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Laramie Movie Scope:
The top 10 movies of 1991

The year's best, with the usual caveat

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 3, 1992 -- This was a bad year for Hollywood, particularly in the late summer and fall there were few box office successes and fewer artistic successes.

Here's my list of the year's best films. A cautionary note: there are a number of films released last year that I haven't seen yet, such as ``Grand Canyon,'' ``The Prince of Tides,'' ``Fried Green Tomatoes,'' and ``Rambling Rose,'' any or all of which may belong in the top movies of the year, based on Golden Globe award nominations.

1. For my money the best film of the year is ``Silence of the Lambs.'' Anthony Hopkins should be a shoo-in for the best actor Oscar for his unforgettable role as a mad, murderous psychiatrist. Jodie Foster will be a strong contender for a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of a vulnerable but tough young FBI agent in the same film. This is an excellent film with stunning performances and high suspense, a shocking look at pure evil.

2. Second best was ``Beauty and the Beast,'' the excellent animated musical feature by Walt Disney studios. It has classic Disney animation, delightful music and voice characterizations. It has love, laughs, drama, the whole package. Walt would be proud.

3. Third on my list is ``The Commitments'' a delightful concert-documentary style film with a fantastic soundtrack and great musical performances. If you like soul music and comedy you'll love this film.

4. Fourth is ``The Fisher King'' a film with a very strong story, excellent cinematography, fine direction and two wonderful performances by Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges.

5. Fifth is ``Thelma and Louise,'' a surrealistic buddy-road-action film starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Sarandon and Davis give great performances in this film. The movie is unusual because of its feminist slant. The cinematography is outstanding and the musical score compelling.

6. Sixth is ``Terminator II,'' the blockbuster hit starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. The original film was a terrific action movie, this film is all of that and more. It also has heart. While the film probably won't be nominated for best picture it will get an award for its groundbreaking computer-generated special effects.

7. Seventh is ``Soapdish,'' a hilarious comedy about soap opera stars whose real lives are even more outrageous than those of the characters they portray on television. This broad farce features excellent performances by Kevin Kline and Sally Fields, two former Oscar winners.

8. Eighth is ``L.A. Story'' starring Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant. It is a very magical and whimsical movie. In addition to being a love story in the tradition of ``A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy,'' it is also a very funny look at the oddities of life among Los Angeles trend-setters. A must for Steve Martin fans.

9. Ninth is ``Boyz 'N The Hood,'' a poignant tale of the difficulties of growing up in Los Angeles with or without a father. Directed by 22-year-old rookie director John Singleton, this is a very good effort. Expect to hear more about Singleton in the future.

10. Tenth is "JFK", the conspiracy film about who really killed President Kennedy. While it is not convincing from a journalistic standpoint, it is an example of brilliant conspiracy theory propaganda by director Oliver Stone, and it is pretty entertaining, too.

Only two of the above films were big box office hits last year, ``Terminator II'' and ``Silence of the Lambs.'' Although ``Beauty and the Beast'' will doubtless do very well at the box office, but it was released too late in the year to rack up much business in 1991.

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Copyright © 1992 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)