35.A.W.O.L:Absent Without Leave
Like many of Van Damme’s prime era movies this is utter cheese but it has a slightly nastier streak than earlier movies like Kickboxer. I remember the intro, where his brother is burned alive was shocking for kids and was the talk of the playground when anyone saw it. It’s nothing now of course but it was brutal for it’s time. when he’s wheeled into the hospital. The rest is standard Van Damme revenge with some fun fights including a big mad kilted Scotsman….represent.
The most derided and hated of the Rocky movies was actually a big favourite of mine as a kid. It was on tv a lot so I saw it more than others and I always enjoyed it. Granted it’s been a while since I checked it out and I’ll probably keep it that way because I don’t want my nostalgia to be ruined. Tommy Gunn played by real life heavyweight champ Tommy Morrison was an interesting character and for a guy who had never acted before he did a solid job for a big mainstream movie. Unfortunately the Hollywood lifestyle ate him alive and he contracted HIV only to die years later after many personal struggles.
Best Bit-I didn’t hear no bell
32.The Sheltering Sky
A more up market and sophisticated entry than most on this list in this adaptation of the 1949 Paul Bowles novel of the same name. It shows the struggle of a couple’s desperate attempts to save their relationship as they travel to the Sahara desert Their trip and the people they meet lead to more problems than they could have imagined. Great performances from John Malkovic and Debra Winger and a beautiful score from the legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Best Bit-Final monologue
State of that poster….If I told you that there was going to be a western re-imagining of the legendary Zatoichi series about the blind samurai and Rutger bloody Hauer was going to be playing the Zatoichi role? Oh and he’d be dressed like he’s going to play bingo. You’d slap me and tell me to die right? Well not so fast there Buster…this is actually awesome nonsense. My brother loved this movie and showed it to me. I was enthralled by it. This another one that might be best left in the past so I’m not going to dig it out for nostalgia’s sake…..It’s actually technically an 1989 movie but only in West Germany so it came over here in 1990.
30.Lord Of The Flies
This is one of those movies we were shown at school….possibly as a threat I don’t know but it always stuck with me. We read it too and it’s a great story about a group of school kids who wash up on a desert island and are forced to fend for themselves. Chaos reigns and factions form as the kids end up at war with themselves. It was recieved poorly compared to the 1963 original as many found the transition into their island roles too heavy handed. Either way it is an enjoyable and sometimes disturbing tale worth watching.
Best Bit-Poor Piggy
29.Island Of Fire
Something of an ensemble cast in terms of kung fu action movies with Jackie Cha, Sammo Hung, Andy Lau and more all bring their game to this production.. A bit of a surprise considering the movie stars Hung and Chan is that it’s not a comedy despite some amusing moments (mainly thanks to Hung). It centres around an undercover cop going into a prison where the rest of cst reside to discover how the fingerprints of an executed inmate ended up on a newly discovered body.
A decade before starting his mostly excellent Spider-man trilogy, Sam Raimi made his own anti-hero in Darkman, played by Liam Neeson. It’s full of Raimi’s trademark wonderfully corny direction techniques and over the top effects. It’s a mix of Batman and Beauty And The Beast with a hint of sentimentality and violence. Fun stuff.
Best Bit-Where’s my elephant!?
27.Child’s Play 2
Best Bit-Naughty teacher
The early 90s was a weird time for hip hop. Gangsta rap was massive at the time but the feel good rap of the late 80s was still hanging on and doing well in the mainstream. Kid ‘n Play were the poster boys for fun time party rap and their first movie here was a very well received party film. There’s such a good feel to it that’s missing in a lot of these kinds of movies these days. It manages to avoid the rapey humour of college movies like Animal House and Porkys while still having sexual overtones in a playful manner. Kid and Play were very charismatic guys and it’s just a real feel good film. Not a damn thing wrong with that.
Best Bit-Public enema rant
25.Wild At Heart
One of the least “Lynchian” David Lynch films and one that actually did well on release. Usually his movies are met with confused reception and then pick up a cult following in later years. I’m a huge Lynch fan although I completely understand why someone wouldn’t be and although the structure of Wild At Heart is standard Hollywood, the content is anything but with Nic Cage living out his dream of playing a character based on Elvis and James Dean. There’s plenty odd stuff in here with the tone switching from hyper violent to campy fun to melodrama. It’s a blast of fun nonsense.
