The best of films, the worst of films Lou Cedrone reviews 1990


IT'S THAT TIME of the year again, time to voice a purely personal opinion as to which of the films released during 1990 were the "best" of the year. This particular list includes two films that have not been shown in this area but have been released elsewhere this year. Both are scheduled to open in the area next month.

The "best" are followed by the "worst." Some of these films can still been seen in theaters. Others have made their way to videocassette.

The top 10

"Awakenings" Penny Marshall's sensitive, poignant, romanticized study of a group of encephalitis patients who were brought back to "life" in 1969. Robin Williams and Robert De Niro contribute amazing performances. This one opens in the Baltimore area Jan. 11.

"Hamlet" Franco Zeffirelli casts Mel Gibson as the mad Dane and makes it all work. Glenn Close is Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. The film opens in the area Jan. 18.

"Driving Miss Daisy" It was voted the best film of 1989, but we didn't see it until January 1990. Jessica Tandy won an Academy Award for best actress for her work as the southern matron who formed a lasting relationship with her chauffeur, played by Morgan Freeman.

"Music Box" Costa-Gavras did this totally absorbing, compelling drama about a woman who discovers that her beloved father had been a killer at a death camp. Jessica Lange stars.

"My Left Foot" The story of Christy Brown, an Irish author and painter who was born with cerebral palsy and learned to type and paint with his left foot. Daniel Day Lewis won the Academy's best actor award for his portrayal of Christy.

"Pretty Woman" Richard Gere is the businessman, and Julia Roberts the prostitute he loves in this fairy tale that won the hearts of those willing to believe in it.

"Cinema Paradiso" A small boy looks at life through the projection booth of a movie house in a small town in Sicily.

"Ghost" Patrick Swayze is the murder victim who returns from the dead to speak through Whoopi Goldberg in this touching and funny movie.

"Avalon" Barry Levinson's loving remembrance of his forefathers and their arrival in Baltimore.

"Dances With Wolves" Kevin Costner is a frontiersman who is befriended by a tribe of Indians.

The second best

"Glory" A big and beautiful film that paid homage to a black regiment, one of the first to be organized during the Civil War.

"Henry V" Kenneth Branagh portrays the British monarch who conquered France.

"Joe vs. the Volcano" An irregular comedy in which Tom Hanks is a colorless clerk who was willing to jump into a volcano for the perks.

"Metropolitan" A Whit Stillman film that plays like early Woody Allen, a movie that kidded privileged New Yorkers of several decades back.

"Postcards From the Edge" Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine are daughter and mother in this delightful film version of Carrie Fisher's book.

"GoodFellas" It is an ugly, brutal movie but one that was done with amazing style. Martin Scorsese directed.

"Reversal of Fortune" The story of Claus Von Bulow and his wife, who he was accused of trying to murder.

"Rescuers Down Under" It isn't as good as the parent film, but visually, it is superb.

"Rocky V" Audiences turned their backs on Rocky Balboa this time, but it wasn't because it isn't a good film.

"Edward Scissorhands" A charming, sometimes dark fairy tale about a boy whose creator didn't get around to giving him human hands.

The ten worst

"Leatherface" Another "Chainsaw Massacre" sequel, one that should have been dumped somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Everybody Wins" No, they don't. Nick Nolte and Debra Winger were the hapless people caught in this film, whose script was written by Arthur Miller. Winger played a Marilyn Monroe type.

"A Man Called Sarge" According to the film, World War II was a joke and the Holocaust was fun.

"Graffiti Bridge" No crossing.

"Rockula" A rock-playing vampire returns every 22 years. This, unfortunately, was one of those years.

"Forbidden Dance" They tried to make the Lambada look dirty. It just looked dull.

"Q and A" The "hero" was a bigot. The film died at the box office, but the cassette buyers seem to like it.

"Wild Orchid" A woman banker and a woman lawyer hanker after the same man in Brazil. The film is more silly than sultry.

"The Cook, the Chief, His Wife and Her Lover" A "comedy" about cannibalism.

"Quick Change" A Bill Murray mishap that came and went very quickly.

The worst of the worst

"Class of 1999" You'd do better with no education at all.

"Two Jakes" One was more than enough.

"Hardware" "Alien" again, this time in an apartment house.

"Exorcist III" We ought to find an exorcist who might rid us of these films.

"Return of the Living Dead" So who asked them back?

"Graveyard Shift" Stephen King again, and the question is why?

"Child's Play 2" The unwelcome return of Chuckie, the killer doll.

"Texasville" Unnecessary sequel to the 1972 "The Last Picture Show."

"Look Who's Talking Too" You've got to see it to believe it.

"Return of Superfly" He wasn't all that welcome the first time around.

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