March 17, 2006

By Popular Demand: The '90s Movies Thread

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at March 17, 2006 10:33 AM

A few weeks ago there was a request for a thread on the subject of essential '90s movies, along the lines of the music thread that ran in January. These threads are nicely self-sustaining so I decided to save it for the next time I was away from the blog for a few days. That time was five days ago, but I had assumed I would be able to turn my computer on. So instead I'm posting it now, since it's a good Friday thread and I'll be on a plane for much of the day.

Rules: Suggest movies from 1990-1999 that are essential in the sense of classic, influential, or just generally awesome. Obscure and idiosyncratic choices are encouraged. Also, pick the best overall movie from that decade, and we'll see if there's a concensus.

Here are some of my favorites to get you started (with my top pick in bold):

  • Army of Darkness (1993)
  • Clerks (1994)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • The Usual Suspects (1995)
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)
  • The Matrix (1999)

I'm probably forgetting a few since I don't have my DVD collection in front of me (should have entered it into listal),

Here are the 10 "Best Picture" Oscar winners from the 90's:

  • 1990: Dances With Wolves
  • 1991: The Silence of the Lambs
  • 1992: Unforgiven
  • 1993: Schindler's List
  • 1994: Forrest Gump
  • 1995: Braveheart
  • 1996: The English Patient
  • 1997: Titanic
  • 1998: Shakespeare In Love
  • 1999: American Beauty

Tags: Culture, Lists, Movies

Link is to IMDB's top rated of 90s, which starts with:

The Shawshank Redemption
Schindler's List
Pulp Fiction
The Usual Suspects
The Silence of the Lambs
American Beauty
Fight Club
The Matrix
Léon (The Professional)

Voting purely from the stance of "which DVDs am I in danger of wearing out", Fight Club(1999) probably tops my list.

My idiosyncratic nomination would probably go to Thunderheart (1992).

Posted by: Danil | March 17, 2006 12:24 PM

Please, not Shakespeare in Love. It was entertaining, but doesn't belong on any such list (except maybe "top 10 movies most likely to piss off English teachers").

Other than that, I got nothin'. The only ones on any of the lists that I've even seen are the Matrix, Shakespeare in Love, and recently, Clerks. I didn't watch many movies growing up, I'm afraid. What about Gross(e?) Pointe Blank? Was that in the 90s?

Posted by: Lanth | March 17, 2006 12:32 PM

I'm in agreeance with most of your picks. Here are some additions;
-The Shawshank Redemption
-Reservoir Dogs
-Boys 'N the Hood.

Not to sound punctilious, but shouldn't it be the '90s. Just one of my pet peeves. Sorry. I'm probably wrong though.

Posted by: x | March 17, 2006 12:41 PM

A better post later, but for now...

Best movie of the 90s? That's easy--The Iron Giant. Do you know I still cry an ocean of tears every time I see it? It's such a perfectly presented story... *sniff*

I've got more love for IMDb's list than the Best Picture list, though I gotta give props to Unforgiven. Out of the Oscar-winners, it's the one that is both totally uber and, I suspect, likely to be overlooked.

Best obscure movie would be The Four Corners of Nowhere. Gotta love the tagline: "That which doesn't kill you can make you really bitter."

I'm trying to resist giving lots of nods to movies already mentioned, but it's hard--the IMDb list has a lot of really solid films. I've not seen Goodfellas, and Silence of the Lambs is a little lost on me after I spent about eight hours straight watching and re-watching Hannibal's two big scenes, but besides that they're all big wins.

Gross Pointe Blank was great, but a comedy has to work especially hard to be "One of the greatest films of *insert time period here*". That being said, if you haven't seen Noises Off, you're missing out. I've been keeping my eyes open for it lately, as I sorely need to give it another viewing. It is likely one of the funniest movies of all time.

I'll reiterate the rant I make every time the movie is brought up: If you've seen The Professional, don't fool yourself into thinking you've seen Leon: The Professional.

Taking a quick glance at what Gilliam did in the 90s, I have to make a mention of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If Gilliam is your cup of tea, then this will make the top N list for N greater than or equal to a smallish number.

