File this one under random but I found myself reminiscing about the great films of 1993. Obviously, one of the first films people usually bring up is the Oscar-winning masterpiece Schindler’s List (1993). A monumental achievement in filmmaking, the Holocaust film is one of cinema’s marvelous achievements. The films I intend to bring to your attention have no resemblance to Spielberg’s achievement.
While 93′ remains one of the most talented and divisive years for cinema, popcorn thrillers were at an all-time high. I’ve always been enamored by the genre of a good vs. evil story where “nothing is what it seems.” During my recollection of the movies, I recall being 8-9 years old, far too young to be watching any of the films but did anyway, some of these classic gems have the traits of sexy, chilling, and even some downright frightening. One day soon, I’ll revisit most of these, I’m sure with all their problems and flaws all intact, but still warming and entertaining as the day I saw them.
Lots of these films I discovered when Pay-Per-View was hosting movies and you had to call in to order the movies via your cable provider. You also had to be eighteen to do so. I managed a call or two that they believed with my mother still not knowing who the culprit was until this day. Haha. Good thing she still doesn’t know how to use a computer to read this post.
Down below are my top ten guilty pleasure gems of 1993. No awards worthy, no razzle dazzle, just pure popcorn flicks with massive appeal to an eight-year-old boy with a dream of being in the movies one day. I know we can name the great Jurassic Park and other films as the best thrills of the decade but I want to shout out those who some may love to watch but don’t like to admit.
*WARNING* Some of the commentary may contain spoilers!
Macaulay Culkin in his only villainous role as “Henry Evans”, the psychopathic youngster that drowned his brother in the bathtub, shoots a dog with a rusty nail, and falls off a cliff to a watery death while his cousin Mark (Elijah Wood) hangs beside him and held by his mother. I’ve always been scratching my head about why Wendy Crewson, who plays Susan, Henry’s mother, never broke out in a bigger way. Unless you count Air Force One (1997) as her “breakout” hit. We also have good ol’ David Morse playing Mark’s father.
Director Joseph Ruben, who gave us Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) with Julia Roberts, played up the tension well. Hanging Mark from a tree while Henry muttered the phrase, “If I let you go, you think you could fly?” terrified parents from building any high-rise tree houses for their kids.
It was also the Culkin family at their peak of being absolutely EVERYWHERE. Macaulay’s little sister Quinn played his sister in the movie, Connie, while his little brother Rory was his little brother Richard (in the picture that Susan holds).
The trailer for Harold Becker’s Malice is likely one of the most misleading previews of a film in the 90s. A doctor, played by Alec Baldwin, looks ferociously evil with Nicole Kidman and Bill Pullman as an all-American couple. As we see, the film is full of double-crossing, hysterectomies, and blind children that the mother anxiously wants to kill.
Baldwin takes one in the stomach before movie’s end while Kidman’s character heads off to jail. Though Pullman remains our hero by film’s end, he doesn’t even get billed in the two-minute trailer that has Baldwin deliver his finest monologue, “you think I have a God complex? Let me tell you something…I am God.”
Bring me back to getting the crap scared out of me, this alien abduction story “based on a true story” has D.B. Sweeney and Robert Patrick who lived as dependable actors in the 90s. Remember The Cutting Edge (1992) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)?
Travis Walton (Sweeney) is taken by aliens while his friends are accused of killing him. While on the mother ship, he’s dragged through a tunnel, laid on a table where he gets what can only be described as empanadas casing, placed all over his body. The aliens then cut an air hole in his mouth and one eye. He gets some black goop shoved in his mouth, followed by a metal straw put down his throat. Afterwards, a needle inches closer to his eye before we get a white-blackout and left to our own devices.
Let’s just say I learned never to walk out of a truck, into the woods, and look directly up at a light floating in the sky.
“Jean-Claude Van Damme…as you’ve never seen him before.”
I don’t get that part that’s said in the trailer but the Culkin clan strikes again along a very hot Rosanna Arquette. A convict helps a farm family from a bunch of money-hungry thugs. Van Damme is probably one of my favorite action stars of all-time, no acting talent whatsoever but could kick the shit out of some people and make it look totally awesome. Have you seen Bloodsport (1988)?
We also have Ted Levine playing sleazy and Keiran Culkin being our boy hero.
It’s dirty farm fun but it works.
It’s hard to believe Noyce directed this narrative dumpster that is Sliver. The younger sister to Showgirls (1995), this movie was suppose to be off-limits for my little eyes growing up. Watching a gorgeous Sharon Stone take it up the rear end in the dark by a naked William Baldwin was not for the kids to see.
