Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

I’ve really been enjoying these Mill Creek decades sets, as I haven’t seen so many of these movies, as within these decades I’ve mostly devoted my time to genre films. That means that while I may not love every movie that I watch, I at least get to see something different.

The quality of each film is good and while there aren’t any extras, again you’re getting ten higher budget movies for one low budget price. I’d recommend these sets to anyone who wants to add new movies to their collection or if you’re like me and want to do an exploration of mainstream film that you otherwise missed.

Here’s a recap of each film:

Housesitter: After a one night stand, Gwen moves into Newton Davis’ empty home outside the city without telling him. When the neighbors start to ask questions, Gwen tells them that she’s Newton’s new wife.

The Matchmaker: Marcy, a senator’s aide, arrives in Ireland to trace her boss’s Irish roots and happens to arrive in a quaint country village just in time for its annual matchmaking festival. A young, single woman kicks local matchmakers into a frenzy.

White Palace: Young ad executive and widower Max Baron is still picking up the pieces after the death of his wife. One night, he meets 43-year-old waitress Nora Baker, and the two soon begin a heated love affair despite their obvious differences.

One True Thing: A career-driven New York woman is forced to leave behind the big city life to take care of her seriously ill mother. While back home, she learns more about her parents lives as people apart from her.

Donnie Brasco: FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrates the New York City mafia and forms an unlikely bond with mobster Lefty Ruggiero. Before long Pistone begins to question where his loyalties lie.

The Devil’s Own: Police officer Tom O’Meara begins to uncover his house guest’s true identity as an IRA hitman/gunrunner, a secret that puts his family in mortal danger.

The Freshman: A first-year film student starts working with a New York mobster who resembles a famous movie mafioso and is soon swept up a world of crime and fine dining.

Anaconda: A film crew in the Amazon rainforest gets caught up in a game of cat-and-mouse between a crazed hunter and the jungle’s deadliest predator.

I Know What You Did Last Summer: Four teenagers are stalked by a hook-wielding killer with knowledge of their terrible secret.

The Deep End of the Ocean: The family of a kidnapped child is shocked when nearly a decade later, the child resurfaces as the “adopted” son of their new neighbor.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)

The Deep End of the Ocean was based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Jacquelyn Mitchard, the first novel selected by Oprah Winfrey for Oprah’s Book Club. It’s all about what happens when Ben, the youngest son of a family, is kidnapped and then found nine years later, living in the same town where his family had just moved. What are the odds?

Beth Cappadora (Michelle Pfeiffer) lost the three-year-old Ben at a class reunion when he was just three. She has a nervous breakdown and neglects her husband Pat (Treat Williams) and other sons Vincent (Jonathan Jackson) and Kerry (Alexa Vega).

A decade and a new town later, all seems well, except when Sam (Ryan Merriman) shows up to cut the grass and she just knows that he has to be Ben, a fact that no one but Detective Candace “Candy” Bliss (Whoopi Goldberg) believes.

Can the family come back together? And is that Tony Musante from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage as a grandfather? Yes to both.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last Summer and The Freshman. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The next movie in the Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection originally ran on the site on August 30, 2020.

Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer was first published in October 1973. Duncan wrote several books that featured young girls in trouble, including Summer of Fear, which was made into a TV movie directed by Wes Craven.

She got the idea for the book when her daughter Kerry told her that she and her best friend had unknowingly been courted by the same boy. She wondered if the boy had deliberately done this, creating a different personality for both of them, and worked his way into their lives to drive a wedge between them. She later read a story about a hit-and-run and put together the story that became the novel (and the loose inspiration for this film).

Sadly, Duncan’s life became tragic after the unsolved murder of her youngest daughter Kaitlyn. Her last horror novel would be Gallows Hill — which filmed for TV as 1998’s I’ve Been Waiting for You  — after which she’d concentrate on non-fiction works about her daughter’s case, psychic phenomena and books for kids, like Hotel for Dogs (which was also a movie). Before her death in 2016, ten of her best-loved books would be reissued and modernized with new covers and bits added about modern technology.

She would tell Absolute Write that very same year that she was upset with this take on her book: “I was appalled when my book, I Know What You Did Last Summer, was made into a slasher film.  As the mother of a murdered child, I don’t find violent death something to squeal and giggle about.”

Screenwriter Kevin Williamson had already had success with Scream, which made him the go-to writer for teen horror. He took the source novel, added some inspiration from growing up the son of a fisherman and added the urban legend — stay tuned for these movies — of The Hook to create a new trope of kids who try to wish away the past. for what it’s worth, the poster originally said “from the creator of Scream” until Miramax sued Columbia Pictures.

Unlike the aforementioned Scream, this movie is very much an old-fashioned slasher, despite its initial lack of blood. A throat slashing and the crab factory death were added after the initial cut was viewed to add more danger, as was the character in danger all over again post-script, which would become a thematic inclusion for all entries in this series.

