The Best Films of 1996

Many critics have argued, oddly, that 1996 was more or less a sub-par year for movies. Maybe it was the plethora of lame Hollywood offerings that they were responding to, but to ignore the incredibly deep independent film offerings this year would be more than just a little myopic. Some people go to movies to escape reality and others go to be wooed by special effects and the possibility of seeing their favorite celebrities naked for a few short moments. But for whatever reason I prefer to go to the movies to see the best actors an actresses in the business recreate reality on the screen. Most of the movies on this list are in fact mere slices of life whose success is almost entirely dependent on the strength of a few individual performances. If you haven’t yet seen many of these movies because you didn’t believe the hype, then I would seriously urge you to reconsider. Each of the movies that comprise this list are truly thoughtful, imaginative and remarkably acted masterpieces that, I assure, become classics over time.
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The Best Music of 1996

So your mother just won a $500 gift certificate to Tower Records at the New York Arts Foundation Benefit dinner raffle. Having sworn off music years ago in favor of NPR to and from the grocery store, she has decided to lay the “shop-to-you-drop” music lovers orgasm of a gift certificate on you for 28th birthday. For a moment you feel as if a tear is forming in your left eye- after all $500 of CD’s is a decent stack. Even at Tower’s ridiculous $15 a piece price tag that will yield nearly thirty-five new albums. After purchasing the standard stuff- alterna-rock standards like Sublime, The Smashing Pumpkins, live Nirvana, The Presidents of The United States etc. (I’d advise against), you find you still have another 20 records to locate and your mind is now completely blank. What to do? Although this may not have been the best year I can remember for memorable five star masterpieces it’s easy to think of twenty off-beat classics that never received the attention that they rightfully deserved. To be just this list has been segmented by genre and not by any other hierarchical ordering methodology.
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