Like it’s 1990

Well, here we go, another year-based movie marathon done (previously 1967196819771978, 19801985198619871988, and 1989), this time for 1990. I started it quite a few months ago, stopped for a while (in part for my October marathon), and then started up again in December to finish it now. There are still a few films that I was originally planning on watching, like Flatliners, The Two Jakes, and Miller’s Crossing, but I felt like it was time to stop and move on to something else — I actually started watching Miller’s Crossing, but for some reason wasn’t getting into it at all, even though I used to consider it a fave. So I end it at 25 movies, which I think is a decent number — and I’ll say it was a pretty good year for films, and I quite enjoyed the vast majority of what I watched. Next up I’ll be taking a little break from marathons to catch up on various newer releases, but the next marathon will be for 1981, and I already have a long list of things I want to watch. Below, the list of all the movies from 1990 that I watched, with links to my short write-ups (or just go to the “1990” tag to see them all together).

  1. Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams
  2. Another 48 Hours
  3. Back to the Future Part III
  4. Child’s Play 2
  5. Dances With Wolves
  6. Darkman
  7. Days of Thunder
  8. Die Hard 2
  9. Edward Scissorhands
  10. Goodfellas
  11. La Femme Nikita
  12. Misery
  13. Nightbreed
  14. Predator 2
  15. Presumed Innocent
  16. Robocop 2
  17. Tales From the Darkside
  18. The Exorcist III
  19. The Godfather Part III
  20. The Hunt for Red October
  21. The Russia House
  22. Total Recall
  23. Quigley Down Under
  24. Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
  25. Wild at Heart
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The Russia House

I don’t have any especially fond memories of this movie, but figured it would still be good to revisit, and hey, it’s a John Le Carré thriller starring Sean Connery. It’s definitely a slow burn, but I did enjoy it for the most part, except for the kinda creepy romance twist between Connery and Pfeiffer (in terms of age difference). Not very exciting as a film, but it suits the story.

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Quigley Down Under

I do find it to be a pretty interesting setting for a Western, I’ll give it that. It’s not a bad movie, and I did enjoy watching most of it, although it did feel long and I found myself checking the time a few times. I also like the fact that the character Selleck plays is basically a sniper, as it changes up things a bit. Selleck never fully feels like he’s able to put on a proper Old West accent though, but I did really like Laura San Giacomo, she’s great. One thing that did bother me is the way the Aborigines are presented, especially the nudity, as it gives off the uncomfortable thought of why is it OK to portray that kind of nudity (specifically women’s breasts) in a film like this, as opposed to non-Aborigines characters. One of those unfortunate sign of the times.

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La Femme Nikita

I find it pretty funny that the actual French title of this film is just Nikita, but hey, whatever. This is still a fantastic film, and I really enjoyed watching it — and it helped that I barely remembered the story. Great cast all around, and I really like how it ends. The only things I didn’t like were the score and the sound effects of the gun shooting, which are weirdly cavernous, and just took me a bit out of those scenes. As for the score, it’s by Eric Serra, and looking up what else he had done (other than multiple Besson films) I noticed he did Goldeneye, and on a recent rewatch of that movie I indeed realized just how much I don’t like that score either.

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Dances With Wolves

I remembered this being a long movie, but four hours!?! It even has an intermission in the middle! You’d think it would come off as overindulgent (being Costner’s directorial debut and all) but I found myself really enjoying this, and didn’t really feel like there are parts that shouldn’t be there (although I did watch it over two nights). Sure, “white savior” trope and all that, but I did appreciate how it really does embrace the culture of the people he encounters, and there’s a lot to like about how those interactions develop. It’s also a beautiful movie, with so many gorgeous shots of the “frontier.” Oh, and I didn’t realize (or at least didn’t remember) that John Barry had done the score for this! All in all, still a very good movie, and pretty astonishing that Costner was able to achieve something like this his first time at bat.

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Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

I do remember watching this back in the day and not really enjoying it. I didn’t really remember any aspect of the film, just that it wasn’t for me, and that made me pretty excited to revisit it at this point in my life to see how I would feel this time. Since it’s an anthology — made up of a series of “dreamy” sequences — it’s maybe not too surprising that I’m going to say that there were some segments that I really, really liked (the first two especially, as well as the windmill village one), and some I found to be alright, and some I really, really didn’t like (the blizzard, the red Fuji, the demon). In the end, what attracts me to Kurosawa’s work is his sense of visual construction, and so the segments that really highlight this are the ones I really liked — for the same reason that I love Ran. So in the end, for me, it’s uneven, but I’m really glad I watched it. And seeing Martin Scorsese play the role of Van Gogh in one of the segments is pretty surreal.

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The Hunt for Red October

Even though I love this movie, I waited quite a while to watch it during this marathon because I had already revisited it a few years ago while doing a rewatch of all the Jack Ryan films (ahead of the start of the Jack Ryan TV series). But despite it still being relatively fresh in my mind, I still had a blast watching it, and still felt the tenseness whenever you should feel it. This is just such a great film, and definitely one of my favorites of 1990. I also wish John McTiernan had directed more Ryan films.

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Presumed Innocent

I enjoyed watching this. It starts off slow, and at first I wasn’t really into Ford’s glum performance, but the story does get quite good, and luckily I had forgotten how it ends, so I didn’t know what to expect — really didn’t see that ending coming, even though I definitely watched this back in the day. This also made me think that I used to really like courtroom dramas (sure, lots of them of the John Grisham variety), and it feels like I haven’t watched a new one (and I’m specifically referring to movies here, not TV series) in ages. Then again, maybe it’s because I don’t pay enough attention to new releases these days, while spending so much time revisiting old films.

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Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael

I was probably just in the right mood for this, because I don’t think it’s an especially good film, but I found myself really enjoying it. Just a sorta feel-good teen drama of the era, and hey, it stars Winona Ryder, which is a-ok with me. Going in I didn’t really remember anything about it, but it slowly started coming back to me as I was watching it. Just a nice little movie to watch on a Saturday night.

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What a great film. I’m pretty sure I haven’t re-watched this since back in the day, and so I was pretty fresh going in, not really remembering how the story went. I think it’s also interesting to see this after The Irishman, as you can draw some interesting parallels — not just the presence of Pesci and De Niro, but also the fact that Liotta and De Niro can’t be “made” because they’re of Irish descent. All of the performances are of course fantastic, including bright-eyed Liotta. I also really enjoyed some of the amazing long tracking shots that Scorsese executes throughout. Still deservedly one of the best films of 1990.