Crash! Landen’s Top 10 Movies of 1991

There were a number of offbeat if not outright quirky movies in 1991, and a lot of them were really good. The end of the 80s was still lingering and some of the films on this list have kind of that 80s pastiche or tone. But there were also a lot of movies that had that ‘indie’ feel to them that didn’t seem processed by Hollywood. I have nothing against Hollywood per se, because they’re capable of putting epic movies out like Amadeus or Schindler’s List while excreting the likes of ‘GI: Joe’, ‘Angels & demons’ or ‘Murder By Numbers’. It just seems more often than not, that it’s ONLY the bottom line that matters instead of trying to make something that won’t wantonly insult the intelligence of a teen audience. Indie films aren’t above criticism, but it seems like there is more of a vested interest in telling a story.
Stepping back down off of my soapbox… There are several ‘indie’ films on my list or at least they have the ‘feel’ of an indie film. There are also a few personal favorites that I just couldn’t bring myself to put on my list of ‘The Best That I’ve Seen’. These aren’t lists of my favorites, they’re movies that I thought were the best put together. There are movies that I see that I think are good, but I’d never want to watch again…
Some movies that didn’t make my list: the VERY good movie ‘Guilty by Suspicion’. It’s one of the ‘overlooked’ roles of Deniro’s that just proves (to me, anyway) how great an actor he is. I say that with Cape Fear sitting at #5 on my list. Deniro was great in that, too, but had one of the WORST and most obnoxious fake southern accents ever put to film. He’s great in it despite that.
Others I like that year: Regarding Henry… The British film ‘Let Him Have It’… New Jack City (Pookie!)… Oliver Stone’s ‘The Doors’… The chick flick ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’…
And the near chick flick ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ . Gabrielle Anwar was adorable in that movie. I thought she was going to have a ‘bigger’ career than she had based on this and smaller roles in movies like ‘Scent Of A Woman’. She’s still doing fine, though, so enough about the lovely and talented Miss Anwar.
Here’s my Top 10 for 1991.
10 City Slickers (Pretty good for a light mainstream comedy.)
9 The Fisher King (Not Terry Gilliam’s best, but it ‘s entertaining. This played much better with audiences than his next collaboration with Jeff Bridges: Tideland. Robin Williams will probably be in another Gilliam Movie in one of Top 10 Lists: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen where Williams was uncredited by his own choosing  over something silly. That one’s the better film than this one, though.)
8 Boyz N the Hood (Wasn’t this Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube’s debuts? They were both great in this, along with Fishburne who turned in a typically hard nosed performance as a father looking out for his son in a tough environment.)
7 Night On Earth (A series of vignettes revolving around taxi drivers around the world. Some work better than others. The segment with Roberto Begnigni alone is worth watching the movie for. I also enjoyed Beatrice Dalle as a blind passenger. I think this is easily the best Jim Jarmusch movie that I’ve seen, or at least my favorite.
6 Dogfight (Very seldom do I ever see this movie mentioned by anyone, but it was for me, one of River Pheonix’s best roles as a marine on the verge of being sent off to war. Lili Taylor does a great job in the ‘homely girl’ role… Which she’s not. A very sweet movie with some deliberate rough edges. If you’re into indie flicks, I highly recommend this one. It’s a shame River Pheonix is no longer with us. He was a pretty good actor. See also Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where he captures the mannerisms of Harrison Ford to a solid degree… Um, don’t do drugs, kids.)
5 Cape Fear (Great remake that foreshadows the style in Scorsese’s Shutter Island. This movie made me hope for a X-Men film with Deniro as Wolverine. There were scenes in this where he looked like the comics’ character.)
4 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Schwarzenegger’s Terminator Villain trumps his role in T2, but despite a number of flaws was one of the most enjoyable sci fi/action films of the 90s. Awesome movie in any account.)
3 The Silence of the Lambs (Very imaginitve and stylized take on the (at the time) blooming serial killer genre. Sadly this spawned a lot of unintelligent imitators that portrayed the false reality of the cliched ‘genius serial murderer’. The true reality is closer to Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer.. Another good movie by the way.)
2 Grand Canyon (A very under rated movie. Was very mainstream although I don’t think many people have seen it. Interweaves a disparate group of characters into the central theme very well. Worth seeing at least once.)
1 Barton Fink (One of the Coens’ best. Turturro is great in this, as is John Goodman, but as in all Coen Brothers movies there are always a number of standout character actor performances. This movie is no different and features some regulars for the Coens: John Mahoney, Steve Buscemi, Michael Lerner, and one of my favorites Jon Polito. Outstanding movie about writing and Hollywood,
among other things.)
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