It’s been a couple months since my last list of recommended “Movies You May Have Missed That Start With…” because it took a pretty long time for me to find a movie that starts with “Q”.  I guess you can nickname this list “the 90s” because all 5 movies were released in the early 1990s.

P: There are a lot of popular movies that start with the letter P.  What you think of first depends on what you’re a fan of.  If you’re a Rob Reiner fan you think of “The Princess Bride”, if you’re a Quentin Tarantino fan you think of “Pulp Fiction”, if you’re a Julia Roberts fan you think of “Pretty Woman”, if you’re a Hitchcock fan you think of “Psycho”, etc., etc.  However, even if you’re a Ron Howard fan, you may think of “Parenthood” before you think of my pick…

The Paper (1994) – A New York City tabloid editor has a very hectic 24 hours with a lot of personal and professional challenges.

Exactly 24 hours in the life of New York City tabloid mainly focusing on editor Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton) as he struggles to get the breaking news of the day while dealing with overbearing boss Alicia Clark (Glenn Close), anxious and pregnant wife Martha Hackett (Marisa Tomei), neurotic columnist Michael McDougal (Randy Quaid), and a job interview at a more prestigious New York City newspaper.

Written by David Koepp and his brother Stephen Koepp (David has written several movies but I believe this is the only movie that his brother Stephen wrote) and directed by Ron Howard.  The fast-paced comedy/drama occasionally focuses on other people in the large cast.  The story has several subplots such as the tabloids senior editor (Robert Duvall) who is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, a writer at the tabloid (Jack Kehoe) who is trying to hold onto his new expensive orthopedic chair, and the teenage assistant photographer (Amelia Campbell) who needs to get the photograph for the cover because the main photographer is out that day.  There are also a few great cameos including Spaulding Gray, Catherine O’Hara, and a very funny Jason Alexander.

The only issue I have with the movie is that there is occasionally a misplaced joke in a dramatic scene.  For example: There’s a scene where Henry Hackett and Alicia Clark are fighting about stopping the printing press.  For a moment it turns into a physical fight and then Alicia Clark falls to the floor.  I believe the fall is supposed to be a funny pratfall because of the multiple shots of it from different angles.  The joke a few minutes earlier about the line “Stop the presses!!” (“You got to say it.  When will you ever get another chance”) is funny but the pratfall isn’t

I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

Q:  I did a search for a unique movie that starts with the letter Q.  There are well known movies like “The Queen”, “A Quiet Place”, and “A Quiet Place 2” on other lists.  There are also some pretty good movies – some of which I’ve watched recently – including ‘The Quick and the Dead”, “Quadrophenia”, “Quills”, “Q&A”, and “Quick Change”.  In the end, I just went with a not so unique movie that I’ve seen mentioned by others as one of the best movies that start with Q.

Quiz Show (1994) – Based on the true story of when the US Congress had hearings about fixing television game shows in the 1950s.

Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow). a young lawyer working for the US Congress, investigates the popular TV game show “Twenty-One” and uncovers that it’s fixed so that popular contestants continually win.

One of only 10 movies directed by Robert Redford, this true story is based on the book written by the real Richard Goodwin which details his investigation into the game show that was one of the most popular television shows in the 1950s.   The movie has a great cast including Ralph Fiennes (fresh of his Academy Award nominated role in “Schindler’s List”), John Turturro, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, and Christopher MacDonald.  It’s also really cool to see prominent directors Barry Levinson and Martin Scorsese in this movie.  I think it’s the biggest role that Scorsese has ever had – he usually plays himself or just has a quick cameo in a movie.  I would have loved to see actor/director Paul Newman in the movie.  He supposedly turned down the chance to be directed by his friend and frequent co-star.

The only problem I have with this movie is there are a bunch of unneeded characters including Mira Sorvino, Johann Carlo, Paul Scofield, and Elizabeth Wilson.  The movie wouldn’t have changed much if the scenes with those characters were removed or shortened.  Fox example, there Mira Sorvino plays Sandra Goodwin – Richard Goodwins wife.  There are a few shots of her at the congressional hearing at the end of the movie.  I’m not sure why she’s at the hearing and I don’t know why there are shots of her at the hearing.

I give it 7 out of 10.

R: When it comes to movies that start with the letter “R”, a lot of people probably think of “Raging Bull”, “Rear Window”, “Rocky” (or one of the sequels), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (the original name of “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”), “Ratatouille”, or “Robocop”.  When I think of it, one movie quickly comes to mind for one specific reason.

