Top Ten By Year: 1952 – Poll Results


Previous Top Ten By Year Polls: 1925, 1949, 1958, 19691978199219301982, 1990

Poll Rule Reminders: Participants could vote for up to 10 films; no more, but certainly less. Order was not required since it had no bearing on the results.

First off, thank you so much to everyone who voted! 283 people voted for 175 different films!

Taking into account the oversaturation of lists/listicles, I hope it’s clear that this project is anything but tossed off. The Top Ten By Year Project is an effort to reclaim what I love about lists in the first place. Seeing what makes the collective top ten is a lot of fun, but may I direct your attention to the full breakdown of votes and the individual ballots? My hope with these polls is that, in addition to (hopefully) planting seeds of anticipation for the related posts to come (What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1952: A Love Letter, A Selection of Favorite Shots, and the Top Ten), they mainly serve as a resource for anyone looking for new older films to watch, whether it’s from seeing:

a. what ‘Film Twitter’, in so far as such a thing exists, collectively loves
b. the films towards the bottom of the list, the ones you’ve never heard of that are begging for (re)discovery
c. the individual ballots from people whose taste and knowledge you value

A few films that did not count for this but kept coming up: Angel Face and On Dangerous Ground. They are both iffy, and I’m sure cases for them counting as 1952 could easily be made, but in order to avoid as little confusion as possible I like to go with the year the film is most often associated with. Anyone who voted for these films still have them on their ballot, but these films were not considered for this poll.

Go take a look at the results below and then come back up here for a few reactions!

As is usual with the cumulative top ten, a lot of the key players you’d expect are here. Singin’ in the Rain was always going to be the far-and-away winner. Ikiru at #2 is also what I expected, as well as several other widely canonized works that typically have high visibility on these kinds of lists. I was interested in seeing where High Noon placed, as it seems to have lost some film circle footing in recent years. But, apparently not as much as I thought! While The Bad and the Beautiful was expected to make the cut, seeing it eke out a #3 placement was a pleasant surprise. But the real pleasant surprise about this group is that Nicholas Ray’s rodeo drama The Lusty Men and the compact train-set b-noir The Narrow Margin managed to place, pushing out more predictable choices like Le Plaisir, Forbidden Games (which I assumed was a lock for this), or Europa ’51. I expected all of these numbers to be swapped, with the aforementioned films fighting for those spots while The Lusty Men and The Narrow Margin hung with other strong show-but-no-cigar placements like Kansas City Confidential or Park Row. I always hope for a couple of twists in the top ten, as it is typically the least interesting component of these posts, so I was happy to see that happen here. While I still have to watch The Lusty Men, The Narrow Margin is one of my favorite noirs. To see that people know it and love it on that scale is fantastic.

Other pleasant surprises included people really showing up for Anthony Mann’s excellent Bend of the River. I thought it would be in the low 30s/high 20s, but it got 48 votes and an honorable mention spot. There was also a strong showing for Finland’s folk horror curio The White Reindeer. If this poll had been conducted five years ago, I suspect the film would’ve been in single digit territory. But thanks to a restoration, a Masters of Cinema blu-ray release (circa 2017), and a very recent Twitch stream courtesy of Spectacle Theater, it is, as evidenced here, building on its initial cult rep.

Othello gets credited as both 1951 and 1952 in equal measure, but I counted it here. Would it have received more votes if it was on everyone’s radar as an eligible choice? Probably!

Instances where my little film bubble misled me: I thought more people had seen & loved Ruby Gentry, The Marrying Kind, Scandal Sheet, and both Mikio Naruse’s Lightning and Mother. I assumed a couple of the Chuck Jones Looney Tunes shorts would make a stronger showing. Feed the Kitty and Rabbit Seasoning were the tops out of those. Being that this was a golden age for animated studio shorts, plenty of Disney shorts received votes as well, including two holiday classics: Trick or Treat (Donald) and Pluto’s Christmas Tree (Pluto). Million Dollar Mermaid and Moulin Rouge had less votes than I would have expected, not even getting close to double digits. Lastly, I thought more people had seen/and or kind of liked O. Henry’s Full House, but only one person vouched for it.

Films that received more votes than I was expecting include the UK Christmas drama The Holly and the Ivy and the Communist spy family drama My Son John.

Only five people voted for The Greatest Show on Earth, both the highest grossing film and Best Picture Winner of 1952, and only one person voted for the second highest grossing film, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Two other films from the top ten biggest monkeymakers of the year, Sailors Beware and Jumping Jacks (both Martin/Lewis comedies), received zero votes!

Regarding undervalued national cinemas, we can see strong representation from Brazil (five films), Mexico (four films), and Argentina (three films). Most of these films only received a few votes, but they hint at the breadth of non-Hollywood fare just waiting to be made more accessible and available, as well as more sought out by movie lovers in general. I watched the Argentinian If I Should Die Before I Wake (Si muero antes de despertar) last month, and it’s easily one of the best things I’ve watched for this year so far. That one received two votes.

A few more I’ve watched for 1952 (so far) which both a. got very little love and b. I’d highly recommend: Douglas Sirk’s colorful 1920s set get-rich-quick cautionary comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, the Cary Grant led episodic lots-of-kids drama Room for One More, Frank Tashlin’s feature length debut The First Time, and the very different Carmen Comes Home sequel Carmen’s Innocent Love.

Through this poll, I learned that these are three separate 1952 films: The First Time (which I’ve watched and just mentioned), The Happy Time, and The Happy Family. I still cannot keep these straight.

As always, this poll throws a wrench into my watchlist because I end up adding stuff. I’ve got the higher profile ones covered, but several one and two vote films will end up being late additions. On the flip side of that, there are a ton of films in my 1952 watchlist that received zero votes!!! They are: Just This Once, Abstract in Concrete (a really great short, available to watch on youtube), Love is Better than Ever, Kujira (short), Alraune, The Stranger Left No Card, April in Paris, Lovely to Look At, Flamenco, Manon of the Spring, The Proud Princess, The Scarlet Flower, Something to Live For, The Skin of the South, Invitation, Eight Iron Men, The Queen of Sheba, I Believe in You, and The Snow Maiden. Between this, and the sheer number of films that people voted for, it shows (once again!) that there will always be an overflow of older works to watch and discover, both individually and within film culture as a whole, and that we’ll never catch up with all of it! And, honestly? Instead of being overwhelmed, I’m just grateful.

Be sure to leave me your thoughts, either on here or twitter. I’d love to hear about any individual thoughts or takeways!

POLL RESULTS: TOP TEN BY YEAR: 1952

  1. Singin’ in the Rain (US / Donen/Kelly) – 222 votes
  2. Ikiru (Japan / Kurosawa) – 147 votes
  3. The Bad and the Beautiful (US / Minnelli) – 103 votes
  4. Umberto D. (Italy / De Sica) – 100 votes (tie)
  5. High Noon (US / Zinnemann) – 100 votes (tie)
  6. The Quiet Man (US / Ford) – 97 votes
  7. The Life of Oharu (Japan / Mizoguchi) – 80 votes
  8. Limelight (US / Chaplin) – 73 votes
  9. The Lusty Men (US / Ray) – 66 votes
  10. The Narrow Margin (US / Fleischer) – 58 votes

    48 votes: Bend of the River (US / Mann), Le Plaisir (France / Ophüls), Forbidden Games (France / Clément)
    46 votes: The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (Japan / Ozu)
    44 votes: Park Row (US / Fuller)
    43 votes: Kansas City Confidential (US / Karlson)
    40 votes: Rancho Notorious (US / Lang), Monkey Business (US / Hawks)
    39 votes: Casque d’Or (France / Becker), The Golden Coach (France / Renoir)
    36 votes: Europa ’51 (Italy / Rossellini)
    33 votes: Sudden Fear (US / Miller)
    31 votes: Othello (Italy/Morocco/US / Welles)
    29 votes: Clash by Night (US / Lang)
    23 votes: The Importance of Being Earnest (UK / Asquith), The Big Sky (US / Hawks)
    18 votes: Lightning (Japan / Naruse)
    17 votes: The White Reindeer (Finland / Blomberg), Don’t Bother to Knock (US / Ward)
    14 votes: 5 Fingers (US / Mankiewicz), The Holly and the Ivy (UK / O’Ferrell), Mother (Japan / Naruse), Neighbours (Canada / McLaren) (short), Scaramouche (US / Sidney)
    13 votes: Son of Paleface (US / Tashlin), Scandal Sheet (US / Karlson), Rabbit Seasoning (US / Jones)
    12 votes: Feed the Kitty (US / Jones) (short), The Marrying Kind (US / Cukor), Ruby Gentry (US / Vidor)

    10 votes: The Sniper (US / Dmytryk), Pat and Mike (US / Cukor), Way of a Gaucho (US / Tourneur), The White Sheik (Italy / Fellini)

    8 votes: A Portrait of Ga (UK / Tait) (short), Deadline U.S.A. (US / Brooks), The Crimson Pirate (US / Siodmak), The Member of the Wedding (US / Zinnemann), Mexican Bus Ride (Mexico / Buñuel), My Son John (US / McCarey), Viva Zapata! (US / Kazan)

    7 votes: Come Back, Little Sheba (US / Mann), Macao (US / von Sternberg / Ray)

    6 votes: Affair in Trinidad (US / Sherman), Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (US / Sirk), Night Falls (La noche avanza) (Mexico / Gavaldón)

    5 votes: The Greatest Show on Earth (US / DeMille), My Cousin Rachel (US / Koster), The Sound Barrier (UK / Lean)

    4 votes: Carrie (US / Wyler), Children of Hiroshima (Japan / Shindo), Mandy (UK / Mackendrick), Million Dollar Mermaid (US / LeRoy), Moulin Rouge (US / Huston), Operation: Rabbit (US / Jones) (short), Outcast of the Islands (UK / Reed), Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (US / King), Waiting Women (Sweden / Bergman)

    3 votes: Abstronic (US / Bute) (short), Against All Flags (US / Sherman / Sirk), Carmen’s Innocent Love (Japan / Kinoshita), Hans Christian Andersen (US / Vidor), The Happy Time (US / Fleischer), Horizons West (US / Boetticher), Hurlements en faveur de Sade (France / Debord) (short), The Little House (US / Jackson) (short), The Prisoner of Zenda (US / Thorpe), Road to Bali (US / Walker), Roses Bloom on the Moorland (West Germany / König), The Thief (US / Rouse), Trick or Treat (US / Hannah) (short)

    2 votes: Beep Beep (US / Jones) (short), Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (US / Beaudine), Bells of Atlantis (US / Hugo) (short), Beware, My Lovely (US / Horner), Canto da Saudade (Brazil / Mauro), The Card (UK / Neame), Carnaval Atlântida (Brazil / Burle/Manga), Don’t Ever Open that Door (No abras nunca esa puerta) (Argentina / Christensen), Fanfan la Tulipe (France / Jaque), Fool Coverage (US / McKimson) (short), Holiday for Henrietta (France / Duvivier), If I Should Die Before I Wake (Si muero antes de despertar) (Argentina / Christensen), Ivanhoe (US / Thorpe), Lambert the Sheepish Lion (US / Hannah) (short), Lone Star (US /Sherman), The Machine that Kills Bad People (La macchina ammazzacattivi) (Italy / Rossellini) , The Magical Maestro (US / Avery) (short), Nagarik (India / Ghatak), No Room for the Groom (US / Sirk), Red Planet Mars (US / Horner), Room for One More (US / Taurog), This is Cinerama (US / Cooper), The Witch (Finland / Hällström), A Woman without Love (Una mujer sin amo) (Mexico / Buñuel)

    1 vote: Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (US / Lamont), Adventure in Berlin (West Germany / Cap), Amei um Bicheiro (Brazil / Ileli/Wanderley), Appointment in London (UK / Leacock), At Sword’s Point (US /Allen), Babes in Baghdad (UK/Spain/US / Ulmer), The Beast Must Die (La bestia debe morir) (Argentina / Barreto), Beauties of the Night (France / Clair), The Black Castle (US / Jurran), Blacktop: The Story of the Washing of a School Yard Playground (US / Eames) (short), Bop Scotch (US / Belson) (short), Bwana Devil (US / Oboler/Clampett), The Cimarron Kid (US / Boetticher), Color Cry (UK / Lye) (short), Det kunne vært deg (Norway / Bergstrom/Kolstad), Down Among the Z Men (UK / Rogers), Duck and Cover (US / Rizzo) (short), Duel at Silver Creek (US / Siegel), Everything I Have is Yours (US / Leonard), The First Time (US / Tashlin), The Happy Family (UK / Box), Home at Seven (UK / Richardson), Hotel des Invalides (France / Franju) (short), Interim (US / Brakhage) (short), In the Storm (U Oluji) (Yugoslavia / Mimica), Invasion USA (US / Green), Jack and the Beanstalk (US / Yarbrough), The Lady Says No (US / Ross), Lost in Alaska (US / Yarbrough), Lure of the Wilderness (US / Negulesco), The Men who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (Japan / Kurosawa) (filmed in 1945), My Six Convicts (US / Fregonese), O Canada (Canada / Lambert) (short), O Henry’s Full House (US / various), Okuni and Gohei (Japan / Naruse), The Overcoat (Italy / Lattuada), Phone Call from a Stranger (US / Negulesco), Pluto’s Christmas Tree (US / Hannah) (short), Radar Men from the Moon (US / Brannon), Return of the Texan (US / Daves), Reverón (Venezuela / Benacerraf) (short), The Ring (US / Neumann), Rock-a-Bye Bear (US / Avery) (short), Rome 11:00 (Italy / De Santis), Secret People (UK / Dickinson), Simão, o Caolho (Brazil / Cavalcanti), The Snows of Kiminajaro (US / King), Soledad’s Shawl (Mexico / Gavaldon), The Star (US / Heisler), The Steel Trap (US / Stone), The Stooge (US / Taurog), The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (US / Annakin), Stranger on the Prowl (Italy / Losey), Talk About a Stranger (US / Bradley), This Woman is Dangerous (US / Feist), 3 Girls from Rome (Italy / Emmer), Tico-Tico no Fubá (Brazil / Celi), Tropical Heat Wave (US / Springsteen), The Truth About Bebe Donge (France / Decoin), Una donna ha ucciso (A Woman has Killed) (Italy / Cottafati), Untamed Frontier (US / Fregonese), Vendetta of a Samurai (Japan / Mori), Wakefield Express (UK / Anderson) (short, also credited for 1957), Walk East on Beacon! (US / Werker), Water, Water, Every Hare (US / Jones) (short), What Price Glory? (US / Ford), With a Song in My Heart (US / Lang), The World in His Arms (US / Walsh), Young Chopin (Poland / Ford)

!!All the Ballots!!

@austinlandry
1. Ikiru 2. The Life of Oharu 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. The Lusty Men 5. Limelight 6. Forbidden Games 7. The Golden Coach 8. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice

@chesterstreet
Limelight, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, The Lusty Men, Park Row

@ireglint
The Lusty Men, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, High Noon, Rancho Notorious, The Life of Oharu, Monkey Business, Ikiru, Ruby Gentry

@LoganKenny1 (Logan Kenny)
The Quiet Men, Singin’ in the Rain, The Lusty Men, Ikiru, Umberto D., Bend of the River, Monkey Business, The Bad and the Beautiful, Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, Deadline – U.S.A

@panickypictures
The Quiet Men, Singin’ in the Rain, The White Reindeer

@Urfavbandsux
The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Member of the Wedding, High Noon, Le Plaisir, Othello

@MrAllegretti
Breaking the Sound Barrier, Duck and Cover, High Noon, Ikiru, Limelight, Neighbours, O Canada, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Walk East on Beacon!

