1991-The Year in Best Picture/Director Nominees

June 5, 2006

About a year ago, Nate and I made it a goal to watch every movie that had been nominated for either best picture or best director at the oscars. We startedwith 2004, and recently finished 1991. I'll post our grades for every year when I unpack my files (in other words, months from now or never), but until then, here are my thoughts on 1991.

Wild Cards (Director, but not Picture): "Boyz in the Hood" and "Thelma and Louise"

Boyz: Like many movies on this list, Boyz has been hurt by time. The movie has not aged gracefully. Countless movies have ripped off its storyline, and Boyz seems tame compared to what has come after it. That said, the acting is great, and Singleton has a natural gift for storytelling. One of the movie's most effective images is the sight of a 20 year old black male with a pacifier in his mouth. This suggests his infantilization (i believe I'm not the first person to say this), a theme Singleton later explored in his 2001 movie "Baby Boy", another good movie. While Boyz doesn't quite hold up, it remains a good movie. B+

Thelma and Louise: A few thoughts. 1) Geena Davis was really hot in 1991. What happened to her? 2) Why do characters in movies always try to flee to Mexico? It makes sense that Thelma and Louise would try and make a break for the border, however once the cops know that's where they are going, why wouldn't they try and flee to somewhere else? I suggested to Nathan that they try to run to Canada. After all, extradition treaties are only a factor if the authorities know you're in that country. Nate thinks that people on the run should try to renounce their citizenship and claim asylum in Cuba. They would therefore be kept as prisoners of war, and subject to the Geneva conventions. While this would never actually work, I'm willing to accept this as the premise for a new Fox tv show. 3) Is Christopher MacDonald the greatest actor of his generation? A- Picture Nominees.

Beauty and the Beast: The only animated movie on the list (although the Duck Tales movie probably should be on here too). What's there to say? It's great fun, and extremely well done. Gaston should have given up on Belle and gone for the triplets, Lumiere ends up with the hottest chick in the movie, and yes, I know they're cartoon characters. Nate and Monty brought up the fact that the Hero never kills the villain in disney movies, and that the villain always dies by his own miscalculations. Then again, the real villain in all these movies is society, so the point isn't too valid. A-

The Prince of Tides: One of the biggest surprises of this whole movie watching thing was how much Nate likes romantic comedies. Moulin Rouge!, Chocolat, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility, Leaving Las Vegas: Nate loved them all. Both of us liked the prince, but thought in went off the rails during the last 20 minutes. The movie also got us talking about the 5th Season of the Sopranos and Tony and Melfi. In short, a surprisingly OK movie, and a good conversation starter. B

Bugsy: Some things deserve to happen, and some things don't. Bugsy Siegal should have killed Mussolini, and Meyer Lansky should never have called in the hit on Bugsy. Maybe it made business sense, but the guy was too much fun to have around. The movie is great too. Levinson's direction celebrates old hollywood, and Toback's script alternates between sizzling and flat. Beatie and Benning are both great, and the character actors were well cast. (A plus for 1991, Harvey Keitel was in two movies on the list this year) A-

JFK: I've always had a soft spot for this movie. I believe that JFK was killed by just about everyone. So what if the evidence in the movie is speculative? Cody's right. The movie is at its best when it focuses on the conspiracy and not on Garrison's personal life. We're there for Kennedy; not Garrison. Oliver Stone's direction never worked as well as in this movie. Everything since has been a parody of this movie (except Alexander, which I'm convinced he made just so he could see Rosario Dawson topless). Incredibly inconsistent, but exhilerating. A

Best Picture:

Silence of the Lambs: We watched this movie from 11 to 1. Bryan didn't want to watch it because he was scared of Buffalo Bill. Nate was scared of Hopkins' performance. He also thinks Hannibal Lechter is the most dangerous character in any movie ever. I think Jodie Foster is terrifying. Monty was just plain scared. So we watched. Or more correctly, Nate watched while I alternated between Silence and the 92nd Street Y catalogue. During the really scary parts, Monty would ask me about Y programming and I'd read it very loudly. This movie is incredibly well done, and clearly deserved to win the acting awards. A

As for best picture, I would have given that to JFK.

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5 Responses to “1991-The Year in Best Picture/Director Nominees”

  1. nathan Says:

    about prince of tides, i was thinking today while i was digging, and its interesting to note that nolte has no relationship to men at the beginning of the movie, probably because of the way he was victimized as a child, he can only feel comfortable around women. My claim is that his interaction with the boy are just as important as his therapy sessions.


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