1990s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

1990s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#1 Post by swo17 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:36 am

VOTING IS CLOSED. RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.

If you are reading this sentence, you are eligible to participate in our forum's latest decades lists project exploring the films of the 1990s. If you know anyone adventurous enough--on or off the forum--that you think would also enjoy participating, feel free to invite them as well.

Please PM me your list of what you believe are the top 50 films from the decade toward the end of the project. I will send confirmation that I have received your list after I have tabulated it. If you haven't heard from me within a day, you should follow up with me to make sure that I received your list. You may feel that you could compile a list of 50 favorite films from this period much earlier than the deadline, but it's still highly recommended that you engage in the discussions here. Don't keep your favorites a secret, and always be open to suggestions from others!


THE RULES

1) Each individual list is to comprise no more or less than 50 films, ranked in your order of preference (with no ties). If you haven't yet seen 50 films from the decade that you think are genuinely great (or even if you have), please take advantage of the resources listed below and participate in the ongoing discussions to find films that you can be proud to put on your list.

2) Any feature film, documentary, experimental film, short film, music video, TV miniseries, TV movie, TV special, or isolated episode from an anthology TV series released in the 1990s (1990-1999) is eligible.

3) The date given on IMDb is the relevant date for determining a film's year of release, even when it's clearly wrong (unless a special case is made below). If the film is not on IMDb and you say it was released during the 1990s, I'll take your word for it.

4) In certain cases, it may be appropriate for films that are technically separate to be combined, or for films that are technically combined to be separated. In such cases, you may vote for either a part or the whole, but bear in mind that all votes will be competing against each other (e.g. a vote for Ivan the Terrible Pt. 1 will not count toward the vote for Ivan the Terrible in the final tally). Generally, if multiple films are allowed to be combined for voting purposes, you should probably vote for them that way unless you are strongly opposed to doing so. The most common cases:

• Single-director multi-part films for which each segment was released separately (e.g. Feuillade's serials, Lang's two-part epics) may be considered as a single film. Films included in trilogies may not be combined.

• Variant edits: For films that exist in multiple versions (e.g. Welles' Mr. Arkadin, Rivette's Out 1), all votes that don't specify a "secondary" version will be counted toward the "primary" version.

• Portmanteau films: Each of the individual segments and the film as a whole are all separately eligible.

We may occasionally need to make a special case related to rule 3 or 4. If you are seriously considering including a film on your list that you have a question about in this regard, bring it up in this thread and we'll iron it out. However, I will not make any further exceptions during the last week of the project.

For more details about rules and procedures, please refer here.

Finally, though it is not strictly required, it is recommended that you include titles for films that you discuss in this thread in bold, as it will help the film titles stick out amidst all of the other information that will inevitably pile up in this thread. If you particularly like a film, you might even highlight it in another color.


ELIGIBILITY – REMINDERS / SPECIAL CASES

The following are examples of multi-part films/miniseries that are eligible to be voted for as a single film: Histoire(s) du cinéma, Riget (both I & II combined), Heimat II, Pride and Prejudice, Jeanne la Pucelle

Never mind that Histoire(s) du cinéma started in the 1980s. The whole thing is eligible now.

You can vote for individual installments of Barney's Cremaster cycle that came out in the 1990s. Or, if you believe strongly that they should all be considered as a single film, you are welcome to vote for The Cremaster Cycle during the 2000s list. Just remember that all of these votes will be competing against each other.

Three Colors is a trilogy and cannot be voted for as a single film.

Each series/individual film of Prime Suspect is eligible as a separate film under the miniseries rule.

Twin Peaks the TV series is not eligible. The only Twin Peaks things that you can vote for are the pilot episode and Fire Walk with Me, which both had theatrical screenings. If you vote for one of these things secretly meaning it to count for the TV series, then Laura Palmer will have died for nothing.

The following films may be cited as 1990s releases in some places, but not on IMDb, and so are not eligible for this list: Warsaw Bridge, Pièce touchée, Ilha das Flores, Darkness Light Darkness, The Runner, Horse Thief, Tongues Untied, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Architecture of Doom, Wings of Hope, Crazy, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, My Voyage to Italy, Last Exit to Brooklyn

The following films are cited as 1990s films on IMDb, and so are eligible for this list, regardless of what anyone else might say: S'en fout la mort, Sink or Swim, The Guard, Cabeza de Vaca, Dias Melhores Virão, Only Yesterday, Outer Space, Twin Peaks: Pilot, Spectres of the Spectrum, Kikujiro, Horizontal Boundaries, La Vallée close, Audition

The Asthenic Syndrome currently shows up as a 1990 release on IMDb, but it was a 1989 release during our 1980s project, where it already performed very well. It is not eligible for the 1990s list.

Freeze, Die, Come to Life was classified as a 1980s film during that list, where it ranked as an orphan. It is now listed as a 1990s film. I suppose I don't have a problem with people voting for it now, if they want it that badly as an orphan again.

Korova and Bashu the Little Stranger were classified as 1990s films both during the 1980s list (when they were ineligible) and at the start of the 1990s list. They were recently reclassified as 1980s films, but I'll call them eligible for this 1990s list.


