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Top 30 has finally resumed. We are up to the top ten....which will be revealed later today!

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#5 Speed

Starring:  Keanu Reeves, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton, Sandra Bullock

Directed by Jan DeBont

Box office:  350 million



Number of lists:  17

Top 5:  7

Number one:  1



Quick Synopsis:  A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

Critic Opinion:  (Roger Ebert was one of the only mainstream critics to give this 4 out of 4)  

that starts with hostages trapped on an elevator and continues with two chases - one on a bus, one on a subway - so that it's wall-to-wall with action, stunts, special effects and excitement. We've seen this done before, but seldom so well, or at such a high pitch of energy.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves as a member of the Los Angeles bomb squad. He and his veteran partner (Jeff Daniels) are called in after a mad bomber severs the cables holding an elevator in a high rise building. Now the terrified passengers are trapped between floors, and the bomber wants $3 million or he'll push a button and blow off the car's emergency brakes. This situation in itself might make the heart of a thriller, but it's only a curtain-raiser for "Speed," which turns into a battle of the wills between Reeves and the madman.  

The screenplay, by Graham Yost, piles on complications until the movie's very construction is a delight. Bullock keeps her cool at the wheel while Reeves tries stunts like going under the bus to try to disarm the bomb while it continues to bounce along at high speed.

Meanwhile, the story intercuts between Hopper, who is issuing ultimatums and dropping sinister hints, and Daniels, back at headquarters, who is using computers to try to figure out the blackmailer's identity.

When the bus episode finally ends, we sit back, drained, ready for the movie to end, too. But it has another surprise in store, a chase on a subway train, with Bullock held hostage and handcuffed inside one of the cars. All of this is of course gloriously silly, a plundering of situations from the Indiana Jones and Die Hard movies all the way back to the "Perils of Pauline," but so what? If it works, it works.

My thoughts:  One of the best action movies of the 90's....almost as good as the Matrix








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#4 Forrest Gump

Starring:  Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Gary Senise, Robin Wright

Directed by Bob Zemekis

Box office: 678 million


Number of lists:  17

Top 5:  10

Number one:  2


Quick Synopsis:  The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Critic Opinion: 

Forrest Gump is a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace. There’s talk of another Oscar for Tom Hanks, who is unforgettable as the sweet-natured, shabbily treated simpleton of the title. The Academy is a sucker for honoring afflicted heroes. In Hollywood, it’s always raining rain men. Credit Hanks for not overplaying his hand. He brings a touching gravity to the role of an idiot savant from the South who finds strength in God, country, his childhood pal, Jenny (Robin Wright), and his good mama (Sally Field). When Forrest falls a few IQ points shy of minimal school requirements, Mama knows who to sleep with to bend the rules. Her son has a gift. As Forrest makes his pilgrim’s progress from the ’50s to the ’80s, he becomes a college football star, a Vietnam war hero, a shrimp tycoon and even a father.

Taking a cue from Zelig, director Robert Zemeckis places Forrest in a vivid historical context — he talks with JFK, LBJ and Nixon, among other luminaries. The effects dazzle, though never at the expense of the story. Winston Groom, who wrote the 1986 novel, saw Forrest as a modern Candide, an optimist in the face of strong opposing evidence. But Groom is no Voltaire, and neither is screenwriter Eric Roth (Mr. Jones, Memories of Me), who blunts his satire with choking sentiment. It’s Hanks who brings humor and unforced humanity to the literary conceit of Forrest, though the slim actor scarcely resembles the 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound bruiser of the book. (Peter Travers)

My thoughts:  A film that is perfect in my eyes.  I love everything about this movie.




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#3 The Lion King

Starring:  James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg

Directed by:  Rogers Allers, Rob Minkoff

Box office:  966 million


Number of lists:  18

Top 5:  10

Number one:  3



  A Lion cub crown prince is tricked by a treacherous uncle into thinking he caused his father's death and flees into exile in despair, only to learn in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.

Critic Opinion:  

Walt Disney's lavish "The Lion King," available at last on home video, plays like a swooping cinematic theme-park ride through a gorgeous African landscape where animals become players in an allegorical drama juiced up by violent chills and wacky comedy. It's all calculated to be wonderfully entertaining and almost every frame hits the mark.

By any standard you can apply to animated feature films -- and Disney, of course, sets the standard -- "The Lion King" is a beautiful, snappy piece of work that excites the imagination and regularly splashes you with good humor via a surprisingly intelligent screenplay laced with '90s-ish gags, puns and droll remarks that sometimes pierce like a dagger.

With a touch of "Bambi" and a dollop of "Hamlet," the journey delves into death, despair, exile and revenge but still comes out rated G.

