Films of the Nineties

In an earlier post I mentioned that a friend of mine had posed the question:

Q. What would you say were the genuinely ‘zOMFg’ films of the decade of the nineties?

This led me to the realisation that I couldn’t remember the films that the two of us had seen that decade. After much discussion since posing the question, my friend has compiled a list of the films we definitely saw at the cinema from 1991 to 1999.

Perusing the list, nothing jumps out as having so profound an effect as to leave me in awe. Obviously The Matrix is one of those films that leaves you in such a state but the fact that I cannot remember my two cinematic viewings means that I have to exclude it from my own list. Likewise the second film suggested by my friend, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, is one that I remember seeing but it wasn’t “Oh My God!” stunning; the effects were awesome and the film truly transformed the Terminator franchise.

It is interesting to note that, reading through the list, there is a cut off where we move from the Tudor Cinema, in Huddersfield’s town centre, to the new multiplex down near the stadium on Leeds Road (Then the MacAlpine, currently the Galpharm, soon to be renamed). This was a disappointing time, there was a comfort to the Tudor and its two mediocre screens. The majority of the films we’d seen had been at that cinema, with the odd trip to Leeds’ Showcase and Odeon cinemas, or the Rex in Elland, being the only real exceptions. We did go to the cinema in Halifax once but it was a terrible cinema, now a night club.

At the risk of boring any readers, I’m going to end this post with the list my friend has compiled. There are definitely a couple of surprises in there but I remember viewing most of these films. During the early years I was at University in Huddersfield and so we would sometimes meet and have an evening showing, followed by a pint of Guinness in the Zetland (now Dogma). This tradition lasted even after the neighbouring Tudor closed. I’ve annotated the list with my own comments, my friend’s comments are quoted.

1991

  • April – Highlander II
  • Why did they ever make this film? I mean, what an utter let down. When people say that sequels are bad then I am sure it is this film they are thinking of.

  • August – Terminator II
  • A world apart from the previous film. Like many successful sequels this was a completely different style and pace of movie to the original Terminator; Linda Hamilton was superb – irreplacable (unless you watch the TV series). Cameron’s use of special effects was groundbreaking and quickly copied over the coming years.

1992

  • June – Wayne’s World
  • Influential to a generation, a friend and I even compèred our college’s christmas performance to the main school as Wayne & Garth; I enjoyed playing Kenickie in the brief Grease skit more though.

1994

  • November – Highlander III
  • Far better than it’s predecessor but still worlds apart from the original Highlander. This film left me with an odd feeling, not the same “ripped off” feeling of Highlander II but kind of like I’d been conned in some way.

1995

  • January – Interview with The Vampire
  • Compared with the books I felt a little let down by this interpretation. Whilst Pitt makes for a good Louis, Cruise’s Lestat could not be further from my understanding of the character. I mean, Lestat is Sting, Gordon Sumner is Lestat – Sting should have played the role, simple as that. Other than that, I really enjoyed the film. Excellent performance from a young Kirsten Dunst as well. (my friend includes a brief description of the day, as a way of jogging my memory)

(You came to call for me in a little after noon.   We cycled into town and left our bikes tied up at university beneath medical centre steps in mid afternoon.  You and I took part in the police identity ‘parade’ at Bus Station before returning down to the cinema.  We watched film in evening and called into The Zetland as it was then for Guinness and to discuss film before cycling home in dark and very cold post-midnight.  Marvellous day.)

  • July – Batman Forever
  • A mediocre film but at least it kept the franchise going long enough for them to make a Lego Batman game over a decade later.

  • October – Species
  • Now this may not be zOMFG!!1!one! worthy but it did have an impact on me. I think we’d been starved of good sci-fi for too long, Species was well made, well written and performed well. I’ve not seen any of its sequels, partly because the multiplex only showed Species II for a week, and partly because I don’t want my memory of this film sullied.

  • December – Golden Eye
  • The beginning of a tradition that ended with Brosnan’s last outing as Bond. My friend and I made sure we would see the latest Bond at the cinema every time one was released.

1996

  • July – Independence Day
  • What struck me about this film, as I am sure it does most people, is the way that the Americans save the day whilst the rest of the world struggle on like impotent simpletons.

  • October – Dragon Heart
  • Very enjoyable but then most films with dragons in them are.

  • December – First Contact
  • A tremendous film, Trek at its very best (unless you hate the next generation stuff). Alice Krieg as the borg queen is an inspired piece of casting.

