Archive for Thursday, December 23, 1999


December 23, 1999


Lawrence movie buffs sound off about the movies they love.

Americans love going to the movies.

During the 1990s, movies became an event unto themselves. The studios released blockbuster flicks with greater frequency and featured the latest in eye-popping mind-candy such as Dolby sound, digital effects and computer-generated characters.

Smaller independent films made it possible for aspiring actors to launch their own careers. Movie stars' salaries soared and so did the price of an admission ticket. But it didn't matter because audiences loved going to the movies, from the thrill-ride rush of "Star Wars" to smaller gems like "Sling Blade" and "Shine."

The Mag recently asked several Lawrence residents to share the 1990s movies that were their personal favorites. These critics-for-a-day could select any movie they wished, only their lists had to be comprised of personal favorites, and not necessarily what they felt were the decade's most critically acclaimed films.

So here's an end-of-the-millennium review of the 1990s movies that Lawrence film buffs cherished. Comments have been edited for clarity.

Ron Willis,

Kansas University theater professor

  • "Lone Star"
  • "Being John Malkovich"
  • "Fight Club"
  • "Dead Man Walking"
  • "The English Patient"
  • "Shakespeare in Love"
  • "Saving Private Ryan"

Todd Pierce,

store manager,

Hastings Books, Music and Videos

  • "Titanic": best cruise ship performance since the "Love Boat." Stunning special effects combined with a good script and solid acting by the entire cast.
  • "The Blair Witch Project": proof that you don't need a big budget, lots of blood and gore or even the ability to hold the camera still to make a truly frightening movie.
  • "Good Will Hunting": Robin Williams turned in one of his best performances in this well-written film by power duo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
  • "Pulp Fiction": "I'll have a Royale with cheese." Samuel L. Jackson delivers a fiery performance in the film that brought John Travolta back from his box-office slump.
  • "The Silence of the Lambs": A feel-good movie about a serial killer on the run who sews together the skins of his victims. This is one sewing circle I don't want to join. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster both won Academy Awards for their performances. I can't wait for the sequel.
  • "Beauty and the Beast": revitalized animated film (that) started a string of successful features for Disney. Who says you have to be attractive to pull in the babes?
  • "Philadelphia": The first major motion picture to show the devastating effects AIDS has physically, professionally and emotionally.
  • "Shallow Grave": Stylistically similar to Alfred Hitchcock, this British film was one of my favorite suspense thrillers of the decade.
  • "Gods and Monsters": a gay aging film director, a muscular pool boy and a maid with a wry sense of humor. Lynn Redgrave and Ian McKellen received Oscar nods for their roles.
  • "Forrest Gump": Academy Award-winning performance from Tom Hanks took his career to a new level and made "Run, Forrest run!" a popular catch phrase.

Rick Mitchell,

gallery director,

Lawrence Arts Center

  • "Mondo"
  • "The Commitments"
  • "Shine."

Candi Baker,

artistic director,

Prairie Wind Dancers

  • "The Piano"
  • "Shakespeare in Love"
  • "Forrest Gump"
  • "The English Patient"
  • "The Full Monty"
  • "Good Will Hunting"
  • "Scent of a Woman"
  • "The Hunt for Red October"

Ellen Williams,

education program director,

Lawrence Arts Center

  • "Schindler's List"
  • "Fargo"
  • "Dances with Wolves"
  • "Pulp Fiction"
  • "Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace"

Mario Bonilla,

shift manager,

Blockbuster Video

  • "Jurassic Park"
  • "American Beauty"
  • "The Silence of the Lambs"
  • "Beautiful Thing"
  • "Titanic"
  • "Reality Bites"
  • "Short Cuts"
  • "Beauty and the Beast"
  • "True Lies"
  • "Iron Giant"

Will Averill,


Card Table Productions

  • "Fresh"
  • "Naked"
  • "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
  • "The Shawshank Redemption"
  • "Barton Fink"
  • "Gummo"
  • "Orlando"
  • "Fight Club"
  • "Reservoir Dogs"
  • "Lone Star"

Angie Green,


  • "Life is Beautiful": an excellent movie. It presented a very serious subject and nicely blended it with love and laughter that really touched the heart. Listening to the Italian and reading the subtitles made it more fun.
  • "Titanic": a very passionate and exciting film. It was wonderful.

On a lighter note my other favorites included:

  • "Patch Adams"
  • "The Wedding Singer"
  • "Tommy Boy"
  • "Stepmom"
  • "Awakenings"
  • "Dumb and Dumber"

Scott Bliss,


Liberty Hall Cinemas

  • "Fargo"
  • "The Player"
  • "Boyz N the Hood"
  • "Heavenly Creatures"
  • "Waiting for Guffman"
  • "The Grifters"
  • "Crumb"
  • "The Shawshank Redemption"
  • "The Usual Suspects"
  • "Babe"

John Ratzlaff,


Plaza Six

  • "Pretty Woman": Every woman I know likes it, so it's always a sure bet. Plus there is excellent chemistry between them (Richard Gere and Julia Roberts).
  • "Jurassic Park": I've always loved dinosaurs, so this was an amazing treat. Having John Williams write the score was a major plus.
  • "Forrest Gump": Say no more!
  • "Clerks": THE funniest stuff. You've gotta love it.
  • "Titanic": Few movies can draw you in emotionally in so many different ways.
  • "The Fifth Element": I don't know why.

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