For those that argue these things and wonder, “Is it a giallo?” I opine that it is more on the side of slasher. Yes, there are gorgeous people in it, but there’s a marked lack of fashion, music and, to be honest, the strangeness that that genre is imbued with. That said, the hook-carrying bad guy very much does feel like he belongs there.

The story takes place in Southport, North Carolina. Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt),  Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Barry Cox (Ryan Phillippe) and Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jr.) are on their way to the beach late at night on one of their last summers together before college pulls them apart when an event unites them all. They hit a pedestrian and instead of allowing their lives to be ruined, they dump the body in the ocean.

By the way, the mountain road that they are driving along is the exact same highway from Hitchcock’s The Birds.

The issue is that their lives are all changed by that one evening with only Julie able to escape the town and go to college. When she returns, the notes that say, “I know what you did last summer,” and the gaslighting campaign begins.

Jennifer Love Hewitt became a big deal from this film, beyond her fame from Party fo Five, even singing the song “How Do I Deal” on the soundtrack. She’d appeared with Jamie Lee Curtis in House Arrest earlier that year and when Curtis was filming nearby, she came over to wish her luck on her first role as a scream queen and would be a consistent visitor to the set.

While actually written before Scream, when studios wanted nothing to do with slashers, the success of that film allowed for this one, while making it seem like a rip-off. Such is Hollywood.

The success of this film led to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: Anaconda (1997)

Directed by Luis Llosa (The Specialist) and written by Hans Bauer and the team of Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. (who wrote Top Gun, The Flintstones in Viva Rock VegasLegal EaglesTurner & HoochThe Secret of My Success and Dick Tracy together), Anaconda tripled its $45 million dolalr budget at the box office by basically making a slasher with a giant snake as the killer.

It’s an easy set-up: a film crew is shooting a National Graphic documentary about an indigenous Amazonian tribe and sails right into trouble thanks to snake hunter Paul Serone (Jon Voight, chewing scenery to the point that I was worried that he’d have to give his Oscar back).

Soon, director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez), her cameraman Danny Rich (Ice Cube), Dr. Steven Cale (Eric Stoltz), production manager Denise Kalberg (Kari Wuhrer), her boyfriend Gary Dixon (Owen Wilson), narrator Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde) and Mateo the boat captain (Vincent Castellanos) have found their own heart of scaly darkness and not everyone — quite possibly no one — will make it home alive.

The CGI for the anacondas cost $100,000 per second. You could probably do that level of CGI on your phone now, which may speak more to the quality fo 1997 CGI than 2022 technology. What you won’t have is Frank Welker, the master of animal voices, to do a snake voice for you.

This movie is dangerously dumb and I love it. I can’t even front — I realize that it is in no way a good movie and worse, it’s a multimillion dollar movie that a 70s movie would make for a quarter of the cost and probably be even better.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: The Freshman (1990)

Director and writer Andrew Bergman read about nightclub owner Vincent Teresa being arrested for smuggling a near-extinct lizard into the country and thought it’d make a great movie. Imagine his fortune at getting Marlon Brando into the movie for just $3 million dollars.

Bergaman said, “On one level you’re like, I’m going to direct this guy!? But at the end of the day you say, well, somebody’s got to direct him, so what the hell, it’s going to be me. And he was really a pleasure to work with. It’s not like you’re dealing with George Burns in terms of a comedy god. Getting Marlon to do things was sometimes like turning around an aircraft carrier because he had a way he wanted to do it. But you could get him there. He was terribly respectful and funny.”

This is the same Brando who publicly condemned this movie as the “biggest turkey of all time” and wanted an extra $1 million for one more week of shooting or he’d keep on making fun of the movie in the press. When they did pay, he began to publicly praise The Graduate.

Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) is studying film at NYU but before he even gets to his dorm, his luggage is taken Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby), which brings him into the world of Carmine Sabatini (Brando), who is pretty much just playing himself from The Godfather. Now he has a job doing deliveries for the secretive boss, like picking up komodo dragons from the airport for The Gourmet Club, a group of elites who eat endangered animals while Bert Parks sings for them.

He’s also pursued by government agents trying to get info on the Sabatini crime family as well as Carmine’s daughter Tina (Penelope Ann Miller) who acts as if they’re to be married. Is Carmine really going to serve those animals? Or is something else happening?

I love the meta aspects of this film, like Clark’s teacher Arthur Fleeber (Paul Benedict) making his class watch The Godfather Part II while Clark’s heart is obviously in exploitation. He has a poster for The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak up in his dorm.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last Summer and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: The Devil’s Own (1997)

Francis “Frankie” McGuire/Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt) is a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who comes to the United States undercover to get the black market anti-aircraft missiles the IRA needs to shoot down British helicopters in Northern Ireland. However, he’s conflicted when he comes to think of Sergeant Tom O’Meara (Harrison Ford) as family.

It’s interesting in that neither is a bad guy. They’re both driven men who both believe in their causes. However, that means that the two of them are on a collision course.

