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Monday, May 18, 2020

100 Best Movies of the 1990's

Like with our list of the 100 Greatest Films of the 2010s, I am attempting to make this list as objective as possible. As a Millennial, this is a tougher task thanks to my nostalgia goggles. I also think this is a tougher task thanks to the wide variety of films that were released and popularized during the decade. Nowadays, studios only spend a million dollars or one hundred million dollars to make a film in order to limit their risk. Not so much in the 1990's. Thanks to the rise of Independent Cinema, combined with our eternal love of Big Blockbusters, this decade produced every type of film imaginable. Thanks to auteurs like Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, and Paul Thomas Anderson coming to prominence, we were introduced to stylish films that changed the way we viewed cinema. Thanks to funny people like The Farrelly Brothers, Adam Sandler, and other SNL alums, we were treated to low brow comedies that we still can't stop quoting. Thanks to James Cameron, Michael Bay, and Roland Emmerich we got summer tent-pole movies that we still love to watch when they appear on cable. The 1990's also gave us genius films from The Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg, and Ron Howard. This decade popularized David Fincher, Frank Darabont, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, and so many more.

As I previously mentioned, I wanted this list to be as objective as possible. I wanted to rank films solely on their quality and how well they have been indoctrinated into our pop culture. I included my own biases of course, but I looked at many outside factors as well. How well received and talked about is the film on Twitter? Are YouTube videos or podcasts made to discuss the film? How often is it a cable rewatch? What did critics think of the film? What did the Academy Awards think of it? The American Film Institute? My friends? My parents? All of this went into consideration in trying to determine the absolute best films of the decade. Although I know you think I'm wrong, we're going to give it a shot anyways.

This list is broken down rather peculiarly I'd imagine. It starts with a deep dive on the Top 25 films of the decade to explain a little bit further about the cream of the crop, but I didn't want to start off with #1 starring you straight in the face. Therefore, I ranked the films 25-1. After that, the films are listed chronologically from 26 through 100. Along the way, you're treated with a handful of mini-lists, such as: The Top 10 Action Films, Top 10 Animated Films, Top 10 Dumb Comedies, and Top 10 High Schools Films.

So without further ado, below is our list of the 100 Best Movies of the 1990's:


Saturday, February 29, 2020

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2019

I thought 2019 was an excellent year for film. Not only did we get an excellent Quentin Tarantino film, BUT we also got an excellent Martin Scorsese film. Two of the best filmmaker of ALL TIME releasing masterpieces months apart, how often does that happen? A lot of film years this past decade have been decently deep, but pretty light on top. Take 2012 for example. I ranked the films that year and talked about a whopping 20. But what was the best film year, even in retrospect? I had Looper at the time and still feel strongly about it, but my top five were Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, and Wreck-It Ralph. Seven years later, is there a consensus best film of the year? (and go fuck yourself if you say The Master you pretentious snob). Point is, 2019 is different. I think it's crazy top heavy this year. Not only were Once Upon A Time... in Hollywood and The Irishman instant classics, we had a great Awards Season of Sam Mendes' 1917 vs. Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, both excellent in their own right. So where do these films rank on my list? I just you're just going to have to read below!

10) Ford v Ferrari
Directed By: James Mangold
Starring: Christian Bale & Matt Damon
STARS: 3 out of 4

Why It's Great: Sometimes movie stars just need to be movie stars and charm the fuck out of the audience. We knew Matt Damon was the cream of the crop and his character Carol Shelby gets to smile and charm his way to both Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) and our hearts. Christian Bale gets to play opposite Damon as the driver Ken Miles and he's equally as compelling. He doesn't need to gain or lose an unhealthy amount of weight and he even gets to use his real accent and proves he can act with Acting. Ford v Ferrari is just a charming, enjoyable experience and one I'm glad to have seen in the theaters. It's also another great notch in James Mangold's belt, because while he has some misses and a lot of *shoulder shrug emoji*, he now gets to add this Best Picture nominee to his other greats like 3:10 to Yuma and Logan to his resume.


9) Booksmart
Directed By: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Beanie Feldstein & Kaitlyn Dever
STARS: 3 out of 4

Why It's Great: I do get why the people behind Booksmart are a bit peeved when their film is called the female Superbad, but I do think it's the 2019 Superbad. Superbad came out when I was in college and I, like the rest of America, was swept away by it. I still fucking love the movie, but do understand that many of the jokes have not aged, and that movie as is would not be released by any major studio. But if a major studio were trying to capitalized on the success of Superbad in today's "woke climate", Booksmart would be the film released. Instead of the same white horny kid(s) at the center we have two horny women, one of which is gay. One of the main side characters is Black (Jessica Williams) along with one of the lead's crushes (who also happens to be the son of Cuba Cooding Jr). However, most importantly, no one in the film is mean. In the beginning of Superbad, one dude spits on Jonah Hill's character. Sure, some of the characters say some unflattering things about Beanie Feldstein's character, but it's mainly that she's not fun. The movie could have easily said things a million times worse. But that's what makes Booksmart so great. It takes 2019's sensibilities and is still able to mine laugh-out-loud humor that hold up upon rewatch. In an era of anti-bullying and demands for better representation in film, Booksmart is able to deliver AND still be gut-busting hilarious.