Giving love to Miyazaki, Mononoke Hime was done in the 90s, but there are several films of his I like much better--maybe it's still worth counting, but if you just want the best Miyazaki, I'd say: Totoro, Porco Rosso and Spirited Away. But that's just me.

Oh wait, Porco Rosso was done in 1992! Holy farking poopsticks, add that to the list!

There are some other gems on the IMDb list. I'll just briefly mention here the others down the list I suspect are worth a nod but might be overlooked:

Lola rennt (Run Lola Run): Crazy germans
Heat: Good cops & robbers flick.
Delicatessen: I've not seen it, but it's been near the top of my todo list for a long time. Anyone have it?
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Mmm, crime.

Posted by: Lemming | March 17, 2006 12:58 PM

I agree, the IMDB list is much better than the Academy Awards list.

Danil: Fight Club totally should have been on my list. Great movie.

Lanth: Gross Pointe Blank was 1997, I believe--I saw it my senior year in high school. Also a good choice.

x [the eliminator?]: According to the first style guide I found, you are correct, so I've fixed that. (For those just joining us, the title used to say "90's" instead of "'90s".) I still haven't seen Fargo but it's on my to-see list.

Lemming: Unforgiven is another one on my to-see list, along with several others you mentioned. I've seen a stage production of Noises Off, but not the film.

[Posting from the airport, waiting on a flight 3.5 hours delayed. I'll be spending the night in Salt Lake City...]

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | March 17, 2006 1:39 PM

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992). If nothing else, very important as a precursor to the TV series.

Big decade for the Merry Men, both Costner and Men in Tights.

I rather liked Elizabeth (1998) - beats the heck out of some Shakespeare crap. Stupid Oscars... :P

How can one mention '90s movies without T2 and Jurassic Park? And then South Park (1999)! Dang, there were some good movies in the '90s! Office Space (1999) was pretty good, too. Austin Powers started in '97 for those who like that kind of thing (#2 in '99).

Some good moments in Bond-age in the '90s - Goldeneye had Arecibo and the second-coolest Bond Girl name (Onatopp). Ooh, the bad guy was Boromir, cool, I hadn't noticed that. Then Tomorrow Never Dies with arguably the best (worst) horrible pun at the end... :-D

My picks for best overall: hard to say. Contenders are Army of Darkness, The Matrix, South Park, and T2. I think I'll have to go with Army of Darkness on this one. There are probably quite a few good movies that I'm forgetting right now, though.

Posted by: Justin | March 17, 2006 2:03 PM

i would say shawshake redeption is my number 1 1990s pick. tough most of the list so far i realy like (though i hated pulp fiction, fargo, and American Beauty).

others i like (long list some coments)

The Rock (lunatic movie night favorite)
Terminator 2 (one of the few sequal to be better the the first)
True Lies (stupid but funny)
Speed (i admitt i liked it)
Desporato (AG house movie night)
Assaisins (also AGs house)
Exexutive Decison (only since steven segal bites it in the first 5 minutes)
Thomas Crown affair (anti james bond)

lion king (my favoite disney)
Buety and the beast (enjoyable)
Aladin (i have a lot of robin willaims on this list)
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Toy Story + Toy Story 2
Antz (great political commentary)
Tarzan (great soundtrack)

Office space (way to close to home)
Hook (great comdey)
Petty Woman
Noises off (awesome cast always makes me smile)
Home Alone (hey i was the right age to like it when it came out)
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (questions anyone?)
MY cusin Vinny (whats a yute?)
Mrs Doubfire (agian robin willaims)
Robin hood men in tights (tight tights)
Much ado about nothing (one of the best shakspear to movies)
Get Shorty
Mighty Aphrodite (one of the few woody allan films i like)
the bird cage
Multiplicty (copy of a copy is not as sharp)
The full monty
Wag the dog (this came out before monica lewinsky makes you think doesnt it)
Wedding Singer (felt like a good 80s flic)

Sci Fi:
Stargate (i still remember seeign that on AG's b-day)
Jerasic Park (book was better but film was enjoyable)
Sneakers (a geeks favorite)
Demolition man (ok it is not a good flick but it mention the Arnold Schwarzenegger Library)
Men in Black (awesome into and ending)
Contact (all around well done)
Sixth Sence
The Mummy (stupid but fun)
Galaxy Quest (tied with spaceballs best scifi spoof)

Hunt for red october (book and movie both seperatly execlent)
Heavenly Creatues (from the maker of LOTR)
Awakenings (great story)
DEad Agian (well done movie great robin williams part
A few good men (you cant hanlde this movie)
Falling down (defines a bad day)
Scent of a Woman (excelent movie)
Robinhood prince of theive (i though this was well done)
Apollo 13
Murder in the first (kevin bacon at his best)
People vs LArry Flint
As good as it gets (jack nicalson did not mess this up)
Private Parts (gave me a new foudn repect for howard stern)
American history X (hard movie to watch but good)
The truman show (the rare Jim Carrey i like)
EDTV (suprisingly good)
Cruel Intentions

Stir of echos (also good kevin bacon)
Primal Fear
Ghost in the darkness (i love lions)
the game (messed up but i liked it at 3 am after a all nighter)
Teaching Mrs Tingle

Posted by: shellock | March 17, 2006 2:13 PM

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
Dogma (kevin smiths best)
Life is buetiful (wow a forienge film i like)
Good will hunting
Green mile (good but not as good as shawshank)

Posted by: shellock | March 17, 2006 2:23 PM

damn that took a while to post when i when to post there were 4 post by the end there were 8

Posted by: shellock | March 17, 2006 2:26 PM

I saw Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on a first date. Yes, on purpose.

I did not expect anybody to put Buffy on this list - the only performance I enjoyed in that film was Paul Ruebens. No, that wasn't a first date - I was in the gregarious group behind the guy who was embarassed to be seeing it on a first date.

Reviewing the shelf, I might sneak Ronin (1998) into a "sleeper" list.

Posted by: Danil | March 17, 2006 2:51 PM

Wow, impressive list, Shellock. I was going to say a little more about Noises Off, and you singled out the same thing I was going to--the casting was superb. Also, it's not the same as the play, but rather it's about putting on the play. I agree with J. Random comment on IMDb insofar as it may be more/less funny depending on whether you've any acting experience.

I agree with a decent portion of your list--I feel embarassed for not having already mentioned Office Space (same anthem as Ferris Bueller, but more relevant as you grow a bit older). PCU is a personal favorite, but I'm not sure I'd call it good. Scent of a Woman is good, maybe great, but is a movie I especially love. The characters really sink in deep with me. As Good as it Gets is fantastic--though you seem to imply a lack of respect for Jack Nicholson, master of any and all variations on the theme "crazy". The Full Monty is hilarious, especially if you're not afraid of a little man-ass. Truman Show caught me totally off-guard, and should be required watching in school or something. Do some damage to all this reality tv crap.

Oh, and I know I'll offend a bunch of people with this, but The Game was crap. Except for the "and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" gag.

I desperately want to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I actually know someone (finally!) who owns a copy, so I can actually see to that now...

Justin: "No, my keen fashion sense." Good point on the South Park movie, it was a work of art. I hope I can also squeak by claiming that I just assumed I didn't need to mention Bruce "Jesus Christ" Cambell's seminal performance?

Regarding Bond, there's a hilarious story a german antenna specialist told me about what's probably the coolest use of the Arecibo Observatory ever. They turned it into a high-power directed transmitter to get back in touch with a mis-aimed satellite in solar orbit--someone pointed it the wrong way, which both made it's reciever useless *and* overworked the cooling system that kept the telescope working. It was a lost cause until someone came up with the idea to wire up the Arecibo dish as a transmitter and then wait until it was pointing in roughly the right direction. It worked. Classic.

Oh, I've had a copy of Falling Down sitting on my TV for a while now. I really want to watch it, but I'm afraid. I'm not sure I can handle it just yet.

Posted by: Lemming | March 17, 2006 3:07 PM

Danil, the only thing I can think of that even begins to compare to that was my Dad's story about taking a girl to see A Clockwork Orange on a first date. She LOLed the whole way through. There wasn't a second date.

Ditton on Ronin, but I'm a big fanboy of both Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. They're so dreamy!

Posted by: Lemming | March 17, 2006 3:11 PM

Great catches on Galaxyquest (could have sworn that was '00 or '01!), MiB, and Contact!

The latter reminds me of another fine astronomy flick, The Arrival (1996). Radio astronomer saves the world, woohoo! At least, I think that's the title I'm thinking of.

