4.21.2017

Favorite Films of my Lifetime, pt. 3 of 4


I referred to the 80s as the VHS era, but technically that designation extends into the 90s as well. I started seeing DVD players towards the end of the decade, but outside of the laser discs I watched with Klum, 100% of my home movie viewing was still on VCR throughout the 1990s.

Slight format change this time around. "Fool Me Once" refers to those films I liked at the time but less so after subsequent viewings. This is not to dis these films - oh, I'll make it clear when I'm dissing something - just to account for changed tastes, etc. That process is fun to observe as I go through these. For the three directors whose work I enjoyed consistently at the time (Abel Ferrera, Hal Hartley, and Quentin Tarantino) but no longer, here's the disclaimer up front, to avoid repetition or making a big stink of anything. "Fool me Twice" refers to those films I soured on and then rediscovered and now like again.  

Also, I left off documentaries just to keep each entry a little shorter. Here they are up front: Pandora's Box (1992), Hoop Dreams (1994), Lessons of Darkness ("Has life without fire become unbearable to them?"), Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie - crank that if you click it; the soundtrack is kind of quiet but essential to the experience (both 1995), Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), Fast Cheap and Out of Control (1997), American Movie ("This whole thing is turning out to be a theatrical mockery. You understand that, Mike?" "No." "Well... you will."), My Best Fiend, and Buena Vista Social Club (all 1999). 

Now let's set our way back machines for: 

~1990~ 

I'm more amazed at the films I didn't see when I look at this list: Air America, Class of 1999 (a sequel to something I keep meaning to cover here at the DSO, Class of 1984? With Pam Grier and Stacy Keach? How did no one let me know this existed?), Days of Thunder, Ghost, Gremlins 2, I Come in Peace ("but you go in pieces"), Postcards from the Edge, or The Two Jakes (how is it possible not to see a sequel to one of my favorites, Chinatown? I guess that goes for Texasville vis-a-vis The Last Picture Show as well.)

Of the ones I did see, the best is likely Goodfellas, naturally. Here I'm in agreement with most sensible people. (For once.) My honorable mentions would include Tremors, Quick Change (imagine how much that cast would cost nowadays! Well, you could probably get Randy Quaid at a discount. Jason Robards, too. Aww. RIP, Jason Robards, sorry for the easy joke.) The Hunt for Red October ("I would like to have seen Montana"), Jacob's Ladder, and Wild at Heart

 

When it comes to favorite, though, I have to go with:

Total Recall
Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Written by Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, and Gary Goldman.

I enjoyed this film when I saw it originally, but it took until a fateful night two-fisting scotch and red wine with my buddy Klum on a porch in Oakwood, OH in the middle of the night, 1995, waking up the neighborhood yelling "GAAAA!" for hours, for it to truly take off in my head. Out of this came one band (Boat Chips - gaaa!) and thousands of personal jokes, laughs, and fond memories. The movie itself is high octane lunacy with considerable genre trope satisfaction. ("See you at the party, Richter!") I don't know if you can call Arnold's performance as Quaid/ Richter one of the greatest acting jobs of all time, strictly speaking, but as with Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2 or William Shatner in TOS, if your list of Good-Lord-How-Did-We-Get-This-Lucky-Marriage-of-Actor-to-Role doesn't include this, I question your sincerity, criteria, and patriotism.

Anyway, that's my favorite. If you asked me what the greatest film ever made that came out in 1990 was/is, obviously the answer is:
 


Die Hard 2
Directed by Renny Harlin. Written by Stephen E. DeSouza and Doug Richardson.

On my personal list of greatest profanity movies, it comes in behind Midnight Run.

Fool Me Once: Back to the Future 3 (I saw this 3 times in the theater! As an adult, I concede only the first film needed to be made), Predator 2, Young Guns 2, Awakenings, and like almost everyone else who saw this in high school and was inspired to write angry "This From Jacques!" letters to the student newspaper, or diary entries, Pump Up the Volume

Fool Me Twice: Misery, Kindergarten Cop, Dances with Wolves. Loved them all originally, then convinced myself they were deficient for various reasons. Came back around to loving each of them with reservations/ once I learned more about life, adaptations, genre tropes, brain tumors, kidnapped writers, etc. Oh, and Graveyard Shift.

Fool Me Until I Read Up on the P2 Scandal and Then Said "Oh, Okay, That Was an Interesting Thing to Explore, I Guess, Even If It Was Kinda Boring:" The Godfather 3.

~1991~

The best film of this year is probably JFK. Even if you're one of those curious Americans more annoyed by Stone's fantasies than by the Warren Commission's, Stone's film is  just such an entertaining piece of cinema. It takes its genre obligations seriously, with an enjoyable large cast of supporting actors and cameos acting drawing the viewer further and further down the rabbit hole, and it's a beauty of cinematography and sound and art design. Plus one of Gary Oldman's greatest performances. My favorite film, however, of the year is 

Europa (aka Zentropa)
Directed by Lars Von Trier. Written by Lars Von Trier and Niels Vørsel.

I never tire of this film. Love the opening, love the build-up, love the look and feel and sound of it, love the underlying message, love the ending, love everything. If you've never seen it, you're in for a treat when you get there. Other honorable mentions: Naked LunchThe Rapture, The Doors, The Man in the Moon (which is a really sweet movie - this sort of thing is often attempted, seldom realized correctly) and Johnny Stecchino. ("Allo zoo!" Sorry no subtitles, but you get the idea.)

Can You Believe I've Still Never Seen...? Barton Fink, Bugsy, Fried Green Tomatoes, and The Rocketeer. White Fang, too.


Fool Me Once: Plenty, but here are my top 5:

- The Silence of the Lambs (Look I like it as much as anyone. It's just overdone. I can cite at least ten different sequences. But this isn't that kind of list.)
- Cape Fear (Ditto. DeNiro's accent distracts here. Should've just went the The Duellists route.)
- Boyz in the Hood (These 90s urban drama movies seemed dated only months after they came out. A good example is New Jack City, but even things like Menace II Society and this, which was held up as an example of "finally getting it right" seemed a little stuff only a few years later.)
- Doc Hollywood (I was still catching new Michael J. Fox movies in the theater in 1991. This and The Hard Way aren't bad movies, but they haven't aged well.) 
- Hook (Ditto, I guess. I really championed this at the time, but I find it mostly unwatchable now. Unwatchable for Spielberg is, of course, still perfectly watchable, just there's nothing really to this one. Opinions vary.)