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Best Movie Soundtrack of 2019

There should be a litany of additional Oscar categories. In 2014, I advocated for a Best Soundtrack one. Here are my nominees for the  Best Soundtrack of 2019:

ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
Dir. Quentin Tarantino, Music Supervisor Mary Ramos



It should not be a surprise to see a Quentin Tarantino film nominated in this category. Music and QT films are synonymous, whether it's Steeler Wheels "Stuck In The Middle With You" and Reservoir Dogs or Rick Ross's "100 Black Coffins" and Django Unchained, Tarantino has always spectacularly been able to use songs to elevate his story telling. And just like Tarantino is able to resurrect careers of former A-listers like John Travolta, he's able to take little known hits and B-sides and turn them into iconography. For instance, see "Brother Loves Traveling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamond. It's the main music bed for the film's trailer and runs throughout the film like a theme song. 

For me personally, a lot of what makes a great soundtrack is that it places the movie in a specific time, and no better way to represent the Summer of '69 in Hollywood than to play what was on the radio at the time while characters drive around the city.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2019

As if there weren't already too many shows to watch, 2019 saw the release of two brand new streaming services: Apple+ and Disney+. Even if you wanted to watch everything, how could you afford it? The diversity of shows is apparent on my list, I have six different channels/streaming services represented, but I am now at the point where I retreat to my favorite and what I enjoy. There might be quote unquote "better" shows out there, but this list represents the 10 shows that gives me the most pleasure.


10) Watchmen (HBO)
Season: 1
Created By: Damon Lindelof
Starring: Regina King, Jean Smart & Jeremy Irons

Why It's Great: This might be blasphemous to put into writing and have anyone on The Internet have the ability to read it, but I really liked the 2009 Zach Snyder film Watchmen, and I enjoyed the Snyder Cut with an additional 24 minutes even more. I also never read the original Alan Moore comic book either. (What a fun way to start off this list, huh?!). Damon Lindelof did what I expect to this recycled IP, nostalgia culture: he made something wholly new and original, created and explored new and ambitious themes, added in his own unique personality and vision, all while being true to the original work. So sure, at the end we got a whole lot of Dr. Manhattan, and Laurie Blake, and Adrian Veidt, but we also got a show where Regina King's character takes some pills and gets to basically reenact her grandfather becoming the first superhero in America.


9) The Righteous Gemstones (HBO)
Season: 1
Created By: Danny McBride
Starring: Danny McBride, Adam Devine & John Goodman

Why It's Great: Normally, I am not the biggest Danny McBride fan. I liked the first season of Eastbound and Down, but couldn't get far past that, and I couldn't get past the pilot episode of Vice Principals, but for some reason, The Righteous Gemstones got hooked. I know a lot of people think this show was a fun parody of MegaChurch culture, but I always found it more singular. I never felt like it was an examination of the culture as a whole, but of these bad people, many of them hypocrites. As we got to know these particular characters, we were treated with humor and delight. Plus, an awesome video of Jennifer Nettles and TV Legend Walton Goggins singing about Misbeahvin'.

The Top 10 Best Songs of 2019

10) "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo


What a helluva year for Lizzo. When you're 100% That Bitch, you can twerk your ass off in a wedding dress while playing the flute and pull it off flawlessly. Not only does every woman love Lizzo and have her as their spirit animal, everyone in America now loves Lizzo.

9) "Blind Leading The Blind" by Mumford and Sons




Gotta love a Mumford and Songs with a driving drum beat. "Blind Leading The Blind" is a classic Mumford and Sons song through the filter of Kings of Leon and I'm all about it.

8) "Woman" by Karen O and Danger Mouse




What does a song sound like when it has the beats of the DJ who made The Grey Album and St. Elsewhere with the lyricist and vocalist of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs? This awesome song is what.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Non-Risky Business: How Tom Cruise Neutered Himself to Remain a Hollywood Staple

In his 2005 book The Game, author and journalist for Rolling Stone magazine Neil Strauss discusses the week he interviewed Tom Cruise for a magazine cover story. Strauss had just written an article for The New York Times about the underground community of Pick Up Artists (it's also the basis for The Game) which piqued Cruise's interests, and asked to spend time with the author. As Strauss writes in this book, "Tom Cruise was the perfect specimen. He was the [Alpha Male of the Group] that... everyone in the seduction community had been trying to emulate. He had a natural ability to remain dominant, physically and mentally, in any social situation without seeming to exert any effort... Nearly everyone in the community had studied his films to learn body language and regularly used terminology from Top Gun in the field."