I'd completely forgotten about the Stargate movie - it would be weird to see that now and watch Col. O'Neill before he was McGyver! Looks like Skaara was the only actor to retain his role between movie and TV.

Another good '90s movie - Dogma. Several previous Jay and Silent Bob movies came out in the '90s, for those who are interested. I think I've only seen Dogma and J&SB Strike Back ('01).

Re: including Buffy, Gazebo's criteria include "influential" - I'd say a movie that led to a truly excellent TV series qualifies. Same thing for Stargate, above.

Posted by: Justin | March 17, 2006 3:13 PM

Oh, that read influential, not influenza.

Just kidding, but I did totally miss that. If you're going by that metric though, the Jersey movie to count is definitely Clerks, which has been mentioned by a number of people already. You should really watch it, then Mallrats, then Chasing Amy. Then you're caught up, and you can watch the animated series ("EVERYBODY DISCO DANCING!") if you're feeling frisky.

Galaxy Quest and MiB--SciFi comedy that I like even better than Space Balls (sorry Mason! It's not by much!)

Posted by: Lemming | March 17, 2006 3:36 PM

This thread is turning out to be a good way to pass the time while stuck in the airport.

Justin: I still haven't seen the Buffy film, despite having watched all the TV episodes. I should probably get around to it at some point. South Park wasn't bad but I much prefer the stronger TV episodes. Office Space should perhaps have been on my original list.

Shellock: The Rock was one of the first DVDs I bought. Pretty much a canonical movie in the action genre. I prefer Aladdin to Lion King, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority there. Sneakers should definitely have been on my list.

Danil: Ronin is another on my to-see list.

Lemming: The play Noises Off has the same play-within-a-play structure. As I understand it the film is different mostly through the addition of bridging scenes between the acts.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | March 17, 2006 3:57 PM

noises off was a excelent play as well as movie. For the movie it sad two of the stars died young (Reeve and Ritter)

Posted by: shellock | March 17, 2006 4:20 PM

I really need to see ronin

Posted by: shellock | March 17, 2006 4:53 PM

Oh, I didn't know that about Noises Off, but now I do. Battle *= 0.5;

Now that I'm home from work (yay!) I can doublecheck my DVD rack. A few more worth mentioning:

Orgazmo: Trey Parker & Matt Stone, wonderfully disgustingly funny.
Empire Records: Mohi once commented that I like movies where "music saves the day." Well, here you go.
L.A. Story: *The* Steve Martin movie.
El Mariachi: I own it, but I haven't seen it. Given how much I like Desperado (seen it, already mentioned though) and Once Upon a Time in Mexico (not the '90s, but... oh so delicious), I expect it'll be good. Anyone local wanna see it?

I've seen it mentioned enough times, I gotta... "Your best? Losers whine about doing their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."
"Carla was the prom queen."

Yeah, shame about Ritter and Reeve, they (like everyone else) really shone (shined? shindig?) in that movie. I saw Ritter on a talk show not too long before he passed away, and I was pretty damn sure he was tweaked something fierce--I've not really looked into it, but I personally think that had something to do with it (heart attack or somesuch, wasn't it?). By the way, what was the movie where he got sucked into the TV? It was dumb, but it was really fun. I know I could look it up on IMDb, but this way I'm "contributing to the discussion." I'm pretty certain it was '90s, at the very least.

Posted by: Lemming | March 17, 2006 5:10 PM

I am far too busy to compile my own movie list. But seeing as AG has seen a lot of the '90's movies with me, I'll let it lie for now and perhaps make a post sometime in the future. Plus it's likely my lists will be uber-long.

Suffice to say that I agree with about half of the movies said and disagree with about half. In both areas it ranges from indifferent to strong agreement/disagreement.

I have now made a post that basically said absolutely nothing. But if it is a movies post I would feel guilty if I didn't put in anything for a while.

Posted by: Josh | March 17, 2006 9:36 PM

Actually, I will say this: the '90s is widely agreed to be the worst decade in history for movies across the board quality-wise. I'm seeing more and more evidence that this is the truth, especially in the area of writing. It was, after all, the decade of Michael Bay, who got lucky with The Rock and then devoted his life to directing the worst scripts of all time.

