Movies You Missed: 90s

by ZapperLife | created - 24 Jun 2011 | updated - 25 Jun 2011 | Public

Stretching from excellent to good, or rather very good popcorn, these movies never found the audience they deserved. List continuously updated as I find new movies undeservedly overlooked. For now the list is unranked, but when I get around to more I'll take the time and rank them according to quality in my eyes.

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1. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

PG | 125 min | Drama, History, Romance

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He, Cuifen Cao

Votes: 22,990 | Gross: $2.60M

Fascinating tale of concubine life. As usual stylish shot by Yimou Zhang and great performance by Gong Li.

2. Show Me Love (1998)

Unrated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
73 Metascore

Two teenage girls in small-town Sweden. Elin is beautiful, popular, and bored with life. Agnes is friendless, sad, and secretly in love with Elin.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust

Votes: 44,988 | Gross: $0.17M

Lukas Moodyson's excellent take on Swedish small-town life and teen angst.

3. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

R | 98 min | Drama, Fantasy, Music

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
86 Metascore

Two parallel stories about two identical women; one living in Poland, the other in France. They don't know each other, but their lives are nevertheless profoundly connected.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Irène Jacob, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik

Votes: 32,353 | Gross: $2.00M

Kieslowski delivered all through the decade up to his retirement after the three colors trilogy. The Double Life of Veronique came first and delivered in all the ways Kieslowski usually did.

4. Naked (1993)

Not Rated | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
84 Metascore

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell

Votes: 26,876 | Gross: $1.77M

David Thewlis is brilliant in the lead of Mike Leigh's cast. A lot of awesome dialogue.

5. The Wrong Trousers (1993)

Unrated | 30 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Wallace is used by a criminal penguin in a robbery involving mechanical trousers.

Director: Nick Park | Stars: Peter Sallis, Peter Hawkins

Votes: 44,101

Nick Park's two early Wallace & Gromit shorts were both great claymation. Fun and original.

6. A Close Shave (1995)

Unrated | 30 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Wallace falls for Wendolene, a wool shop owner, while Gromit is framed for the sheep rustling.

Director: Nick Park | Stars: Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Justin Fletcher, Peter Hawkins

Votes: 33,040

Nick Park's two early Wallace & Gromit shorts were both great claymation. Fun and original.

7. La fille sur le pont (1999)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
75 Metascore

One night, a fading entertainer intervenes when a woman contemplates suicide, beginning a strange, unpredictable relationship.

Director: Patrice Leconte | Stars: Vanessa Paradis, Daniel Auteuil, Frédéric Pfluger, Demetre Georgalas

Votes: 11,683 | Gross: $1.71M

Patrice Leconte creates better highs throughout in this one, than the genre usually is able to even climax with.

8. Chungking Express (1994)

PG-13 | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
77 Metascore

Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Faye Wong

Votes: 46,253 | Gross: $0.60M

With less than 20k votes on IMDB there's still not enough people falling in love with Wong Kar Wai's excellent feel and Doyle's equally stunning cinematography.

9. Eye of God (1997)

R | 84 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

We see two stories told over four time lines, which wind down to a devastating ground zero collision, as we watch a double tragedy unfold in a small Oklahoma town. The two stories are told ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Blake Nelson | Stars: Mary Kay Place, Nick Stahl, Chris Freihofer, Woody Watson

Votes: 1,070

A well told small town story, with a beautiful performance by Martha Plimpton.

10. Only Yesterday (1991)

PG | 118 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
90 Metascore

A twenty-seven-year-old office worker travels to the countryside while reminiscing about her childhood in Tokyo.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Miki Imai, Toshirô Yanagiba, Yoko Honna, Mayumi Izuka

Votes: 16,527 | Gross: $0.45M

Isao Takahata keep reminding us there's more to Studio Ghibli than the beauty of Hayao Miyazaki's work.

11. Perfect Blue (1997)

R | 81 min | Animation, Horror, Mystery

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A retired pop singer turned actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura

Votes: 34,965 | Gross: $0.11M

Satoshi Kon's psychological anime thriller is a well crafted movie especially Afronofsky have found great pleasure in.

12. Open Your Eyes (1997)

R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A very handsome man finds the love of his life, but he suffers an accident and needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery after it is severely disfigured.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Chete Lera, Fele Martínez

Votes: 56,468 | Gross: $0.37M

Later remade by Hollywood into Vanilla Sky, but as usual you should concentrate on the original.

13. High Art (1998)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

A young female intern at a small magazine company becomes involved with a drug-addicted lesbian photographer, both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Gabriel Mann

Votes: 8,900 | Gross: $1.93M

Great feature film debut and great performances, especially by Radha Mitchell.

14. Following (1998)

R | 69 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
60 Metascore

A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell, John Nolan

Votes: 72,971 | Gross: $0.05M

Christopher Nolan's debut can certainly stand on its own feet, even if it's not as good as what he later have given us. Still less than 20k votes on IMDB is too few for this movie.

15. Playing by Heart (1998)

R | 121 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in L.A.

Director: Willard Carroll | Stars: Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards

Votes: 17,225 | Gross: $3.96M

An impressive cast haven't helped this one to much attention. it's flawed and uneven, but worth looking into.

16. Heavy (1995)

R | 105 min | Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
75 Metascore

The life of an overweight, unhappy cook is changed after a kind, beautiful college drop-out comes to work as a waitress at his and his mother's road-side restaurant.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Pruitt Taylor Vince, Liv Tyler, Shelley Winters, Debbie Harry

Votes: 3,876 | Gross: $0.99M

Pruitt Taylor Vince delivers, and even Liv Tyler shows of more of her real talent than she usual gets cast to do. Flawed and uneven, but worth more attention.

17. Am zin (1999)

93 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Police inspector and excellent hostage negotiator Ho Sheung-Sang finds himself in over his head when he is pulled into a 72 hour game by a cancer suffering criminal out for vengeance on Hong Kong's organized crime Syndicates.

Director: Johnnie To | Stars: Andy Lau, Ching Wan Lau, YoYo Mung, Waise Lee

Votes: 4,652

Hong Kong action-thriller-drama with good pace, nice turns and overall a feel Hollywood never have found. It's not as good as Woo's greatest Hong Kong-action-flicks or Infernal Affairs, but still well worth checking out.

18. But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.6
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39 Metascore

A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

Director: Jamie Babbit | Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Michelle Williams, Brandt Wille

Votes: 21,530 | Gross: $2.21M

Far from everything works, but has some major satirical highs as well as some really great scenes. Should be seen by more people even if it's not to the same standard as Heathers, Saved! or Mean Girls.

19. Simon mágus (1999)

100 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In this surrealistic movie from the director of My 20th Century, the French police seek help from Simon, a visionary living in Budapest to solve a murder case. Whilst in Paris, Simon falls ... See full summary »

Director: Ildikó Enyedi | Stars: Péter Andorai, Julie Delarme, Péter Halász, Hubert Koundé

Votes: 499

Surreal and intriguing film-making. A little too uneven to claim the fame it might deserve, but there's more than enough to make it well worth your time.

20. Fireworks (1997)

103 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions.

Director: Takeshi Kitano | Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima

Votes: 23,006 | Gross: $0.23M

Takeshi Kitano's fireworks doesn't sparkle at every frame, but he combines beautiful shots with outrageous violence in his own special way.

21. Days of Being Wild (1990)

Unrated | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
96 Metascore

A man tries to find out who his real mother is after the woman who raised him tells him the truth.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau

Votes: 13,675 | Gross: $0.14M

Lesser known Wong Kar Wai, and not as good as his best, but still way better than most.

22. One False Move (1992)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
87 Metascore

A small town police chief awaits the arrival of a gang of killers.

Director: Carl Franklin | Stars: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Cynda Williams, Michael Beach

Votes: 8,171 | Gross: $1.54M

A play with stereotypical assumptions, as well as a crime story. A little flawed and easy to read at times, but there's a lot of greatness in it.

23. Breaking the Waves (1996)

R | 159 min | Drama, Romance

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
76 Metascore

Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr

Votes: 52,945 | Gross: $4.04M

Lars von Trier is rarely easy, but its usually rewarding. His look into a small Scottish community with much church influences is well worth a look. Emily Watson is brilliant.

24. Porco Rosso (1992)

PG | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1930s Italy, a veteran World War I pilot is cursed to look like an anthropomorphic pig.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Katô, Bunshi Katsura Vi, Tsunehiko Kamijô

Votes: 54,282

Another Hayao Miyazaki-gem, but far from his best. A sequel coming next year, and you should check out this one as soon as possible to be prepared.

25. To Live (1994)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama, War

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu, Wu Jiang

Votes: 12,900 | Gross: $2.33M

Another Zhang Yimou - Gong Li production. Not as good as their best work, but a lot rewarding you here as well.

26. Underground (1995)

Not Rated | 167 min | Comedy, Drama, War

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A group of serbian socialists prepares for the war in a surreal underground filled by parties, tragedies, love and hate.

Director: Emir Kusturica | Stars: Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic, Slavko Stimac

Votes: 47,965

Emir Kusturica covers a lot of ground with this one, but there's so many highs throughout you're well rewarded for your patience.

27. Ninja Scroll (1993)

Unrated | 94 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A vagabond swordsman is aided by a beautiful ninja girl and a crafty spy in confronting a demonic clan of killers - with a ghost from his past as their leader - who are bent on overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri | Stars: Kôichi Yamadera, Emi Shinohara, Takeshi Aono, Osamu Saka

Votes: 29,179

Uneven and flawed anime, but has a lot going for it.

28. Hard Boiled (1992)

R | 128 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A tough-as-nails cop teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan

Votes: 41,041

Not the best cooperation between John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat, but it's a lot of fun, stylish and impressive.

29. Three Colors: Red (1994)

R | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
100 Metascore

A model discovers her neighbor is keen on invading people's privacy.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Frédérique Feder, Jean-Pierre Lorit

Votes: 69,934 | Gross: $4.04M

If my cut-off for the 00s was 35k votes for Lars and the Real Girl, I have to give something to this fantastic Kieslowski-trilogy as well.

30. Three Colors: Blue (1993)

R | 98 min | Drama, Music, Mystery

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
85 Metascore

A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Juliette Binoche, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Benoît Régent

Votes: 69,622 | Gross: $1.32M

It's fairly well known, but with less than 35k votes on every single one of the three movies I can't avoid singing their praises.

31. Three Colors: White (1994)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
88 Metascore

After his wife divorces him, a Polish immigrant plots to get even with her.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Stuhr

Votes: 49,612 | Gross: $1.46M

The weakest link of Kieslowski's 90s-catalog, but still well worth a look.