With the 1990’s we saw CGI advancements kick in , independent studios become common, Disney be at their pinnacle, and the creation of the DVD. Welcome to samuelwilliscroft.wordpress.com, and today we’re going to be reviewing through the best movies of the millennium finale. By that we mean the Top 10 Movies of the 1990’s, plus this time some honourable mentions, and dishonourable mentions too. If this blog doesn’t satisfy you, be sure to check out our Top 10 Movies of the 2000s. Also, just be clear, we’re not saying these are our favourite films of the decade, but they’re ranked on critical acclaim, success, effect the film has on the viewer, its place in the art of movie-making, quotes, presentation and its scores on the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes.
Develop a life-time friendship in prison as we bet our life on Arnold Schwarzenegger, show you the money, place the lotion in the basket and become the king of the world. Note: The stars next to the movie title indicate our judgement on the quality of the movie, represented by how many stars we give the movie out of 5. But the list isn’t judged by how many stars it gets, though.
Just one more thing before we get started: every movie blog we do will be counting down the best films of each decade up until the 1920s, although sometimes we’ll be having other, different movie blogs before we do our next Top 10 Movies of Each Decade List. And after our 1920’s blog, be sure to check out our Top 10 Movies Of All Time Blog. Links to buy the movie will be displayed at the end of each part, as well as a Common Sense Media review link after every part to help you decide whether the product is appropriate. Warning: Mild Spoiler Alert.
Start the countdown below:
10. Fight Club (1999) ****
Directed by: David Fincher
Stars: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt.
Fight Club wasn’t considered great upon release, but, later reconsideration helped it gain a cult-following, that made it one of the most influential movies ever made. With one of the most shocking twists in cinematic history, and a narration that keeps on spinning out of control, Fight Club is very unique, giving the viewer an unsettling but engaging experience from a twisted point of view, which showcases Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in two of their most iconic roles.
In this legendary blockbuster classic, Norton plays an unnamed narrator, a dysfunctional insomniac who is harrowed by many issues that disturb his life, and he soon becomes companion to the easy-going Tyler Durden. However, he then regrets it, after Tyler Durden turns his life into a living nightmare, with violence, corruption and terrorism at the core, and Durden soon becomes an uncontrollable, barbaric, violent, homicidal maniac, who has spun our struggling narrator into a web of deceit and murder. However, as much as Norton thinks he can get away from Durden’s sickening, brutal lifestyle- or life for that matter, he can’t. That’s because (in one of cinema’s most unexpected and outrageous movie twists ever) he has developed a split-personality, and that split personality is Tyler Durden, so Norton cannot stop the savage rule Tyler has over his life.
Although this plagues Norton throughout the movie’s run-time, he is still desperate to get out of Tyler’s obsessive rampage, and, this makes his life a brutal misery as a consequence. Filled with brilliant cinematography, and disturbing quotable lines, Fight Club is a gripping and perceptive view into a vicious, split-personality life, which stays distinctive with its name even by today’s standards. It may not have earned any Oscars, but this ambitious crime-drama remains a masterwork of critically-acclaimed director David Fincher, that is even more remarkable than Norton’s previous personality disorder drama Primal Fear.
Buy Fight Club (1999) here, from Amazon, rated 18.
And read Common Sense Media’s Review about Fight Club.
9. The Matrix (1999) *****
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Larry (Lana) Wachowski.
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving.
Take what you did with 1984’s science fiction/action classic The Terminator and go even further. Double it’s awesome nature by two, triple its mind-bending visuals, and thicken its plot. Do that, and you have The Matrix. Still stunning generations today, we adventure through the world of The Matrix, as Thomas A Anderson, i.e. ”Neo”, discovers his purpose in the world, and learns the hidden meaning of life and what the Matrix actually is. In the ”real” world, Neo is an illegal, elite computer hacker, who illegitimately hacks into computers to steal information, under the code name ”Neo”, which, unknown to Neo, is an anagram for One, which means his purpose in the Matrix. After giving us one of the most brilliantly crafted and expertly executed opening scenes in cinematic history, we see Neo, after a night obviously hacking into computers. He gets a message telling him to wake up, and ironically, he does exactly that. The computer reads:
The Matrix Needs You.
Then-Follow the White Rabbit.
Neo stares in disbelief, and tries to exit the screen, but he can’t.
Then, the screen reads Knock, Knock and his friends call him at the door, whilst the computer turns off.
When his friends appear at the door, he notices a white rabbit tattoo on one of their shoulders, and this leads him to a night-club, where he discovers his role in The Matrix. After a string of odd dreams/nightmares which have a befuddling distinguish between real and dream, The Matrix jumps into its philosophical sci-fi action trademark, and, it became one of the most acclaimed science fiction films ever made, influencing films like Inception in the future. As Neo, played by Keanu Reeves in what his considered his most influential and credited role, discovers The Matrix, he also has to defeat the reprobate good guy gone bad Agent Smith, whose goal is to break free of The Matrix. Played by Red Skull actor Hugo Weaving, we get a quintessential movie villain that has become one of the most classic movie villains in cinematic history. Considered by many to be one of the best science fiction films ever made, and the best action films ever made for the matter, The Matrix is a cinematic masterpiece that became The Wachowski’s most influential and significant movies, garnering all the Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Visual Effects. Utilizing the influence of previous sci-fi classics such as Blade Runner and Star Wars, The Matrix has become universally acclaimed, and has been ranked as the #19 best film in the world from IMDB, and has an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes. (That’s really good.)
With a reputation for being one of the most influential shoot-em up’s and science fiction movies, The Matrix is still remembered today, and its unique style, intricate detail in its plot, cheesy humour and explosive action make sure it won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Buy The Matrix (1999) here from Amazon. (Rated 15).
Watch The Matrix- Opening sequence Part 1 here. Warning : Contains strong language.
Watch Part 2 here.
Watch The Matrix- Interrogation- here. Warning: May be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch The Matrix- Blue Pill or The Red Pill- here.
Watch The Matrix- Definition of Real- here.
Watch The Matrix- Virtual Combat- here. Warning: Contains Fantasy Violence.
Watch The Matrix- Lobby Fight-here. Warning: Contains Fantasy Violence.
Watch The Matrix- Bullet Time From the Roof- here.
Watch The Matrix- Subway Standoff- here. Warning: Contains Fantasy Violence, a Brief Sight of Blood and One Use of Strong Language.
And Read Common Sense Media’s Review about The Matrix.
8. Saving Private Ryan (1998) ****
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon.
After creating and directing one of the most uplifting, realistic and most brilliant war films ever made in 1993, with Schindler’s List, fans didn’t think that director Steven Spielberg (Director of other films such as Jaws, the Indiana Jones franchise, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial) would create another war film that would almost surpass the success of Schindler’s List. But, with Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg proved that coming out of his popular cheesy comedy epitome for Schindler’s List wasn’t just a one-off, and that he could experiment with a wide variety of genres to appease critics and fans, whilst winning the Best Director Oscar once again for Spielberg, as well as four other Oscars to add to the film’s success. With mesmerising, tense and breath-taking cinematography, combined with its carefully chosen cast (including Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Vin Diesel) and suspenseful, subtle dialogue, the film is an emotional pleasure to anyone who watches it, and, dedicated war fans won’t be let down.
Beautifully capturing the brutality of war by placing its bloody consequences of the main protagonists, Saving Private Ryan follows a multitude of soldiers storming Normandy in World War II. Whilst not being at the direct beginning of the film, the film has one of the most compelling and violent movie openings in cinematic history, that has yet to be challenged- it’s famous 25 minute long D-Day Invasion scene, on June 6th 1944. Whilst fleeing the heartless battle with the enemy, they must also rescue deserted soldier James Ryan, who is missing, and has to be reunited with his family as his brothers have been horribly killed in battle. Whilst it may seem as a typical war film, it actually skilfully uses deep characterisation to entertain the viewer, whilst also moving the viewer to tears by its realism, violence and madness, in a way few war films have managed to depict so well before or since (for example – Platoon, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Apocalypse Now.). With electrifying, spell-binding performances that can captivate the viewer, combined with one of the best snipers and movie soldiers in history, this brutal and gritty Oscar-Winning film doesn’t fail to disappoint.
Buy Saving Private Ryan (1998) here from Amazon. Rated 15.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- D-Day Invasion – here. Warning: Contains Mild Bloody Violence and Emotional Distress.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- Capture the Sniper- here. Warning: Contains Emotional Distress and Brief Holocaust Horror.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- Recall the Redemption- here.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- Stuck With Private Ryan- here.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- The Story of Private Jackson- here. Warning: Contains Emotional Distress and Depictions of Wartime Trauma.
Watch Saving Private Ryan- The Last Stand of Mr. Miller –here. Warning: Contains Depictions of Wartime Trauma.
And, read Common Sense Media’s review about Saving Private Ryan.
7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) *****
Directed by: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong.
In 1984, James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Titanic, Avatar, True Lies) was down on his luck, after the poorly received Piranha 2: The Spawning proved to be a major blow to his career, even with it being at the beginning of his career. After this major flop tarnished any hopes he had of being an influential movie director, he had an idea that would not only bring him international fame, but also revolutionise his career and science-fiction forever. And that idea was 1984’s classic sci-fi hit The Terminator. The film was set in a dystopian future where the humans are in a war with the machines, after one machine was handed a nuclear arsenal and decided to take over. In the first Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the infamous T-800 Terminator, sent back in time to kill a waitress called Sarah Connor, whose son, when born, would be the resistance leader to save the fighters through the war with the machines. Coining the famous catchphrase ‘I’ll be Back’, starring Schwarzenegger in arguably his most iconic role and featuring the epitome of science-fiction movie villains (excluding Darth Vader), The Terminator was thought to be unsurpassable, and nobody expected the sequel that would forever change science-fiction in a bigger way than its predecessor did, whilst being one of the most widely regarded films of the decade.
