the weeks in and around late January (Sundance) and late February (the Oscars) are the most important time of the year for the filmmaking community. Sundance provides a venue and market for brand new films to kick off the year. The Oscars follow that up by rewarding the previous year's absolute best in virtually all aspects of filmmaking.
In theory at least.
As just about any film fan will tell you, both Sundance and the Oscars have had their share of flubs. Quentin Tarentino succeeded in selling Reservoir Dogs to Miramax at Sundance. His blood filled and bloody fun ride, however, ended up losing to In the Soup, a well acted comedic indie, but one which never gained a wide release, never became a cult classic on rental, never drew critical acclaim, and never even got much airtime on the Sundance Channel, let alone other cable outlets.
Three years later, Tarentino's Pulp Fiction, perhaps the greatest movie of the 1990's (second in our book to Goodfellas) was defeated at the Oscars to Forrest Gump, which Entertainment Weekly described as a "baby-boomer's version of Disney's America."
While neither Sundance nor the Oscars can go back in time and fix all of their mistakes, we can. We won't, not at this time at least, but we can.
Instead, for now, we offer our own list of truly deserving films. The best of the best. Sort of. Being that we're fans of the modern film era, an era which began roughly with the release of Midnight Cowboy, we are going to skip all of the period piece epics, musicals and westerns of the 40's, 50's and most of the 60's while starting our list in 1969. Coincidentally (or not) that's right about the time grads of the Roger Corman Film School began spreading their wings. Oh, and being that this is Brooklyn Atlantic and not Hollywood Pacific, our list will include only New York movies.
Of course, by this we mean feature films which took place inside the five boroughs or surrounding 'burbs. Movies not necessarily shot entirely in these parts, but showed enough of Gotham to give each piece a Big Apple feel. Our list highlights films which showed what this area (in all of its good, bad, and ugly) was and is like during each particular moment of time.
By limiting our selections to solely New York movies, we are automatically omitting classics like Mystic River (our top film of this century) while also giving eligibility for what should have been straight to video ventures like New York Minute. We're confident enough in the vast wealth of New York films to take that chance.
To clarify, what we have compiled is a yearly "best of" list spanning the past 40 years. It's not simply the best 40 films over the past 40 years. In looking back, there is no doubt that some years were stronger than others. For instance, 1995 and 1997 were both relatively weak years for New York flicks, while 1996 was (along with 1976) one of the two greatest years we've studied. So even though our second best film of 1996 (and even our third from '76) would probably be on a best 40 films over the past 40 years list, it did not make this cut.
One last note, since again this is Brooklyn Atlantic and not Hollywood Pacific, we're calling our awards The Vinnys! 21k trophies (which could be modeled after the handsome "Brooklyn Vinny" above, or by any other Vinny from my cousin, Vinny, to Vinny Vedecci, to Vince Vaughn, to Vinny Testaverde, to Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore, to Vinny Johnson, to Vince Lombardi, to Vincent Price, to even Sham Wow Vince) will be coming in the future. But, ay, don't hold your breath or nothing.