But do not despair. The decade we met Michael Bay was also the decade we met Charlie Kaufman. So there is always good to be had in all the crap out there.

Posted by: Josh | March 17, 2006 9:43 PM

Hey, I have free wireless in Salt Lake City.

Lemming: I believe the movie you are thinking of with John Ritter is Stay Tuned (1992).

Josh: Are the '90s the worst decade in terms of average quality, or in terms of especially bad blockbusters of the Michael Bay variety, or in terms of having fewer movies of extremely high quality? Or a combination thereof? I would have thought that the '80s would be considered worse, but that's probably my filmic ignorance talking.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | March 17, 2006 11:14 PM

I believe it's an across-the-board sort of thing. The '80s had a lot of really cornball movies, but it was wilder and freer with its tendency to go all-out and have fun with ideas. The '90s, on the other hand, hamstrung itself by being the decade movies seriously started pandering to the lowest common denominator by being as sickeningly crowd-pleasing and banal as possible. This is, at least, the way I've heard it told. Basically, a lot more money being thrown to fix fundamental problems in quality, be it writing, acting, directing, or whatever.

Posted by: Josh | March 17, 2006 11:38 PM

Awww, I had hoped that I would be able to post Ronin first. That is probably my single most watched movie in my DVD collection. I've also really loved L.A. Story, though for some reason I can't put my finger on why. Oooh, I didn't realize Sneakers was a 90's movie! I always thought that was late 80s for some reason. Another one that I really enjoyed and has stuck with me was For Love of the Game - the end has always stuck with me for some reason. Finally, L.A. Confidential, Hunt For Red October, and Crimson Tide were some great action/drama movies of that era.

Posted by: Chris LS | March 18, 2006 12:12 AM

I just got back to LA (and dealt with some work e-mails). I don't want to list unmentioned movies yet, because some I have in mind are on the border (at both ends of the decade) and I want to make sure they're 90s movies first. Plus, I need to jog my memory anyway.

Unsurprisingly, the alread-listed movies cross the whole spectrum of my opinion. :)

Chris gets points for mentioning "For Love of the Game", but while I liked it, I don't rank it among the elite. It's a baseball movie and it has Vin Scully in it (!), but it's good rather than great IMO.

Among the movies mentioned above, ones I glaringly need to see are Pulp Fiction, Buffy, and MIB (I saw MIB II, but not the first one). The Matrix is definitely on my list of top 90s movies. Sadly, I borrowed it from Gazebo and saw it for the first time on my computer after I had seen its novel special effects elsewhere many times rather than seeing it the way it was meant to be seen (and at a time where I would have been seeing certain effects for the first time). For what it's worth, I like Matrix II about the same as I, but III is the one that I didn't like as much as the others. (I actually found the kludgy world-building in II to be pretty endearing.)

LA Story is another I was going to add. I really liked it the first time I saw it, although for some reason it didn't hold my interest as much the second time the way, e.g., Spaceballs did. I rank it for the first time. I'm from LA, and it go so many things right. As for definitive Steve Martin movies, my impression was that The Jerk (and maybe also some other earlier ones) was often cited as such.

In terms of comedies having trouble being ranked among the best films, that's definitely not true for my list. All else held equal, I typically like comedies more than other types of movies.

I saw the play "Noises Off" but not the movie. I was pretty young at the time and didn't really consider it that funny. Any chance of my enjoying it to any degree was killed entirely by the migraine headache I developed as a result of the way the lights were manipulated onstage. (I sometimes get migraines from light gradations and there was something about the way things were done that triggered it that night.)

Posted by: Mason | March 18, 2006 12:38 AM

Some thing i left out:

There's Something About Mary (saw it wwith my dad with lead to lots of slightly uncofortable laughter)
Mulan (great disney film)
American Pie (crude humor to a main stream audience)
nightmare before christmas (warped tim burton)

Posted by: shellock | March 18, 2006 6:38 AM

Also The Firm was good. The movie has better then the book or at least a better ending.
Movie that should be mentions Jerry Maguire not my favoite but a important chick flick

Posted by: shellock | March 18, 2006 6:41 AM

Another one i forgot which we excelent was With Honors (Joe Peshi's best performance ever and i really did like My Cusin Vinny)