Terminator 2, set in 1995, about 11 years after the first Terminator, centres on John Connor, 10 years old, and, with the assumption that (after the first movie) his is mother is a psychopath. However, just after we thought that everything was back to normal, along came an even more destructive force of artificial evil called the T-1000, a nanomorphic mimetic poly-alloy, who, whilst being less strong than the former cyborg sent from the future, is even more menacing and terrifying, giving us the nightmarish unwavering death stare that scarred us for life. After the mission from 11 years earlier had failed, the T-1000 had been sent back to kill John Connor himself, as he was more advanced due to having the ability to sample, and therefore blend in to his surroundings. Sent to protect John Connor was the T-800, a cyborg identical to the original mechanical time-travelling villain- only this time, it’s to stop the T-800’s murderous streak and to protect the world, and John Connor. As John Connor realises his place in the world, the movie toys with our emotions, alongside a heart-warming father-son like connection between the T-800 and John Connor.
Being renowned as one of the most action-packed and beloved sequels ever made, T2 gives us a story that obeys the rule of the original film, whilst being much darker, scarier and heart-warming in tone, that got it right with critics and fans, making it Cameron’s highest grossing movie at that time, that nabbed 3 Oscars, including Best Visual Effects. With inner-woven plot-lines, action and time-travel, T-2 is pure science-fiction magic, and, if you don’t watch it, you’ll regret it.
Buy Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) from Amazon here. Rated 15.
Watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day- Come With Me If You Want To Live- here. Warning: Contains Violence and Strong Language.
Watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day- Hasta La Vista Baby- here.
And read Common Sense Media’s review about Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
6. Forrest Gump (1994) *****
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright Penn.
You wouldn’t think that the seemingly ordinary man sitting next to you on the bus had witnessed nearly every major historical event in the last half of the last century of the 1st millennium (such as the Vietnam War and the Desegregation of Alabama University), and was also a millionaire, Ping-Pong champion, football champion and athletics legend, whilst holding awards like the Congressional Medal of Honour under his belt. Well that’s exactly Forrest Gump.
As the optimistic Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-Winning Performance) narrates the story of his life to the people sitting next to him and us, we get a hopeful view of how Forrest Gump (who has a heart of Gold) sees the world around him, and not only is his story a brilliantly uplifting one, showing that anyone can achieve anything, it is also box office magic, too, with a whopping total of $329, 694, 499. Nabbing six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (making Tom Hanks the first actor to win consecutive Best Actor Oscars since Spencer Tracy (the last Best Actor was for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia)), Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Visual Effects, it also managed to create some of the most quotable phrases in cinematic history, such as ‘life is like a box of chocolates’, and the ever used ‘Run Forrest Run’, whilst giving us some of Mrs. Gump’s useful life lessons to learn and use. And, whilst the movie’s message has been described by some as very obscure, the films 2hours and 22 minutes run time is enough to bring anyone to tears.
However, what makes the film so brilliant is the innocent nature of our protagonist, and the fact that his one true love, Jenny Curran, who seems to be the only thing he has left in his life after his mum’s death, continues to evade him, leaving him alone. Not only that, the way that the films main stars react around one other is just brilliant, let alone entertaining. Forrest Gump has got a poor IQ, but his self-built intelligence is just cinematic charm for the viewer, and he makes the most of his life, through his unique talent and small time/big time life events. Being one of the most uplifting films ever made, this film doesn’t fail to disappoint.
Buy Forrest Gump (1994) here from Amazon. Rated 12A.
Watch Forrest Gump- Life is like a box of Chocolates-here.
Watch Forrest Gump- ‘Run Forrest Run!’ here.
Watch Forrest Gump- Bubba dies in Vietnam –here.
And finally, Watch Forrest Gump- The Long Trek-here. Warning: Contains strong language.
And read CSM’s review of Forrest Gump.
5. Goodfellas (1990) *****
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro.
Some must might be surprised to see Martin Scorsese’s classic Mafia milestone only at mid-point on this list. Either Way, this movie is still one of the most loved, most violent and most unique films of the pre-millennium decade, and has been hailed as one of the most, if not the most influential gangster movies ever made (although no movie can surpass the success and overall greatness of Francis Ford Copolla’s significant 1970’s gangster classics, The Godfathers Part I and II.).
Adapted from Nicholas Pileggi’s novel Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family, we explore the highs and lows of the Mafia world with true-life gangster Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta in arguably his most iconic role and performance) as he goes from ”rags to riches” and works his way up the mob business, which, ultimately leads to the path of destruction, blood, insanity and corruption. Even though it doesn’t lose the excessive violence and strong language you would except from an average gangster movie, and, a Scorsese movie for that part, the movie is different in its use of complex characterisation and respect among the Mafia Family. One gangster is an unstoppable psychopath, another is calm and new to the business and the other is a man who can’t be a man-made Mafia gangster, but has a convenient, skilful experience in the mob life. Combining these varying, genuine personalities together was pure genius for Martin Scorsese, and with it, he creates some of the most enduring quotes and violent and best acted performances of all time, and, the classic but brutal movie never stops being entertainment.
In the movie, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci play two mobsters who pull off felonies larger than your typical juvenile petty crimes. Together, they become more notable figures in the gangster world, and they employ young, keen Henry Hill to help them. After we see the three gangsters driving in their car late at night, we are greeted from some strange noises coming from the car-boot- however, those noises are no ordinary noises. We see a brutally disfigured man pleading for his life in the boot, but we are unable to do anything about it. Joe Pesci violently stabs the man whilst DeNiro shoots at him, and then, the boot is shut, and Liotta proudly exclaims to the viewer-
‘As Far Back as I can Remember I always wanted to be a gangster.’
We are then given a flashback of his life, narrated by himself. Henry tells us of his early, deep attachment to the Lucchese gangster family business, which was partly due to his Half-Sicilian, Half-Brooklyn upbringing and background. Jimmy Conway (played by Robert DeNiro) helps Hill to get into the business, and also shape Henry’s career. Henry is then assigned to work with Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci in an Academy Award-Winning Performance) and then goes to jail for getting caught. However, he remains in the business, and, he describes how later in his life him and his fellow gang members concocted a scheme to rob the billions of dollars of cargo travelling through John F. Kennedy International Airport, and, the important heist ends up in over $500,000 being stolen from the Air France Cargo Terminal. The heist makes Henry more respected in the gangster world, especially respected by the head Paul Cicero, who, as a result, gives Henry a sample of the money, however, due to the fact that Henry is Half-Irish, Henry knows he cannot become a made-man (or, more simply put, a full crime member), just like his partner Jimmy.
Slowly, Conway and DeVito’s crimes become bigger, more violent and less subtle, and more strongly influenced by the criminal faith and crooked system, and slowly, Henry comes to a violent, philosophical crossroads in his life, that gives us one of the most memorable narrations and characters of all time. Scorsese hit the mark with audiences and critics alike in this classic 1990s gangster film, and Joe Pesci gives his all, in an iconic performance which landed him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. With so many plots that come together in one of the most brutal but stylish films ever made, this film is still a celebrated classic that can be enjoyed today.
Buy Goodfellas (1990) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch Goodfellas- As Far Back As I Can Remember I Always Wanted To Be A Gangster- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Threat, Violence, Blood and May Be Disturbing For Some Viewers
Watch Goodfellas- Go Home And Get Your Shine Box- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Violence, Threat and Blood.
Watch Goodfellas- Funny How-here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and Violence.
And read Common Sense Media’s Review about Goodfellas here.
4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) ****
Directed by: Jonathan Demme.
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine.
Apart from films like Psycho, The Shining and Alien, this 1991 classic might just well be the greatest horror film ever made. Although some say that the horror is just psychological thrills to play with your emotions, there are enough dark and brutal scenes to say otherwise.
New F.B.I. agent Clarice Starling is called in to catch sadistic and transsexual serial killer Bufallo Bill, who starves and skins his victims, in order to form a woman suit he can wear. To help him, she has to work with infamous psychiatrist/ cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by the super-creepy Anthony Hopkins, in arguably his most famous role and performance. You may expect Buffalo Bill to be the main psychotic antagonist in the movie, but no, it’s the muzzled, face-eating Doctor Hannibal ”The Cannibal” Lecter himself, and with him, some of the most iconic movie scenes and quotes have been produced. However, aside from the human skinning, riddles, corruption and transvestite visions in the movie that create some nail-biting tension, it’s the ultra-hair-raising conversations between Hannibal and Clarice that create the most disturbing atmosphere. Lecter’s only intensions are to help Starling, however, aside from that, Lecter is pure evil, boasting one of the most manipulative set of skills in cinematic history, and in doing so, making him one of the most compelling, thrilling and disconcerting movie villains to watch. His lack of dialogue and screen time, accompanied by his riddled messages make him one of cinemas most memorable psychopaths to embrace the big screen, and, this makes him all the more enjoyable. Combining his ingenuity with her inexperienced, easily exposed but determined personality was entertainment brilliance, and this technique doesn’t fail to disappoint.
Although controversial on release, and described by some as too brutal, The Silence of the Lambs was tremendously successful, propelling Anthony Hopkins into international fame, and, it scored the Big Five Oscar Category (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay), making it the first film to do so in 16 Years, since One flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and also, it won the first Best Picture Oscar ever to be given to a horror film. Even though its popularity has seemingly declined over-time, it is the acting, and brilliant but deep characterisation that still keeps its influence going, and, the story, which takes ordinary thriller elements such as manipulation, insanity and deceit and combines them to create a layered, terrifying film, is still as cherished by audiences today as it was upon release, and this is all capped off by an eerie but simple score.
Buy The Silence of the Lambs (1991) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch The Silence of the Lambs- I ate his Liver-here.
Watch The Silence of the Lambs- It Places The Lotion in the Basket- here. Warning: May be Disturbing for some Viewers, and Contains One use of Strong Language.