@stankbrakhage
Singin’ in the Rain, The White Reindeer, Umberto D., Le Plaisir, The Sniper, Abstronic

@dallasshaldune
Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, Othello, Limelight, The Life of Oharu, Europa ‘51

@edillades
The Bad and the Beautiful, Limelight, Othello, Monkey Business, The Stooge, The Cimarron Kid, Pat and Mike, The Marrying Kind, Kansas City Confidential, Duel at Silver Creek, Invasion USA

@HouseofSparrows
The Beast Must Die, Ikiru, Limelight, Macao, Othello, Park Row, Le Plaisir, The Quiet Man, Rancho Notorious, Singin’ in the Rain

@_Noel_23
The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, Come Back, Little Sheba, Night Falls, Has Anybody Seen my Gal?, The White Reindeer, Ruby Gentry, Le Plaisir, Nagarik, The Bad and the Beautiful

@apdraper2000
Ikiru, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Holly and the Ivy, Casque d’Or, Room for One More, Singin’ in the Rain, 5 Fingers

@Ewan_M
Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Lightning, The Lusty Men, Ikiru, Million Dollar Mermaid, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Casque d’Or, The Golden Coach, Rancho Notorious

@LazlosGhost
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, High Noon, The Bad and the Beautiful, Umberto D., The Quiet Man, The Narrow Margin, The Big Sky, Kansas City Confidential, Pat and Mike

@kennethrtan
Clash by Night, The Crimson Pirate, Forbidden Games, The Golden Coach, Ikiru, Pat and Mike, Le Plaisir, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D

@lovedog7
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, The Importance of Being Earnest, Clash by Night, Kansas City Confidential

@coppolafan
Singin’ in the Rain, My Son John, The Narrow Margin, The Lusty Men, Clash by Night, Kansas City Confidential, Scandal Sheet, Park Row, The Big Sky, Sudden Fear

@CaftanWoman (Patricia Nolan-Hall)
5 Fingers, Bend of the River, Carrie, The Happy Time, High Noon, The Holly and the Ivy, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Narrow Margin, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain 

@angelameganm
Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie, Carrie, Casque d’Or, Europa ‘51, Forbidden Games, Lightning, The Lusty Men, Rancho Notorious, Ruby Gentry, Singin’ in the Rain

@lschibi
High Noon, Kansas City Confidential, Ikiru

@NostalghiaFilm
Singin’ in the Rain, The Big Sky, The Bad and the Beautiful, Monkey Business, The First Time, Umberto D., Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, Bend of the River

@panickypictures
The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, The White Reindeer

@Cocophone
Singin’ in the Rain, Kansas City Confidential, High Noon, Europa ‘51

@matthew_lucas
1. Ikiru 2. High Noon 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. Forbidden Games 5. Umberto D. 6. Limelight 7. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 8. The Life of Oharu 9. Don’t Bother to Knock 10. Million Dollar Mermaid

@thepwrofgod
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. The Bad and the Beautiful 3. The Narrow Margin 4. The Lusty Men 5. Ikiru 6. Rancho Notorious 7. Umberto D. 8. Bend of the River

@londonYLWL
Casque d’Or, The Lusty Men, Mandy, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, 5 Fingers, Son of Paleface, The Big Sky, Lure of the Wilderness, Against All Flags

@SchmanthonyP (Brian Schmid)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. The Lusty Men 3. Ikiru 4. Othello 5. Forbidden Games 6. Lightning 7. The Life of Oharu 8. Limelight 9. High Noon 10. Mother

@ChrisLejarzar
High Noon, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D.

@BadPostsLLC
The Bad and the Beautiful, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, High Noon, The Life of Oharu, Singin’ in the Rain, Bend of the River

@sleepyaza124
Ikiru, Mother, The Life of Oharu, Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, The Lusty Men, The Golden Coach, Umberto D., Casque d’Or, Le Plaisir

@cofi0806
Kansas City Confidential, Pat and Mike, The Importance of Being Earnest, Umberto D., Scaramouche, The Narrow Margin, The Quiet Man, The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain

@AwardsConnect (Andrew Carden)
The Bad and the Beautiful, Come Back, Little Sheba, Don’t Bother to Knock, The Member of the Wedding, Phone Call from a Stranger, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Sudden Fear, The Thief, With a Song in my Heart

@mrcarmady
Operation: Rabbit, Monkey Business, Bend of the River, Neighbours, Ikiru

@MichaelKPrice
High Noon, Bend of the River, Othello, Outcast of the Islands, Secret People, Casque d’Or, Rancho Notorious, The Bad and the Beautiful, Park Row, Le Plaisir

@Cinematic_Life
Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, Detective Story (does not count), Europa ‘51

@BuyDVDsandGive
1. Umberto D. 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Ikiru 4. The Member of the Wedding 5. The Quiet Man 6. Clash by Night 7. High Noon 8. The Golden Coach 9. Bend of the River 10. The Holly and the Ivy

@narwalker
1. Scaramouche 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Importance of Being Earnest 4. The Narrow Margin 5. Bend of the River 6. Against All Flags 7. The Crimson Pirate 8. The Bad and the Beautiful 9. Othello 10. Ikiru

@IKnewThemWell
The Bad and the Beautiful, Casque d’Or, Forbidden Games, Ikiru, The Marrying Kind, The Quiet Man, The Star, Sudden Fear, Umberto D.

@MrKA_LA
Singin’ in the Rain, Affair in Trinidad, Sudden Fear

@dougrdickinson
Ikiru, High Noon, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Quiet Man, The Lusty Men, The Life of Oharu, Singin’ in the Rain 

@Jason_C_Wilson
1. High Noon 2. Umberto D. 3. Ikiru 4. Singin’ in the Rain 

@faithx5 (Jandy Hardesty)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, The Narrow Margin, Europa ‘51, The Importance of Being Earnest, Limelight, Hans Christian Andersen, The Bad and the Beautiful, Scaramouche, Rancho Notorious


@citizenkeith
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Limelight, Ikiru, My Son John, Othello, The Lusty Men, The Bad and the Beautiful, Europa ‘51, The Importance of Being Earnest

@corpsewizard
Umberto D., High Noon, Ikiru, Limelight, Europa ’51, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Machine that Kills Bad People

@alwaysforpleasure (Instagram)
Limelight, Rancho Notorious, The Golden Coach, Neighbours

@beckett_ef
Casque d’Or, 5 Fingers, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Golden Coach, Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, The Lusty Men, Mother, Rancho Notorious, Umberto D.

@gustavo_menezes
1. O Canto da Saudade 2. Limelight 3. The Quiet Man 4. Carnaval Atlântida 5. The Big Sky 6. Tico-Tico no Fubá 7. Ikiru 8. Simão, o Caolho 9. Amei um Bicheiro 10. Moulin Rouge

@ohrachelleigh
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Forbidden Games, Limelight, High Noon, The Greatest Show on Earth, Come Back, Little Sheba

@GregTheRipper
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Othello 4. The Quiet Man 5. Umberto D. 6. On Dangerous Ground (does not count) 7. The Narrow Margin 8. Bend of the River 9. Le Plaisir 10. Son of Paleface

@vanityrex
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Sudden Fear, Don’t Bother to Knock, The Narrow Margin, Trick or Treat, Feed the Kitty, Rabbit Seasoning

@sly_wit
Kansas City Confidential, The Narrow Margin, Sudden Fear, High Noon, The Lavender Hill Mob (does not count), Singin’ in the Rain, Viva Zapata!, Rancho Notorious, Clash by Night, The Holly and the Ivy

@mailyard
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Ikiru 3. Sudden Fear 4. The Bad and the Beautiful 5. The Lusty Men 6. The Sniper

@tedschaefer (Ted Schaefer)
Ikiru, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, Europa ’51, The Life of Oharu, Umberto D., Le Plaisir, Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Affair in Trinidad

@ryguyperez (Ryan Perez)
1. Le Plaisir 2. Park Row 3. Ikiru 4. The Golden Coach 5. Singin’ in the Rain 6. The Life of Oharu 7. The Quiet Man

@dnavarro_ace (Darrin Navarro, editor)
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Ikiru, Forbidden Games

@Jacobunny
Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, Singin’ in the Rain

@Silberwhatever (Ryan Silberstein)
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, Limelight

@JimLNeibaur
Bend of the River, Deadline — U.S.A., High Noon, Forbidden Games, Limelight, The Quiet Man, Road to Bali, Singin’ in the Rain, Son of Paleface, Umberto D.

@mxy_mabuse
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Europa ’51, The Marrying Kind, Kansas City Confidential, Mother, Park Row, Nagarik, The Crimson Pirate, Bend of the River

@wolfmanwalter13
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon

@TheBrooksening
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, Ikiru, Othello, The Importance of Being Earnest, High Noon, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Forbidden Games, The Lusty Men

@CarmanTse
The Life of Oharu

Sri_7_ (Instagram)
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Quiet Man 4. High Noon 5. Umberto D.

@seanpbeck
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, The Quiet Man

@toro913
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Umberto D. 4. High Noon 5. Forbidden Games 6. The Bad and the Beautiful 7. Sudden Fear 8. Casque d’Or 9. The Lusty Men 10. My Cousin Rachel

@wehriskat
5 Fingers, The Bad and the Beautiful, High Noon, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Rashomon (does not count), Casque d’Or, Umberto D., The Holly and the Ivy, Ikiru

@AmateurCinefile
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, Ikiru, The Bad and the Beautiful, Umberto D., Limelight

@TalkinLooseMeat
Sudden Fear, Casque d’Or, Umberto D., Ikiru, Pat and Mike, Singin’ in the Rain, On Dangerous Ground (does not count), Tales of Hoffman (does not count), Kansas City Confidential, The Big Sky

@The3rdFrame
Viva Zapata!, The Quiet Man, Bend of the River, High Noon, The Card, Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, The Magic Box (does not count), Don’t Bother to Knock, The Bad and the Beautiful

@EdirinOputu
Singin’ in the Rain, Scaramouche, The Importance of Being Earnest, Pat and Mike, The African Queen (does not count), The Narrow Margin, My Cousin Rachel, Angel Face (does not count), High Noon

@marcus_gorman
Singin’ in the Rain, Everything I Have is Yours, The Bad and the Beautiful, Monkey Business, Room for One More, Don’t Bother to Knock

@BobCurtin61
1. The Quiet Man 2. High Noon 3. The Narrow Margin 4. Angel Face (does not count) 5. Kansas City Confidential 6. Bend of the River 7. Othello

@doctor_morbius (Christianne Benedict)
Bend of the River, Children of Hiroshima, Forbidden Games, Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, Scandal Sheet, Singin’ in the Rain, The Narrow Margin, The White Reindeer

@biscuitkitten (Jill Blake)
The Bad and the Beautiful, Kansas City Confidential, Singin’ in the Rain, The Marrying Kind, The Steel Trap, The African Queen (does not count), The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Holly and the Ivy, Ikiru, The Narrow Margin

@Chaakles
Ikiru, Casque d’Or, The Narrow Margin, High Noon, Kansas City Confidential, Scandal Sheet, Rancho Notorious, Umberto D., Deadline – U.S.A., Singin’ in the Rain

@paul_monticone
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Lusty Men, Le Plaisir, Lightning, Bend of the River, The Quiet Man, The Life of Oharu, Angel Face (does not count), Outcast of the Islands, My Son John

@Fredzipfel
Ikiru, High Noon, Umberto D., Le Plaisir, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Kansas City Confidential, The Life of Oharu, The Narrow Margin, Bend of the River, Casque d’Or

@LauraJacoves
Feed the Kitty, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Rabbit Seasoning, The Lusty Men, The Life of Oharu

@thasceles
The Bad and the Beautiful, Singin’ in the Rain, Down among the Z Men, Limelight, Beep Beep

@thefilmviews
1. Limelight 2. The Quiet Man 3. Umberto D. 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. Sudden Fear 6. High Noon 7. The Sniper 8. Rancho Notorious 9. Bend of the River 10. The Lusty Men

@Kathy_Gee (Kathleen Geier)
Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, Lightning, The Lusty Men, The Narrow Margin, On Dangerous Ground (does not count), Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., The White Sheik, Wife (does not count)

@MickBrooks666
Sudden Fear, Kansas City Confidential, The Bad and the Beautiful, Children of Hiroshima, The White Reindeer, Don’t Bother to Knock, Park Row, The Witch, Scandal Sheet, The Thief

@mousterpiece
Singin’ in the Rain

@david_cornelius
Singin’ in the Rain, Bend of the River, The Narrow Margin

@masoo
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Ikiru, The Golden Coach, Forbidden Games, The Importance of Being Earnest

@pollyprissypant (Emma Badame)
High Noon, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Lavender Hill Mob (does not count), The Holly and the Ivy, Monkey Business, My Cousin Rachel, 5 Fingers

@guycustis
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, Umberto D., Casque d’Or, Europa ’51, Le Plaisir, The Golden Coach, The Marrying Kind, The Importance of Being Earnest

@darrenmjones (Darren Jones)
Casque d’Or, Bend of the River, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., The Narrow Margin, 3 Girls from Rome, The Big Sky, The Crimson Pirate

@CalmonTiago
High Noon

@pedrosazevedo (Pedro Strazza)
The Lusty Men, Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, High Noon, The Sniper

@peachfish42
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Ikiru, High Noon

@oneflyride1
Way of a Gaucho, Europa ’51, Monkey Business, The Lusty Men, Casque d’Or

@sarahnwondrland
Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Don’t Bother to Knock

@jgoresy
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Park Row 3. The Lusty Men 4. Lightning 5. Ikiru 6. Bend of the River 7. The Life of Oharu 8. Limelight 9. Umberto D. 10. The Bad and the Beautiful

@SeanDuschane
Singin’ in the Rain, Forbidden Games, High Noon, Sudden Fear, The White Reindeer

@peronto907 (Anthony Peronto)
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Limelight, The Bad and the Beautiful, Rabbit Seasoning, The Little House, Kansas City Confidential, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

@deHavillanche
1. Forbidden Games 2. Casque d’Or 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. Mother 5. High Noon 6. Ikiru 7. The Narrow Margin 8. Europa ’51 9. 5 Fingers 10. Sudden Fear

@butcherjpn
The Big Sky, Carmen’s Innocent Love, Europa ’51, The Golden Coach, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, Monkey Business, The Narrow Margin, Rancho Notorious, Singin’ in the Rain

@mattcornell
The Lusty Men, Clash by Night

@JFGinDigital3D
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Monkey Business, Limelight, The Importance of Being Earnest, Rabbit Seasoning, Trick or Treat

@bjanquetbjurger
1. High Noon 2. The Bad and the Beautiful 3. The Narrow Margin 4. Kansas City Confidential 5. Clash by Night 6. Singin’ in the Rain 7. Angel Face (does not count) 8. Park Row 9. Forbidden Games 10. Monkey Business

@ecgreenb
1. High Noon 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Viva Zapata!