Posted by: shellock | March 18, 2006 6:47 AM

Mason - that's really funny, because when the Matrix came out, I was in Korea, and completely missed any advertisement, hype, or even mention of it. The first time I saw it was on a pirate Video CD played on a chipped Nintendo 64 about a week after it was released in the US - there was this strange green Z that would appear every now and then and float around the screen. It was still a lot of fun, and a much better pirate copy than Star Wars: Episode 1. Sadly, SW:E1 didn't improve any when I saw it on a better copy...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 18, 2006 8:28 AM

Whoa, there was a CD (and more importantly, VCD) attachment for the N64? Holy smokes, batman! The floating Z was probably a pirate group's tag, not uncommon in that sort of thing.

The thing about L.A. Story--it's a different sort of comedy that most Steve Martin movies. My opinion of him is similar to a couple of other actors, like Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler. He's got loads of talent, but more often than not would rather work on something inane. I still haven't watched The Jerk because I got the impression it was the sort of inane dreck that gets me riled up. L.A. Story had a certain art to it, though... a way of softly delivering very sharp wit. Something felt funny about those jokes... "that's cause they're real, silly!"

Posted by: Lemming | March 18, 2006 11:56 AM

Oh, and Josh: regarding Charlie Kaufman, I looked him up on IMDb. I didn't realize Eternal Sunshine and Being John Malkovich were by the same guy... kinda makes sense.

I still think it takes talent to make Cameron Diaz look that unattractive, but I'm not sure who those props go to--director? makeup? just a really bad hangover?

Posted by: Lemming | March 18, 2006 12:01 PM

The same guy also has a recent movie with Nicholas Cage (nee Coppola) that is supposed to be verty good. I'm blanking out on the title right now, but I really liked both Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine, so I need to see this one.

The Jerk does have a bunch of schtick, but Steve Martin started out with the inane stuff before he became (or, more correctly, showed he was) a real actor. The parallels to Jim Carey are quite apt in this respect. I was only arguing about the way you described the film. My mind goes to the inane route when I think about definitive Martin movies. I'm using definitive in a neutral sense rather than a positive one. Besides The Jerk, I think the other one from that era that comes to mind is called All of Me or something like that. "Put [insert name I forget] back in bowl! Back in bowl!"

I'm still going to postpone my list until I've had a chance to check my dates (though a particular Disney flick that I think is from the 90s just came into my head), but Jerry McGuire is another movie on my list of things to see. I know it can be construed as a chick flick, but it typically gets recommended to me because of the whole sports things.

For a Steve Martin movie that I really, really like (and is essentially the LA Story kind rather than a shticky one) is Roxanne. (It's his version of the Cyrano[se] gig.) I think it's from 1987 or 1989, but we'll see if I got the decade wrong when I actually go through a list.

Posted by: Mason | March 18, 2006 12:20 PM

Mason: The film with Nicholas Cage you are thinking of is probably Adaptation. (2002) which is excellent. Possibly my favorite of Kaufman's. It's also an indictment of the lowest-common-denominator trends that Josh was complaining about. (Josh was the one who dragged me to see it, in fact.)

I liked All of Me, and I really liked Roxanne (which was indeed 1987). I haven't seen The Jerk.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | March 18, 2006 12:51 PM

OK, so we've established several movies that I really, really need to see. I'm not sure there's an obvious #1 to replace the since-viewed Bull Durham, but we've certainly gone through several highly-ranked ones on this thread. Adaptation is already 4 years old? Wow.

In terms of current ones, the one I am really looking forward to is Thank You for Smoking! I'm actually looking forward to this more than the Underworld sequel, which says a lot. (See my extended harping on the latter movie---and I was pretty much the only one harping on it!---if you don't remember this.)

Posted by: Mason | March 18, 2006 1:17 PM

OK, I am taking a break from work before I go to dinner and Vendetta to look through an alphabetical list of 90s movies. Here are some that I consider to be awesome:

Antz (much better than A Bug's Life; I am a big fan of Woody Allen). This might just miss awesomeness or just make it.