RESOURCES

Past Forum Discussions
Discussion from the Forum's Prior 1990s Project
Defending of Sad Pandas from the Forum's Prior 1990s Project
Defending of Sad Pandas from the Forum's First 1990s Project
Discussion from the Forum's Genre List Projects
Discussion from the Forum's Shorts List Project
The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture 1969-Present
100 Russian and Eastern European Classics
Premium Cable Staples Worth Revisiting
Underrated Films from the '90s and '00s

Forum Discussions of International DVDs
African / Bulgarian / Chinese / Cuban / Czech / Dutch / Finnish / German / Hungarian / Norwegian / Polish / Romanian / South American / Swedish / Turkish / Ukrainian / Yugoslavian

Forum Discussions of Filmmakers Active During the 1990s
Woody Allen / Pedro Almodóvar / Robert Altman / Paul Thomas Anderson / Wes Anderson / Theo Angelopoulos / Shinji Aoyama / Aleksei Balabanov / Noah Baumbach / Bernardo Bertolucci / Leos Carax / John Carpenter / Claude Chabrol / Chen Kaige / Joel & Ethan Coen / Wes Craven / David Cronenberg / Adam Curtis / Joe Dante / Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne / Alex de la Iglesia / Claire Denis / Brian De Palma / Bill Forsyth / Jess Franco / Phillipe Garrel / Terry Gilliam / Jean-Luc Godard / Peter Greenaway / Michael Haneke / Don Hertzfeldt / Hong Sang-soo / Dennis Hopper / Hou Hsiao-hsien / Shōhei Imamura / Otar Iosseliani / Juzo Itami / Shunji Iwai / Krzysztof Kieślowski / Kim Ki-duk / Alexander Kluge / Hirokazu Koreeda / Harmony Korine / Stanley Kubrick / Akira Kurosawa / Kiyoshi Kurosawa / Spike Lee / Sidney Lumet / David Lynch / Guy Maddin / Terrence Malick / Louis Malle / David Mamet / Michael Mann / Takashi Miike / Hayao Miyazaki / Lukas Moodysson / Errol Morris / Kira Muratova / Christopher Nolan / Nagisa Ōshima / Maurice Pialat / Roman Polański / Satyajit Ray / Alain Resnais / Jacques Rivette / Nicolas Roeg / George Romero / Alan Rudolph / Raúl Ruiz / Martin Scorsese / Ousmane Sembène / Jerzy Skolimowski / Steven Soderbergh / Aleksandr Sokurov / Shinji Somai / Steven Spielberg / Whit Stillman / Jan Švankmajer / Quentin Tarantino / Béla Tarr / Bertrand Tavernier / Johnnie To / Jan Troell / Tsai Ming-liang / Shinya Tsukamoto / Gus Van Sant / Agnès Varda / Paul Verhoeven / Andrzej Wajda / John Waters / Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Wong Kar-wai / Edward Yang / Zhang Yimou

Guides Within This Thread
Do you feel you have an especially informed opinion about the work during the 1990s from a particular director, country, genre, etc.? Many people here would greatly appreciate your taking the time to prepare a guide for navigating through all that's available. (Though they do not necessarily need to be comprehensive.) Guides are especially welcome for extremely prolific directors/movements, or to summarize availability for films (such as shorts) that are often hidden away on releases for other films or only available on the web. Past examples: Director Guide, Country Guide, Genre Guide, DVD Availability Guide

oh yeah on Abel Ferrara
Satori on U.S. queer cinema
Shrew on mainland China
swo17 on '90s shorts

AWAITING FURTHER GUIDES

External Resources
A list of films from the 1990s appearing on They Shoot Pictures, Don't They's Top 1000 or Doubling the Canon lists
(This list is by no means comprehensive, but can serve as a good reminder of some of the more prominent films that are eligible from this decade. Conversely, if you love a film that doesn't show up here, that might be a good indicator that it could use an extra push.)
National lists
Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 lists for the decade

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS

Recommended Reading

AWAITING SUGGESTIONS


FORUM MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

Is there a film you love that you fear is under most people's radar? Try shining a light on it! To inaugurate a film into the spotlight section, just follow these three simple steps:

1. Make a post about the film discussing why you find it so exceptional.
2. Clearly indicate that you wish the film to be one of your spotlight titles.
3. Direct others to where the film can be found.

I'll keep track of all the spotlight titles here so that they can be easily referenced. You're welcome to have more than one spotlight title, but try not to have too many more, so it's manageable for everyone to be able to see them all. Remember: This might be the only time someone goes out on a limb to take one of your recommendations, so make it count!

Everyone is strongly encouraged to give each of these films the same chance that you would hope others would give your own spotlight titles.

