Flashbacks: 1990

I thought it would be fun (mostly for myself) to go back through the last few years and look at my favorite films, my least favorite films, and the ones that I’ve missed. I don’t want to go too far back; my interest in film is relatively recent, and I’m still young enough where I just haven’t seen enough outside of my lifetime. So I’m starting with the year I was born: 1990

Top 5 Films of 1990:


5. Dances With Wolves

So what if it’s a little sappy, and so what if it’s four hours long. But really that is a problem. Yet this is one of the most endearing and thoughtful looks at Native American life and the American West. I’m not a Native expert, so I can’t comment on accuracy, but this beautifully lensed drama hits home in all the right places. Do I think it deserved the Best Picture win? No. But Costner actually directed something worthwhile.


4. Ghost

When Patrick Swayze passed away, many people turned to “Dirty Dancing” but I turned to the far more appropriate “Ghost.” I think it’s safe to say that this romance is original and fresh while refusing to give up all of the 80s that seeps through it (see Demi Moore’s haircut). Also Whoopi Goldberg’s performance is brilliant. I laugh every time she comes on the screen. This romantic and oddly exciting look at the afterlife and true love may be super corny and borderline campy, but it was a runaway hit of the year and still has the ability to resonate today.


3. Cinema Paradiso

If you don’t seek out Italian cinema often, do yourself a favor and go find “Cinema Paradiso.” It falls into the meta category, a film about film, as the our boy protagonist learns about life and love through the back of a cinema. Beautiful, touching, original, emotional, and very Italian. Truth be told, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but it remains a touch stone in my mind about great films about films.


2. Misery

Oh Kathy Bates, you can be so very frightening. This is possibly my favorite Stephen King adaptation and it’s success is entirely because of Ms. Bates, possibly the best working female character actress. Her crazy Annie Wilkes is way crazier than Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance. And right now, EW’s Popwatch’s Scary Villain poll, I think she is my favorite on the list. This is also one of the finest and most exciting takes on fandom, obsession, and entrapment.


1. Goodfellas

Could I have really put anything else? My favorite Martin Scorsese. In my top 10 of all time. This slick, stylish, sexy, daring, and vicious film redefines the gangster film. The opening segment where young Henry works his way up through the ranks gives me chills every time I watch. As I just dive into Boardwalk Empire, the Scorsese HBO series, I am reminded how much the cathartic violence and the sexy imagery of Scorsese has impacted my view of cinema. Truly one of the greats at his peak. And let’s not forget the last sequence. The utterly breakneck pace puts the tension through the roof.


Regrettable Haven’t Seens:

Pretty Woman

Miller’s Crossing

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

Total Recall



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