@jade230
Singin’ in the Rain

@erikgregersen (Erik Gregersen)
Ikiru, Othello, El (does not count), Outcast of the Islands, Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, The Golden Coach, Waiting Women, Gods of Bali (does not count), Neighbours

@beer_movie
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., A Portrait of Ga

@JEffinghamBellw
Casque d’Or, The Narrow Margin, Othello, Forbidden Games, Beep Beep, Rabbit Seasoning, Moulin Rouge, Bend of the River, The Ring, The Life of Oharu

@jvcalbear
The Quiet Man, High Noon, Singin’ in the Rain, The Member of the Wedding

@leggoet
Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Limelight, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, Umberto D., The Narrow Margin, Forbidden Games, Europa ’51, High Noon

@ydavey
Ikiru, The Crimson Pirate, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., The Golden Coach, Scaramouche, The Happy Time, Forbidden Games, 5 Fingers, Casque d’Or

@jamie_uhler
Casque d’Or, Europa ’51, Ikiru, La Plaisir, My Son John, Pat and Mike, Rancho Notorious, Sudden Fear, The Thief, Singin’ in the Rain

@Jeffpk23
The Bad and the Beautiful, Clash by Night, High Noon, Ikiru, Macao, Monkey Business, The Narrow Margin, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Sudden Fear

@filmguru99
Singin’ in the Rain, Rancho Notorious, Kansas City Confidential

@48ONIRAM (Bri!!!)
The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Bend of the River, Ikiru, High Noon, Limelight, Le Plaisir

@BrianFormo (Brian Formo)
1. Los Olividados (does not count) 2. The Life of Oharu 3. Forbidden Games 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. Limelight 6. The Narrow Margin 7. Ikiru 8. The Lusty Men 9. The Quiet Man 10. High Noon

@BabosAnna1
Hurlements en faveur de Sade, Singin’ in the Rain, Neighbours, Color Cry, The State Department Store (does not count), A Portrait of Ga, Rancho Notorious

@toomuchistrue
Hurlements en faveur de Sade, Son of Paleface, The Life of Oharu, The Lusty Men, Hotel des Invalides, Monkey Business, Le Plaisir, The Big Sky, Limelight, Bend of the River

@vixticator
Umberto D., Ikiru, High Noon, Don’t Bother to Knock, Clash by Night, Sudden Fear, The Bad and the Beautiful, Le Plaisir, The Narrow Margin, Othello

@lchadbou
Europa ’51, La Plaisir, The Life of Oharu, 5 Fingers, Umberto D., Park Row, Forbidden Games, Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, My Son John

@notpynchon
The Life of Oharu, The Golden Coach, Canto da Saudade, The Quiet Man, Monkey Business, Casque d’Or, Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful

@heyquinntweets
Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Sudden Fear, The Golden Coach, Waiting Women, Come Back, Little Sheba, The Holly & the Ivy, No Room for the Groom, If I Should Die Before I Wake, The Card

@selfstyledsiren (Farran Nehme)
My Cousin Rachel, Scaramouche, The Member of the Wedding, Night Falls, 5 Fingers, Ruby Gentry, Roses Bloom on the Moorland, Casque d’Or, Don’t Ever Open that Door, Le Plaisir

@BigTallDrew (Drew Choiniere)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Breaking the Sound Barrier, Othello, High Noon, Forbidden Games, Ikiru, Sudden Fear, The Bad and the Beautiful

@alexxkittle
Singin’ in the Rain, Sudden Fear, The Life of Oharu, Kansas City Confidential, The White Reindeer, Hans Christian Andersen, Monkey Business, High Noon, Affair in Trinidad

@fifthterrace
Way of a Gaucho, Lightning, La Plaisir, Park Row, Night Falls, Forbidden Games, Fool Coverage

@twitersean (Sean Andre)
The Big Sky, Casque d’Or, Clash by Night, Fanfan la Tulipe, Forbidden Games, The Golden Coach, Ikiru, Madame De… (does not count), The Quiet Men, Singin’ in the Rain, The White Sheik

@bvertov (Brandon Kaufman)
1. On Dangerous Ground (does not count) 2. Rancho Notorious 3. Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 6. Le Plaisir 7. Singin’ in the Rain 8. Neighbours 9. Park Row 10. Kansas City Confidential

@FilmFan1971 (Matthew Turner)
Angel Face (does not count), The Bad and the Beautiful, Don’t Bother to Knock, High Noon, The Narrow Margin, Rancho Notorious, Singin’ in the Rain, Son of Paleface, Sons of the Musketeers, Talk About a Stranger

@helioflores (Helio Flores)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Limelight, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Quiet Man, Europa ’51,

@paolocase
Ikiru, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, The Quiet Men, The Bad and the Beautiful, Clash by Night, Pat and Mike, Lone Star, The Greatest Show on Earth

@krankor1 (Paul Harrington)
A Member of the Wedding, Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (does not count), The Importance of Being Earnest

@CineFileBlog
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Umberto D., Bend of the River, The Bad and the Beautiful, Clash by Night, Limelight

@EvilDonald13
The Golden Coach, Singin’ in the Rain, Rancho Notorious, The Bad and the Beautiful, Kansas City Confidential, The Narrow Margin, On Dangerous Ground (does not count), Monkey Business

@slstalter
Sudden Fear, Million Dollar Mermaid, The I Don’t Care Girl (does not count), Park Row, Singin’ in the Rain

@Matt_Sibley
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. The Lusty Men 3. Has Anybody Seen My Gal? 4. High Noon 5. The Big Sky

@mildperil
Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, The Bad and the Beautiful, Kansas City Confidential, Deadline – U.S.A., Park Row

@tosacinephile
1. Umberto D. 2. Ikiru 3. The Life of Oharu 4. The Bad and the Beautiful 5. The Lusty Men 6. Sudden Fear

@SchmuckForALife
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Ikiru

@spetri95 (Petri Simon)
Mother, Limelight, The Narrow Margin, Park Row, Bend of the River, Roses Bloom on the Moorland, Umberto D., The Quiet Man, Adventure in Berlin, The Golden Coach

@Sean_Fallon (Sean Fallon)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Park Row 3. The Quiet Man 4. The Bad and the Beautiful 5. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 6. Ikiru 7. Limelight

@ABurnstine (Adam Burnstine)
The Lusty Men, The Golden Coach, The Bad and the Beautiful, What Price Glory?, Singin’ in the Rain, Rancho Notorious, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, Le Plaisir, The Life of Oharu

@itistamara
The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Kansas City Confidential, Ikiru, The Bad and the Beautiful, My Cousin Rachel

@AntonSirius
Angel Face (does not count), The Bad and the Beautiful, High Noon, Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D.

@IanHendriie (Ian Hendrie)
The Bad and the Beautiful, Bend of the River, Clash by Night, Horizons West, Ikiru, The Lusty Men, Rancho Notorious, Singin’ in the Rain, Son of Paleface, Umberto D.

@meowmays (Wendy Mays)
Singin’ in the Rain, Beware My Lovely, Don’t Bother to Knock, Sudden Fear, Umberto D., Feed the Kitty

@AnneBillson (Anne Billson)
Bend of the River, Ikiru, Monkey Business, The Narrow Margin, The Prisoner of Zenda, Rome ore 11, Scaramouche, Son of Paleface, Umberto D., The White Reindeer

@DeusExCinema (David Neary)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Golden Coach, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, The Importance of Being Earnest, High Noon

@ambauer (Alex Bauer)
Casque d’Or, High Noon, Affair in Trinidad, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice

@afterglow2046
1. The Lusty Men 2. A Portrait of Ga 3. Park Row 4. Mexican Bus Ride 5. A Portrait of Ga (accidental double vote) 6. Monkey Business 7. Ikiru 8. Wakefield Express 9. Son of Paleface 10. Singin’ in the Rain

@KajvanZoelen (Kaj van Zoelen)
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Life of Oharu 4. Angel Face (does not count) 5. Bend of the River 6. Park Row 7. The Bad and the Beautiful 8. Kansas City Confidential 9. Monkey Business 10. High Noon

@geminicollison (Ian W. Hill)
1. Feed the Kitty 2. Ikiru 3. The Life of Oharu 4. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 5. Umberto D. 6. Sudden Fear 7. The Lusty Men 8. Rabbit Seasoning 9. Magical Maestro 10. Horizons West

@boomerknight
High Noon, Affair in Trinidad, Rancho Notorious

@nathanielr (Nathaniel Rogers)
The Bad and the Beautiful, Forbidden Games, High Noon, The Quiet Man, Monkey Business, Singin’ in the Rain, Sudden Fear

@ic_greg
Umberto D., Forbidden Games, Bend of the River, High Noon, Mexican Bus Ride, Singin’ in the Rain

@maxyj_p
Le Plaisir, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, Park Row, The Big Sky, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, The Golden Coach, The Bad and the Beautiful

@nwchap
High Noon, Monkey Business, The Importance of Being Earnest, Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu

@opalfilms
Neighbours, Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Forbidden Games, The Life of Oharu, Park Row, Umberto D., Othello, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Quiet Man

@NoirLamps
The Narrow Margin, High Noon, Kansas City Confidential, Singin’ in the Rain, Scandal Sheet, Rancho Notorious, The Quiet Man

@BeaudineTwin2 (John Beaudine)
Ikiru, High Noon, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Forbidden Games, Limelight, The Quiet Man, The Bad and the Beautiful, Children of Hiroshima, Feed the Kitty

@citizenhorton (Robert Horton)
1. Othello 2. The Life of Oharu 3. The Quiet Man 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. Limelight 6. Bend of the River 7. Ikiru 8. Rancho Notorious 9. Forbidden Games 6. Breaking the Sound Barrier

@gnureview
1. High Noon 2. The Narrow Margin 3. Othello 4. Rancho Notorious

@EastmanFade
Don’t Bother to Knock, Ikiru, The Bad and the Beautiful, Clash by Night, The Narrow Margin, High Noon, Angel Face (does not count), Kansas City Confidential, This Woman is Dangerous, The Black Castle

@BillCurranBC (Bill Curran)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, The Golden Coach, The Lusty Men, The Quiet Man, Ikiru, Le Plaisir, Clash by Night, The Narrow Margin, Limelight

@daveyjenkins (David Jenkins)
The Lusty Men, Lightning, Europa ’51, The Big Sky, Horizons West, Casque d’Or, Park Row, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Golden Coach

@_sillyilly
Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, Ikiru, Othello

@LudwigVonDrake8
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Trick or Treat 3. High Noon 4. Scaramouche 5. Monkey Business 6. Pluto’s Christmas Tree 8. The Little House 9. The Quiet Man 10. The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men

@mrbeaks (Jeremy Smith)
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Golden Coach, High Noon, Ikiru, Kansas City Confidential, The Narrow Margin, Othello, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D

@Sarah_On_Social
Singin’ in the Rain, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Greatest Show on Earth

@pacospecial
1. Park Row 2. The Bad and the Beautiful 3. Rancho Notorious 4. The Lusty Men 5. The Sniper 6. Singin’ in the Rain 7. Clash by Night

@darrenlynch100
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Sudden Fear 3. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 4. Mother 5. Bend of the River 6. The Bad and the Beautiful 7. Clash by Night

@TheJimeister
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Umberto D. 4. Forbidden Games 5. The Life of Oharu 6. The Bad and the Beautiful 7. High Noon 8. Limelight 9. The Quiet Man 10. Europa ‘51

@chaddwithtwoDs (Chadd Harbold)
The Quiet Man, The Lusty Men, Limelight, Park Row, The Bad and the Beautiful, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain

@TallBoyReckless
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Life of Oharu

@tphedge
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Importance of Being Earnest

@jaredmobarak
Singin’ in the Rain

@CinemaVsDave (Dave Eves)
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. High Noon 4. The Life of Oharu 5. Limelight 6. Umberto D. 7. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 8. The White Reindeer 9. Waiting Women 10. Europa ‘51

@PattyLee3
Scandal Sheet

@TaylorsMovies
Singin’ in the Rain, Monkey Business, Angel Face (does not count), Rancho Notorious

@ArteBarrato (Dale Edwin Wittig)
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Crimson Pirate, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, Limelight, Macao, Monkey Business, Babes in Baghdad, Singin’ in the Rain, Mexican Bus Ride

@unreceived
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Le Plaisir, High Noon, The Bad the the Beautiful, Ikiru, The Life of Oharu, The Golden Coach

@mindomelet
The Narrow Margin, Limelight, The Bad and the Beautiful, Don’t Bother to Knock, Singin’ in the Rain, Monkey Business

@Wombat849
Umberto D., A Portrait of Ga, Ikiru, Sudden Fear, Kansas City Confidential, Come Back, Little Sheba, The Bad and the Beautiful

@TheVideoVacuum (Mitch Lovell)
1. High Noon 2. The Quiet Man 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla 5. Radar Men from the Moon 6. Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd 7. Lost in Alaska 8. Jack and the Beanstalk 9. Bwana Devil 10. Road to Bali

@efreddy88 (Ethan Frederick)
1. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 2. Park Row 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. Ikiru 5. Umberto D. 6. The Lusty Men 7. Scandal Sheet 8. The Quiet Man 9. Forbidden Games 10. This is Cinerama

@StephenFurda
Singin’ in the Rain, Ruby Gentry, The Lusty Men, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, The Quiet Man, Son of Paleface, The Bad and the Beautiful, Limelight, Monkey Business, Macao

@blankemon (Matt Blankman)
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Quiet Man, Bend of the River, Monkey Business, Kansas City Confidential, Ikiru, The Lusty Men, Singin’ in the Rain, The Holly and the Ivy, Othello

@craigary
Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, Bend of the River, 5 Fingers, Forbidden Games, The Life of Oharu, The Narrow Margin, Rancho Notorious, Scaramouche, Umberto D

@FCardamenis (Forrest Cardamenis)
The Lusty Men, If I Should Die Before I Wake (Si Muero antes de Despertar, The Life of Oharu, Le Plaisir, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

@AmbroseCoghill
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Forbidden Games 3. Ikiru 4. Mandy 5. High Noon 6. Limelight 7. The Holly and the Ivy 8. The Bad and the Beautiful 9. The Quiet Man 10. Rancho Notorious

@meliorism
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Lusty Men 4. Angel Face (does not count) 5. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 6. Neighbours

@FKAyids
Singin’ in the Rain, The Narrow Margin, Monkey Business, Night Falls, The Bad and the Beautiful

@JackKea63584677
Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, The Quiet Man

@thinman_2001
The Quiet Man, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Greatest Show on Earth, Lone Star, Pat and Mike, High Noon, Deadline – U.S.A., Scaramouche, Singin’ in the Rain, The Prisoner of Zenda

@sistercelluloid
Beware My Lovely, Clash by Night, Don’t Bother to Knock, High Noon, Home at Seven, The Holly and the Ivy, The Narrow Margin, O. Henry’s Full House, The Quiet Man, Singin’ in the Rain

@ChrisWoodOliver
Scandal Sheet

@twodeadmagpies
The Life of Oharu, The Golden Coach, Mexican Bus Ride, Way of a Gaucho, Rancho Notorious, The White Reindeer, The Overcoat, The Quiet Man, Una donna ha ucciso (A Woman has Killed), In the Storm

@jksjokeoftheday (James Koch)
Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, The Crimson Pirate, Monkey Business, The Quiet Man, 5 Fingers, Bend of the River, Macao, Viva Zapata!, Carrie

@jackadraper
Ikiru

@pigsbattleships (Ryan Wu)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Clash by Night 3. The Golden Coach 4. The Lusty Men 5. Rancho Notorious 6. The Bad and the Beautiful 7. The Narrow Margin 8. Angel Face (does not count) 9. Umberto D. 10. The Big Sky

@TSMaddocks
1. Umberto D. 2. Scandal Sheet 3. The Quiet Man 4. Sudden Fear 5. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 6. Come Back, Little Sheba 7. Singin’ in the Rain 8. Scaramouche 9. Europa ’51 10. Ikiru

@SilverEmulsion (Will Kouf)
Ikiru, Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Park Row, High Noon

@thegoatmajestic
Limelight, Son of Paleface, Neighbours, The Bad and the Beautiful, This is Cinerama

@TheSickness85
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Bad and the Beautiful, Umberto D., The Crimson Pirate, The Quiet Man, Rancho Notorious

@fivepoisonskid
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Big Sky, Casque d’Or, The Golden Coach, Lightning, The Quiet Man, Rancho Notorious, Rabbit Seasoning, Singin’ in the Rain, Way of a Gaucho

@Honors_Zombie
Park Row, The Narrow Margin, Red Planet Mars, My Six Convicts, Untamed Frontier

@Glenn_Kenny (Glenn Kenny)
The Bad and the Beautiful, Ikiru, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Lusty Men, Bend of the River, Kansas City Confidential, The Life of Oharu, Mexican Bus Ride, Casque d’Or, Macao

@dvanhouw
1. Ikiru 2. Umberto D. 3. Forbidden Games 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. The Life of Oharu 6. High Noon 7. The Bad and the Beautiful 8. Park Row 9. Limelight 10. Le Plaisir

@jeremytwocities (Jeremy Robinso)
The Life of Oharu, Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Bend of the River, Othello, Clash by Night, Monkey Business, Don’t Bother to Knock

@douglenox
Mexican Bus Ride, The Bad and the Beautiful, Sudden Fear, The Narrow Margin, Clash by Night, Portrait of Ga, Park Row

@MoviefreakSara (Sara M. Fetters)
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Life of Oharu 4. High Noon 5. The Narrow Margin 6. The Bad and the Beautiful 7. Bend of the River 8. Forbidden Games 9. Kansas City Confidential 10. Monkey Business

@gemko (Mike D’Angelo)
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Forbidden Games, Angel Face (does not count), Scandal Sheet, The Narrow Margin, Othello, The Big Sky, The Marrying Kind, Park Row

@mindtheoctopus
Limelight, The White Sheik, Abstronic, The Quiet Man, Europa ’51, The Narrow Margin, My Son John, Rancho Notorious, Holiday for Henrietta, Othello

@PatrickPreziosi
The Lusty Men, Lightning, Europa ’51, The Sniper, Casque d’Or, Singin’ in the Rain, Rancho Notorious, Le Plaisir, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice, The Greatest Show on Earth

@codfarlo
The Golden Coach, Othello, Europa ’51, The Life of Oharu, Le Plaisir, The Quiet Man, The Big Sky, The Lusty Men, Casque d’Or, The Marrying Kind

@inessentials
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, High Noon, The Lady Says No, The Holly and the Ivy, Neighbours, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Umberto D., Monkey Business, Park Row

@DCOIReviews
Singin’ in the Rain, The Lusty Men, Lightning, The Big Sky, The Bad and the Beautiful, Ikiru, Carmen’s Innocent Love, Way of a Gaucho, The Life of Oharu, Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie

@HellOnFriscoBay (Brian Darr)
Bend of the River, The Big Sky, Blacktop, Bop Scotch, Feed the Kitty, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, The Lusty Men, Don’t Ever Open that Door (No abras nunca esa puerta), Reverón, The White Sheik

@ozu_ray (Floyd Rock)
Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lightning, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Casque d’Or, Umberto D., Othello, Forbidden Games

@matthew_lucas (Matthew Lucas)
1. Ikiru 2. High Noon 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. Forbidden Games 5. Umberto D., 6. Limelight 7. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 8. The Life of Oharu 9. Don’t Bother to Knock 10. Million Dollar Mermaid

@notinbeantown
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, Don’t Bother to Knock

@amosjlevin
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie, Neighbours

@willow_catelyn (Willow Catelyn Maclay)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Limelight 3. Le Plaisir 4. Ikiru 5. Feed the Kitty 6. Othello 7. Way of a Gaucho 8. Rabbit Seasoning 9. Bend of the River 10. The Sniper

@ed_sheertwin
Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru

@McQueenTim (Tim McQueen)
1. The Quiet Man 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Ruby Gentry 4. The Golden Coach 5. Monkey Business 6. The Big Sky 7. Son of Paleface 8. Limelight 9. The Lusty Men 10. Le Plaisir

@theogohome
1. The Golden Coach 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Ikiru 4. High Noon 5. The Life of Oharu 5. Othello

@kipjmooney (Kip Mooney)
Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon

@alamofilmguy2 (Alejandro Villarreal)
Ikiru, Umberto D., The Bad and the Beautiful, Viva Zapata!, Rabbit Seasoning, The Narrow Margin, The Lavender Hill Mob (does not count), Outcast of the Islands, The White Sheik, The Road to Bali

@swen_ryan (Ryan Swen)
1. The Golden Coach 2. The Quiet Man 3. Singin’ in the Rain 4. The Lusty Men 5. Rabbit Seasoning 6. Operation: Rabbit 7. Feed the Kitty

@cvalladare0896 (Carlos Valladares)
Ikiru, Soledad’s Shawl, Rabbit Seasoning, Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, The Quiet Man, Son of Paleface, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Life of Oharu, Sudden Fear

@gondo_mili
Europa ’51, The Quiet Man, The Golden Coach, Lightning, Mother, Okuni and Gohei, Way of a Gaucho, Ruby Gentry

@matthew_e_g
Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Forbidden Games, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Life of Oharu, Le Plaisir, The Quiet Man, The Importance of Being Earnest

@emiliosanhueza (Emilio Sanhueza)
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, Det kunne vært deg, High Noon, Limelight, Ikiru, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Quiet Man, The Life of Oharu, Forbidden Games

@edgarVelRey1 (Edgar Velázquez Reynald)
The Bad and the Beautiful, The Life of Oharu, Mexican Bus Ride, Lightning, Sudden Fear, Singin’ in the Rain, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Le Plaisir, Europa ’51, Moulin Rouge

@AltonMann
The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, Scandal Sheet, Bend of the River, The Lusty Men, The Narrow Margin, Kansas City Confidential, On Dangerous Ground (does not count), High Noon

@BohemiaStable
The Importance of Being Earnest, The Quiet Man, La Noche Avanza (Night Falls), The Happy Family, Singin’ in the Rain

@dlmEnSiOn_TiDe
Park Row, Bend of the River, Umberto D., The Bad and the Beautiful, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, The White Reindeer, Rancho Notorious, Stranger on the Prowl, Una mujer sin amor (A Woman without Love), The Lusty Men

@Crabin (Chris Cabin)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Limelight, My Son John, Ikiru, Europa ’51, Monkey Business, Umberto D., 5 Fingers, Wait ‘Till the Sun Shines, Nellie

@dandudeus
Affair in Trinidad

@filipefurtado (Filipe Furtado)
Europa ’51, Park Row, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Ruby Gentry, The Golden Coach, The Quiet Man, Othello (does not count), Return of the Texan, Carnaval Atlântida

@MikeThornWrites (Mike Thorn)
Ruby Gentry, The Quiet Man, Ikiru, Limelight, The Narrow Margin, The Bad and the Beautiful, Viva Zapata!

@moominclature
Lightning, Scaramouche, The Big Sky, Fanfan la Tulippe

@crc1939
The Bad and the Beautiful, Singin’ the Rain, High Noon, Ikiru, The White Sheik, Limelight

@TomasJMurray
5 Fingers, Deadline – U.S.A., Europa ’51, The Holly and the Ivy, The Importance of Being Earnest, High Noon, Umberto D.

@r_emmet (R. Emmet Sweeney)
The Golden Coach, The Lusty Men, The World in His Arms, The Quiet Man, La Noche Avanza (Night Falls), Singin’ in the Rain, The Narrow Margin, Monkey Business, The Life of Oharu, Rancho Notorious

@AstonMoffat (Alan Jeffrey)
1. Way of a Gaucho 2. Carmen’s Innocent Love 3. The Big Sky 4. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 5. Breaking the Sound Barrier 6. Rancho Notorious 7. Monkey Business 8. The White Sheik 9. Moulin Rouge 10. Park Row

@ElisaSDavis (Elisa Davis)
Come Back, Little Sheba, Singin’ in the Rain, The Lavender Hill Mob (does not count), The Bad and the Beautiful, Pat and Mike

@TheEndofCinema (Sean Gilman)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. The Quiet Man 3. Ikiru 4. Park Row 5. Limelight 6. Bend of the River 7. Europa ’51 8. The Golden Coach 9. Ruby Gentry 10. The Lusty Men

@talkin_art
Ikiru, Angel Face (does not count), The Quiet Men, The Bad and the Beautiful, High Noon

@redroomrantings (Justine Peres Smith)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Umberto D. 3. The Lusty Men 4. The Bad and the Beautiful 5. Don’t Bother to Knock 6. Ruby Gentry 7. Neighbours 8. Le Plaisir 9. Clash by Night 10. The Holly & the Ivy

@WhitlockandPope
1. Ikiru 2. The Lusty Men 3. Water, Water, Every Hare 4. High Noon 5. Sudden Fear

@cinema_strikes
Ikiru, Forbidden Games, High Noon, The Narrow Margin, Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Casque d’Or, Umberto D., The Bad and the Beautiful, Clash by Night

@GrimsChild
Roses Bloom on the Moorland, Bells of Atlantis, The Truth About Bebe Donge

@scifiagenda
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., The White Sheik

@ateliertovar (covet coven)
Lightning, Mother, A Portrait of Ga, Ikiru, Life of Oharu, Le plaisir, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, The White Reindeer, Bells of Atlantis, The Witch

@armenioja
1. Ikiru 2. Le Plaisir 3. The Lusty Men 4. Mother 5. Limelight 6. Singin’ in the Rain 7. Sudden Fear 8. The White Sheik 9. Umberto D. 10. Europa ‘51

@anotherKyleL
1. The Bad and the Beautiful 2. The Lusty Men 3. The Importance of Being Earnest 4. Singin’ in the Rain

@jakeadampitre
The Machine that Kills Bad People (La macchina ammazzacattivi)

@dashielldavies (Andrew Davies)
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Europa ’51, Clash by Night

@railoftomorrow (Scott Nye)
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. The Importance of Being Earnest 3. Umberto D. 4. Europa ’51 5. Park Row 6. The Quiet Man 7. Mother 8. Casque d’Or 9. Clash by Night 10. Macao

@sachinfilms (Sachin Bhargava Dharwadker)
The Life of Oharu, Umberto D., The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Singin’ in the Rain, Limelight, Le Plaisir, On Dangerous Ground (does not count)

@FeinDream
The Lusty Men

@Ruby_Stevens (Jessica Ritchey)
Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, The White Reindeer, Feed the Kitty, Red Planet Mars, Monkey Business, Singin’ in the Rain

@lund_carson (Carson Lund)
Life of Oharu, Clash by Night, The Quiet Man, The Big Sky, The Bad and the Beautiful

@surlaroute
Mandy

@jlalibs (Justin LaLiberty)
Umberto D., Forbidden Games, Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful

@Cinedaze (Paul Anthony Johnson)
1. The Golden Coach 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. Waiting Women 4. The Life of Oharu 5. Limelight 6. The Narrow Margin 7. The Bad and the Beautiful 8. Ikiru 9. Umberto D., 10. My Son John

@elisabetvogler
Umberto D., Singin’ in the Rain, The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, Limelight, Lightning, High Noon, Forbidden Games

@MrGlinis
Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, The Quiet Man, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Way of a Gaucho, Bend of the River

@magadizer
Singin’ in the Rain, The Quiet Man, Rabbit Seasoning, Feed the Kitty, The Bad and the Beautiful, Limelight, Vendetta of a Samurai, Ikiru, High Noon, Operation: Rabbit

@audonamission (Audrey Fox)
Singin’ in the Rain, Forbidden Games, Neighbours

@marshlands
Kansas City Confidential, Clash by Night, Limelight, The Narrow Margin, The Lusty Men, The Life of Oharu, Way of a Gaucho, The Quiet Man, Park Row, Scandal Sheet

@jvorndam (Jeff Vorndam)
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., The Bad and the Beautiful, The Golden Coach, The Life of Oharu, The Importance of Being Earnest, Park Row, Le Plaisir, Kansas City Confidential, Scaramouche

@NonsenseIsland (Vincent Alexander)
Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, Son of Paleface, Feed the Kitty, The Little House, Magical Maestro, Neighbours, Operation: Rabbit, Rabbit Seasoning, Rock-a-bye Bear

@PlurabelleG
1. Ikiru 2. The Quiet Man 3. The Life of Oharu 4. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 5. Singin’ in the Rain 6. The Member of the Wedding 7. The Marrying Kind 8. Umberto D., Le Plaisir 10. Rancho Notorious

@stefifofum
Bend of the River, Deadline – U.S.A., The Marrying Kind, The Member of the Wedding, Singin’ in the Rain

@ThePinkSmoke (The Pink Smoke)
Feed the Kitty, Scaramouche, Bend of the River, Mexican Bus Ride, Casque d’Or, Le Plaisir, A Portrait of Ga, Against All Flags, Beauties of the Night, Singin’ in the Rain

@PaulBoyne
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Othello 3. The Bad and the Beautiful 4. The Quiet Man 5. Una mujer sin amor (A Woman without Love) 6. High Noon

@ExperimentoFilm
Children of Hiroshima, Forbidden Games, High Noon, The White Reindeer, Deadline – U.S.A.

@labuzamovies (Peter Labuza)
1. The Quiet Man
2. The Narrow Margin 3. The Bad and the Beautiful 4. The Lusty Men 5. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 6. The Marrying Kind 7. Ruby Gentry 8. Scandal Sheet 9. Tropical Heat Wave 10. Abstronic

@jfhovind (Jacob Hovind)
Forbidden Games, Europa 51’, Limelight, Umberto D., The Narrow Margin, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Park Row, The White Reindeer, The Lusty Men, Le Plaisir

@decoyrobot
1. Ikiru
2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Life of Oharu 4. The Quiet Man 5. The Lusty Men 6. Umberto D. 7. Angel Face (does not count) 8. Bend of the River 9. Clash by Night 10. Monkey Business

@danpullenbooks (Dan Pullen)
Ivanhoe, Hans Christian Andersen, Umberto D., Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, High Noon, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Kansas City Confidential

@tnyfrontrow (Richard Brody)
Limelight, Le Plaisir, Monkey Business, The Life of Oharu, Europa ‘51, Casque d’Or, The Golden Coach, Angel Face
(does not count), The Marrying Kind, Park Row, The Bad and the Beautiful

@sdcinerama
The Quiet Man, The Sniper, Limelight, Singin’ in the Rain, Ikiru, Rancho Notorious, Park Row, The Narrow Margin, Life of Oharu, Ivanhoe

@MrDude_o_o
Le Plaisir, The Life of Oharu, Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D., Casque d’Or, Young Chopin, High Noon, The Quiet Man, The White Sheik

@womensrites (Dana!)
Ikiru, Sudden Fear, Casque d’Or, Le Plaisir, The Narrow Margin

@SkellyJiggy (Scott Kelly)
1. Ikiru
2. Umberto D. 3. Mother 4. Singin’ in the Rain 5. Casque d’Or 6. Viva Zapata! 7. Bend of the River 8. High Noon 9. Park Row 10. The Life of Oharu

@fuchsiadyke (Sally Jane Black)
A Portrait of Ga,
Hurlements en faveur de Sade, Ikiru, Singin’ in the Rain, Interim, La Plaisir, The Sniper, The Lusty Men, The Men who Tread on Tiger’s Tail

@chekovsgunnar
1. The Quiet Man 2. Forbidden Games 3. Europa ’51 4. Umberto D. 5. The Lusty Men 6. High Noon

@ViolasMoustache
1. The Quiet Man 2. Has Anybody Seen My Gal? 3. No Room for the Groom 4. Othello 5. The Sound Barrier 6. Park Row 7. Mandy 8. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 9. Singin’ in the Rain 10. Casque d’Or

@rgodfrey (Ryan Godfrey)
Singin’ in the Rain, Umberto D, The Importance of Being Earnest, High Noon, Kansas City Confidential, Monkey Business, Viva Zapata!, The Prisoner of Zenda, Ikiru

@hollowchatter
1. Ikiru 2. Singin’ in the Rain 3. The Bad and the Beautiful 4. The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice 5. The Life of Oharu 6. Park Row 7. Umberto D. 8. Casque d’Or 9. Le Plaisir 10. The Quiet Man

@c0mmunicants
Le Plaisir, Life of Oharu, Mother, Lightning, The White Reindeer, Ikiru, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

@rickburin (Rick Burin)
The Lusty Men, Forbidden Games, Singin’ in the Rain, Kansas City Confidential, Umberto D., The Happy Time, Le Plaisir, Appointment in London, The Sniper, Ikiru

@Harlegator68
1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Ikiru 3. Umberto D. 4. The Marrying Kind 5. High Noon 6. The Life of Oharu 7. Carrie 8. Limelight 9. The Narrow Margin 10. Park Row

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #2 – Goodfellas (US / Scorsese)


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Other 1990 Coverage So Far:
100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#9. Spontaneous Combustion (US/Hooper)
#7. A Moment of Romance (Hong Kong/Chan)
#5. Pump Up the Volume (Canada / US / Moyle)
#4. The Match Factory Girl (Finland / Kaurismäki)
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

I really didn’t think Goodfellas would be here. As a teenager, Scorsese’s signature work had become a natural favorite. When you’re young and first getting into film, Marty’s shot-in-the-arm kinetics feel like the first time you see fireworks. I remember that my father would crack up along with the mob men as if he was there with them. In my head, that’s the movie it became — dorm room poster canon where Ray Liotta pals around with Pesci and De Niro and lives life on top until he bottoms out. Over the years I didn’t revisit it, and my impression looking back had shrugged itself into a Larry David “eh”: virtuosic but conventional, iconic but signature to a fault. As has proven the case from time to time with this project, rewatching was like seeing it new: “Oh, that’s why people always put this and Wolf of Wall Street together”. 

The camera makes its way down the bar and we overhear a passing exchange between Illeana Douglas and one of her girlfriends. Referring to Tommy (Joe Pesci) she says “He is so jealous. If I even look at anyone else, he will kill me.” She is beaming from ear-to-ear. Her friend congratulates her, “that is great“.  This chasm between what is being said/done and the attitude of those saying/doing it is where Goodfellas’ greatness lies. That gap is also what’s gotten Scorsese in so much asinine hot water, especially when he pushes this dichotomy past its brink in Wolf of Wall Street.