Even when the considerable dramatic action veers to encompass the inevitable pop-song side trips -- music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice -- that seem slightly dopey or awkwardly placed, "The Lion King" keeps its rhythm, its sense of goofy fun and its almost epic boldness rolling along. For only 87 minutes on screen, it feels like a much larger movie than it is. (Peter Stack)

My thoughts:  Good Disney movie.  My nieces love it as well.  



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So that leaves us with the last two movies of 1994.  Everyone knows what the final two are, so I will put them in one post.......stay tuned.

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#2 Pulp Fiction

Starring:  John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis, 

Directed by QT

Box office:  213.9 million


Number of lists:  20

Top 5:  11

Number one:  3


Quick Synopsis:  The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Critic Opinion:  Most of them really liked it

My thoughts:  I'm just posting my review here because a lot of people at this site have commented on this in the past, so here it is again.


Warning Does contain spoilers. Before I go into how great this film is, I have to first tell you something that I know everyone thinks but so few have commented on, and that is the performance of Ving Rhames. For those of you that have seen this film, you all know what I am going to say is the gospel, for those of you that haven't, if you ever see a film for a singular performance, see two films. One is Tombstone because of Val Kilmer and the other is Pulp Fiction for Rhames. His portrayal of Marcellus Wallace is one of the greatest performances in the history of motion pictures. His mannerisms, his dialect, his virility, his coolness and his ruthlessness all should have given him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year, even over Samuel Jackson. Just think back to some of this lines, some of his actions and some of his facial expressions. This is the epitome of greatness and if I could pick 5 performances in the history of film that are the embodiment of powerful interpretations and believability, this would easily be up there. Just look at the scene when Jules talks to him after the Marvin problem. Jules is freaking out and Wallace calmly responds " I'm on the m*****f***a, go back inside and chill them niggas out, I'm sending in tha Wolf. " As he delivers the line he is serenely sitting in his backyard with his cool shades covering his malicious eyes and he is wiping his mouth with an expensive hanky. His delivery is perfect and when you listen to him you don't think this is a ruthless killer, he is just a guy next door with a very nice house. And what makes it even better is that they are two gangsters talking about alleviating the Bonnie situation before she gets home. These are two bad ass criminals that are in the business of killing people and they are attempting to save a man's marriage by removing a dead body from the garage. That is just dripping with contradictions, but it works because of the writing and because of the delivery, mostly by Rhames. Another scene that demonstrates his grasp of his character is the rape scene. When he finally gets around to his comeuppance against " Billy Boy ", he spits out his dialogue with such venom that while you are cheering his triumph, you are actually worried for Zed and his soon-to-be-living-his-shortass-life-in-agonizing-pain-rapist situation. And then when he talks to Butch, he is fair and thankful for Butch's assistance but cannot forget how Butch betrayed him. " Oh that what now. I'll tell you what now. There is no me and you. You leave town tonight and when you be gone you stay gone. You lost all your L.A. privledges. " Ving Rhames is my favourite part of the film ( besides the ridiculously intelligent and original script ) and quoting him is now a daily regimen at work with my other friends that like the film. I think Tarantino is so smart for casting Rhames in this role and what it makes it that much better is knowing that Rhames is one of the most humble men in Hollywood, remember when he gave back his Emmy to Jack Lemmon as he tearfully said that he hadn't paid enough dues yet and Lemmon was one of his idols? The man can do no wrong in my eyes. He is one of a kind.As for the rest of Pulp Fiction, this is a film that will often be imitated but never duplicated. That is an old cliche but it is so true in this case. It is completely original and without a doubt, what makes it so original and so great is simply the writing. What other film can have gangsters talking about foot massages and the importance of them just before they are about to perform a hit. What other film can describe in great detail what a pilot for a film is and then talk about a man that fell through a four story window and develop a speech impediment, all before entering into a room to ramble on about the Bible and how tasty the burgers are before executing them with extreme prejudice. There is a simple and definitive answer to that question, no film. Pulp fiction takes violence and surrounds it with every day conversations with people that seem to be in a different world yet they jump through some strange porthole and into ours by discussing things like blueberry muffins, how good coffee is, cleaning a blood smeared car with domesticated products that are located under Jimmy's sink, oral pleasure, speaking Bora Bora, getting day jobs as opposed to robbing banks, being cool like Fonzie and five dollar milkshakes. How and where Tarantino thought of this script is beyond me, all I know is that my film life and even my life is richer now that I have seen Pulp Fiction. I can understand why this film was passed over at the Oscars for Forrest Gump, but in most people's opinion this was the best film of 1994. I loved Gump and Shawshank Redemption but I also loved Pulp Fiction and if it would have won Best Picture that year I would have been just as happy. Pulp Fiction is one of the best films ever made and it will be remembered into the new millennium and my bet is that when film people are talking about the best films of the last 200 years ( when it is about to turn 2100 ) Pulp Fiction is going to be one of them mentioned. When you can have Christopher Walken talk with a straight face about hiding a watch in a place that was not meant to store medal, have Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth talk seriously about robbing a restaurant, have Travolta and Jackson talk about walking the Earth like Kane in Kung Fu, have Eric Stoltz shout at his wife to find his little black medical book before he gives a shot to an O.D-ing Uma Thurman, have Harvey Keitel appear in a full tuxedo at 8:00 AM and then appear on the scene to "solve problems" have Tarantino appear himself as a guy that knows the difference between gourmet coffee and the crappy stuff his wife buys, have Bruce Willis decide what weapon he is going to use to stop the bad guys, have Ving Rhames talk about having a guy pop out of a bowl of rice and "pop a cap" in someone's ass if he shows up in Indo-China and have it all make sense, well you have something special. Pulp Fiction isn't a movie, it is an experience, it is a gift to true film fans. This may not be for everyone as some people forget this is a film and they think it is a documentary on life and they get offended because it is not about love and honesty and morals and all that other crap that exists in some Hollywood films. This is a film that takes all that you have ever known about film and bludgeons it to death with a pen and paper. It redefines what is acceptable and what is off beat and all it asks you to do is enjoy this film for 2 and a half hours. I did, immensely, and I think most people will, and have. If you really have not seen this, then you are robbing yourself of one of the best cinematic experiences in the history of film. This is easily one of the best films ever made. How anyone can disagree is beyond my understanding and I can't see how you can truly call yourself a film fan if you can't see the brilliance of this film. 10/10