Fool Me Twice: L.A. Story, Dead Again, Point Break. The former two I loved and made my way back round to once I got over whatever my objections to them were (I can't even recall), but I was way too cool for Point Break at the time. I think it was just Swayze's presence that kept me away - ditto for Roadhouse. Once I got over that, holy crap - such awesomely fun movies, but particularly Point Break

~1992~

The best flick of the year is probably:

Glengarry Glen Ross
Directed by James Foley. Written by David Mamet.


Is it my favorite? Sometimes. Other times it's Unforgiven. Other times it's The Player, or Fire Walk with Me, Army of Darkness, or even Basic Instinct, which has a camp/ entertainment value far beyond its weight class. Four foreign flicks, though, might take the cake:

- Braindead (released in the US as Dead Alive.) What put Peter Jackson on my radar. I learned more about Freud from this film than anything I ever read or was taught after. ("I kick ASS for the LORD!") 
- Full Contact (Ringo Lam's prototypical Hong Kong Chow Yun-Fat action thriller)
- Police Story III: Supercop (released in the US as just Supercop.) So much more than a sum of its stuntwork, although that is, as always, very impressive. This is the film License to Kill should've been. Well, kind of.
- Swordsman 2. Listed at that link as 1991 but it was 1992. At least according to everyone else. Maybe YouTube knows something we don't. 


Still Haven't Seen: Bob Roberts, The Bodyguard, The Crying Game, A League of Their Own, or Single White Female. (I saw 2011's The Roommate, though, so it's all good.)

Fool Me Once: Wayne's World (man did I love this back in the day though), Singles, A Few Good Men, Hard-Boiled, (John Woo was a potent force in my cinematic life for a few years, but, like everyone else, one too many slow motion doppelganger gun battles amidst swirling pigeons soured me on his particular aesthetic), Malcolm X. (Someone will get it right one of these days - no fault to Denzel's performance, this one was just a bit out of reach for Spike, at this point in his career, anyway. It's still a very interesting film - how couldn't it be, given the biographical subject?)

Fool Me Twice: My Cousin Vinny, Leap of Faith,
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. I reconnected with Vinny while waiting for the docs to prep my wife for my younger daughter's c-section birth. There was a delay so I was stuck in the waiting area longer than anticipated. The two movies on hand: My Cousin Vinny and 10 Years with Channing Tatum and a host of other pretty young somethings. It was pretentious and awful and made me appreciate Vinny's unsophisticated reliability. I'm sure the emotional vulnerability of all waiting-room-Dads had something to do with it, too. 

As for The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, I loved it in the theater, discarded it along the way as a Lifetime Movie Escaped from Cable or something, then realized sometime after that that the Lifetime Movie Escaped from Cable was a damn entertaining genre and Cradle a trailblazer.

Third Time's the Charm: Bram Stoker's Dracula. Hated it in the theater, came to appreciate it on home video, got downgraded to "ultimately a lot of smoke no fire situation" over the years.


~1993~

The best film of the year? Maybe Blue by Kieslowksi? Super classy flick. Schlinder's List, too, obviously. I have multiple favorites, though: Groundhog Day, Dazed and Confused, The Remains of the Day, Tombstone, and especially:

True Romance
Directed by Tony Scott. Written by Quentin Tarantino.


Honorable Mentions: Naked, and Clean, Shaven. Both kinda bleak and gritty (this was the 90s, after all) but very well done flicks with great performances from David Thewlis and Peter Greene, respectively. Also: Once Upon a Time in China 3, and Fong Sai Yuk 1 and 2. Kind of confused production schedule over there; all three of these are Jet Li movies where he plays early 20th century Chinese legend Fong Sai Yuk, and all three are more or less kind of the same movie. I didn't know any of that at the time. In fact, I didn't know they existed at the time; I only discovered these in my Hong Kong cinema craze of 1997-1998.

Fool Me Once: The Bride with White Hair, Falling Down, The Age of Innocence, The Piano. Still like them all, just the usual: they fell apart under prolonged questioning. Falling Down fell apart the hardest - that film's kind of horrible. It did inspire an Iron Maiden song, though, so that's something.

Fool Me Twice: Jurassic Park, Carlito's Way. How I ever convinced myself either of these movies wasn't as good as when I first saw them I'll never know. I'm back from the brink, though.

That Tedious Side of 90s Filmmaking in One Convenient Trailer: Bodies, Rest and Motion. Good God. Never saw it, maybe it's fine. Here's another one, even though it's from 1995. This whole genre of trailer-making was a very 90s thing.  

"I WANT TO SEE THE TOUGH GUY!!" - Excessive Force

~1994~

Obviously the best film of '94 is:


Shawshank Redemption
Written and directed by Frank Darabont.

It might even be my favorite of the year, though all accolades should be given to Forrest Gump, Natural Born Killers, Bullets Over Broadway, Cemetery Man, and the other two chapters of Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy (Red and White). But besides all of those, my favorites are Chungking Express and Drunken Master 2

Two very different films, but equally awesome.

Can You Believe I Still Haven't Seen... Heavenly Creatures, The Hudsucker Proxy, Ed Wood, or Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla? I know! Me neither.

Fool me Once: Star Trek Generations, (don't get me started) Leon: the Professional, Legends of the Fall. (This is still great, though.)

Fool me Twice: Killing Zoe, Interview with the Vampire. (Both are flawed, but both are better than I led myself to believe until revisiting each over the past 5 or 6 years.)


Thomas! Ian! Griffith!: Crackerjack.


~1995~

The best is what, Casino? Nixon? Quality/ epic wise I mean? Overseas it was probably Underground. (What a movie). Or maybe this unique take on Les Miserables from Canada. My favorite, though:

Before Sunrise 
Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke.

Honorable Mentions: Clockers (one of the rare urban-crime movies that doesn't feel dated at all), Dead Man, 12 Monkeys. And Stealing Beauty, which is kind of a pretentious-90s-flick but I also saw it in the right window of time and over the years it's come to represent that ephemeral immortality and self-absorption of late adolescence. Oh, and Puddle Cruiser - a flawed flick but FWIW this was almost exactly my experience at URI in the early-to-mid-90s. Not that particular scene just the movie in general. (Which probably explains why I ended up graduating years later from an entirely different school, RIC.)

You Probably Noticed: The Usual Suspects and Dead Man Walking are missing. I found these a lot heavier-handed than everyone else at the time. They were okay, just when's the last time you watched them, especially the latter?

Can You Believe I Still Haven't Seen... Clueless, Babe, Toy Story, or I Know What You Did Last Summer? Goes for any/all sequels, too. Outrageous.




My bad, I Know What You Did Last Summer was 1997. Does it matter enough to change, or will this edit be enough? I say leave it.

Fool Me Once: Dead Presidents, Strange Days. The former's okay, just not as great as I thought originally. The latter is dogshit. I would have skipped The Hurt Locker completely on account of how badly I feel the ideas in Strange Days are botched, but thankfully (since I enjoy The Hurt Locker) some friends got me to watch it.

Fool Me Twice: Tommy Boy, Mallrats, Empire Records, Showgirls, and Seven. The first four I didn't like at first, then reconnected with later. Showgirls in particular is, like so many Verhoeven movies, criminally misunderstood, though it's by no means a masterpiece. Seven probably is a masterpiece; for some reason I was just initially very resistant to its (grisly) charms.  

OH AY OY! The Internet Is Gonna Getcha!: The Net.

~1996~

I have no problem naming Fargo as the best film of '96, but my favorite is:

Bottle Rocket 
Directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson.

When I want to remember what it felt like to be a romantic young man in the 1990s - or at least how it felt for me to feel like a romantic young man in the 90s, with all the wish-fulfillment and narcissism and growing-up-left-to-do - all I have to do is throw this in. Or just listen to the soundtrack, which still hits my ears as basically the happiest music going. "Here's to being free / Here's to flying high / la la la la la / Zorro's Back...!"

Honorable Mentions: Happy Gilmore, That Thing You Do, Mars Attacks, Schizopolis, and Trainspotting, which I saw at a late-night world premiere in New York City with what felt like a thousand other people. Definitely one of those wow-this-is-the-big-city moments for me. (And speaking of soundtracks, if there's a better one than Bottle Rocket's in 1996, it's Trainspotting's.)

Fool me Once: The Cable Guy, Crash, Irma Vep. They each have their moments, but overall, meh. 

Can You Believe I Still Haven't Seen... Sling Blade, Jerry Maguire, The Rock, Shine, or Space Jam?


WTF, You Assholes?: Escape from LA, Jingle All the Way,
The English Patient, Female Perversions, Mission Impossible. Technically, M:I doesn't belong on this list, as it is not the cuckatoo-poo these other films are. But it's basically the corporate raider version of a reboot: it grabbed the theme song and the title and fired without severance every other aspect of the original show. Let me put it another way: if instead of making The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams elected to make a film that had "Star Wars" in the title and all the iconic music but in the first five minutes you found out everyone from the original trilogy was a villain and then killed and then it was all about Tom Cruise in huge set piece stunts, none of which have any precedent to the original source material, what do you think the reaction would've been? "A bold new direction" or "Hey, go make your own goddamn franchise?"

The funny thing is: it was my Dad who was the big M:I fan, not me, and he couldn't care less, but I get offended on his behalf.

The Larry Mullen and Adam Clayon remix of the song, of course, is still awesome.  Imagine that song paired with a movie that honored the original franchise! Might've been something special. (And yes I still harbor a stubborn grudge over this, which is why I've yet to see any but the first sequel, despite everyone telling me they're awesome. And I'm sure they are. Just yeah.) 

~1997~


Some of my never-saws this year (Amistad, The Apostle - which everyone raved about at the time but I've heard literally no one mention again since -, Big Night, Men in Black) are often touted as the year's best. The best of the domestic ones I did see were probably Lost Highway or Deconstructing Harry (if it takes a sex scandal to bring this kind of movie out of Woody, I vote for more of them), with the original Funny Games taking the overseas honors. My favorite:

Grosse Pointe Blank  
Directed by George Armitage. Written by John Cusack, Tom Jankiewicz, Steve Pink, and D.V. DeVincentis.

A perfect blend of a 90s film and a John Cusack 1980s film - that is to say, unconventionally romantic, stoic-cool, dark humor, strong emphasis on relationship fantasy, martial arts, etc. Just a great script, complex emotional dynamics, and a successful and unexpected exploration of the familiar you-can't-go-home-again story. 

Honorable Mentions: The Game, The Edge (possibly the best movie ever made), and Starship Troopers (ditto. Seriously, for awhile there, I thought 911 was going to make owning that movie a crime. Would you like to know more?)


A genre of one: The Postman, The Wiggles Movie.

Fool me Once: L.A. Confidential. Everyone was so nuts over this at the time. I liked it, too, but there are tons of problems with the script. The ending most glaringly so. 

Fool Me Twice: U-Turn, Boogie Nights, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Love Jones. All of these revealed new things to me on subsequent rewatches. Romy and Michele I just skipped altogether when it came out, but that was my mistake: a delightful movie.
 
~1998~

Well, any year that sees the release of The Big Lebowski is going to be overshadowed by it - what a classic. One of my favorite scripts, ever - only Big Trouble in Little China or Heathers is more quotable. Plus it just has so many layers and jokes-within-jokes. Can't praise it enough. Probably my favorite and the movie of the year. Beyond it, though - it's a tie between Rushmore and Disturbing Behavior, which is still a largely overlooked film. Like Grosse Pointe Blank, I think it perfectly blends the sensibilities of the 80s and 90s, which was intentional: it came out in that spate of 80s-horror-films re-released with 90s packaging. 


"Do great things, lunchboy... Hey! Teacher!
LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE
!"

Rushmore, too - in the same way Bottle Rocket reminds me of being a twentysomething, Rushmore reminds me of being 15. My life does not/ did not resemble Max Fischer's or Anthony Adams' overtly, but man do those films capture exactly how it felt, and how it feels, still, in rearview. Beautiful stuff, regardless. (And led to this, back when MTV still did fun things from time to time.)

Overseas, you had Festen aka The Celebration (harrowing stuff), The Idiots (ditto), Ringu (the best of all the Ring movies, foreign or domestic), and Run Lola Run, which is still my personal epitome of techno-90s cool. 


Honorable Mentions: Can't Hardly Wait, The Wedding Singer, and Snake Eyes.

DePalma showing off in exactly-why-I-overlook-other-awkward-elements-of-DePalma. Also: Nic Cage's craziest performance in a career built on crazy performances.

Fool Me Once: American History X, There's Something About Mary.

Fool Me Every Time I See it: The Thin Red Line. Is it genius? Is it overdone? The perennial Malick question. I seem to think one or the other on every viewing. I think I'll come down on the "genius" side, but ask me again the next time I watch it.

Meester Son of Beech!: Rounders. 

WTF, You Assholes: The Avengers, Psycho, The X-Files.  

~1999~

What is the best film of 1999? At the time audiences thought American Beauty. I think it's a seriously flawed film, actually, though I have friends who think it's really fantastic. I'll table that one until I can watch it again for the final judgment. Eyes Wide Shut? All Kubrick movies are genius, and this one particularly so. The Ninth Gate? Absolutely great. The Straight Story? I tear up just thinking of that damn movie. Cruel Intentions? Arguably the best movie ever made. Being John Malkovich? Ditto. What is my favorite?

Free Enterprise
Directed by Robert Meyer Burnett. Written by Robert Meyer Burnett and Mark A. Altman.

A story about a) turning thirty after growing up on all the pop culture of the previous decades, particularly Trek and featuring William Shatner as himself (sort of: himself as an aloof maniac obsessed with bringing Julius Caesar - with himself playing all the parts - to the screen), b) not hitting the success you started out your 20s seeking, c) Kirk rapping Shakespeare, and d) a perfectly in-the-spirit-of-the-times boy-loses-girl/must-grow-up side story... I mean, how could I not love this? It's imperfect, but, like Puddle Cruiser up there, captures something of the times/ my own life that otherwise would never have been preserved or even revealed to me.


And Eric McCormack's Kirk impersonation (throughout the film, really, but especially during the restaurant "Risk is our business" scene) is really fantastic, as is that one guy at the end. Kudos for the Bradykiller pitch at the beginning, as well. An unfortunate dearth of these links at YouTube, but man. 

Timing is everything with this movie. The celebrity-playing-himself-as-exaggeration, with rap, and the endless callbacks to other pop phenomenen wasn't quite the Big Bang Theory mainstream deal it is now, although The Simpsons had been doing it for years on the small screen. 

Another personal fave: Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar. Not a great movie, but I grew up reading the comic and was happy to see a well-cast big-budget adaptation.



WTF, You Assholes: Breakfast of Champions (not my favorite Vonnegut book, but it soooooo deserves a proper adaptation, not this dreck), Holy Smoke! and Dogma (good freaking God), Instinct (I was a fan of the novel this is based on, not so much anymore, but at the time I was highly offended by the shoddiness of this adaptation), Wild Wild West, The Virgin Suicides, and Mystery Alaska (minus that fantastic opening).

Fool Me Once: Fight Club, Summer of Sam, The Phantom Menace, Three Kings. I like aspects of each, but they don't hold up under questioning. I seem to be the only one who thinks this about Fight Club, but the book is better. Its nihilist Freudian catacomb comes across more reasonably in print.  

~
NEXT:

46 comments:

  1. 1990:

    (1) So YOU'RE the one who didn't see "Ghost"! We were wondering who it was! (I loved it at the time, but I wonder if it's aged well. I have my doubts.)

    (2) I still quote "Quick Change" via the "up your butt with a coconut" bit once in a while.

    (3) I'll always think of "Total Recall" as the movie my father went to see -- without me (Mom wouldn't let me go) -- and was witness to a fistfight that broke out in the middle of the movie. Among audience members, I mean. Good movie, but I've actually only seen it maybe a couple of times.

    (3) That Boat Chips song may have done something to my brain. I feel weird. Weirder than normal, I mean. Groovy!

    (4) Say what you want about Schwarzenegger, but when he's at his best -- as he is here -- there is nobody else like him. A complete one-of-a-kind. I think this gets mistaken for bad acting, and maybe at times it is, but at times it REALLY isn't. For me, it's so singular that it allows me to buy into those movies at a near-complete level. If a thing like Schwarzenegger can be happening, then the rest of, say, "Predator" must also actually be happening. That, in my opinion, is a hugely underrated quality in a movie star. It's worth its weight in gold, of which a great deal was generated for the decade or so when Arnold reigned.

    (5) I really like that list of "Fool Me Twice" movies. I have not seen "Kindergarten Cop" or "Dances With Wolves" in many a moon, but at one point in time I legitimately loved them both.

    (6) Conventional wisdom of the time, and for many a year after, is that "Back to the Future Part III" was by far the better of the sequels. The worm has turned entirely in the direction of II these days, though, which fascinates me. I dig both, though I've seen none of them in a long time.

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    1. (3) That is great! I'd love to interview your Dad about that and have it recreated like Discovery ID footage.

      (3) One of my favorite things to ever have participated in.

      (4) I couldn't agree more, and in this way (and how strange is this?) it puts Schwarzeneggar in a very specific class of movie stars: John Wayne, Steve McQueen, even Bogie. Not the acting, but this quality you describe.

      (6) The ascension of pt. 2 has been baffling to witness. It's such a terrible movie. I still enjoy pt. 3 at least, but the justification for the trilogy and the subsequent casserole-ing of pt. 1 to accommodate it, not so much. Ah well. Pt. 3 has ZZ Top, though, which is very cool.

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    2. (3) and (3) Apologies for the duplicate threes there!

      (4) Absolutely! In some ways, that's what being a movie star is. I think we're due for somebody new to come around with those qualities; but I'm not sure the market/industry could/would support such a person these days.

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  2. 1991:

    (1) I've never seen "Europa," and have in fact seen very little by Von Trier. I saw "Melancholia" (which I liked) and the two tv miniseries that served as the basis for "Kingdom Hospital," but that's it. If I see another one, I'll make it "Europa"!

    (2) I love "The Rocketeer." Like "Remo Williams," I remain butthurt by the lack of an entire series of sequels. It's got a great James Horner score, and a fun Timothy Dalton performance, and Jennifer Connolly. Plus, a zeppelin. What more does a movie need?

    (3) I love "Cape Fear," but you are dead right about DeNiro's accent.

    (4) We're on the same page with "Hook." I loved it -- I mean, LOVED it -- when it came out. I must have been sick or something. It's really bad. But it has great elements, such as the score, and the cinematography, and stray moments of the performances. Rufio can, and should, die in a fire, or a wood-chipper, or a vat of acid, or anything thorough but not entirely immediate.

    (5) I've never seen "Point Break"! I missed out on a few of the big Swayze movies. I'll probably fix that eventually.

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    1. (1) Von Trier has put out some stuff I don't like at all, but Europa is fantastic. You'd love it. I like The Kingdom quite a bit as well, and Melancholia was great.

      (3) I love it, too, truly. I'd like to edit it a bit and reshoot one or two scenes. (With Scorsese there, of course, not, like, on my own.)

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  3. 1992:

    (1) We sort of part ways a bit this year, not so much in terms of opinions but in terms of what crossover there is in what we've seen. I'll be curious as to whether that continues!

    (2) I went to see "Glengarry Glen Ross" with my parents when it came out. You can imagine how that turned out. (Hint: they thought it was the worst movie they'd ever seen. I didn't get it, but did the next time I saw it. Great, great movie.)

    (3) I think "Unforgiven" is one of the essential Westerns, which arguably makes it one of the essential pieces of American storytelling. In cinematic terms, at least. But I also feel it's maybe a touch overrated. Good luck reconciling those opinions; I've been unable to, but I still hold 'em both.

    (4) Ditto on "Wayne's World." The definition of "has aged poorly."

    (5) I went to see "The Crying Game" with a high school friend during our first semester of college. Neither of us had a clue what the movie was about. We were, to put it mildly, surprised by the movie's plot twist. I now wonder, were there a large number of people who would have put "plot twist" in quotation marks, on account of how they knew what was up the entire time? Probably so. Either way, sheltered though I was, I thought it was a good movie. Haven't seen it in forever.

    (6) I was a huge fan of "Malcolm X" at the time and still feel Washington got robbed by Oscar. I wonder how my opinion of the movie would hold up now? I suspect I'd still enjoy it.

    (7) Excess, thy name is "Bram Stoker's Dracula," which is really "Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula." It would make for a good double-feature with "Natural Born Killers," although that would be exhausting.

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    1. Have you seen Braindead/ Dead Alive, or Supercop?

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    2. The latter no, the former yes. The definition of gory fun.

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  4. 1993:

    (1) I've never seen "Blue," but otherwise, that's an impeccable list of favorites.

    (2) I am a Tarantino fan in general (although my distaste for him on a personal level has really ramped up the past few years to a point where I'm kind of disinterested in his movies), so I really need to give "True Romance" another look. I liked it, but have only seen it once.

    (3) I remember nothing about "Naked" except that David Thewlis was magnetically great. He popped up in this last week's season premiere of "Fargo," and was pretty great in it, too.

    (4) I went through a similar phase with "Jurassic Park," and I have very little reason why. My best idea is that it simply needs a big screen in order for its virtues to truly shine. But even as I typed that, I'm not sure it's actually true. Either way, that year's one-two punch from Spielberg might be the greatest one-two punch in Hollywood history.

    (5) I'm not much of a DePalma fan, but "Carlito's Way" is terrific. I enjoyed that movie so much when I saw it in a theatre that I practically floated out.

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    1. (5) it's the DePalma film for guys who don't usually like DePalma. I think that holds out, from a quick check in my head. It's a great flick, tho, no doubt. That "Adios, Counselor" editing before and after Klinefeld gets it (and what a great performance by Sean Penn while we're here) is one of my faves.

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  5. 1994:

    (1) I'm writing these comments as I go, which means I have not yet actually read your section for '94. I'm very curious to see what you have to say about a couple of different things.

    (2) Holy smokes! No mention of either "Pulp Fiction" or "The Lion King"? The former, I assume to be the result of a Tarantino malaise. The latter kind of surprises me, though. Have the girls played it out?

    (3) Glad to see you are evidently pro-"Forrest Gump." (Although I'm pretty sure I already knew that.) A lot of folks aren't, but I love it.

    (4) I will never not be satisfied by the fact that I was among the rare group of people who were actually anticipating "The Shawshank Redemption." I'd loved the novella, and thought the movie had a shot at being genuinely great. Rarely have I been more correct about anything.

    (5) The blazing (and purposeful) excess of "Natural Born Killers" had a huge impact on me. I'm almost scared to revisit it. If it didn't work on me now, I'd be crushed.

    (6) It was "Bullets Over Broadway" that turned me into a Woody Allen fan. I spent my college years going to see practically everything I could that had decent reviews, and that's what led me to that movie. I loved it, and went on a tear through his entire filmography. I haven't actually kept current in that regard, with the exception of some of his more lauded work ("Match Point"), but I still have a plus sign by his name in my brain.

    (7) I've never seen "Heavenly Creatures," either. But I adore both "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "Ed Wood."

    (8) I feel your pain on "Star Trek: Generations," but boy did it have me fooled for many a year. I still like a lot of it, but it squanders the opportunities for which it was created.

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    1. (2) i saw "Pulp Fiction" 3 times in the theater - loved it back then. But yeah I turned on it pretty hard. "The Lion King" is a total oversight - that's of course a majestic film. I only ever saw it once, actually, in a very Marxist English class I took my last year in school. One of my all time favorite classes, ever - that professor was amazing. Still is, I imagine. She wrote a great book on film scoring whose name escapes me. (Her name's Kay Kalinak.)

      (5) Me too. That film had a crazy effect on me. I was the only one of the group I saw it with to be so affected.

      (6) Me, too again! My girlfriend at the time wanted to watch it. Then Klum watched "Annie Hall" and got me to watch that and the rest is history. I was current with him through "Mathilda and Mathilda" and have missed a few since then. I saw and liked "Match Point," though.

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    2. (2) I suspect that no matter how hard I eventually turn on Tarantino, I will always love "Pulp Fiction." I could probably give you two dozens quotes from it right off the dome.

      I have a great memory of seeing that movie with two little old ladies sitting right in front of me. They were clearly there only for the Travolta, and as we all walked out, I heard one of them say to the other, "I never knew that John Travolta had a mouth like that on him!" I don't know that I've ever heard anything more disapproving come out of anyone's mouth.

      (5) Saw it with my Dad, who ... did not enjoy it.

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  6. 1995:

    (1) I give your choice of "Before Sunrise" the maximum salutes allowed by law.

    (2) What I remember most about "Casino" is that everyone kind of shit on it at the time for not being as good as "GoodFellas," which I'm not sure is even necessarily true. But even if it is, if that causes you to not be able to appreciate "Casino," then pal, you've got issues.

    (3) Now, when you say you haven't seen "Toy Story," do you mean this year, or this whole decade? There CAN'T be any other possible meaning, surely... (It's every bit as great as its reputation, by the way.)

    (4) I really liked "Strange Days" when it came out, but haven't seen it since. Interesting to hear that you have so poor an opinion of it! I tend to side with 2017 Bryan over 1995 Bryant, who was frequently wrong about all manner of things.

    (5) "Seven" remains one of the most hair-raising moviegoing experiences I've had. Some of it hasn't aged well, but boy did it have an impact on me at the time.

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    1. (2) Another film I saw 3 times in the theater - such a different time in my life! People thought "Casino" was some kind of retread of "Goodfellas," instead of the next level, done in a similar (but exponential) style. It's such a masterpiece. Scorsese's best, IMO.

      (3) Some things happen that I have no explanation for! It's ridiculous, I agree. I guess I have an excuse with the kids, now, and I'm pleased at this turn of events.

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    2. Well, there are WAY worse things than for you to have legitimate masterpieces that you've not yet experienced. That's gonna make for a good couple of hours for you at some point down the line. (And the sequels are every bit as good, in my opinion, if not better.)

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  7. 1996:

    (1) My Dad is a big fan of "Fargo" the tv show, but to this day names the movie as one of the worst he's ever seen. I keep trying to convince him to give it a second chance, and he will not bite. For my part, it's undeniably excellent, top to bottom.

    (2) I didn't see "Bottle Rocket" until after "Rushmore" came out, but it's another undeniably great movie.

    (3) "Trainspotting" might have THE best soundtrack. Of any movie. (Only song-heavy movies considered, of course. If I had to compare "Trainspotting" with, say, "The Empire Strikes Back" in that regard, I'd just opt not to.) I really can't say enough about how much I loved "Trainspotting."

    (4) It's always been an annoyance to me that "That Thing You Do" wasn't a bigger hit. Same goes for "Mars Attacks!", although in its case, you've at least got the "Independence Day" thing to make sense of it.

    (5) I can imagine you hating both "Sling Blade" and "Jerry Maguire," but I dig both.

    (6) I've always been aware of that widespread reaction to "Mission: Impossible," but since I have to this day never seen an episode, I merely took it as its own thing. And I liked it just fine. Nothing special, but solid.

    (7) "Jingle All the Way" can fuck itself to death with that razor-bladed dildo from "Seven." I only saw it because when I went to see "Star Trek: First Contact," it was sold out, so I just bought a ticket to a later show and a ticket to the then-about-to-play Arnold movie. How bad can an Arnold movie be? thinks I. Pretty god dang bad.

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    1. (3) I wouldn't argue with that pick. "Stand By Me" is another one for me. And "Maximum Overdrive." I'll stop there before I end up listening to "Who Made Who" for the 4665th day in a row... oh who am I kidding. It's going to happen.

      (4) Completely agreed. Such underrated flicks. "Mars Attacks," especially, just for the cast should be seen as some kind of major motion picture event. That it's entertaining as hell and so slickly done is just icing on the cake.

      (6) It'll always crack me up that I take this stand on the franchise in honor of my Dad, who doesn't really care, and who even asks me from time to time if I've seen the new one. I did this for you, old man!

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  8. 1997:

    (1) As I believe we've discussed elsewhere, I only ever saw "Grosse Point Blank" the once. I liked it fine, but nothing in it ever moved me to see it again. I bet if I did, I'd get more out of it; the allure it seems to have for people whose opinions I trust is too shiny for it not to.

    (2) I find "Amistad" to be somewhat mid-level Spielberg, but I haven't seen it in a while, and even mid-level 'berg is often exceptional. I remember that a lot of people took issue with Matthew McConaughey's performance at the time, being unable to see him as anything but a hick. I'd be curious to see how I felt about him now, in the wake of his culture-wide reappraisal.

    (3) Count me among the fans of "The Apostle." Robert Duvall is staggeringly good in that movie. It's a rare movie that works as both a pro-faith film AND as an anti-faith film, depending on what you bring to it. That's how I remember it, at least.

    (4) I huh-huh-HATED "Lost Highway." But I suspect I simply wasn't game for it. One of these days, mark my words, I'm going to go on a David Lynch tear.

    (5) Good old "Starship Troopers"! Loved it as a sci-fi action movie when it came out, then learned to love it all over again whenever I discovered that it was satire.

    (6) I absolutely love "Boogie Nights." Apropos of nothing, the other night at work when I saw we had a piece of neon out in our lobby, I yelled, "Aw, it's a Q!!!" It doesn't even make sense! Nobody except me got it, but I laughed, if only at my Guzman impersonation, which is awful. That's another killer soundtrack, by the way.

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    1. (3) I'm happy to hear this. I do want to see it, so that's encouraging.

      (4) Lynch is definitely a polarizing figure. FWIW I loved "Lost Highway" when I saw it, but I thought "Mulholland Drive" was the film I might have made had I had the resources to do a total parody of Lynch films. I've since revised that opinion and love both, but sometimes he's too far gone. That said, I'm at least 95% Team Lynch on all things. He's my kind of weird.

      (6) oh yeah, that one is great! I knew I'd think of another one. Once prompted. By someone else thinking of one. But yes, that one is great. Also: "The Harder They Fall." Every song a classic.

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  9. 1998:

    (1) You'll get no argument from me about "The Big Lebowski," which is a nearly-perfect film. Proud to say I was onboard that train literally from opening night. You want a toe? I can get you a toe, Dude.

    (2) I haven't seen "Disturbing Behavior" since it came out, but I liked it.

    (3) Almost any time I have the need -- but not the permission -- to flip somebody off, I see Max shooting the bird at Brian Cox in "Rushmore." Either that or the famous photo of Johnny Cash, but mostly Max. God what a movie! "Yeah ... I was in the shit." "Oh ... ARE they?" I'd forgotten entirely about those MTV shorts, which are genuis.

    (4) I lean toward genius on the subject of "The Thin Red Line." And with Malick in general, at least among most of the films I've seen of his.

    (5) I can't stand "The Avengers" (a genuinely awful movie), and have no personal use for "Psycho" but can see it as a legitimate exercise on paper.

    (6) Aww. I like the "X-Files" movie. I memorably got stood up on a date for that one, which I saw the same day I saw "Mulan." I still dig that one, too.

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    1. (2) FWIW it's held up under 20+ viewings. Fun times.

      (3) "Rushmore" is magical.

      (5) and (6) In terms of awfulness, "The Avengers" is genuinely awful: a gigantic waste of money, iconography, and resources. "Psycho" is an odd intellectual exercise, and I can respect some of it, but what's the best case scenario? It reminds me of "The Colorado Kid" in this regard. Even if you succeed, how would anyone know, really? I don't know. "The X Files" is enjoyable and not quite in the category of the above. But its inconsistencies started my whole break with the show, so I guess I hold a grudge, still.