Georgia (Ulu Grosbard) (bamwc2)
Nobody's Business (Alan Berliner) (knives)
My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (Arnaud Desplechin) (domino harvey)
Single White Female (Barbet Schroeder) (domino harvey)
The Apartment (Gilles Mimouni) (A man stayed-put)
Strip Jack Naked (Ron Peck) (Dr Amicus)
Eggs (Bent Hamer) (RobertAltman)
Heimat II: Chronicle of a Generation (Edgar Reitz) (zedz)
Highball (Noah Baumbach) (The Narrator Returns)
Flesh and Bone (Steve Kloves) (A)
Cool as Ice (David Kellogg) (Shrew)
Deep Cover (Bill Duke) (Cold Bishop)
Bouquets 1-10 (Rose Lowder) (swo17)
Mindwalk (Bernt Capra) (John Cope)
The Blood Oranges (Philip Haas) (John Cope)
Golem, l'esprit de l'exil (Amos Gitai) (Tommaso)
Frost (Fred Kelemen) (swo17)

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS


DESPERATELY SEEKING SO AND SO

Is there a film you're dying to see but you've exhausted all possible avenues for finding it and still come up short? List it here and perhaps some kind soul will be able to direct you to a copy by PM. Please limit listings here to only a few films that you're most desperate to see.

swo17 is seeking:
Home Suite (John Smith)

A is seeking:
Surveillance (Huang Jianxin & Yang Yazhou)

AWAITING FURTHER REQUESTS


***Please PM me if you have any suggestions for additions to/deletions from this first post.***

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#2 Post by bamwc2 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:11 pm

Spotlight: I’ll limit myself to one spotlight this time around. I had thought about going with Chris Newby’s visual poem Anchoress, but since I’m leaning toward making that my Religion spotlight, I’ll instead put my backing behind Ulu Grosbard’s criminally under seen Georgia. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as Sadie, an irresponsible folk rock crooner, who fills her life with alcohol and one night stands. However, rather than focusing on her self destructive behavior, the film centers on Sadie’s relationship with her sister Georgia (Mare Winningham), who has achieved a much higher level of success in the music industry than Sadie has, while also maintaining a stable marriage and family life. Although this may sound like your typical water and oil family drama, the film easily transcends its’ made for Lifetime movies trappings by building on a tremendous script by Barbara Turner that seeks no easy answers to the sisters difficulties, but manages to find the humanism and beauty in both of them. All three leads (including Ted Levine as Jake, Georgia’s husband) give marvelous performances that culminate in one of the most emotional experiences that I’ve ever had in the cinema. Of course since this is a film featuring musicians, there are quite a few musical performances including the film’s capstone, performed by Leigh, which perfectly encapsulates her experiences in preceding two hours.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#3 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:13 pm

Georgia is a lock for my list. One of Jennifer Jason Leigh's best performances, and maybe one of the most grossly misunderstood films in recent memory. Those who think the film is critical of Leigh's character are missing something crucial to appreciating what's being done here

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#4 Post by bamwc2 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:26 pm

domino harvey wrote:Georgia is a lock for my list. One of Jennifer Jason Leigh's best performances, and maybe one of the most grossly misunderstood films in recent memory. Those who think the film is critical of Leigh's character are missing something crucial to appreciating what's being done here
Leigh was robbed of an Oscar. I strongly identified with Sadie, btw, even though I would not have made the same choices as her (I hope!). I can't stress enough how moved I was by her final song.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#5 Post by knives » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:34 pm

Though they've convinced me to watch it. God though does my unofficial tally make me feel entirely mainstream in my knowledge of the decade. I genuinely suspect that Clueless is my mostly likely to be orphaned choice at the moment. That said I think I'll go with Alan Berliner's Nobody's Business as my spotlight (though I'm tempted to go with A Moment of Innocence or No One Writes to the Colonel but I figure they'll have enough support and not make my final list respectively). I should have more to say about the Berliner film later tonight when I actually have the time to write about it.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#6 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:48 pm

My prospective Top 10 is filled with the usual suspects (well, if you're me at least): Fucking Åmål is the untouchable, immovable number one lock. Dick, Miami Blues, Kicking and Screaming, Matinee (which gets better and better on every revisit), and To Sleep With Anger are sure to place near the top as well (the first two being my original "swapsies" in the last 90s thread, which resulted in the orphanage for both, so I'm not making that mistake again. Miss them at your own detriment). But for my Spotlights, I will highlight the only two current additions to my prospective Top 10 to be seen since the last list was submitted, Arnaud Desplechin's Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) and Barbet Schroeder's Single White Female. The former is Desplechin's wittiest, most information-dense film, a novelistic stunner of complicated characterizations and unpredictable mechinations that make the three hour running time zip by. And I called Single White Female, which was number one on my Horror List (and an Orphan, unbelievably), a "perfect film of its type" when writing it up a few years ago. It still is. (Ma vie sexuelle: R2 [France] Cahiers du Cinema DVD / Single White Female: R1 Sony DVD)

User avatar
Forrest Taft
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Stavanger, Norway

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#7 Post by Forrest Taft » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:03 pm

I second Knives' recommendation of Nobody's Business, which I saw on a double bill with Peter Jackson's Forgotten Silver. The programmer informed us that one of these films was a documentary, and the other a mockumentary, and had us guess which one was the fake. It was a great double bill, and it must have been 15 years ago, and I haven't managed to track down Nobody's Business since. I remember it as being incredibly funny, and what a great character Berliner's father was. Would love to see it again, but it doesn't seem to be available in an affordable edition.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#8 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:51 pm

~Only Real 90s Kids Will Get This~ (My recent viewings for the 90s project)

Blank Check (Rupert Wainwright 1994) I know I liked this as a kid, but this is definitely one of those cruel adult experiences where absolutely nothing makes narrative or logical sense. A persistently broke and pushed-around little kid inadvertently obtains the titular monetary fund and accidentally gets his hands on ex-con Miguel Ferrer's million bucks. The kid then proceeds to make up an unseen adult boss and blow all the money on a mansion and a friendly limo driver and, in one of the weirder narrative turns, romantically pursues Karen Duffy. Actually, I was wrong: Pursuing Karen Duffy circa-1994 is the only thing about this movie that makes sense.

