Saturday, January 01, 1994


  • The Best Films Of The Year:

  • 1. Schindler’s List
    2. Philadelphia
    3. The Piano
    4. Menace II Society
    5. Bopha!
    6. A Bronx Tale
    7. True Romance
    8. The Fugitive
    9. Falling Down
    10. Jurassic Park

    What do you get when you combine the talents of Steven Spielberg, John Williams, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes? You get two to one odds on creating the best film of the year. And so, "Schindler’s List" tops the list for 1993. Masterfully put together by Spielberg, the use of black and white helped immerse the audience in a time we all wished never happened. Performances from the principle actors were excellent, as well as everyone else in the film. While the tearful goodbye from Oskar Schindler at the end was a bit gooey, this was a film that no one should miss, both for its historic and artistic importance.

    "Philadelphia" was another amazing film and really only loses out to "Schindler’s List" because it’s hard to compete with the Holocaust. Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington provide near-best performances, creating an incredible connection with each other and the audience. When Hanks’ character is listening to Opera, it is still one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever watched. Not to be missed.

    "The Piano" showed off some wonderful acting by Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin. But none of them held a candle to Holly Hunter. Her performance was gut-wrenching. Without ever speaking a word and using little more than a few grunts, she said volumes. Actresses should be forced to watch this as part of their training. And Michael Nyman’s score was phenomenal, full of haunting melodies that I can still conjure up with but a thought.

    Moving on in this year’s top films, we reach "Menace II Society". While there is a wealth of films about growing up in the hood in the early ‘90s, this is the quintessential one. Larenz Tate showed that he was an actor not to be trifled with. It’s a shame his career didn’t take off like Cuba Gooding Jr.’s after "Boyz in the Hood". While I like Cuba, Tate deserved the break more.

    "Bopha!" Is Morgan Freeman’s only directorial turn, but after watching it, I wish he would do more. A fantastic story, well acted and directed. When asked to choose a film that portrays South Africa’s apartheid horrors, I choose "Cry Freedom" first, but this is a close second.

    "A Bronx Tale" and "True Romance" were gritty films with powerhouse performances in each. If you don’t mind a little violence and language, check these films out.

    The last three are a bit of a departure from the rest of the top ten. "The Fugitive" got a little too much praise in my opinion, but it was excellent. I only say it was a bit over-hyped because it was just a thriller. I didn’t really learn anything or connect with anyone like I did with the first 5 films of the year.

    "Falling Down" is another wonderful performance by Michael Douglas and despite the fact that this film was made by Joel 'I ruined Batman' Schumacher, its portrayal of a man pushed too far really captured the frustration that was building in society at that time.

    Cracking the top ten was another Spielberg film, "Jurassic Park". While there were some other films that I thought made more of a dramatic impact, this film was a technological triumph that still stands up a dozen years later. Sam Neill helped to provide a touchstone for the film to center itself on and "Jurassic Park" was probably my favorite ride of a film this year.

  • The Worst Films Of The Year:

  • 1. Cop & ½
    2. The Coneheads
    3. Made In America
    4. Three Of Hearts
    5. Posse

    Good God almighty! Who came up with "Cop & ½"? Have they been properly disposed of? More money for my retirement fund down the tubes.

    "The Coneheads" was a decent sketch on Saturday Night Live, but another example of a bit that could not survive being expanded to 90 minutes. Is it so hard to write a script, read it out loud, and then decide to go forward with things?

    "Made in America" feels like it was made for idiots. I feel dumber for having seen it.

    "Three of Hearts" was just trying to capitalize on an ever-expanding sexual identity crisis in America, as frank sexual dialogues became more and more acceptable in the mainstream. That doesn’t mean this film should have been made.

    And "Posse", well ... I almost feel bad putting it on this list. It almost made the Horribly Fun list, mostly due to Mario Van Peebles’ superb hairstyle. But the film sucked and it ended up here. If you’re looking for a good western, make sure to choose something with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne in it. Your chances are much, much better.

  • The Most Horrible Films That Are Fun To Watch:

  • 1. Demolition Man
    2. Hard Target
    3. Warlock: The Armageddon
    4. Leprechaun
    5. Children Of The Corn II: The Final Sacrifice

    This was the toughest Horribly Fun list to put together yet, as I continue to work my way back to 1977. There are another half dozen films that just missed this list. But in the end, "Demolition Man" takes the top spot. It’s cheesy and formulaic, but it’s fun! Don't miss out on Wesley Snipes’ tremendous turn as a villain, another Denis Leary rant, or virtual sex between Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone. Also, start investing in Taco Bell, as this film was prophetic - correctly predicting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to Governor of California. Only time will tell if it all comes true and Commando himself becomes the Commander-in-Chief ... and if Taco Bell will be the last survivor of the fast food wars.

    "Hard Target" combines the talents of John Woo, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wilford Brimley. And in this one, Van Damme is Cajun! Nuff said.

    "Warlock II" provides the world with one of the greatest dialogue sequences in history (I hope this is right, but the gist is there):

    Warlock: “Give me the stone!”
    Other guy: “You’ll never get the stone!”
    Warlock: “Give me the stone!”
    Other guy: “You’ll never get the stone!”


    Ok, onto "Leprechaun". Jennifer Aniston’s first film and the introduction of one of my favorite movie characters of all time. All Warwick Davis wants is his gold! It’s his! Give it to him! Or he will kill you.

    Finally, "Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice". Honestly, I don’t remember too much of this one, except a scene in which the corn kids make some guy’s nose bleed. He then proceeds to keep bleeding … and bleeding … and bleeding until he dies. He was killed by a nose bleed! Awesome.

  • The Most Underrated Films Of The Year:

  • Poetic Justice
    Dazed and Confused

    If you ask me what it is about "Poetic Justice" that holds it in such high esteem from me, I don’t know if I could really tell you. For some reason, when I watch this film, it strikes a chord with me. I’m really not all that impressed with Janet Jackson but I thought Tupac Shakur did a great job. Putting aside the number of times a deceased artist can release albums, he really was a decent actor. "Juice" and "Gridlock’d" are other films in which he provides a good example for musicians/actors. Are you reading this, Britney Spears?

    "Alive" was an amazing true story about plane crash survivors forced to do ANYTHING to survive. It was well put together and acted and proves that "Soylent Green" probably tasted like chicken. ... Because it was people. ... Get it. ... Soylent Green is people! ... Oh, forget it.

    Watching "Dazed and Confused" almost made me wish I had gone to high school in the ‘70s. Of course, if growing up in the ‘70s meant Ben Affleck was going to paddle me, I’m glad I missed it. "Dazed" is loaded with known actors, most of whom provide great performances and capture the spirit of the times. And if you don’t find enjoyment in Matthew McConaughey’s take on high school girls, you’re an idiot.


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