Scorsese’s approach requires a loyalty to the perspectives of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio in WOWS). What springs up in that aforementioned gap are anthropological yet distressingly entertaining studies of insular criminal subcultures that thrive on ego and exclusivity. Our discomfort arises most intensely not through the whats of what we see, but in the unfazed callousness with which we see it. Henry and Jordan only want to talk about, and show us, “the life” and how great (they think) it is. They could give two fucks about the people hurt, demeaned, degraded, or killed by their actions (Henry’s slight discomfort is something he pushes down and doesn’t address in his narration), and the films adherence and loyalty to that attitude allows us to see and feel that callousness even as, especially as, we’re also being entertained.

Goodfellas is a feature-length “let me paint this picture for you”. Henry Hill’s narrative of details, recounted with prideful precision as the filmmaking stylishly keeps up with him, proves his status. If you can describe it, you lived it: you were a somebody. Henry’s personality begins and ends with having had the privilege to observe and participate in these details. We’re bombarded with names, faces, and the ins and outs of how things worked and how things were. Scorsese and co-writer Nicholas Pileggi, adapting his book Wiseguy, forgo plot-based narrative, instead riding high off the thrill of the detail in a world of perceived Gods. How Paulie moved slow because he didn’t have to move for anybody. How Jimmy would give the bartender a hundred bucks for keeping the ice cubes cold. How Vinnie was in charge of the tomato sauce in jail but he’d put in too many onions. It’s all directed with an inviting “com’ere, let me show you somethin” energy and the resurrected glow of nostalgia and crooner tunes.

For Henry Hill, there’s nothing worse than being normal (aka: life outside the Mob). The idea of living any other way “was nuts”. Normal people are just suckers with no balls, neighborhoods “full of nobodies”. At one point, after Henry returns home late and drunk before taking off again, Karen tells him that “normal people don’t act like this”. Henry just laughs at her. This is one of the key mafia perks: the freedom to laugh. In Goodfellas, if you’re one who can’t laugh in a room with those who can, you’re in trouble — because where there’s laughter, there’s violence. A bottle gets smashed over a man’s head: laughter. One man chokes another: laughter. Someone tells a story of beating a man “to a pulp”: laughter. That gap I discussed earlier? In Goodfellas, its most important expression is the gap between laughter and violence. And it’s not just any laughter. It is, as best showcased by Ray Liotta, a desperately feverish laughter. Henry laughs with everything he’s got, as if is life depended on it: an unconscious exorcism.

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Karen (Lorraine Bracco) is lured by the appeal of riches and respect. If Henry “as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” Hill is all-in from the word go, Karen’s portion of the film tells the story of a skeptical woman gradually seduced into “the life”. Goodfellas is, in part, about how cliches happen; how people end up going down the same paths of countless others. The Karen of the beginning is an outsider: unimpressed by Henry’s manners, impressed by Henry’s status, and repulsed by the other wives and their bad makeup, bad clothes, and shocking gossip. But Henry’s power is a major turn-on, a drug in its own right. Gradually, she ends up living the cliche: marital woes; absentee husband; the long-suffering wife; making a scene at the latest mistress’s home; drugs; complicit but not truly involved. She becomes isolated (“there were never any outsiders”) and accustomed to it (“after a while it all got to be normal”). By the time Karen is fully indoctrinated, the film loses her as a narrator. She’s become indistinguishable from all the rest.

Christina Newland recently wrote a piece for Little White Lies about how Goodfellas is her comfort movie, and I completely get it. I’m always ready put it on again. The smoke screen security and warmth of the Italian-American family provides an extra note of recognition (my mother’s side is fully Italian). And the life Henry Hill shows us is seductive — seductive and funny and horrible. I, like Karen, and like all of them, am always ready to go back.

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #4 – The Match Factory Girl (Finland / Kaurismäki)


Other 1990 Coverage So Far:
100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#9. Spontaneous Combustion (US/Hooper)
#7. A Moment of Romance (Hong Kong/Chan)
#5. Pump Up the Volume (Canada / US / Moyle)
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

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The ultimate hypnotic: watching the surreal and ungainly machinery made for one specific step in the mass production of one specific product (set me up with a collection of how-see-how-these-are-made segments from Sesame Street of Mr. Rogers and I’m set for life). Aki Kaurismäki’s The Match Factory Girl begins by showing us, step by step, how matches are made. It sets up the world of the Finnish proletariat, in which action and inaction are defined by the inanimate functionality of a machine, and the forever crawl of industrial living. It is a life defined by zombified automation and a lived-in misery so ingrained that it isn’t even experienced as misery, because how can it be when there is no emotional, environmental or experiential spectrum for misery to distinguish itself by?

The notion of a national cinema is, for many reasons, limiting. Yet even today, Finnish cinema still equals Aki Kaurismäki to most. Yet, as can often be the case with festival circuit darlings that crossover into arthouse fame, his films have little appeal or popularity with the Finnish people. This isn’t surprising; The Match Factory Girl feels made for the outsider looking in on an outsider girl in an outsider land. The director says his films are too real for his people, but what this means is that he finds real in the unreal. Kaurismäki’s, as Henry Bacon referred to them, “displacement poetics” are a reality made of unreal dullness, using formal extremes to interpret the essence and spirit (the Sisu, loosely translated as perseverance) of the Finnish working class.

Watching The Match Factory Girl is like competing in both a staring contest and a straight-face contest, and the film won’t give an inch on either front. It is a world of fixed severity where everything is tragic and comic at once, and human existence is such a state of un-being that it makes no difference to the camera whether someone is there or not. It’s as if it doesn’t even notice one way or the other, because here there is no difference between living space and dead space. You keep looking for a slight-of-hand or the tip-off, a sign that life of any other kind exists outside whatever unadorned room we inhabit from scene to scene. It’s there, but only in the distant sounds of outdated jukeboxes and news coverage concerning other countries, further gluing Finland and Iris into some permanent displaced limbo.

Iris’s thankless task is to essentially tap down loose labels and keep a watchful eye on the conveyor belt. The Match Factory Girl reminds me of another ugly duckling tragicomedy, Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse. In both films, the camera is the sole guardian of both Iris and Dawn, yet can only depict their hopeless degradation and loneliness with an air of removed amusement, as if their lives are one long unlucky day so pitifully sad that seeing absurdity in the nihilism is the only option. Each exist right on the cusp of mean-spiritedness.

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Kaurismäki regular Kati Outinen (marvelous, her face is an immovable canvas anchoring an immovable world) is described here as impenetrable; but she’s not, not really. She’s somewhat paralyzed, unconsciously frozen from knowing she doesn’t matter, not even to her job. She is a permanent deer in headlights, extremely naive, and fully embedded in this world. I want to talk to her, to show her one shred of evidence that life can be better than this. She seems to live in an almost unacknowledged hope that it might go differently one day. When she finally breaks up the monotony of her life by attending a dance and meets a man named Aarne, it does.

You’d think The Match Factory Girl would fit alongside other films that build up to abrupt female violence, such as The Piano Teacher or Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. But Iris’s radial acts are not performed radically. She is not trying to break out of her confines into something better, and there is no burst that breaks her out of the film’s rhythm. She kills with the same unthinking automation with which she, and everyone around her, do everything. There is no sense that something free and better for her is ever remotely viable, or that it’s even something Iris has ever thought about. Not only does Iris’s inner life seem quite bare, but Kaurismäki’s Helsinki is so unyielding and insular that it is unquestionably the only available reality. So, if Finland is this distant planet where nobody ever goes in and nobody ever goes out, and space is shown as unmovable, that makes the few, and uniformly awful people, in her life the only adjustable variable. Not her life, not her environment, not even her freedom. And that’s the comic tragedy at the heart of The Match Factory Girl.

 

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #5 – Pump Up the Volume (Canada / US / Moyle)


 

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Other 1990 Coverage So Far
100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#9. Spontaneous Combustion (US/Hooper)
#7. A Moment of Romance (Hong Kong/Chan)
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

You’re a teenager in the sanctuary of your room. Safe, but alone in self and in soul. A voice comes from the radio. The distortion is alien, but it’s talking to you instead of down to you, and it sounds confused and pissed off and just a little bit crass. You recognize yourself in the things he says, the voice of someone who not only knows that, in the words of Fiona Apple, “the world is bullshit”, but is trying to grapple with it live and in the moment. It’s the voice of someone who doesn’t have the answers but knows the problems, and the pain of being. Even though you can only hear him, it feels like he sees you. He is a life line, and the only catharsis you’ve currently got.

As we get older, we revisit the put-upon teenage-isms in movies and books with slowly increasing disconnect. It’s only natural. I used to love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so much that I’d watch it all the time. I thought Ferris and his day of fantasy hijinks were so cool (though I always related to Cameron Frye). But he, and the film, are actually the definition of obnoxious, largely because it buys into Ferris as the second coming of Christ. Don’t trust coming-of-age films that worship their main character. Sincerity is the unpopular approach to the high school film, partly because teenagers hiding behind a wall of wit and sarcasm always has appeal, and partly because coming-of-age narratives tend to be written by self-satisfied adults. Sincerity is a much harder approach, both to pull off and to sell.

“My So-Called Life” pulls off this needle-in-a-haystack sincerity because Angela’s diary-of-absolutes voiceover (“sometimes it seems like we’re all living in some kind of prison, and the crime is how much we hate ourselves”) transport you back to adolescence even as you can feel your remove from it. You remember how it felt to angst-out for the first time, to be trapped in the bubble of high school, and the Chicken Little apocalypse of every experience. We feel the ways we still are, and are not, a teenager — what we took with us and what we left behind. When a lot of onscreen teenagers talk, you can picture a writer back-patting themselves with “damn, that’s good”. With Angela you can’t, because she’s too busy feeling; Claire Danes always delivers her lines as a girl finding her words in the exact moment she says them.

Just like Angela and her voiceover, Mark and his pirate radio are also expressions of existential and unmistakably teenage introspection. Pump Up the Volume is full of lines like “all the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks” or Nora’s “jam me, jack me, push me, pull me” poetry, baby’s first pangs of nihilism and provocation. But we don’t roll our eyes. Instead we not only recognize being that age, but, like “My So-Called Life”, are brought back to it because of the passion and free-form urgency these creative expressions take. Both “My So-Called Life” and Pump Up the Volume have the same sincerity and honesty to their angst, but Pump Up the Volume trades in solitary heartache for collective generational loneliness and unrest.

We recognize Christian Slater’s familiar “chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling” instigator mode. But unlike J.D’s (Heathers) anarchic antagonist (made further untouchable through a satirical wall) or Clarence’s (True Romance) unfortunate Tarantino-ego conduit, in Pump Up the Volume his wised-up persona takes the form of a desperately shy kid who stumbles into the guise of a pirate radio alter ego (it’s the performance of his career by the way). He is just as alone as the kids listening to him. He didn’t start this because he thought he had anything to say or because he thought he could be a voice for anybody. He tells us “you see, I didn’t plan it like this. My dumb dad got me this shortwave radio set so I could talk to my buddies back east. But I couldn’t reach anybody. So I just imagined I was talking to nobody”. Mark doesn’t know how to be so he finds a way to be on the air. As his similarly adrift peers gravitate towards the mysterious Hard Harry, the suburb’s parents and educators see him as an insurgent threat that must be eradicated. Only 30 years old, Pump Up the Volume takes place in a presently unimaginable world where the only possible connective outlet for teenagers takes place within your town and through illegal means. 

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Allan Moyle’s films are consistently about the connectivity between outsider music, outsider kids, and outsider culture (other films include Times Square and Empire Records). Part of that “this movie is with us” vibe comes from the fuck the system soundtrack to go with a fuck the system film. Moyle’s musical tastes tend towards underground sounds of the moment. The bands featured cover a wide array of punk, hardcore, alternative, and hip-hop (Sonic Youth, Above the Law, Bad Brains, and The Pixies to name a few), music not only spiritually aligned with the film, but in some cases on the precipice of defining their era to a wider audience. In Pump Up the Volume, music can help you discover identity and find like-minded rebellious expression in the absence of self-expression. The film’s first line is “Do you ever get the feeling that everything in America is completely fucked up?”. He then airs Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” to elaborate and further express that sentiment.

The compassion so central to Pump Up the Volume evolved over time. Originally, Moyle’s much darker script was about of a kid who goes on the air each night intending to kill himself before getting too caught up in talking about it to get around to it. Even though the story was re-conceived to have broader appeal, the focus on suicide, depression, and alienation remain. And while the film is packed with deeply felt cynicism, too much of it at the wrong moment is shown to lead to tragedy. Instead, Pump Up the Volume is hopeful enough to imagine that change is possible through rallying efforts and the power of the individual voice. But, critically, it’s much more centered on authentically communicating the very real hopelessness and epiphany of hypocrisy carried by a lot of post-Reagan youth. It’s a film about how to cope because “high school is at the bottom, being a teenager sucks, but that’s the point, surviving it is the point”: a “you’re not alone” film without any of the misfire and flat sentimentality. It’s about how to get by through activating yourself, and how to hold onto that pain by transforming it into something tangible or uniting because it’s the only thing that’s real.

Pump Up the Volume is to some what “Hard Harry” is to the teenagers populating the film’s suburban Phoenix setting. Though it failed at the box-office, it seems to have had a concretely life-changing impact on a smattering of the Gen-Xers who saw it upon release. Every time I bring it up on social media, at least one person replies back with their memory of seeing the film in theaters and how important and/or life-changing it was to them. Extensive focus is put on watching these kids listen to Mark, because the film is an act of recognition. It recognizes that kids are depressed and suicidal and realizing they are trapped in a system they didn’t choose. There is an emotional momentum to its encouragement to ask yourself what you can do and the ways you can create, speak, and put yourself out there. It sounds lame and didactic but the semi-miracle of this movie is that it’s not. It’s the antidote to John Hughes, and a film that has a much broader, inclusive, and vital application for now.

(Note: this would make a great triple feature with Prayer of the Rollerboys and Class of 1999, two films that are genre tinged but equally about disaffected punk youth. Pump Up the Volume taps into the dystopia occurring in these other two films)

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #7 – A Moment of Romance (Hong Kong / Chan)


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Other 1990 Coverage So Far
100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#9. Spontaneous Combustion (US/Hooper)
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

The years 1986 through 1993 mark the final Golden Age of production for the Hong Kong film industry. During this time the industry was operating at the peak of its power and cultural dominance, monopolizing not just the Hong Kong market (the small population of which only ensured so much money), but the broader East Asian market. This included, most crucially, Taiwan, whose pre-sales alone had grown to cover half of a film’s average budget. By the mid 1990s, for a myriad of reasons including (but not limited to), Hollywood pushing into Asian markets, post-handover censorship conflicts, exploding budgets, too many productions, and a financial crisis, the Hong Kong film industry took a downturn that it never recovered from (at least not in the same way). As I’d imagine is the case with any 1986-1993 year, 1990 features a wide array of excellent Hong Kong fare. My favorite of them is Benny Chan’s (& Johnnie To & Ringo Lam & Wong Jing among others, all auteurs with influential producer credits on this) doomed young lovers tale A Moment of Romance.

You’ve seen this story before, the tragedy of the good little rich girl and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. A Moment of Romance takes tried-and-true material and successfully reconsecrates it as the new gold standard for its time and place. In the industry’s well-established tradition of stacking multiple genres on one film, it’s also part-action and part-triad film as well (a then hugely popular genre thanks to John Woo’s game-changing A Better Tomorrow). Its moments of violence are quick and brutal — we tend to see blood as it stains walls, immediately looking like its been there for weeks.

But it’s A Moment of Romance‘s go-big-or-go-home romantic identity that defines it. It  took the posed listless yearning and angst of Wong Kar-wai and altered it into something more palatable for the mainstream Hong Kong audience. By 1990, Wong was making an international arthouse splash with his first two films (As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild, both featuring Andy Lau), but domestic audiences were not as keen on him. A Moment of Romance takes heartache and gives it plot.

Benny Chan and company lean way into the bombastic teen anguish, employing neon-soaked cinematography, slow-motion, sentimental harpsichord Cantopop songs that echo and chime throughout, and a bountiful number of explosions. A Moment of Romance also feels particularly influenced by Hollywood’s previous decade, specifically in the way it carries over the era of high concept and music video pop filmmaking. The image of Andy Lau in his red helmet on his red motorcycle while Jacklyn Wu rides clings to him from behind in her wedding gown is Patrick Swayze lifting Jennifer Grey level iconic. The film was a massive hit, spawning two sequels, and a bevy of in-movie references and parodies in the years to come. It also helped establish Andy Lau as a heartthrob megastar.