Can't Hardly Wait (Deborah Kaplan / Harry Elfont 1998) / She's All That (Robert Iscove 1999) / 10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger 1999) Three omnipresent 90s teen movies that I'd never actually seen all the way through. Worst of the lot and easiest to dismiss is She's All That, which is unfunny and a pain as it goes through the most hackneyed "Nerd makeover reveals hottie" progression imaginable. Fond memories of my go-to joke when this film came out though: "I can't wait for the sequel, And a Bag of Chips" (which is itself very 90s)(also I was a kid, cut me some slack). Better is 10 Things I Hate About You, a decent Shakespeare update with an unconvincing emotional turnaround in the finale. I liked the romance of the younger sister, who also played Alex Mack, more than I did the main one with Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. Also, Alex Mack wears the worst, most 90s prom "dress" I've ever seen. It's a belly-barer. Can't Hardly Wait, while not exactly a great film, is easily the best of the lot and the one that seems closest to capturing teens in the 90s (at least in this small sample). The central romance, if it can be called that, is 100% creepy stalker entitlement, but there's so many pleasing stereotypes thrown into the houseparty mix besides that I found myself not caring less than in the other two films about the lame central pairing. I guess this is what I should start recommending to my students when they ask me what being their age in the 90s was like. Yes, teenagers today are romanticizing the 90s. Someone needs to show these kids a 1998 Delia's catalog before it goes too far.

City of Industry AKA City of Crime (John Irvin 1997) Average heist film turned revenge pic that benefits from having a pretty recognizable cast (including a young Lucy Liu in the regrettable role of random stripper girlfriend penciled in to allow for some otherwise lacking nudity for pay cable markets-- gotta get that N in the HBO guide!) and a relatively smooth narrative that hits just about every note you'd expect. It's not a particularly exceptional film though it's in good company with other not-quite-classics from the Basic Cable Staples thread-- and like anyone, I enjoy seeing Harvey Keitel walk around and just beat people up (though by my count he gets shot three different times in this film, so maybe being a bulking scary crime guy has its downsides), so it's got that going for it.

Final Analysis (Paul Joanou 1992) Another modern noir that telegraphs its twists to anyone who's ever seen a movie. And without the twists, all that's left is a psychoanalysis fear mongering approach that was last fresh in the 40s, where at least it was relevant. No such claims here. It does feature a spectacularly stupid finale, though, so it could be worse/better.

Goodbye Lover (Roland Joffe 1998) If you ever needed to explain over-virtuosity to someone, just recommend this film, which is so desperately stylish and well-photographed that it just becomes obnoxious at a certain point, as it's all done in service to nothing at all. If you started a drinking game for every mirror shot alone you'd be passed out before the first twist, of which there are roughly sixty in this neonoir collection of truly awful people doing awful things in awful ways. I know, could be classic noir material with that descriptor, but this movie is so busy and eager to obfuscate that it quickly grows as tiring as its cinematography. There's an interesting rogue's gallery of b-string players here, but special consideration should be given to Ellen Degeneres' unrelentingly negative police detective, who is prone to swearing and just being one of the most unpleasant characters I've spent time with in recent memory. She like so many of the elements here is just annoyingly weird and off-putting. Though I did enjoy the performance early on from Mary Louise Parker as a grown woman who has found work in the dog-eat-dog world of image consultancy and yet possesses the sexual and emotional maturity of a bratty thirteen-year-old. This is a bad bad bad bad movie, but I can honestly say it never bored me, so that's something.

Hackers (Iain Softley 1995) / the Net (Irwin Winkler 1995) There's something so genteel and almost sweet about how the internet is depicted in these two films. Hackers at least has the good fortune to be completely goofy in its visual representations of cyberspace, and the figures who bond over their shared computer camaraderie, including a young Angelina Jolie, keep the silliness upbeat. The Net has aged less-gracefully, as Sandra Bullock finds her identity replaced thanks to the nefarious actions of the world's most obvious cybervillain. As far as exploiting people's fears of new technology goes, the Net is aces. As dramatics, it's a pair of fives, max.

Kitchen Party (Gary Burns 1997) The premise sounds promising: A teenager invites his friends over to party while his parents are out, but since mom and dad are huge clean freaks, they can only hangout in the kitchen so as to not accidentally dirty or damage anything in the house. Unfortunately, and I've said this so many times it's lost all meaning, this is one of the worst films I've ever struggled to get through, an utterly inept collection of sluggish scenes, naval-gazing direction, and bargain basement acting. I thought this was a comedy, and I've seen lots of people describing it as one, but if so it has the light comic timing of a comet hitting Earth and obliterating all of humanity.