Rapid Fire (1992) – When a college student witnesses a killing, he gets caught between two feuding drug lords.

Jake Lo (Brandon Lee) witnesses a killing that is connected to two feuding drug lords.  He agrees to help federal agents led by Mace Ryan (Powers Boothe) take down the drug lords.

I will admit that this is just a so-so movie that probably would have gone straight to video if it wasn’t for one thing – Brandon Lee.  When you watch him in this movie, you could tell that he would have been a big star – maybe even bigger than his father Bruce Lee – if he didn’t die while filming his next movie “The Crow”.  You can see his unique style and charisma in this movie.

The rest of the movie is pretty cliché.  The plot is fairly predictable and there’s a few gratuitous or stereotypical scenes.  However, I still recommend it to see Brandon Lee in one of the only movies he starred in.

I give it 7 out of 10.

S: In my DVD collection, I have more movies starting with “S” than any other letter.  My collection includes “Shawshank Redemption”, “Shrek”, “Singin in the Rain”, “Sunset Blvd”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Shining”, all the “Star Wars” movies and several others.  Plus, there are more great movies that aren’t in my collection including “Schindler’s List”, “Silence of the Lambs”, “Stand By Me”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, etc, etc.  After thinking about it for a while, I chose a fairly small release that includes a few people who will later become big stars.

Strictly Business (1991) – A friendship between a workaholic executive who hardly ever stays out late and his coworker who works in the mailroom and frequently stays out all night takes a turn when the businessman falls in love with a waitress his coworker is friends with.

Fun-loving Bobby (Tommy Davidson) works in the mailroom in a big firm where his friend Waymon is an executive rising the corporate ladder and is steps away from his goal of becoming a partner.  When Waymon falls for Bobby’s friend Natalie (Halle Berry), he agrees to follow Bobby instructions and go out at night so he can see her more.  However, staying out all night could affect his work and his chances of becoming a partner.

This movie has a fairly straightforward story, but I recommend it because of the great performances by people who will later become big stars (like Brandon Lee would have become if he hadn’t died).   Halle Berry, Samuel L Jackson – who is very funny as Bobby’s supervisor in the office mailroom, and Sam Rockwell – who plays the assistant to David (David Marshall Grant) that competes with Waymon to be the next partner in the company, are all really good.

The one downside of this movie is there’s a little too many references to affirmative action.  Also, I don’t like how they characterize Waymon as an African American who acts like he’s white.  Waymon has never been to Harlem until Bobby takes him to a club in the neighborhood.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

T: For movies starting with T, a lot of the lists I’ve seen have the “Toy Story” or “Terminator” movies at the top.  Most of them also have movies like “Titanic”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “Taxi Driver”.  I didn’t see this pick on any lists.

True Romance (1993) – A lonely guy falls for and marries a call girl then accidentally steals her pimp’s suitcase full of cocaine which belongs to the mob.  The couple flees to Los Angeles with the mob hot on their tail.

Film buff Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) meets Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) in a movie theater.  After they spend the night together, Alabama confesses that she’s a call girl hired to spend the night with Clarence, but she’s fallen for him.  They get married and Clarence goes to her to retrieve her things from her pimp Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman).  After killing Drexl, Clarence mistakenly grabs a suitcase full of cocaine.  Once he discovers the cocaine, the couple flees to Los Angeles hoping to sell it to a movie producer that his friend knows.  However, the suitcase of cocaine is owned by the mob.  After finding Clarence’s wallet at Drexel’s house, the mob follows them to Los Angeles.

This is the first movie written by Quentin Tarantino that he didn’t direct.  It’s directed by Tony Scott, and I believe it would not have been better if Tarantino had directed it.  The movie has a phenomenal cast that also includes Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini, Brad Pitt (in a very funny but very small role), and Val Kilmer.

Thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s great writing, there are quite a few memorable scenes in this movie including a conversation about Sicilians between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, and a scene where James Gandolfini beats up Patricia Arquette in a hotel room.  However, since the movie was released 30 years ago, if you watch it for the first time now it seems dated.  I think it would be a lot different if the movie was made today.

I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

Two movies from 1994 and one from 1991, 1992, and 1993.  There are some modern movies that I would recommend that start with the letters P, R, S, and T (For the letter Q – “A Quiet Place” is pretty good but it’s not a movie I would recommend), but if you’re under 30 years old you have probably missed most or all the movies on this list so I would recommend watching them.

Coming soon is the final letters U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.  First, I’m going to need to find a movie that starts with the letter “X” other than the “X-Men” movies which I wouldn’t recommend.  Also, the letter V and Z could be difficult.