The Postman rings six times when luminaries—and PEOPLE critics—answer the call to choose the year's top TV shows, films, songs, books and bytes
Cynthia Stevenson, Hope on Hope & Gloria.
"I loved Babe more than anything. I am a raging animal freak, and after I saw it, I was telling everyone I know never to eat pork. I can't believe how they made those dogs' mouths move just like they were speaking."
Dustin Hoffman, actor.
"My favorite book was The All-American Skin Game by Stanley Crouch. He's a jazz critic and essayist and black human being who upsets the apple cart."
Luke Perry, actor.
"I'm an X-Files fan because of the music. The X-Files theme is me and my wife's love song."
Gillian Anderson, Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files.
"Funny Bones is a brilliant film. Days after I saw it, I was remembering the hysterical details."
Christian Slater, actor.
"My favorite album would be the Seal album, called Seal. It just moved me."
Christy Turlington, model.
"Il Postino (The Postman) is the kind of movie I like—a simple film without sex, violence or bad language."
Fran Drescher, star of The Nanny.
"I loved that Il Postino. The man who wrote it, directed it and starred in it dropped dead after he wrapped it. It was a charming movie with a dark story behind it."
Maxine Bahns, costar of The Brothers McMullen:
"I loved Il Postino. Foreign films take me places that American films don't."
Isabel Allende, author.
"The movie I liked the most was Il Postino about the poet Pablo Neruda. It's about poetry and life."
Dennis Franz, Det. Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue.
"Il Postino was a sweetly romantic movie. There could not be anything more simple than that story, and the characters utterly won me over. It passed by in 10 minutes."
Roberta Flack, singer.
"I loved the silliness of While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock
was fabulous. I loved the quaint fairy tale with a real side to it."
" 'Brown Sugar' by D'Angelo is a soulful loooove tune. It's good, grooving funk. I'm on location, and my boyfriend is always working, so when I get home he leaves it on my answering machine. It's a nice connection."
Nickolas Ashford, Ashford and Simpson:
"I liked Vampire in Brooklyn because Eddie Murphy looks like me!"
Joey Slotnick, Sam on The Single Guy.
"The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers was my favorite CD of the year. It has a great sense of rock and roll but also a great sense of humor."
Ming-Na Wen, Trudy on Whe Single Guy.
"My favorite book was Miss America by Howard Stern. He has the pulse of America in his private parts."
Sofia Coppola, actress and fashion designer.
"Showgirls was a brilliant comedy. Everyone will realize what a classic it is in 10 years."
Gina Gershon, Cristal in Showgirls.
"Crumb was a really interesting, well-thought-out documentary. He was just so weird, and his brothers were even stranger. It tickled my fancy."
Melody Beattie, self-help author.
"I couldn't put down California Angel by Nancy T. Rosenberg. I knew I'd miss the characters, and it would be a long time until I had a similar experience."
"I loved Species. It made you think that what happened in the movie can happen in real life."
David Hyde Pierce, Niles on Frasier.
"Nixon is the best movie of the year. I'm in it. I just have a hunch."
Penny Marshall, director.
"I liked Devil in a Blue Dress. It was a very well-made movie, and the actors were excellent."
Daphne Zuniga, Jo on Melrose Place.
"I love Mad About You. Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are hilarious together. You can tell that their own creativity and wit come out."
Jon Secada, singer, now starring in Crease on Broadway.
"I loved Apollo 13. I love Tom Hanks's work, and he did a great job following up Forrest Gump."
Gabrielle Carteris, talk show host.
"I can relate to Friends because it's about young people. I like the goofiness. The comedy comes out of life. Also, everyone in it is not perfect."
Julie Delpy, actress.
"I really liked Leaving Las Vegas. I'm not crazy about stories about prostitutes and drunks, but the way it was done was really intelligent and subtle. I liked the twisted sense of humor."
Keith Hamilton Cobb, Noah on All My Children.
"The characters in The Usual Suspects were well-drawn and the dialogue was very interesting. Mostly, I remember Gabriel Byrne's great performance."
Cynthia Rowley, fashion designer.
"I love the latest Ace Ventura. He's an animal lover, and he's funny!"
