Thursday, January 31, 2013

Riske Business: Movie Memories of 1991

I was 9 years old in 1991. 9-year old Adam had impeccable tastes and here were his top 10 movies. If you disagree, then you may be a stupid head who eats boogers.

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Because I can’t believe I got to see this and OMG and Guns and Roses ‘You Could Be Mine’ music video.

2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – Because Kevin Costner is awesome and a really good actor, the Sheriff was funny and swords/flaming arrows/danger.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze – Because it has turtles and pizza and ninja and ooze and rap (Adam at 30 still hearts Technotronic).

4. Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear – Because I understand some of it and it’s silly.

5. My Girl – Because Home Alone is in it and he dies of bees which is sad but sad is OK sometimes.

6. An American Tail: Fievel Goes West – Because this is the movie that got me into Westerns (I wish that were a joke) and I had the cups from Pizza Hut.

7. Ernest Scared Stupid – Because there’s nothing Ernest CAN’T DO.

8. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey - Because the Grim Reaper is awesome.

9. The Super – Because the guy from Home Alone is playing basketball and he’s short.

10. Bingo – Because the dog wears sunglasses and there’s football in it.
Also worth noting:
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves had a cereal tie-in and it’s one of the best cereals I’ve ever had in my life.
  • City Slickers still holds up.
  • I got sick when I saw Hook in the theaters (in 1991 terms, I barfed).
  • I am still trying to find out why I didn’t like The Addams Family. I very much wanted to.
  • I have a weakness for the remake of Father of the Bride.
  • Harrison Ford’s performance is Regarding Henry is one for the ages; not in a good way.
  • I saw Drop Dead Fred as my birthday movie; what a waste.
  • I had to go to temple on opening night of Ernest Scared Stupid; how the fuck can I think about Judaism in a time like that?
  • Only the Lonely, The People Under the Stairs, Point Break and New Jack City are all wonderful.
  • Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead looks like it was shot on a VHS tape. Also, I don’t think Josh Charles spends a single dollar on his dates with Christina Applegate. He’s a genius!
  • To all you Christian Slater haters out there, you should respect that he was shot through the hand with an arrow in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and he didn’t even grimace.
  • Jungle Fever ends with the most definitive rejection of oral sex in film history.
  • The saddest thing I’ve ever seen in my life is the climax of Boyz N The Hood. Ricky! To this day, I’m relieved to see Morris Chestnut in a movie so I know he’s okay.


  1. My birthday movie in 1991 was Career Opportunities on opening day. I ate Sbarro's pizza for lunch, bought comics from Moondog's and saw Career Opportunities. Pretty good birthday. And Jennifer Connelly riding the horse was the very best birthday present.

    I am 100% with you on The Addams Family. And your observation about the photography of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is spot-on. I could never figure that one out.

    1. I nearly shit my pants when I saw Frank Whaley pop up in "JFK: Director's Cut" as 'fake Lee Harvey Oswald.' Whaley came to where I worked in the late 90's and I helped him put together his demo reel. I remembered him from "Career Opportunities" (which I didn't like but I kept it to myself beause he was a client) and he got mad at me for suggesting we cut out or minimize the scenes from that movie in his demo reel, which he ended up doing anyway. Hey, I was just looking out for the guy and wanted his demo to shine. Then again, Connelly is all everyone remembers "Career Opportunities" for. :-)

    2. I saw Doc Hollywood on my birthday 1991. I liked it at the time, but it hasn't held up terribly well.

  2. Hey - I barfed when I saw E.T. in theatres. COINCIDENCE? Yeah completely, I mean, other than the barf and the director of the movies, the two events aren't really connected in any way. And they say there's no such thing as a stupid question...

    Whoa, now this is creepy - when I first tried to post this, in order to prove that I'm not a robot (hardly proof, btw, I'm still holding out hope) one of the words was "hurld". I'm starting to think that thing trying to prove I'm not a robot IS a robot - what is this, Blade Runner?

  3. My movie watching was still mostly confined to video rentals in 1991, but I remember an older counselor at camp describing the nuclear blast from T2. When I finally saw it years later, it blew my mind like an L.A. swing set.

  4. I still remember the TV ads from T2 blowing my mind - especially how the 1000 opens those elevator doors. And it's one of those few films where seeing the actual movie is not a letdown from the trailer.

  5. Erich - I had a similar thing happen to me around Freddy Krueger. Older kids in elementary school built this pizza-face monster up so much that when I finally saw that dude...yikes!

    The Hook sickness was at The Catlow in Barrington on Christmas Day after dinner at Lou Malnati's. I didn't eat Lou's until my 20s after that.

    Patrick - Do you like Addams Family Values? That was probably what I wanted the original to be. I think you have to take the weird out into the real world which the sequel did and the first one didn't. Your 91 birthday sounds awesome (especially the pre-Bettany Connelly...what did he do to her)????

