Posted: 01/09/2000

 

D. Patrick Seitz’s “Best and Worst” of the ’90s

by D. Patrick Seitz




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There are plenty of movies that should be on my lists—films that are arguably better and worse than those I picked. However, just keep in mind that, at the beginning of the decade in question, this reviewer was eleven years old. I didn’t come into my movie-viewing own until a few years ago, and I avoided the temptation of including films on the list which I haven’t seen. Regardless, I’m sure that I’ve overlooked plenty of gems and stinkers in the process of compiling these lists. Mea culpa, all.

The 10 Best Films Of The 1990’s
Unforgiven (1992)—Four Oscar wins, another five nominations, and easily my favorite Clint Eastwood film. I really dig the fact that the main players in the picture are growing and/or have grown too old to keep up with the violent ways of their youth, but they don’t seem to have any viable alternative.

Schindler’s List (1993)—Need I even defend or explain this choice? I think not.

The Professional (1994)—For some reason, Luc Besson’s understated film with Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman really got under my skin, prompting me to rent it about half a dozen times. Portman’s best performance, and she was nothing but elbows and kneecaps at the time.

The Usual Suspects (1995)—This is such a fine ensemble piece. Spacey certainly deserved his Supporting Actor Oscar, but that’s not to suggest that Gabriel Byrne, Benecio Del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite, Kevin Pollack, Chazz Palminteri, and Stephen Baldwin didn’t do damn fine work, too. Christopher McQuarrie nabbed an Oscar for the screenplay, and rightly so.

The Game (1997)—This is one I saw only recently, but I was chortling with glee by the end of it. If you’ve seen it, you know why. If not, rent it, grab some popcorn, and make an evening out of it.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)—Dan Aykroyd, Minnie Driver, and everybody?s favorite John/Joan pair of siblings. What could be better? High Fidelity gave it a run for its money, but Grosse Pointe Blank is still my favorite John Cusack film.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)—Like Schindler’s List, this choice needs neither explaining nor defending. I especially liked the scene depicting the taking of the beach. For my generation, wars involving any real sacrifice or bloodshed are just words and numbers in a book. As disturbing as it was to watch, I think the sight of such wholesale carnage really hammered home the significance of what our grandfathers and great-grandfathers went through in the name of patriotism.

American Beauty (1999)—You know why!

The Blair Witch Project (1999)—Yeah, so it was cheap, jerky, and elliptical. It also pulled in a profit many, many thousands of times the amount it cost to make it. Even if you absolutely hated it (and, looking at my fellow reviewers? lists, that does seem to be the common consensus), give it credit for cashing in off of such a minimal investment. Personally, I thought it was creepy as hell—much more so than The Haunting, which bombed in part because it felt obliged to show the audience everything.

Ravenous (1999)—This is another film that is none too popular with the Filmmonthly.com crowd. Between this and The Blair Witch Project, I’m sure everybody will take my future reviews with a grain of salt. I can’t help it! I loved this movie. The premise, the acting, the creepy/kooky soundtrack! I even overlooked the presence of David (Cox!) Arquette, and that ain’t easy. That squinty little crackbaby bugs me but fierce!

Runners-Up:
Pacific Heights (1990)
Hook (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Addams Family (1991)
Map of the Human Heart (1992)
Stargate (1994)
Swimming With Sharks (1994)
Strange Days (1995)
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)
Hackers (1995)
Se7en (1995)
Lost Highway (1996)
Cop Land (1997)
Face/Off (1997)
In & Out (1997)
Kiss the Girls (1997)

The 10 Worst Films Of The 1990s:
It’s bad enough that I wasted irretrievable hours of my life watching these films. To waste additional time now to vilify them would be pointless and counterproductive. Suffice it to say that they all sucked, many of them sucking despite the involvement of actors and actresses who should have had enough sense to leave these projects along.

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994)
Cutthroat Island (1995)
The Chamber (1996)
Batman and Robin (1997)
The Avengers (1998)
Fallen (1998)
Wild Wild West (1999)
Chill Factor (1999)

D. Patrick Seitz is a Los Angeles-based actor and voiceover artist.



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