Watch The Silence of the Lambs- Pitch Black- here. Warning: May be Disturbing for some Viewers.
Watch The Silence of the Lambs- Hannibal Escapes- here. Warning: May be Disturbing for some Viewers, Contains Violence and one use of Strong Language.
Watch The Silence of the Lambs- An Old friend for Dinner- here
And read Common Sense Media’s Review of The Silence of the Lambs here.
3. Schindler’s List (1993) *****
Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley.
With so many enduring classics under his belt (such as the Indiana Jones franchise, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Saving Private Ryan and Jaws), it’s hard not to love this heart-rending but powerful Holocaust masterpiece that many have hailed Steven Spielberg’s greatest achievement in the world of cinema.
In 1993, Steven Spielberg had already made a comeback and released the influential and inventive science-fiction film Jurassic Park, which, whilst also scaring the younger kids, became the epitome for dinosaur flicks everywhere. So, just imagine the surprise and wonder when, in the last half of that same year, Spielberg released another movie that has now been praised as one of the most heart-breaking, accurate and moving war films ever made. The (almost purely Black and White) biographical masterpiece tells the story of Oskar Schindler in the Second World War, and, it executes his story of redemption and how he saved over a thousand Jews from the holocaust. Realistically portraying the violence and corruption in the Second World War, it manages to capture the effect of the historical event perfectly, and, moves us to tears, as we witness Schindler go from German businessman to war hero. Whilst the lives of the Jews he saves in this movie is an undoubtedly an unparalleled number, his life is forever ultimately changed in the process, making him one of history’s (and not to mention cinema’s) greatest heroes. With a clever script, breath-taking cinematography and realistic and simple human characterisation, it’s hard not to see why many have labelled this one of the greatest (if not the greatest) war films ever made. Furthermore, the film’s legacy can be partly credited with its classic shot of The Girl in the Red Coat, that motivates Schindler to carry out his heroic actions.
Although massively controversial, the film quickly became universally acclaimed, and, is ranked as the 7th best film ever made, according to IMDB, and, it holds a near perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes (97%). The incredibly uplifting story took home Seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score, and is considered Liam Neeson’s best performance. Combining the elements of a humanitarian transformation with the brutal and sadly everlasting story of the advance of The Third Reich makes an unforgettable, sad, classic and truly inspirational entertainment, and it still remains an endearing Hollywood icon today.
Buy Schindler’s List (1993) here from Amazon. Rated 15.
Watch Schindler’s List- That’s Oskar Schindler- here.
Watch Schindler’s List- Girl in the Red Coat- here.
Watch Schindler’s List- Hinge Pile- here. Warning: Contains One Use of Strong Language and emotional distress.
Watch Schindler’s List- The List is Life- here.
Watch Schindler’s List- He who Saves One Life Saves The World Entire- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Schindler’s List here.
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) *****
Directed by: Frank Darabont.
Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman.
There are many reasons why this Stephen King adapted Frank Darabont masterpiece is considered one of cinema’s finest achievements. Maybe it’s its unique story-telling and creativity in an otherwise dark movie. Maybe it’s Morgan Freeman’s soft, comforting narration in a gritty setting that made him one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Or maybe it’s the way the film cleverly combines inhumanitarian elements such as corruption, murder and deceit, and places them in the midst of persevering, unique and redeemed characters, to create a complex, surprising and uplifting story that you can never stop getting to love. Whatever the case, The Shawshank Redemption is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and it is only fractionally behind the classic that sits, waiting to be read, at Number One (which most cinephiles would have probably correctly guessed by now.). It wasn’t instantly successful at the box office, and garnered mix reviews, but, critics and fans eventually realised the full potential of the classic, and it was given 7 Oscar Nominations.
The plot follows protagonist Andy Dufrense to jail, after he is wrongly convicted of his wife and her lovers (who is a golf pro) murder. Even though he is not particularly welcomed on arrival, while he is in the prison for the majority of the film, his heart, good nature, and clever thinking seems to touch everybody around him, and they soon grow fond of him. He earns favour of the prison wardens, guards, the librarian and the majority of his fellow prisoners. But, he earns the most respect of one distinctly memorable inmate- Ellis Boyd ”Red” Redding, narrated and played brilliantly by Morgan Freeman- who received an Oscar Nomination for his performance. However, despite all the good-hearted friendship and wittiness of Dufrense, combined with an endless stream of hobbies (which includes chess, reading, geology and of course, the one thing that we all know he was good at- banking.), Andy has to deal with the witnessing of frequent brutality among the guards, the corruption and murder from the warden, the hypocritical state of the warden, and the forced dull, lifeless and painstakingly miserable daily life inflicted upon the inmates. Even when you consider the liveliness of the prisoners after Andy’s arrival, you cannot help but sympathise and feel pity for the surprisingly but considerably lovable and remarkable characters, who feel, and are cheated because of the corruption- especially the heart-breaking Brooks Hatlin, who is released and patrolled after spending more than fifty years in prison, but cannot get used to the new life, the life he used to have. He frequently experiences hallucinations after going to sleep, and is also unable to accept the loss of his life-long friend crow, Jake. He soon hangs himself, and this has been praised as one of the most heart-breaking deaths in cinematic history, as he discovers there might be less to the outside world than he originally thought.
Even though Andy has (supposedly) forgotten about why he was sent to the prison, he encounters Tommy Williams, a youth sent to the penitentiary for breaking and entering, and the new-comer is instantly liked in among the prisoners. Andy mentors Tommy in hope of him passing his GED, like he did with other prisoners, and both Andy and Tommy are reluctant at points. Tommy passes with a C-Plus Average. Tommy learns more about Andy from Red, and Tommy talks of another inmate that he encountered in another prison, Elmo Blatch, who confessed to killing a golf pro and his wife. He admitted to pinning the double-murder on some ”hotshot banker”, and later research found that that the situation Tommy was describing was Andy’s, and that Andy had been framed. However, when Tommy told The Warden that he was willing to contest Andy’s imprisonment, The Warden (Samuel Norton) had Williams shot, saying that he did not want Andy to be freed. However, Norton’s efforts weren’t enough to stop Andy in his daring escape from Shawshank. It turned out that Andy had been digging a large hole with a rock hammer, hidden by a poster Andy had in his cell, and had crawled through a large pile of sewage to escape, and hid out with his fake IDs he had used to prove the corruption of the prison. Andy had also spoken to Red about a large sum of money buried in a pile of rocks in the desolated but beauty-filled honeymoon suite where he had proposed to his late wife. He told him to use it if he ever got out of prison, and to get out of the country and meet him. Red does get out, and of course, his life is the redemption described in the title.
With its frequent alternating sub-plots, many quotable moments and lines, and some of the most tear-jerking performances in movie history, The Shawshank Redemption is widely considered to be one of the most influential (and best) films ever made, so it’s no wonder why it is ranked as #1 in the official IMDB Top 250 list, which is one of the most notable Best Movies of All Time lists in history, and it scores 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite a disappointing box-office reception that barely recouped its budget, it is one of history’s most perfect films.
Buy The Shawshank Redemption (1994) here from Amazon. Rated 15.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- The Man Who Can Get Things- here.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- First Night- here.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- The Marriage of Figaro Duettino- here. Contains One Use of Fowl Language.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- Institutionalised- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- Brooks’ Death- here. Warning: May be Emotionally Upsetting for Some Viewers and Contains a Hanging.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- Tommy Williams is Shot- here.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- Andy’s Escape- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption- The Big Reveal- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of The Shawshank Redemption- here.
Before we Get to Our Number One Choice, Let’s Have a Look at Some Honourable Mentions to Ease the Tension (Ranked from Really Good Honourable Mention to The Best Honourable Mention) :
Honourable Mention No. 9- Jurassic Park (1993) ****
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill.
Before Steven Spielberg established himself as a Drama Director for a period of time, with films such as Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, he dedicated himself for his last good Post-Tintin family film/science fiction film that would change the course of history forever, and also be the epitome for kid-frightening family movies- and that film was 1993’s Jurassic Park.
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the blockbuster movie follows a group of scientists, led by Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond as they set up and successfully run an island inhabited with live dinosaurs, due to the now possible use of biotech. Hammond invites his friends Dr. Alan Grant, his assistant Ellie Sattler and Jeff Goldblum’s chaos theorist Ian Malcolm to check the security of the island, and Hammond later invites his grandchildren Lex and Tim to join him. However, the power-hungry, nerdy Jurassic Park employee Dennis Nedry becomes acquisitive for money, and he carries out his plan by thieving the dinosaur embryos with a desire to sell them for a secret buyer. However this consequently leads to all essential security systems being critically needed to shut down so he can cover his tracks, and all the lives of his colleagues and fellow employees are at stake, as the dinosaurs have been freed from their padlocks, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Although Nedry gets his deserved retribution by a sickly dinosaur, all hell has broken loose, and the survivors must restore the power in the park as fully as possible, in order to abandon the island. But, they also discover that the dreaded velociraptors have broken loose, and they must now hunt for the remaining visitors.
Grabbing 3 Oscars, this Steven Spielberg masterpiece is visually mind-bending, and it almost created a whole new other genre with it. However, the best moments here come from the unprecedented tension the dinosaurs cause. From the children in the kitchen to the water just rippling on the surface, it’d hard not to see why (although there is debate about whether this is actually a science-fiction film) some consider it to be one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time, and, it was a hit that its sequels just couldn’t surpass or live up to. Accompanied by one of John William’s most winning scores, this classic won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Buy Jurassic Park (1993) here from Amazon. Rated PG.
Watch Jurassic Park- We have a T-Rex- here.
Watch Jurassic Park- T-Rex Trouble in the Thunderstorm- here. Warning: Contains moderate violence and emotional distress.
Watch Jurassic Park- Dead Dennis-here. Warning: Contains threat.
Watch Jurassic Park- They’re Flocking This Way- here.
