TC Candler

The Top 10 Films of 1990

1. The Hunt for Red October

Everyone and their mother will have “Goodfellas” at the top of their 1990 list… not me.  Perhaps it is a little nostalgia creeping in.  Throughout my college years, this was my default answer whenever anyone asked my favorite film.  Sean Connery was my most loved movie star.  I was fascinated with cold war films.  Everything about “Red October” checked all of my boxes.  The film is exciting and fun and thrilling.  It is one of the all time great “guy flicks”.

9.9 / 10

2. Goodfellas

Scorsese’s masterpiece is a defining moment in cinema history.  It did the impossible and surpassed the greatness of both “Godfather” films.  The impeccable script.  The perfectly defined characters.  The camerawork.  The soundtrack.  It is all beyond excellent.  Ray Liotta’s career defining role is something he never even remotely approached again.  De Niro hadn’t yet started to tarnish his legacy with crappy comedies.  Joe Pesci was insanely menacing with a pen.  And I learned how to slice garlic… BONUS!

9.8 / 10

3. Joe Versus the Volcano

I think this might be my choice for “Most Underrated Film of the 1990’s”.  Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, at the peak of their fame and powers, star in a movie that is far deeper than the premise may suggest.  This is, for a long portion of the running time, a bleak and often somber movie about a man deeply depressed with the monotony of his meaningless life.  “Joe Versus the Volcano” is poignant, funny, romantic and surprisingly deep.  It also features an amazing and overlooked triple-role performance by Meg Ryan.  I love this film!

9.7 / 10

4. Narrow Margin

This 1990 remake, starring Gene Hackman and Anne Archer, is a thrilling cat and mouse chase, set primarily aboard a train.  It sees a brilliant attorney escorting a key witness, to murder and corruption, back to Los Angeles in order to testify at a trial.  The bad guys want her dead before she even gets the chance.  The plot is ingenious and exciting from credits to credits. 

9.5 / 10

5. Jacob’s Ladder

This film scared me to death when I first watched it.  There were scenes I could not erase from my mind for months.  Even to this day, one of the more terrifying sights in film history is the head-shaking guy. Tim Robbins gives one of his best performances.  The ending is pitch perfect.  If you never saw “Jacob’s Ladder”, go out of your way to find it.  The film will stick with you forever.

9.3 / 10

6. Pretty Woman

OK, sure… “Pretty Woman” is a standard rom-com.  But really, it has become THE standard rom-com.  It is easily one of the most re-watchable films from the 1990’s.  It features Richard Gere at his most debonair.  Julia Roberts slinks on to the screen like Rita Hayworth in her prime.  Many of the scenes have become iconic.  It is everything the formulaic genre should aspire to be.  “Pretty Woman” is a chicken-soup movie for the romantic souls out there in the world.

9.3 / 10

7. Memphis Belle

Based on a true-story of WWII heroism, “Memphis Belle” is a gorgeous movie with a stellar group cast.  It is the type of film whose bittersweet, heroic ending will have you clapping to yourself.  It was a small film, grossing only $27 million at the box office back in 1990.  However, for anyone with interest in the subject, it is a must watch.

9.2 / 10

8. Green Card

Gerard Depardieu stars as a big obnoxious oaf who is forced to marry in order to get his “Green Card” in the USA.  Andie MacDowell is the prim and proper New Yorker who reluctantly agrees to marry him for money.  The mismatched pair are a perfect comedic blend as they try to learn each other well enough to fool the immigration officers.  Tons of laughs and a smidgen of romance makes this one of the more memorable rom-coms of the era.

9.1 / 10

9. Total Recall

Strangely, I always think of “Total Recall” as an 80’s movie.  It has that familiar 1980’s tone and color palette.  The jokes, the special-effects, Sharon Stone’s leotard… they all make the film feel older than it actually is.  Perhaps it hasn’t aged as well as some of its counterparts, but Schwarzenegger’s classic is still as tongue-in-cheek silly and exciting as ever.  It feels like a pulpy 1950’s vision of the future, starring one of the consummate eighties action stars.

9.1 / 10

10. The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, of a dystopian world where women’s fertility is controlled by a right wing government, gets the cinematic treatment starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall.  It is a somber and thoughtful story that has stuck with me since I first watched it all those years ago.  For those who are watching and enjoying the current TV series, I invite you to go back and watch this super 1990 film version.

9.0 / 10

(Please Scroll Down the Page for More — Acting Awards / All Movie Ratings / The Worst 10 List… etc.)

10 Best Actors

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10 Best Actresses

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The GOOD

(Other Good Films Released This Year)

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6.0 / 10

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The Average

(Forgettable Films in the Middle of the Pack)

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5.9 / 10

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5.9 / 10

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5.9 / 10

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4.0 / 10

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The BAD

(Movies That Just Didn’t Work on Any Level)

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3.9 / 10

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3.9 / 10

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2.0 / 10

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The Worst of the year

(Hate-Filled Pieces of Crap)

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1.9 / 10

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0.0 / 10

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Yes… There is a Section Lower than the Worst Movies of the Year!
I Present a List of Films That I Absolutely Refuse to Watch… (Because I am a Pretentious Film Snob).

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