, rapper and Khadijah James on Living Single.
"I liked Dead Presidents. My father's a Vietnam vet, so it kind of reminded me of my family. And the music was knockin' through the whole movie."
Wolf Blitzer, CNN White House correspondent.
"Seinfeld is very real and totally hysterical. I like every character. It's terrific."
"The Presidents of the United States of America's song 'Kitty' makes me laugh. I put that on when I need a little cheering up."
Kylie Travis, Rachel on Central Park West.
"It's embarrassing to say, but I'm a country-western buff. The ballads on Shania Twain's The Woman in Me are fabulous for all us drama queens."
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Randy on Home Improvement.
"I liked The Beatles Anthology. It was great to see because I'm 14 and didn't live through that period. I don't think we'll ever have another group as popular as the Beatles."
Taran Noah Smith, Mark on Home Improvement.
"I liked Toy Story. I liked Buzz because of Tim Allen. We did a reading for Home Improvement and I could pick up stuff Tim was doing with his voice that was similar to Buzz."
Zachary Ty Bryan, Brad on Home Improvement.
"Toy story was amazing. I liked the actors, the characters, the plot. My favorite character was Mr. Potato Head."
Michael Kinsley, cohost, CNN's Crossfire.
"Moo by Jane Smiley paints a perfect picture of a liberal college campus, and I just love campus fiction. The book also contains a profusion of interesting characters who jump out of the pages."
Jennifer Tilly, actress.
"I really loved the Isaac Mizrahi documentary, Unzipped. I was watching that movie, and I wanted to be a gay man living in New York. I wanted to be Isaac."
James Salter, author, A Sport and a Pastime.
"From the first to the last sentence, Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth just doesn't let you go. It's enthralling and repelling at the same time. Roth is a seducer."
Greta Van Susteren, CNN commentator.
"I loved Get Shorty. John Travolta is my favorite actor. I admire his resilience."
Robert Downey Jr., actor.
"Get Shorty was really good. I didn't know what would happen every 20 seconds. I didn't even get up to go to the bathroom."
Elmore Leonard, author.
"I liked Braveheart. I liked the feeling that I was seeing something I had never seen before—the history. I thought the action was terrific."
G. Gordon Liddy, talk show host.
"My very, very, strong favorite movie was Braveheart. It was brilliantly done. Essentially, I admired the message that freedom is worth fighting for. This is very relevant to the world today with the situation in such places as Bosnia and Nigeria."
Paul Levine, author, Jake Lassiter mystery novels.
"My favorite film was Braveheart. I'm a sucker for swordplay, and who can resist a peasant and a princess in a tent, even if they both wear skirts?"
Stedman Graham, businessman and Oprah
"Quincy Jones's album Q's Jook Joint is the best. It's a great collection of wonderful artists that we all know. Ray Charles's song 'Let the Good Times Roll' was my favorite."
Quincy Jones, record producer.
"My American Journey by Colin Powell was powerful. He has lived an incredible life."
Andre Harrell, president of Motown Records.
"I liked My American Journey. Colin Powell makes very clear decisions. I respect him."
Charles Burning, actor.
"I liked an English book by Jonathan Coe called Windshaw Legacy. It's a very funny sendup of a mystery about an upper-middle-class family in Britain."
Anthony Edwards, Dr. Mark Greene On ER.
"My favorite book was Amazing Grace by journalist Jonathan Kozol. It's as brutal as I could ever imagine."
Steve Forbes, GOP presidential candidate.
"On the Origins of War and the Preservation of ' Peace by Donald Kagan vividly demonstrates that peace is not natural, keeping it requires hard work, vision, the ability to communicate and fathom the motives and mind-sets of other parties."
F. Lee Bailey, O.J. Simpson attorney.
"The most memorable movie I saw this year—and I saw very few because of the trial—was Seven, a thoroughly disgusting, gloomy movie. It was particularly grisly. But serial killer cases are always of interest, particularly when you're dealing with a clever one. Having had experience with the Boston Strangle^ who was so clever he never did get caught—he turned himself in—I thought, by and large, it was pretty well done. Was it realistic? Sure. The kinds of people they were tracking in this movie exist."