This is the persona of Tom Cruise. By almost all accounts, Tom Cruise is the absolute best. As Strauss writes, "He was the first person I'd met since joining the seduction community who didn't let me down." The person who walks in a room and allows his charisma to brighten it. You don't know what "it" is but you're 100% sure Tom Cruise has it. He is the epitome of a movie star. Tom Cruise is Maverick from Top Gun. He is Ethan Hunt from the Mission: Impossible franchise. He is Cole Trickle from Days of Thunder.

Part of the reason Tom Cruise wanted to sit down with Neil Strauss for the aforementioned interview was because Strauss's New York Times article mentions a fellow Pick Up Artist who claims to be the basis for Frank T.J. Mackey. Mackey is the seduction artist played by Cruise in Paul Thomas Anderson's 1999 magnum opus Magnolia. Mackey's first lines uttered in the movie, in a close up shot of Cruise speaking to a crowded seminar filled with desperate men, are, "Respect the cock and tame the cunt." Magnolia came out in the same year as Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, a film where Kubrick seemingly wanted to fuck with the real life marriage of Cruise and his then-wife Nicole Kidman while Cruise spends most of the movie in an orgy in the middle of a mansion. Tom Cruise willingly starred in films that would seem to destroy his Good Boy Persona. Who wants to see their charming leading man act like an Incel on a 4-chan subreddit or sneaking around during a sex party?

Saturday, June 8, 2019

100 Greatest Films of the 2010's

Trying to create a list of the 100 best films within a 10 year span is a daunting task. I have been working on this post for the past 8 months, and I will continue to tweak it as the year goes along (as I consider your feedback as well as to include more films from 2019 on the list). However, it is not the inherent time it takes to think and rank and write about 100+ films, it's knowing that you're going to be inherently wrong. Even when I floated my top 10 to my friends, people with similar movie tastes to me, I couldn't get a consensus. Yet despite this, I persevered, and moved forward. Every year I create my own personal Best Of lists, but that's not what I wanted this list to be. I wanted this list to be as objective as possible. I wanted to rank films solely on their quality and how well they've pierced our pop culture. I included my own biases of course, but I looked at many outside factors as well. How well received and talked about is the film on Twitter? Are YouTube videos or podcasts made to discuss the film? How often is it a cable rewatch? What did critics think of the film? What did the Academy Awards think of it? My friends? My parents? All of this went into consideration in trying to determine the absolute best films of the decade. Although I know you think I'm wrong, we're going to give it a shot anyways.


1) The Social Network (2010)
Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, & Armie Hammer
RT Score: 95%

Why It's Great: The Social Network is the culmination of the greatest writer of our time collaborating with one of the best filmmakers of our time to create the best film of a decade about the defining technological achievement of our time. This film not only has Aaron Sorkin's snappy dialogue (we get it right out of the gate with Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg discussing life at college with his then girlfriend Erica played by Rooney Mara) but Sorkin seamlessly interweaves the origin story of Facebook as being told through the lens of two different legal depositions. It's a bold storytelling device that is brilliantly executed. This incredible script combined with David Fincher, a man who makes a regatta race one of stand out scenes of the movie, and indelible performances, and you're left with the unequivocal best film of the past ten years.


2) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Co-Written & Directed By: George Miller
Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, & Nicholas Hoult
RT Score: 97%

Why It's Great: I have only seen this film once, and I was not the biggest fan of it, even I can marvel at its technical brilliance and realize how Mad Max: Fury Road has cemented this film as probably the best film of this generation. The film is basically one giant car chase scene, but it's so much more than that. Miller is able to introduce us and immerse us in this patriarchal world. The film is a feminist anthem about destroying a system and starting anew. We know so much about this world system without any overt exposition dialogue or clunky narratives. Miller shows us bits and pieces and nuances together to create something fully formed yet brief. It just is, and then we're thrust into action. It's no surprise this film took home 6 Oscars, because it is a technical sensation. Just a treat all around.


3) The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Terence Winter
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, & Margot Robbie
RT Score: 78%

Why It's Great: Whether it's the excess run time of the film, or the excess, abhorrent lifestyle of the real life of the main character (played by DiCaprio in the film) and how he's portrayed in The Wolf of Wall Street, you can't say that Jordan Belfort isn't at least interesting. I understand the criticisms, and truthfully they are all pretty much valid, but Martin Scorsese has created such a brilliant work of art that the film he gifted to us that we need to treat it like the bona fide masterpiece that it is. There have been so many films that have tried to be Scorsese (like Todd Phillips' War Dogs or Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya) or many films that would have been improved had Scorsese been behind the wheel (like Scott Cooper's Black Mass) that we need to reward Scorsese when he creates a quintessential classic for his oeuvre.