Flashbacks: 1991

Oh my goodness. I have virtually seen nothing from ’91. That’s not true. I’ve seen a couple. And some of what I have seen is quite good. But my regrettable haven’t seen list is not pretty (although the ugliest for sure will come in 1994).

5. My Girl

See how sad this list is? Now, I don’t want to take anything away from one of the sweetest movies, but it’s not exactly top 5 material. But here it is and I’m not that ashamed. Macaulay Culkin is illegally cute and depressing. I still get a little misty-eyed when I think of bee allergies. And the girl, Anna Chlumsky, is quite endearing and doesn’t not carry the film. This is the single perfect movie to watch on a gloomy Mother’s Day at 2:00 PM. It just has that kind of home-grown happy times feel, despite being horribly sad. Either way, a hallmark in gushy cinema of the ’90s.

4. City Slickers

I swear the next movie will be phenomenal. Although City Slickers is pretty damn funny. You have Billy Crystal at his comedic peak, a hilarious and gritty performance from Jack Palance, and I also think this is the movie where a cow goes into labor. Instant classic. And my affinity for the comedy western genre has just recently been touched upon with my new found love of Cat Ballou. Are there any other good comedy westerns? Oh! And P.S. Director Ron Underwood’s other great movie is Tremors. His resume is truly legendary.

3. Cape Fear

Here’s where things get cooking. Maybe one of the least respected Scorsese/De Niro combinations, but it still is a doozy. As Nick Nolte and family try to deal with Robert De Niro’s fearsome Max Cady, Scorsese creates a tension that is truly palpable. This just rides on so much tension. And Scorsese keeps the audience right where he wants them at all times. Never before in a film have I shouted so loudly and frequently at a main character as when throughout the whole film Nolte lets his emotions and fear get the best of him. This film displays the tension between society and paranoia better than most others who have tried while never letting the fear go from the audience. It also expertly uses the REAL LIFE location of Cape Fear.

2. The Silence of the Lambs

No 1991 list is complete without this classic horror film. From easily quotable jabs from Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter to the horrifying images of Buffalo Bill dancing with his you-know-what tucked in you-know-where. Jonathan Demme created a truly eerie film that has seeped into pop culture so deep, that people who haven’t seen the film can quote it. That’s really saying something. Unlike most of America, my favorite moments all involve Bufflo Bill. I think Ted Levine gives a truly chilling performance. Not to say that Lecter isn’t creepy too. I just always felt (a little) safer because he’s behind bars. This also is the most recent film to sweep the big 5 awards at the Oscars. So Congrats to Demme, Foster, Hopkins, and Ted Tally for their reigning place in Oscar trivia absurdia.

1. Beauty and the Beast

Maybe this is sentimental. Or maybe it’s because it’s phenomenal. The opening sequence with the stained glass windows is beautiful; the songs are all catchy, memorable, and filled with the delightful lyrics of Howard Ashman, not to mention being Alan Menken’s finest; the jokes still crack me up; the whimsy and magic of inanimate objects coming to life is refreshing and exciting every time. What I’m trying to say is, this movie is near perfect. It best shows the Disney trend of “be true to yourself” idea through Belle’s passion for literature. It speaks to the power of family, friendship, and most importantly, love. And my all time favorite line – “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!”

Regrettable Haven’t Seens:

Bugsy

Hook

JFK

Thelma & Louise

Barton Fink

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