After spending way too much time looking back at 1990 and coming up with a top ten list I wasn’t totally sure about, I’m curious as to what 1991 has in store. I’m not even sure what I remember as being out that year. Ooh! This is the year that Vanilla Ice made his screen debut in Cool as Ice. Well that is an auspicious sign for the year. And.. holee molee, there was another Ernest movie this year — Ernest Scared Stupid.
Well there are a lot of movies from 1991 that I still need to see including: My Own Private Idaho; Naked Lunch; Night on Earth; The Double Life of Veronique; Slacker; Raise the Red Lantern; Mediterraneo; Mississippi Masala; Shadows and Fog; Defending Your Life; and in retrospect Shakes the Clown.
This year felt a lot tougher than 1990 to pick just ten. A lot of what I liked was mainstream and super commercially successful – not sure what to make of that although I’ve always liked a lot of different types of movies. Here’s my ten favorites from the year:
- The Silence of the Lambs
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- The Fisher King
- What About Bob?
- The Addams Family
- Barton Fink
- The Commitments
- Jungle Fever
- Dead Again
UPDATE: I added Dead Again to the top ten list upon realizing that I had the Bill & Ted sequel on it, not the original Bill & Ted which came out in 1989. I honestly can’t remember seeing the sequel and while I fondly remember the first one, I couldn’t conclusively call the sequel a favorite or anything else at this point.
A very close call for me based on my memory of it was Dead Again which I really should find and watch again. I have no idea if it holds up or not. Another one that is pretty close is Thelma & Louise which whether you really want to make a parable out of it or just enjoy it on the level of a crazy, spiraling out of control road movie was one I liked.
There were a lot of comedies I liked from this year — in addition to the above there was also Steve Martin’s L.A. Story; the completely ridiculous The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and the equally silly Hot Shots!; Michael J. Fox’s Doc Hollywood; Steve Martin’s other movie, Father of the Bride; Billy Crystal’s City Slickers; and Soapdish. This was also the year of Hudson Hawk which was a mixed bag on first watch and then I think grew in my estimation out of some perverse annoyance at how much of a bomb it was. But I watched large parts of it online since than and really it is a huge mess. The only part that really deserves affection is the break-in scene where Danny Aiello and Bruce Wilson sync their actions to Swinging on a Star:
It was also the year of Boyz n the Hood and New Jack City. Both movies I liked a lot — both maybe should be in my top ten if I get a chance to rewatch them.
I also liked a number of light dramatic comedies including Frankie and Johnny; Fried Green Tomatoes and Other People’s Money. I remember being less then completely enamored of Cape Fear. Bugsy was pretty good. I liked The Doors, but I really wonder if I’d like it after rewatching it. I also remember liking Backdraft and The Rocketeer.