Category Archives: Best of Decades

Top 10 Films of the 1990’s

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.

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Top 10 Films of the Decade

Hey ya’ll, here is my list of favorite/best films of the decade. I have only included movies I have seen so there is a possibility that a film I have not yet seen this year could later make it onto my personal list. There is also a very good possibility that if I re-watched a film that it could take the place of a film on this current list. Anyway here is my list, what films are on your list?

10. Lost In Translation – 2003

In other hands this film could have been boring or meaningless but Sofia Coppola gives this story about two strangers, looking to connect in a foreign land both humor and depth. The cinematography is beautiful, Bill Murray is at his finest and Scarlett Johansson is unusually and delightfully modest.

9. Kill Bill (Volume 1 & 2) – 2003 & 2004

I remember coming home after seeing Kill Bill Volume 1 for the first time and feeling like my mind had turned into jelly. What exactly had I just seen? I wasn’t sure at the time, all I knew was that I was floored by the films visuals and non-linear plot. Volume 2 added an emotional subtext that completed the story and Uma Thurman created one of the greatest heroines ever on screen. Bravo to both Uma and Quentin!

8. Wall-E – 2008

Who knew Pixar could create such an artistic, message driven movie? The long, dialogue-free beginning somehow manages to be both disturbing and charming. Wall-E proves that kids’ movies need not be simple, dumb nor for that matter comforting.

7. The Dark Knight – 2008

Just when people had given up hope on intelligent action movies, The Dark Knight came in to save the day. The plot touches upon terrorism, corruption and the extent of power. Heath Ledger indeed gives a fantastic, terrifying performance all the more scary considering in the end, it is the Joker, not Batman who seems to speak the most sense, whom perhaps you end up rooting for.

6. Milk – 2008

Somehow you forget that you are watching a biopic when watching this film. Instead of simply following a man’s life, Gus Van Sant chronicles the lifespan of a political movement. This isn’t just a movie about gay rights, it’s about all the underdogs who have ever fought against established order – and won. Sean Penn is unbelievable in this film and his co-stars (Josh Brolin, James Franco and Emile Hirsch) deliver.

5. No Country for Old Men – 2007

Suspense, pure suspense. As Llewelyn Moss runs away from crazed sociopath Anton Chigurh, you cannot help but feel everything he feels. The cinematography is aggressive and the acting superb but most of all this film transports you, not to a fantasy land but to a land where evil triumphs over good.

4. Babel – 2006

Some have said that Babel is Crash but set around the globe. One of the biggest differences though is that the characters and emotions in Babel feel genuine. This film speaks not only to the fact that we are more connected than ever before but also how we are more detached. From the first scene in Morocco to the final scene in Tokyo, this film shows us that we all have the same desires and fears and it’s time we started understanding that. Beautiful cinematography, awesome score and great performances from an international cast.

3. There Will Be Blood – 2007

To me this movie is like the film equivalent of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It is so rich in themes and ideas I don’t even know where to begin discussing it. I’ll admit when I first saw it I didn’t like it that much, I still find No Country for Old Men a more enjoyable film. That being said, when I saw it a second time, it all clicked for me. The incredible cinematography, the nerve-wracking score and most of all Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance make this not simply a great film but the one film of this decade that I believe will one day be in the same category of film as Citizen Kane and Casablanca.

2. The Lives of Others – 2006

In 2007 The Lives of Others won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film which is a nice award to receive but I want to make this clear, this film is not just one of the best foreign films, it is one of the best films period. This story of East Germany’s secret police eavesdropping on a writer and his actress girlfriend is so well constructed and so full of twists and turns it will leave you breathless. Disturbing, hopeful, beautiful, this movie will stay in your mind for days.

1. Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) – 2001, 2002 & 2003

The script, the visuals, the acting, the direction, the score, the editing. Every aspect of this film is so well executed, you can really tell how much attention and love (and money) was put into these films. The Return of the King won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for and for good reason. This is a landmark trilogy that does what movies do best: transport you to another world where even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Very Honorable Mentions:

2000 – Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Almost Famous, O Brother Where Are Thou?

2001 – Monster’s Ball, Training Day, Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Drive, Amelie

2002 – Catch Me If You Can, Spirited Away, Hable Con Ella, Far From Heaven, Minority Report

2003 – Mystic River, 21 Grams, A Mighty Wind

2004 – Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2005 – Brokeback Mountain, Good Night and Good Luck, Transamerica, Walk the Line

2006 – The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, Volver, Little Children, Borat, Notes on a Scandal, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men

2007 – In the Valley of Elah, Eastern Promises, Atonement, Ratatouille, Knocked Up, Zodiac, Lars and the Real Girl

2008 – The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2009 – Up in the Air, Inglorious Basterds, Avatar, The Hurt Locker

EKL

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