1990s Fall Blockbuster Tournament Recap

You know what they call a 1990s Fall Blockbuster Tournament in France? Other than dribbling some spicy linguistic mustard on the pronunciation of “tournament,” it’s probably the same thing.

But just as Pulp Fiction once called itself the top-prize Palme d’Or winner at France’s Cannes Film Festival, it is now the champion of the Midwest Film Journal’s latest tournament.

After leaving Scream 2 pretty fucking far from OK, Pulp Fiction certainly brought shotguns for the rest of this deal — laying its vengeance upon fellow violent fantasia Home Alone, broke the concentration of A Few Good Men and dared Buzz to say “To infinity and beyond” one more goddamn time with the ousting of Toy Story. It was also the first live-action drama faced by Schindler’s List, but Quentin Tarantino’s film advanced to the title match.

There, Fiction went up against Good Will Hunting, which shoved them apples in the mouths of much-loved competitors like Mrs. Doubtfire, Beauty & the Beast (1991) and, in the Final Four, the overall #1 seed Titanic before facing off against Fiction. (Robin Williams had a whopping seven films out of this field of 64, and it certainly wasn’t going to be Flubber in the final.)

Before you get too caught up wondering who’s the evil man, the righteous man or the shepherd over your breakfast, get ready for the 2000s Fall Blockbuster Tournament — beginning today at noon EST! Be sure to vote on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/midwestfilmjournal/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/MWFilmJournal).

Until then, here are some notes on the 1990s Fall Blockbuster Tournament, with a final bracket embedded at the bottom.

As (almost) always, every movie got at least one vote this time. But the comparatively less-loved from the first round (10 or fewer votes) included:

  • Any Given Sunday (9 votes)
  • The English Patient (7 votes, doing Elaine Benes proud)
  • Scream 2 (4 votes)

Here are the largest percentages of victory in each of the first four rounds:

  • ROUND 1: Pulp Fiction with 96% of the vote against Scream 2
  • ROUND 2: Toy Story with 93% of the vote against You’ve Got Mail
  • SWEET SIXTEEN: Titanic and Toy Story with 83% of the respective votes against Stuart Little and The Waterboy
  • ELITE EIGHT: Schindler’s List with 70% of the vote against Toy Story 2 

And now the closest matches in the first four rounds:

  • ROUND 1: Ransom over Stepmom, 31 to 27
  • ROUND 2: Titanic over GoldenEye, 41 to 39, and Mr. Holland’s Opus over Patch Adams, 35 to 33
  • SWEET SIXTEEN: The Addams Family over The Talented Mr. Ripley, 42 to 36
  • ELITE EIGHT: Good Will Hunting over Beauty & the Beast, 41 to 33

Far fewer first-round upsets compared to the 1980s. Among the top-12 ranked films, only two #3 seeds fell to #14 seeds in the first round. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York struck a sour note against Mr. Holland’s Opus while The Talented Mr. Ripley bashed in Jerry Maguire’s head. Other first-round upsets included:

  • #13 Father of the Bride over #4 The Santa Clause
  • #12 Antz over #5 101 Dalmatians
  • #11 Schindler’s List over #6 Dumb & Dumber
  • #10 Sleepy Hollow over #7 The Bodyguard
  • #9 Scream over #8 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

1990 had the fewest entries in the tournament, with three in Dances with Wolves, Home Alone and Kindergarten Cop — none of which made it past the second round.

Much like the 1980s tournament, this was a very late-decade affair, with nearly half of the entries coming from the last four years of the decade, but 1998 had the most with 10. And honestly, that decade didn’t do very well, either — with only one of them advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, and even then ending there. Those movies were Antz, A Bug’s Life, Enemy of the State, Patch Adams, The Prince of Egypt, The Rugrats Movie, Shakespeare in Love, Stepmom, The Waterboy and You’ve Got Mail.



Avatar

An award-winning film critic and features reporter, Nick has professionally written or gabbed about movies for Illinois newspapers, national syndicates, Playboy, The Art Immortal, The Film Yap and Midwest radio stations. He once drummed in a Billy Joel cover band known as Silly Joel and freely presents his Letterboxd page to engage and mock if you wish: https://letterboxd.com/ragekage79/


%d bloggers like this: