Some of you reading this may not have even been alive in the year 1998, but for those of you who were, you most likely remember it as a great year for movies. Shakespeare in Love would go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, but there were plenty of great comedies too, like The Wedding Singer and There’s Something about Mary.
1998 was also the year many screenwriters established themselves as great writers who would go on to have amazing careers like Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson and Michael Hurst, just to name a few.
Out of the hundred or so movies released that year, I’ve narrowed them down to the top ten and included scenes from each. Hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane.
This spectacular animated film from Disney is about Mulan (Lea Salonga) who dresses as a man to join the army in hopes of saving her father’s life. She becomes the most famous Chinese heroine in history. Disney is rebooting Mulan in 2020 as a live-action film starring Chinese actress Yifei Liu.
This clip is the scene where Mulan bathes in the pond only to be joined by the other male soldiers who don’t know she’s a female. It’s super cute.
9. There’s Something About Mary
Ben Stiller had us both cringing and cracking up with this movie. The ever-altruistic Mary (Cameron Diaz) can turn any negative into a positive and that’s why she’s so special (not to mention she’s easy on the eyes). I couldn’t help but include the hair gel scene – that part where it’s hanging off his ear is likely to make you gag (and laugh) at your computers.
8. The Big Lebowski
The Dude (Jeff Bridges) turned slacking into an art form. Bowling, White Russians and dog pee on a rug add up to the perfect comedic crime caper. The Dude’s famous line, “The Dude abides”, is a reference to Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the Earth abides forever.” In other words, the Dude is always Zen no matter what life throws at him.
Here’s the scene where the Dude and Walter (John Goodman) interrogate little Larry (Jesse Flanagan). The line that kills me every time is when Walter says, “Larry, have you heard of Vietnam?” It’s a really good example of humor coming from a character.
Call it quirky, call it whimsical or call it romantic, Rushmore inspired a generation of young people and established Wes Anderson as a writer and director with his own signature style.
When 15-year-old Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), finds himself on probation at the prep school he loves, he buddies up with the rich but disgruntled Herman (Bill Murray), only to discover they are in an odd love triangle with Miss Cross (Olivia Williams).
This clip is the, “Were you in the sh*t?” scene that makes me laugh every single time. It’s just great dialogue with a fantastic delivery by Murray.
Writer/director Darren Aronofsky made a huge splash into the indie film world with this stark, psychotic take on a man, Max (Sean Gullette) trying to understand what he believes are hidden codes in the Torah that may unlock the secrets to the stock market. Greed, religious and purpose comprise the haunting themes of this movie that was written by Aronofsky and Gullette.
Warning: This clip is pretty hardcore. It’s the end of the film where Max drills into his own head. I included it because it is just so shocking and has nothing to do with math.
5. Smoke Signals
Written by the masterful Sherman Alexie, this film is both a coming-of-age film and a spiritual journey with tons of humor along the way. Victor (Adam Beach) and Thomas (Evan Adams) leave the “Indian” reservation for the first time to find out the truth about Victor’s dad who has died.
This clip is where Victor tries to teach the nerdy Thomas how to be a “real Indian.”
4. Run Lola Run
This film has a super simple concept yet it blew my mind. Lola, the crimson-haired speed demon, has 20 minutes to find a large sum of ransom money to save the man she loves. Almost like a video game, she gets three “lives” or chances to save her boyfriend before it’s truly game over. Three tries. Three acts. One fabulous German film that influenced pop culture all over the world. And what a soundtrack!
Here’s a clip from Lola’s first run that lets you know this isn’t your average movie.
3. Saving Private Ryan
When the life of Ryan (Matt Damon), the last surviving brother from a family of four boys is threatened, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) leads the charge to rescue him. The movie is most famous for its hardcore Normandy invasion scene that lasts a whopping 27 minutes. Written by Robert Rodat, the film is a masterful war movie and earned Steven Spielberg an Oscar for Best Director.
Starring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth the first, writer Michael Hurst reinvented the historical biopic. Today, we know him as the creator of TV shows like The Tudors and Vikings, but this film is in a class all its own. Hurst shows us that the real story behind what’s in the history books will shock, surprise and seduce you.
This clip is the “I am married to England” scene. It is both empowering and disturbing at the same time.
1. Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) falls in love with his muse, Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), while writing his most famous play Romeo and Juliet. It’s hard to believe Viola was almost played by Julia Roberts, especially when you think how good Paltrow was in the role. But when the producers couldn’t find a leading male actor to star opposite Roberts, the project was placed on hold and Roberts dropped out.
Here is a clip where Shakespeare professes his love for Viola to Thomas, who is actually Viola dressed as a man. The best lines are when Thomas (Paltrow) says, “Tell me how you love her, Will?” Her being Viola. He says, “Like a sickness and its cure together.”
Shanee Edwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards
Photo credit: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment