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Dec 17, 2009

Fletch's Favored Five: 1991 in film

Now, the second in a continuing series in which I count down my favorites from a particular year in film.

I'm going to use my friend Wikipedia to kickstart my brain, year by year, and I'll throw out a Favored Five here and there. If you want to refresh your memory in a similar fashion, just go to Wiki and type "[four-character year] in film." Here's the one for 1991. I won't pretend that Wiki is the end-all, be-all of filmic knowledge or that these yearly lists are 100% accurate, but they're an excellent place to start and a great resource.

I was 14 years old for most of this year. As such, many of my favorites from this year are appropriately...juvenile (immature?). Still, having a look back at the movies of 1991 makes one thing abundantly clear: this was a pretty crappy year for cinema. It's no surprise that The Silence of the Lambs dominated so heavily at the Oscars (it won 5 of the 7 "major" awards) - it's competition was Bugsy, Beauty and the Beast, The Prince of Tides, and JFK, all movies that may be loved by some, but won't be making any canons any time soon (note: Beauty is amongst the notables I have not seen; see below).

Notable movies not yet seen:
Beauty and the Beast
Boyz N the Hood
La Femme Nikita
Jungle Fever

Honorable Mentions
Barton Fink
City Slickers
The Fisher King
The Addams Family
The Silence of the Lambs

5. Lionheart - Stop judging me - this is a list of favorites, not necessarily the best of the bunch, alright? And while I'm at it, read that sentence again when you get to the next choice. Lionheart may not be my favorite JCVD flick, but it's a load of fun, complete with Bizarro Troy Aikman, an Andre the Giant stand-in, many attempts at "acting" by Jean-Claude, and the immortal screams of Harrison Paige (spotlighted/interviewed on this fun podcast over at natsukashi): "That dude's gonna kill yo ass, man!!" (U.S release date was in January of '91.)

4. Hudson Hawk - Yes, Hudson Hawk. Universally panned, even by me, at the time of its release. Yet I came to love the Hawk; it's campy, it's got David Caruso playing a mute (oh, the irony, and yes that was him in the Just Because post a couple days back), James Coburn playing a nasty, Frank Stallone, Richard Grant and Sandra Bernhard playing one of the most perverse couples you've seen onscreen, show tunes, bad jokes, cat burglars, and of course, Leonardo DaVinci. A phenomenal bomb, but one that's a hell of a lot of fun if you just let yourself go. It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of Last Action Hero as well - a failure in a similar vein with many of the same strengths. Maybe I ought to see The Love Guru after all...

3. Defending Your Life - This movie gets better with every viewing, and god bless HBO for airing it pretty frequently. It didn't earn a ton upon its release - just $16 million - but I'd venture that it would make the Top 5 or 10 of this year for many people these days. Brooks is at his neurotic best, Streep is Streep, loads of gags and great writing (the Past Lives Pavilion being the best, of course) and Rip Torn steals every scene he's in, all the more impressive because that's a lot of them.

2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day - No brainer. Probably makes the top spot of just about every person's list that doesn't have Lambs on top. But as great as it is, I just don't/can't love it as much as...

1. Point Break - Yes, in case you aren't aware, I absolutely, positively, unironically love this film. It is not a guilty pleasure - it's a damn fine action film, certainly one of the best of the last 25 years (odd then that T2 came out in the same year, as it's another one of 'em). Reeves is perfectly cast, Swayze dominates in the role of his lifetime, Busey...well, what can you say about him. Throw in some great character actors (Tom Sizemore, James LeGros, John C. McGinley), an amazing chase sequence (on foot no less!), some unexpected nudity, and a Chili Pepper, and you get one of my all-time favorite films.

21 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: 1991 in film"

Aiden R. said...

Dude, you gotta see La Femme Nikita. Not as good as T2, but might just be the best thing Besson has ever done for the world. Good call on Point Break all the same. Swayze would be proud.

Tom Clift said...

I was born in 1991 :P

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

I almost gave up on you when you had Hudson Hawk in your top 5. But then you go and name Point Break #1 and totally redeem yourself.

Nick said...

I disagree with Aiden on La Femme Nikita. It's good, but it's certainly not Besson's best. I think that goes to Leon (director's cut of The Professional). I also quite enjoy Angel-A and Wasabi.

Also, Fletch, how could you not have seen Beauty and the Beast? That's damn near sacrilege. Beauty and the Beast is a great film.

Fletch said...

Aiden - I hear ya. I wouldn't mind seeing it, either, though I do feel like I more or less already know the story, what with the remake (which I didn't see either) and the TV show. Even without watching any of them, they've been ubiquitous enough that I feel like I get the gist.

Tom - Haha. Perhaps I'll do one for my birth year (1976) one of these days...it'll have to be a Top 2, probably. ;)

JSR - ;P Dumb and Dumber references are always welcome. It's been too long since I've watched Point Break from start to finish, too...

Nick - to be fair, I haven't seen a ton of Besson...but outside of Leon, I haven't exactly loved what I've seen. I do need to see Angel-A as well, though. Either way, I'm assuming most people would agree with you that Leon is the best of his flicks.

How could I not seen B & the B? Well, I was a 14-year old boy when it came out...just about the opposite of its target demographic. It's already a famous story, and on top of that, the Linda Hamilton-Ron Perlman show of the same name had been on TV jsut a few years earlier. I guess I never felt a need to see it, despite the accolades, and it's never terribly appealed to me.

On the same note, I've never seen The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Hercules...

Nick said...

I think I just had a mental spasm when you said you'd never seen The Little Mermaid.

These are Disney classics, man.

Though, to be fair, I've never seen the original animated Sleeping Beauty. But still...

Mrs Fletch said...

And you get on me for not seeing Lion King? Hmmph

Fletch said...

Don't feel bad, Nick...neither have I.

C'mon, those are all of the "girl" animated flicks. Never had any interest in any of them...

The Lion King, however, was hailed as the best of the Disney flicks, at least up until Pixar came to town. And Mrs. Fletch, you love animals like mad - it seems only natural that you would see The Lion King.

Fletch said...

Oh, and if I recall correctly, TLK was the biggest hit of any of the Disney flicks. EVERYONE saw it...multiple times.

Daniel Getahun said...

Love this idea! Of your not-seen notables, I would say Boyz n tha Hood and Jungle Fever are both extremely important films, though neither would seem so if seen for the first time today. Boyz basically created the contemporary gang movie and JF was a huge film for Spike Lee.

Anyway, looking at the list I'd say these are my favorites based on rewatchability alone:

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Boyz n tha Hood
Point Break
Cape Fear
Fried Green Tomatoes
Toy Soldiers (you really have to see it and pretend you're that age)

Also have to give some love to The Rocketeer, Grand Canyon, Father of the Bride and Backdraft.

Nick said...

Pfft, Fletch... be comfortable with your sexuality and watch The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I wouldn't say BatB is a 'girl' cartoon, either. It's romance, sure, but I wouldn't say it's one of the girly ones (I'll give you Little Mermaid, though).

Fletch said...

Daniel - RE Boyz and Jungle Fever, I agree - it seems as though the boat has sailed on those and I can't say that I'm all that interested in them anymore, outside of from perhaps a historical context.

Nice to see Robin Hood on there. Yeah, Costner's accent is nonexistant, but it's a damn rewatchable flick, with a good, deep cast and Rickman portraying a villain that's almost (but not quite) as good as Hans Gruber.

Still haven't seen Toy Soldiers, either. Or for that matter, any of your "alsos" outside of Grand Canyon.

Nick - I'm fully comfortable; I'll gladly see Milk or Brokeback or any number of gay-themed flicks, but I'm just not interested in princess movies, by and large.

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

TLK was the only the most Successful Disney flick of recent movies. If you have a chance check out a list of inflation adjusted box office totals. Alot of Old school Disney flicks in the top 100.

Buffett35 said...

Damn dude, you really need to stop seeing all these crappy new movies and catch up on some old ones. I could care less about the Disney ones, but Boyz n tha Hood and Toy Soldiers are both very entertaining and rewatchable, even today. If nothing else, you would enjoy picking out all the FF-UN's in the large supporting casts. They're both on TV all the damn time too.

Fletch said...

Jacks - indeed, I have seen the adjusted b.o. list (I could get started on a rant about how that list should be the only one used, but I'll refrain). Luckily, I think I've seen most of the classics, Sleeping Beauty notwithstanding.

Chris - By seeing so many newer movies, I'll have that many fewer that I've missed out on in the future. ;)

Don't worry - there are many 'classics' from the 80s and 90s that I would like to and will eventually see...but I ain't gonna do it via TNT or TBS. Aside from having a shit ton of commercials, I can't stand seeing edited versions. One day when I join Netflix this will all be fixed, though HBO/DVR feeds me plenty of flicks we missed out on. Good point on the FF-UNs, though.

Reel Whore said...

Yay for Hudson Hawk! I'm also a fan of it's insane cheesiness as I have mentioned many times before.

I'd sub out Showdown in Little Tokyo for Lionheart. Brandon Lee & Dolph Lundgren trump JCVD, at least in 1991.

You know my feelings on Point Break. My #1 would have to be Silence of the Lambs. Ted Levine rocks.

Fletch said...

Wayne - I've either not seen or don't recall Showdown in Little Tokyo. I thought I had seen all of Brandon Lee's flicks, though, so I'm confused. I even saw the laundry one. That said, I disagree - JCVD in 1991 trumps them both combined.

Reel Whore said...

Oh dear, never heard of Showdown in Little Tokyo?! Brandon Lee has some of the best "worst lines" ever. Hearing him compliment Dolph on his large member has to be my favorite. Plus Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays baddie numero uno. It's a win-win all around.

Wasn't Double Impact in 1991? The movie about twins separated at birth and raised in Paris & Hong Kong, yet somehow both managed to retain their Belgian accents?

Fletch said...

I looked Showdown up on Wiki and the poster certainly seems familiar. There's a decent chance that I've seen bits and pieces (if not the whole thing), but I can't say that I remember a damn thing. Awesome bad movie cast, huh? Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is a stud - I love that guy so much, it's just hard to decide on my favorite role of his: in Rising Sun or Mortal Kombat?

Yea, Double Impact was 1991. It came thisclose to making this list. Very enjoyably bad, and it has both Geoffrey Lewis (great character actor, and I just read that he is Juliette Lewis' father - OMG!!) and Mr. Chong Li himself, Bolo Yeung.

Reel Whore said...

I love Geoffrey Lewis - Every Which Way But Loose. Never realized he was Juliette Lewis's pops.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is my dude. I don't even know what I loved him best in.

Fletch said...

RW - my latest post is just for you (and me).