Saturday, March 23, 2013
Favorite Movies: The 1990's
"Wild at Heart" (1990) is David Lynch at his wackiest. Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage are two lovers on the lam, with Diane Ladd playing the nuttiest mother you've ever seen. Not for the faint at heart.
Sure, "Kindergarten Cop" (1990) is an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but I love watching it for Carroll Baker's performance as a grandmother from hell.
"Goodfellas" (1990) is a Martin Scorsese masterpiece. Based on a true story of a crime family, it is a cautionary tale about ill-gotten gains. Ray Liotta is outstanding as the pivotal character, Henry Hill.
"Pretty Woman" (1990) is Disney's...oops, I mean Touchstone's not-so-moralistic tale about prostitution. Dabble in it, and you just might end up with a wealthy husband that looks like Richard Gere. Thanks to Julia Roberts' winning performance, it's easy to overlook some of the more unbelievable moments in the movie.
"The Rocketeer" (1991) is one of those cult classics that was initially overlooked by many, but has picked up steam over the years. It perfectly captures the look and feel of 1938 Los Angeles and the silver screen serials that were so popular during that time. The ageless Billy Campbell plays the title character.
Sure, it's not quite the norm, but "My Own Private Idaho" (1991) is a beautifully crafted movie about two hustlers (played by Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix) on a journey to find Mike's (Phoenix) mother. Funny, emotional, and unresolved, it bears repeated viewings to comprehend it all.
"Frankie & Johnny" (1991) can be a bit depressing, as it deals with the theme of "settling" for someone just to have a bit of love in one's life. Some of the subplots are the predictable stuff you would expect from a Garry Marshall film, but thanks to Pfeiffer and Pacino, it's a movie worth watching.
While we are talking about predictability..."Sleeping with the Enemy" (1991) is the very epitome of a predictable movie. I doubt that anyone in the theater wondered what the ending would be, but because of Patrick Bergin's performance as Julia Roberts' anal-retentive abusive husband, you'll be on the edge of your seat through the entire journey.
"Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991) is an enjoyable tear-jerker, but for me, the best moments are those that show the growth of Kathy Bates' character thanks to her growing friendship with someone she met in a nursing home (Jessica Tandy).
"Age of Innocence" (1993) is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The Saul Bass title sequence made my jaw drop; it is absolutely gorgeous.
Joanne Woodward's narration lends the perfect air of respectability to the forbidden love story played out between Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis.
"Six Degrees of Separation" (1993) is a little gem of a film that shines a none-too-flattering light on a few art snobs in New York City who get duped by a hustler (Will Smith). He makes a huge impact on their lives.
"Serial Mom" (1994) is for those (like me) who have a sick sense of humor and enjoy seeing Kathleen Turner running through Baltimore in high heels, pearls, and a kitchen knife, attempting to wipe out those who don't fasten their seat belts.
"To Die For" (1995) was the first movie that I actually respected the talents of Nicole Kidman. As a driven woman who will stop at nothing to get her fifteen minutes of fame, she is a devastating commentary on what matters so much to too many people in this world today.
"Clueless" (1995) could be called "Mindless" and I'd still love it.
Alicia Silverstone is the not-so-dumb blonde who always gets what she wants, whether it's support from her dad (Dan Hedaya) or the attention from the guy that she's in love with (Paul Rudd).
"Citizen Ruth" (1996) is an Alexander Payne classic. Rather than preaching for or against abortion, it expertly shows the silliness of any radical group who attempts to jam their opinions down the throat of the masses without any humanity or compassion towards the people they claim to be looking out for. Laura Dern should have won an Oscar for this one.
"Mother" (1996) is a favorite of mine because Debbie Reynolds takes on the persona of my mother in so many ways. A light breezy little comedy with some very sharp observations about mother-son relationships.
"L.A. Confidential" (1997) channels the film noir movies with a dash of color...
and a splash of Oscar winner Kim Basinger.
"Pleasantville" (1998) was one of the first films to make use of the blossoming capabilities of digital technology, and does so very well. The not-so-veiled message of "being different is okay" sits very comfortably in the white bread era of the 1950's.
Joan Allen perfectly captures the 1950's housewife who struggles to break free of her black and white world.
"Office Space" (1999) is full of so many memorable comic moments. If you've ever worked in an office, you'll appreciate the bureaucratic red tape that is spoofed in this movie. Doesn't every office have a Milton?
Uh, yeah...that's great. Don't forget those TPS Reports.
"Election" is Reese Witherspoon at her most annoying. Another Alexander Payne classic about how a determined know-it-all (Reese)...
Gets under the skin of one of her teachers (Matthew Broderick) and drives him over the edge.
"Smiling Fish & Goat on Fire" (1999) is a little-known independent film that really got to me when I saw it. A sweet look at the close relationship between two very different brothers who truly complement each other. A real gem.
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