Best Bit-Bobby’s end
24. Nightbreed:The Director’s Cut
A fantasy, action horror from the mind of Clive Barker. The original theatrical cut was not well received by critics and even some Barker fans but apparently the studio chopped his vision to pieces which leaves it making less sense than was originally intended. The director’s cut is far better and lets Barker see his ideas through. It’s based on the novella “Cabal” from his seminal “Books Of Blood”.
Bet Bit-Meeting Decker
23.Pump Up The Volume
Best Bit-The final speech
22.The Exorcist 3
Best Bit-Dancing on the ceiling
21.Die Hard 2:Die Harder
When I was young Die Hard 2 was always the black sheep in the then Die Hard trilogy. Now that we’ve had a couple more movies in the franchise it looks like Citizen Kane compared to the new ones. It didn’t quite have the humour and pace of the first and third films but I always felt it got too much of a hard time. It’s still a really good and exciting movie. Director Renny Harlin had just come off of the surprise success of his first theatrical release A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 4 and was incredibly inexperienced at this level of budget and cast so all things considered he did a very sound job.
Best Bit- The fight on the airplane
With far less focus on horror than the original and more focus on goofy fun and fourth wall breaking wackiness, Gremlins 2 is a much more family friendly movie. The cynic in me says that may have something to do with the shed loads of Gizmo toys they sold but hey….we got a good movie out of it anyway.
Best Bit-Gizmo dance
Takeshi Kitano (AKA Beat Takeshi, you know, from Takeshi’s Castle) took his second stab at directing with this unusual gem and fans of his work will see the early developments of his unique style. A revenge movie in which two men go against the the Yakuza with the help of a crazy member of the Yakuza himself who has a reason for revenge.
Best Bit-Friendly fire
An excellent throwback to the monster movies of the 50s and 60s with giant underground worms terrorizing a remote town in the south of America. It stars Kevin Bacon and the bad arse character actor Fred Ward and the cast have great chemistry which helps the silly premise work. Bacon was sure he’d blown his career when he started working on this movie but after it came out and was well received things changed. A fun and nostalgic genre piece that pays tribute to the classic creature features whilst updating the formula.
Best Bit-Poor Mr Chang
An emotional and quirky tale of true beauty and love from a bang on form Tim Burton. This has all the classic Burton hallmarks before he became a parody of himself. Snow, goth aesthetics, rousing string symphony and a nice mix of emotion and humour. A man with giant scissors for hands is brought to live with a suburban family, craziness ensues. I love these beauty and beast style stories and my friends like to remind me that I’m proof that they actually exist…..
Best Bit- The ice dance
A much more mean spirited and violent sequel than it’s already violent predecessor and it lacks the charm the original had. That said I think it’s an incredibly underrated movie with some great set pieces and the urban setting instead of the jungle is ripped straight from the great Predator comic Concrete Jungle.
Best Bit- Voodoo magic man
A stunning black and white art piece that seriously divides anyone that watches it. I completely understand that too as it’s definitely not for everyone and the atmosphere has to be right. I first stumbled across it in the early torrent days (naughty naughty) and I was sat close to my monitor in the pitch black alone discovering this movie that felt like it wasn’t mean to be found. It had an incredible effect on me and the imagery stays with me to this day.
Best Bit-The intro
Much like Predator 2 this sequel is far more mean spirited and lacks the true charm and social satire that the original had. That said it’s still a movie I very much enjoy and absolutely adored as a kid…..I was an odd kid. One of the villains is a kid drug lord which is hilariously silly but damn he is a good villain. Smug, bratty and always seems to get away whereas the main villain Cain is a great, calm and chillingly evil bad guy Who becomes a real problem for Robocop as the movie goes on.
