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13.American Beauty
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Number 13 of 15


     In 1999, one film opened and changed the way I viewed comedies.  That movie is American Beauty.  No other film brings on the laughs and range of emotions like American Beauty does.  Right from the get-go, the film sets itself apart from whatever you thought it was going to be.  Kevin Spacey gave a great performance as Lester Burnham, but the rest of the cast is just as special.  Annette Benning reminds us what Kathie Lee Gifford would act like if she had become a crack addict, Thora Birch gives a rare complex teenager some realistic habits and dialogue.  Still, it is Spacey who runs rampant with writer Alan Ball's mix of sarcastic dialogue and warped sense of suburbia.  Lester is at once your hero and the loser that he purports to have left behind.  By the time he comes to his epiphany at the end, we have gone through everything - the good and the bad - with him.  Director Sam Mendes captures the insanity behind red doors with subtle symolism and metaphor capped off with brilliant performances and a real crowd-pleaser of an monologue.

American Beauty on IMDB

American Beauty on Rottentomatoes

American Beauty official site

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