What sensible, fair-minded person would look you straight in the face and insist that Stanley Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut is the best film of the ’90s? Think about that.

EWS is many things — curious, dreamlike, flat, anti-realistic, visually commanding, mesmerizing in its own weird way. But a film this clenched and constipated and covered in starch cannot sit at the top of anyone’s best of the ’90s list…no! Only a critic who believes in fuck-you eccentricity for its own side would stand by Kubrick’s final film.

And yet this, I regret to report, is what IndieWire‘s David Ehrlich has done.

The EWS celebration is part of “The 100 Best Movies of the ’90s” (8.15), an exhaustive rundown by Ehrlich, Eric Kohn and Kate Erbland — three-fourths of Indiewire‘s virtue-signalling quartet (Anne Thompson being the final member). Their top ten, and in this order: Eyes Wide Shut, Close-Up, Schindler’s List, Beau Travail, Hoop Dreams, Goodfellas, After Life, Titanic, The Long Day Closes and Safe.

But Ehrlich is to be saluted for including Titanic among the top ten. James Cameron‘s epic has been a very unfashionable film to celebrate over last couple of decades. I only put it at #30 on my list, and qualified things by stating that I was primarily enthusiastic about the final hour and especially the last ten minutes. Ehrlich doesn’t pussyfoot around — he praises the whole thing…intimacy, lead performances, extras, VFX and all.

In IndieWire‘s view Pulp Fiction ranks 14th, Malcolm X is 16th, Clueless is 20th, Unforgiven ranks 26th and Fargo (HE’s pick for the decade’s best) is 31st.

Three and 1/3 years ago I posted a list of HE’s top films of the ’90s. The top 40, I mean. Eyes Wide Shut did not make the cut.

HE’s top 40, posted on 4.10.19:

1. Fargo (d: Coen brothers)
2. GoodFellas (d: Martin Scorsese)
3. Pulp Fiction (d: Quentin Tarantino)
4. Unforgiven (d: Clint Eastwood)
5. L.A. Confidential (d: Curtis Hanson)
6. Schindler’s List (d: Steven Spielberg)
7. The Silence Of The Lambs (d: Jonathan Demme)
8. Groundhog Day (d: Harold Ramis)
9. Heat (d: Michael Mann)
10. Saving Private Ryan (d: Steven Spielberg)

11. The Insider (d: Michael Mann)
12. Go (d: Doug Liman)
13. Flirting With Disaster (d: David O. Russell)
14. Rushmore (d: Wes Anderson)
15. Fight Club (d: David Fincher)
16. The Player (d: Robert Altman)
17. Reservoir Dogs (d: Quentin Tarantino)
18. JFK (d: Oliver Stone)
19. Mad Dog & Glory (d: John McNaughton)
20. The Usual Suspects (d: Bryan Singer)

21. Barton Fink (d: Coen brothers)
22. Quiz Show (d: Robert Redford)
23. Miami Blues (d: George Armitage)
24. There’s Something About Mary (d: Farrelly brothers)
25. Bad Lieutenant (d: Abel Ferrara)
26. Leaving Las Vegas (d: Mike Figgis)
27. Malcolm X (d: Spike Lee)
28. Se7en (d: David Fincher)
29. The Rapture (d: Michael Tolkin)
30. The last hour (and especially the last ten minutes) of Titanic

31. Howards End (d: James Ivory)
32. American Beauty (d: Sam Mendes)
33. The Sweet Hereafter (d: Atom Egoyan)
34. The Big Lebowski (d: Coen brothers)
35. Boogie Nights (d: Paul Thomas Anderson)
36. Breaking The Waves (d: Lars von Trier)
37. Being John Malkovich (d: Spike Jonze)
38. Scent of a Woman (d: Martin Brest)
39. Lost Highway (d: David Lynch)
40. My Own Private Idaho (d: Gus Van Sant)