Sunday, June 12, 2011

Paul's Cinema Chronology: 1990-1994

What I’ve Seen:

Back to the Future Part III
Dances With Wolves
Die Hard 2
Home Alone
Presumed Innocent
The Godfather: Part III
The Hunt for Red October
The Rescuers Down Under
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
Beauty and the Beast
Dead Again
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Rocketeer
The Silence of the Lambs
A Few Good Men
Glengarry Glen Ross
Honey I Blew Up the Kid
Malcolm X
My Cousin Vinny
Porco Rosso
The Last of the Mohicans
White Men Can’t Jump
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Groundhog Day
Ninja Scroll
Jurassic Park
Look Who’s Talking Now
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Schindler’s List
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Three Colors: Blue
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Dumb and Dumber
Forrest Gump
Hoop Dreams
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
Pulp Fiction
Quiz Show
The Crow
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Lion King
The Mask
The Santa Clause
The Shawshank Redemption
The Swan Princess
54 Total

The Best of What I’ve Seen:

Forrest Gump (top 100)—One of the first examples of the modern—and immensely annoying—phenomenon of “it’s popular so it sucks”, people tend to forget how charming this movie is. I admit to being a total sucker for this sort of movie (see also: Button, Benjamin), but I’m far from the only person who was willing to admit to loving it before hating it became cool. Also: Forrest Gump is better than Pulp Fiction. There, I said it. Pitchforks and torches are behind you and to the left.

Unforgiven (top 100)—Clint Eastwood’s deconstruction of the Western, Unforgiven so brutally destroyed the classical genre that even twenty years later a straight, white hat/black hat Western remains impossible to take seriously (similar to what The Wire did to shows like CSI). It’s a powerful take on what violence means, and the sort of people who commit it. William Munny also gives one of my favorite movie quotes of all time: “Deserve has nothing to do with it.” Well said.

The Silence of the Lambs (top 100)—A movie with a Pantheon performance (Stuart Rudin as Miggs. Just kidding), a tense, fantastically plotted narrative, and effective, creepy cinematography, Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece is everything a thriller should be. Its as unforgettable—and unsettling—a movie as I’ve ever seen.

The Shawshank Redemption (top 100)—Sure Frank Darabont’s magnum opus can be a little manipulative (I’ll never forgive him for “Brooks was here”, which is right up there with the prologue of Up for the most emotionally wrenching independent scene in movie history), but damn is this a great movie. It epitomizes the concept of a movie earning its happy ending. As Red so succinctly states, “Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine”. It’s a description of the scene, but also of the entire movie. Shawshank is simultaneously grittily realistic and uplifting, and there’s a reason it’s the top-rated movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

Schindler’s List (top 100)—I cannot possible praise this film effusively enough in just a couple of sentences, and so I’m not even going to even really try. Just know that I do not throw around words like “perfect” very freely, and yet I am compelled to do so in this case. Schindler’s List is as close to perfect as a movie can get, and I can’t think of one flaw in the whole damn thing. It’s not an easy watch—and indeed, although I own the film I’ve only seen it once—but it’s so much more than worth it.

What I Haven’t Seen:

Army of Darkness
Barton Fink
Basic Instinct
Blue Chips
Un Coeur en Hiver
Cool World
The Crying Game
Ed Wood
The Fugitive
Heavenly Creatures
Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer
In the Name of the Father
Leon: The Professional
Man Bites Dog
Miller’s Crossing
Porco Rosso
Prelude to a Kiss
Presumed Innocent
Raise the Red Lantern
Reservoir Dogs
Scent of a Woman
Sleepless in Seattle
Three Colors: Red
Three Colors: White
Total Recall
Wayne’s World

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