Now and Then (Lesli Linka Glatter 1995) Four adult women reflect back on their childhood in the summer of 1970, with too much of the action taking place in the present with "stars" like Demi Moore and Melanie Griffith instead of the inherently more interesting quadrant of teenage girls. Of course, the answer to the question of why the adults needed to be in it at all is funding-based, but I have no doubt that a fan edit without them would be a superior experience. That said, while I applaud the attempts at giving an all-girl take on the typical coming of age / circle of friends teen story, as long as we're backseat fixing things I wish the film would just drop all the silly narrative concerns of the film in total and just embrace the little moments. The film's most effective and memorable scene is one completely removed from plot, as the girls ride their bikes down a rural street and sing along to the radio blasting from one of their baskets. The film could have used more moments and fewer movements.

the Player (Robert Altman 1992) Man, if this was even 1/5 as clever as it thinks it is, it would be genius. As is, what we're left with is a series of interminable cameos and "This movie meets that movie" jokes which are not funny the first time and are even less funny the twentieth all in the service of some dumb neonoir-ish trappings. The satire here is so toothless and safe and un-insightful that even references like William Holden in Sunset Boulevard have to be over-explained ("The writer killed by the movie star"-- GET IT, THE PLOT, GET IT GET IT AUDIENCE) and the film's "big finish" of cameos doing stupid Hollywood stuff is telegraphed from miles away and idiotic beyond the realms of plausibility or humor. This film has less respect for the audience than it does its subject, and that's no way to run a satire.

Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall 1990) Clearly I am a big ol' sap, because I loved this. I am doubly impressed that the film manages to sidestep nearly all of the distasteful avenues a storyline about a billionaire romancing a street walker could go down. No doubt many find this a fault of such mainstream entertainment, but I was mostly just surprised that it was all in such good taste! You could bemoan that this is the cliched "Whore loves man so much she does it for free" story, but that only works if you give a damn about and put yourself in Richard Gere's shoes, which surely no one watching does. Regardless of gender, if you're approaching this from anything but Julia Roberts' POV, you're watching it wrong, and it surprisingly is a heartwarming tale of self-respect and untapped potential (from both leads, but again, who cares about Gere).

Pretty Woman is a doofy romantic comedy with some better than expected class consciousness and an unforgettable star performance-- this wasn't Roberts' first movie, of course, but has there ever been such a stunning star-making performance as this? Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday or Streisand in Funny Girl come closest, I guess, but there's a reason everyone always associates Roberts with this movie: she completely steals every second of it. Like Poochie, when she's not onscreen, we're just waiting for her to come back onscreen and asking where she is. I always used to think it was cool that Kathy Bates won the Oscar this year, but now I'm ready to go back to my default mode of complaining about the Academy! Also, just about every song on the soundtrack went on to dominate soft rock radio for the next decade. Will make my list (and probably the Orphans list)

Quick Change (Howard Franklin / Bill Murray 1990) Bill Murray's only directing credit is this comedy about three bank robbers who find it implausibly hard to leave New York City. I caught the beginning of this film when I was a kid and always fondly remembered it as having the most clever resolution to a bank robbery / hostage situation I'd ever seen. And it holds up to that as an adult. But the rest of the film is quite charming and funny in its frustrations too, as everything goes wrong for Murray, Geena Davis, and Randy Quaid in the most wonderful ways. Like Ruthless People last decade, this is an immensely satisfying mainstream comedy, and those are far rarer than Entertainment Weekly et al would have you believe.

Speed 2: Cruise Control (Jan de Bont 1997) So, after revisiting the original Speed, which holds up remarkably well as an action film and like Pretty Woman has a superbly charming star-making turn from its female lead, I thought I'd give this much-maligned sequel a chance. And while it's nowhere near as bad as the bellyachers made it out to be, it's at best a below-average actioner. The oft-lampooned plot of a boat that can't slow down makes a lot more sense in context, and there's a surprising assortment of perils to deal with (though one feels the pain of being released in the same year as the not dissimilar Titanic). But Sandra Bullock is far less interesting here than she was in the original (and is given next to nothing to do) and Jason Patric is just not an action lead, period. And poor Willem Dafoe, I'm not sure what's going on with his ridic villain (who has been terminally poisoned by toxic metals in computers from sitting behind a keyboard all day, I kid you not). The finale of a boat crashing through the mainland is impressive while watching, but then I read what it cost and now I'm kind of just upset about it.

Twister (Jan de Bont 1995) Like every Oklahoman over the age of 20, I've seen this multiple times: twice in the theater, then on cable, and then in the classroom (more than once!), but it'd been a while and I was curious to see how it stacked up. And the verdict is, despite some shakily rendered CGI in the long-shots of the tornadoes, it mostly holds up on a technical level (always a risk with CGI-heavy blockbusters-- see the unwatchable Lost World for evidence of that) and as a story, well… I will come out as a Twister apologist, I guess. Yes, it's pretty predictable, but this isn't the kind of movie one expects to remake the wheel. We want the wheel spinning over our heads as we duck while outrunning an F-5! I did appreciate on this viewing how the film, rather than being structured like a disaster movie, is instead really a monster movie, with each attack getting bigger and badder until we're left with a hilariously overstuffed finale that made me laugh with delight more than once at the obstacles thrown in the way. Besides, this film gave us "I got to go, we got cows," which upsettingly failed to make the AFI list of 100 movie quotes.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#9 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:03 pm

Domino, if you haven't seen this Blank Check trailer cut like the Wolf of Wall Street teaser, you should probably change that now.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#10 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:10 pm

Man I wish I saw that movie

User avatar
A man stayed-put
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:21 am

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#11 Post by A man stayed-put » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:53 am

After a good few years of reading and enjoying everyone’s input on these lists, I thought I’d take the plunge this time round.