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Without the appeal of Andy Lau, the trajectory of A Moment of Romance, for all its style, might not work. This is par for the course re: every onscreen romance. Most of them are likely to contain tropes that play into gender essentialism, and this one is no different. Wah Dee is dangerous; they meet when he kidnaps Jo Jo as a shield to escape from a heist gone wrong. The push and pull between his tough outside and soft inside hurt her just as much as they save her. To be fair, he knows this too. All the barriers surrounding them outweigh their connection.

So you need someone like Andy Lau, who projects both beauty and a sympathetic strain of ache, to make this work. His Wah Dee can’t be bothered even as he is visibly deeply aware of everything going on around him. In a performance that has an undeniable James Dean-in-denim quality, he is selling a women want him, men want to be him fantasy. Of course she would follow him to the ends of the Earth even if it’s bad for her — and it’s baby’s first love to boot! But the romance of A Moment of Romance is romantic precisely because of its impermanence.

Wah Dee is so full of torment, and so fiercely protective of both her and his friend Rambo (the great Ng Man Tat!), that instead of just going “ugh, fuck this dude”, you ache for him just like she does, and want (in fact, need!) him to be OK. Lau’s presence provides a believable and compelling springboard to project its at-times objectively troubling fantasy onto. His gift here is that he turns the objective subjective, making the film a case study demonstrating that problematic and desirable are not always mutually exclusive, and in the world of fiction they don’t necessarily have to be.

More than any other genre, the romance lives or dies by casting. And luckily, Andy Lau is the palpable and complicated emotional core at the heart of the extremely extra A Moment of Romance, a throughline amidst all of the bigness, action, and puppy love, that catapults it its status as a *modern classic.

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*Modern classic to Hong Kong and other East Asian audiences. Despite being very well-known, it has yet to have that crossover effect yet with cinephiles (sorry, I know so many of you hate that term!). A large part of this is due to its relative unavailablity here. If you can download it or get a file sent from a friend, or buy an international copy you can play, etc. please seek it out! It only received 2 votes in the poll!!!

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #9 – Spontaneous Combustion (US/Hooper)


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Next to nothing has been written about Spontaneous Combustion. I could not find evidence of any academic articles, and the broader field of film criticism is almost as dire. There’s a fantastic essay on it as part of the AV Club’s “Overlooked” column, written by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky after Tobe Hooper’s passing. It also received an entry in the Birth Movies Death column “Say Something Nice”, which is about, you guessed it, finding something good to say about a “bad” film (“certainly bad, but enjoyably so”??? Don’t get me started on how disassociated all the pans are from what this movie is). It is always noted as “minor” Hooper, a sorry footnote that continued the downward trajectory of a career marked with firings and failures. And it received only three votes in the Top Ten By Year: 1990 poll results, the respondents of which cover an extremely wide-ranging spectrum of tastes. But I, along with maybe five other people, think Spontaneous Combustion is a major work. Its biggest proponent is the great Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who regularly cites it as a major influence on his work, and names it as one of his three favorite films!

Despite being a horror icon, the majority of Tobe Hooper’s work is largely dismissed. It’s not hard to see why. As Vishnevetsky all too accurately puts it, “his movies just couldn’t get a grip on themselves”. It’s a considerable part of what made him an unmistakable, and erratically uneven, auteur, not just within the scope of his filmography but within the films themselves (even the three all-timers, which is three more than most filmmakers). They all tend to feel one degree away from being unwatchable, executed with feeling over cohesion by fusing some combination of anger and nastiness with transgression and blatant political ire. In Spontaneous Combustion, the destruction and purely unmanageable chaos that Brad Dourif can’t keep inside of him could easily double as a descriptor for Tobe Hooper as a director.

The confounding elaborate conspiracies and rapidly escalating body horror of Spontaneous Combustion (which Hooper has a story and screenwriting credit on) will scramble your brain — as they should. Our inability to keep up with its convolutions put us in the deep end with Sam (Dourif). If your life was revealed to be a manipulated falsehood while, simultaneously, you turned into a pyrokinetic byproduct of nuclear testing: would you be able to make sense of it? It’s like if The Truman Show took place in one day, and instead of Truman trying to get out of Seahaven, a fireball was trying to get out of him.

The love I have for Brad Dourif as a performer is impossible to adequately express, but suffice it to say he’d be in a list of my five favorite living actors (along with, today at least, Song Kang-ho, Denzel Washington, Kurt Russell, and Robert De Niro). Spontaneous Combustion is the perfect example of how crucial he is to any project lucky enough to have him. He has this hypnotic ability to ensure you hang onto his every word regardless of the material’s quality. The sound of his voice is a rolling pull that, to quote Lloyd Christmas of all people, is like a “tractor beam….sucks you right in”. There is something explosive in him even before casting him in a movie where there’s literally something explosive in him. He embodies the ache of the outside and the inside in equal measure, and can go Big while retaining a crucial emotional transference that ensures he doesn’t become pure spectacle. Watching him in this is agonizing, and essential to the film’s impact, because of course he feels like he’s actually being ripped apart at the seams. His face projects the helpless inability to process the lie of his life…because it’s already ending.

The pall of death hangs heavy over Spontaneous Combustion. That feeling kicks in with the, correctly described by Vishnevetsky, Lynchian opening (usually an overused and lazy descriptor, but I promise it actually applies here and is not just code for “weird”!) in which an Ozzie and Harriet-like couple become test subjects for an anti-radiation vaccine. The American Dream is depicted as pure governmental exploitation, a bargain and commitment to country that guarantees annihilation. The quickness with which Sam’s internal annihilation takes hold, and that the crumbling of his external life is (while related) not directly caused from the crisis of his body, is overwhelming. It is the total claustrophobia of fate dealing you a bad hand. 

That overwhelming emotional weight that Spontaneous Combustion carries in tow recalls Bob Clark’s masterpiece Deathdream (a film that provoked a once-in-a-half-decade art-instigated emotional exorcism, so I don’t make the comparison lightly). A similar inescapable thrum of sadness runs under both. These are two horror films in which American atrocities are made manifest and metaphor in the human body. However, it is a manifestation of opposites. In Deathdream, Andy, a soldier coming back from Vietnam, is already dead. He is a zombie paper doll with the functionality of a ventriloquist’s dummy that’s been left in an attic corner; a participant and victim of an imperialist war, bringing and spreading that death back home. Sam though, is purely a victim of history; the offspring of a horrific atomic experiment, whose life is marked from day one. One man is lifeless while the other carries too much within him. Both are deadly and both are tragic. To quote Vishnevetsky once again, “the image of flames shooting out of rips and holes in the Dourif character’s skin is a powerful one. It has a sick and sad poetry to it, like Leatherface’s skin mask.”

*I didn’t have room to work it in, but this is a gorgeous film. There are such foreboding use of bright color and atmosphere, empty hallways and spaces

*I also didn’t have room to shout-out Cynthia Bain, the female lead, who is so good here. She reminds me a lot of Radha Mitchell, and I wish her career was more lively.

The “Product as Synergy” era begins: Hollywood in 1990


Other 1990 Coverage So Far:
100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

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The respective Hollywood cinemas of the 1980s and 1990s come with broad and immediate signifiers. For the 1980s it’s the emergence of high concept; the trifecta MTV-ification of music, images, and editing; yuppie & boomer cinema; consensus-driven filmmaking. For the 1990s it’s the gen-X indie sweep; the Miramax era; the software generation; the Spielberg ‘look of wonder’ era of CGI; white teens everywhere; a post-Do the Right Thing-world sadly usurped by a post-Pulp Fiction world. Many of these trends don’t account for, or even factor into, the primary transition between the two eras. So what happened? 1989-1991 is a comparatively ignored pocket of Hollywood history, which is odd considering that it’s ground zero for understanding where we are now. Over the last year, I’ve read several books, many articles, and the majority of the Premiere magazines from 1990. I can’t tell you how many times I thought: “damn, The Player really was a documentary.”

The only proper place to begin is with the multimedia corporatization of Hollywood. Conglomerate buy-outs in the industry weren’t new. In the 1960s, as budgets skyrocketed and box-office tanked, they were recurring lifeboats for a dying and confused industry. What makes this era I’m writing about different is that it’s the moment tie-in merchandising, products with simultaneous reach across various corporate branches and, perhaps most significantly, an unquenchable desire to build increasingly gigantic global media empires, all begin to normalize. With the brand new media potential of both cable and VCRs alongside a recent Reagan-era wave of government deregulation, it was increasingly viable for companies to gobble up all the media outlets they wanted in order to build themselves into considerably bigger Goliaths than ever before. This competitive urgency had essentially “indicated the scale of conglomeration necessary” to avoid being left behind, resulting in a big business growth spurt that happened in the blink of a few short years (Owczarski, 94).

In 2001, Variety’s Peter Bart stated, “it’s become a very corporate town. It had not been a corporate town 10, 15 years ago”. The genesis of this industry overhaul unofficially began in 1985-1986 when News Corporation bought 20th Century Fox and Turner Broadcasting Company acquired MGM & United Artists. Then, several key mergers in 1989-1990 established a Whale Shark eats Great White pattern that, as Disney’s 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox can attest, hasn’t subsided since. In 1989, Japan invested in a big slice of Hollywood when Sony bought Columbia Pictures and Tristar from Coca-Cola for $4.9 billion. Meanwhile, in a deal as messy and convoluted as they come, Time Inc. spent that year configuring a merger with Warner Brothers to become Time Warner Inc. (the merger was officially completed in January 1990). Also in 1989, Gulf + Western dismantled and divested itself to rebrand as Paramount Communications. Lastly, in 1990, Matsushita Electric Industries Co. acquired MCA Inc., which included Universal Studios, for 6.6 billion.

As William A. Kunz puts it, “the studios were no longer the show ponies of diversified industrial conglomerates but rather the content producers of media conglomerates” (Kunz, 30). Hollywood had officially entered the era of “product as synergy”.We enter 1990 buzzing with worry and uncertainty. There was, understandably, a lot of trepidation from those working in the industry about the implications of these mergers, and what the actual New Hollywood would look like (thirty years later the same amplified unease remains). While the effects of these mergers had only just begun to trickle down, the ambitious roll-out and unparalleled success of one 1989 industry-changing juggernaut would dominate both the talk and press of Tinseltown throughout 1990, correctly clocked as the new high-risk standard for “product as synergy” and life under multimedia mergers. That juggernaut was Warner Brothers’ Batman.

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Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) has been deemed The Film That Changed Everything, and it undeniably did a great deal to guide the industry out of its transitional and existential New Hollywood period and into a framework of blockbuster filmmaking. But looking back from the vantage point of 2020 Hollywood, The Film That Changed Everything was actually made in 1989 courtesy of Warner Brothers and Tim Burton. Batman was “the first film to demonstrate the power of the franchise in the new corporate environment” (Owczarski, 6). Batman and the Time-Warner merger occurred simultaneously, with the latter being officially announced three months before the release of the former. It would become the highest grossing film of 1989 and the 2nd highest grossing film ever for its time, grossing 250 million domestically. The timelines of the Time/Warner merger and Batman’s production and release are so sloppy and congruent that it’s difficult to trace the specific cause-and-effect they had on each other. However, the two are so interlinked, both logistically and symbolically, that they were often referred to as one and the same, a looming and amorphous uncertainty with only one concretely understood guarantee: big change.

For all the profits Batman raked in at the box office, it made more (oh so much more) through the soon-to-be Time-Warner’s other branches (nobody cashed in more than Jack Nicholson. He was contracted to bank a percentage of the profits from both the film, its merchandising, and its sequels, in which he didn’t even appear. Reports indicate he made at least $90 million as a result). Warner’s co-chairman Terry Semel said, “It was the first time we utilized the whole machine of the company. The marketing, the tie-ins, the merchandising, the international” (Schatz, 93). This is the birth of the franchise, otherwise known as the moment it “becomes impossible to disentangle the film’s success from its corporate base” (Owczarski, 6). Of course, sequels and franchises-in-hindsight existed long before this, but Batman was conceived, constructed, and marketed to hook consumers in a long-term investment of products and merchandise.

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Prince’s (great) Batman album is the perfect example of Warner Brothers playing around with multimedia tie-ins (it also provides an exciting tonal complexity to the film). Initially, Warner Brothers wanted to go even bigger, with a collaboration between Prince and Michael Jackson, but that fell through. Unsurprisingly, Tim Burton did not want Prince’s songs embedded into the film, but he had no say in the matter. By strategically joining one of the world’s most popular musicians into the year’s biggest gambit, the company was able to expand the film’s demographic reach by roping in Prince’s fan base and securing additional Batman revenue/exposure through record sales and chart-topping hits (it was #1 on the Billboard 200). Watching the film now, Batman is perhaps most fascinating as a test-run for crossovers and financial risk-taking.

Part of Batman‘s financial risk came in the form of what we now recognize as the long-term strategic, and expensive, marketing campaign. This meant flooding stores with all the tie-in merchandise you could think of long before the film’s release. Toys meant kids in seats, which meant parents in seats, smoothing over the danger of its PG-13 rating. We also see a key early example of preemptive public opinion prompting a studio to retool its publicity for damage control. In the late eighties, Michael Keaton was seen as more zany than anything else; perched eyebrows with an unhinged smile. News of his casting as Bruce Wayne was met with vocal disapproval and confusion. This, in addition to the Caped Crusader’s then-close association with the Adam West camp series, created the assumption that this would be another goofy Batman incarnation. To combat the bad press, producer Jon Peters (more on this piece of work in a second) made sure a short 30-second teaser hit theaters by Christmas of 1988 (the film was a Summer 1989 release), which enticingly, and unmistakably, established the film’s darker tone. He also came up with the initial poster, which featured no stars, no star names, no tagline, not even the name of the film: just the bat symbol and a date: June 23. It all paid off in spades.

Therefore, when we take a look at Hollywood in 1990, it is a mid-merger post-Batman world where cash overkill and the art of the deal were fast becoming all that mattered. This is most exemplified by the other big industry event of the moment: Warner Brother’s billion-dollar lawsuit against Sony over parasitic wheel-and-deal team Jon Peters and Peter Guber. The hottest producer duo in town, also known as the “Blockbuster Boys”, had finagled their way in as co-heads of Columbia Pictures by way of breach of contract with WB. The two had risen in infamy throughout the 1980s, their names attached to some of the decade’s biggest hits and trendsetters. Between 1988’s Best Picture winner Rain Man and the 5th highest grossing film ever made up to that point (Batman), they were seen as having something of the Midas Touch, creating an impression that they had “such brilliant commercial instincts that maybe they could even run a major studio” (Griffin & Masters).

However, Hollywood was all about illusion, not just within the screen but also outside of it. Peters and Guber were hardly involved with Rain Man at all, and in fact were disinterested in the project. As for Batman, Peters’s contribution was more about syncing up the trailblazing marketing efforts and doing what he did best: bullying the crew, sleeping with the female star, and coming up with big-kid ideas that Tim Burton then had to figure out how to incorporate. There was instinct there, sure, and the men had a keen sense of how to make up for the others weaknesses. But as Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood puts it: “their greatest gift was for promotion – usually self-promotion” (as co-heads of Columbia they bottomed out quick, bleeding the studio dry for corporate jets, redesigning the lot, personal chefs, and more. After Guber arranged for Peters to be fired in 1991, he’d leave the studio in 1994 in “one of the most expensive chapters in the history of the entertainment industry”) (Griffin & Masters, 8).

By 1990 “a new breed had invaded”: entrepreneurs from Wall Street “who had come of age during the eighties, men and women who had never built or run a company but who thought of nothing of buying and selling them – before they were thirty.” (Salamon, 296) Hollywood was (is?) a place ticky-tacked together by connections, where “so many uncredentialed, dishonest, and not-bright people succeed because a lot of it depends on who you know. Reality is irrelevant. Perception is everything” (Salamon 367-368). The art of the deal was only half of the hunt: the other half came in the elusive search for the next jackpot ceiling-breaking blockbuster.

