American Beauty (1999)

While watching 'AFI's 50 greatest heroes/villains,' a friend of mine suggested they put Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) in the top 10 for heroes. And having seen the film, he's not far off. Spacey is simply hilarious as the Biff Loman type who gets fed up with the direction of his life. But the film is hardly just Spacey. Annette Bening is equally eccentric as his wife Carolyn. Not to mention Thora Birch as their insecure daughter, Mena Suvari as an overly-secure friend of hers, Chris Cooper as the military-minded paterfamilias, Wes Bentley as his savvy son, and not to mention Allison Janney, who does a great job as a suppressed housewife.
I don't want to be guilty of nepotism or anything, but director Sam Mendes constructs a visual masterpiece. Each scene's vivid use of color (or lack thereof) and use of music creates a mood unparalleled since Stanley Kubrick's glory days. Not to mention how cleverly each shot is constructed to portray a certain point. I particularly like the scene where Spacey is in Brad's office. 'American Beauty' is quite simply an all-time classic.

+4


Oscar Nominations
Best Actress (Annette Bening)
Best Original Score
Achievement in Film Editing

Oscar Awards
Best Picture
Best Actor (Kevin Spacey)
Best Director (Sam Mendes)
Best Original Screenplay
Achievement in Cinematography