1997

  • April – Starwars
  • By this I think my friend references the “digitally enhanced” re-releases that were distributed in the run up to Phantom Menace.

  • May – The Relic
  • Another awesome film, dark and fantastic.

  • June – Mimic
  • Like Relic the month before, Mimic was a dark, urban fantasy horror that left me smiling all over 🙂 “Clickety-clack”

  • August – Men In Black, Event Horizon
  • I can take or leave Men in Black, which is a fun film but nothing compared to Event Horizon. I honestly don’t think Event Horizon was matched until the recent Pandorum, which I now wish I had seen at the cinema.

  • December – Tomorrow Never Dies, Alien 4
  • Alien 4 (Alien’s Erection Alien Resurrection) was another sequel let down, the skeletor baby at the end ruined all faith in the Alien franchise.

1998

  • January – Starship Troopers, The Jackal
  • The last viewing at Huddersfield’s Tudor cinema, I think. The cinema was empty, only my friend and I viewing Starship Troopers.

  • March – The Man in The Iron Mask
  • The first film at the new multiplex, originally UCI now Odeon. I love Musketeer movies and even the sprout faced youth didn’t annoy me in this film.

  • April – Sphere
  • For some reason I dislike Crichton’s written work but alwasy enjoy his films.

  • May – Deep Impact
  • I think this was the film that made me realise how bad disaster movies really are.

  • June – Dark City
  • Now this was one of the great films of the decade. The first thing I wanted to do after seeing this film was to see it again.

  • August – Armageddon, The X-Files
  • Armageddon was marginally better than the earlier Deep Impact – this probably because of Bruce Willis. The X-Files movie was just as confusing to me as the series. I missed so many episodes of the series that the film raised far more questions than it answered.

  • December –Insurrection
  • More of an elongated episode than an actual film, Star Trek – Insurrection was still a treat for the trek starved fan boy that I was at the time.

1999

  • July – The Matrix, The Mummy
  • A good month for movies. I don’t recall seeing the Matrix but I do remember the Mummy. The Mummy heralded the return of a genre of movie that had been missing for too long from our cinemas.

  • August – The Phantom Menace
  • A little piece of me died when I saw this movie; the effects were awesome and who could watch this film without thinking “Oh my christ I want to be a Jedi” as the light sabre battles were going on. This movie had a profound effect on me but not in an entirely positive manner. The child Anakin irritated me to the core, even the repeated use of Warwick Davis started to grate (“Good one Ani”), and I love Warwick Davis. I can’t help but feel that the film could have been so much more.

  • November – The Blair Witch Project
  • Wow, a film worthy of a post all of its own. This film genuinely “blew goats”. Apart from the poor narrative, bad acting and overhyped camera concept the biggest problem with this film was the absolute idiocy of its protagonists. Initially a great idea but let down by a lack of preparation and knowledge. Sam and Dean would have kicked the Witches ass!

  • December – End of Days, The Word is Not Enough
  • A great end to the decade, a cheezy bond and an Arnie movie in the “Catholic Horror” genre.

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6 thoughts on “Films of the Nineties

    • Thanks for that. No Jurassic Park at the cinema, at least not the first film. I first saw Jurassic Park on a “dodgy” video copy that a friend brought back from Cyprus. I envy your own theatre experience of this movie!

      I definitely saw more than these at the cinema but in different company. The most notable absences from the list above, to my mind, are Trainspotting and the Sixth Sense.

  1. Wayne’s (declarative obscenity of choice)’ing World… There are in total throughout my life only two films at the cinema I regret witnessing and this is the first. I cannot say how much I despise it and the cocking sequel. Amusingly ‘Batman Forever’ is the second – but at least due to the tremendous kindness of my friend I did not myself actually pay to see it!

    Maybe a noughties version is required?

    • Nope, definitely one and the same. Probably the best I can offer is WW’s and my own sense of humour did not mix – like the Monty Python show and films of decades previous it left me completely cold. I think maybe you needed to be a fan of pop/rock to really ‘get’ it.

      Now ‘Office Space’ on the other hand leaves me in absolute and uncontrollable hysterics, without a doubt the winner of my own ‘Funniest Film of the Nineties’ crown.

  2. I am positive it was march’99 and not jan 98 that we saw starship troupers, and moreover, that this was the last film we saw at the cannon. Dark city I distinctly recall watching at the uci on the first weekend in june 99, not 98.

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