Mike’s Top Tens of the Decade (1990-1999)

Three months ago, I posted my Top Tens of the Decade. It was meant to be a list of the films I liked best over the past decade (that decade being 2000-2009. I also included 2010 because it was recent and because, I want to see how much it changes by the time it goes on the list it’s supposed to be on, Top Tens of Decade, 2010-2019). You can read my motivation for such a list in the link up there.

After I posted it, I thought (as I often do), “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I was able to make a list like that for every decade, going back to the creation of film?” And, being the narcissist I am, I also thought, “I should make one for other decades too, so people can see which films I like best, and then watch them.” Now, I don’t know how far back I’ll be able to go (might have some trouble in the 1920s, 10s and 00s), but I do know, being born in 1988, I certainly can do one for the 90s easily enough. That was my decade. So that’s what I’m gonna do right now.

This will be exactly like the Top Tens of 2000-2010. The only change, or rather, the only difference between this list and that list is, there won’t be a “Terrible Ten” list of films I hated. Because I just wasn’t that kind of viewer back then. I didn’t hate films the way I do now. That decade I was between 2 & 12. I was watching shit like Blank Check. But that’s what’s interesting about it. Not what I hated — what I loved.

Since these were my formative years, what I’m doing is, instead of a “Terrible Ten”, after the standard 11-15 (to make things easier next time I revisit the list), is putting what I’m calling a “Films of My Childhood” list at the bottom. That is, at the bottom of ever year, I’ll have a list of 5 landmark Films of My Childhood. These are the films that I loved (and still do, but largely out of nostalgia) and saw as a child. Ones that, if you’re my age, you’ll go, “Oh shit, I love Rookie of the Year!” Keep in mind, this is my list of films from my childhood. There might be a handful of films you think are missing. But, those are the films to put on your Top Tens of the Decade lists. Because I love when people make lists. I’d happily read yours. I’d be positively giddy to do so. Either way, this should be a nice nostalgia trip for you. Let’s get to the Top Tens:

My Top Ten of 1999:

American Beauty

Any Given Sunday

Being John Malkovich

Bringing Out the Dead

Fight Club

The Insider


The Matrix


Three Kings

11-20 (great year): Analyze This, Blue Streak, Deep Blue Sea, Dogma, Election, Fantasia 2000, Man on the Moon, The Mummy, Office Space, Tarzan

Tier 2: Audition, Beyond the Mat, Bowfinger, The Green Mile, The Hurricane, The Iron Giant, Life, The Sixth Sense, South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Summer of Sam, Sweet and Lowdown, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Toy Story 2, The World Is Not Enough

Films of My Childhood: American Pie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Big Daddy, The Big Kahuna, The Blair Witch Project, Entrapment, Lost & Found, Mystery Men, Pokémon: The First Movie, The Thirteenth Floor

My Top Ten of 1998:

The Big Lebowski

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Meet Joe Black


Out of Sight


Saving Private Ryan

Shakespeare in Love

Snake Eyes

What Dreams May Come

11-20: Armageddon, BASEketball, Bulworth, Gods and Monsters, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Negotiator, Rounders, Rushmore, The Thin Red Line, The Truman Show

Tier two: American History X, A Civil Action, Elizabeth, The Parent Trap, Primary Colors, Ronin, Rush Hour, A Simple Plan, There’s Something About Mary, Wrongfully Accused

Films of My Childhood: The Faculty, Half Baked, Halloween: H20, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Major League: Back to the Minors, A Night at the Roxbury, Psycho, Very Bad Things, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer

My Top Ten of 1997:

As Good as It Gets

Boogie Nights


The Fifth Element

The Game

Good Will Hunting

Jackie Brown

L.A. Confidential


Wag the Dog

11-20: Air Force One, Breakdown, Chasing Amy, Donnie Brasco, Hercules, In & Out, Mad City, Men in Black, The Rainmaker, The Sweet Hereafter

Tier two: Amistad, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Batman and Robin, The Full Monty, Grosse Pointe Blank, Liar Liar, Life Is Beautiful, Princess Mononoke, Tomorrow Never Dies, Vegas Vacation

Tier three: The Apostle, The Boxer, Con Air, Kundun, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Mimic, Mrs. Brown, Nil by Mouth, Starship Troopers, Ulee’s Gold

 Films of My Childhood: AirBud/Spawn (these go together because they’re the first double feature I’ve ever seen in theaters. That is, my friends and I went to the movies to see Spawn, then after it was over, we snuck into Air Bud. Best double feature ever.), Bean, Good Burger, Home Alone 3, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jungle 2 Jungle, McHale’s Navy, RocketMan, Spice World

 My Top Ten of 1996:

