Believe me. You don’t want Hannibal Lecter inside your head. And if you’re Neo, Trinity or Morpheus, you don’t want to go up against him in a tournament championship, either.
On the Facebook poll, it looked like The Matrix won against The Silence of the Lambs by two votes. Ah, but we count Twitter polls, too, where Jonathan Demme’s classic Best Picture thriller gained six votes on the Wachowski Sisters’ iconic sci-fi odyssey — for a final score of 47 to 43 in favor of Lambs to take the championship of the 1990s Winter / Spring Blockbuster Tournament.
Fitting that these two films, which generally dominated their opponents throughout the tournament, would meet in the final clash. There was no simulation to the hurting The Matrix put on Falling Down, She’s All That, Volcano and Pretty Woman. Only Groundhog Day offered any competition to The Matrix before this. Meanwhile, Lambs ate the livers of losing films like The Devil’s Own, Outbreak, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Wedding Singer and tournament upstart My Cousin Vinny.
Along with Vinny and Pretty Woman, Lambs and The Matrix will be back again in the Box Office Battle Royale Tournament this summer. Until then, we’re moving on to the 2000s Winter / Spring Blockbuster Tournament!
We’re taking roughly a one-week break to let college basketball’s March Madness play itself out, so we’ll be back on Tuesday, April 6. To whet your appetite, here’s a little peek at the top seeds: The Passion of the Christ, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 300 and Monsters Vs. Aliens. As always: There are a lot of mighty middle seeds lingering in the mix that could create lots of obstacles for those top seeds. Until then, here are some notes on the 1990s Winter / Spring Blockbuster Tournament, with a final bracket embedded at the bottom.
For the first time in the winter / spring session, no film got completely blanked in the first round. In fact, only four films bowed out with 10 or fewer votes — #16 seed Man of the House (1995), #12 seed When a Man Loves a Woman and #11 seed Forces of Nature each with five, and #15 seed The Devil’s Own mustering just two votes against the powerhouse Lambs.
The eventual championship films dominated the largest margins of victory throughout the tournament’s first four rounds. No film took 100% of the vote in any matchup this tournament, although Lambs came closest, with 98% of the first-round tally against The Devil’s Own and 94% of its second-round clash against #7 seed Outbreak. In the Elite Eight, Lambs took 68% of the votes against #5 seed The Wedding Singer. And in the Sweet Sixteen, The Matrix took 88% of the vote against #13 seed Volcano.
That thrashing was inevitable for Volcano, which (like Colors in the last tournament) just barely made it to the Sweet Sixteen — edging #4 seed Entrapment by four votes in Round One and #5 seed City of Angels by one single vote in Round Two. But it doesn’t get much closer than a tie, which is how higher-seeded Pretty Woman advanced to the Final Four over #2 seed The Hunt For Red October. Meanwhile, the closest match in the Sweet Sixteen was #5 seed White Men Can’t Jump posterizing overall #1 seed Liar Liar by a margin of 42 to 26.
Far fewer first-round upsets this time around; three of them were #9s over #8s, which almost shouldn’t count. Nevertheless, they were:
- #14 D2: The Mighty Ducks over #3 Indecent Proposal
- #13 New Jack City over #4 While You Were Sleeping
- #13 Volcano over #4 Entrapment
- #11 Four Weddings and a Funeral over #6 Lost in Space
- #10 My Cousin Vinny over #7 Bad Boys
- #9 Executive Decision over #8 Jungle 2 Jungle
- #9 The Man in the Iron Mask over #8 The Saint
- #9 U.S. Marshals over #8 Life
We had ties for the years with both the fewest and the most entries in the tournament. Both 1990 and 1995 had four films each. The 1990 set included #1 seeds Pretty Woman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Elite Eight finisher The Hunt For Red October and the oxymoronically titled (in this case) Hard to Kill. The going-nowhere quartet from 1995 included Bad Boys, Man of the House, Outbreak and While You Were Sleeping.
Meanwhile, 1997 and 1999 had a whopping 10 films each. From 1997, those were Absolute Power, Anaconda, Dante’s Peak, The Devil’s Own, Donnie Brasco, Jungle 2 Jungle, Liar Liar, Private Parts, The Saint and Volcano. Meanwhile, 1999 served up Analyze This, Entrapment, Forces of Nature, Life, The Matrix, Message in a Bottle, Never Been Kissed, Payback, She’s All That and Varsity Blues.