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The Princess Bride (1987)
The "Wizard of Oz" of My Generation
The Princess Bride is an absolutely tremendous film and the quintessential adventure movie. It has pirates, betrayal, intrigue, torture, swordplay, revenge, and true love.
The screenplay for this movie is the standard by which all other films should be judged. Every line of the script is memorable and quotable, without having inane catch phrases. (I mean, when is the last time you saw somebody called a "hippopotamic landmass") The plot is well-constructed with tension, opposition, and innovation.
The acting is superb. From the bit parts to the leads, every role is perfectly casted.
The only real drawbacks in the film are special effects and the synthesized orchestration of the music. It would have been better with actual instruments. Even the shortcomings in special effects are endearing, though. The Rhodents of Unusual Size are not exactly the pinnacle of cinematic realism, but it's hard to imagine the movie without them as they are.
Simply put. Everybody should own this movie.
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
A brilliant film that rewards subsequent viewings
Although few people I know have actually seen this film, it was a quiet masterpiece from the Cohen brothers. The film combines elements of Frank Loesser's musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (the college fight song, mailroom atmosphere, and quick rise of an unlikely and under-qualified protagonist, etc.) with a brilliantly written screenplay of the caliber of the Princess Bride. Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, and Jennifer Jason Leigh perform brilliantly in lead roles in the movie, while the supporting roles and bit parts are almost perfectly played. Bill Cobbs and John Mahoney are absolutely stellar, while celebrated actors Bruce Campbell and Steve Buscemi perform admirably in limited roles.
The thing that really makes this movie tick ("and you can quote me on that") is how rewarding it is each time you watch it. While many movies today are hardly worth an initial viewing, the Hudsucker Proxy is so brilliantly subtle that each time you watch it you pick up on something new, whether it's in dialogue, cinematography, time references, anachronism, or some of the more obscure jobs that require experience, you are bound to be entertained and to think a little. In a day when comedy has lost its intellectual edge and satire, wit, irony, have gone the way of logic an rhetoric in education, Hudsucker provides a refreshing break from the puerile, sophomoric sex and drug reference humor that any junior high class clown could write. If physical comedy is you cup of tea, there are also a couple of brilliant scenes (Bumstead contract, Plexiglas) in this film. With the exception of a dream sequence where Norville Barnes dances with an immodestly clad woman who represents his success, the film is family friendly with mild language and little violence.
Overall, Hudsucker was one of the best motion pictures of the 1990s, perhaps eclipsed only by the Shawshank Redemption (also with Robbins), Schindler's List, Forrest Gump, and Braveheart.