Wednesday, August 6, 2014

1991: Honorable Mentions

1991 was something of an oddball year.  The first real year of the decade that kind of started to move away from what the 80's were, as opposed to 1990 which felt like the last wild burst of 80's style before shifting into the new decade.  This tends to happen for the first year or so of a new decade.  It happened with the shift from the 70's into the 80's and it happens here too.

I wrote about the remake of this one in the 1993 series and the original version is equally solid.  The story hits the same beats until the end but the difference is in the director.  Luc Besson brings a flashy style to the affair that John Badham lacks and the end result is slightly better than the remake.

Shot in 1989 but not released until this year, Warlock is a solid, entertaining horror movie with a fine performance from Julian Sands as the title character who seeks to destroy the world.  Sands is fun, the f/x are solid and as far as low budget horror franchises go, this and the sequel make for a nice, cheesy pair.

I'm not a huge fan of Albert Brooks but this comedy is a clever, modestly funny film starring Brooks as an executive who dies and goes to a preliminary version of Heaven which turns out to be a trial where he has to defend his actions when he was alive.  Brooks is pretty funny but I really enjoy Meryl Streep as his love interest and Rip Torn as his attorney.  It's not the best thing of all time but it;s a more than pleasant diversion.

Some terrific fire f/x work and a fantastic cast make this Ron Howard film one of the better summer movies of the year.  Kurt Russell and William Baldwin are firefighting brothers and they end up being pulled into a series of arsons investigated by Robert DeNiro.  The cast is fantastic and Howard does a fine job keeping things moving.

An entertaining comedy with Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby as three middle aged guys who goon a cattle drive led by crusty old cowboy Jack Palance in an Oscar winning role.  Crystal is quite funny and Palance is great which makes the few diversions into sentimental sludge (Crystal's Kryptonite as every time he goes for it he ends up slamming into a wall) bearable.  It's one of the better comedies of the year.

Martin Scorsese's remake of the 1962 thriller is pretty damn good with solid work from Robert DeNiro as a deranged ex-con and Nick Nolte as his former lawyer who he's really like to torment and kill.  The film works quite well up until the rather overblown ending and honestly, it definitely is one of those films you see once, either like it or hate it and then never want to see again regardless.

Soapdish is a likable enough comedy that probably would have been better with a little more bite.  Sally Field is a soap actress on a hit show whose personal life begins to resemble the show she works on.  Field is likable (a rarity post-1984 for me) and the rest of the cast, specifically Kevin Kline as Field's ex lover and Robert Downey Jr. as a weaselly producer is quite good.  It's a solid enough comedy bh7ut making it a little darker in terms of the laughs might have made it even better.

The Rocketeer is an underrated gem that sank like a stone in the summer of 1991.  Based on a graphic novel by Dave Stevens, it's an enjoyably retro tale of a young pilot in 1938 who gets hold of a top secret jet pack and has to fight to keep it out of the hands of Nazi agents.  Bill Campbell is solid enough as the young hero and he gets able support from Alan Arkin as his mechanic sidekick and Timothy Dalton as the bad guy, a dashing actor who is actually a spy for Germany.  Jennifer Connelly is also breathtaking as the love interest, she was at the height of her utter hotness at this point.  The film has too much setup and not enough payoff but the finale on top of a blimp is suitably awesome.  It's a shame the film bombed as I would have liked to have seen more from the character.

Coming soon: The Leftovers of 1991

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.