Watch Jurassic Park- The Kitchen- here. Warning: Contains threat.
Watch Jurassic Park- Pre-Historic Flashback- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Jurassic Park- here.
Honourable Mention No.8- The Lion King (1994) *****
Directed By: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers.
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick, Rowan Atkinson, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane.
After decades worth of rich films full of glorious animation, bold dialogue, and timeless but world-wide concepts about growing up, love, friendship and finding your place in the world (not to mention the many a classic songs created that still make us feel uplifted today), most people were shocked at the number of disappointing (and the very little good) films that Disney had to offer in the 1980s. But, Disney made more than up for that in the 1990s,releasing a string of creative and memorable moves to the name (that were to include Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) in what was to be known as The Disney Renaissance. Even though this was arguably the most successful decade of Disney’s career, their most successful movie of the decade was 1994’s The Lion King, that has become the most prosperous traditionally animated film ever made.
Simba is born in Africa to succeed his father Mufasa as the king of the Pride Lands, and all the animals flock to see him. As Simba grows up, he begins to learn about his place in the ”Circle of Life”, and is mentored by his father and others around him to realise what makes a good and powerful king. However, Simba’s habit of being conveniently loyal to the people around him, his desire to test his limits and his growing mischievous nature makes a frequent candidate for getting into trouble. And, as a further hindrance to Simba’s ongoing quest for kingship, we also learn about the dark but classic affair of sibling rivalry within the family. In this case, Mufasas’ troubled brother Scar was to succeed Mufasa as king, but Simba’s birth altered that. Consumed by anger, Scar hatches a plan to become king, and takes advantage of Simba with the knowledge that Mufasa told him not to go to The Elephant Graveyard, as only whatever the light touches is the king’s. Soon, Simba meets the hyenas in the graveyard, and Scar assembles with the hyenas, his allies, to concoct a plan to overthrow Mufasa. So, after a dark and gothic song that merely hints his horrifying plan, he pulls it off by making the hyenas chase the wildebeest down the gorge, where Simba is. Then, we see Mufasa clinging for his life on top of a high rock, with only his brother Scar to save him. And, at the last moment, Scar reveals his intimate betrayal with his sinister stare, crooked, gnarly smile and iconic phrase ‘Long Live The King’ thus killing Mufasa in the process. But, it’s a moment no-one can do nothing about. Mufasas’ death leaves Simba grief-stricken, and, Scar convinces Simba that it was Simba’s fault that Mufasa died, and that the nation will despise him for betrayal. Simba runs away, and is chased by hyenas unto death, but, he survives and lives life out beyond the Pride Lands with his new-found friends Timone the Meerkat and Pumbaa the Warthog, but he is later confronted by Nala, who finds him when he grows up, and warns him of the detestable and wretched rule Scar has over the kingdom, and Simba must return and take back his rightful place as king.
The Lion King has become Disney’s icon for traditionally animated movies, and is ranked as the 56th best movie ever created. Even though it was doomed with many awful sequels, it is easy to see why this Two-Time Oscar Winning movie has become a beloved, quintessential film that people of all ages can experience, and, it’s easy to see why its box-office record is $422,783,777. With one of the most layered and creative stories Disney ever produced, The Lion King is a classic that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Buy The Lion King (1994) here from Amazon. Rated U.
Watch The Lion King- The Circle of Life- here.
Watch The Lion King- Scar’s Introduction- here.
Watch The Lion King- Everything The Light Touches- here.
Watch The Lion King- Just Can’t Wait to Be King- here.
Watch The Lion King- The Elephant Graveyard- here.
Watch The Lion King- Stampede- here.
Watch The Lion King- Hakuna Matata- here.
Watch The Lion King- Remember Who You Are- here.
Watch The Lion King- Can you Feel The Love Tonight-here.
Watch The Lion King- Simba Returns Part I- Scar, Simba and Sarabi- here.
Watch The Lion King- Simba Returns Part II- I Killed Mufasa- here.
Watch The Lion King- Simba Returns Part III- Battle- here.
Watch The Lion King- Simba Returns Part IV-Circle Connected- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of The Lion King here.
Honourable Mention No.7- Jerry Maguire (1996) ****
Directed By: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr, Renée Zellweger.
Next up is the Oscar-Winning, tear-jerking, genre-bending masterpiece that had us tugging at our heartstrings, laughing in hysterics and shouting that classic catchphrase in casinos, weird social situations and birthday parties that is- Show Me The Money!
In this influential Rom-Com-Dram, Tom Cruise delivers one of his greatest performances, as one of the most successful sports agents in the world, with some of the biggest names in the industry, an attractive wife, credibility and an iconic personality- until one night he has a significant, philosophical, righteous and virtuous moral epiphany. He questions his place in the world, and he shares his views at work and in public. However, his views aren’t met in favour of his peers and his seniors, and he is quickly deprived of his clients, left with the only people who still respect him: his wife Dorothy Boyd (played by Renée Zellweger), and overly self-engrossed American football player Rod Tidwell. With the help of Rod and Dorothy, Jerry has to put his life back together again, and save the one client that still has respect for him- and along the way, he realises things about himself and his problems that he didn’t realise before.
Even though the film rarely detracts from its light and funny tone, it still has the ability to leave you excited and deeply emotional, as it’s recognisable structure and its ability to use multiple, differentiating characters (such as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Oscar-Winning Performance as the excessively ecstatic Rod-Tidwell, the desperate but lovable Jerry Maguire and the patient Dorothy Boyd) the film is a unique, touching movie that won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and was nominated for 4 other Oscars- including Best Picture and Best Actor. Spitting out some of the most unforgettable quotes in movie history, such as ‘You had me at Hello’, ‘You Complete Me’ and, of course, ‘Help Me Help You!’, Jerry Maguire is a romantic but sweet classic that no-one can resist.
Buy Jerry Maguire (1996) here from Amazon. Rated 15.
Watch Jerry Maguire- Who’s Coming With Me- here. Warning: Contains One Use of Strong Language.
Watch Jerry Maguire- Show Me The Money!- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch Jerry Maguire- You Complete Me- here.
Watch Jerry Maguire- Help Me Help You- here.
Watch Jerry Maguire- Not Gonna Cry- here.
Watch Jerry Maguire- In Rod We Trust!- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Jerry Maguire here.
Honourable Mention No.6- The Big Lebowski (1998) ****
Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman.
The Coen Brothers were already in Hollywood stardom, after the 1996 hit Fargo. And, to follow up (and, in doing so, exceed) Fargo’s success, they released the smash 1998 cult comedy triumph The Big Lebowski, which is still regarded as a must-see, and, an inspiration for all diehard comedy fans to look up to.
In this unwaveringly funny comedy classic, Jeff Bridges play Jeffrey Lebowski, a typical city slacker who smokes pot, goes bowling with his equally (or even more so) lazy friends, goes by the nickname ”The Dude” and is generally a hippie whose life is in tatters, but suddenly, his life is turned around when he runs into a successful multimillionaire business tycoon and handicapped war veteran with the same name (Jeffrey Lebowski), who also has an assistant to wait on his every need 24/7. However, millionaire Lebowski’s youthful, attractive and distinguishable wife owes money to a notorious stranger. Thinking that slacker Lebowski is millionaire Lebowski, the stranger hires a gang of thugs to urinate on his rug, in order to pressurize him into paying of the enormous debt, leaving ”The Dude” clueless about the situation, and what the situation will become. Soon, he makes a deal with his disabled and rich correlative to have his spoiled rug compensated for, and at the same time he accepts a one-time job with a high income. However, this case of mistaken identity takes ”The Dude” much further than the bowling alley, on a disturbing and dramatic but hilarious journey that gets him and his bowling pals Walter Sobchak (who inconveniently has anger management issues), and Donnie Kerabatsos caught in a web of deceit, lies, murder, Vietnam War filled references, kidnapping, nihilists, drinking, and violence.
Creating one of the most memorable stoners in movie history and one of the most funny Vietnam Veterans in movie history, The Big Lebowski was not only a smash hit for the Coen Brothers, but a smash cult hit that had audiences world-wide laughing uncontrollably, and, it’s influence still pursues today, with many spoofs and references been made of it.
Buy The Big Lebowski (1998) here from Amazon. Rated 15.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Where’s The Money Lebowski- here. Warning: Contains Threat and Strong Language.
Watch The Big Lebowski-They Peed on My Rug- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and an Ethnic Slur.
Watch The Big Lebowski- The Dude- here. Warning: Contains Infrequent Strong Language and an Ethnic Slur.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Over The Line- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Jerk Off- here. Warning: Contains Violence and Strong Language.
Watch The Big Lebowski- This is What happens- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Donnie’s Death- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and Violence.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Mortuary Misfits- here. Warning: Contains One Use of Strong Language.
Watch The Big Lebowski- Donny’s Ashes- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
And Read Common Sense Media’s Review of The Big Lebowski here.
Honourable Mention No.5- Fargo (1996) *****
Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.
Stars: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi.
Even though the Coen Brothers may have defined their place in movie history with their subsequent 1998 comedy classic The Big Lebowski, Fargo is the one that is often considered the one that takes the cake. Starring Joel Coen’s actual wife as the main character, the Chief of Police Marge Gunderson, the film is both disturbingly dramatic and oddly charming, yet at the same time richly dark in humour, that, after well-received films such as Barton Fink and Blood Simple, managed to ensure the brothers’ spot in movie history, and, Frances McDormand’s performance landed her one out of the film’s Two Oscars- The Academy for Best Actress.
