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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 19 Sep 2016 09:23
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30 From 96: My Favorite Films From 1996

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People who added this item 2225 Average listal rating (1591 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Rock (1996)
Hey look, it's a movie where Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage both have hair!

While I usually don't like Michael Bay's movies (sorry, I really think so many of 'em are just bad),
I gotta admit,
when I watched this one, I found myself enjoying it, quite alot.
I don't know why this particular Bay flick stands out more than his others (I don't even like Bad Boys, which is usually the most well-regarded of all of his films), but the fact that it has a place on this list, shows that there sometimes, the law of averages will eventually work out.
Or maybe it's just because with this one, unlike his other action films, I could smell what The Rock wuz cookin'.
I dunno....
Back in 1967, the Beatles followed up their wildly successful album Magic Mystery Tour with a TV film of the same name, which, when it hit the shores of the U.S. was given a theatrical release.
So, in 1968, the ever competitive and Fab Four "evil" counterparts, the Rolling Stones decided to counter the Mystery Tour with a Rock And Roll Circus.
Featuring acts like Marianne Faithfull, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and the only appearance of the super group known as Dirty Mac. Originally meant to be shown on the BBC, the airing of this show was pulled by the Rolling Stones themselves, citing their own mediocre performance, however many believe that it may have been due to the Who, who's turn on the center stage upstaged the production.
The footage for this event was finally released in 1996 and provides a look into a slice of time that represents the beginnings of a shift in rock'n'roll history.
Whether it be John Lennon's foray into music outside of the Beatles, the Stones' separation from psychedelica or the Who's "changing of the guard", it was clear that the times they were a'changing.

People who added this item 361 Average listal rating (261 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
A transatlantic airliner is hijacked en route to the United States. A special forces team is sent to intercept the hijacked plane while the Pentagon prepares to negotiate for the outcome. That is, until they discover that the demands of the terrorists may just be a ruse for an even more catastrophic result.

*Spoiler Alert*
Just like with Michael Bay, I'm don't find myself enjoyong too many of Steven Seagl's movies. Executive Decision is easily one of the few exceptions. And I think that maybe a large reason for that is because Steven surprisingly gets killed off pretty early in this flick.
Which made it alot more bearable for me to stay in my seat for the rest of the "flight". Not to mention that, despite the plot's standard premise and follow-up, ED is a pretty entertaining thriller. Decision is the rare type of formula flick that shows that even if Hollywood has pretty much run into a wall when it comes to this type of movie, they can still be escapingly enjoyable.
People who added this item 626 Average listal rating (431 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
Kingpin (1996)
During the 90's, it seemed like the Farrelly brothers were on their way to becoming the kings of comedy when it came to creating funny films. Heck, their even responsible for my favorite comedy movie of all time, Dumb and Dumber. Here, in this mid 90's pin-dropper, the hermanos of hilarity decide to take a crack at the whole "against all odds" type of sport story-lines that made others films like Rocky, Visionquest and the Karate Kid all winners in the genre of competative championship cinema.

In this one, Woody Harrelson plays a bowling prodigy who has been dealt a "bad hand", and sees within an Amish bowler (Randy Quaid) the kind of "lucky strike" that can put him back in the game. Hitting the road to Reno for a tournament with a big cash pot, their trip ends up encountering the kind of traversing troubles that make picking up a 7-10 split look like child's play.
James is a "normal" kid who lives next to a giant peach. But when he enters it, he becomes a stop-motion cartoon character and befriends a group of talking insects.
And even though that might sound weird, the truth is, it's a pretty common occurence whenever a live-action person enters a peach the size of a house.
And if you don't believe, next time you see a giant piece of fruit, try it. See what happens.
In the meantime, I'll be here, logged on this site, waiting to tell you "See? I told you so".

People who added this item 2755 Average listal rating (1930 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
....and speaking of giant peaches,
ladies and gentlemen.....
Selma Hayek.

It's bad enough when an innocent family of vacationing road-trippers find themselves in the midst of the carnage and blood of a hidden coven of cravenous, murderous vampires out in the middle of the desert,
but then on top of that, they also hafta face the threat of the snake-cradling Selma Hayek and her absolutely formidable and absolutely perfect puppies. I promise you, after watching her in this Tarantino/Rodriguez monster mash-up, it won't be her neck that will you be fantasizing about sucking.ย 
Count Dracula can only wish that his will-sapping gaze wasย thisย hypnotic.
People who added this item 142 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.5
Teri Hatcher and Charlize Theron.