My provisional ten looks very French at the moment (Van Gogh may be difficult to shift from the top spot), but I’m looking forward to going through everyone’s spotlights and recommendations and hopefully shake it up a bit by next years deadline.
My spotlight title is-

L’Appartement
Mimouni’s one and only theatrical feature is hugely atmospheric and beguiling. A Hitchcock cribbing love story/mystery, played out by a fantastic cast led by a youthful, energetic Vincent Cassel (as one of the flakiest protagonists you’ll ever see), and a stunningly beautiful Monica Belucci. Although it's Romane Bohringer who slowly emerges as the real star of the piece in a lovely, sad, performance.
I first saw this at a formative age, so nostalgia may play a part in how highly I rate it, but it will probably feature somewhere in my top ten and I’d love to know what others here think of it.
I’m not sure if there is a Region1 option for this at present but there are a couple of UK editions available through Amazon UK.

I’ll probably suggest another at some point, when I’ve got my head around what actually came out this decade.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#12 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:44 am

I took a look at my previous list and it's hard to see how my top ten will change too much. The first eight will definitely remain in my top ten and some might change position from last time depending on rewatches and fickleness, but these films are so fresh still in my mind that rewatches might not be necessary. All I can say is I'm a sucker for the Fifth Generation!

It'll be interesting digging out areas I didn't explore too much before, and what's always been better about these later polls is the greater numbers of countries and regions making interesting films.

User avatar
Dr Amicus
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:20 am
Location: Guernsey

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#13 Post by Dr Amicus » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:53 am

Ok, after having sat the last couple of decades out this time, let's dive in with my spotlight - Strip Jack Naked: Nighthawks 2 (Ron Peck, 1991). Peck's original Nighthawks is a key film in British Queer Cinema, flawed and rough around the edges, but a fine piece of work. The follow up is in a different league - a combination of making-of, deleted scenes, autobiography and agit-prop fused into a fascinating and moving film. It really helps to have seen the first film - so do yourselves a favour and pick up the region free BFI Blu Ray which has both films and a selection of Peck's short films.

User avatar
Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#14 Post by Gregory » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:32 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:L’Appartement...I’m not sure if there is a Region1 option for this at present but there are a couple of UK editions available through Amazon UK.
Lionsgate finally did release this in R1, but the quality wasn't very good. Beaver comparison

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#15 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:32 pm

I looked at my previous list and am pretty confident most of it will stay, though probably not in the right order. I'm very open to suggestions though, and actually started watching a bit of Georgia last night.

I'll dig it out of my closet soon, but I'm leaning towards making Sneakers my spotlight title, if that's how this works.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#16 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:34 pm

I sadly haven't seen Georgia yet but Jennifer Jason Leigh had a great decade for roles: she was also in Robert Altman's Kansas City the year after Georgia (one of Altman's more overlooked films), the undercover drug user drama Rush, the daughter in Dolores Claiborne and Cronenberg's eXistenZ. Not to mention her Dorothy Parker!
domino harvey wrote:Final Analysis (Paul Joanou 1992) Another modern noir that telegraphs its twists to anyone who's ever seen a movie. And without the twists, all that's left is a psychoanalysis fear mongering approach that was last fresh in the 40s, where at least it was relevant. No such claims here. It does feature a spectacularly stupid finale, though, so it could be worse/better.
Outside of the toweringly obvious Basic Instinct, I guess my favourite of the early 90s psycho-thriller 'America through the eyes of a foreign director' cycle has to be Bruce Robinson's Jennifer 8 (which also features Uma Thurman). Michael Apted's Blink isn't quite as good a 'blind woman in peril' picture (and both pale in comparison to Wait Until Dark), although the performances help a lot with that one. And Neil Jordan's 1999 Eyes of Laura Mars-esque seeming film In Dreams is still a film I've yet to watch. Weirdly Jane Campion made a late entry into this genre with In The Cut in the early 2000s.
Hackers (Iain Softley 1995) / the Net (Irwin Winkler 1995) There's something so genteel and almost sweet about how the internet is depicted in these two films. Hackers at least has the good fortune to be completely goofy in its visual representations of cyberspace, and the figures who bond over their shared computer camaraderie, including a young Angelina Jolie, keep the silliness upbeat. The Net has aged less-gracefully, as Sandra Bullock finds her identity replaced thanks to the nefarious actions of the world's most obvious cybervillain. As far as exploiting people's fears of new technology goes, the Net is aces. As dramatics, it's a pair of fives, max.
If we're going to go into 1995-era cyberspace films it might also be worth checking out Johnny Mnemonic for a giggle. A fantastic supporting cast (Barbara Sukowa! Takeshi Kitano!) can't do anything to save the film from becoming dated and silly but there's only been this and Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel to have even attempted to adapt William Gibson's work so far. Just have Ghost In The Shell readily at hand to see a great cyberspace film straight afterwards.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (Jan de Bont 1997) So, after revisiting the original Speed, which holds up remarkably well as an action film and like Pretty Woman has a superbly charming star-making turn from its female lead, I thought I'd give this much-maligned sequel a chance. And while it's nowhere near as bad as the bellyachers made it out to be, it's at best a below-average actioner. The oft-lampooned plot of a boat that can't slow down makes a lot more sense in context, and there's a surprising assortment of perils to deal with (though one feels the pain of being released in the same year as the not dissimilar Titanic). But Sandra Bullock is far less interesting here than she was in the original (and is given next to nothing to do) and Jason Patric is just not an action lead, period. And poor Willem Dafoe, I'm not sure what's going on with his ridic villain (who has been terminally poisoned by toxic metals in computers from sitting behind a keyboard all day, I kid you not). The finale of a boat crashing through the mainland is impressive while watching, but then I read what it cost and now I'm kind of just upset about it.
The problem with Speed 2 is that it is both dramatically inert (I couldn't care about anyone involved in the film when in Speed I was desperately wishing for even the other bus passengers to make it out safely!), a mess compared to the driving forward momentum of the first film, and entering an extremely overcrowded subgenre even at that time. Why go to this 'Die Hard on a boat' film when you could watch Under Siege instead? And I would contend that the Hong Kong film Red Wolf from 1995 did ludicrously overblown and melodramatic boat-terrorism action far better!

