“American Beauty”

Sam Lavely, Staff Writer

  Winning the Best Picture award in the 1999 Oscars, I had always been eager to see this movie, and I must say, I’m incredibly glad that I did. The film focuses on the Burnham family, and more specifically the father, Lester Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey. The film is essentially about the entire family suffering through mid-life crises, typical teenage drama, and dealing with/interacting with their new, strange neighbors.
  The acting in the movie is remarkable. I can confidently say that everybody played their roles almost perfectly. Kevin Spacey won for Best Actor, Annette Bening was nominated for Best Actress, and personally, I think it’s terrible that neither Chris Cooper nor Wes Bentley was nominated for Supporting Actor, considering they were integral to the storyline, and were perfect people for that role.
  Also, I have to say that this movie probably has the best screenplay out of any movie I’ve ever seen. The dialogue and lines are good enough that even only 45 minutes into the movie I had to look up to make sure that it had, in fact, won. I would’ve lost faith in the Academy had it not. Alan Ball threw together some of the most intricate and clever dialogue I’ve ever seen, and it was, in one word, beautiful. In a movie with such a dismal or sad tone, he found ways to crack up the audience while still making a point about Lester and the beauty that people are constantly surrounded by. There were at least two times throughout the movie that I almost cried. I was just astonished at the words that Spacey and Bentley were reciting. They hit you hard, just like the movie.
  Quite honestly, I don’t know if I can say that I have any complaints about the movie. I would say that I’d like the camera of the boy next door (they show the view of his camcorder sometimes) to be a bit less grainy, and yet, I really can’t complain about that. They didn’t try to romanticize the camera. They went with what the eye would have actually seen, which is something that most directors are not smart enough to do. Why create some perfect camera for the boy next door when the entire movie is about people that aren’t living in perfect situations? Regardless of what I wanted, it was the right choice.
  Overall, I must say that the movie was just remarkable. Thought-provoking, funny, sad, a movie that actually makes you pay attention and intrigues you from the start. I was astonished after I watched it and I still am now.