Sunday, January 2, 2011

101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the ‘90s

1. “As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster.”

2. “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.”

3. Bruce Willis sits at a stoplight, singing along with the radio.  Ving Rhames walks by, box of doughnuts in hand.  The two make eye contact.

4. The little girl in the red coat

5.Cuba Gooding, Jr. screaming for the life of his best friend in Boyz N the Hood

6. The seven minutes directly after this smile

7. The look Tom Hanks wears on his face as he stands outside Denzel Washington’s law office in Philadelphia.  Arguably the best acted scene of the decade.

8. The editing of the first 20 minutes of Good Will Hunting

9. Elisabeth Shue giving Nicolas Cage a flask (more here)

10. “Gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy.  You can expect five more of these.”

11. The delivery of the final word of Eyes Wide Shut

12. “Why are there frogs falling from the sky?”

13. Chazz Palminteri studies the wall, then drops his cup of coffee.  He’s got it, and we’re still trying to figure out what the fuck just happened.

14. “Malkovich? Malkovich.  Malkovich Malkovich.  Malkovich? MALKOVICH!”

15. The epilogue in Malcolm X

16. These guys

17. Steve Buscmi burying a million dollars deep in the snow, only marked by a messily red ice scrapper

18. Rubin Hurricane Carter in solitary confinement, trapped with two versions of his subconscious

19. “Honestly… have you ever seen anything like this?” “No.”

20. “You got any a dem French fried taters?”

21. As the sound of tanks and foot soldiers grow closer, Matt Damon stares off, lost in his grief.  Edward Burns stares at him for a moment. Damon looks over and the two make eye contact.  Burns nods his head ever so slightly. All is understood.  All is forgiven.

22. “You ever listen to K Billy’s Super Sounds of the ‘70s?”

23. Eddie Adams from Torrance

24. “Always. Be. Closing.”


26. “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.”

27. “Shut the fuck up, Donny!”

28. “Man, if my fuckin' ex-wife asked me to take care of her fuckin' dog while she and her boyfriend went to Honolulu I'd tell her to go fuck herself.”

29. The only Russell Crowe performances I’ve ever liked

30. The cinematography of Three Kings

31. The sound design of Three Kings

32. Basically, everything about Three Kings

33. “I’m a free man and I’m walkin’ out the front door.”

34. Brooks was here….So was Red

35. Everything that comes out of this guy’s mouth

36. Tom Cruise in Sydney Pollock’s billiards room

37. The ringing bells that close Breaking the Waves

38. The way Denzel Washington closes his eyes as The Hurricane’s verdict is read

39. Bruce Willis looks around the store, a hammer… too small.  A bat… too light.  A chainsaw… too loud.  A samurai sword… just right.

40. Future Man

41. The guy who played Aaron Stampler, Alan Isaacman, Worm, Derek Vinyard, The Narrator

42. “You know, we’re sittin’ here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we've been face to face, if I'm there and I gotta put you away, I won't like it. But I tell you, if it's between you and some poor bastard whose wife you're gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.”

43. This force of nature

44. Fargo’s use of a wood chipper

45. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blue

46. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s  White

47. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s  Red

48. “All’s you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.”

49. Clint Eastwood slowly taking a swig from a bottle of whiskey, without us even noticing

50. “Lust for Life” as used in Trainspotting

51. Sharon Stone as Ginger

52. “There was Jimmy and Tommy and me. And there was Anthony Stabile, Frankie Carbone. And then there was Mo Black’s brother Fat Andy and his guys Frankie the Wop, Freddy No Nose.  And then there was Pete the Killer, who was Sully Balls’ brother.  Then you had Mickey Eyes and Mikey Franzese and Jimmy Two Times who got that nickname because he said everything twice.”

53. The fact that Donnie Walhberg is the best part about The Sixth Sense 

54. “Do you like scary movies?”

55. "Fahgeddaboudit"

56. Bill Murrary blocking some kid’s layup


58. Soderbergh cross cutting Clooney and Lopez’s conversation in the bar with them undressing in the bedroom

59. Oops

60. “You want answers?” “I think I’m entitled.” “You want answers?!” “I want the truth!”  “_____________”

61. Edward trying to sleep on a water bed

62. “Has anything you’ve done made your life better?”

63. What Kathy Bates does with a block of wood and a sledge hammer

64. “Shut your fucking face, uncle fucker.”

65. Back when I liked Disney:

66. “Keep the sand out of your weapons, keep those actions clear, and I will see you on the beach.”

67. The makeup in Dick Tracy

68. “WHOO-RAH!”

69. Tom Hanks translating an opera

70. “Now, a question of etiquette - as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?”