I'm not a big fan of Twister either: who knew that tracking down tornadoes was less important than inter-group rivalries and on again, off again love affairs (that kind of feels inspired by The Abyss to me, where that material worked much better). However both Twister and Speed 2 are masterpieces compared to the atrocious point-missing carnival funhouse that was the remake of The Haunting, which is also eligible for this round of voting!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#17 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:37 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I'm leaning towards making Sneakers my spotlight title, if that's how this works.
The way it works is that you say it's your spotlight title and explain what you think is great about it. I'm not going to add it to the spotlight section if you only say your "leaning towards it."

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#18 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:39 pm

Got it. I just haven't seen it in awhile and want to know if it holds up.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#19 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:45 pm

You should definitely make sure it holds up for you first. You don't have to define it this way, but I'd say a good way to pick a spotlight title is to look through what's likely to make your top 20 or so and see if anything jumps out at you as not standing a chance in the final tally without your extra push. You don't have to pick it now either. I usually don't pick my spotlight(s) until late in a project, because at the beginning of the project, I haven't seen them yet!

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#20 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:47 pm

Sneakers was grand family movie night entertainment when I was a kid, but I revisited it recently and didn't like it at all, so I'd suggest a repeat viewing before asking others to try it out. And Colin, I have Johnny Mneumonic in the unwatched selection for this project, though I have never heard one nice thing said about it! And JJL makes several appearances on my prospective list-- besides the three films I've already stated are appearing, Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle and eXistenZ will also make it as well. JJL is one of our best actresses and this is unquestionably her decade. And I still have some more unwatched JJL movies, so that presence could even go up

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#21 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:00 pm

If you want an even crazier cyberspace film I'd tentatively recommend Takashi Miike's Andromedia from 1998, with the proviso that it is not good by any reasonable estimation! I re-watched it a little while ago and wrote this review:
This is one of Takashi Miike's more 'commercial' films which takes the form as a kind of sci-fi film in which a shy teenage boy gets up the courage to ask a girl he has been friends with since childhood out. She then immediately gets hit by a truck whilst crossing the road on the way home after their date! In a darkly comic twist, the boyfriend kind of causes her death as he texts her, causing her to pause on the zebra crossing. There is a great shot of the open mobile phone lying on the crossing next to the truck and a pool of blood that kind of anticipates some of the shots in Miike's Ring-inspired One Missed Call film from five years later on!

Luckily for everyone involved, the girl's father just happened to have recorded every aspect of his daughter's personality onto a CD-ROM and had been working on programming a virtual reality computer model of his daughter (this is by far the creepiest part of the film if you stop to think about it for a moment, but is simply breezed past in the film as a way to push the plot forward!). When his daughter dies, he uploads her 'personality' into the model successfully, only to immediately be targeted by hitmen from a corporation wanting to steal the new technology he has developed. The father is killed, but not before uploading Ai (the girl's name was Mai, but this new version is of course named after A.I.!) to the internet, where she tracks down her friend, boyfriend, and electronic penpal, and brings them all together superfriends-style in a battle against the evil corporation!

The above doesn't really describe some of the bizarre elements in this film. For example the evil boss of the corporation is played by Christopher Doyle, the Australian Director of Photography for many of Wong Kar-Wai's films! He isn't really an actor and overacts terribly in English which is then overdubbed by an electronic Japanese translation track, which is an interesting futuristic device but as used in this film ends up making it impossible to tell what he is saying(!). I suppose that kind of works for this kind of silly film though! He's really only saying the generic bad guy stuff anyway of having to track the kids down, but I found it amusing that his garish outfits perhaps speak more for him than he does! (Doyle here is kind of in the equivalent role to the one Takeshi Kitano played in that terrible Keanu Reeves film Johnny Mnemonic. And Andromedia is very much in the same mid-90s cyberspace film mode of binary numbers and Tetris blocks whizzing about the place to signify being in the internet!)

