1990’s Movies: Playoff Bracket Edition

The 1990’s were, for me at least, an important period in many different ways. I entered the decade as a teenager and exited it as a man. I watched over a hundred films in that ten-year span, which I admit is both surprising and impressive. Where did I find the time, what with all the school work and masturbation in my hectic schedule, I hear you ask? I was committed to film.

Many of the films I consider my all-time favorites were released in the 90’s. These include Swingers (probably still my favorite, to this day), Being John Malkovich, Pulp Fiction, Before Sunrise and The Big Lebowski.

Being a lifelong NBA fanatic, I’ve always been interested in playoff brackets and seedings. For the uninitiated, 30 teams play 82 games each in order to determine their place (or seeding) in their respective conference. Sixteen teams of the thirty qualify for the postseason, eight per conference. The winner of each conferences faces off in the Finals, and a new champion is crowned.

With this in mind, I have collated a list of the 16 best films from the 1990’s and seeded them based on the following criteria:

  • iMDB rating
  • Rotten Tomatoes “fresh” rating
  • Metacritic metascore

I calculated an average from the above three scores, and thus determined their seeding. I split the films into two “conferences”: 1990-94 and 1995-99.

This resulted in a lot of films that I (and a lot of other people, it would seem) considered great being left off the list. Unforgiven, for example, just missed the cut in 1990-94 conference by mere inches. The Fugitive didn’t make it.

Here are the results.

1990-94 Conference 

1. Schindler’s List (93%)

2. Pulp Fiction (92.7%)

3. Toy Story (91.7%)

4. Goodfellas (91.3%)

5. The Silence of the Lambs (88.3%)

6. The Crying Game (87.7%)

7. The Shawshank Redemption (87.7%)

8. The Player (87%)

1995-99 Conference

1. LA Confidential (91%)

2. Saving Private Ryan (89.3%)

3. Toy Story 2 (89%)

4. The Truman Show (88%)

5. Being John Malkovich (87%)

6. Fargo (87%)

7. American Beauty (86.3%)

8. The Insider (86.3%)

Note that in the event of a tied score, I gave the nod to the highest Metacritic score.

Some interesting results. The Shawshank Redemption, #1 on the esteemed Top 250 on iMDB, barely makes the cut as a 7th seed in its conference!

So the matchups are now set. It will run exactly like the NBA playoff bracket, where 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, and so on. I will watch each film again (or for the first time, as is the case with five of the sixteen films) and judge them using the following criteria:

  • Which film I enjoyed more
  • Re-watchability of each film (does it hold up on repeated viewings?)
  • Stand-upability of each film (has it stood the test of time, or does it feel dated?)
  • Metacritic score (simply to balance out my opinion, which I will try to keep unbiased)

The first round matchups are as follows:

1990-94 Conference

1 vs 8: Schindler’s List vs The Player

2 vs 7: Pulp Fiction vs The Shawshank Redemption

3 vs 6: Toy Story vs The Crying Game

4 vs 5: Goodfellas vs The Silence of the Lambs

1995-99 Conference

1 vs 8: LA Confidential vs The Insider

2 vs 7: Saving Private Ryan vs American Beauty

3 vs 6: Toy Story 2 vs Fargo

4 vs 5: The Truman Show vs Being John Malkovich

First “game” will be LA Confidential vs The Insider and I will post the results for this early next week.

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