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May 25, 2010

Fletch's Favored Five: 1993 in Film

Now, the sixth in a continuing series in which I count down my favorites from a particular year in film. Previous entries:

1997 * 1991 * 1984 * 1988
* 2002

I'm going to use Wikipedia to kickstart my brain, year by year, and I'll throw out a Favored Five here and there. If you want to refresh your memory in a similar fashion, just go to Wiki and type "[four-character year] in film." Here's the one for 1993. I won't pretend that Wiki is the end-all, be-all of filmic knowledge or that these yearly lists are 100% accurate, but they're an excellent place to start and a great resource.

This is a weird, weird year I think, not only for me personally, but in general. In line with the grunge/Generation X movements (for lack of a better term) that were occurring right about the time, it seems to be a real line in the sand where the last holdouts of 80s sensibilities made their way through and gave way to cynicism and more modern storytelling. The list of films that not only make up my favored five here, but also the lengthy honorable mentions really portray this. There's a strange mix of movies that might've been 80s leftovers (Demolition Man; Son-in-Law) mixed in with edgier fare (Last Action Hero, which might've been a failure but was still an winking take on the action genre; Jurassic Park, perhaps the forebearer to the modern action adventure).

It also holds special for me due to sheer volume. Good, bad or ugly, I've likely seen more films from this year than just about any other film, at least in terms of mainstream Hollywood films. I was 16-17 in 1993, and yes, it shows quite a bit in my favorites. However, I think this is right about the time, thanks to movies like my number one, where I went from being just a movie fan to an all-out movie geek. I sought ought indies like my number two (and Romeo is Bleeding and Boxing Helena and Flesh and Bone) pretty from early on, and watched and appreciated some of the more middle-of-the-road fare perhaps more than I should have.

It's weird - short of my top selections, I wouldn't argue too hardly for any of these films (that I've seen) to be considered seminal works, but damned if I wouldn't be physically pained if all of the movies from 1993 up and disappeared. Lot of good nostalgia here, and movies that I can and will watch time and again (Rising Sun, anyone?).

Notable movies not yet seen:
In the Name of the Father
The Piano
Point of No Return
The Program
Schindler's List

Honorable mentions:
Falling Down
The Firm
The Fugitive
Jurassic Park
Last Action Hero
Much Ado About Nothing
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Rising Sun
The Sandlot

5. Demolition Man
There's really no excuse for this to be here, but I've got such a soft spot for it. In fact, since I never did get all much into either the Rocky or Rambo series, I could make the argument that Stallone's two 1993 entries rank as my favorite films of his, with the first being a (relatively) no bullshit actioner, and this being an ambitious one that touches on class warfare and the future of sexual politics, all the while featuring some of the most laughable dialogue you'll see this side of, well, Rocky IV.

4. Tombstone
Probably the clubhouse leader in the "Films Fletch loves but somehow does not yet own." I've heard smatterings from some folks recently that say that the film - outside of Val Kilmer's performance - doesn't hold up all that well. Not sure if I agree; it certainly has its slow moments, and heavy-handed ones, and just plain theatrical ones (any scene with Priestley and/or Zane and/or Delaney is a tad painful), but on the whole? Sounds like a purchase/re-watch is definitely in order.

3. Groundhog Day
The current incarnation of Bill Murray is still pretty great and all, but don't you long for a straight-up comedy from the guy? I think the last one he did was Osmosis Jones, and not only was that in 2001, but it sucked and no one saw it (okay, it's not that bad, but you get the jist). Somehow I doubt Ghostbusters III will quench my thirst. Bing!

2. Dazed and Confused
Timeless. But then again, any well-executed period piece ought to be, and that's the beauty of them. Hard for a movie to seem "too 90s" when it's set in 1976. Still my favorite from Linklater.

1. True Romance
Need I explain myself here?

13 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: 1993 in Film"

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Dude! You need to see Schindler's List! That was the last best picture winner that i can think of that truly deserved it over the competition!!

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

Great List, I think my Top 4 is the same as yours, though not in the same order.

Tombstone in my opinion holds up great. Though it does have it's slow moments. Which reminds me, some friends and I were watching the movie Major League sometime in the late 90s, a movie we all loved, except for the scenes between Jake (Tom Berenger) and Lynn (Renee Russo). Those scens really kill the pace of an otherwise great movie. So we created the term "Jake/Lynn scenes" to refer to all scenes that disrupt other good movies.
The wyatt/josphine scenes in tombstone are definitely "Jake/Lynn."