Bullets Over Broadway

The Distinguished Gentleman (the best Eddie Murphy film of all time)

* note: wikipedia's list didn't include the above flick (so I looked up the year), so I'll likely miss some films (especially memorably bad ones, perhaps) as a result; in fact, the list I used is missing a *ton* of movies; so this is not comprehensive, but it's easier to use the list I found and not spend too much time on this

Ed Wood

Fargo (already mentioned)
Fight Club (ditto)

Forrest Gump just misses the cut, but I did really like it.

Groundhog Day (I'm surprised nobody mentioned this)

Good Will Hunting was very good but doesn't quite make the cut.

A League of Their Own ("There's no crying in baseball!")

LA Story (even though I don't think it's aged well; I did love it the first time I saw it)

The Mask just misses the cut. (Actually, I bet I'd like it less now than when I saw it then.)

The Matrix

I really liked The Nightmare Before Christmas, but it too misses the cut.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights ("Lend me your ears!")

The Usual Suspects either just makes it or just misses.

The Emperor's New Groove (one of the ones I needed to check) is from 2000. That is my favorite Disney movie in the last many, many years. ("Bring it on." [in complete deadpan])

And because it stands so high on my all-time list, I am also going to mention State and Main even though it's from 2000.

Incredibly awful 1990s flicks include:

Bordello of Blood

Darkest Knight (made for TV, I think? may not be from the 90s, but it's SO bad that it needs to be mentioned here anyway; there were at least two sequels; the acting is worse than in the LLoyd movies and I am NOT exaggerating)

Death Becomes Her (I thought the premise was really cool, so I went to see this; and I do tend to like black comedies quite a bit; this is the single worst movie I've seen in my life; I cannot overstate how awful this movie is)

Disappointing (because I expected so much) but better than awful:

Hotshots (I really appreciated the Orel Hershiser reference...)

Dracula: Dead and Loving It

Annoyed that I got convinced to see it:

Titanic (I was overstressed and needed a break from work; I wanted to see a movie and my fellows in "The Usual Bastards" unfortunately wanted to see that particular one, so I went with them to avoid homework)

More movies I need to see (in addition to those listed above):

As Good As It Gets

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Naked Gun movies (I saw most of one of them, but only on regular network tv)

Office Space


Scent of a Woman

Topsy-Turvy (wow, that's already 7 years old)

Posted by: Mason | March 18, 2006 5:58 PM

Topsy-Turvy cannot be 7 years old already. I remember trying repeatedly to watch it at Munth which was...oh, god.

Posted by: Wren | March 18, 2006 7:08 PM

how did i miss League of There Own? great movie

The Distinguished Gentleman was ok i will for ever be more of a beverly hills cop and trading places fan

Antz was excelent

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2006 5:45 AM

In terms of The Distinguished Gentleman, I should comment that I tend to be rather fond of very harsh, biting works of satire (in movies, books, and other media)---particularly when harsh political satire is involved. This is why I really liked Twain's The Gilded Age and I am really looking forward to Thank You For Smoking.

On this subject, I should also mention that Bob Roberts was one of my disappointing movies of the 90s. It wasn't bad, but it grossly disappointed the high expectations I had for it. (I believe there are some now-famous actors who had bit roles in that movie. Jack Black [nee Schwartz] comes to mind in particular.)

Posted by: Mason | March 19, 2006 12:56 PM

Speaking of the Iron Giant, I just read an article about Vin Diesel - did you know he did the voice for the Iron Giant?

Posted by: Zifnab | March 20, 2006 2:12 PM

Composing my list here. Most have already been mentioned, but so what. :)

First: Jackie Chan - several of these are movies I can watch over and over again. Sadly, my favorite Jackie Chan movie is actually from 1989 so cannot qualify. (Trivia question: What is Joseph's favorite Jackie Chan move? 10pts for getting the answer without using IMDB, 5pts with IMDB)

Supercop (1992) - Also has Michelle Yeoh, one of my favorite actresses.

Drunken Master II (1994) - Note that the original Drunken Master II is much better than the recently re-released version "The Legend of Drunken Master", which unfortunately cuts a lot of scenes.