Breaking the Waves


From Dusk Till Dawn

Independence Day

Jerry Maguire

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Mission: Impossible

One Fine Day

The Rock

Space Jam

 11-20: Bottle Rocket, The Cable Guy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Kingpin, Mars Attacks!, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Sling Blade, Romeo + Juliet, Swingers, A Time to Kill

Tier two: The Birdcage, The English Patient, Everyone Says I Love You, Matilda, Multiplicity, Phenomenon, Primal Fear, Ransom, Scream, Shine

Films of My Childhood: Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Black Sheep, Bio-Dome, Carpool, Happy Gilmore, Harriet the Spy, Jingle All the Way, Kazaam, The Nutty Professor, Spy Hard

(Sadly, Dunston Checks In did not make the list. I don’t think that’s a film of anybody’s childhood.)

My Top Ten of 1995:

Apollo 13


Die Hard with a Vengeance


Mr. Holland’s Opus

Nick of Time



Toy Story

The Usual Suspects

11-20: Braveheart, Desperado, Friday, Get Shorty, GoldenEye, Leaving Las Vegas, Mallrats, Murder in the First, Outbreak, Twelve Monkeys

+ Honorable (?) Mention to: Showgirls

Tier two: The American President, Babe, Bad Boys, Balto, Crimson Tide, Dead Man Walking, Jumanji, Mighty Aphrodite, Nixon, Il Postino

Films of My Childhood: First, a standalone entry: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, THE staple film of my childhood. And now the rest of them (it was a really strong year):

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Batman Forever, The Big Green, Casper, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, A Goofy Movie, The Indian in the Cupboard, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Operation Dumbo Drop (Oh yeah, I went there.)

My Top Ten of 1994:


Ed Wood

Forrest Gump

Léon (The Professional)

The Lion King

Natural Born Killers

Pulp Fiction

Quiz Show

The Shawshank Redemption


11-15: Blue Sky, Bullets Over Broadway, Chungking Express, The Client, Dumb and Dumber, The Hudsucker Proxy, Major League II, Maverick, Nell, Renaissance Man

Films of My Childhood: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Airheads, Angels in the Outfield, Blank Check, Little Giants, Little Rascals, The Mask, The Pagemaster, Richie Rich, The Santa Clause

My Top Ten of 1993

A Bronx Tale

Falling Down

The Fugitive

Groundhog Day

Jurassic Park

Mrs. Doubtfire

The Sandlot

Schindler’s List


True Romance

11-20: The Age of Innocence, The Firm, In the Name of the Father, Last Action Hero, My Life, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Philadelphia, The Remains of the Day, Searching for Bobby Fischer, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

+ Honorable Mention to: Deadfall (The single greatest Nicolas Cage performance ever put to film. Trust me.)

Films of My Childhood: Airborne (great fucking rollerblading movie!), Coneheads, Dennis the Menace, Free Willy, Hocus Pocus, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Rookie of the Year, Super Mario Bros., We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story

 My Top Ten of 1992:



A Few Good Men

Glengarry Glen Ross

A League of Their Own

My Cousin Vinny

Reservoir Dogs

Scent of a Woman


Wayne’s World 

11-15: Batman Returns, Hero, The Last of the Mohicans, Malcolm X, Sneakers

Films of my Childhood: Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Mighty Ducks, White Men Can’t Jump … uhh, there is no fifth one. But, while it’s not of my childhood…

+ Honorable Mention to: Shakes the Clown (the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown films)

 My Top Ten of 1991:

Barton Fink

Beauty and the Beast

Boyz N the Hood


Cape Fear



Necessary Roughness

The Silence of the Lambs

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

11-15: City Slickers, The Doors, The Fisher King, Shadows and Fog, Thelma and Louise

Films of My Childhood: An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Life Stinks, My Girl, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

 My Top Ten of 1990

Dick Tracy

Die Hard 2

Edward Scissorhands

The Godfather Part III


Home Alone

The Hunt for Red October

Miller’s Crossing

Quick Change

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

11-15: Alice, Awakenings, The Field, The Grifters, Misery, The Rescuers Down Under, Reversal of Fortune, State of Grace, Total Recall, Wild at Heart

Films of My Childhood: Ghost, Kindergarten Cop, Look Who’s Talking Too, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tremors


3 responses

  1. Mike, what did you think of “The Frighteners”? It was a horror comedy by Peter Jackson from 1996.

    July 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    • I know, The B+ Movie Guide. I’ve been following that too.

      July 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

  2. By the way, where’s The Rugrats Movie. You said you saw that one in theaters. Why isn’t it listed under 1998’s Films of Childhood.

    August 3, 2016 at 9:34 am

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