Why Did We Choose 1991?
In 2020, while attending online movie watch parties, we noticed that several of the most enjoyable films were from 1991. That got us looking at the full list of films released that year and we saw so many underrated movies that people and film buffs are talking about less and less. We’re here to change that, one movie at a time.
What Makes 1991 So Great?
1991 was probably a more interesting time in the history of movies than you may think. The world was continuing to see a strong variety of theatrical releases, but films such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” started to show the world what computer graphics can do. Summer event movies had existed in the past, of course but this year would raise the bar of what is possible. Big stars, bigger action, bigger spectacles, bigger movies.
At the same time, VHS and cable television had reached a saturation point that allowed studios to focus on releasing films direct-to-video or made-for-TV while still remaining financially viable. It was increasingly common for bigger name stars to lend their talents to productions that had no intention of hitting big screens. It was also increasingly common for certain stars and directors to churn out multiple movies in a year to fill a growing need for cheaply priced entertainment. Many of these will fall into the thriller (usually erotic), action, science fiction, and horror categories, but all collectively served to further the popularity of those genres.
What Can You Look Forward To?
We’ll watch movies from around the globe and throughout this journey we will get to see movies from some of the greatest and most celebrated directors of all time. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Lasse Hallstrom, Gus Van Sant, Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar, John Sayles, Lars von Trier, Lucio Fulci and many, many more all released films in 1991.
With a starting list of over 800 feature-length films, we’ll explore the highs and lows that 1991 cinema has to offer. There are some truly incredible works of art in this group. There are also some truly awful ones. For the great movies, you can look forward to us sharing our personal experiences with the movies and fun tidbits of trivia and research to supplement the discussion whenever possible. For the terrible movies, you can look forward to a more comprehensive breakdown of all the ways the movie breaks down. Experience our joy and anger and confusion and possibly even odd admiration for the flick.
How Did We Create Our List?
Release dates are a tricky thing and can vary wildly from country to country. Sometimes even within a country, the release date can vary significantly when considering festival releases, or limited runs versus wide release, or video premieres. For the purposes of this podcast, we are using imdb.com as our source for determining when the movie was released. If the title has (1991) listed after it, then it is eligible. The movie does not have to have a United States premiere in 1991. As long as imdb claims it was distributed somewhere (theater, festival, video) in 1991, then it meets the first criteria for inclusion. We also only included feature-length pictures that run over 60 minutes. We also had to make sure there was a legitimate way to watch the film through streaming or home video.
Why Is [MOVIE XYZ] Not On The List?
We understand that the list is not going to be perfect – no one’s would be – but hopefully, it’s at least consistent. If the movie you’re expecting isn’t showing up, then it could be an oversight on our part. Or it could be for one of the following reasons:
1) IMDB doesn’t list it as 1991. The movie may have premiered in the United States in 1991 but was released in 1990 or earlier in another part of the world, making it ineligible for our adventure.
2) The run time is 60 minutes or less
3) We could not find proof that there is a watchable copy of the movie. Either the movie needs to be available to stream in the United States (including through YouTube with no alterations to speed or frame size), or available in an officially released NTSC/Region 1 VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray (with English Subtitles if not an English language film). Quite a lot of great sounding movies had to be omitted because we could not find a legitimate way to watch them.