    1. I like Addams Family Values much, much more than the first one.

    2. Addams Family Values is pretty great. That camp musical scene deserves credit for mocking Glee way before everyone else.

  6. My birthday movie in 1991 was Bugsy, which I still love more than I love most people I know. My birthday movie in 1992 was Toys, so the streak did not last long. I felt the same way about Addams Family, and Patrick is right, the second is a tremendous improvement. As for Morris Chestnut, there are worse things than being murdered by gangs. He could have ended up on a train where only Steven Seagal and Katherine Heigl could save him from the wrath of Eric Bogosian.

    1. Morris Chestnut manages to be the worst thing in Under Siege 2, a movie that isn't all that good to begin with. His scenes make me cringe. Still, RICKY.

    2. This movie has "F This Movie" group commentary track written all over it. Me and college friend lost track of the number of times we watched "Under Siege 2" just to wait when it got to the part where a clearly-green screened Segal just casually trots at a leisurely pace as he, you know, OUTRUNS A CRASHING TRAIN RIGHT BEHIND HIM. That image is forever burned into our minds. Oh, the tears from laughter we shed watching that. At least this is the type of action movie that, when it's over, rushes fast to the credits because there's nothing left to say or show.

  7. Morris Chestnut is credited as Locker Room Kid in The Last Boy Scout. So I guess Ricky did make it to the pros. Is the world of The Last Boy Scout the heaven version of Boyz N The Hood?

  8. Looking back at all the movies of 1991 it strikes it's one of those years that, by sheer scheduling coincidences (which are out of the control of the filmmakers and more the work of studio release patterns), many actors/directors double or triple-up on their output with stellar results. In 2012 it happened to Joseph Gordon-Levitt (four movies in one year, three of them really good plus "Premium Rush") but in '91 it seemingly happened to everyone. Shoot, John Candy had five movies released in '91 (no wonder he croaked three years later), two of which ("Delirious" and "Only the Lonely") were like "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist" of their day: you keep mistaking one for the other.

    Steve Martin has the hat trick of the critically-acclaimed ("Grand Canyon"), personal passion project ("L.A. Story") and hit movie that starts a franchise ("Father of the Bride") in this one year. Patrick already pointed our Keanu Reeves' versatility in three different 1991 movies. James Cameron had the hit of the year with the mother of his daughter in "T2" and wrote/produced "Point Break" for then-Mrs. Cameron Katheryn Bigelow the same year (Cameron's contributions to the latter are seldom mentioned). John Hughes produced and/or wrote four movies in '91, which were already in the pipeline but the "Home Alone" phenomenon from the previous Christmas clearly sped/fast-tracked their releases (to puny box office numbers). Robin Williams also had four movies released in '91, ranging from the critically-acclaimed ("Dead Again," "The Fisher King") to soulless box office hit "Hook." Ditto Bruce Willis, whose small supporting work ("Mortal Thoughts," "Billy Bathgate") worked out better than the disappointing box office numbers of "Last Boy Scout" and "Hudson Hawk." Dustin Hoffman had a rare-then-for-him two-movie year with "Hook" and "Billy Bathgate."

    Robert DeNiro is as frequent a multiple-movie release actor as Williams and Willis, but his '91 projects ("Backdraft," "Cape Fear" and "Guilt by Suspicion") ain't too shaby. The movies of Oliver Stone never looked the same after "The Doors" and "JFK." Jim Abrahams' got to stick it to the Zuckers by directing "Hot Shots!" which made more money than "Naked Gun 2 1/2" (which he co-wrote/executive produced), the peak of the ZAZ-type comedy as a box office. Two of Kevin Costner's four biggest hits of his career ("Robin Hood" and "JFK," sandwiched between '90's "Dances With Wolves" and '92's "The "Bodyguard") came out in '91. And so on and so forth.

    Basically this weekend's Film Festival is making me appreciate more the quality of the movies we were making and releasing in '91 compared with what we've been getting released in the past five or so years. Even some actors/director's 2nd or 3rd projects back then were better than their 'A' projects of today. 1991 is no 1939 (no year of movies will ever top that one in quality releases in one year span, ever!) but it sure was a fine year.

  9. I wanna have birthday movies.
    Why haven't I ever thought of this before?

    1. The good news is it's not too late to start a new tradition! Making your friends and/or family take you to the movies every year on your birthday is one of life's great joys. It always makes those movies feel kind of special, even when they're not great.

  10. Wooooooo, Robin Hood at number 2!

    Dangerous confession: I really love Hook. As an adult I see the flaws, but it's such a sentimental favorite for me. I watched it over and over. I could play through the Super Nintendo game in about an hour, so I did that a few times a week. I'm sorry, F This Movie. I'll go to my office and pack up my things.

    1. (Psst, HHH, down here, just say "it's an ambitious failure" and they'll let you stay)

    2. Oh...I should clarify my comments about Hook. I'm not sure how much I expressed that it's an ambitious failure.

      Thanks, Brad! That was a close one.