Now those are the kinds of cats that I wanna see in a catfight.
People who added this item 3429 Average listal rating (2270 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Just when it seemed like the concept of the slasher horror flick had been done to death, to the point where the genre was finally presumed to be deceased,
along comes Wes Craven's Scream. It was an update to the genre that revealed that the murdering masked megamaniac is not so easily slayed.
Unfortunately, on the flip side, the sequel to this film is also what began the massive resurgence of the endless multitude of horror sequels that tend to crank themselves out in numbers more than the body count of victims.
The slasher franchises have suffered from such an over-used formula, that, when a feature like Scream comes along, with it's twist of self-reference and send-up, it has a feeling as though there is now new blood to be vigorously spilt.

People who added this item 1893 Average listal rating (1061 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
For any of you out there that are fans of the Seinfeld television series,
despite what Elaine says about this film,
The English Patient is definitely worth see worthing. At least, even more so than Sack Lunch, that's for sure. That movie was pure trash.

My apologies to anyone who is not a Seinfeld fan and therefore hasn't got a clue as to what this entry is talking about.
People who added this item 177 Average listal rating (102 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
Trees Lounge (1996)
Most of the time, whenever Hollywood tackles the subject about alcoholism, it usually tends to take a very dramatic approach to the concept, often showing the drunk hitting rock bottom and his world crashing around him.
Trees Lounge is a film that portrays an alcoholic (Steve Buscemi, who also makes his directorial debut here) and the kind of comfortable slide that prevents the drinker from seeing himself in the gutter that his habit is wading him into. Lounge effectively takes a more subdued look at the gradual deterioration that is the existence of someone who drinks too much and the end result is a more honest view at the slow downhill life that the demons in a bottle tend to inflict on the world of the steadily inebriated.

People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.8

After a series of life experiences which include unforeseen twists of fates, a young Frenchman (played by the always interesting John Malkovich) ends up as a soldier on the side of the Nazis at the outbreak of World War two.
After an additional set of turns that he would never have anticipated, he unexpectedly finds himself in a position in which he recruits children for the German cause. Thinking that by doing this, he is somehow protecting the young boys, he soon learns that the locals are of the opposite opinion, and instead of a protector, they regard him more as an "ogre" who steals their children away.
People who added this item 3880 Average listal rating (2640 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Before any of y'all keep reading, I should probably mention that at the end of this entry,
this list will self-destruct.

People who added this item 1068 Average listal rating (674 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
By 1996, Tom Hanks proved that he could be a box office draw (A League Of Their Own, Forrest Gump), a comedic actor (Bachelor Party, Big), a serious thespian (Philadelphia, Apollo 13) and a romantic leading man (Splash, Sleepless In Seattle).
With the release of That Thing That You Do, he was out to prove that he could direct too. And with an over-all 93% rating on that one spoiled fruit site that rates movies based on critics and audiences, he proved that he could.

You go, Tom Hanks! You do that thing that you do!

People who added this item 199 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.6
The Funeral (1996)
Ever since The Godfather, it seems like mafia families just don't get it.
Living "the life" means "la familia" of the mob gets priority over the family of your blood.
And making the life of "la familia" a family bizaness usually translates into the idea that the family that shoots together, dies together.

Next thing you know, whenever a big event that involves the relatives comes along, you won't be able to tell whether you're at a family reunion or at a family funeral.

MSTK:TM is a science fiction movie about watching a science fiction movie.
I guess, it's kinda like creating a fictional universe within a fictional universe.
With robots.
And when you think about it,
a science fiction flick probably couldn't get any more science fictiony than that.

I was a big fan of MST3K from the beginning when it just a small TV show that came outta the Minneapolis area. And while this big sreen version didn't make much of an impact at the box office, the few weeks that it was showing at the local Cineplex, it was great to be able to laugh with with a movie theater full of fellow fans.
And while MST3K in no longer around, I still make it an effort today to catch it's "descendant" show, RiffTrax Live, whenever it hits the theater (which it does about three times a year).
It something that I look forward to just as much, and sometimes, even more so, than whatever big budget blockbuster event is going on for that month.
People who added this item 1054 Average listal rating (689 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7

Actually, as a courtroom drama, Primal Fear is just a so-so movie that gets pushed up a notch or two on the quality scale based almost exclusively on Edward Norton's stand-out debut performance. His switch on a dime acting, combined with his fresh unfamiliarity with the viewing audience is what primarily drives the twist ending of the plot's "proceedings", allowing the peripeteia* to achieve it's intended purpose of elemental surprise.

