A Decade in Film: 1995

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A chronological list of releases can be found here.

1) Best of 1995 or top five?

2) Most disappointing of 1995 (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.

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14 responses »

  1. Holy shit, what a year. I mean that sincerely. Even much of the crap was damn entertaining. Nowadays crap is just crap.

    I do have to say that some shit is off here. Highlander: The Final Dimension opened in 1994, for instance. And A Streetcar Named Desire was a TV movie.

    Braveheart
    Goldeneye
    Tommy Boy
    Apollo 13
    Billy Madison
    Die Hard with a Vengeance
    Heat
    Congo
    Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
    A Goofy Movie
    French Kiss
    The Usual Suspects
    Mortal Kombat
    Judge Dredd
    Batman Forever
    Waterworld
    In the Mouth of Madness
    National Lampoon’s Senior Trip
    Home for the Holidays
    Casper
    Nine Months
    Operation Dumbo Drop
    The Prophecy
    Se7en
    Powder
    Toy Story
    Father of the Bride Part II
    Desperado
    Canadian Bacon
    Dracula: Dead and Loving It
    Grumpier Old Men
    Houseguest
    Assassins
    Jumanji
    Bad Boys
    Outbreak
    Clueless
    The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Came Down a Mountain
    Get Shorty
    Virtuosity
    Lord of Illusions
    Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight
    Village of the Damned
    Bushwhacked
    Under Siege 2: Dark Territory
    Highlander: The Final Dimension
    Sudden Death
    Kiss of Death
    Jade
    Cutthroat Island
    The Hunted
    Nick of Time
    Major Payne
    The Net
    While You Were Sleeping
    The Indian in the Cupboard
    Heavyweights
    To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
    Johnny Mnemonic
    Bye Bye Love
    Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
    The Brady Bunch Movie
    Mr. Holland’s Opus
    Babe
    Man of the House
    Pocahontas
    Forget Paris
    Vampire in Brooklyn
    Miami Rhapsody
    Fluke
    Jury Duty

  2. Most underrated: Congo. It’s ridiculous, but it’s a boatload of fun.

    Favorite performance: TIE – Christopher Walken as Gabriel in The Prophecy and Kevin MacDonald as Travis Lindsey in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip.

    Favorite scene / sequence: The subway sequence in Die Hard with a Vengeance.

    Most memorable theatergoing experience: I’ll go with Goldeneye because my 11 year-old dick almost exploded out of my pants during the opening credits sequence.

    Most influential direction: Michael Mann for Heat
    Most influential style: David Fincher for Se7en
    Most influential performance: De Niro and Pacino when acting together

  3. Some notes:

    The Net places as highly as it does purely for the scene with Bullock on her computer on the beach in a bikini.

    Obviously I saw many of these years later as I was 11, but I did see Die Hard with a Vengeance theatrically. How did that happen?

  4. Best: Before Sunrise, 12 Monkeys, The Bridges Of Madison Count (despite Eastwood being far too old for his role)

    Underrated:
    *It was a major flop at the time and has been largely forgotten since but thought ‘Strange Days’ was an inventive and interesting thriller.

    *I’ve mentioned it before here but ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ is a very good balance of mocking and celebrating the original series. Very easy to get that wrong as multiple TV-to-movie adaptations this year have shown.

    *’Bye Bye Love’ got a lot of mocking for having so many scenes set at McDonalds, but it’s mostly a pretty good drama/comedy (until the last 15 minutes)

    *It’s a total throwaway and is nowhere as outrageous as the title suggests, but ‘Live Nude Girls’ is amusing sexy fun.

    Overrated:
    *I appreciate it’s well made and has famous twist ending which is perfectly executed, but never cared for ‘The Usual Suspects’ that much and don’t have an interesting in rewatching it.

    Worst:
    *I haven’t seen close to all the films made that year but would be hard to envisage one being worse than ‘Jury Duty’.

    *Saw ‘Things To In Denver When You’re Dead’ at the cinema and hated it; may feel different about it now.

    *’Mallrats’ is the first Kevin Smith movie I ever saw and has largely put me off ever seeing any other of his works.