71. The opening scene of Husbands and Wives

72. These Oscar winners

73. Jason Patric’s sauna monologue in Your Friends and Neighbors

74. The seven films directed by Oliver Stone

75. “Wait, wait, wait, I’m forgetting somebody... Jerry Maguire, my agent.  You are my ambassador of kwan, man.”

76. Dumb and Dumber, despite it being so... dumb

77. “Carol the waitress, Simon the fag.”

78. The 170 flawless minutes that make up The Thin Red Line

79. The monster that is this man

80. “Respect… the cock.”

81. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena

82. “You never open your mouth, unless you know what the shot is.  You fuckin’ child.”

83. Michael Bay’s first film (no bullshit)

84. The screenplay Andrew Niccol wrote in 1998

85. “Some folks call it a sling blade I call it a kieser blade.”

86. Welcome back, welcome back, wel-come baaack

87. “Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi!”

88. The gut-wrenchingly realistic resolution of Hoop Dreams

89. “Now go get your shine box.”

90. Best Documentary, 1996

91. The only discernible trait that Terminator 2, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, and Desperado have in common

92. “So… where’s your spark now?”

93. Welcome to America, stick around for a while

94. The birth of the Kaminski/Spielberg collaboration

95. Joe Pesci entering a courtroom in a ridiculous tuxedo

96. The fact that Sleepers remains, by and large, the most underrated film of the decade (more here)

97. … along with Jackie Brown

98. These two pros at the top of their games:

99. “I have to go see about a girl.”

100. “I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

101. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure.  But don’t worry, you will one day.”

“Answer” Key
1. Goodfellas
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
3. Pulp Fiction
4. Schindler’s List
6. Heat
9. Leaving Las Vegas
10. Se7en
12. Magnolia
13. The Usual Suspects
14. Being John Malkovich
16. From top left: The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Flawless
17. Fargo
18. The Hurricane
19. Se7en
20. Sling Blade
21. Saving Private Ryan
22. Reservoir Dogs
23. Boogie Nights
24. Glengary Glen Ross
25. Point Break
26-28. The Big Lebowski
29. L.A. Confedential, The Insider
33. In the Name of the Father
34. The Shawshank Redemption
35. Dazed and Confused
36. Eyes Wide Shut
38. The Hurricane
39. Pulp Fiction
40. Bottle Rocket
41. Edward Norton
42. Heat
43. Bad Lieutenant
48. Reservoir Dogs
49. Unforgiven
51. Casino
52. Goodfellas
54. Scream
55. Donnie Brasco
56. Rushmore
57. Miller’s Crossing
58. Out of Sight
59. The Crying Game
60. A Few Good Men
61. Edward Scissorhands
62. American History X
63. Misery
64. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
65. From top left: Aladdin, A Goofy Movie, James and the Giant Peach, Beauty and the Beast
66. Saving Private Ryan
68. Scent of a Woman
69. Philadelphia
70. Fight Club
72. The Wrong Trousers
74. The Doors, JFK, Heaven & Earth, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, U-Turn, Any Given Sunday
77. As Good As it Gets
79. Schindler’s List
80. Magnolia
81. Boys Don’t Cry
82. Glengary Glen Ross
83. Bad Boys
84. The Truman Show
85. Sling Blade
86. From top left: Primary Colors, A Civil Action, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Face/Off
87. Home Alone
89. Goodfellas
90. When We Were Kings
92. The Thin Red Line
93. All About My Mother
95. My Cousin Vinny
98. True Romance
99. Good Will Hunting
100. Silence of the Lambs
101 .American Beauty

Next month: 101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the ‘80s

Click here for the 101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the '90s


  1. sleepers if fantastic

  2. "i like your nurse's uniform, guy"

  3. i found myself googling some of your quotes great list!!...i think i need to watch more movies...

  4. thanks! I think it's time for me to post an "answer key." well, only for the 2000s list, I'll let the '90s list stew for a little longer.

  5. yes!!!!! answer key!!! thanks :)

  6. answer key could have saved me like an hour...hahah j/k awesome, i now have to add those movies to my watch list

  7. @ Anonymous: my pleasure.

    @ Matoli: ha, well, I had to let you sweat a little bit. I probably could make a "101 Reasons Why I Love 'Pulp Fiction'" list, but that seems a bit excessive. Thanks again for reading.

  8. 27. “Shut the fuck up, Donny!”
    28. “Man, if my fuckin' ex-wife asked me to take care of her fuckin' dog while she and her boyfriend went to Honolulu I'd tell her to go fuck herself.”


    Oh and 58! I love 58! ^^

  9. @Sati. Such an ingenious, intimate moment. Thanks for reading!