A few weeks ago, I gave my countdown of what I personally feel were the ten greatest films of the 1980s. I would love to tell you that the countdown was well-received, and that people found it interesting, but I knew before I posted it that there was more chance of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No being nominated for an Oscar (and that really is the full title of Sharknado 3, just to save you having to check on Google).
I knew this because, of all the entries I posted last year, the three in which I counted down my favourite albums of the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s proved to be the least popular. Even my own mother, who may very well be my biggest (or perhaps only) fan, let me know in no uncertain terms that, and I quote, “I’m not that keen on the countdown ones. I prefer it when you tell a story.”
So I knew the countdown wouldn’t be that popular, but I still wrote and posted it for two reasons:
- I like a good countdown, and I was intrigued to see what films would make my list (and in what order);
- If I only post about the many unfortunate events which make up my existence, not only would it become tiresome to read, but any comedy that might be gleaned from it would surely dwindle. Plus, I might just start to depress myself, as I realise what an utter fuckwit I can be sometimes.
Anyway, I posted it and, as expected, it didn’t receive as many views as other entries, but I still enjoyed writing it. So, because I am true to my word, I still plan to countdown my favourite films of the ‘90s and ‘00s, starting with the former.
10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The inclusion of The Shawshank Redemption in my list will perhaps come as no surprise, as it would probably feature in many people’s top ten films of the 1990s, but I suspect those who would include it in their list, would place it far higher up (if not at the very top).
The truth is, I love this film, and along with The Green Mile and Stand By Me, it proves that Stephen King’s non-horror work generally makes for a better screen adaptation, but I prefer the nine films which follow, so this stays at number 10.
9. Apollo 13 (1995)
If I had posted this blog entry a couple of months ago, Apollo 13 might not have made the cut, as I hadn’t watched it in years and had forgotten how utterly brilliant it is. Fortunately, I spotted it whilst channel hopping a few weeks ago, and decided to re-watch it. It’s captivating, and the fact that the events really happened, and NASA were able to bring those three men home from space with the most basic technology, makes it all the more amazing.
8. Jurassic Park (1993)
Literally the best dinosaur-based theme park movie of all time. I say this having not seen last year’s Jurassic World, but feel pretty confident that I’m still right. I remember when Jurassic Park was first released, and the sheer hype and hysteria surrounding it, but when I finally got to watch it, it didn’t disappoint (and I generally detest films that receive lots of pre-release hype).
7. Goldeneye (1995)
The only Bond film to make my list, but in fairness there were only three 007 releases in the 1990s, and I doubt many would dispute this was the best of them. I enjoyed The World Is Not Enough immensely, but Goldeneye was the film which re-booted the series after a six-year hiatus, and introduced Pierce Brosnan into the role after Timothy Dalton’s all-too-brief spell as Bond.
Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) is an excellent villain, Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) is one of the hottest Bond girls in years, and Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) kills people by crushing them between her thighs. What’s not to like?
6. Enemy Of The State (1998)
Like Apollo 13, I always knew this was a great film, but it wasn’t until I re-watched it with my brother over Christmas (while clearing a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream sherry) that I remembered how superb it is. I’m a big fan of both Will Smith and Gene Hackman, and the film is non-stop action from start to finish, interspersed with typical Will Smith humour.
5. Speed (1994)
Such a simple idea for a film – there’s a bomb on a bus that will detonate if the bus slows down below 50mph – but through a combination of twists, humour, Sandra Bullock looking lovely, and some fantastic acting (no, not you Keanu, sit down) from Dennis Hopper as the maniacal bomber, this film is a ‘90s classic.
4. Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)
I still can’t decide whether I prefer this film to the original, but it’s mighty close either way, and the addition of Samuel L. Jackson to any cast is always going to improve it. The plot is great, the action sequences explosive and plentiful, and although I enjoyed Die Hard 4.0 (or Live Free or Die Hard in America), I sometimes wish they’d left the series as a trilogy, as this film would have been a great conclusion. Sadly, they didn’t learn any lessons from A Good Day To Die Hard, and are now working on a sixth instalment.
3. Independence Day (1996)
Another Will Smith action film. Yes, I know it’s a cheesy ‘God Bless America’ action-adventure, but that doesn’t necessarily put me off a film (believe it or not, I even enjoyed Armageddon) and the interaction between the ice-cool Will Smith and the bumbling nerd Jeff Goldblum is fantastic. This is just a great ‘90s sci-fi extravaganza. If only they could lose Bill Pullman’s naff speech towards the end…
2. Back To The Future Part III (1990)
There are some Back To The Future fans who believe this is the weakest film of the trilogy, but I’ve already revealed that I never tend to follow the general consensus when it comes to films, and I personally feel the second instalment is the worst (although it is still a great film in its own right). In any event, this is the only Back To The Future film to be released in the 1990s, so it wins by default.
I love the wild-west theme (despite not being a fan of Westerns generally) and it’s a fitting conclusion to what is, in my opinion, the greatest trilogy in cinematic history.
1. The Matrix (1999)
I love everything about this film from start to finish. It’s stylish, thought-provoking, action-packed, and the way some scenes were filmed was ground-breaking at the time (and remain impressive even now, nearly twenty years later). Upon its release, it was unique as a concept, and it hasn’t been replicated since (aside from in the two, frankly quite poor, sequels).
Like with Speed, The Matrix proves that, if you make the film good enough, you can cast Keanu Reeves in the lead role and it still won’t spoil it.
That’s the mark of a truly great film.