* Yes, that is actually a word. Look it up.
People who added this item 1045 Average listal rating (671 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
It's the fight of the century as the King 'O' Porn takes on the public masses......
And as usual, it's the porn that wins.

This is the rags to filthy x-rated riches story of adult magazine magnate and spokesman, Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr..
TPvLF follows his journey as he goes from the bootleggin' "backwoods" of Kentucky to the multi-million empire of smut-rags, and continues from his brief stint into religion to his wheelchair-bound transition to Beverly Hills (the city, not the porn-star with the same name).
With acting well above average from everyone involved, this is a sharp biopic that maybe lionizes it's lead character a bit too much but brings home the point of one's right to private satisfaction.
Free speech never felt so "wrong" and yet, so right.
People who added this item 408 Average listal rating (253 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
An aged small time gambler comes across a young hard luck case and takes him under his wing. A few years later, the protege has learned how to utilize certain "games of chance" to his advantage in order to enjoy a means of living on the Strip. That is, until a "darling Clementine" comes into his life who proves that "Lady Luck" she isn't.

1996 was the year when Paul Anderson came onto the Hollywood field with Hard Eight. Three years earlier, in 1993, he had made a short 20 minute film called Cigarettes and Coffee. The story portrays the various results that can happen as a $20 dollar bill gets passed around to different people.
The film became a hit in the independent circuit and as result, Anderson was given the opportunity to direct his first feature film, which obviously, was this one.
Which goes to show, sometimes, you just gotta make your own luck.
People who added this item 4658 Average listal rating (3099 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Trainspotting (1996)
Danny Boyle's second (and IMO, his best) directorial feature is a kinetically vocal ditty about the heroin drug scene in a culturally rich yet economically poor section of Edinburgh.

Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor in a breakthrough role, is a young opioid dependent living in the capital city of Scotland along with his motley crew of fellow addicts. Deciding to finally seek the path of a drug free life, he quickly comes to realize that sometimes, spotting trains can be funny, while at other times, it can be just downright dirt-grudgingly ugly.
And that "getting clean" is never easy, never quick and rarely does it last.
People who added this item 497 Average listal rating (324 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Remember back when swing music was experiencing a revival, before Jon Favreau got fat and Vince Vaughn's annoying personality wasn't all that annoying yet?
Yep, that's back when these two up and comers were both doing their thing as swingers.

People who added this item 911 Average listal rating (633 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
Eraser (1996)

Ahnold as an "actioneer" with an intelligence that offsets the "simplicity" of his slanted pronunciation, and with a caring heart that belies the intimidation of his massive "terminator" physique. A story whose concept of a secret ring of do-gooders who were once do-badders has the potential, IMO, to be just as rich and far-reaching as any plot-lines based on a time-traveling, death-dealing uber-robot.

People who added this item 139 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Promise (1997)
For me, the 90's is one of my favorite decades for movies. This was a time that, here in the United States, theaters were were filled with more independent and foreign films than at any point in American history. Therefore, expanding the variety that was available when going out to the cinema (once the new millineum began, blockbuster franchises started edging those types of films out).
As a result of that, each of my favorite 90's films lists so far includes at least one or more (most often more) movies that was made outside of the U.S. border and language.
That is, until I started compiling a list for the year 1996. I originally had a list of 30 movies, none of which featured non-English speaking scripts. So, before I made a final decision of putting that list up, I did some double checking on the internet, to make sure that I hadn't missed any. Turns out that I did.
La Promesse, a "small" Belgian movie about a boy who comes of age as he comes into his own moral identity, is not only the best foreign film that I watched back in 1996, but also, one of the best foreign films of the whole decade.

