but to do the same thing...with quite a mixed array of results.
This movie is extremely well written and directed, and the cast is absolutely flawless! Kevin Spacey WILL be nominated for this movie. I can't say whether or not he'll win, but he will be nominated. Annette Bening should be nominated, as should Chris Cooper, and just maybe Wes Bentley could be this year's dark horse?
It's ironic, but I got to see this movie as a free sneak preview, and it turned out to a movie well worth the regular price of admission.