|Movie Title/Year and Brief Description, Including Great Quotes and Scenes|
Writer/director Robert Rodriguez' 'spaghetti-western' and Hong Kong-styled action film (a big-budget, English-language remake of his own cult classic El Mariachi (1992)), was great for action-hungry fans who wanted spectacularly cartoonish, balletic violence with lots of blood. It featured attractive stars with sizzling eroticism between them: Mexican soap-star actress Salma Hayek (in a breakthrough role as border-town bookstore owner Carolina) and popular Antonio Banderas (as vengeful guitarist and vigilante El Mariachi). El Mariachi sought to avenge the death of his previous lover, tracking down psychotic Mexican drug lord Bucho (Joachim de Almeida) and his gang. The film included shootouts in a seedy cantina and on rooftops, with two-fisted gunfighting and sailing bodies through the air.
"You drive around town, you see someone you don't know, you shoot them. How hard is that?"
"Bless me, Father, for I have just killed quite a few men."
The smoldering love scene between girlfriend Carolina and El Mariachi in a candle-lit room - shot with original camera angles and flash-cuts.
Writer/director Michael Mann's compelling, three-hour LA crime thriller/drama centered its tension-filled story around jaded and obsessed LA detective/cop Vincent Hanna's (Al Pacino) search for notoriously disciplined professional thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). [It marked the first time the two powerhouse male actors appeared together on screen, although they co-starred in The Godfather, Part II (1974).] The crime film had its share of shoot-outs, violent deaths, chase scenes and action (especially an armored car robbery in downtown LA that went awry, and a second downtown shootout during a bank robbery), although it also emphasized the women in the men's lives: Hanna's third wife Justine (Diane Venora) in a fractured marriage, and McCauley's unknowing girlfriend and graphic artist Eady (Amy Brenneman).
- "I told you, when we hooked up, baby, that you
were gonna have to share me with all the bad people and all the ugly
events on this planet."
"A guy told me one time: 'Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.'"
The confrontational showdown scene in a restaurant between two similar men representing different sides of the law: Hanna and McCauley, as they conversed over a cup of coffee, and both vowed to take the other down if necessary and without hesitation, and the final night-time climax between the two.
This 'guilty-pleasure' popular cult film was the second pairing of director Paul Verhoeven (known for RoboCop (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992)) and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (also for Basic Instinct (1992)). It was a sleazy, big-budget 'adult-oriented' film that became a camp classic instead. The outlandish, over-the-top film marked a milestone in film history - it was the first NC-17 rated film with a wide mainstream release. Although it was the first big-budget, adults-only film in many years (after Caligula (1979) and Philip Kaufman's Henry & June (1990)), it turned out to be both a critical and commercial failure, and grossed only $20 million (half of its budgeted cost).
Feature film newcomer Elizabeth Berkley (of TV's Saved By the Bell) starred as 23 year-old Nomi Malone - a stripper turned Las Vegas showgirl-dancer in a soul-less, exploitative plot with mostly repugnant characters. First working at the sleazy Cheetah Club where she performed pole and lap dances, Nomi graduated to the Stardust's "Goddess" topless dance show (where she contributed her characteristically-jerky dance moves) with scores of half-naked dancers. There, she developed a love-hate attraction for bi-sexual, trashy diva star Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon), who headlined and made her flashy entrance from an exploding volcano. The film was considered senseless, violent, and actually sexually boring or desensitizing, although it contained lots of gratuitous nudity. A 15th Anniversary DVD version, a "Sinsational" Edition, was released to commemorate its longevity.
"I'm erect. Why aren't you erect?"
Nomi's pole-dancing at the Cheetah Club and her slithering, intercourse-simulating lapdance for Cristal's boyfriend Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan), a naturally-degrading topless dancer audition scene, the extravagant Stardust dance routines for the "Goddess" show, a seizure-like orgasmic nighttime sex scene (voted one of the least sexy scenes of all time) in an outdoor swimming pool decorated with neon palm trees, and an offensive gang-rape scene.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Director Bryan Singer's clever, and hip, plot-twisting, film-noirish heist thriller (with a sharp script by Christopher McQuarrie) was (and continues to be) a popular cult favorite. It starred Kevin Spacey as club-footed con man Roger "Verbal" Kint, and emphasized a central mystery surrounding the character of Hungarian mobster Keyser Soze. Most of the film was set in a police interrogation room where Kint convinced his captor, tough U.S. Customs Special Agent federal investigator Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), about the enigmatic existence of Keyser Soze, a semi-mythical, cold-blooded "devil", and almost supernatural Hungarian crime lord and mastermind.