    Best sequence: The way John Carpenter frames a madman crashing into a diner in ‘In the Mouth Of Madness’.

    Special mention to ‘The Last Supper’ which has a central plot that feels eerily prescient in today’s political climate.

  5. My favorite film isn’t on the list: Sense and Sensibility. Superb acting and writing. I did like The Usual Suspects, Heat, Apollo 13. Bravheart was overrated and didn’t deserve Best Picture. I always thought Se7en was overrated, but I guess I’m in the minority when it comes to the fanboy mentality. Toy Story and Get Shorty were also favorites.

  6. Most underrated: Congo. It’s ridiculous, but it’s a boatload of fun.

    This can’t be said enough.

    The Net places as highly as it does purely for the scene with Bullock on her computer on the beach in a bikini.

    I don’t remember anything from the film, but I do fondly remember that scene.

    It was a major flop at the time and has been largely forgotten since but thought ‘Strange Days’ was an inventive and interesting thriller.

    Agreed, it’s a fine film that never really found an audience. I thought some critics might revisit it after Kathryn Bigelow’s more recent successes but that hasn’t happened.

    I’ve mentioned it before here but ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ is a very good balance of mocking and celebrating the original series. Very easy to get that wrong as multiple TV-to-movie adaptations this year have shown.

    Grade A casting and execution. Paramount was very, very good at comedy in the early-mid 90’s.

  7. Thinking about that, I decided to check through my icheckmovies listing of films I’ve actually seen in 1995 and give each of them a rating out of 10.

    Going through the list, I’d forgotten about the Todd Haynes film ‘Safe’ which would definitely make by Best Of list for the year.

    *The American President – 5 (slickly done but a fantasy of what American politics is like. Still, a masterwork compared with other films Rob Reiner was doing in this period)
    *Batman Forever – 5 (saw this not long ago; as I recall was tolerable but so forgettable that most vivid memory of it is Ed Begley Jr’s death scene!)
    *Before Sunrise – 8
    *The Brady Bunch Movie – 7.5
    *The Bridges Of Madison County – 7.5
    *Bye Bye Love – 6
    *The Celluoid Closet – 7 (fine doco looking at how Hollywood treated – or didn’t treat – homosexuality over the decades)
    *Clueless – 4 (yeah, I know this is considered a classic even now but appeal just totally alluded me when I saw it. Was a long time ago so may need to rewatch it)
    *Die Hard With A Vengeance – 4.5 (Started off brightly but got sick of it before the end)
    *Dracula: Dead And Loving It – 5
    *Forget Paris – 5.5
    *GoldenEye – 6.5 (Famke Janssen’s performance is the high point)
    *Hotel Sorrento – 6 (Oz film directed by Richard Franklin, mostly known for horror work. Atypically, it’s a family talkfest based on a stage play and it’s a pretty good one)
    *Jury Duty – 1 (Amongst its many crimes, showing segments from 12 Angry Men probably the worst one)
    *Land And Freedom – 6.5
    *The Last Supper – 6
    *Mallrats – 3
    *Nick Of Time – 5.5 (doesn’t really make use of its “real time” scenario but an OK thriller)
    *Nine Months – 4.5 (Hugh Grant’s interview on Jay Leno is more memorable than anything in this film)
    *Now And Then – 5 (Section set in 1970 is pretty good; section set in 1995 is a waste of time).
    *Safe – 7.5
    *Strange Days – 7
    *Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead – 2
    *Tommy Boy – 4
    *Twelve Monkeys – 7.5
    *The Usual Suspects – 5.5
    *While You Were Sleeping – 5.5 (likeable film and great showcase for Bullock’s charisma but totally forgettable)
    *In The Mouth Of Madness – 6
    *Jumanji – 6.5 (underrated in Robin Williams film career; inventive and technically well done)
    *Cutthroat Island – 4.5 (would’ve been a lot better with original choice Michael Douglas instead of Matthew Modine)

  8. As Juan mentioned in his rundown: a surprisingly great/fun year at the movies. Many guilty pleasures in my top picks.

    1) Top five?
    Casino, Congo, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Smoke, To Die For

    Also worthwhile:
    Apollo 13, Billy Madison, Braveheart, The Brady Bunch Movie, Clueless, Crimson Tide, Crumb, Desperado, Four Rooms (“Room 309” segment only), French Kiss, Grumpier Old Men, Home for the Holidays, Judge Dredd, Jumanji, Mighty Aphrodite, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Nadja, Nick of Time, Sabrina, Seven, Shallow Grave, Strange Days, Swimming with Sharks, Tommy Boy, Toy Story, Twelve Monkeys, Under Siege 2: On Dark Territory, The Usual Suspects, Waiting to Exhale, Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave

    2) Most disappointing of 1995 (or bottom five if you want to go that route)?
    Blue in the Face – Improv sequel to Smoke that was allegedly released in 95, but I don’t recall seeing it anywhere before early 96. Anyway, it’s not without it’s charms but the lack of structure and wide ranging improv quality = a not very good movie. Also – proceeding without Smoke co-lead William Hurt was a mistake. A major disappointment next to Wayne Wang’s original.

    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…”)
    Congo: A bizarre jungle adventure movie that knows exactly what it is and embraces it. Always brings a smile to my face.
    An Awfully Big Adventure: I seem to recall really enjoying the performances in this, but I haven’t seen it since the 90’s. I do recall that it was desperately mis-sold as a Hugh Grant comedy and disappeared quickly.
    Die Hard with a Vengeance: Shaky third act aside, it’s as good as a sequel one could possibly hope for. McTiernan breaks the single location formula of the first two pictures and takes us on a frantic journey through mid 90’s New York City.
    Sabrina: Agreeable romantic comedy with some good performances.

    4) Favorite performance(s) of the year?
    Antonio Banderas in Four Rooms, Nicolas Cage in Kiss of Death, Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Cindy Crawford in Fair Game (truly jaw-dropping work. It’s almost shocking that WB even released the film), Tim Curry in Congo, Illeana Douglas in To Die For, Nicole Kidman in To Die For, Jason Lee in Mallrats, Famke Janssen in Goldeneye, Delroy Lindo in Congo and Get Shorty, Joe Pesci in Casino, Joaquin Phoenix in To Die For, Tim Roth in Rob Roy, Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks, Chris Tucker in Friday

    5) Favorite scene/sequence of the year?
    – Pesci verbally chewing out DeNiro in the desert in Casino
    – Amy, a talking gorilla, drinks and calls Laura Linney ugly on a private plane in Congo
    – Every other scene in Congo
    – Any scene where Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” played in Dangerous Minds. The earworm of 1995.
    – Natasha Henstridge’s scenes in Species
    – It’s a terrible fllm, but the Robert Rodriguez sequence in Four Rooms is easily his best work
    – Illeana Douglas ice skating over Nicole Kidman’s frozen corpse in To Die For
    – Opening scene of Die Hard with a Vengeance
    – Harvey Keitel’s Christmas story in Smoke

    6) Most memorable (good or bad) theatergoing experience of the year?
    Waterworld: went to the first show in Times Square on opening day and I was interviewed on camera by Entertainment Tonight. Never made it to air, most likely because I kept staring at the camera like a crazy person.
    Die Hard with a Vengeance: Same, although no ET crew.

    7) Most influential film/performance/style/director?
    Toy Story and the birth of the feature length CGI animated film

    Runner up: Bad Boys and the arrival of the Michael Bay style of filmmaking

  9. Re: GoldenEye, yeah probably underrating it thinking about it. Saw it at the cinema (only Bond film I’ve seen in that format) and it was a pretty smart reprise to make Bond valid in the 90s. Probably should be 7 to 7.5

    As for DHWAV, I can see why people liked it as it’s slick and well-made and the early scenes are entertaining, but I’m less of a fan of those films than most so it’s imperfections would bother me more than most and I just found it tedious by the latter stages.

  10. I have to see Four Rooms if it’s Rodriguez’s masterwork. Considering he made El Mariachi, and the way he made El Mariachi, that Four Rooms sequence must be banging good.

    And any talk of Usual Suspects being overrated or not as good as anyone remembers or just not a masterpiece in any era is madness, true madness.

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