Mike’s Top Ten of 1992

Look at the quality of content for this year. This top ten is one banger after another. Every one you get to, it’s like, “Oh man, that’s my movie!” But also, like much of the early 90s… not particularly amazing outside of the very top. Still, there are some cool hidden gems to be found in this year too.

I feel like the one overarching thing I see about the films on this list is that there are some great gems to be found. The top ten is flashy and will garner a lot of the attention but if you look at some of the stuff below it, you might find some good movies you may not know about.

Also, just looking at this top ten, this year gave us, without even thinking about it, four of the most iconic moments in the history of cinema. So there’s that too.

Mike’s Top Ten of 1992

Aladdin

Chaplin

A Few Good Men

Glengarry Glen Ross

A League of Their Own

My Cousin Vinny

Reservoir Dogs

Scent of a Woman

Unforgiven

Wayne’s World

11-20: Batman Returns, The Bodyguard, The Crying Game, Hero, Home Alone II: Lost in New York, The Last of the Mohicans, Malcolm X, Newsies, The Player, Sneakers

Tier two: Alien³, Bad Lieutenant, Basic Instinct, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Death Becomes Her, The Distinguished Gentleman, El Mariachi, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Hoffa, Lethal Weapon 3, Lorenzo’s Oil, The Mighty Ducks, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Passion Fish, Porco Rosso, A River Runs Through It, Shakes the Clown, Sister Act, Under Siege, White Men Can’t Jump

– – – – – – – – – – –

1. My Cousin Vinny

“Ms. Vito, you’re supposed to be some kinda expert in automobiles, is that correct?… Is that correct?”
“Would you please answer the counselor’s question?”
“No, I hate him.”
“Your Honor, may I have permission to treat Ms. Vito as a hostile witness?”
“You think I’m hostile now, wait ’til you see me tonight.”
“Do you two know each other?”
“Yeah, she’s my fiancée.”
“Well, that would certainly explain the hostility.”

As time goes on and I get older, I have to be honest with myself. Is my number one movie for a year the one that I think is objectively the “best” in terms of quality, or the one I’ve seen the most, can quote forwards and backwards and that I love the most? I think it’s the latter, which is why this is my #1 movie for 1992. It’s a comedy masterpiece.

Joe Pesci stars as a Brooklyn lawyer who comes down south with his fiancée Marisa Tomei and her biological clock to defend his cousin, who is in jail with his friend for a murder they didn’t commit. And Pesci, who just passed the bar exam after his sixth try, has to jump right in and defend a murder case where, if he loses, the person dies. Oh, and did I mention? It’s one of the funniest movies ever made.

Tomei won an Oscar for her performance, and everything about this movie just works. Pesci is great, Fred Gwynne is the unsung hero of this movie, and every back-and-forth he has with Pesci is just comedy gold.

This is one of those movies that my entire family loves, and I have so many memories of all of us just sitting around, watching this movie and laughing our asses off, even though we’ve seen it a hundred times. You can’t put a number on that, but for now, #1 will do.

2. A League of Their Own

“Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”

My heart soars when I think of this movie. It’s perfect in every way. That this never got the proper recognition it deserved devastates me.

After Big and Awakenings, Penny Marshall directed this movie about the all-female baseball league that was started during World War II while the men were away at war. And man, oh man, is it great.

Geena Davis and Lori Petty star as two sisters from the midwest who are brought out for the league. Davis is the clearly more talented one, but doesn’t really want it as much as her sister does. Meanwhile there’s Tom Hanks as the former major league slugger who is now a washed up drunk who gets hired to be the manager of the team (he steals every single scene he’s in and delivers one of the greatest pieces of advice in the history of film. To a child, no less), and then there’s a great ensemble of actresses who are on the team: Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Cavanaugh as Marla Hooch, Tracy Reiner as Betty Spaghetti… it’s a testament to this movie that I can still name all the players on the team.

Very few movies make me as happy as this one does, and for anyone who doesn’t think this is one of the absolute best films of 1992 or the 90s in general should go back and rewatch this. Because honestly I think I’ve seen this movie at least a hundred times, and it’s in the category of ‘if it’s on, I’m watching it and I’m watching it all the way to the end;.

3. Unforgiven

“It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”
“Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.”
“We all got it coming, kid.”

This is Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece. He’s made a lot of great movies as a director, but this is his masterpiece. If Outlaw Josey Wales was the death of the western, this is its eulogy. Eastwood didn’t direct many westerns. He only made one when he had something to say. And the four he ended up making are High Plains Drifter, Josey Wales, Pale Rider and this. Not a bad run.

Here he stars as an aging gunslinger who settled down, got married and had kids. Now, his wife is dead and the farm he settled on is completely falling apart. So when a young outlaw comes calling to bring him in on a score, he pretty much has to do it, because it’s all he knows how to do. The score is: two cowboys disfigure a prostitute with a knife, and the other prostitutes pool together money as a reward for anyone who kills them.

It’s so good. Eastwood is terrific. Morgan Freeman is great in it. Gene Hackman won an Oscar as the town sheriff. It really is a masterpiece and a perfect film all around. There’s a reason this won Best Picture this year.

4. A Few Good Men

“You want answers?”
“I think I’m entitled to.”
“You want answers?”
“I WANT THE TRUTH!”
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

This movie is a touchstone for so many reasons. It started Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting career, for starters. It caps Rob Reiner’s incredible run of movies, where he had like six of his first seven movies be monster films (Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery and this). It stars Tom Cruise at (or nearing) the height of his cinematic powers, Demi Moore at her peak, and Jack Nicholson, who was basically always at his peak. It’s also one of those movies where, if you grew up in the 90s, you saw this movie. And you watched it a ton. And you could quote it backwards and forwards. Honestly, the only touchstone missing for it is if it were actually made by Touchstone Pictures.

The film, for the 2% of people who don’t know what it is — a soldier at Guantanamo dies after a hazing incident and the two soldiers who hazed him are court-martialed and put on trial. They say they acted under orders from their superior officers, who deny this. Tom Cruise is a Navy lawyer who is famous for never going to trial and plea bargaining out every case. Demi Moore is a lawyer determined to help the boys out. So, eventually we end up with her and Cruise taking on the case, and it’s a tremendously great trial movie. Probably one of the ten best trial movies of all time. And there are a lot of good ones in there.

It speaks to the strength of this year that this isn’t #1 or #2. For what this movie means to me and how great it is, the fact that it’s only #4 really tells you the quality of films we have at the top of this year.

5. Reservoir Dogs

“Are you gonna bark all day little doggie? Or are you gonna bite?”

It’s crazy how huge this movie is for most of our movies lives and just how for-granted some of us take it. It’s weird that it’s only #5 for me, but when I look at the totality of 1992, it fits. Still, this is such a great movie.

Quentin has long since outdone himself four times over, but this movie still holds up as an incredible first effort. This movie would be considered one of the most copied films of the decade if a little movie called Pulp Fiction didn’t come out right after it.

Remember what it was like seeing this for the first time and just feeling a movie be cool? There are some movies that are the ones everyone sees first because they’re almost automatic. Everyone just loves them. This is one of those movies.

6. Wayne’s World

“I once thought I had mono for an entire year. It turned out I was just really bored.”

I don’t understand how this movie is a masterpiece, but it just is. I don’t make the rules. This is probably the best of the SNL movies. I will not argue with Blues Brothers, but it’s either that or this. For me, it’s this.

They took a sketch about a public access show and turned it into one of the best comedies of the 90s. Filled with iconic and endlessly quotable lines and truly one of the most iconic moments in the history of film, the above-pictured rocking out to “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene. That moment is so iconic they literally cast Mike Myers in the Bohemian Rhapsody movie just as a reference to that moment.

I really don’t have that much else to add about this, because if I go on any longer I’ll just start quoting lines from this movie. I feel like everyone knows this movie and has seen this movie and you don’t need me to tell you how great it is or how badly you need to see it. At this point, if someone hasn’t seen this movie I think they are legally allowed to be whisked away to… Delaware.

7. Aladdin

“A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming”

Disney Renaissance, baby. This is another movie of theirs that’s basically perfect.

It starts with the songs. “A Whole New World” is an all-timer, and then there’s “Arabian Nights,” “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me” and Prince Ali.” Plus you have Robin Williams’s astounding performance as the Genie. It’s all amazing. You’d be hard-pressed to meet a person who doesn’t have this in their top ten favorite Disney movies.

And, if you’re my age, you remember when “Arabian Nights” had the original lyrics. You young’uns go look that one up.

8. Glengarry Glen Ross

“I don’t gotta sit here and listen to this shit.”
“You certainly don’t, pal, ’cause the good news is – you’re fired. The bad news is – you’ve got, all of you’ve got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”

Yeah, boy. David Mamet. There’s a reason this play won the Pulitzer.

I think the cast referred to this as “Death of a Fucking Salesman.” Because that’s what it is. A bunch of real estate salesmen get told most of them are gonna be fired if they don’t make sales, so we watch them over the course of one night as they fight for their jobs. It’s so great.

Jack Lemmon basically stars as a salesman who is just about at the end of the line. Al Pacino is the hotshot of the office. Kevin Spacey is the office manager. Alan Arkin and Ed Harris are there. Alec Baldwin shows up for about ten minutes in one of the most famous scenes of all time.

This is almost a perfect movie. It’s a perfect play adapted into a great movie. It is essentially a play, so it’s stagey and it’s all about the performances. But with this ensemble and these performances, who can argue? This is just a masterpiece on a lot of levels.

9. Scent of a Woman

“Clear them little bottles off. And when I get off the phone here, call up Hyman and tell him I want it wall to wall with John Daniels.”
“Don’t you mean Jack Daniels?”
“He may be Jack to you son, but when you’ve known him as long as I have…”

There’s some sense of derision toward this movie because this is the one they gave Pacino an Oscar for. Sure, he earned it for all those great 70s performances, but he won it for this. And as such, people tend to dismiss it as a lesser movie. But I saw it before I got into all of that, and I love it.

It’s a remake of Profumo di donna, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1975. It’s about a student who, over Thanksgiving, agrees to watch a family’s cantankerous blind uncle so he can afford a plane ticket home for Christmas. He figures it’ll be a simple, “Check in on the old man once in a while” situation, only to find out the old man has other things in mind. So the kid and the blind man end up in New York for the weekend, and the kid learns all sorts of life lessons along the way.

It’s great. Pacino goes full Pacino here, doing the famous “Hoo ah”s and such. It’s a great performance. And the film works on its own merit. It’s not perfect, but it’s really entertaining, and it’s one of those that’s been a comfort movie for me throughout my life. I’ve put this on many a times at different points and just watched it all the way through.

10. Chaplin

“If you want to understand me, watch my movies.”

This is one of the more important movies of my life. Ever see something at the right time and it just fully enters your consciousness? That’s me with this movie. Some movies you see and you like them or whatever, and parts of them stick around. This one completely just permeated my brain fully and stayed. Just one of those things.

It’s a biopic of Charlie Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Richard Attenborough. The cast around Downey is insane as well. But really it’s his show. And he’s a perfect Chaplin. It’s such a great movie, too. It never fails to make me happy.

– – – – – – – – – –

11-20:

Batman Returns — The sequel. Tim Burton gets to be more Tim Burton in this. Hell, Christopher Walken’s character is named Max Shreck. He gets to have Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. I remember seeing this in theaters. I was four. It’s a lot of fun. I was too young for these movies so I don’t adore them as much as people slightly older than me might. But they’re quite good. Michael Keaton was a great Batman and Burton made some really fantastic movies for the era.

The Bodyguard — Classic. This movie shouldn’t work, but it does. Kevin Costner is a professional bodyguard who is hired to protect Whitney Houston, a famous pop star/actress who has had several credible threats against her life. So he shows up, and in classic romantic fashion, they don’t like each other at first but then fall in love. It’s very 90s, but I love that about it. One of those movies where the setup is so good it almost feels dated immediately because it becomes the archetype. The best thing about this is the music. Whitney’s got some crazy hits in this: “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” her cover of “I’m Every Woman,” and of course, this cover:

You wanna know how big a movie this was at the time? The soundtrack album from this is one of only ten albums to have sold 40 million or more copies. In terms of certified copies sold, it’s one of only five over 25 million. The other four are Thriller, Eagles Greatest Hits, Shania Twain’s Come on Over and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. The rest of the top ten? Back in Black, Dark Side of the Moon, Saturday Night Fever, Bat Out of Hell and Hotel California. So yeah, big deal.

The Crying Game — There are certain movies that become infamous because they are both huge and become spoilerable. Think The Sixth Sense. That movie was so big but immediately became, “Do you know the twist?” This is one of those movies. Fortunately it’s almost forgotten now, so while someone like me growing up in the 90s knew what happened here before I saw it, I suspect kids today have no idea about it, or possibly even what this is. So let’s go this way — Stephen Rea stars as an IRA member who helps kidnap a British soldier, played by Forest Whitaker. As he watches over him while he’s held captive, he gets to talking to him and becomes friendly with him. Whitaker tells him, if anything happens to him, protect his girlfriend. Which eventually leads to Rea finding Whitaker’s girlfriend and starting up a relationship with her. It’s… it’s a really solid movie. Feels dated now, but very well done. And also one of those movies where, it’s got a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Let’s put it that way. Not really as big a deal as it was in 1992, but still a progressive movie for 1992.

Hero — Fantastic overlooked movie directed by Stephen Frears. Dustin Hoffman stars as a homeless thief who decides to help people during a plane crash (though really he’s doing it to steal their wallets. Helping them is a byproduct). Stories of him doing this make it to the news and a million dollar reward is offered to this (insert title here). Of course, he just stole a bunch of shit and now can’t admit it was him. And on top of that, his homeless friend (Andy Garcia) decides to say he did it and take all the credit. Leading to a feud between the two of them. It’s great. I’m serious. This is a really great movie. Hoffman is amazing in this and it’s one of Frears’ best movies. Do not sleep on this. This is one of the great gems of the 90s.

Home Alone II: Lost in New York — It’s the sequel, and it’s just as good as the original. Repeating a lot of the same stuff, especially in terms of the “house defense” section, but it doesn’t matter. It’s so good. A lot of great gags in this one, especially involving Tim Curry and the hotel staff. These two movies are glorious and they’re absolutely perfect in every way.

The Last of the Mohicans — Michael Mann’s great adaptation of the novel. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Hawkeye, and it’s just a tremendous movies. Everyone loves this movie, because it’s great. Not really anyone’s favorite Mann movie, but it’s a great movie and still holds up. Definitely the best adaptation of the novel. That’s for sure.

Malcolm X — Spike Lee’s magnum opus, in a way. Do the Right Thing is still his best movie, and while I love 25th Hour and BlacKkKlansman, this is the other of his movies that’s the most important. It’s a biopic of one of the most important figures of the 20th century, and features one of Denzel’s greatest performances. It’s a bit overlong and a bit indulgent, but it’s fantastic and arguably no one but Spike could have made this movie. A must-see for all.

Newsies — Great musical starring a young Christian Bale about the newsboy strike of 1899. Which is just amazing. That they made a musical about a newsboy strike at the turn of the century. Directed by Kenny Ortega, who would direct Hocus Pocus right after this and directs a lot of those musicals (like High School Musical), it’s just a fantastic movie. Who doesn’t love Newsies?

The Player — Robert Altman’s great satire of Hollywood with the iconic opening tracking shot. It’s incredible. Everyone needs to see this movie. The plot: a studio executive keeps getting death threats from a writer whose script he rejected. Problem is, he doesn’t know which one. It’s so good. The cast is insane, and the real star of the picture is Robert Altman, who directs the hell out of it. It’s one of his best movies.

Sneakers — This might be the most overlooked movie of the 90s. I saw this for the first time after college and loved it. To the point where I was shocked I hadn’t seen it or heard about it before. It’s directed by Phil Alden Robinson, director of Field of Dreams. Stars Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Stephen Tobolowsky and Donal Logue. Redford is the leader of a group of hackers who test the security systems of companies to make sure they can’t be infiltrated. But then the government comes in and forces him to take a job stealing something. And all sorts of stuff ensues. It’s really good. It’s got that Ocean’s Eleven kind of vibe. It’s a spy movie, but it’s fun, and it’s got people you like playing characters you like. Truly, if this year weren’t as strong as it is, this would be a top ten movie. I love this and I cannot recommend this movie any more highly. THE hidden gem of the 90s.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tier two:

