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Best of the '90s (part 10)

I’m starting a new quasi-ambitious project here on Rank Everything. My plan is to to it once a week, but that could change. However, with the Golden Globe nominations out yesterday (see Monkey Barn for more analysis), I thought I'd jump in.

The other reason I wanted to get this going (at the risk of missing out of Christmas-related top ten lists), is that with the holidays here many people have a little down time, and are looking for things to do (if only to avoid relatives).

My goal is to give you the top ten movies for each year during the 1990s, as well as rank those years in order as well. Why am I doing this? Because if you care about movies, you need to have seen these films, and many people aren’t even aware they exist! Basically, I’m starting an brand new project, even when I’m super busy, because I care about you, and I don’t want to see your holidays ruined with MEET THE STILLERS if it doesn’t have to be.

Although I’m slightly biased (because of my age), I talked it over with official Movie Advisors Laureate and Ajax, and we all agree that 1990 is the least best year of the ‘90s for movies. However, this doesn’t mean there weren’t great films that year. Obviously I can’t include movies I haven’t seen, but I have tried to be honest about those, by listing well-reviewed movies I’m not privy to, as well as movies both Laureate and Ajax thought I should include that I haven’t.


Movies Ajax thinks I should include (that I haven’t seen): Dances With Wolves, The King of New York, Ghost, The Grifters, Mr. Frost, Pacific Heights, Cyrano De Bergerac, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Movies Laureate thinks I should include (that I haven’t seen): DANCES WITH WOLVES, AWAKENINGS, MISERY

#10 GOODFELLAS – I have to admit, I’ve never liked this movie, but every single critic on earth seems to, and Ajax and Laureate said they’d quit if I omitted it. (In my defense, I saw it the summer after my ninth grade year, and I was with two college girls at the time, on a couch, and one was very drunk, and though that might seem like a dream come true, it was very stressful and probably colored my view.) The story is about life in the Mafia, and I’ll give it this: it’s better than a certain part III that NEVER came out that year. Joe Pesci was a standout. Best quote: "How am I funny, like a clown? What is so funny about me? What the F**K is so funny about me? Tell me. Tell me what's funny.”

#9 HENRY AND JUNE – A rather unconventional choice, this is one of the most erotic films of the decade. About Henry and June Miller (and perhaps more importantly, Anais Nin), the film chronicles the Millers through Anais Nin’s eyes. The film is steamy, intellectual, and earns it’s NC-17 rating, but if you can handle that, what a treat.

#8 EDWARD SCISSORHANDS – A weird, strange and wonderful movie. It’s an allegory, or maybe it’s just about a guy with scissors for hands (you never know with Tim Burton). Our first sign that Johnny Depp could really act (IMDB tells me he only says 169 words in the film.) I don’t know much more to say other than it’s a must see, and you really should be ashamed if you haven’t seen it.

#7 HAMLET – Strangely, this may be the worst Hamel adaptation of the decade, but it’s still one of the top ten movies of the year (must be the material). Gibson is a peculiar choice to play Hamlet, but does a fine job, and there is an added Oedipal component with mother Gertrude (played saucily by Glen Close).

#6 LA FEMME NIKITA – Remade a few years later as POINT OF NO RETURN, which was good too, but the American version misses the French nihilism that makes NIKITA so brilliant. Any serious fan of films or fan of crime movies needs to see this. As stylish as Tarrantino on his best day, and very compelling in an anti-hero sort of way.

#5 PUMP UP THE VOLUME – One of those cheesy teen movies that somehow works. Christian Slater plays a shy kid at a new school, dripping in suburban ennui. Nobody notices him, but Christian has a basement pirate radio station that he uses to broadcast the “truth” to the community. Way too preachy, but if you remember what it was like to be in high school chances are you’ll be pumping your fist and getting mad at Whitey before it’s over.

Best quote: “You hear about some kid who did something stupid, something desperate; what possessed him? How could he do such a terrible thing? Well, it's really quite simple, actually. Consider the life of a teenager - you have parents, teachers telling you what to do, you have movies, magazines and TV telling you what to do, but you know what you have to do. Your job, your purpose is to get accepted, get a cute girlfriend, think up something great to do with the rest of your life. What if you're confused and can't imagine a career? What if you're funny looking and can't get a girlfriend? You see, no-one wants to hear it. But the terrible secret is that being young is sometimes less fun than being dead.”

Second best quote: “I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.”