The film’s plot focuses on a struggling family man named Jerry Lundegaard, (Played by William H. Macy) who has gotten himself stuck in tight financial difficulties after some issues with his father-in-law’s car dealership, and so, he comes up with various plans to try and pay off his debts, however, he fails to come up with the sum total money, and so he manipulates his father-in-law into thinking that, contradicting from the facts his father-in-law is will/has learn/learned about, that his family need the money. So, when all plans fail for his embezzlement to be paid off, he carries out his plans he set in motion earlier, and a gang have to non-violently kidnap his wife in order for her rich father to pay off the large sum of money. However, the kidnapping spree goes horribly wrong, as Jerry doesn’t realise the messy, bumbling state of the people he hires and from the moment that the heist is pulled off, Lundegaard doesn’t get his wishes the way he wanted, and the longer the ridiculously out-of-control situation is going on, the more grisly and violent Lundegaard’s attempts are becoming.
But, to make matters worse for the desperate hero is Marge Gunderson (played by Frances McDormand), a 7 months pregnant police detective who has arrived at the scene of the crime, looking at what was a shoot-out in a car. However, Marge figures out that everything is not as it seems, and she soon is in the tail of finding out Lundegaard’s messy and bloody scheme, entangling her in drunkards, corruption, violence and a shocking wood chipper mystery. However, the glorified violence is toned down by the painstakingly funny black humour stationed between each despicable act of insanity, and, with the Coen’s distinctive style and directorial brilliance, each incredible character and terrific acting have gone down as some of the greatest performances ever put to film. Layering characters such as a perceptive, keen, and witty detective with reduced mobility with characters such as her devoted colleagues,
Often recognised as a significant milestone in film history, and, a turning point especially in the crime thriller genre, the hard-boiled, gritty film takes its place amongst movies like Dr. Strangelove, Harold and Maude and Pulp Fiction as one of the most well-made, engaging and funniest dark comedies ever made, and it certainly proves that when it comes to grit, dark comedy, and a moderately satirical take on the crime and mob genre (whilst also being shockingly but masterfully violent and tense), the Coens are the right directors to choose, and, with their recognisable crooked trademark, structure and meticulousness, it is easy to see why the film is highly regarded as a nail-bitingly tense but magnificently executed hit, that was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, winning two.
Buy Fargo (1996) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch Fargo- Morning Sickness- here.
Watch Fargo- Wood Chipper- here. Warning: May be Disturbing for Some Viewers, and Contains a Brief Sight of Blood.
And Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Fargo here.
Honourable Mention No.4- The Usual Suspects (1995) *****
Directed by: Bryan Singer.
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Chazz Palminteri.
When we think if modern 90s detective movies, we sometimes think of films like Fargo and L.A. Confidential. But, what is widely considered one of the most impressive and influential thriller films ever made is Bryan Singer’s 1995 favourite The Usual Suspects. Even though the movie is a standard, and contains all the elements you would expect from your average crime-thriller (from double-crossing to bloodshed, to drug smuggling and drug use, to the mysterious boss to we know little to nothing about) there are more than many notable elements in the movie that solidify its place as one of the most powerful of its genre, such as the brilliant, Academy Award winning screenplay, top-class performances and a basic, universal theme of corruption and crime. However, the most enduring part of this films legacy is the expertly crafted twist ending that had us shell-shocked with genuine surprise and recalling the entire movie all over again with a different approach, which can also be recited, (and has been) used, changed and parodied by generations and also generations to come, and is now widely regarded as one of cinemas’ greatest shockers.
The plot follows the interrogation of Roger ”Verbal” Kint, played and narrated by Kevin Spacey, after a cargo ship is set on fire causing a mass killing, leaving him (and an alarmingly disfigured Hungarian terrorist) the only ones still surviving (i.e. The One That Got Away). When the police search the boat, they also find $91,000,000 worth of drug money, in a drug scheme gone sour. Questioned by U.S. Customs Agent Dave Kujan, Kint at first, unwillingly but (as the story goes on) voluntarily tells the story of how he met four criminals, briefly sharing a holding cell together. As a group, they make a deal to pull off a heist and hijack a jewel shipment, and they consequently head to L.A. on the run. Meanwhile, a lawyer called Kobayashi calls them, and gives them another job to do, as he says he is the representative for the dreaded, mysterious international crime boss Keyser Soze, who is not only one of the most wanted people in the world, but one of the most feared people in the world. This leads to the attack on the cargo ship, and when Kint refuses to testify any further, he is granted his wish. But afterwards only, Kujan realises the truth and his mistake. The mistake was that (Look Away Now If You Don’t Want A Spoiler!) Kint actually is the supreme and almost in- human Keyser Soze, and he is the one who organised the scheme. As Kint famously exclaims after being freed-
‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that (poof)- He’s gone.’
Even though practically everybody who has (or hasn’t for that matter) seen the movie knows the infamous twist ending, The Usual Suspects is still amazing audiences today as it was in 1995. The movie (whilst being a standard, as mentioned earlier) is a classic as it contains a perplexing character range, that ranges from maverick criminal to seemingly multiple-dimension crime boss to seemingly corrupt policemen, and even Gus Fring from Breaking Bad pops up in the movie. Cristopher McQuarries’ screenplay won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and that only makes The Usual Suspects even more memorable.
Buy The Usual Suspects (1995) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch The Usual Suspects- Lineup Scene- here. Warning: C0ntains Strong Language.
Watch The Usual Suspects- The Greatest Trick –here. Warning: Contains Emotional Distress and Violence.
Watch The Usual Suspects- Kobayashi Explains- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and Threat.
Watch The Usual Suspects- Keyser Soze Who?- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
And Read Common Sense Media’s Review of The Usual Suspects here.
Honourable Mention No.3- American Beauty (1999) ****
Directed by: Sam Mendes.
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper.
Kevin Spacey’s outstanding and crooked performance as Roger ”Verbal” Kint in the 1995 hit The Usual Suspects may have earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but, it was his performance as Lester Burnham in Sam Mendes’ iconic, powerful and fascinating directorial debut American Beauty that earned him a Best Actor Oscar. Along with that, the movie itself won the Best Picture Oscar (in one of the most heated Academy Award competitions and significant years in film history. For example, there was David Finchers’ ultra-violent cult classic Fight Club (which, although it didn’t win any Oscars, was one of the most discussed films of the decade), The Wachowski Brothers’ (siblings) complex but remarkable sci-fi shooter The Matrix, and (as what is considered by far his best film) M. Night Shyamalan’s Academy Award nominated eerie and memorable supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense.) and several other Academy Awards to go with it, and Sam Mendes also won a Best Director Oscar for his dark, philosophical and strange but uplifting work.
Narrated by Kevin Spacey, from the eyes of the main character (again), the film tells the tale of Lester Burnham, an ordinary man who lives in an ordinary street, with an ordinary family. On the outside, Lester’s life seems normal. Lester has a wife, a rebellious daughter and a sustainable job. However, on the inside, Lester finds himself drifting away from his everyday life and becoming depresses, and he has no idea how to resolve his depression. To make things worse, his wife Caroline (by the day) is seeming to take notice of him less and less, and, when she becomes too absorbed in her job, she develops an unflinching relationship with her colleague Buddy Kane. After he realises that his wife is cheating on him, and catches the two lovers kissing in the car, Lester also starts getting cross with his daughter, Jane, who doesn’t seem to love him and frequently rebels against his will, much to his upset. However, Jane’s darkest hour comes when the new neighbours (the Fitts) move in, and Jane develops a faithful relationship for the shy boy Ricky, whose father is a strict disciplinary marine, and a hypocrite. The twist is the fact that Ricky is a drug-dealer.
With so many dramatic events quickly taking their toll on Lester’s life, he decides that the time has come for change. He generally starts hating his Suburban reality, and starts rebelling against his wife. And, when all seems lost, Burnham finds a hope in his daughter’s enthusiastic but seductive friend Angela Hayes, when he meets her at a basketball game. Quickly, he madly falls in love with her, and he often fantasises about her and some red rose petals throughout the majority of the movie, and they soon develop a tensional (but not soppy or cheesy) relationship between them. When Jane finds out about the conspicuous and undying relationship between Angela and her father, she soon falls out with Angela, and this leads her to be more attached to her neighbour Ricky. Lester also feels very pressurised by his respectable but strict job, so, he blackmails his boss into giving him $60,000 and takes up a job flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. He treats himself by trading his low-quality car for a Pontiac Firebird, the car he desires, and starts working out to impress his newly-found girlfriend. He starts smoking genetically-enhanced marijuana, and this is soon supplied by Ricky.
Even though Lester’s life is seeming to grow back, trouble occurs when Ricky, motivated by a unique camcorder obsession (which was what brought him to the centre of Angela’s attention) films Jane through her bedroom window, but captures Lester working out. This wrongly leads his father (who stumbles across the footage as a consequence of paranoia between Ricky’s friendship with Lester) to think that Lester and him are in a relationship. When being confronted by his father Colonel Fitts, Ricky lies that he is with Lester in a means of getting out of the house, and runs off with Angela with NYC. Colonel Fitts (in a fit of confusion) kisses Lester when Lester attempts to console him, and then Lester realises Angela’s true identity. He calls off the relationship, and, even though he has lived his life to the fullest (which he regards as a good achievement), his life once again spirals out of control, and this leads up to the films tensional, unfortunate and all-by-misunderstood-circumstances climax.
Winning 5 Oscars, the film is widely thought of as a cinematic icon, that (albeit his debut and albeit Skyfall) is Sam Mendes’ greatest achievement. Top rated performances such as Kevin Spacey’s helped increase the film’s success, and the dark comedy deserves the place it has in cinema today.
Buy American Beauty (1999) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch American Beauty- Could He Be Any More Pathetic?-here. Warning: Contains One use of Strong Language and a Sex Reference.
Watch American Beauty- Waking from the Coma- here. Warning: Contains Semi-Nudity.
Watch American Beauty- Very Dirty- here. Warning: Contains a Sex Reference, Sexual Innuendo and May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch American Beauty- Ordinary Guy- here. Warning: Contains one Use of Strong Language.
Watch American Beauty- The Dancing Bag- here.
Watch American Beauty-I Rule- Part I-Carolyn Gets Cross- here.