  • Alien³
  • Bad Lieutenant
  • Basic Instinct
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Death Becomes Her
  • The Distinguished Gentleman
  • El Mariachi
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest
  • Hoffa
  • Lethal Weapon 3
  • Lorenzo’s Oil
  • The Mighty Ducks
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Passion Fish
  • Porco Rosso
  • A River Runs Through It
  • Shakes the Clown
  • Sister Act
  • Under Siege
  • White Men Can’t Jump

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is Francis Ford Coppola doing Dracula. I’m amazed that, even with him in his filmmaker for hire years, he still put every ounce of artistic credibility into the stuff he made. It was never just a straight movie with him. Well, most of the time. He always did something you were not expecting with the material. This movie… I’m not sure if it’s any good (not as good as those accents, right?), but it’s fucking fascinating. The set designs and the costumes are gorgeous, and Gary Oldman delivers a really committed performance. It’s definitely overdone, I’ll give it that. But if you’re gonna make a Dracula movie, you might as well overdo it, right? Otherwise what’s the point? Passion Fish is a John Sayles movie starring Mary McDonnell. I only know it exists because she was nominated for Best Actress for it (and in a year like this, I feel like she should have won). It’s almost impossible to find now. She plays an actress who becomes a quadriplegic. So it’s one of those movies… at first she gives up, and is bitter, then the stubborn nurse comes along and makes her stop feeling so sorry for herself, and then she finds love.. it’s not something you haven’t seen before. But it’s a solid movie, and McDonnell is really good in it. And if you’ve seen other Sayles movies, you know that he makes quiet, character dramas that are all really well done. Hoffa is a Danny DeVito-directed biopic of Jimmy Hoffa starring Jack Nicholson. And written by David Mamet. It’s a solid movie. One of Nicholson’s more subdued roles, but he’s solid in it. And it’s a good movie.

Under Siege is Die Hard on a submarine. Starring Steven Seagal. It might be the best of his movies. It’s really good. He’s the cook and the submarine gets taken over by terrorists, and he’s gotta stop them. It’s fun as shit and one of the better action movies of the 90s. Also one of the better “Die Hard on/in a…” movies. Porco Rosso is Miyazaki. A pilot is cursed to look like a pig. And he works as a flying ace, chasing down air pirates. It’s fun. All Miyazaki movies are great. I will confess to this being my least favorite of his (outside of his first film, done in the pre-Ghibli era), but it’s still a wonderful movie. Never turn down a Miyazaki movie. Lorenzo’s Oil is a solid, Hollywood-ized version of a true story. Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon’s son develops a condition so rare that no one’s even bothering to try to cure it. They don’t want to lose their son, so they set out to find a cure themselves. You know how it’s gonna go. It’s well done. One of those movies everyone thinks is solid and some people think is overdramatic. You know what you’re getting going in. (Also directed by George Miller, who certainly tried all sorts of different genres when he wasn’t Mad Max’ing it. White Men Can’t Jump is a classic. Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes. Woody can ball, man. And Rosie Perez knows her Jeopardy. This is Ron Shelton, too, who did Bull Durham and Tin Cup. For a while, he was dialed in with the sports movie.

FernGully… oh yeah, FernGully. One of those movies I watched a shit ton of when I was 4. Simple premise: forest untouched by civilization encounters people who wanna come in and cut down the trees and pollute it. Then there’s a romance between a human and a fairy, Robin Williams voices a bat, but is basically doing Genie again (which is kinda like how Eddie Murphy did the Donkey voice in Mulan first, but no one seemed to mind). This is one of those movies that had decidedly adult themes that I just couldn’t comprehend as a child, and it was dark in places, to the point where certain moments scared the shit out of me. Hexxus, man? That shit was scary. That’s like that fucking magnet in Brave Little Toaster. This is one of those movies… could you show it to a child today? Would they even care? I don’t know. But I love it, and that’s all that matters. A River Runs Through It is one of those “outdoor” films of the 90s. I don’t know how else to say it. But the 90s are full of movies like this. All dealing with the progression of a character from youth to old age, all with gorgeous cinematography and a luscious score.. and somehow probably starring Brad Pitt (Legends of the Fall, Seven Years in Tibet…). It’s a story of two sons living in rural Montana. One is the academic, one is the wild one. That’s it. We follow them from youth forward. Directed by Robert Redford, who narrates it. It looks gorgeous, and it’s a really solid film.