According to Kint (told in flashback), a group of tough and savvy criminals (the ones on all the film's posters, in an NYPD line-up hauled in after a Queens, NY truck hijacking), including crooked ex-cop Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), explosives specialist Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), entry man and sniper Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Latino Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Kint himself, pulled off a $3 million robbery of emeralds. Soze had also coerced the five thieves to go on a suicide mission to San Pedro harbor to commit a huge $91 million cocaine heist -- an act of sabotage against one of Keyser's own competitors in the drug trade. The weaselly, limping, club-footed Kint, a survivor of the explosion at the harbor, confessed truths, half-truths, double-crosses, and lies in the convoluted tale.
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
The scene of the concluding plot twist, revealing the identity of Keyser Soze. The crippled Kint was released and limped away from the police station, as his hand deformity and his limp suddenly disappeared from his stride. Kujan simultaneously realized - upon breaking a coffee cup and other trivial clues - that Kint was, in fact, the greatly-feared, legendary criminal mastermind and kingpin Keyser Soze of Kint's own extraordinarily-fabricated story. To his stunned amazement, Kujan noticed that many of the elements of Kint's preposterous story were found on the bulletin board behind his desk.
Doug Liman's original comic drama, a very popular independent film, followed the bar lounge-hopping and pick-up efforts of five party-animal, show business wannabes in the hip singles scene - both in LA and Vegas - who mostly wanted to get laid. The film was a guys point-of-view 'romantic comedy.' Much of the low-budget film, made in only 22 days, was improvised. In one scene, the swaggering swingers discussed their most favorite moments in guy movies like GoodFellas and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The film included in-jokes about how "Everybody steals from everybody, that's Hollywood". One of the twenty-something males was smooth-operating, fast-talking ladies-man Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn) who offered advice on how to pick up women: ("All I do is stare at their mouths and wrinkle my nose, and I turn out to be a sweetheart"). Catchphrases from the film included "money" that was equated to being "cool" and "babies" were "women."
"You're so money and you don't even know it."
The use of the Jaws theme music to identify the predatory 'sharks' at a bar picking up on women.
The sequence of Trent's and Mike's trip to Las Vegas to find some action.
The scene of aspiring NY comedian Mike Peter's (Jon Favreau) repeatedly desperate phone calls to the answering machine of new LA acquaintance Nikki (Brooke Langton) ("This is Nikki. Leave a message") whom he had just met in a bar, when it cut him off as he left his phone number, and how he excused himself for his repeated phone calls and messages by stating: "I don't want you to think I was weird or desperate..." - and her live retort to his calls: "Don't ever call me again."
American History X (1998)
Edward Norton starred in director Tony Kaye's visceral, ultra-realistic R-rated feature film debut as the violent, prejudiced, racist, Neo-Nazi L.A. skinhead Derek Vinyard, who followed the advice of older white supremacist mentor Cameron Alexander (Stacey Keach) in order to bring hate and evil terror to non-whites and other minorities in his beach neighborhood of Venice, California. Although the film opened with Derek getting out of jail (after serving a three-year jail term for killing two car thieves) with changed ways of thinking and distasteful of his past, his skinhead teenaged brother Danny (Edward Furlong), a young skinhead, idolized him and was becoming a neo-Nazi himself. The film's flashbacks (in gritty monochromatic black and white) showed Derek's corruption as he became a skinhead leader (with a shaved head, tattoos, and a goatee) who legitimized hate-filled violence.
"...You come here and shoot at my family? I'm gonna teach you a real lesson now, motherf--ker. Put your f--kin' mouth on the curb."
"I believe in death, destruction, chaos, filth, and greed."
The infamous brutal and painful-to-watch curb-stomping scene in which Vinyard forced wounded black car thief Lawrence (Antonio David Lyons) to bite down on the sidewalk curb and then stomped on the man's head to snap his neck in half, to teach him a "real lesson."
Also, the scene of a raid on a Korean-owned grocery store.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
This obscenity-filled, anarchic independent cult comedy from the Coen Brothers was notable for its main male character -- unemployed, bearded and stoned out LA slacker, Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), who spent most of his time drinking White Russians, smoking pot and bowling. The film's disparate elements included kidnapping of rich, wheelchair-bound businessman "Big" Lebowski's (David Huddleston) trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid), a violent scene of bowling with the Dude's angry, gun-crazed best friend - former Vietnam vet Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and the moronic Donny (Steve Buscemi) where they heard taunting challenges offered by purple jump-suited bowler Jesus Quintana (John Turturro), German nihilists, the "Big" Lebowski's strange, oversexed, avant-garde artist daughter, Maude (Julianne Moore) who painted on a canvas from a trapeze apparatus, and a pornographer named Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara).
"That rug really tied the room together."
"The Dude abides."
The bowling alley scene.
The Busby Berkeley-inspired dream sequence called Gutterballs.
(chronological, by film title)
Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15