Watch American Beauty- I Rule- Part II-This Isn’t Life- here.
Watch American Beauty-Colonel’s Confession-here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch American Beauty-Finale-here. Warning: Contains One Use of Strong Language, Blood, and May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of American Beauty here.
Honourable Mention No.2- Titanic (1997) ****
Directed by: James Cameron.
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates.
If there was anything the 1950s to 1960s in particular taught us about movies, it was that there was a high chance that an epic of any kind was always going to be considerably successful, and be very well received (and particularly be Oscar bait at the Academy Awards ceremony.). For example, Hollywood competed with television with the ridiculously long but ridiculously beautiful biblical epic Ben- Hur (that won 11 Oscars, the most amount of Oscars given to a movie), David Lean was making his name with the 1957 World War II 7 time Oscar-Winning epic The Bridge on the River Kwai (an adaptation of Pierre Boulle’s 1952 novel The Bridge over the River Kwai), David Lean continued to establish himself as an epic director with the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, Cecil B. DeMille was directing the religious epic The Ten Commandments, and Stanley Kubrick was directing the 1960 favourite that launched him to success, the Kirk Douglas epic Spartacus. So, after a fall in the number of epics after that,(with only a few exceptions like The Godfather Part II), what the century really needed to bring back the genre was the James Cameron’s 1997 historical drama Titanic. In making this multiple-accolade winning masterpiece, Cameron broke two significant cinematic records.
1. Titanic won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography (sharing with Ben-Hur and the future The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the most amount of Oscars ever given to a movie.)
2. Although he would later break this record with the 2009 sci-fi hit Avatar, Titanic became the highest grossing film of all time, with $658,672,302 to its name.
The story follows Brock Lovett (a deep sea explorer) and his team who uncover a famous sunken ship which has remained hidden for years- the RMS Titanic. Believing that it contains a famous piece of jewellery called the Heart of the Ocean, he discovers that it does not contain that but a painting of a girl wearing it. Brock is later interviewed, and shows the picture, and 101 Year Old Rose Calvert remembers the painting- as the painting is of herself! She is invited aboard with Brock’s crew, and, after being given a technical computer demonstration of the infamous Titanic sinking, she tells the story to the crew about her experience on the Titanic and how it changed her life forever. She narrates and the story throughout the movie (the most of it is acted out by the actors playing the ill-fated people on board the Titanic, and tells the story of how she arrived with her high-class family aboard the voyager (which was famously described to be unsinkable), and had been betrothed to the stern and attractive but secretly despicable Caledon Hockley, and had been brought up in a manner of thinking that people in a lower class were awful and not to be reasoned with. Meanwhile, Jack Dawson (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) arrives with his friend Fabrizio De Rossi on the ship, and, after he sees Rose attempt suicide and saves her, is captured by her beauty. At first thinking that he is a slob, Rose does not think kindly of him, but as the time on the ship goes by, she soon loves him like he loves her, and she soon gets to know more about him, even going as far as to ask him to draw her like he does with his girls in his job. However, the engagement to Hockley continues to restrict Rose (then known as Rose DeWitt Bukater) from seeing Jack, and Caledon begins to show his true colours, making Rose think less and less of the man she once regarded as the man of her dreams. Caledon snaps and frames Jack for theft, and has Jack handcuffed in the most secluded part of the boat. But soon, as everyone knows, the Titanic hits an enormous iceberg, capsizing the ship. Now stuck with Caledon and her family, Rose must fight to save Jack from the sinking ship in time, and must save her life too, before it is too late. With the guards struggling to obey regulations and get women and children on first and then men, people falling great distances, people committing suicide, men protesting without stop and Rose’s family still failing to realise that class doesn’t matter and letting their emotions get in the way, the Titanic (divided against itself) cannot seem to survive, and, the breath-taking cinematography makes the intense struggle of enormous proportions even more memorable and jaw-dropping. Can Rose escape her family and get out with Jack before it is too late?
Titanic was the film to bring back the epic genre, with Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Passion of the Christ and others being made after it, and, despite all its major plot holes, and Leonardo DiCaprio publicly expressing embarrassment about the film, it still remains one of the best historical dramas and iconic romance films ever made. Even though the playful but heart-breakingly forbidden relationship has been parodied in a negative way a worrying number of times, and would otherwise be considered lame, the movie is a perfect example of a colossal amount of money being turned into an even more colossal profit, and the ambitious film made its stars King of the World.
Buy Titanic (1997) here from Amazon. Rated 12.
Watch Titanic- Back to the Past- Part I – My New Best Friend- here.
Watch Titanic- Back to the Past- Part II- Titanic Recovered- here.
Watch Titanic- Departure from Southampton-Part I- Rose-here.
Watch Titanic- Departure from Southampton-Part II- Jack-here.
Watch Titanic- I’m the King of the World- here.
Watch Titanic- Heart of the Ocean- here.
Watch Titanic- Cut Her Meat- here.
Watch Titanic- Fine First Class People- here.
Watch Titanic- Pass as a Gentlemen- here.
Watch Titanic- Third Class Dance- here.
Watch Titanic- You are not to See That Boy Again-here.
Watch Titanic-I’m Flying-here.
Watch Titanic- The Epic Sinking Part I-The Ship Can’t Sink here.
Watch Titanic-The Epic Sinking- Part II- Icebreaker-here.
Watch Titanic- The Epic Sinking Part III- Never Let Go- here.
Watch Titanic- The Epic Sinking Part IV- I Couldn’t Go- here.
And Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Titanic here.
Honourable Mention No.1- Toy Story (1995) *****
Directed by: John Lasseter.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles.
In some cases, the first one is not always regarded as the best one. For example, 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was (and still is) described as one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time, however, most Star Wars fans agree that the 1980 follow-up, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, is better than that, and the best one in the franchise. And, in the ever increasing Bond franchise (which holds the record for being the longest running franchise in movie history, with 23 instalments and one reboot), the original movie, Dr. No, was considered good, and so was its sequel, From Russia with Love, but, it was the third instalment, Goldfinger, that is considered the best one in the entire franchise.
This, however, was not one of those cases.
In this cases, we’re talking about feature-length Computer Animated films. Yes, this was the first, out of the many Computer Animated films that have been made, and this is by far the best one. Though it was not technically in the Disney Renaissance which occurred during the 90s, and it cannot technically be considered a Disney movie because of their partnership with Pixar Animated Studios to make the movie, the film’s success has mainly been attributed towards Disney, and is often considered one of Disney’s greatest achievements. It is no wonder that the film has a perfect and flawless score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is ranked as the 108th best movie ever made. The film continued to progress and make Tom Hanks’ acting career successful, after his 2 consecutive Best Actor Wins (the first in 1993 for his performance as Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, and the second in 1994 for his performance as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump), and whilst he was working on playing Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 that same year. It also star cased Tim Allen in his most iconic performance.
Though it is not as dark as Bambi, the bleak but uplifting movie focuses on Andy, whose most favourite hobby is being in his room, playing with his toys. However, what Andy doesn’t realise is that when he isn’t around (and anybody else for that matter), his toys come to life. When they come to life, they play amongst themselves, but they have also formed a peaceful community amongst themselves, that, despite Mr. Potato Head’s sometimes inconveniently sarcastic remarks, is able to have many respectable and memorable moments of friendship between them. Due to Andy’s extremely playful nature, the toys all have one thing that motivates their existence: Andy, as, according to the movie, a toys dream and purpose is to be played with. Even though Andy loves them all, Andy is particularly attached to his toy cowboy Woody. Woody, being (as frequently described in the movie) Andy’s favourite toy, is the councillor and head toy, and the most liked and respected toy among the group, and his charming nature wins over the beautiful and seductive Bo Peep. But soon it is Andy’s birthday, and the toys all come to see which new toys and presents Andy is getting. Woody assures and reminds the group that they must make the new toys feel welcome: and one new toy is Buzz Lightyear. Woody is first assuring toward the new toy, but Buzz, who is a toy astronaut, thinks that he is a real astronaut, and Woody seems to think that he is faking it. However, he soon realises that Buzz is not, and this annoys Woody to breaking point. Woody’s true emotions and jealousy soon takes over when Buzz is replaced as Andy’s favourite toy, and Woody’s bitterness soon prevents him from favour of the other toys.
Even though Andy loves toys, his next-door neighbour Sid hates toys, and he tortures and does disturbing evil to the toys. In a fit of rage, Woody suddenly pushes Buzz out of the window, and Buzz is left lost on the ground. When Andy cannot find Buzz, he grudgingly takes Woody on his trip to Pizza Planet. Andy goes to Pizza Planet, and Buzz and Woody wind up in the car as a means of re-finding their owner. They spot him, but Buzz’s mischievous nature and stubborn belief that he is a real astronaut leads to Woody desperately trying to pull him out of a claw-operated pick machine, filled with toy aliens. But, Sid soon comes, and when he notices the toys, he picks them out of the box (as well as one hilarious, annoying and unlucky alien) and takes them to his sombre and horrifying house, where he owns an out-of-control dog, bullies his sister, has a neglecting mother and tortures his toys. Buzz loses his arm in attempt to ensure his true identity and prove himself to his rival, and, when he finds Woody was right, he becomes miserable and drunken by Sid’s girly sister Hannah. The toys think that Woody killed Buzz when they encounter Woody from across the window, but Woody doesn’t take Buzz as he fears he will be held responsible for Buzz’s strange behaviour. But, over-time, Woody forms a compassionate friendship with Buzz, and one of the most classic movie redemptions of all time. And, Buzz soon (accidentally though) leads Woody to come up with a plan to teach the troubled Sid a lesson, whilst escaping the house and restoring order to their community. And with Andy leaving soon to move house, can they make it out in time before Sid plans to blow buzz up?
Nominated for 3 Oscars, this breath-taking, uplifting and sometimes darkly funny classic was, sadly, not a good enough contender to make it on our Top 10, but it has shot up to No.1 in terms of our honourable mentions, and is a timeless tale of friendship, envy, obsession, and (from a more grown-up point of view (the dark and disturbing reality that Sid lives in and the real-life evil fantasy he has conjured up is disguised by the valuable moral and brilliant animation)) sadism. This movie spawned an entire franchise that is one of cinemas’ most perfect franchises, as it has received almost consistently and entirely positive praise for all instalments, and, it is a brilliant movie that all parents now share with their children. Although it started a whole generation of computer animation movies, the new wave that it kicked off has now been abused with many awful computer animation movies brought to the big screen (which most can agree), but, it’s legacy has never faltered, as it widely regarded as the greatest CGI animated (if not animated) movie of all time, and, moved along by many classic and beautiful songs sung and written by Randy Newman, it has made John Lasseter the director he has been described as today.
Buy Toy Story (1995) here from Amazon. Rated PG.
Watch Toy Story- You Got A Friend In Me- here.
Watch Toy Story- Staff Meeting- here.
Watch Toy Story- Buzz Arrives- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part I- That Happy Child?- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part II- Buzz Flies- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part III- Strange Things Are Happening To Me- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part IV- The Buzz Lightyear- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part V- Buzz falls out of the Window- here.
Watch Toy Story- The House Next Door- Part I- Buzz vs Woody- here.
Watch Toy Story- Enemy in the Pack- Part VI- You are a Sad, Strange Little Man- here.
Watch Toy Story- The House Next Door- Part II- Pizza Planet- here.
Watch Toy Story- The House Next Door- Part III- The Claw Leads To ”A Better Place”– here. Warning: May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch Toy Story- The House Next Door- Part IV- Sid Tortures Woody- here. Warning: May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch Toy Story- Redemption- Part I- I Will Go Sailing No More- here. Warning: Contains Emotional Distress.
Watch Toy Story- Redemption- Part II- Mrs. Nesbit- here.
Watch Toy Story- Redemption-Part III- Play Nice- here.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Toy Story here.
Just Before we Get to Our Number One Choice, Let’s Also Have a Look at Some Dishonourable Mentions to Mock The Truly Bad Movies, The Movies That Are So Bad They Are Entertaining, Or The Movies That Are Just Ultimately Boring (Ranked from Terrible Dishonourable Mention to The Worst Dishonourable Mention) :
Dishonourable Mention No.3- Bio-Dome (1996) *
Directed by: Jason Bloom.
Stars: Pauly Shore, Stephen Baldwin.
Come on, everybody likes stoner comedies- but just not when their made like this. Fart jokes, moronic behaviour, crude dialogue and behaviour and others (not to mention that it isn’t even funny) all go hand in hand to make this one of history’s most hated movies.
In the film, Shore and Baldwin play Bud and Doyle, two slackers whose lives are in a wreck. Their girlfriends are extremely eco-friendly, unlike them. But, their lives are changed when a group of scientists set up an experiment to love inside a Bio-Dome for a year without communication from the outside world, and Bud and Doyle get mixed up in the experiment. Now, Bud and Doyle must learn to live inside the Dome and learn to care about the environment for good.
The film only won 1 Award (surprise, surprise), and that award was a Worst Actor Razzie Award (sometimes called the Golden Raspberry Awards) for Paulie Shore. It was his last surfer movie, though, but the reviews it earned reviled it so much, that you will have a hard job trying to find somebody who likes this movie. Also, it’s score of 5% on Rotten Tomatoes and 1% on Metacritic says it all- it’s just awful.
Dishonourable Mention No.2- Troll 2 (1990) **
Directed by: Claudio Fragasso.
Stars: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy.
Overtime, this movie has become iconic, and not for a good way. This is one of those movies that you actually find entertaining though it is bad, and, although no so-bad-it’s-good movie can beat the colossal 1959 flop Plan 9 From Outer Space, this a close contender, and the movie than springs to many people’s minds when they think of that particular style of movie-making. However, amongst the ultra-gross monster scenes, terrible acting and terrible dialogue, there’s one scene that stands out from the rest- and that’s when (depicted in the picture above) Arnold sees the trolls (or goblins for that matter, one more reason the movie is famous is because the title doesn’t even make sense) eating his friend, and cries-
‘They’re eating her! And then they’re going to eat me! Oh my Goooood!’
Aside from being painstakingly funny, this classic reaction has gone down in history as one of the most iconic movie moments of all time, and is also one of the reasons the film is now a cult favourite.
The Waits take a trip to NILBOG, and, when they arrive, young Joshua is flabbergasted to find out that the bedtime stories that were narrated to his grandfather at night (who just so happens to have the ability to assist Joshua in his quest albeit his death) about the human eating goblins was real, and now, aided by his grandfather, he and his family must fight for survival.
The horror B-movie may have described as one of the most movies in history, but it has become an iconic favourite for all fans of the genre, that is both hilarious without meaning to be and utterly disturbing, and the unforgettable acting only makes the movie more iconic and dreadful.
Watch Troll 2- They’re Eating Her-here.
Dishonourable Mention No.1- Batman and Robin (1997) **
Directed by: Joel Schumacher.
Stars: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When the words Dishonourable Mentions popped up on the screen, we all knew this one was coming. If it wasn’t for the wretched 2004 spin-off Catwoman that had as all gasping at its awfulness, this film would have been widely considered to be the worst superhero film ever made. Filled with appalling one-liners from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, Bat-Nipples, a pathetic Robin, the swapping of Val Kilmer for George Clooney (which gave us one of his most disappointing performances) and a disturbing performance of Poison Ivy (carried along by Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill’s Uma Thurman), the film carried the Batman franchise down the drain, consequently leading to Warner Bros. cancelling the forthcoming Batman Triumphant, and also led to Joel Schumacher giving a full apology to his bitterly let down fans, in which he stated:
“If there’s anybody watching this, that… let’s say, loved Batman Forever, and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I’ve disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize. Because it wasn’t my intention. My intention was just to entertain them.”
If it wasn’t for Christopher Nolan’s hard-boiled Batman trilogy reboot that began 8 years later (that restored Batman to his former glory in terms of movies) and consisted of Batman Begins in 2005, The Dark Knight in 2008, and finally The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, the Batman franchise would have been ruined for the worse, and, if it wasn’t Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill 6 years later, her career would have been torn apart too.
Dr. Victor Fries is a former doctor whose blood is laced with cryogenic liquid, that evidently causes him to be cold in the interior and exterior, and this leads to him being nicknamed Mr. Freeze. However, a mysterious disease has taken its toll on his grief-stricken wife, Lady Fries, and Fries plans to hold Gotham in captivity by freezing the city, until he gets a substantial amount of money in which he can pay to finish looking for a cure that will heal her. Batman heroically plans to stop Mr. Freeze, but, disaster strikes when his butler Alfred sadly develops the same disease that Lady Fries has, and is terminally ill. So, with Batman’s long-time companion dead, Batgirl steps in to help the Dynamic Duo in their quest to rid Gotham of the power-hungry Mr. Freeze. But, another force of evil is at work. Uma Thurman’s sultry but deadly villainess Poison Ivy has come to town with her muscular but just plain laughable hunk Bane, and, The Terrible Threes team up with each other and deviously plot to freeze Gotham, and pave the way for genetically enhanced plants, until Mr. Freeze can find a cure for his dying wife. The Dark Knight and The Boy Wonder come together to stop them, but their heated and declining friendship seems to bitter them and hinder them in defeating the villains, whilst also allowing them to be bait to the seductive Poison Ivy, who can make anybody fall in love with her. Can they stop the dreadful wisecracks, the disturbingly alluring Poison Ivy and just plain stupid wrong-doers before Gotham loses all hope?
So far, Joel Schumacher’s Batman franchise had been extremely successful, with, in the first instalment (1989’s Batman), Jack Nicholson’s creepy Joker facing off against with Michael Keaton’s smooth Batman to make some terrifying but appealing action, then, that same Batman (in Batman Returns) facing off against the dastardly Max Shreck and the nightmarish Penguin whilst the fiendish feline Catwoman was on the loose, and the penultimate instalment (Batman Forever) saw Michael Keaton recycled for Val Kilmer, who paired up with Chris O’Donnell as The Boy Wonder, to battle Jim Carrey’s egotistical Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones’s good guy-turned-bad guy Harvey Dent (otherwise known as Two-Face.). Batman Forever was considerably worse than the magnificent last two movies, but, the fourth instalment turned the series (which was rapidly running out of ideas) into a catastrophe none of us could have imagined. Arnold Schwarzenegger is widely considered one of the best action stars ever to hit the big screen, but (with an exception of The Terminator’s ”I’ll Be Back” and Terminator 2’s ”Come With Me If You Want To Live” and ”Hasta La Vista, Baby”) we all know that he can come up with some pretty corny punch-lines, such as True Lies’ ”Stick Around” and Commandos’ ”Let Off Some Steam, Bennett”. That element was expected to be around in this movie, but, nobody expected them this bad. The movie was widely anticipated, but, it’s swift negative reviews made its box-office earnings drop by 63%, and, to this day, though many people have given sympathy for it due to Joel Schumacher’s apology, it is still widely considered the movie that comes to mind when thinking of the worst movies ever made.
Below you will find our number one pick:
1. Pulp Fiction (1994) *****
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino.
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Roth.
Let’s be honest, with his abilities to make a witty, lively, tense and meticulous Award-Winning Screenplay, a creative and complex universe of differing but memorable characters, and extract the best performances out of even the most struggling actors, (to create masterpieces like Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, Django Unchained and Jackie Brown) it’s no wonder Quentin Tarantino is considered one of the best and most influential directors of all time. But, the movie that gave Quentin Tarantino the majority of his trademarks that he still successfully uses today, whilst ensuring his prominent place in movie history was the 1994 crime thriller/ dark comedy Pulp Fiction. And, amongst being one of the most recognisable movies of the 90s, it is widely noted as one of the best movies ever made. It take its place amongst movies like The Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, Forrest Gump and Goodfellas to be one of the most beloved and interesting movies of the 90s, and, though it is only marginally better than the other 1994 classic which sits at Number Two, The Shawshank Redemption, it definitely deserves it’s place at Number One, here.
Before the film’s classic plot is actually explained into further detail, we get a look at two of the film’s main characters: Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, at the Hawthorne Grill on Sunset Boulevard, L.A., California. The two Bonnie-And-Clyde like Brits are discussing about their crime lifestyle, and about robbing banks or robbing liquor stores. They soon realise that they can make a lot more money by robbing restaurants like the one they are in, and they also realise the benefit of depriving customers of their wallets, unlike using the till. The two no-gooders proudly proclaim that they are robbing the restaurant. However, the movie classically and climatically leaves us with an obvious cliff-hanger, as we are concurrently given a flashback that introduces the film’s two main characters- the hypocritical and foul-mouthed Jules Winnfield (played by Samuel L. Jackson, and who kills for money but loves to preach the word of the Lord) and the dim-witted Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta, who Quentin Tarantino has revealed as the brother of the sadistic Vic Vega, who appears in Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs) who are asked to track down a mysterious glowing briefcase which was stolen from their boss, Marsellus Wallace. The two lovable characters arrive at a San Fernando Valley Apartment building, and, whilst Vincent does some pottering around in the kitchen, Jules immoderately interrogates the unfortunate but cowardly Brett. To Brett’s dismay, Vincent and Jules draw their guns, and Jules recites Ezekiel 25: 17 from the Bible. He doesn’t say it entirely correctly, but, it is scary enough when he tells Brett-
‘And You Will Know My Name As The LORD, When I Lay My Vengeance Upon Thee!’
And, with that final line, Vincent and Jules both shoot Brett and kill Brett, and this moment is considered a pivotal moment in cinema.
Plot No. 1: Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace
The film’s first linear plot focuses on the two hitmen. Vincent has been settled in Amsterdam for a reasonable period of time, so Marcellus Wallace calls upon him, and asks him to take his wife Mia (played by Uma Thurman) out for the night as Marcellus himself will be away. Vincent accepts the job, but, rumours persist that Wallace severely injured a worker who, when hired to do the same job, had been a little bit too friendly with her. So, with the knowledge, he consults Lance, his drug-dealer and buys some rich and thoroughly sedated heroin. Mia and Vincent enter a dance contest unexpectedly, dancing to Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell. They win an award, but, the scene is uncomfortable as the intensity in their facial expressions highlights fury and secrecy in their faces. However, Mia and Vincent come back, and Vincent is in the bathroom, and while he is in the bathroom, Mia discovers the secret pack of heroin, and mistakes it for cocaine. Fuelled by addiction, she snorts it, and Vincent takes her to Lance’s. Vincent administers a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart, and Mia is saved from death. Neither tell Marsellus about the incident, as both of them could be punished for the spree.
Plot No. 2: The Gold Watch
The non-linear plot’s second incident tells the story of Butch Coolidge, a small-time boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his next fight. Vega and Coolidge are in a bar together, and, the two men take an instant disliking to each other. But, before they can fight, Marsellus goes to Vincent and embraces him. The day before the match, Butch has a dream/flashback of his childhood, in which Captain Koons (played by Christopher Walken) brought Butch a Gold Watch. It had been passed down his ancestors, who each took the watch to war with them, and when Butch’s father died as a POW in WWII, he gave it to Captain Koons. Koons said that he and Butch’s father had to conceal it from their captors by hiding the watch in their rectums. Butch realises the importance of the family heirloom, and is influenced by it in the ring. He fights with such ferocity that he kills his opponent, and, after that, he and his girlfriend leave their apartment in order to escape the wroth of Wallace. However, his girlfriend forgets the watch when packing, and as Butch is attached to the heirloom more than any other of his possessions, he soon goes out of control, and viciously wrecks the motel room as a consequence. He drives back to his apartment, but, when he finds a sub-machine gun in the kitchen, he realises he is not alone. After a bloody punch-up that leads to one of the film’s main characters dead, he tries to run over Marcellus when he sees him. However, he only injures his infamous enemy, and, after getting in a car crash, he and Marcellus find themselves in a messy and seemingly doomed situation. But, it ultimately leads to the bitter rivals settling their differences.
Plot No. 3: The Bonnie Situation
The third plot inside the plot flashes back in time to just after Jules and Vincent finish killing Brett. As they are about to pack up and leave with Marvin, a gang member which had remained in the shadows the entire time jumps out and shoots, however, all the bullets miss them, and instead hit the wall, and in turn Jules and Vincent kill him, too. Jules subsequently calls the incident miraculous, but, Vincent, being an atheist, opposes the idea. Vincent and Jules are in the car with Marvin in the back seat, and Vincent asks Marvin his opinion on the subject matter. When Marvin doesn’t give him a straight-forward answer, Vincent asks him again, and (being the bumbling oaf he is) he shoots Marvin in the face. The car is now seriously messy, with blood and gore splattered all over (including on to Vincent and Jules), so, with their schedule altered, Jules takes the car to a friend’s house, which is in the Valley. The friend, Jimmy Dimmick, played by the director, Quentin Tarantino, agrees to conceal the car, as long as they get rid of the ghastly body within the next 60 minutes, as his wife Bonnie is expected to arrive from a night shift at a hospital around that time. With the time ticking, they call Marcellus to explain the problem, and he calls the highly respected Winston Wolf, who has a solid reputation of solving difficult problems like the one the two hitmen are in. He gets to the house and tells the two hitmen that they should change into Jimmy’s spare casual clothes, and then he would help them dispose of the remaining gore via his companion and relation Monster Joe, whose life is extremely private. They celebrate with their boss, and decide to have lunch at the Hawthorne Grill. He reveals to Vincent his plan to become a mendicant for those suffering under harsh and hard-boiled government crack-down and oppression. Vincent scolds Jules. But, as explained earlier, the duo Honey Bunny and Pumpkin rob the diner. Jules gives Pumpkin his wallet easily, but, when Pumpkin attempts to steal Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase, Jules confronts him by drawing his gun. But, in the moment, he realises his hypocrisy and wrong-doings, and lets the criminals go, and, although this is the movie’s climax, he experiences redemption.
This brutal Tarantino film is considered his best work, despite heavy competition from some other good movies. It is widely considered one of the best movies ever made, and won Tarantino the Academy Award for best Original Screenplay. It also re-launched John Travolta’s career, after a lot of awful movies, and, despite the fact that he could have made equal success, as he auditioned for the role as Forrest Gump that same year, his performance was received so well that he was earned a nomination for Best Actor. Other nomination the film received included the Best Picture award for Lawrence Bender, the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Samuel L. Jackson, the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Uma Thurman, and the Best Director Academy Award for Quentin Tarantino. Praised by notable critics such as Roger Ebert, and ranked as the 5th best film ever made, the film is an influential classic that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Buy Pulp Fiction (1994) here from Amazon. Rated 18.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Brits Robbing Restaurants- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Opening Soundtrack- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Royale With Cheese- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Ezekiel 25: 17- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Threat and Violence.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife-Part I- Uncomfortable Silence- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife- Part II- The Dance- here. Warning: Contains Threat and Sexual Innuendo.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Vincent Vega and Marcellus Wallace’s Wife- Part III- Revival- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Blood, Brief Sexual Violence, and May Be Disturbing for Some Viewers.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Butch’s Boxing Tale- Part I- The Gold Watch- here.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Butch’s Boxing Tale- Part II- Brief Encounter- here. Warning: Contains Blood, Brief Violence and Threat.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Butch’s Boxing Tale Part III- Bring Out The Gimp- here. Warning: Contains Threat.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Butch Boxing Tale Part IV- Marcellus’s Medieval Madness Mode- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Violence, Blood and One Ethnic Slur.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Final Plotdown- Part I- Gotta Have An Opinion- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language, Brief Violence and Blood.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Final Plotdown- Part II- Wolfie Has A Way- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and Blood.
Watch Pulp Fiction- Final Plotdown- Part III- Redemption- here. Warning: Contains Strong Language and Threat.
And, Read Common Sense Media’s Review of Pulp Fiction here.
Thanks for reading. We apologise for any inconvenience regarding our much anticipated but ambiguous educational blog, but we will do our best to make up for that with writing two more educational blogs: One on The Peasant’s Revolt and one on London Attractions. We feel that this blog is much improved from our last movie blog, and be sure to check out our educational blog Top 10 Assassinations of all Time. Also, be sure to follow me if you have a WordPress account, and, if you can’t see the comment section, look very carefully where the tags have been put in, and there will be a small section around that area. The age ratings and description of content when we describe motion pictures as a whole, are entirely situated from the BBFC website. That is- http://bbfc.co.uk/ , and leave a comment if you have any problems whatsoever in regards to differences between the description of content, as, even though we take a keen interest in providing an eager environment in relations to our movie blogs, we must also do our best to make sure that no content will harm our readers in any way.
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Do you ever get tired of the typical age rating system?
Do you want judgement on your form of entertainment decided from an adult experienced in parenting and film content, who uses their knowledge to provide a decent and well-written write-up of the entertainment, whilst also playing tribute to the quality of the entertainment itself? Well, Common Sense Media is a great way to start, and their writing is always written in a typical but appealing way. Their successful and non-profit San Francisco based organisation has helped millions of parents and children everywhere, and, best of all, anyone is welcome to sign up and contribute to the free site, which is possible thanks to the parent and kids forums (user forums)!
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But the site isn’t all play and no work. No, it’s web-based community has earned a strong reputation of being educational and helping young children to safely and conveniently navigate their way across social media and books, with many articles helping to increase learning potential, whilst helping parents to understand and co-operate with the changes in their growing child. And my evidence is backed up by their slogan-
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