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Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's: #49 Eyes Wide Shut

Box Office: $55.6 Million

Oscar Nominations: None

Oscar Wins: None

MovieRankings.Net: 82/100

Available To Stream: Paramount+

This whole movie feels like an unsettling dream. It takes place in New York City but it doesn't look or feel like NYC at all. People behave oddly and seem to drift around Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. What I love most about this movie is that it's an anti-action movie. The protagonist of this movie is a coward. It's what happens when Bruce Willis just leaves the Nakatomi Tower and doesn't save everyone. It's about choosing to ignore awful things because the reality is too much to bare. Denial is an easier path.

This is Stanley Kubrick's last movie and he died right before it came out. This was released in July 1999 and he died that March. In fact, a week before his death he showed a final cut of the movie to friends and family. When it did come out, Kubrick's death and the orgy scene completely dominated the talking points around the movie. It opened strong at #1 in it's first weekend with $21.7 million dollars. By the next weekend, it was already in the 4th spot behind movies like The Haunting, Inspector Gadget and American Pie (and that was in it's 3rd weekend).

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This shoot broke a record for the longest one in history at 400 days. Cruise, Kidman and Kubrick all agreed to take as long as necessary even as other movie shoots were practically begging Cruise to finish. This was all shot in London and that's why the NYC elements feel so odd. Kubrick was very afraid of flying so he hadn't left England in roughly 40 years despite growing up in New York. You're looking at a city based on his memories which I feel adds to the dreamlike quality surrounding the movie.

This is far from a perfect movie but it's also so unique and I appreciate it for that. The weird aloofness Cruise has when talking to other people works so well here. Nothing seems real but everything feels full of dread and is wildly intelligent. Sydney Pollack is perfectly cast as Zeigler, who is a man that we know is evil but is still someone Cruise's character chooses to care about because that choice is an easier one.

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Eyes Wide Shut is a cynical and harsh look at humanity. It may be painfully accurate. Do we choose the simpler path even if it's not the right one? Is it worth fighting big and powerful entities or should we just take care of our families? It's easier to look past infidelity and keep the status quo but is that the best choice?

Any movie that asks these kind of questions is going to be captivating to me. Mix in fantastic direction and some great performances (especially Kidman, Pollack and Todd Field) and you end up with a very good movie. It's so interesting that Kubrick waited 12 years to make this movie and then died right when it was completed. Maybe he worked himself to death or maybe he just had one more story to tell.

49. Eyes Wide Shut

50. The Sandlot

51. Happy Gilmore

52. Contact

53. The Green Mile


54. Man On The Moon

55. Boyz N The Hood

56. Grosse Pointe Blank

57. Independence Day

58. The Rainmaker

59. Go

60. The Firm

61. Magnolia

62. The Talented Mr. Ripley

63. Tommy Boy

64. The Usual Suspects

65. In The Line Of Fire

66. My Cousin Vinny

67. Awakenings

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks