Sunday, January 24, 2010

Top 100 movies of the '90s: 60-51

60. La Haine, 1995
Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz
Cast: Vincent Cassel

Brilliantly made French film about people who aren't ethnically French going about their day in France trying to stay out of trouble from the police. The excellent performances and great directing really left an impression on me. Even though it's one of the few foreign films that I've seen in the '90s, it's definitely one of the best movies I've seen this decade.

59. Jerry Maguire, 1996
Dir: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger

I remember seeing this movie in the theaters, even though I may have been too young to see it, and really enjoying this film thoroughly. Yes, this is a romance movie disguised as a sports movie, but it's an excellent film. I think this is a type of film that all kinds of movie fans can enjoy. This film could not have worked without Crowe's excellent script as well as Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr's performances.

58. Rushmore, 1998
Dir: Wes Anderson
Cast: Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzmann

With Rushmore, Wes Anderson already establishes himself as one of American cinema's few auteurs. All the elements are there, the dry humor, the boldface font, the '60s folk music, and all the little character quirks that are so prevalent in his films. This is perhaps the funniest movie he has made and the movie you want to watch first in order to properly be introduced to Wes Anderson films. This movie also marked the beginning of a different phase in Bill Murray's career, that lead him to become an unexpected indie darling in the next decade (starring in more Wes Anderson films, as well as films by Jim Jarmusch and Sofia Coppola).

57. Sleepers, 1996
Dir: Barry Levinson
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Billy Crudup

Perhaps a little underrated, but this is Barry Levinson's finest works with a great cast and a disturbing story about a couple of teenage boys being abused in juvenile prison and the long-lasting effects it has on them as adults. Kevin Bacon plays such a piece of scum in this movie, it feels almost too real.

56. Boyz n the Hood, 1991
Dir: John Singleton
Cast: Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Boyz n the Hood is one of those movies that will genuinely surprise you in how well-made and well-acted this movie is. Ice Cube is an absolute revelation in this movie who unfortunately hasn't quite lived up to such a promising performance in subsequent movies. The same could be said about John Singleton.

55. The Matrix, 1999
Dir: Wachowski Brothers
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne

One of the greatest sci-fi movies of the decade featuring Keanu Reeves? Yes, even Keanu couldn't ruin this movie and he plays a big role in it. How did they manage that? This is a movie that may have lost some of its magic due to its subsequent over-illogical sequels, but the original is still one of the most inventive and exciting movies that was released in the '90s.

54. The Green Mile, 1999
Dir: Frank Darabont
Cast: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan

Sure, the idea of a black man being made of magic is something that we all now mock at and if The Green Mile were to be released now it probably would've been dismissed for it. But regardless of that, this is a very well-made movie and if it wasn't for Michael Clarke Duncan's amazing performance the movie would have been laughable. Fortunately, that's not the case as he dominates every single scene he's in. And if he's not dominating the movie, then Sam Rockwell is. That's really what carries this movie over throughout its three hours. Such amazing performances throughout this movie makes this such a touching and emotional experience.

53. In the Name of the Father, 1993
Dir: Jim Sheridan
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson

Speaking of great performances, this movie features two great performances from two of the greatest actors from across the pond. Of course I'm talking about Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson. About four people wrongly accused of bombing a pub in Guildford, England, this movie shows just how irrational and unfair the justice system can be when it's threatened by terror. Perhaps a movie that is just as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.

52. Barton Fink, 1991
Dir: Coen Brothers
Cast: John Turturro, John Goodman

This is the first Coen Brothers movie on this list. It's hard to believe that they wrote this movie in just a few weeks while they were writing Miller's Crossing as there is a lot going on in this movie. John Turturro plays a former playwright who has moved to Hollywood to start a career as a screenwriter, but as he tries to write his first feature, he is struck by a bad case of writer's block. What really puts this movie over the top is the performance by John Goodman as Karl Mundt. His role in this movie is so powerful and brilliant that it really makes this movie a must-see, especially if you are a fan of other Coen Bros' movies.

51. Breaking the Waves, 1996
Dir: Lars von Trier
Cast: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard

Wow. That was all I can say after I saw this two-and-a-half hour movie about a very deep, emotional bond between a married couple and the sacrifices the wife is willing to make in order to help her paralyzed husband. This is an excellent movie, perhaps the best film Lars von Trier has ever made, but it would take me awhile to go back and watch this film again.

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