Best Bit- Arcade raid
I remember watching this in primary school as it was advertised as a family film. Three kids in my class had to leave the room because it was too scary for them. It really was terrifying for a young kid to watch and Angelica Huston’s portrayal of the head witch is fantastic. Based on the Roald Dahl story of the same name, this movie has Jim Henson’s workshop working their magic with some incredible puppetry. Of course Dahl hated it.
Best Bit- The witches’ meeting
A horror comedy that was always on tv when I was young and everyone owned it in some shape or form. Another one of these movies that traumatized me as a kid but seemed like family friendly fun with John Goodman putting in an over the top performance as the goofy exterminator coming to eradicate the spider problem. The way the spiders hid in every day objects to strike the humans terrified me and I’ve never put a ppair of slippers on the same way since.
Best Bit- Bill Pullman vs giant spider
11.Back To The Future 3
No doubt many people will have expected this to be higher but jeez it’s high enough so stop moaning. What a fun adventure western it is as Marty going back to the 1800s to save Doc from being killed by one of Biff’s ancestors. Doc falls in love with Mary Steenburgen’s character and their relationship forms most of the best comedy. Marty as usual is a fun character brilliantly played by Michael J Fox and the movie is more of a fun adventure than the second movie which had more of a sci fi dystopian theme. Don’t get me wrong I still love part two but it was nice for it to return to the light hearted tone of the first.
Best Bit- The train ride
10.Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer
Although it was made in 1986, this grisly movie went through a whole ordeal with the mpaa refusing to classify the movie so it couldn’t get rated and therefor a theatrical release. Critics started to demand it be shown and through word of mouth it’s reputation grew until it finally got a release in 1990. It’s an incredibly intense movie following the life of a nihilistic sociopathic serial killer wonderfully and disturbingly played by the manacling Michael Rooker.
Best Bit-Ottis…plug it in.
9.Night Of The Living Dead
Practical effects gore god Tom Savini made his feature film debut with a remake of the pioneering George Romero masterpiece Night Of The Living Dead from 1968. What a grand job he did as well, paying perfect homage to the original but upping the violence, gore and racial implications to fit the era and expand on the wider boundaries of what were acceptable in he movie industry by the 90s. I’m a big Tony Todd fan and he does great in the lead role.
Best Bit-Home invasion
Well, who the hell in my demographic expected this to be as good as it was?. Forget about the pottery wheel scene that has been parodied a million times with that horrible Righteous Brother song. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore kill it with their chemistry and Whoopi Goldberg shines as the eccentric psychic. It’s emotional, funny and it times genuinely scary for a romantic comedy.
Best Bit-Willy Lopez gets carried away
For a meathead action star Arnie really did star in a lot of high concept sci fi movies and this one based on the Philip K. Dick short “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” is up there with his best. Directed by the brilliant (and sadly out of the mainstream eye these days) Paul Verhoeven whose ultra violent, humorous and sexual content is always memorable and striking. It’s hard to explain without spoiling so if you haven’t seen it just give it a watch.
Best Bit-Welcome to Mars
Based on the excellent novel by Stephen King, Misery is a tense and taught thriller in which an author crashes and is rescued by his biggest fan. She takes him to her remote house and keeps him there prisoner, forcing him to write a satisfactory book in her favourite series. kathy Bates, the deranged superfan is amazing in the role and manages to make a dumpy, middle aged woman a terrifying horror antagonist.
Best Bit-The hobbling
The biggest movie of 1990, produced and written by the great John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus with a starring turn from Macaulay Culkin in his absolute pomp. It’s crazy how big he was in the early 90s, can’t think of a child star that’s come close in that regard it was nuts. The charismatic kid manages to lead the movie in which his family goes on holiday and forgets him leaving him….home alone. He deals with burglars and other obstacles in this classic family film.
Best Bit-The traps
4.Dances With Wolves
Tear jerking Oscar bait starring Kevin Costner in his pomp. It’s amazing that this kind of story is copied by massive productions like Avatar and The Last Samurai where the white man becomes a hero to the grateful savage natives but the formula obviously works. To be fair here it’s portrayal of the Lakota Indians is sensitive for a huge budget Hollywood movie and Costner went to great lengths to make sure that was the case. His character befriends the Indians and tries to stave off the subjugation of the American frontier.