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  10. 1999:

    (1) In a year that was about as good a year for film as any I know of, you picked motherfucking "Free Enterprise"?!? That ... that's ... that's goddamn awesome! It's a genuinely good movie, and a genuinely great movie if you're a Trekkie. I don't know that it'd even make my top ten for the year, but I do love it, and I'm happy to see somebody with good taste rate it so highly.

    (2) I hated "Dogma," and I was a Kevin Smith fan at the time. Those days are mostly over, though, and this movie is where that process began.

    (3) "Wild Wild West" is among the worst movies I have ever seen. Apocalyptically dreadful.

    (4) Count me among the "Fight Club" enthusiasts. But I suspect a lot of its fans are irredeemably annoying on the subject.

    (5) Never have I been more dispirited by a movie -- or maybe even by life in general -- than I was by "The Phantom Menace." I'd had a memorable nightmare a year or so before it came out in which I went to see it and it sucked, and boy, I guess dreams really can come true. It has its fans, though, which goes to show that somebody likes every piece of shit.

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    1. (1) I doubt it would make my top 10 (or top 20, maybe) of Best Films of 1999. But favorite? As far as "let's throw that on, so-and-so will always be there"? Absolutely. It's not just a guilty pleasure - I think it's a better-than-average 90s indie, that happens to coincide with every aspect of my life in some fashion. But the latter outweighs the former in my ranking here.

      (5) I shrugged off criticism of the prequels without feeling much enthusiasm for either of them, until the last one came out. Which I liked a lot at first and then walked back each time I replayed it in my head. Then you have to add up the overall, weighted disappointment/ squandering of the prequels and that really throws the curve. You take three middling movies but weigh them against that and suddenly it's a huge deficit.

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    2. (1) I only watched it because a Trekkie friend made me, and I was reluctant, to say the least. But yeah, I agree, it's actually quite a good movie.

      (5) I'm kind of glad for the prequels, in some strange way I can't make sense of. I love parts of them, even "The Phantom Menace." But in sum, they really do fail in just about every way. I think my response to them made me smarter and more critical. You can find fans who simply accept every flaw and chalk it to being "George's plan," but gag me with a spoon, guys. NO.

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  11. Hoo boy, let me see if I can make my own picks. A few of these are going to be agonizing.

    1990 -- "Edward Scissorhands," with "Dances With Wolves" and "GoodFellas" as runners-up.

    1991 -- I think I'd go with "The Fisher King" from this year, followed by "Beauty and the Beast" and ... uh ... let's say "The Rocketeer," although there are about a dozen I could alternatively use.

    1992 -- God, do I have to pick? There are a lot of movies from this year that I hold in high esteem, but I'm not sure I like any of them quite enough to say that they are my favorite. With that in mind, I'm going to choose "Alien 3," just because I've always felt it was underrated. Runners-up, "Unforgiven" and "The Last of the Mohicans."

    1993 -- I am going to say "Dazed and Confused" is my favorite. I mean, just damn near perfect. But "Schindler's List" is, too, so I kind of feel bad for not naming it. For the bronze, let's say "The Nightmare Before Christmas," which is also perfect in its way.

    1994 -- I'm tempted to be a pussy and just not name anything. But no, I'll say "Pulp Fiction" gets the designation here, with both "Forrest Gump" and "The Shawshank Redemption" behind it. All three are as close as can be, though.

    1995 -- Like you, I'm picking "Before Sunrise," which is wonderful. but I was DAMN tempted to pick "Friday," which is a hilarious and unexpectedly sweet movie. It makes me laugh every time I even think about certain parts of it. For the bronze, "Toy Story," but there were a bunch of others I was also tempted by. Pretty damn strong year!

    1996 -- "Trainspotting," with "Fargo" and "Hamlet" close behind it.

    1997 -- This one was tough, but I'll say "Contact," with "Boogie Nights" and "Gattaca" close behind.

    1998 -- Brutal! Ugh. I'll choose "Saving Private Ryan," with both "The Big Lebowski" and "Rushmore" so close behind as to be indistinguishable.

    1999 -- I really and truly want to just give up now. I'd genuinely struggle to limit this to ten. But strangely, I find it fairly easy to come up with a #1. It's "The Blair Witch" project, which unsettles me like very few other movies ever have. For runners-up, and God have mercy on my soul for the sins I am about to commit, I will opt for "Office Space" and "The Green Mile."

    *weeps like he just made Sophie's choice*

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    1. Movies you mentioned that I should totally have mentioned and can't believe I overlooked: Edward Scissorhands, The Fisher King (which I watched a gazillion times in the early 90s), The Nightmare Before Christmas (which is genius), Friday (which I only ever saw well after the fact, like in 2011), "Contact," "Office Space," and "The Blair Witch." Sheesh! Did I miss U-571 too? Ay caramba. I'll have to look it up.

      I'm one of those first 15-minutes-only people on "Saving Private Ryan," which I didn't mention because I think it's become something like a cliche over the years, so I didn't want to broadcast it. But yeah, the rest of it just doesn't hang together for me, despite the best (and enjoyed) efforts of Hanks and some of the others.

      I didn't mention "Stalingrad," the German film from the early 90s either. I should have - that's a great one.

      Was "Black Hawk Down" the 90s? I hope not. I'll have to check my lists, wouldn't want to have missed that one.

      Great picks!

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    2. It's true that the first reel or so of "Saving Private Ryan" overshadows the rest, but I've never been onboard with the notion that that means the rest of the movie is weakened as a result. I mean, for one thing, if a movie has an opening sequence that incredible, the rest of the movie could have been filmed with hand puppets and it'd still be an all-timer. But I think the rest of the movie is, at worst, excellent. For example, the scene where Adam Goldberg gets killed is terrific and disturbing.

      And then the movie ends with the majesty that is "Hymn to the Fallen." So for me, it's solid all the way through.

      I think I might be in the minority in thinking that, though!

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    3. I don't fault you for any of what you write, here, re: "SPR." For me, the distractions are Henry Thomas and Adam Goldberg, who never gel for me, Tom Sizemore and Ed Burns, who go a little too broad for me, Ted Dansen and some of the other cameos, the scene with the family and the sniper, and a few other little things which just never sit right for me. By the time it gets to Matt Damon, I'm out of it; by the time of the ending battle, even more.

      Had the beginning not been so awe-inspiring, would I have felt differently about the above? It's difficult to say, but probably not. hence, I remain very much a fan of the beginning and then kind of let down about the rest.

