A Decade in Film: 1993


A chronological list of releases can be found here.

1) Best of 1993 or top five?
2) Most disappointing of 1993 (or bottom five if you want to go that route)?
3) Most underrated or underseen? (Example: “reviews weren’t great, but it’s genius because) OR (“No one saw it, but this is why they should…”)
4) Favorite performance(s) of the year?
5) Favorite scene/sequence of the year?
6) Most memorable (good or bad) theatergoing experience of the year?
7) Most influential film/performance/style/director?

Obviously feel free to answer only the questions you’re interested in or to write/respond to something else entirely. The lists themselves are just a starting point to foster discussion.


11 responses »

  1. I’d guess (almost without doubt) that I saw more theatrical releases in 1993 than any other year of my life. Should be a fun list.

  2. Man, what a year in film for my 19 year old self.

    1.) Shit, just five top?

    Hands-down and without doubt, El Mariachi is the best movie of the year for me. Without doubt. What he did, what he managed to do with what he had (he recorded dialogue on a tape recorder *after he shot the movie wild* and asked the actors to try to approximate the rhythm and cadence and timing and if it didn’t sync anywhere *he cut away from the shot to cover it* and still came up with what he came up with. That alone allows him all the terrible movies he’s made since because that is amazing.

    Jurassic Park is better entertainment than El Mariachi, and would be number one if not for Rodriguez’s insane skill.

    Last Action Hero: It encapsulates my action film love for both brainless action and John McTiernan. I unapologetically love its blatant awfulness.

    Carlito’s Way: “Scarface Part 2” opens with virtuoso camera work and ends with even better camerawork. Characterizations are sketchy and motivations even sketchier and there are head-scratching but amazing cameos but it all works, and it all comes together fantastically.

    Tombstone: Still one of the best westerns ever made and Kurt Russell’s and Val Kilmer’s best performances. Still fantastic, still dramatic, still important after all these years.

    Honorable mention: Demolition Man. This movie does no wrong in what it does and offers a scince fiction comedy that actually works to Stallone’s strengths as an actor while making it part of the movie.

    2.) Worst five:

    Falling Down. My god, why did I like this in the first place? Joel Schumacher’s fucking egregious look at ‘disgruntled people’ is hideously nihilistic, childish, one note and has an emulsion that looks like it was soaked in piss. Death Wish this was not, though it tried so hard to be.

    Super Mario Bros. Seriously?

    Sliver – So bad, it has no chance to be bad/good like Showgirls.

    Rising Sun – The beginning of my hate for all things Connery and a terrible, terrible movie in its own right, Connery or not.

    Striking Distance – This is so bad it feels like Hudson Hawk was a high-watermark for everything after Die Hard for Bruce Willis.

    3.) Most Underrated: A Perfect World. A pitch-perfect movie in tone, execution and writing, and one of the finest movies of both Kevin Costner’s and Clint Eastwood’s careers. So good, it hurts that i haven’t seen it in about ten years.

    4.) Favorite Performance of the Year: Absolutely Kevin Costner, going against ‘type’ to convey a broken man who has a little goodness left to impart on an innocent soul who understands loss of innocence at the hands of the man who wants to impart a little of it back to him. (It’s a close win over the CGI dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, characters who still live and breathe on screen as convincingly today, over twenty years later).

    5.) Favorite scene/sequence of the year: Man, the pacing, editing, and slow burn and explosion of the opening jail scene in El Mariachi still has resonance on independent film today. (It’s a close win to the introduction of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, even though there are glaring idiotic inconsistencies in the scene).

    6.) El Mariachi, absolutely. All of it. Every bit. Seeing it, being exposed to it, watching my dreams writ large on the screen, of taking a single camera and a tape recorder and making one of the best action films ever.

    7.) Rodriguez, without doubt. Say what you want about the handheld nonsense of Paul Greengrass, love it or hate it, this is where it was honed to its absolute perfection of form and style and function, and showed that all action that came after was possible.

    8.) I’ve never seen A Bronx Tale, but I feel it should be on the top 5 list if I had seen it.

  3. It should say “Glaring idiotic inconsistencies in the *T-Rex scene*, not the scene in El Mariachi, which is perfect.

  4. My favorite film from 1993 was not Schindler’s List (it was a close second) but In the Name of the Father. The scene where each guy is freed and walks out of the courtroom is one I still remember, and gives me chills to think about it.

  5. Best Films: Schindler’s List, Short Cuts, The Secret Garden.

    Worst: Fatal Instinct, Son Of Pink Panther

    Most Underrated: Heart & Souls didn’t get much notice at the time but it is genuinely charming and moving.

    Most Overrated: Grumpy Old Men. as I’ve commented here previously critics (and audiences) gave this film a free pass because it was Lemmon & Matthau but in truth this is a lazy, mediocre film as their 90s output generally was together.

    Worst Performance: Chris O’Donnell in The Three Musketeers. Dullsville personified.

    Most vivid cinema going memory: Definitely to see Falling Down as it was one of the first ‘adult’ movies I’d gone to see at the cinema. I found it quite startling and vivid at the time and was one of my favourites back then. I haven’t seen it for 15 years at least and suspect it wouldn’t hold up very well (it is a Joel Schumacher film after all) but I would be interested to see it again.

  6. 1) This is more of a “favorites” list. 1993 releases that I’ve regularly watched over the past 20 years.
    Addams Family Values, Army of Darkness, Carlito’s Way, Demolition Man, The Firm, The Fugitive, Groundhog Day, Hard Target, In the Line of Fire, In the Name of the Father, Judgment Night, Jurassic Park, Mad Dog and Glory, Manhattan Murder Mystery, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Schindler’s List, Short Cuts, Six Degrees of Separation

    2) Worst:
    23 years later and I still haven’t seen anything as bad as Warlock: The Armageddon theatrically.

    3) Underrated:
    Demolition Man – Smart and hilarious sci-fi comedy. Still holds up two decades later.
    Judgment Night – Enjoyable thriller with some interesting performances and one of the best soundtrack albums ever produced. Oddly, almost completely unobtainable save for a decades old DVD release.

    4) Favorite performance(s) of the year?
    Day-Lewis and Postlethwaite – In the Name of the Father
    Fiennes – Schindler’s List
    Jones – The Fugitive
    Malkovich – In the Line of Fire
    Paquin – The Piano
    Sean Penn – Carlito’s Way
    Huston and Julia – Addams Family Values
    Rosie Perez in Fearless

    5) Favorite scene/sequence of the year?
    T-Rex attack in Jurassic Park
    Grand Central Station chase in Carlito’s Way
    Hopper / Walken exchange in True Romance
    Gomez/Morticia dance in Addams Family Values
    Gallimard commits suicide – M. Butterfly
    Andi MacDowell confronts Lyle Lovett – Short Cuts
    Stallone fails to save a stranded climber – Cliffhanger

    6) Most memorable (good or bad) theatergoing experience of the year?
    Jurassic Park – opening day, first show was electric.
    Nightmare Before Christmas – Still the only film I’ve walked out of and immediately purchased another ticket for.
    Schindler’s List – First date movie with my now-wife. Yes, I’m aware it was a poor selection.

    7) Most influential film/performance/style/director?
    Tarantino dialogue – True Romance
    John Woo style action – Hard Target

  7. I’ve always thought Mad Dog and Glory was underrated. Kind of like Quick Change.

    The Walken-Hopper scene is one the best scenes of dialogue in any year. “You’re part eggplant!”

  8. Mad Dog and Glory is fantastic, and absolutely underrated. I love the ending.

    Happy happy to see some love for Demolition Man. Random Demo Man fact: Warden William Smithers was Andre Gregory from ‘My Dinner with Andre”.

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