Fletch said...

Sebastian - what can I say - I've always felt like Seinfeld. I don't doubt it's greatness, but I have a hard time psyching myself up for a 4 hour movie about the murder of millions. I know that's ignorant, but it's the truth. One of these days, I'm sure.

JSR - so which order would your 4 be in?

It's been forever since I sat down and watched Tombstone (owing largely to that whole not owning it thing), but I tend to think I'd agree with you. With that many great lines/shootouts/actors, how can it age poorly?

Love the Major League callback and "game" you guys came up with. Sounds spot on - the love story in that thing is painful. Question: do you think the Rick Vaughn/girlfriend story in ML2 is better or worse? I think I have to vote worse.

Dan said...

Strangely enough (or maybe not so strangely as it rocked) I saw True Romance in the theater 3 times in the two weeks it was in theatrical release.

But you haven't seen 3 out of the 5 Best Picture nominees for that year?

Fletch said...

Dan - Actually, I haven't seen The Remains of the Day, either, but I guess I just don't feel like I'm missing much there, though. I know, somewhat shameful on the whole. To be honest, I might've seen In the Name of the Father, or at least part of it, but I really can't recall. Short of Schindler, I don't find any of them that appealing, and even Schindler, well, see above.

You got me curious, though, as to just how futile a record I have at watching the Best Pic noms by year. Let's go from, say, 1986 on (when I was 10):

1986: 1/5
1987: 3/5
1988: 2/5
1989: 3/5
1990: 3/5
1991: 3/5
1992: 3/5
1993: 1/5
1994: 3/5
1995: 2/5
1996: 3/5
1997: 4/5
1998: 2/5
1999: 3/5
2000: 5/5
2001: 3/5
2002: 4/5
2003: 3/5
2004: 4/5
2005: 4/5
2006: 4/5
2007: 5/5
2008: 5/5
2009: 10/10

Well, that was a fun and depressing exercise.

Dan said...

Nah, not _that_ depressing. :-) I'm not one of those guys that thinks you really need to see all the best picture nominees.

If I had to pick my favorite 5 from that year (not best because Schindler's List would be one of the best) in terms of rewatchability I would probably pick...

A Bronx Tale (1993)
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Piano (1993)
True Romance (1993)

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

MY top 4 would be:
4 Groundhog day
3 True Romance
2 Tombstone
1 Dazed and Confused

Admittedly True romance is the best of the bunch, and arguably has the greatest scene of dialougue in movie history.

And ye, I agree that the rick vaughn love story in Major League 2is much worse. But the movie as a whole isnt nearly as good, so it isnt as apparent of contrast.

Another example of Jake/Lynn scenes in an otherwise great movie: all the scenes in Pulp Fiction with Bruce willis' girlfriend.

Fletch said...

Ah, yes, Willis' "beautiful tulip" in Pulp. She's a wet blanket and takes up way too much time. Though I don't mind her scenes with him once it becomes "morning" in the timeframe of the movie. "Donde esta la zapateria?"

I acted out that scene from True Romance in that recent Demented Enclopedia guest spot I posted recently....pritty, pritty scary stuff.

Fitz said...

I should probably watch Tombstone and True Romance before I comment on this post.

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

Putting "True Romance" at the top of your list -- Fletch, you's one cool dude. So cool, so cool.

Fletch said...

Fitz - god yes.

M. Carter - no, Meredith, You're So Cool.

Reel Whore said...

Excellent Top 5 choices. I'm sure I'd switch a few out, but you've got Demolition Man & Tombstone in there so it's all good.

I have not seen any of the Notable movies, either. Sad thing is someone gave me the BluRay of Schindler's List last year and I still haven't watched it.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Fletch you have to see Remains of the Day. Anthony Hopkins best performance as far as I'm concerned, it'd round out my top five along with The Age of Innocence, In the Name of the Father, The Piano and either Much Ado About Nothing or Schindler's List. Or maybe, What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

PS. What exactly do you like about The Firm? I mean, you're not the only that likes it but I'm always lost as to its popularity...and I like John Grisham. Other than Holly Hunter I'm neither here nor there for it.