Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-One

#31 — Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) Clint Eastwood never made another western after Unforgiven. That may not seem like a big deal. It’s hardly a studio staple any longer, with no more than a couple per year, a major difference from the numbers cranked out by old Hollywood studios, as evidenced by any casual perusal of a Turner Classic Movies monthly schedule. But it is significant for Eastwood, probably the modern actor most associated with the genre, from the television celebrity of Rawhide to his persona-defining work in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns to the elegiac soberness of his own directorial … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-One

Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Two

#32 — Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991) The nineties were a good decade for Disney animation, an outcome that seemed highly unlikely before the release of 1989’s The Little Mermaid and far from certain after it. Mermaid resurrected the Disney brand after a moribund stretch that found the studio faltering with middling efforts that had none of the assertion of classic entertainment that made the animation arm of the company a totally unique juggernaut back in Walt’s day. The follow-up was a sequel to 1977’s The Rescuers, an effort that was only a modest success, … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Two

Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Four

#34 — In the Company of Men (Neil LaBute, 1997) In the Company of Men unquestionably depicts vile, misogynistic behavior, but does the film itself traffic in the same abject hatefulness? That’s the question that dogged Neil LaBute’s feature directorial debut when it was released. The film follows a pair of corporate drones on an extended business trip to a branch office. In order to chip away at their boredom, and to exact some sort of cosmic retribution against women who they feel have wronged them in the past, they agree to romance and then dump a pretty deaf secretary … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Four

Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Seven

#37 — Shall We Dance? (Masayuki Suo, 1996) Part of the appeal of foreign films is the glimpse they can provide of a different culture. There’s a distancing angle to this as a film-goer, a sense that perhaps having a passport from a different home country than the filmmakers guarantees an automatic elusiveness to their product, an inherent inability to truly grasp what they’re trying to convey. There’s also a self-congratulatory note to the experience. A prideful self-delusion develops as the film represents a personal diversity training. Just reading subtitles can start to feel like embracing a kindred soul from … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Thirty-Seven

Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Forty

#40 — The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998) For me, part of loving movies has long included gathering and consuming as much information about them as I could possibly find. I’d seek out stories about deals getting pulled together, tracking how the ongoing traffic of writers, directors and actors following the route of their respective careers were leading to fascinating intersections of sensibilities. I tore through feature stories about pending releases, and dutifully read every word of the forecasts of seasonal movie slates that showed up in publications like Premiere and Entertainment Weekly. And I perhaps took the greatest pleasure … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 90s — Number Forty