The B+ Movie Guide: The New List (Part XLV)

I gave Colin a giant list of 500 movies, and he finished it. Of course I’m gonna come up with another list.

This one is for everyone, though. Not specifically for Colin. This is raw material for everybody, should they choose, to go out and see more movies. Not all of them are essential. Most of them are just awesome. I told Colin that once he finished this list, I’d give him another one that was more fun than work. Geared toward cool stuff that he’d enjoy.

I went through and found 1,000 more movies that I think either need to be seen (leftover “essential” films) or are just really great and would be enjoyed by most who see them. Here they are:

1990-1994

Bugsy (1991)

This was the big, classy movie of 1991. Barry Levinson directing, Warren Beatty starring. About how Bugsy Siegel came up with the idea for the town that became Las Vegas. Also stars Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould and Joe Mantegna. Great film. You should see this. It’s not as remembered as the other movies nominated this year, but this is the one that ended up with the most nominations. It’s really great.

Cape Fear (1991)

Both versions of this movie are essential. I put the 1962 version on the first list because I feel more people are likely to come across this one. But they’re both essential. This is Martin Scorsese directing, Nick Nolte playing Sam Bowden and Robert De Niro playing Max Cady. Juliette Lewis and Jessica Lange also star. Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck cameo in this (humorously on opposite sides of the law than they were in the original film). Also has Joe Don Baker, Martin Balsam, Illeana Douglas and Fred Dalton Thompson. Iconic story, great version. Just as good as the original. Different in all the right ways.

City Slickers (1991)

Pure 90s comedy that’s also a western. The beauty of this is that it has all the western tropes but manages to be an enjoyable 90s comedy as well. Jack Palance won an Oscar for this. He’s pretty great here. It’s about a bunch of yuppies who go on a cattle drive. Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby. Also has Jeffrey Tambor and David Paymer in it. A lot of fun.

The Doors (1991)

The same year as JFK, Oliver Stone made a biopic of the Doors, starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. If that’s not enough for you to see this movie, then I don’t know what is.

Hook (1991)

Steven Spielberg making a Peter Pan movie with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman as Hook. I grew up with this, so I have a sentimental attachment to it. It’s clearly not one of Spielberg’s best, and even he admits the movie has its flaws. But I love it. I think it’s fun and looks great, and is the right kind of magical for children of a certain age. Plus, Rufio.

Necessary Roughness (1991)

One of the great underrated sports comedies of all time. Seriously. I grew up with this movie. I had to have seen this movie a dozen times before the age of eight. Nobody remembers this movie. It’s about a college football team, a powerhouse program, that is sanctioned by the NCAA and has all of its players banned. So they have to recruit players purely through the school, rather than giving out scholarships and all that. So the new coaching staff (Hector Elizondo, who is always great, and Robert Loggia, who is incredible here. The pep talks he gives in the locker room are something else) go around, much like in The Replacements, to hold tryouts and get a team together, all while the dean (Larry Miller) wants to disband the football program. Scott Bakula plays a 30-year-old QB who is still technically eligible to play in college, so he joins the team. The rest of the team includes Sinbad, Jason Bateman, and Kathy Ireland as a female kicker. And Rob Schneider plays the announcer of the games. All your sports movie tropes are here, taken straight out of Major League, but it doesn’t matter. It’s hilarious. I love this movie so much, and this is one of those movies that I will actively show people, because it’s really great. This is kind of like Major League meets North Dallas Forty. One of my all-time favorite movies. Not kidding.

The Bodyguard (1992)

Essential movie for the 90s. Also very 90s. Whitney Houston essentially plays herself, as a singer (and Best Actress nominee… so maybe it’s heightened a bit) who is getting death threats leading up to the Oscars. So she hires Kevin Costner, a former Secret Service man, to protect her. Of course, his method of doing things doesn’t exactly fit her lifestyle. It’s a really great movie. Of course famous for its climactic song, “I Will Always Love You.”

Chaplin (1992)

Richard Attenborough directed a biopic of Charlie Chaplin. Okay, cool. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. If you’ve read this blog, you know how much I love this movie. But also — Chaplin is played by Robert Downey Jr. Who gives an amazing performance. See it if only for the performance. It’s really great.

