RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
TOP 10 Lists are always tons of fun. You can debate my choices, while also getting a better idea of how I review newer movies. You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
Let’s REWIND to the year 1991.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics.
1991 was a great year for movie fans like me who dig on the art as much as the popcorn. The #1 movie at the box office was TERMINATOR 2 with $519 million worldwide. Of course, there were also some crappy flicks that bombed upon arrival like Bruce Willis’ HUDSON HAWK and Vanilla Ice’s COOL AS ICE.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the best of ART vs POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY
The sequel to a most EXCELLENT ADVENTURE totally captures the retro charm of the 90s. Keanu Reeves went on to become a mega action hero, but launched his career with this goofy time traveling series. This journey sees our two rad dudes visiting the afterlife and challenging Death himself… to a game of twister. While it’s not as hilarious as the original, there is still so much comedy to enjoy.
Ron Howard directs Kurt Russell and Robert DeNiro in this intense fireman thriller. The characters and drama work as well as the action. This was a surprise hit at the time, solidifying Howard’s place in Hollywood. This is the best movie ever made about rescue workers.
8. THE LAST BOY SCOUT
Shane Black, the mad scientist writer behind smash hits like LETHAL WEAPON and IRON MAN 3, as well as critical darlings like KISS KISS BANG BANG and THE NICE GUYS, drafted the screenplay for this totally 90s Bruce Willis action flick. Damon Wayans plays the comedic sidekick in this buddy cop movie. Also, keep an eye out for Halle Berry in an early role. Funny and brutal at the same time. From the opening sequence on, this an intense ride that’s also tons of fun.
7. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Stepping into ‘artsier’ territory, this Gus Van Sant (GOOD WILL HUNTING) indie darling starred the incredible River Phoenix (with what may be his best performance) and the unlikely Keanu Reeves (in a drastically different role than ‘Ted’). This eclectic character study focuses on young men living on Seattle streets, addicted to drugs and making money by selling their bodies. This unconventional drama won’t be for everyone, but for fans of indie cinema this hidden gem cult classic is a must-watch.
6. CAPE FEAR
The rare remake that is actually good. It helps if the remake is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro as the big bad baddie. This psychological thriller is stylishly photographed with memorable performances. Nick Nolte plays a lawyer that contributed to DeNiro’s imprisonment. Now that he’s out of jail, he aims his sight on Nolte and his family (including his teenage daughter played by a young Juliette Lewis).
Oliver Stone directs this dense, yet intense, political thriller. Kevin Costner joins an all-star ensemble (including Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, Joe Pesci, Donald Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon). Costner portrays a lawyer investigating the conspiracy relating to the assassination of American president JFK in the 1960s. Stone takes the subject seriously, adding plausibility to alternative theories regarding the well-known history. Pulse-pounding and exciting, despite being a ‘court room’ movie.
4. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Anthony Hopkins made cinematic history portraying the villain Hannibal Lecter. This horror movie won every major award at the Oscars! Jodie Foster stars as an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer. She gets help from a murderer locked behind bars. Incredible performances and brilliant storytelling make this rise above the genre, which is normally dismissed by the larger movie-going audience. One of the best horror movies ever made.
3. BOYZ N THE HOOD
John Singleton burst onto the scene with this Martin Scorsese vibing story of young men living in violent neighbourhoods. Instead of Scorsese’s New York, BOYZ takes us to the West Coast. This emotional character drama stars Cuba Gooding Jr, Lawrence Fishburne, and Ice Cube (giving birth to his movie career). During the 90s, this film opened up a lot eyes who weren’t familiar with this violent environment and how difficult it is just to survive day to day life.
2. POINT BREAK
Keanu Reeves makes his third appearance on the list with another totally different movie. He’s not a dumb stoner or a male prostitute this time. Nope. He’s a bonafide action hero. Who says the guy doesn’t have range? This guilty pleasure is one of the best action movies ever made. Reeves plays an FBI agent who goes undercover to track down surfing bank robbers lead by 80s/90s screen-hunk Patrick Swayze. The simple story is executed masterfully by rising star director Kathryn Bigelow (NEAR DARK, THE HURT LOCKER, ZERO DARK THIRTY). Expect amazing action sequences, including one of the best foot chases ever put to film, stellar stuntwork, b-movie delicious dialogue, and a constant crazy energy. A serious contender for best guilty pleasure movie of all-time.
1. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY
Of course, there was one action movie better than POINT BREAK this year. It was James Cameron’s super-duper sequel T2. Characters. Story. Sci-fi flavour. Explosions. Bullets. Robot Apocalypse. Time travel. Liquid metal bad guy. Emotion? This movie had it all. It milks every moment with style too. T2 is a pure joy to watch from start to finish. The film; quite simply, delivers. This very well could be the best action movie ever made starring the best action hero to ever walk the face of the Earth: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Forget the TERMINATOR movies that came after; the original is a punk rock masterpiece, and this sequel is the legend, the myth, the truth. One of the best movies of the decade. Period.
CITY SLICKERS / THE FISHER KING / HOT SHOTS! / JUNGLE FEVER / MY GIRL / NAKED GUN 2 1/2 / ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA / RUSH / THELMA & LOUISE / WHAT ABOUT BOB?
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
THE ADDAM’S FAMILY / BARTON FINK / BEAUTY & THE BEAST / DELICATESSEN / DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD / THE DOORS / DROP DEAD FRED / FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE / FRIED GREEN TOMATOES / HOOK / NEW JACK CITY / THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS / THE PERFECT WEAPON / REGARDING HENRY / ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES / THE ROCKETEER / SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO / SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY / STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY / TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2
notable movies I need to watch
BILLY BATHGATE / BUGSY / DEAD AGAIN / EUROPA EUROPA / KAFKA / MADAME BOVARY / MISSISSIPPI MASALA / NAKED LUNCH / THE PRINCE OF TIDES / PROSPERO’S BOOKS
What do you think?
Stay tuned for REWIND & RANK: 1981.