Some of 1991's best movies were released near year's end

December 27, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

THE MOVIE industry seems to save the best for last. Four of the Top 10 films of the year, as judged here, were released in recent weeks. One has not yet made it to this city but because it has been screened in advance and has already opened in other cities, we'll include it among the ''Top 10.''

The best of 1991 (only one man's opinion) are:

''Hamlet'' -- Mad Max as the Melancholy Dane? Yes, and Mel Gibson, under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli, did exceptionally well.

''City Slickers'' -- A very amusing comedy starring Billy Crystal as one of three New Jersey citizens who go on a vacation to a dude ranch where they take part in a cattle drive.

''Boyz N the Hood'' -- A crudely made but searing film about life as it is lived in a poor section of South Central Los Angeles.

''The Doctor'' -- William Hurt as an almost indifferent physician who learned what it was like to be treated as a patient.

''The Commitments'' -- Alan Parker's redo of his own ''Fame.'' This time, it was a rock-soul band in Dublin, Ireland, and you had to see it twice to catch all the humor.

''Beauty and the Beast'' -- Maybe the best feature-length cartoon since ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.'' The late Howard Ashman, formerly of Baltimore, did the lyrics for the score, one worthy of Broadway.

''Bugsy'' -- Warren Beatty is not ideally cast as Bugsy Siegel, the gangster who menaced Hollywood, but all else is right with this film, one that was directed by Baltimore's Barry Levinson.

''JFK'' -- It may not be historically correct, but this docudrama, done by Oliver Stone, is enthralling movie making.

''Prince of Tides'' -- Barbra Streisand directed and stars in this elegant film version of the book by Pat Conroy. Nick Nolte should be nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a Southern high-school teacher who meets psychiatrist Streisand in New York.

''Grand Canyon'' -- It isn't here yet, but it will be in a week or so. Lawrence Kasdan, who was still basking in the glow of the '60s when he did his ''Big Chill,'' shows he has matured a bit since then. Kevin Kline and Danny Glover are two of the people who face life, as it is lived today, in Los Angeles.

Second Top 10:

''Once Around'' -- A great performance from Richard Dreyfuss as a man who is not really embraced by the family of his bride.

''Cyrano De Bergerac'' -- Gerard Depardieu as the soldier-poet with the large proboscis.

''Mr. and Mrs. Bridge'' -- Life as a WASP family lived it back in the '30s and '40s. Joanne Woodward gave an award-winning

performance as the matriarch of this Kansas City clan.

''Regarding Henry'' -- Harrison Ford as an attorney who was given the opportunity to change his life after he was wounded during a holdup. Mike Nichols directed.

''The Fisher King'' -- It's a jumble for a while, but when it finally settles down is a sweet and charming film, one in which Robin Williams is a street person and Jeff Bridges a burned-out radio talk-show host.

''Rambling Rose'' -- Laura Dern as a sexually aggressive 17-year-old who acts as a live-in housekeeper for a family living in the South in 1935.

''New Jack City'' -- Life, fast and raw, as Mario Van Peebles saw it in a New York neighborhood where crack kings take over a project unit.

''Little Man Tate'' -- A sweet, irresistible film in which Jodie Foster is the mother of a boy who is much too smart for her.

''For the Boys'' -- Audiences didn't take to this one, but they should have. Bette Midler is terrific as a singer who entertains the troops through three wars.

''Star Trek VI'' -- It is no more than a murder mystery in space, but they don't do them much better than this.

The 10 Worst:

''Nothing But Trouble'' -- That and little more. Dan Aykroyd's career has not yet recovered.

''What About Bob?'' -- Well, what about him?

''Drop Dead Fred'' -- Please.

''Ambition'' -- It should have been called ''Insanity.'' Lou Diamond Phillips, who also did the script, starred as a would-be writer who messed with a parolee's life.

''Problem Child 2'' -- A problem movie, too. The best of the humor had to do with dog droppings.

''Another You'' -- Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder teamed for the fourth time, and this should be the end of it.

''Shout'' -- So we can hear and run the other way.

''The People Under the Stairs'' -- And they wonder why American society is ailing.

''Two Evil Eyes'' -- Equal exactly nothing. George Romero and Dario Argento collaborated on this truly horrible film.

''1900'' -- The 1977 film was ''restored,'' and all they did was make a bad film worse.

Second 10 worst:

''Sheltering Sky'' -- Life with a trio of expatriates, all of whom were dull.

''Eve of Destruction'' -- An android, made in the image of its creator, malfunctioned, and so did the movie.

''Marrying Man'' -- Forget the honeymoon.

''The Pope Must Die'' -- Plus some of the people responsible for this mishap.

''Cool as Ice'' -- Blocks of it wouldn't prevent this one from reeking.

''Only the Lonely'' -- A John Hughes ''comedy'' about a bigot.

''Rapture'' -- Doldrums, yes. Elation, never.

''Whore'' -- Prostitution made dull.

''Career Opportunities'' -- A John Hughes comedy in which holdup men menace a young couple.

"Curly Sue" -- Another John Hughes comedy, this one about a little girl and her foster father who worked a scam on strangers.

And that's about it. Some of the best are available at local theaters. See them while you can, on the big screen.

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