Now that I have made my list of best films of the 2000’s I’d like to show you my list of favorite films from the 1990’s. I think you will find that the first few films mentioned are romantic, sort of heartwarming movies while the last few are incredibly violent films filled with lots of ideas. It was a decade in which both violence and love thrived on the big screen, I say we celebrate both types of films.
10. The Lion King (1994)
Seriously? Damn right, seriously! The Lion King is the first film I remember seeing in the theatre so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a breathtaking children’s movie that has as many adult fans as it does kids. Here is the incredible first scene:
9. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The reason I like The Shawshank Redemption is the reason I think most people like this film, the relationship between Tim Robbin’s character and Morgan Freeman’s. There is also the uplifting and inspirational story that holds your attention without receding into tedium. Though I tend to dislike most films that are “inspirational,” this one is just too good to dismiss.
8. Titanic (1997)
Again, seriously? Oh yeah. It’s easy to make fun of Titanic. Admittedly the dialogue is cheesy, the acting can be corny and James Cameron’s unabashed smugness might turn you off. Let’s be honest though, to say that you didn’t in the very least enjoy Titanic means you are probably lying. It’s nearly impossible not get caught up in the love story of this film and of course its epic climax. Cameron showed the world what “spectacle” really means.
7. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Call it a chick flick, I don’t care. Tell me Saving Private Ryan is better and I might agree though I haven’t seen that movie in over 10 years so I can’t give you an honest opinion. Shakespeare in Love is hilarious and very clever and the cast is fantastic. Anyone who has even the slightest interest in Shakespeare will enjoy this film and even if you don’t, you’ll still find it amusing.
6. The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix is the perfect action film – it’s incredible visuals and unrelenting violence are backed up by the most surprising of things – a plot. Even greater, the plot deals with the enslavement of man and his desire for freedom. There are so many ideas in this film, it would take much too long to list them here. Let’s just say that in 1999 we were given the option of choosing the “red pill” or the “blue pill” and I’m glad we chose red.
5. Braveheart (1995)
Say what you will about Mel Gibson but that man knows how to make a movie. Braveheart sweeps you up in its Celtic score, its romance and its blood soaked vision of freedom. Braveheart is the ultimate under-dog movie, one in which the oppressed rise up against their oppressors and show us what courage once meant.
4. Fargo (1996)
This film is nearly perfect in my book. The story is truly captivating, the cinematography is brilliant, the score is mysterious and catchy, the script is funny and memorable and the acting is superb. William H. Macy is fantastic but somehow Frances McDormand shines through in one of the best female roles on film.
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
What more is there to say about this one? It changed the way I looked at films and how films can be made. Tarantino showed us that the mundane and the explosive can be equally important. He also helped create 3 of the most memorable film characters ever.
2. Fight Club (1999)
Has any movie ever made soap look so disgusting? This film is burned into my brain and each time I see it I find new meaning. I won’t tell you what it all means because a) I’m not quite sure what it all means and because b) you have to figure it out yourself. David Fincher has made an incredibly unique, beautiful, vulgar and complex film that asserts the importance of living and denounces material possessions. Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Edward Norton are brilliant here.
1. American Beauty (1999)
This movie does no wrong. The cinematography, screenplay, acting, score, every piece fits together to create an incredibly well constructed film. It is hilarious and depressing at the same time. Just like your life it will move you and make you laugh. Unlike it though it has brilliant camera work and actors who could play your life better than even you could. Indeed, it is spec-tac-ular.