Then there is the way that this film is actually intended to be a vessel for two separate four member pop groups! There is a boy one called "Da Pump" (which comprises our lead hero and his buddies) and the girl one "Speed" (which comprises the dead girl and her girlfriends). There is a brilliantly funny moment in the film at the mid-point where the boys are involved in a car chase that involves them all falling out of the open-topped car as it goes over a cliff, then they get up, dust themselves off and walk towards the camera as the car explodes behind them, which immediately segues into the most generically-styled boy band music video on the stage of their gang's hangout! It is both appalling and audacious simultaneously! Here's the scene (albeit slightly re-edited into an actual music video), if you can stomach it!!

The girls of Speed on the other hand get to provide the catchy music number under the final scene and end credits.

(Spoilers, if you want them) Oh, and don't bother trying to get involved with the bad guy's plot. This kind of spectacularly implodes about twenty minutes before the end with the boss getting double crossed and killed by a henchman who immediately hooks Ai up to a machine and regresses back into his childhood(!) before Ai herself finds out that the other mysterious man that has been following her is actually her brother(!!), who for some reason sprouts cable tentacles and turns into a version of a crucified Christ statue at the end(!!!) Mind boggling stuff!

All of this is tossed away for a wonderfully Japanese (for the lack of a better term) ending of fond goodbyes before a nobly tragic suicide pact between hero and computer companion! (Spike Jonze's Her would never dare to do this!)

I think this probably is a terrible film, but it is bad in all sorts of strange and fascinating ways, and kind of goofily lovable! I find that Miike's 'commercial' films (such as this, One Missed Call, Full Metal Yakuza - Andromedia and Full Metal Yakuza made the year before particularly follow similar trajectories and have the same kind of imagery in them) often end up being far more difficult to comprehend and tonally disturbing than his more acclaimed 'arthouse' ones such as Audition! Perhaps I keep getting lulled into a false sense of security by the idea that he is working within a particular genre, only to see him ignore a lot of the tropes to do his own thing!

User avatar
anvilscepe
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:12 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#22 Post by anvilscepe » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:25 pm

JJL and Kathy Bates walloped me in Dolores Claiborne, a film that will most definitely make my list. The way the film moves fluidly between past to present really allowed me to connect with both characters’ pathos. JJL had the more difficult character to work with. One the one hand I felt bad for the hardships JJL’s Selena endured and the toll it has had on her, and on the other hand I really wanted her to acknowledge the efforts put forth by her mother to help her out. It helps me to think that Selena will continue to work on her own process after the film is over and eventually become less reactive towards Dolores. Both characters equally demand your attention in this film.

Both eXistenZ and this will make my list.

User avatar
John Cope
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#23 Post by John Cope » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:08 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I sadly haven't seen Georgia yet but Jennifer Jason Leigh had a great decade for roles: she was also in Robert Altman's Kansas City the year after Georgia (one of Altman's more overlooked films), the undercover drug user drama Rush, the daughter in Dolores Claiborne and Cronenberg's eXistenZ. Not to mention her Dorothy Parker!
I'm a great fan of JJL as well and would agree that much of her finest work was done during this decade. Mention must especially be made of Agnieszka Holland's superb version of Washington Square ('97) which features what is for me Leigh's best of those performances and may be her best ever next to her astonishing work in Matthew Chapman's Heart of Midnight ('88).

I'm more inclined to contribute to this decade project than any other as I feel I have more of a firm grasp on and comprehensive knowledge of its contents. Having said that I could easily just fill my top 10 with every annual film Oliveira produced and leave it at that (though I won't do that). I should probably supply a Director Guide but tbh I'm not sure I can motivate myself to do it with the proper thoroughness it demands. Maybe a sketch to be enlarged upon as time passes and the films are seen would make more sense.

And I would add again here my undying devotion to Everett Lewis's majestic An Ambush of Ghosts('93), which I would gladly spotlight if it was possible for anyone to actually see it. Over two decades later and for whatever byzantine reason it remains utterly unavailable and inaccessible.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#24 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:14 pm

A de Oliveira guide would be most welcome.

And how many more JJL films are you guys going to mention before getting to The Hudsucker Proxy? [-(

oh yeah
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm

Re: 1990s List Discussion and Suggestions

#25 Post by oh yeah » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:20 pm

I meant to contribute to the 80s list but just never got around to it. I hope to get involved with this one, though. Although the 80s was a pretty fantastic decade for cinema, I feel the 90s is almost a kind of mini-renaissance of American cinema in particular, almost like a mini-New-New Hollywood, except this time mostly coming from independent films rather than the studios. The most prominent figure in all this, and easily my favorite director of the decade, would be Abel Ferrera (who I wrote about extensively on this forum recently), with about 5 out-and-out masterpieces and 3 excellent films to his name from the 90s alone. I'll probably get around to writing a Ferrara guide here soon if that'd interest anyone; I know he has lots of fans here, but still remains a bit obscure perhaps (outside of one or two famous films).

Post Reply