Number 1 Shawshank Redemption

Starring:  Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Clancy Brown

Directed by Frank Darabont

Box office:  28.7 million


Number of lists:  20

Top 5:  14

Number one:  4


Quick Synopsis:  Get busy livin, or get busy dyin.

Critic Opinion:  

"The Shawshank Redemption" is a movie about time, patience and loyalty -- not sexy qualities, perhaps, but they grow on you during the subterranean progress of this story, which is about how two men serving life sentences in prison become friends and find a way to fight off despair.

The story is narrated by "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), who has been inside the walls of Shawshank Prison for a very long time and is its leading entrepreneur. He can get you whatever you need: cigarettes, candy, even a little rock pick like an amateur geologist might use. One day he and his fellow inmates watch the latest busload of prisoners unload, and they make bets on who will cry during their first night in prison, and who will not. Red bets on a tall, lanky guy named Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who looks like a babe in the woods.


Red's narration of the story allows him to speak for all of the prisoners, who sense a fortitude and integrity in Andy that survives the years. Andy will not kiss butt. He will not back down. But he is not violent, just formidably sure of himself. For the warden (Bob Gunton), he is both a challenge and a resource; Andy knows all about bookkeeping and tax preparation, and before long he's been moved out of his prison job in the library and assigned to the warden's office, where he sits behind an adding machine and keeps tabs on the warden's ill-gotten gains. His fame spreads, and eventually he's doing the taxes and pension plans for most of the officials of the local prison system.

There are key moments in the film, as when Andy uses his clout to get some cold beers for his friends who are working on a roofing job. Or when he befriends the old prison librarian (James Whitmore). Or when he oversteps his boundaries and is thrown into solitary confinement. What quietly amazes everyone in the prison -- and us, too -- is the way he accepts the good and the bad as all part of some larger pattern than only he can fully see.

My thoughts:

This is simply one of the best films ever made and I know I am not the first to say that and I certainly won't be the last. The standing on the IMDb is a true barometer of that. #3 as of this date and I'm sure it could be number 1. So I'll just skip all the normal praise of the film because we all know how great it is. But let me perhaps add that what I find so fascinating about Shawshank is that Stephen King wrote it.

King is one of the best writers in the world. Books like IT and the Castle Rock series are some of the greatest stories ever told. But his best adaptations are always done by the best directors. The Shining was brilliantly interpreted by Kubrick and of course the aforementioned Misery and Stand By Me are both by Rob Reiner. Now Frank Darabont comes onto the scene and makes arguably the best King film ever. He seems to understand what King wants to say and he conveys that beautifully.

What makes this film one of the best ever made is the message it conveys. It is one of eternal hope. Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, has been sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. But he never loses hope. He never gives up his quest to become a free man again. His years of tenacity, patience and wits keep him not only sane, but it gives his mind and a spirit a will to live. This film has a different feel to it. There has never been anything like it before and I don't know if there will again.

I'm not going to say any more about this film, it has already been said, but just suffice to say that I am glad that Forrest Gump won best picture in 94. I would have been equally glad if Pulp Fiction or Shawshank would have won. It is that good of a movie and one that will be appreciated for years to come.













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And there you have it...a week late but it's finally done.


Shawshank won relatively easily as it finished 50 points ahead of Pulp.

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