This is the last movie of Alan J. Pakula, who made KluteThe Parallax ViewAll the President’s MenPresume Innocent and The Pelican Brief. Sadly, he died soon after making this when a driver hit a steel pipe and it flew into his windshield, hitting him in the head. The story comes from Kevin Jarre, who came up with the idea for Rambo: First Blood Part II and the screenplay had several writers, including Jarre, David Aaron Cohen, Vincent Patrick and Robert Mark Kamen, who created The Karate Kid from his real life.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: Donnie Brasco (1997)

Based on the book Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia by Joseph D. Pistone and Richard Woodley, this movie loosely tells the story of Pistone (Johnny Depp), an FBI undercover agent who infiltrated the Bonanno crime family under the alias Donnie Brasco by gaining the trust of aging hitman Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino).

The intriguing thing about the movie is that as Pistone/Donnie disappears into the world of crime, he wonders if he’s even a federal agent any longer. He also realizes that his actions will cause the death of Ruggiero, a man who he has come to consider a friend.

By the end, the Donnie Brasco operation got the law over 200 indictments and 100 convictions. Today, Pistone lives with his wife under an assumed name in an undisclosed location — with a $500,000 open contract for his death — and continues to consult for the government and Hollywood.

While Lefty takes off his jewelry and tells his wife, “If it was going to be anyone, I’m glad it was him,” the real life Lefty was arrested by the FBI on the way to his own murder. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and running an illegal gambling operation. He received early parole in 1992 after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and died in 1994.

It’s wild that a gangster movie was directed by the same man who made Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mike Newell. The script was written by Paul Attansio, who also wrote SphereDisclosureThe Sum of All FearQuiz Show and The Good German.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: One True Thing (1998)

Ellen Gulden (Renée Zellweger) is a career woman writing for a magazine who can’t understand her mother (Meryl Streep) while looking up toher father, George (William Hurt), a fellow writer and literature professor. Yet when her mother gets sick with cancer, she must come home and learn to love her.

This will force her to evaluate how she sees her father, as she discovers several long buried secrets from her mother. It also means giving up her life, a fact that she resents.

The film was directed by Carl Franklin and written by Karen Croner, whose script was based on One True Thing by Anna Quindlen, a book based on her real life experiences.

I usually avoid dramas like this, but I can recognize when a movie is well made.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: White Palace (1990)

Directed by Luis Mandoki and written by Ted Tally and Alvin Sargent — and based on the book by Glenn Savan — White Palace does something extraordinary for an American movie. It presents an older women as a sexual being every bit the equal of her younger male lover.

Max Baron (James Spader) is a St. Louis advertising executive who has given up on life after the death of his wife. On the way to his friend Neil’s (Jason Alexander) bachelor party, he grabs a sack of burgers from White Castle* — err, White Palace — a burger diner. He learns that the order is six burgers short and leaves the party to argue with the waitress who rang him up, Donna (Susan Sarandon).

Later, they randomly meet in a bar and nearly argue until they mutually reveal why their lives are where they are: he’s lost his wife and she’s lost her son. And then improbably, they end up going home together. He wakes up to her going down on him, then they make love. It won’t be the last time. And unlike so many Hollywood films, he repays her kindness with his own favors.

There was even more of the ad agency in the film, including a problem client played by Gena Gershon. All of these scenes were cut, which also meant that most of Kathy Bates’ role was also left out of the movie.

There’s also a sex scene removed from the film and the first one in the movie was cut down so the movie didn’t get an NC-17 rating. Additionally, the original ending was the same as the book where Max proposes to Nora in a restaurant bathroom and the ending is inconclusive. That ending didn’t test well so a new one was shot. You can see the actor’s hairstyles change in the scene and that’s your signal for which footage is from the reshoot.

*The original title for the film was The White Castle, and the novel even makes reference to a specific White Castle at the intersection of S. Grand Blvd. and Gravois Ave. in south St. Louis. The restaurant chain refused permission to use its trademarked name in either the novel or the film. They also refused permission to allow any of its restaurants for filming locations. The diner used in the movie is now known as the White Knight; the filmmakers wouldn’t let them call it the White Palace after the movie, which is weird when they went through all those legal naming issues themselves.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: The Matchmaker (1997)

Janeane Garofalo had had some success outside of stand-up by starring in The Truth About Cats and Dogs — a movie that she dislikes, calling it anti-feminist — and turned down the Gail Weathers role in Scream to appear in this movie, her first and only lead role.

She plays Marcy Tizard, who has been sent to Ireland by her boss Nick (Denis Leary) to find a relative that can help the Irish-American vote for Boston Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders). Arriving in Ballinagra in time for the annual matchmaking festival, she’s suddenly the object of competition between two rival professional matchmakers, Dermot (Milo O’Shea) and Millie (Rosaleen Linehan) and gains the attention of bartender Sean (David O’Hara).

Romantic third act hijinks ensue, as they always do, but things work out.

This was directed by Australian director Mark Joffe, who made sure it was authentic by working with Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, who wrote the script with Karen Janszen and Louis Nowra.

When asked, Garofolo said this was one of the few movies that she was in that she liked.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnAnacondaI Know What You Did Last SummerThe Freshman and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.