How many films begin with the word “American”? According to one answer on WikiAnswers only 8, Wikipedia lists over 30 films (I got tired and stopped counting eventually), and reelfilm.com lists 23 films which begin with the word “American”. I also considered films that begin with “The American…”. Now, as a film lover and a person who likes lists, I came up with my top 5 “American” films.
In the first place- American Beauty, 1999. Director: Sam Mendes. Cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, and Thora Birch. This film left its mark on me mainly because of Kevin Spacey’s miraculous Oscar winning role as Lester Burnham. The all American suburban portrait is depressingly represented, when everybody’s not happy with anything. Lester is a father of a teenage girl and a husband to a desperate real-estate agent. Followed by long lost dreams of becoming someone else, he develops an infatuation with his daughter’s friend and decides to make some serious life changes.
In the second place- American History X, 1998. Director: Tony Kaye. Cast: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, and Beverly D’Angelo. A harsh and heart breaking story of Danny, a teenage kid growing up in a neo-nazi environment. Danny’s older skinhead brother, Derek, teaches him nothing but hatred and exclusion of everything not purely white. When Derek comes around after a vile prison experience, Danny stands confused while the situation intensifies even further.
Third place goes to American Spelndor, 2003. Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. Cast: Paul Giamatti, and Shari Springer Berman. The film tells the story of “comic book hero everyman” (IMDB) Harvey Pekar who created the comic book series American Splendor. A wonderful mixture of real-life and animation drawn by Pikar himself, portraying his unsatisfying attitude towards the rest of the world.
Fourth place goes to American Psycho, 2000. Director: Mary Harron. Cast: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Jared Leto, and Reese Witherspoon (and many more I did not mention). Patrick Bateman is a egoistic investment banker to busy polishing his external facade, while deep down inside his preoccupied with murderous psychotic fantasies, and slowly starting to lose it. This is a great film, but I have to say, it fits a certain mood. I can’t bare watching it as often as the others only because of its provocatively violent scenes. I still respectfully put it as my number four American film.
Last but not least, number five, An American Werewolf in Paris, 1997. Director: Anthony Waller. Cast: Tom Everett Scott, Julie Delpy, and Vince Vieluf. An American man falls in love with a Parisian girl and gets caught in the paws of the wrong crowd. Oddly enough, it’s a teen-hood film of mine and I used to watch it a lot. I say oddly, because I can hardly imagine other girls in my class watching this on a regular basis. Anyways, leaving the plot aside here for a second, this film has a great title song performed by Bush, called “Mouth”. The video was awesome. Other than that, I love night creatures, especially when they reside in Paris. Hmmm… Sexy.