People who added this item 212 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
Lone Star (1996)
In the small community of Rio County near the Mexican border, the long dead remains of a corpse are discovered. Setting forth an unearthing of small town secrets that were buried years ago, with the hope that they would stay that way. But when revelations about dealings of the old local sheriff and his disappearance resurface, the new sheriff must delve deeper in the town's history and come to turns with what he finds if he expects to continue to run things with an untarnished badge.
A backwater murder mystery with outlying consequences in a remote spot of the big state of Texas, Lone Star is a shining moment in the long career of writer and director John Sayles.

This misfiled match-up of man and dog from Aardman Animation studio is one that I love so much that we might as well accept that any feature featuring Wallace & Gromit is gonna be a candidate for any list that I can fit 'em into.
A trio of stop-motion shorts, each with a lighthearted British flavor that doesn't try to whack you over the head with it's look, humor or more importantly, with any kind of "universal life-lesson".
The adventures of Wallace & Gromit have a distinction from other stop-motion films that comes off much more subtle, yet, IMO, are more evenly consistent than their clay composed "competition". And as a result, these featurettes always tend to leave me not so much with a roaring laughter that other animated features try to shoot for, but more with a satisfying smile that is firmly set in place from beginning to end.

People who added this item 303 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
Microcosmos (1996)
I love watching scientific documentaries. Especially ones about the animal kingdom.
Now while most 'em tend to teach through the use of a narrator, Microcosmos achieves this more through the use of special lenses which zoom into the world of insects with groundbreaking clarity. The focus is so sharp in this film, that all the usually unnoticeable tiny details ranging from the spikes on a mantis' claws to the massive looking drops of dew water take on a size and weight as to appear monstrous and/or alien.
To the point where I almost included this film on my Favorite Sci-Fi Films list.

People who added this item 144 Average listal rating (91 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
Back during the 90's, there was a lot of talk of how Hoop Dreams is one one of the best documentary sports films of the decade. And that movie is included on Fave Films of 1994 list, which shows that I agree to that consensus on some level. But, the truth is, for me, when it comes to a film that documents the reality behind sports and their events, When We Were Kings ranks as number one.

Following the build up that led to the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, it wasn't just the unique manner in which Ali strategically approached the bout that makes this movie stand out in it's category, but also the way Kings shows the kind of promotional heights, some good (the black Woodstock taking place in Zaire), some bad (Don King's rise as a promoter in the field), that were starting to result from the hype machines that lie behind these kinds of international events.
People who added this item 438 Average listal rating (282 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
I live next to a river that is infested with vast flocks of geese that seem to number in the millions. And the fact that I was able to enjoy this movie without it reminding me just how much I hate those never-ending sh#t-machines on wings is a testament to the endearing quality of this film.

People who added this item 607 Average listal rating (381 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Bound (1996)
Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly.
Now, those are my kind of lesbians.

A made man's "goomar" and a "Jane of all trades" meet, fall in love, and decide that they're gonna run away together. But before they do, there's some mob money lying around that could be easy pickins. So they formulate a plan. And as we all know by now, in the movies, plans never go according to plan.
People who added this item 3419 Average listal rating (2295 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Fargo (1996)
If blood has been shed in the small town of Brainerd, Minnesota, then it's time to call the proper authorities. And in this case, that would be Marge Gunderson, a police chief and expectant mother who, when there's a crime to investigate or a hotel buffet that's reasonably priced, she'll make sure to be there in a jiff.
That is, if, well, y'know....
her car doesn't need a jump or somethin'.

People who added this item 633 Average listal rating (379 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8
Sling Blade (1997)
A gruffy mental patient is ready to be de-institutionalized and is set free, out into the world, to try and assimilate into normal society. Not too long after, through the kindness of others, he finds the merest of jobs, finds the merest of homes, heck, he even finds the merest of family. Hopefully, to begin a life of normalcy. Until he finds out that in certain parts of life, normalcy includes dysfunctionality. And with his past, dysfunction is something that can turn out to be pretty dangerous.

For my money, Billy Bob Thornton's break out performance, the portrayal of the mentally handicapped Karl Childers, is one of the most unique characters to come onto the silver screen in a long time.

And BTW, after watching Sling Blade the first time, I went out and bought a can of potted meat, just to see of it's true what they say in this movie.
And gosh darn it if it isn't right there on label....it actually say's so right on the list o' ingredients..... "pork shoulders, lips, peckers & intestines....".
Go reckon.

Updated Entries:

- Ransom
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- The Arrival
- The Whole Wide World

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