In January 1991, a justly alarmed Jeffrey Katzenberg (of all people) sent out a 28-page memo to everyone at Disney warning of the “tidal wave” that was now hitting Hollywood, “a tidal wave of runaway costs and mindless competition”. If you want to know what was going on in Hollywood in 1990, read this memo. If you want to know what’s going on in Hollywood in 2020, read this memo, because Hollywood did not listen to Jeffrey Katzenberg. Jeffrey Katzenberg did not listen to Jeffrey Katzenberg. He painstakingly lays out his concerns over an industry intent on jacking itself up on the “blockbuster mentality” in the midst of an economic recession. Many of these concerns center on the quest for surefire hits fueled by an absence of narrative risk, a surplus of financial risk, and the replacement of theatrical longevity by the pass/fail of opening weekend.

He derided Hollywood as a numbers game, which it was, thanks in part to the abundance of “serious” entertainment business magazines that had cropped up in recent years, including Premiere, Fame, the revived Vanity Fair, Movieline, Entertainment Weekly, and others. He cited 1990’s numerous flops (more on that later) and, most crucially, rapidly escalating budgets that near-guaranteed financial loss even with considerable box-office success. He described the studios as a bunch of lemmings, “racing faster and faster into the sea, each of us trying to outrun and outspend and out-earn the other in a mad sprint toward the mirage of making the next blockbuster”. He stated, “if every studio must aspire to repeat the 1989 success of Batman, then we will undoubtedly soon see the 1990s equivalent of Cleopatra”.

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Jeffrey Katzenberg was right on the money. Films had become exorbitantly more expensive, and Batman would only make a pre-existing problem worse. In 1979, the average production cost 8.9 million to make. A mere eleven years later that figure had shot up to 26 million, not including an additional average of 11.6 million to market. (Salamon). In 1978, Brian De Palma’s The Fury, a decently budgeted film with big stars and special effects made hot off the success of Carrie, cost only 2.5 million to make. That’s what Brian De Palma made alone for directing what would become a textbook case flop for decades to come (in part thanks to Julie Salamon’s incomparable production access & subsequent book The Devil’s Candy): Bonfire of the Vanities.

As Katzenberg put it, “this box office mania is fostering a frenzy among actors, writers, directors and their agents as they try to claim their share of the big budget pie”. Executives thought that there existed a concrete recipe for “the big score”, the ingredients of which were comprised of “elements” such as star power and a crack screenplay. The Spec Script tornado, in which completed screenplays were offered to studios through auctions, had begun. In April of 1990, Geffen paid a historic $1.75 million for Shane Black’s The Last Boy Scout (it would flop in 1991. Bruce Willis would blame the bloated budget on unions. Bruce Willis made $14 million off that film.). A mere one year later, Carolco would pay a staggering $3 million for Joe Eszterhas’s Basic Instinct script. It was the domino effect of the bidding war. New standards for the most expensive “____” were immediately replaced by something even more expensive.

Agencies, who had become another game-changing “industry-wide force” by 1987, knew that the studios were willing to pay big for these “elements” (Connor, 142). By controlling and monopolizing talent, and driving home the narrative that their clients were The Key, they exponentially drove up movie budgets on behalf of The Talent (and their own pockets). By 1997, you had Jim Carrey famously banking $20 million to star in The Cable Guy, a number that matched the majority of a film’s total average production cost just 7 years prior. Follow this path down its natural course, as well as Jack Nicholson’s earlier back-end deal, and that’s how we arrive at the kind of performance-based pay deals A-list stars now make, resulting in Robert Downey Jr.’s $75 million pocketed for Avengers: Infinity War.

Katzenberg’s memo was spurred on by his experience with Dick Tracy. If there’s one 1990 film to talk about as the poster child for Batmans upcoming effect on the industry, it’s Dick Tracy. Disney modeled its everywhere-you-turn marketing of the film off Warner Brothers strategy, and it was without a doubt the year’s biggest release. Look up “Dick Tracy” on ebay and you’ll see every piece of merchandise you can think of. Hell, I have a folder, a mug, trading cards, a magnet, and I only like the film! There were three albums released ahead of it, including Madonna’s I’m Breathless (which features “Vogue”!!!). Disney was hoping it would match Batman’s box office (no pressure) which meant that, of course, expectations were not met despite it being the 9th highest grossing film of 1990. Katzenberg wrote, “the phenomenal increase in production and marketing costs for these commercial films has created a climate in which films such as Dick Tracy, grossing 104 million, and Batman, grossing 253 million, have failed to break even in domestic theatrical release”.

On the set of Dick Tracy

At least back then, it was still possible to be hired for a tentpole film because you had a distinctive point-of-view that the studio actually wanted to utilize. Warren Beatty, like Tim Burton, was given a ton of creative freedom on Dick Tracy, topping Burton’s broody Art Deco Gotham City with a 2D color blocked matte-sterpiece aesthetic. In the design of the film, Beatty insisted that everything onscreen stuck “to the vibrant primary colors of the Sunday comic pages”, with costume designer Milena Canonero proposing that the “pallette be restricted to red, yellow, orange, blue, green, fuschia, purple, cyan, black and white.” (Wyatt).

While the year’s biggest release still blissfully allowed, unlike now, for a hyper-stylized deliberately unreal world to be brought to life, Beatty was completely disillusioned with the ramped-up publicity tours and profit obsession of moviemaking. In Peter Biskind’s truly must-read cover story for Premiere’s July 1990 issue, “The Magnificent Obsessions of Warren Beatty”, the writer cannot get one substantive answer about the film from the notoriously stubborn auteur. Beatty is ostensibly there to promote the film, and he’s willing and open to talk about anything Biskind wants, but largely off the record, and not about Dick Tracy! As Beatty offers up clipped dead-ends and philosophical dissections of the simplest questions, it’s impossible to tell him apart from a cringe comedy bit. Biskind asks about the development of the script. “I think whatever I would have to say on that would be dull”. It continues like that, and it rules.

Beatty is asked many questions about salaries and hype and pressure and Batman, all of which he avoids. One thing he does talk about is his disdain for these kinds of questions, stating, “the press is all mixed up between art and commerce. They tell the numbers, the grosses, the negative costs, as if that should matter, culturally” and correctly observing, “cultural respect is paid to the artist with the highest financial profitability”. And the films with the highest financial profitability were getting harder to predict.

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This is a year of notorious flops and surprise successes. Several big-budget, action-oriented sequels (Robocop II, Rocky V, Another 48 Hrs) and star-power films (Days of Thunder, Havana, Air America, The Russia House, The Rookie) tanked. Most lambasted of all was Bonfire of the Vanities, the failure and press assassination of which “came to symbolize the failure of every big-budget disappointment” that Hollywood kept having to reconcile (Salamon). Two of the four gigantic box-office winners of 1990, Ghost and Pretty Woman, had big stars and easy hooks, but in no way were they expected to have the financial and cultural impact that they did. Home Alone, which broke records, stayed at #1 for 12 straight weeks, and went on to become the highest grossing 1990 film, was something nobody could have predicted. And then there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, made for $13 million by Warner Brothers’ label New Line Cinema, which became the highest grossing independent film ever to that point, making an astonishing $202 million domestically.

Dick Tracy is only one of a number of films by New Hollywood behemoths released in 1990, and they all have one or more of the following in common: long-gestating projects released to box-office and critical disappointment, direct sequels to films that defined 1970s Hollywood, or films that take place in the 1930s or 40s (largely in Los Angeles). The Two Jakes, a sequel to Chinatown set in 1948, reunited Jack Nicholson, Robert Towne, and Robert Evans in the hopes of recreating some of that impeccably bleak magic. It had been in the works and ready to go in 1984, but a host of troubles pushed it back until Nicholson eventually stepped in to direct it himself. It only made $10 million and the reviews were middling.

Peter Bogdanovich also made Texasville, a sequel to his landmark classic The Last Picture Show (both films are adaptations of Larry McMurtry’s books), set 33 years later and featuring much of the same cast. This one had also been in the works for a while — Cybil Shepard was announced as having signed onto the project back in 1986. It made only 2.3 million and reviews were…well, middling. The big 1970s sequel of 1990 was of course Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III which had all the success these others did not, making money and shoring up a host of Academy Award nominations. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood made the self-reflective White Hunter, Black Heart, which examines post-war Hollywood and ego during John Huston’s troubled The African Queen shoot. It was received well but it, you guessed it, flopped at the box-office making only $2 million. Finally, Sydney Pollack released Havana, another period film (albeit the late 1950’s) starring a New Hollywood icon (Robert Redford), that would become an oft-cited turkey. It was released in December in the hopes of a big awards and holiday box-office run, but only grossed $10 million back from its very pricey $40 million budget.

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Surely, any combination of Los Angeles, old-timey gumshoes, eras, or fedoras had recent cache through the enormous success of 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Any signposts from a film that successful will echo in other films for at least a few years, and at the very least will look more appealing to executives. But these films just weren’t what audiences were looking for. Though Dick Tracy and The Godfather Part III were the two “successes” from this group, as I mentioned before, Warren Beatty’s outdated fire hazard status and the film’s impossibly high stakes still marked it a disappointment. These filmmakers wanted to recapture the prestige and stature of their past and the past of their past, but nobody was really buying.

1990 also comes at a major turning point for what we recognize as the American indie’s modern era, which had spent the 1980s organically coalescing from a variety of new voices such as Jim Jarmusch, Lizzie Borden, John Sayles, Spike Lee, Kathleen Collins, Gus Van Sant, the Coen Brothers, Wayne Wang, and many more. However, while the talent was there, the distribution model was not. The video market had created major opportunities, but by the end of the decade, Hemdale Films was about to go under, and companies like Vestron, Cinecom and others had “overextended themselves by investing heavily in larger budget in-house productions” (Perren). The independent distribution model, as well as the idea of a festival marketplace, had not yet materialized.

1989 was the year independent cinema broke wide open. Steven Soderbergh’s debut sex, lies, and videotape, from marking the then-fledgling Sundance as an essential pit-stop and buzz-maker of the indie market to its acquisition and aggressive marketing from Miramax, became the film to kick off a new era of the American indie. This was for better and worse, considering the atrocities of the Weinsteins themselves not to mention Miramax’s gradual placement as a bloated and toxic industry Goliath with an increasingly skewed Disney-owned standard for what qualified as “the little picture”. Nevertheless, Miramax quickly spawned a robust sub-industry of “studio based niche operations” (basically everyone making sure they developed and/or beefed up their own New Line Cinema), and indie blockbusters. (Perren)

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Among the biggest indie releases of 1990 were Richard Linklater’s Gen-X blueprint Slacker and Whit Stillman’s debut Metropolitan, a tale of hopelessly obsolete young Manhattan socialites. They, along with Hal Hartley’s Trust, continued to cement the youthful talk-fest characteristics that would be associated with this new wave of filmmakers. The 1990s, more specifically the front half, would see a post Do the Right Thing Black cinema boom. Indies such as House Party (a big success), Def by Temptation and To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett getting more exposure than ever with his Danny Glover fronted film) continued to build on the gradual variety (I say variety only in pitifully comparative terms — the 1980s was a largely invisible decade for non-white filmmakers or performers, even by the normal low standards) of Black films and filmmakers that the 1990s would showcase. 1991 alone would have many more options.

Looking ahead, the 1990s would only push further in the direction that Katzenberg, and so many others, lamented over. Critics would bemoan the lack of originality in carbon copy genre releases, stars repeating themselves to solidify a reliable persona, and the spectacle of CGI gaining more traction. But the gift of hindsight is a hell of a thing. All of the above was true then, and it’s true now. The outsized budgets have only gotten exponentially more insane, and Hollywood filmmaking would mitigate financial risk as best as they could by distilling all of pop-culture into a flattened conveyer belt of superheroes and reboots devoid of personality or sexuality (fandom creates its own, freeing up the industry from ever having to broach the topic or suggestion of sex at all). The place for other kinds of storytelling thankfully exist, but there’s such a content overload that it’s hard for any single work to make its own impact. These final observations are all in need of their own essays and books and what have you, which I know so many others have written about at length, and far better than I ever could. So I’ll abort this grossly oversimplified last minute rant and return to the blunt point: the past 30 years of Hollywood has been its own evolution, one that branches off in a myriad of trends and developments along the way, where so many different kinds of films now exist somewhere out in the ether, but where event films are where Hollywood, as we think of it now, sadly begins and ends.
Works Cited:

1. Owczarski, Kimberly Ann. “Batman, Time Warner, and franchise filmmaking in the conglomerate era.” (2008)

2. Kunz, William M. Culture conglomerates: Consolidation in the motion picture and television industries. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.

3. Bart, Peter. Interview by Frontline. Conducted April 21, 2001. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hollywood/interviews/bart.html

4. Schatz, Terry. “The return of the Hollywood studio system”. Conglomerates and the media. New York: The New Press, 73-106.

5. Griffin, Nancy, and Masters, Kim. Hit and Run. United States, Simon & Schuster, 2016.

6. Salamon, Julie. The Devil’s Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco. United States, Hachette Books, 2008.

7. Katzenberg, Jeffrey. “Some Thoughts on Our Business”. Originally sent out January 1991. https://lettersofnote.com/2011/11/09/some-thoughts-on-our-business/

8. Connor, J. D.. The Studios After the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood (1970-2010). United States, Stanford University Press, 2015.

9. Wyatt, Justin. High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood. N.p., University of Texas Press, 2010.

10. Biskind, Peter. “The Magnificent Obsessions of Warren Beatty,” Premiere, July 1990

11. Perren, Alisa. “sex, lies and marketing: Miramax and the development of the quality indie blockbuster”. Film Quarterly, Vol 55, No. 2, Winter 2001. pp 30-39

100 (or so) Favorite Images from the Films of 1990


Top Ten By Year: 1990 Coverage So Far
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1990: A Love Letter
Top Ten By Year: 1990 – Poll Results
#3: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)

Other Favorite Images Posts: 
100 (or So) Favorite Images from the Films of 1949
100 Images from the Films of 1930 
What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1969 (25 favorite images at the end)

I should note that this isn’t exhaustive, but it’s as exhaustive as I was able to make it! It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways), that some of these were chosen purely for their aesthetic, some because of what they represent within the film, a few for how they look in motion, and most of them were chosen by some combination of all of the above. There are so many incredible shots I left out that could have easily been here instead. But these are the ones I ultimately went with. I hope you enjoy!