Sister Act is just an utterly delightful film. I feel like just about everyone around my age grew up with this movie and just has an affinity for it. It’s an old school kind of plot, the kind you’d have seen in the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s straight out of Some Like It Hot — a showgirl witnesses a mob murder and is sent into witness protection… as a nun. And she, with her unconventional ways, starts a choir and butts heads with the stern Mother Superior. It’s actually like Ball of Fire, the Billy Wilder movie, where the showgirl goes to stay with professors who are putting together an encyclopedia. It’s just fun. Bad Lieutenant, meanwhile, is not a wholly dissimilar film from Sister Act. As far as double features go… they do both have scenes in churches. This is the original… at this point I hear Bad Lieutenant and I think batshit Nicolas Cage, because I love that movie. This is batshit Harvey Keitel. You know you’re getting a fucked up movie when the poster is him standing there, fully nude. Also, the plot is about him investigating the rape of a nun. So there’s that too. The Muppet Christmas Carol is pretty self-explanatory. Michael Caine is Scrooge, and it’s just a delight of a film. How can you ever go wrong with a muppet movie? Lethal Weapon 3 is the third one. More ridiculous, but just as fun. Joe Pesci comes back as the official sidekick of the guys. The plot.. I don’t even remember which plot this is. Guns? Diamonds? One of those. Doesn’t matter. You’re here for the buddy cop dynamic. You know what you’re getting. Death Becomes Her is a dark and fucked up comedy. And it’s awesome. Robert Zemeckis directs. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn play rivals… they hate each other. Meryl steals Hawn’s fiancé, Bruce Willis… they’re constantly at it. They discover a youth potion that helps restore their beauty and keeps them looking young. Though, since they’re rivals, things start to get… fucked up. It’s like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane but with a sci-fi comedy twist. It’s fun as hell.

Shakes the Clown is the “Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.” That according to Martin Scorsese. Okay, well technically it was from a reviewer, but he referenced it. Which is good enough. It’s Bobcat Goldthwait, and if you’ve seen his movies, you know it’s fucking nuts. It’s literally about a depressed, alcoholic party clown. There’s nothing I can say about this movie that hasn’t already been covered by that synopsis. Basic Instinct is famous for one particular scene… the interrogation scene, where Sharon Stone uncrosses her legs to reveal she’s not wearing any underwear. Outside of that, most people really don’t remember anything else about the plot. That scene alone does tell you that it’s an erotic thriller, so that helps. But other than that, could you tell me what it’s about? The best I could normally do without a refresher is — Michael Douglas is investigating whether or not she killed someone. And he starts sleeping with her. The wrinkle is that she’s a novelist, and the murder bears a similarity to her new novel. It was written by Joe Eszterhas, who also gave us Flashdance, Jagged Edge and Showgirls, which should tell you everything you need to know. And directed by Paul Verhoeven too, coming off Total Recall. Which is pretty on brand for him… erotic thriller or satirical sci fi. The Distinguished Gentleman is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with Eddie Murphy. That’s everything you need to know about it. It’s fun.

El Mariachi is one of the major independent films of the 90s. When you get to the films that spearheaded the independent movement, the top five has to include Sex, Lies and Videotape, Slacker, this and Clerks. Maybe Reservoir Dogs is five? Pulp Fiction feels too late, but also, that too. Rodriguez made it on like, $7,000, and made a career for himself from it. He basically remade it as Desperado, but this as a product is really well done. When you consider what he made it for, it’s a terrific achievement. And it’s an important film, historically. Alien³ is the David Fincher Alien. The one that is generally despised within the community of people who love that universe, since it literally undoes everything that Aliens did in the opening credits, but aside from that… it’s a good movie. I don’t really care about the mythology so much as I want a good movie, and a good movie is what they made. It’s Fincher’s weakest film, but it’s also his first movie and a film that doesn’t feel like it’s his movie. Still a fun piece of entertainment. The Mighty Ducks is a classic. One of the great sports films of my youth. Emilio Estevez has to coach a youth hockey team as part of his probation. It’s great. This is one of those films that epitomizes the 90s. This honestly, if it were made 6 years after this, would have been a Disney Channel original movie. That’s how 90s it is.

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