Rush Hour (1998)
Gorgeous (1999) - Jackie Chan in a romantic comedy sort of thing. Very much disliked by a lot of people, but I thought it was great. :)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - My favorite Pierce Brosnan as Bond movie, probably due to Michelle Yeoh being in it. (Though the other one sometimes regarded as better - Goldeneye - I couldn't stand. )

Ones already mentioned (though some above may have been also):

Leon: The Professional (1994) - Luc Besson! Both Jean Reno and Natalie Portman were excellent in this one.
Ronin (1998) - often forgotten, but an excellent movie. One of the best chase scenes ever.
L.A. Story (1991) - Still love this movie
Chasing Amy (1997) - my favorite Kevin Smith movie.
Enemy of the State (1998)
Flatliners (1990) - god this movie was creepy. I've only seen it once, but I still remember it, which is saying something.
Get Shorty (1995)
Hackers (1995) - I'm not sure this deserves to be on the list, but it was definately a movie I needed to see.
Much Ado About Nothing (1993) - one of my top 3 movies of all time.
Mystery Men (1999) - So many great lines in this one. The Shoveler: "God's given me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well." The Bowler - "See now, this is why mad scientists are generally less desirable than your common or garden variety scientist." the list goes on...
Sneakers (1992) - Another of my top 3 movies.
Star Wars: Phantom Menace (1999) - just kidding!
Shall we Dance? (1996) - No, not the recent one. One of the most frustrating movies ever, in the sense that I really loved it the one time I saw it, and have not been able to find a tape/dvd of it since - I always look for it, but haven't seen it yet. (Yes, I know there's this Internet thing. That's cheating.)

Posted by: Zifnab | March 20, 2006 3:02 PM

Oh, I second Mystery Men. That was an oversight on my part. I forgot to check whether it was from the 90s or the 00s, and it wasn't on the list I was using to help me. And I very much appreciate your quoting of one of the best lines ("I shovel well") in the whole film... I also really like, " OK, now I'm going back to graduate school. That was the agreement. " and the words of wisdom the older guy always passes along.

For 1989 Jackie Chan, I will guess Rumble in the Bronx (without IMDB).

I really liked several of the listed Chan flicks, but not enough to put them on that particular list. I'd put Shanghai Noon on my 00s list. (Rush Hour, while very good, is below awesome because Chris Tucker always manages to have scenes where he annoys me enough to make this necessary. By the way, the Roscoe's reference in Rush Hour II is _priceless_.)

Posted by: Mason | March 20, 2006 3:14 PM

Rumble in the Bronx, while a good one, wasn't my favorite. It's also listed as 1995, and thus is 6 years later than my favorite Jackie Chan movie. Props for guessing without imdb though!

Posted by: Zifnab | March 20, 2006 4:02 PM

Z's favorite Jackie Chan movie, spoiler-guarded with ROT13: "Zvenpyrf". Do I win a 10pt cookie?

Yeah, I knew about Vin Diesel in that--he did a great job (with a good bit of FX layered on top, of course). I really like him as an actor, but I'm not sure why. I remember reading this really heartwarming (awww) story about a kid coming up to him in a coffee shop, trying to sell candy for a school fundraiser. He was the last person the kid approached in the cafe. Instead of buying candy, he talked to him for a while, gave him tips on how to effectively get people to buy it, and sent him around a second time. Kid sold about half what he had on him, then Vin Diesel bought the rest.

Posted by: Lemming | March 20, 2006 4:05 PM

Oh yeah, and as far as proud/defiant movie lines, "I shovel well" is right up there.

Posted by: Lemming | March 20, 2006 4:06 PM

Vin Diesel only eats Vin Diesel-shaped cookies.

Posted by: Josh | March 21, 2006 1:20 PM

Lemming did indeed get the movie correct. 10 pts!

Posted by: Zifnab | March 21, 2006 4:25 PM

I'm starting to eat into my to-see list. I saw MIB a couple days ago and will be seeing Pulp Fiction tonight. Given my current stress level, both of them are probably especially appropriate at the moment. (I suppose an alternative would be not to watch the movies and try to work at my undergrad breakneck pace, but I really can't even come close to doing that anymore. Maybe for one or two days, but I'm not longer able to keep that up.)

Posted by: Mason | March 21, 2006 9:28 PM

Just back from a mystery conferece in England so here's my contribution to the list:
Out of Sight
Three Kings
All flicks I've watched multiple times.....

Posted by: JSpur | March 22, 2006 10:17 AM
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