Match Factory Girl, The
The Match Factory Girl (director: Aki Kaurismäki / cinematographer: Timo Salminen)

Mirror Mirror
Mirror, Mirror (director: Marina Sargenti / cinematographer: Robert Brinkmann)

lovers
Lovers Beyond Time (director: Dimitris Panayiotatos / cinematographer: Tassos Alexakis)

singa pore 5
Singapore Sling (director: Nikos Nikolaidis / cinematographer: Aris Stavrou)

In the Cold of the Night 3
In the Cold of the Night (director: Nico Mastorakis / cinematographer: Andreas Bellis)

revenge 1
Revenge (director: Tony Scott / cinematographer: Jeffrey L. Kimball)

hardwere65
Hardware (director: Richard Stanley / cinematographer: Steven Chivers)

Comfort of Strangers, The
The Comfort of Strangers (director: Paul Schrader / cinematographer: Dante Spinotti)

Cyber City
Cyber City Oedo 808 (director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri / cinematographer: Kinichi Ishikawa)

farwell china 2
Farewell China (director: Clara Law / cinematographer: Jingle Ma)

A Moment of Romance
A Moment of Romance (director: Benny Chan / cinematographer: Joe Chan, Horace Wong, Patrick Jim)

Life is Sweet
Life is Sweet (director: Mike Leigh / cinematographer: Dick Pope)

lionheart 11
Lionheart (director: Sheldon Lettich / cinematography: Robert C. New)

A Moment of Romance 3
A Moment of Romance (director: Benny Chan / cinematographer: Joe Chan, Horace Wong, Patrick Jim)

Jacob's Ladder
Jacob’s Ladder (director: Adrian Lyne / cinematographer: Jeffrey L. Kimball)

Reversal of Fortune 2
Reversal of Fortune (director: Barbet Schroeder / cinematographer: Luciano Tovoli)

Days of Being Wild
Days of Being Wild (director: Wong Kar-wai / cinematographer: Christopher Doyle)

grifters (2)
The Grifters (director: Stephen Frears / cinematographer: Oliver Stapleton)

In the Cold of the Night 2
In the Cold of the Night (director: Nico Mastorakis / cinematographer: Andreas Bellis)

A Moment of Romance 2
A Moment of Romance (director: Benny Chan / cinematographer: Joe Chan, Horace Wong, Patrick Jim)

Days of Thunder
Days of Thunder (director: Tony Scott / cinematographer: Ward Russell)

close up (2)
Close-Up (director: Abbas Kiarostami / cinematographer: Ali Reza Zarrindast)

no fear 3
No Fear, No Die (director: Claire Denis / cinematographer: Pascal Marti)

Presumed Innocent
Presumed Innocent (director: Alan J. Pakula / cinematographer: Gordon Willis)

streets (2)
Streets (director: Katt Shea / cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael)

vincent & theo
Vincent & Theo (director: Robert Altman / cinematographer: Jean Lépine

Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III (director: Francis Ford Coppola / cinematographer: Gordon Willis)

sink or wim
Sink or Swim (director: Su Friedrich / cinematographer: Su Friedrich)

impulse
Impulse (director: Sondra Locke / cinematographer: Dean Semler)

streets
Streets (director: Katt Shea / cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael)

 

Dick Tracy 2
Dick Tracy (director: Warren Beatty / cinematographer: Vittorio Starraro)

Mirror Mirror
Mirror, Mirror (director: Marina Sargenti / cinematographer: Robert Brinkmann)

Exorcist III
The Exorcist III (director: William Peter Blatty / cinematographer: Gerry Fisher)

Frankenhooker 2
Frankenhooker (director: Frank Henenlotter / cinematographer: Robert M. Baldwin)

Ghost 2
Ghost (director: Jerry Zucker / cinematographer: Adam Greenberg)

baby blood (2)
Baby Blood (director: Alain Robak / cinematographer: Bernard Nechet)

misery
Misery (director: Rob Reiner / cinematography: Barry Sonnenfeld)

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Miami Blues (director: George Armitage / cinematographer: Tak Fujimoto)

YUM, YUM, YUM! (1990)
Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of the Cajun and Creole Cooking of Louisiana (director: Les Blank / cinematographer: Les Blank)

Goodfellas 2
Goodfellas (director: Martin Scorsese / cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus)

miller's crossing
Miller’s Crossing (director: Joel Coen / cinematographer: Barry Sonnenfeld)

trust
Trust (director: Hal Hartley / cinematographer: Michael Spiller)

king
King of New York (director: Abel Ferrara / cinematographer: Bozan Bazelli)

Bullet in the Head
Bullet in the Head (director: John Woo / cinematographer: Wilson Chan, Horace Wong, Ardy Lam, Somchai Kittikun)

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Def by Temptation (director: James Bond III / cinematographer: Ernest R. Dickerson)

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Blue Steel (director: Kathryn Bigelow / cinematographer: Amir Mokri)

Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling (director: Nikos Nikolaidis / cinematographer: Aris Stavrou)

Darkman
Darkman (director: Sam Raimi / cinematographer: Bill Pope)

miller's crossing (2)
Miller’s Crossing (director: Joel Coen / cinematographer: Barry Sonnenfeld)

screenshot-2020-05-16-at-2.44.56-pm
White Room (director: Patricia Rozema / cinematographer: Paul Sarossy)

Frankenhooker 3
Frankenhooker (director: Frank Henenlotter / cinematographer: Robert M. Baldwin)

king of new york 4
King of New York (director: Abel Ferrara / cinematographer: Bozan Bazelli)

Grifters
The Grifters (director: Stephen Frears / cinematographer: Oliver Stapleton)

Witches, The 2
The Witches (director: Nicolas Roeg / cinematographer: Harvey Harrison)

Jacob's Ladder
Jacob’s Ladder (director: Adrian Lyne / cinematographer: Jeffrey L. Kimball)

tie me up tie me down
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (director: Pedro Almodóvar / cinematographer: José Luis Alcaine)

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Cry-Baby (director: John Waters / cinematographer: David Insley)

wild
Wild at Heart (director: David Lynch / cinematographer: Frederick Elmes)

days of being wild
Days of Being Wild (director: Wong Kar-wai / cinematographer: Christopher Doyle)

Edward S
Edward Scissorhands (director: Tim Burton / cinematographer: Stefan Czapsky)

Total Recall 4
Total Recall (director: Paul Verhoeven / cinematographer: Jost Vacano)

Mo Better Blues 2
Mo’ Better Blues (director: Spike Lee / cinematographer: Ernest R. Dickerson)

Prom Night III
Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (director: Ron Oliver / cinematographer: Rhett Morita)

Made in Hollywood
Made in Hollywood (director: Norman Yonemoto)

lovers (2)
Lovers Beyond Time (director: Dimitris Panayiotatos / cinematographer: Tassos Alexakis)

wild oo
Wild at Heart (director: David Lynch / cinematographer: Frederick Elmes)

Witches, The
The Witches (director: Nicolas Roeg / cinematographer: Harvey Harrison)

Joe vs the Volcano
Joe Versus the Volcano (director: John Patrick Shanley / cinematographer: Stephen Goldblatt)

dreams
Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (director: Akira Kurosawa / cinematographer: Takao Saito,
Shōji Ueda

Robocop 2
RoboCop 2 (director: Irvin Kershner / cinematographer: Mark Irwin)

Outlaw Brothers
Outlaw Brothers (director: Frankie Chan / cinematographer: Ma Gwan-hwa)

Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy (director: Warren Beatty / cinematographer: Vittorio Starraro)

def by temotation
Def by Temptation (director: James Bond III / cinematographer: Ernest R. Dickerson)

revenge 212
Revenge (director: Tony Scott / cinematographer: Jeffrey L. Kimball)

nightbreed (2)
Nightbreed (director: Clive Barker / cinematographer: Robin Vidgeon)

In the Cold of the Night 4
In the Cold of the Night (director: Nico Mastorakis / cinematographer: Andreas Bellis)

tumblr_pons3bqpNr1qjkxu4o1_540
Paris is Burning (director: Jennie Livingston / cinematographer: Paul Gibson)

Match Factory Gril 2
The Match Factory Girl (director: Aki Kaurismäki/cinematographer: Timo Salminen)

hardaew
Hardware (director: Richard Stanley / cinematographer: Steven Chivers)

Totaol Recall
Total Recall (director: Paul Verhoeven / cinematographer: Jost Vacano)

f6306ff7-42f5-4182-92ad-0b3055290141
Truly Madly Deeply (director: Anthony Minghella / cinematographer: Remi Adefarasin

To Sleep with Anger
To Sleep with Anger (director: Charles Burnett / cinematographer: Walt Lloyd)

tumblr_porhhcgRwF1qjkxu4o1_540
Paris is Burning (director: Jennie Livingston / cinematographer: Paul Gibson)

prayer of
Prayer of the Rollerboys (director: Rick King / cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael

Made in Hollyd2
Made in Hollywood (director: Norman Yonemoto)

SC 15
Spontaneous Combustion (director: Tobe Hooper / cinematographer: Levie Isaacks)

lovers (3)
Lovers Beyond Time (director: Dimitris Panayiotatos / cinematographer: Tassos Alexakis)

texas
Texasville (director: Peter Bogdanovich / cinematographer: Nicholas Josef von Sternberg)

tumblr_c09b5d63af0a3ae9c094aac0e311a127_82ea405b_540
Child’s Play 2 (director: John Lafia / cinematographer: Stefan Czapsky)

hardware
Hardware (director: Richard Stanley / cinematographer: Steven Chivers)

king of new york 5
King of New York (director: Abel Ferrara / cinematographer: Bozan Bazelli)

Lady Battle Cop 2
Lady Battle Cop (director: Akihisa Okamoto)

janine
Janine (director: Cheryl Dunye / cinematographer: Cheryl Dunye)

Mo Better Blues
Mo’ Better Blues (director: Spike Lee / cinematographer: Ernest R. Dickerson)

Baby Blood
Baby Blood (director: Alain Robak / cinematographer: Bernard Nechet)

without you i'm
Without You, I’m Nothing (director: John Boskovich / cinematographer: Joseph Yacoe)

Frankenhooker
Frankenhooker (director: Frank Henenlotter / cinematographer: Robert M. Baldwin)

Hot Spot
The Hot Spot (director: Dennis Hopper / cinematographer: Ueli Steiger)

Nightbreed
Nightbreed (director: Clive Barker / cinematographer: Robin Vidgeon)

Goodfellas
Goodfellas (director: Martin Scorsese / cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus)

farewell china
Farewell China (director: Clara Law / cinematographer: Jingle Ma)

Gremlins 3
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (director: Joe Dante / cinematographer: John Hora)

Total Recall
Total Recall (director: Paul Verhoeven / cinematographer: Jost Vacano)

predarot 2
Predator 2 (director: Stephen Hopkins / cinematographer: Peter Levy)

Hen His Wife
Hen, His Wife (director: Igor Kovalyov / cinematographer: Iosif Golomb)

SC 5
Spontaneous Combustion (director: Tobe Hooper / cinematographer: Levie Isaacks)

mind's eye
The Mind’s Eye (director: Jan Nickman)

sanctusd o
Sanctus (director: Barbara Hammer)

Lady Battle Cop
Lady Battle Cop (director: Akihisa Okamoto)

mind's eye 2
The Mind’s Eye (director: Jan Nickman)

curse 9
The Curse of Kazuo Umezu (director: Naoko Omi)

ju dou
Ju Dou (director: Zhang Yimou / cinematographer: Changwei Gu, 
Lun Yang

Hen His Wife 2
Hen, His Wife (director: Igor Kovalyov / cinematographer: Iosif Golomb)

Rollercoaster Rabbit
Roller Coaster Rabbit (director: Frank Marshall & Rob Minkoff)

sanctus
Sanctus (director: Barbara Hammer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten By Year: 1990 #3 – Gremlins 2: The New Batch (US/Dante)


gremlins-2

“If there ever really was a film that I could take credit for, this is the one” – Joe Dante

Warner Brothers needed a hit, and with 1989’s juggernaut industry game-changer Batman they’d get it — but they didn’t know that yet. They just knew that for years they had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get Joe Dante onboard for a sequel to his 1984 smash hit. They also knew they had tried, also unsuccessfully, to get their own Dante-less Gremlins sequel off the ground. But with the looming completion of Warner & Time Inc.’s long-planned and rocky landmark merger, there was a new urgency in scoping out reliable properties with franchise and multimedia tie-in potential. This is how (or as close to it as I can estimate) Joe Dante was essentially offered a carte blanche opportunity with, as Orson Welles famously put it, “the biggest electric train set a boy ever had”. So what did he do with it? Well, what didn’t he do with it?

Gremlins 2: The New Batch sets out to wreak havoc upon everything it could be, everything it sets itself up to be, everything it once was, and everything it can’t help but be. It is designed to feel as if the film we start out watching is suddenly hijacked by hordes of gremlins. All of the careful and economical first act set-up, in which we’re introduced and reintroduced to characters and conflicts, aren’t worth a damn by the 45-minute mark. As Dante and countless others have noted, Gremlins 2 takes the Hellzapoppin’/Looney Tunes anything-goes meta-approach (the film even starts out with a Daffy/Bugs bit courtesy of Chuck Jones). This includes an open hostility towards the first film, from its disregard for The Rules, to the constant delight in finding new ways to torture Gizmo, to the moment when Phoebe Cates, spoofing Gremlins most famous scene, begins to relate another grisly childhood tale (this one seemingly about a molestation) until Zack Galligan’s abrupt “we don’t have time for this” is played for laughs. This mean-spirited streak doesn’t define the film, but it mirrors the critters modus operandi to raze whatever is there or was there, an MO primarily showcased via the unhinged and united spectacle of gleeful destruction and intricate puppetry.

The film becomes a piecemeal pandemonium of non-sequitur homages, pranks, perils, or just hard-partying anarchy, all while being introduced to a series of increasingly eccentric gremlins (“which Gremlins 2 Gremlin are you?” should really carry the cultural equivalence of “what’s your sign?”). At one point, in the ultimate proclamation of chaos reigns (because merely taking over the narrative will not suffice), they disrupt the medium itself, overrunning the projection booth and burning up the film print (or scrambling the TV station depending on which version you watch!) for shadow puppets and vintage nudies. This isn’t a new technique (think the Muppets, Monty Python, “Duck Amuck” and more for self-acknowledging work that breaks through its own confines), but there is something especially wild about the way Dante & company are in lockstep cahoots with the gremlins punk spirit, using a platform as commercial as it gets to essentially play around and fuck shit up. It also foreshadows the direction Steven Spielberg would be taking Amblin Entertainment throughout the 1990s. At one point in “Rollercoaster Rabbit”, Amblin’s 1990 Roger Rabbit short that accompanied Dick Tracy’s theatrical run, a rollercoaster skids off the film reel and into blank space. In addition, their hit show “Animaniacs” (1993-1995) would largely consist of this brand of disruptive wink-wink nudge nudging.

The film’s excessiveness is so preposterous that there’s even a Key and Peele sketch about it in which a “sequel doctor” is brought into a Gremlins 2 brainstorm meeting in order to ecstatically greenlight every exec’s off-the-cuff idea about what kind of gremlins they’d like to see in the sequel. The (hysterical) sketch doesn’t seem to realize that the film is in on the joke, and that both the film and the sketch are lampooning the more! more! more! ethos of Hollywood’s approach to sequels as well as their latent pointlessness.

In a post-sequel world where universes, franchises, and reboots collectively make up almost all of Hollywood’s moneymakers, it’s hard to believe that just thirty years ago most releases were original fare. In 1990, only two out of the ten highest grossing films were sequels (Die Hard 2 & Back to the Future III). Throughout the 1980s, especially the back half, making a sequel to a big hit was becoming an increasingly viable default. Die Hard 2, Predator 2, Robocop 2, Three Men and a Little Lady, Young Guns II, and Another 48 Hrs were just some of the prominent 2s released in 1990. It is in this environment that Dante and screenwriter Charles S. Haas poke fun at the ever-increasing frequency of the sequel. Their targeting of clueless excess is supported by the year’s offerings. Robocop 2 turned nasty and goofy in its attempt to fit four films of plot into one while somehow making it feel like nothing was happening. Die Hard 2 charmlessly repeats itself in an airport. Predator 2 moves the alien out of the jungle and into the urban cityscape. And so on and so forth.

Even though Gremlins 2 takes what would become the familiar sequel-in-the-big-city route (Babe 2: Pig in the City, Predator 2, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, etc.), most of the film is (largely for logistical reasons) confined to eccentric billionaire Daniel Clamp’s (John Glover) conglomerate headquarters. Part of this film’s longevity is its uncannily predictive or still recognizable satire, and first on that front is the Daniel Clamp as Donald Trump (with a dash of Ted Turner since a major satirical target here is the early cable explosion, another predictive feature of this film where satire became reality) figure. This character isn’t surprising given Trump’s especially zeitgeist-y presence in US culture, even more specifically Manhattan culture, in the late eighties and early nineties. John Glover plays him much more endearingly, like a big kid with big ideas that will make him big money. In a now bone-chilling character beat (in the film it is of course played warmly), the lesson Clamp learns is that the key to unlocking even more power is to manufacture small-town nostalgia in order to connect to the people.

Maybe it’s because of Succession or the just, ya know, the world we live in, but it’s hard not to think a lot about the way outsized power is measured by the level by which it can be consolidated. It turns out that the confines of the Trump Tower Clamp Center aren’t confines at all. Clamp’s power is so wholesale that anything and everything you can think of exists in this one building: a mall, a scientific research laboratory, property development offices, smart technology, and, because consolidated power in modern times is inextricable with the media and advertising, an all-encompassing cable network. Daniel Clamp’s conglomerate power is what allows Joe Dante’s carte blanche chaos to thrive. It’s what makes the origins of a vegetable gremlin, a bat gremlin, a brainy gremlin, a spider gremlin, and so on and so forth possible. It’s why Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates are able to have completely different jobs in different fields in the same building. It’s why Gizmo ends up there in the first place! Because the world (Clamp’s logo is a wrench squeezing its firm grip on Earth) is contained in one building, by one man, these filmmakers get to do and be whatever they can think of. That giant creative playground bolstered by unchecked capitalism lends Gremlins 2: The New Batch a bizarre swirl of energy in which one of the most purely fun movies ever made also, in hindsight of its heightened clairvoyance, feels like a disturbing metaphor for the now.