Cameras are in the walls in a prestigious address in New York City with people dying and no one smart enough to look at the construction records of one of its residents pretty much having his own bat cave in his living room. You could have solved the case in ten seconds but we needed Tom Berenger to be involved somehow in the murders.
Still, Sharon Stone’s bob cut and masturbating in a bathtub is well worth the 3.99 bin in Best Buy.
It’s rare you get the director of the original coming on to direct the American remake. He put together a great cast that included a villainous and scary Jeff Bridges, putting chloroform on a napkin and knocking himself out. Kiefer Sutherland plays a rare good guy that we like. A novelist who loses his girlfriend at a rest stop fit him surprisingly well. Nancy Travis, who reminds me of the 90s version of Melissa Leo, took on one of her most memorable roles in her filmography. And finally, my stunning and sadly killed Sandra Bullock. Scared when her beloved leaves her alone in a dark tunnel, we find out by the end she’s buried alive. That sucks.
The movie also taught me the sign for infinity, sideways eight. I wrote it in my notebooks in school for a week.
Bridges dies with a shovel to the mouth. Ouch.
It took the question that every adult asked each other at a dinner table or during drinks at a bar. What if someone offered you a million dollars for one night with your spouse? Would you do it?
Before I get into the movie, can I say that the poster suggests some type of deceit or murder coming from Robert Redford as the ripped picture lies on the side in black and white. Too bad its pretty much a straight drama with overacting that will melt your heart and your patience.
We get Woody Harrelson punching a wall and screaming, “YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO HIM!” while a beautiful Demi Moore cries with yellow rubber kitchen gloves on. Awww shucks. Don’t forget the scene when Harrelson throws $25,000 dollars on a bed for Demi to roll in. Hot.
The film never lifts off its own premise. Couple meets billionaire. Billionaire offers money for sex with wife. Billionaire pays couple. Billionaire buys house the couple wanted. Wife leaves husband. Wife gets with billionaire. Husband gives the million dollars to a hippo. Wife and husband meet on a pier. The end. How does that not sound cohesive and natural? Oh, it doesn’t? I thought so too.
You also get a young Billy Bob Thornton at the Casino explaining who John Gage is. Tubular.
Take a thrilling story to the frozen mountain tops, Sylvester Stallone opens the film by not just dropping the ball but dropping his best friend’s girl to her death. His best friend, played by Michael Rooker who played Merle Dixon on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, is pretty pissed. Time passes and a cute, little Janine Turner is suppose to romantically involved with a massive, bulky Stallone.
John Lithgow and his band of thugs, that includes the talented and underrated Caroline Goodall, are looking for money that fell off a plane, in suitcases, and have homing beacons inside them. He uses Rooker and Stallone to find the money which leaves Stallone at one point, without a coat, in the freezing mountains and you guessed it…survives.
Lithgow meets his end in a helicopter while Stallone lives happily ever after…while rock climbing. Don’t you love the opera music in the trailer like this was suppose to be an epic. LOL.
Sylvester strikes again. This time he’s cryogenically frozen after a building blows up and kills a bunch of hostages. His arch-nemesis Wesley Snipes with blonde hair, suffers the same fate.
We fast forward years later where seashells have taken the place of toilet paper and the only restaurant that exists in the future is Taco Bell. Denis Leary leads a revolution underground and Sandra Bullock wants to have sex with a head-gear, virtual reality machine. We also learn after AIDS comes NRS and UBT. Get ready for whatever those are.
Snipes gets his head kicked off while corruption in the San Angeles Police Department gets exposed. You also get fined for cursing. I would be in jail.
This is our closest endeavor to awards worthy films on the list. This is Schumacher’s finest film featuring a bad ass performance by Michael Douglas and a sentimental turn by Robert Duvall. After his car breaks down, “D-Fens” heads to his ex-wife’s house to visit their daughter on her birthday. Mexican thugs are met along with justice being served that fast food breakfast shouldn’t end at 11:30.
Douglas’ crew cut was fitting and when he encounters a racist, gun shop owner, he lives his few moments as an action star. Unfortunately, our ‘D-Fens’ meets his demise by a bullet and falling into the ocean while he holds a water pistol.
Special mention for Needful Things, based on the book by Stephen King. Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, and Max Von Sydow are awesome. And I was THIS close to mentioning Super Mario Bros. but I didn’t want to piss off my Nintendo fans. It did have a darling Samantha Mathis though and Bob Hoskins was a perfect choice for Mario, just not with a perfect script. Got to give the late Dennis Hopper a shout out as Koopa.
Any gems missed from 1993? Include it in the comments. Also, what are your favorite moments from some of the films?