Movie Moments: 1990s
This week we have another instalment of my latest meander across the decades. In Movie Moments, we’re looking at what was topping the charts at the box office, some of the biggest names around, and which films mean the most to me when I look back in time. And there’s even a spot of music each time to bring back memories. We began in the 1950s; and moved on to the 1960s and the 1970s. Last month we had reached the 1980s and today, we’re in the 1990s.
During this final decade of the twentieth century, I spent most of the time travelling to Russia and the Former Soviet Union countries; to Africa; to Latin America and to the Middle East. There were some years when I was away more than I was at home and one memorable occasion when I flew into Gatwick airport on a Saturday evening, drove home, repacked my suitcase and headed for Heathrow on the Sunday morning. And all the time, we were rushing towards that great unknown that was the Millennium. There were some people who really expected to wake up on January 1st 2000, and find every computer on the planet on strike!
So it’s probably no co-incidence the 1990s saw a rash of disaster movies including Twister, Independence Day, Armageddon and Titanic. CGI technology was coming on apace: we saw the amazing T1000 shape-shifter in Terminator 2; and realistic dinosaurs walked the earth once more in Jurassic Park. Well, I’m assuming they’re realistic anyway. No-one really knows, do they?
This was the decade when the phrase “fava beans and a nice chianti” was made forever memorable by Anthony Hopkins as the charming and impeccably-mannered psychopath Hannibal Lecter. I’m a real scaredy cat and rarely, if ever, watch horror films of any kind. But I did watch Silence of the Lambs. The reviews were just too good to ignore. Mind you, I watched it on the small screen in my own lounge, curled up on the sofa with a cushion in front of my face much of the time; but I did watch it. And the reviewers were right.
The 1990s was also the decade when the movie companies finally accepted home entertainment was not going to go away as a competitor for the large screens in cinemas. Many of the films were edited to be compatible with both sizes of screen. Much the way websites these days need to be mobile-friendly as well as looking good on a computer screen.
I mentioned at the start of this piece that I spent a lot of time during the 1990s in Russia. And my big movie memory of this time comes from a hotel bar in Kursk. A woman stood up and started singing My Heart Will Go On. The whole room froze; she was as good as, or maybe even better than, Celine Dion. Even now, every time I hear that song, I am immediately transported back to that bar in Russia.