2012年2月19日

Best Films of the 90s - 30-26

 

30. The Usual Suspects - (1995)

Take away one of the best twist endings of all time an you still have an exciting film about storytelling, trust, and male bonding. The tough guy posturing is interlaced with humor exceptionally well. Benicio del Toro's crazy left field performance is a thing of beauty as is Gabriel Byrne's slow and steady anchor. But Kevin Spacey (literally) runs off with the movie as the observant, creative motormouth Verbal Kint. He would never be this interesting again.

29. Dances with Wolves - (1990)
The story of a Civil War veteran who befriends the Sioux tribe still resonates on many levels. On the surface, the landscapes and scenery are perfectly mixed with exciting action set-pieces. John Barry's score is inspiring and moving and the cinematography makes you feel like you're on the screen. On a deeper level, the film uses humor to endear the Sioux characters thus strengthening the commonalities between different races, etc. It's a little too formulaic with every character getting their "moment", but it's also ridiculously successful in more ways than it has any right to be. Some other thoughts here and here.

28. The Player - (1992)

Robert Altman's love letter to Hollywood (and film geeks) is self-referential, cynical, and hilarious. Film executive Tim Robbins accidentally murders a screenwriter he thinks has been harassing him. But the harassment continues and as Robbins tries to keep his job, the tension mounts. Altman's satirical edge has never been sharper and his reliance on a strong screenplay makes this his most accessible film - that and more stars than a moonless prairie night.

27. Groundhog Day - (1993)
A self-centered, arrogant weatherman (Bill Murray) hoping for the big-time gets stuck in a small town living the same day over and over again. He falls for his producer (the radiant Andie MacDowell) who sees him for what he is. What is initially played for hilarity becomes a philosophical dissertation about the meaning of life and personal responsibility. When Phil (Murray) accepts his station in life and decides to act to the betterment of himself and those around him, he finally stops hearing that blasted Sonny and Cher song.

26. The Truman Show - (1998)

Truman (Jim Carrey) wants to escape his repetitious life, but unbeknownst to him, he's the star of a successful and lucrative reality TV show and the show's creator - Christof (Ed Harris) - won't let him. Like most impossible plots (see #27), metaphors about life are the main focus. Carrey overdoes it in some early scenes but is appropriately mature and affecting otherwise. Director Peter Weir uses bright colors and terrific imagery ("Position 1" near the end is a favorite moment) to make the film visually fascinating and uses existing Philip Glass music (here and here) to potentiate Truman's drive and desire.

100. Glengarry Glen Ross
99. Dead Again
98. Ed Wood
97. True Romance
96. The Commitments
95. Bound
94. Die Hard 2
93. In the Line of Fire
92. Affliction
91. Shakespeare in Love
90. In the Company of Men
89. Short Cuts
88. Copland
87. The Hudsucker Proxy
86. The Last Seduction
85. The Apostle
84. Burnt by the Sun
83. The Godfather Part III
82. Good Will Hunting
81. Speed
80. Reversal of Fortune
79. Forest Gump
78. American Beauty
77. Dazed and Confused
76. True Lies
75. Nixon
74. Malcolm X
73. Red Rock West
72. Hearts of Darkness
71. Wag the Dog
70. Thelma and Louise
69. Hoop Dreams
68. Quiz Show
67. Reservoir Dogs
66. Total Recall
65. The Hunt for Red October
64. Babe
63. Braveheart
62. Searching for Bobby Fischer
61. Bottle Rocket
60. Jerry Maguire
59. Terminator 2
58. Toy Story
57. Toy Story 2
56. Elizabeth
55. Apollo 13
54. Casino
53. Rushmore
52. Get Shorty
51. Barton Fink
50. Swingers
49. The Matrix
48. 12 Monkeys
47. Out of Sight
46. The Sixth Sense
45. The Limey
44. Hamlet
43. Dark City
42. Leaving Las Vegas
41. Hard Eight
40. The Fugitive
39. Three Kings
38. Waiting for Guffman
37. Beauty and the Beast
36. Hard-Boiled
35. In the Name of the Father
34. Lone Star
33. Three Colors: Blue, White, Red
32. A River Runs Through It
31. Dead Man Walking

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