#4 PRETTY WOMAN – I’m not a fan of Julia Roberts, and I hate how a generation of women got the idea in their heads that being a hooker was romantic, hip, and worse: empowering. That said, even I have to admit PRETTY WOMAN (or CINDERWHORA, as I like to call it), is a great movie. Arguably she’s never been better, and I know Richard Gere hasn’t. The film is funny, charming, sweet, sad, and at times even hot. You’ve seen it at least 40 times, and odds are your wife can quote it (and secretly wishes she could be a hooker, just for a weekend or something). Best quote:
Shop assistant: Hello, can I help you?
Vivian: I was in here yesterday, you wouldn't wait on me.
Shop assistant: Oh.
Vivian: You people work on commission, right?
Shop assistant: Yeah.
Vivian: Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.

Second best quote:
[after negotiating three thousand dollars]
Vivian: I would have stayed for two thousand.
Edward Lewis: I would have paid four.

Third Best Quote:
Edward Lewis: You and I are such similar creatures Vivian. We both screw people for money.

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER – Based on the wildly popular Tom Clancy novel, if it’d come out in December it might have won Oscars. Sean Connery plays Ramius, the inscrutable Russian Captain, who may be trying to defect, or maybe trying to start a war with his ultra-quiet nuclear sub. Alec Baldwin (his best work) is Jack Ryan, a history professor who believes Ramius has good intent when everyone else in the government is hostile. The film features a great soundtrack, very gripping drama, and great performances all around. Easily the best sub movie ever made in English.

Best quote:
Capt. Vasili Borodin: I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck... maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Captain Ramius: I suppose.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: No papers?
Captain Ramius: No papers, state to state.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: Well then, in winter I will live in... Arizona. Actually, I think I will need two wives.
Captain Ramius: Oh, at least.

Second Best quote:
Captain Ramius: You're afraid of our fleet. Well, you should be. Personally, I'd give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?

Third best quote:
Bill Steiner: Hey I think someone just shot a torpedo at us!
Capt. Bart Mancuso: No shit, Buckwheat, now get the hell out of here!

#2 HOME ALONE – It’s en vogue to trash this movie now, but people forget just how good it was. Admit it: you’ve watched the film at least ten times since then. How many 1990 movies can you say that about? His life got a bit weird, so people also forget how good Macaulay Culkin was as Kevin, and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are riots as well.

Best Quote: “I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap; including all my major crevices; including in between my toes and in my belly button which I never did before but sort of enjoyed. I washed my hair with adult formula shampoo and used cream rinse for that just-washed shine. I can't seem to find my toothbrush, so I'll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I'm in good shape.”

Second best quote:
Kevin: Can I sleep in your room? I don’t want to sleep on the hide-a-bed with Fuller. If he has something to drink he’ll wet the bed.
Buzz (Kevin’s older brother): I wouldn’t let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass.

Third best quote:
Kate (Kevin’s mother): How could we do this? We forgot him?
Peter (Kevin’s dad): We didn’t forget him; we miscounted.
Kate: What kind of mother am I?
Peter: If it makes you feel any better, I forgot my reading glasses.

#1 TOTAL RECALL – I can’t believe this is the number one movie of the year! (Although, absolutely loved it, and bear in mind that I haven’t seen a few biggies from the decade.) It may be my favorite Arnold movie, which is saying something. TOTAL RECALL was the very first film I saw twice in the theatre the same day, something I’ve only done with PULP FICTION, FIGHT CLUB, and a couple of STAR WARS Episodes. TOTAL RECALL tells the story of Douglas Quaid, who’s living a nice if boring life on Earth in the future. He’s married to Sharon Stone (back when she was S-M-oking hot). Doug is happy, but not content. He goes to get a memory implant of a vacation he can’t afford, and something goes wrong. He wakes up and suddenly people are trying to kill him, thinking he’s some secret agent from Mars! The film is endlessly inventive, makes good use of sci-fi elements, has a good amount of sex and violence, and is very very quotable. You can’t ask for a better action film.

Best Quote:
Benny: [to Mary, the three-breasted hooker] Baby, you make me wish I had three hands.

Second Best Quote:
Lori: [Kicks Doug in the face] That's for making me come to Mars.
[kicks his groin]
Lori: You know how much I hate this f**king planet!
{a minute later, Quaid has the upper hand…}
Lori: Doug. You wouldn't shoot me, would you sweetheart? Sweetheart, after all, we're married!
[Lori goes for her gun, Quaid shoots her]
Douglas Quaid: Consider that a divorce.
Melina: That was your wife?
[Quaid nods]
Melina: What a bitch!

Third Best Quote:
Melina: Hello, Hauser. Still bulging, I see.
[rubs his deltoid, then grabs his crotch]
Melina: What you been feeding this thing?
Douglas Quaid: Blondes.
Melina: I think it's still hungry.

There you go, folks. That ought to get you started. Next Wednesday: #9 in the decade Up Tomorrow: Inanimate Objects