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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?

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

Alex said...

I guess 1993 was a pretty cool year! I was too busy being a child to really notice, I guess. I'm so glad you mentioned Last Action Hero (LOVE that movie)! Tombstone, while admirably the mustachiest movie of all time, didn't wow me as much as I wanted it to. It's good, but I wanted more Doc Holliday/Johnny Ringo, and Sam Elliot should have been the star.

Anyway great list! And I guess I'll finally get around to seeing True Romance if you're gonna go to the trouble of making it your #1 and all...

Jess said...

I've still never seen Tombstone or True Romance. I like Point of No Return, but I don't think it's a good movie. I love Schindler's List so much. It really is a terrific movie. Glad to see you're enjoying 1993 - Tom and Sebastian were barely out of diapers!

Amila Kanchana said...

Cliffhanger remains one my favorite action movie of all times, so much so because of its very convincing stunts as well as the beautiful hilly locations it was shot at.


Bob Turnbull said...

Couldn't agree more about "Groundhog Day" and "Dazed And Confused" - love 'em both and can rewatch infinitely.

I'm not sure I'll ever watch "Schindler's List" again, but I'm deeply glad I saw it.

My favourite from the year is "Blue" (part of Kieslowski's Three Colours trilogy). Gorgeous, emotional and with stunning music.

Altman's "Short Cuts" is also a fave. I totally see how this film doesn't grab everyone, but I barely notice that 3 hours go by when I watch it.

Takeshi Kitano's "Sonatine" is one of the more interesting gangster/yakuza films out there as it has a long middle stretch of quiet.

And Joe Dante's "Matinee" makes me feel nostalgic for an era that was before I was born.