      Still, as we've established with all these other Spielbergs, "let down" is a very relative notion compared to other directors.

      I do love the Nathan Fillion scene, though.

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    4. (And Tom Hanks and Barry Pepper are great throughout.)

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    5. I may have told you this story before, but at DragonCon one year, I found myself alone on an elevator with Nathan Fillion. This was the year when "Firefly" BLEW UP on the convention scene, but it was still a new enough thing that a guy like Fillion could walk around unescorted.

      Anyways, I got on and sort of looked over at the person who was already there, and durn if it wasn't Nathan Fillion. So I smiled and said, "Hey, how's it going?"

      He smiles back, sticks out his hand, and introduces himself. I give him him my name and allow that I already knew who he was, and would have remembered him from "Saving Private Ryan" even if there'd never been a "Firefly."

      You could tell he didn't hear anything about that movie very often, so he thanked me, and I asked him what his experience on that movie had been like. He said that both Spielberg and Hanks are as classy as class acts get.

      Then there was this other time when Morena Baccarin was lost in the lobby looking for the way to the autograph room. I pointed her in the right direction and just sort of barely managed to maintain my composure. She was wearing a skirt, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat, and was approximately the most attractive person I have ever seen. I honestly don't know how I managed not to fall over, vomit, propose marriage, or all of the above.

      But I did. Somehow.

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    6. Back to "Private Ryan." (I had more to say about that, but distracted myself with "Firefly" alumni talk.)

      Neither Thomas (who is not actually Henry Thomas but Jeremy Davies, although I only know that from having looked something else up on IMDb!) or Goldberg ever bothered me, but Ted Danson kind of did. BUT, I sort of reevaluated him due to how great he is in the second season of "Fargo," so he might bother me less now.

      I wonder now I'd feel now about Matt Damon being in it. Also, Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel, neither of whom I've ever had a huge amount of use for.

      This all makes me want to watch the movie again, but I'll wait until that fabled Spielberg watchthrough rolls around.

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    7. Crikey - my brain had totally retconned reality to make Jeremy Davies Henry Thomas!

      What the hell else is it doing that I don't know it's doing...

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    8. Dude, my brain went right along with it! I had a sense there was somebody else in the movie that I wanted to mention, but couldn't remember (it was Ribisi), and went to IMDb looking for it. Then I was like, Holy shit that was Jeremy Davies!

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    9. I caught "SPR" in the theater and really fell out with it as I was watching. I didn't like the performances, mainly, outside of Tom Hanks. Then on home video I watched the whole movie several more times and each time formulated a more specific reaction against it. I have not, though, seen it start to finish in probably 15 years so perhaps that'll change, too.

      A Speilberg re-watch would do me good, since I've always had gaps in his filmography, and the last few years especially. Plus I'd have a specific reason to rewatch Duel, Jaws, CETK, and all the Indy movies, which never fail to make me happy.

      Nice Firefly-alum memories by the way!

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    10. Once the "I only like the 15 minutes" thing became like I say kind of cliche, I got irritated - I was way ahead of y'all, don't steal my line! Now when I say that I need to have all these caveats. (Well, "need.")

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    11. Such is the burden of trendsetters. I kinda/sorta have an opposite version of it with "The Big Lebowski" wherein I tell people that I thought it was funny on opening night, not seven years later. I remember being there with a friend, and we were laughing our nuts off, whereas most of the theatre seemed confused by most of it.

      I wonder how much of the bullshit that is The Internet is an attempt to avoid being on the wrong side of that equation? Like it's a rush to stake out the digital equivalent of the Yukon territory.

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  12. (1) Re: 1995. No Billy Madison?

    (2) Re: 1993. Bodies Rest and Motion. Seen it. More than once. It's better than the trailer, but not better than silence.

    (3) Re: 1993 No Short Cuts?

    (4) Re: 1995 Smoke?

    (5) Lebowski, sure. But check it out: Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996). Why you hatin'?

    (6) Re: 1998. Fear and Loathing?

    I liked this post very much. 4.38/5 stars.

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    1. (1) I should've. I took that one out but kept Happy Gilmore in.

      (3) Never saw it. I should've done a "Can You Believe..." for each year, but I lost some of them in editing.

      (4) Haven't seen it in forever - I forgot about that one, actually.

      (5) Miller's Crossing is only so-so for me. (I did forget "Raising Arizona" though for my 80s post - oops). "Barton Fink" and "Hudsucker Proxy" are in my Haven't Seen lists for the respective years, and "Fargo" is listed as the best movie of 1996 up there.

      (6) I liked it at the time - I should've put it in the Fool Me Once category. But on the off chance a certain someone (who never reads these things, even when I send them to him but watch this have been the one) read it I didn't want to hear about it for the next 30 years! It's a good flick and all, I guess, but just not a HST fan. It never adds up to anything.

      Glad you enjoyed! This whole post had me talking to Klum in my head.

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    2. (1) Look at what's goin on here.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlFcCfcOO7I

      (3) Short Cuts is actually very long.

      (5) Miller's Crossing is probably my fave non-Raising Coen Bros. film. That you haven't Barton Fink and Hudsucker worries me. Also worrying: that I missed all the Coen mentions.

      (6) I still like that movie a lot. It's actually my go to example of drunken conversation on the topic of Movies that Were Actually Better Than the Books. That book kinda sucks, mostly because HST was a shitty writer. Also on that list: Wizard of Oz.

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    3. Didn't Klum see Titanic in the theaters like 30 times? I never trusted his judgment.

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    4. I think he did. He could stray from the flock sometimes, for sure. When he was on, he was on. When he wasn't, sometimes you had to overlook a whole lot of verbal hibbity-swibbity.

      Definitely overdue for a "Miller's Crossing" rewatch, and a Coen Brothers revisit in general.

      "Billy Madison" is arguably the best film ever made. As straight legit as "The Godfather" or whatever you like. Amen and forever.

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    5. I've been aching to see Little Nicky again recently. I hope we see it in the year 2000. Puppy phone!

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  13. Re: 1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2780QG4eIQ

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    1. I saw this for the first time one week visiting Moira at Vassar. Her roommate couldn't believe I hadn't seen it and skipped class to smoke a joint and watch it. Outside of Ethan Hawke eating a Snickers and getting fired and Ben Stiller saying he loves Winona (if I remember correctly) in a voicemail, I don't remember much about it, alas. Very 1994, though! (The movie, not the anecdote)

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    2. Someone was like, what if we mashed together Singles and Friends?

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