Does your list ’90s film list contain ‘Pulp’?
IndieWire list made me want to create my own
Greg W. Locke
One of the sites I’ve visited the most the last 15 or so years, IndieWire, released a list of the 100 Best Films of the 1990s. As any ScreenTime reader knows, I’m the King of the List. I even used to publish and edit a list-based pop culture website called ZeCatalist.com that had over 2,000 original lists on it.
I. Love. Lists.
So, naturally, I took IndieWire’s ho-hum list as a challenge to do a 1990s list of my own.
Here’s what their Top 10 looks like:
10. Safe (director Todd Haynes)
9. The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies)
8. Titanic (James Cameron)
7. After Life (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
6. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese)
5. Hoop Dreams (Steve James)
4. Beau Travail (Claire Denis)
3. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg)
2. Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami)
1. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick)
Some good picks but … I dunno. I don’t really love this list, especially their Top 10.
Now, I’m not going to list all 100 films on my list in this week’s column, but I will do a Top 50.
Here we go …
50. Deep Cover (director Bill Duke); 49. Shallow Grave (Danny Boyle); 48. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron); 47. Rosetta (Dardenne Brothers); 46. Barton Fink (Coen Brothers); 45. Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest); 44. The Truman Show (Peter Weir); 43. Home Alone (Christopher Columbus); 42. Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg); 41. Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton); 40. Election (Alexander Payne); 39. The Player (Robert Altman); 38. Wild at Heart (David Lynch); 37. Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven); 36. Heat (Michael Mann); 35. The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont); 34. Se7en (David Fincher); 33. Summer of Sam (Spike Lee); 32. Beau Travail (Claire Denis); 31. Fight Club (David Fincher); 30. Fargo (Coen Brothers); 29. Juice (Ernest Dickerson); 28. Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino); 27. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater); 26. Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant)
25. The Big Lebowski (Coen Brothers); 24. He Got Game (Spike Lee); 23. Slacker (Richard Linklater); 22. Boyz N the Hood (John Singleton); 21. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick); 20. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai); 19. Kids (Larry Clark); 18. Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino); 17. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick); 16. Breaking the Waves (Lars Von Trier); 15. Three Colors: Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski); 14. Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater); 13. Magnolia (P.T. Anderson); 12. Rushmore (Wes Anderson); 11. Malcolm X (Spike Lee); 10. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant); 9. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme); 8. Boogie Nights ( P.T. Anderson); 7. Buffalo ’66 (Vincent Gallo); 6. Hoop Dreams (Steve James)
5. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese): I’ve been seeing Goodfellas written up as Scorsese’s masterpiece more and more over the years. While I don’t agree with that, it’s certainly one of his masterpieces, and one of the most influential and fun films of the 1990s. Also one of the most cinematic. A sprawling crime epic with a remarkable cast, editing and cinematography, Goodfellas is Scorsese at his most stylish and most exciting.
4. Until the End of the World (Director’s Cut): (Wim Wenders): I remember watching the studio cut of this film around 2001 or so, when I was first exploring Wenders’ filmography. It was good, but didn’t seem quite right. Then, finally, at long last, the Criterion Collection released Wenders’ epic four-hour-plus cut of the film and wow, I was blown away. It finally all made sense. One of the most gorgeous films ever made in my opinion.
3. The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax): Every time I watch this bombastic, romantic, uber-stylish arthouse classic from Leos Carax, I want to go to each of my friends, one by one, and make sure they’ve all seen it. The shot where Denis Levant is limping along the bridge randomly shooting a gun off into nowhere to impress his lover while fireworks explode behind him is one of my 10 favorite shots in cinema history, and Levant’s performance is also among my all-time favorites. A major masterpiece in my book.
2. Naked (Mike Leigh): The average American moviegoer doesn’t seem to usually have much of an awareness of this film from my experience. Cinephiles around the world, however, all know it, and all seem to have an opinion on it. I feel like when I tell someone how much I love it, they’re either my new friend or suddenly scared of me. This is because Naked is one of the most intellectually brutal and nihilistic films that’s ever been made. It’s also about as smart and clear-headed as any film ever made. Writer/director Mike Leigh and actor David Thewlis do historically great work here, with Thewlis’ performance as the film’s protagonist (antagonist?) ranking as my all-time favorite lead performance by a male actor in a film. It’s that good.
1. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino): Do I really need to write about this one? A film with a style and voice so loud and big that it changed the movies. One of the 10 best films ever made in my opinion. I’ll leave it at that.
It goes without saying that I think my list is much better than IndieWire’s list. But what about your list? Do you have one? Can I see it? If you have one, send it my way at email@example.com.