The Crying Game (1992)

Yes. Essential movie. You need to have seen this movie. Growing up, what happens in this movie was pretty well known. I feel like, by now, people aren’t told what happens going in, which allows them to see it fresh. Which is how it should be seen. If you only know this movie’s title, or don’t know anything about it, just watch it without looking up what it’s about. Or just know as little about it as you can. The IRA kidnaps a British soldier. One of the captors befriends him, and eventually starts talking to the guy’s girlfriend too. That’s really all you need to know. What happens in this movie is worth seeing, because it starts about one thing and then becomes about something else, and makes a lot of statements about the nature of — certain things that I won’t get into now. And I feel like after it came out, people discussing the big thing that happens in this movie were actually doing it a disservice. Since it’s more than just that. So see it. Go in cold.

Hero (1992)

What an underrated movie. Dustin Hoffman is a lowlife who helps a bunch of people during a plane crash. The media starts asking who the person who helped everyone was, and then someone else (Andy Garcia, a homeless vet) takes credit for it. And Hoffman is pissed. It’s hilarious. Dustin Hoffman plays the biggest scumbag in this. It’s so funny. See this movie. One of the hidden gems of the 90s that no one knows about.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Both of these movies get entries because they’re both amazing. This is one of those ‘you need to have seen both or we can’t be friends’ movies. This is just as funny as the original, and they’re basically doing the same story again. Who hasn’t grown up with these movies?

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

You know the story (at least you should). Michael Mann directs. Daniel Day-Lewis stars. Great movie. Should be seen. It’s great, and don’t pass up Daniel Day-Lewis. The man is an acting treasure.

A League of Their Own (1992)

One of my all-time favorite movies. I grew up on this. It’s so perfect. For some reason it’s not thought of as highly as it should be. People remember it, and like it, but I think this is an all-time great movie. You can just put this on and watch it at any time. And it’s an important movie, subject-wise. It’s about the first female professional baseball league, started while the men were off fighting in World War II. It’s a classic. Tom Hanks is incredible here. There’s no crying in baseball! Essential movie.

Malcolm X (1992)

Spike Lee directing Denzel. Denzel is crazy good here. The movie is a bit overdone (but that’s Spike Lee. You take the good with the bad), but it’s still terrific. You need to see this one. This is essential for the performance.

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

One of my all-time favorite comedies, and one of the all time great comedies. It’s hilarious. Brooklyn lawyer and his fiancée comes down to defend his cousin, who is booked on charges of murder. Hilarious fish out of water story, and the courtroom scenes are incredible. Marisa Tomei (rightly) won an Oscar for this movie, and it’s seriously one of the funniest movies you’ll see. I could actually quote this movie for days.

Porco Rosso (1992)

Miyazaki. They’re all essential. This is probably my least favorite of his Ghibli films, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. It’s about a WWI pilot who has been cursed to look like a pig. Don’t pass up Miyazaki.

Sneakers (1992)

This was one of those movies that slipped under my radar for years. It’s directed by Phil Alden Robinson, his follow-up to Field of Dreams. It’s a fun hacking thriller… starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley and James Earl Jones. So much fun. Extremely underrated movie. Hidden gem of the 90s. Trust me on this one. You’ll enjoy it.

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

It’s been proven, you know. Scientifically.

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel, about 19th century lawyer who is engaged to a woman but then falls in love with her cousin, who is separated from her husband. Directed by Martin Scorsese. (Right?) Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer star, along with Winona Ryder. Great movie. A lot of fun seeing Martin Scorsese do a straight period drama. You can never go wrong with Scorsese. And then Scorsese and Daniel Day-Lewis? Come on, man.

A Bronx Tale (1993)

I feel like people get to this one pretty early. It’s not an all-time classic or anything, but it’s a memorable movie. Chazz Palminteri wrote and stars in this. It’s a coming-of-age story based on his experiences growing up. It’s about a kid who befriends the local gangster in the neighborhood. It’s a great movie. We see him torn between his father (Robert De Niro, who directed), a bus driver who does things the “right” way, and Palminteri, who is a gangster, but seems to be more of a role model to him. It’s a good movie. You should see it if you haven’t.

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