Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Great Year for Movies - 1994

“That's why when somebody say, ‘When you get to the NBA, don't forget about me’ […] I should've said to them, ‘If I don't make it, don't you forget about me.’"  - William Gates, Hoop Dreams

If you stop to think about it, the movies that came out in 1994 were released a generation ago.  (Anyone feel old?)  Many of them have already been forgotten, some justly so, some unjustly.  I am going to be recommending the best films of 1994; ones I’ve given at least a four star rating to.  You will find some of the usual suspects among these films (but not The Usual Suspects – that’s a 1995 film).  However, I can almost guarantee that there will be some movies that you have either forgotten about, or maybe never even heard of in the first place.  In fact, the two films that I consider the best of the year – ones I have given five star ratings to – are not the most well known.  The important thing is, you will know about them after I am done.

Why am I doing this category?  Why this year?  It is because I consider 1994 to be the second best year for quality, enjoyable movies in all of cinema history.  1939 would be number one, in case you are curious.  1954 and 1974 are also standouts.  1994 had so many good movies that I wouldn’t have time to review them all here even if I spent a month on it.  That’s why I am going to limit this category to only 4 and 5 star films (fifteen in all – four of them I have already reviewed for other categories.)

So that these good films at least get some notice, here are the 1994 movies that I would give three stars to.  Check them out if they sound interesting:  The Legend of Drunken Master; Eat Drink Man Woman; SFW; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Chungking Express; Pulp Fiction; The Hudsucker Proxy; Nell; Nobody’s Fool; The Lion King; The Crow; Stargate; The Mask; Heavenly Creatures; Ed Wood; Il Postino; Interview with the Vampire; Quiz Show; Sister My Sister; Maverick; Barcelona; Farinelli; The Road to Wellville; Three Colors: Red; Three Colors: White; and Star Trek: Generations. 

Here are the “shut your brain off and have fun” three star movies: With Honors; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; Only You; It Could Happen to You; The Santa Clause; PCU; Wolf; I.Q.; Airheads; Speechless; Timecop; Terminal Velocity; My Father the Hero; Milk Money; Major League II; Color of Night; Junior; and Dumb and Dumber.

Here are the 1994 movies I have seen that I would not recommend: Satantango; Legends of the Fall; Cemetery Man; Natural Born Killers; Wild Reeds; Exotica; Muriel’s Wedding; Clear and Present Danger; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; The Client; Reality Bites; The Paper; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; The River Wild; Corrina, Corrina; Greedy; Blown Away; Disclosure; Blue Chips; Love and a .45; Trapped in Paradise; The Shadow; Princess Caraboo; The Chase; Drop Zone; City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; The Air Up There; Beverly Hills Cop III; The Scout; The Favor; I Love Trouble; The Specialist; Chasers; On Deadly Ground; The Next Karate Kid; Exit to Eden; and Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow.

There are some notable 1994 movies that I have not seen.  If you have a particular favorite among them, please let me know:  To Live; Crumb; Through the Olive Trees; Shallow Grave; The Madness of King George; Little Women; Wyatt Earp; Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle; and Angels in the Outfield.

As I post the reviews, I will come back and add links here for those posts:

Five star films:

Once Were Warriors
Hoop Dreams

Four Star films:

Leon: The Professional - (reviewed January 11, 2011)
Speed - (reviewed June 2, 2011)
Don Juan Demarco - (reviewed August 15, 2011)

On to the reviews…


  1. 1939 gets all the press, but I remember looking at the list of films from 1994 for the first time, and my jaw dropped at the titles. This was absolutely an amazing year. Looking forward to this!

    I really like Little Women from this year, but that may be for deeply nostalgic reasons. Little Women always makes me think of my mom an sister.

    1. 1939 gets the edge from me for the number of all time classics from that year, whereas 1994 has the edge in sheer volume of good movies. Many more movies were produced in 1994, though. I've never tried to compare percentages of good movies to the overall number released.

      Off the top of my head 1939 had Gone with the Wind (although not a favorite of mine, it is a classic), The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach (which made John Wayne a star), The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Rules of the Game, Only Angels Have Wings, Young Mr. Lincoln, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Destry Rides Again, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Gunga Din, Dark Victory, and Drums Along the Mohawk.

      And on a related note, how about actor Thomas Mitchell being in Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, Stagecoach, AND winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Hunchback of Notre Dame that year?

  2. Replies
    1. It's going to be one of the eleven movies that I will be reviewing. The movies I did mention were either three star recommendations, ones I would not recommend, some I had not seen, and four I had reviewed prior to creating this category. That leaves the four and five star recommendations, which will be the next eleven posts.

  3. I really forgot how fun Speed was until I rewatched it recently.

    1. It is. If I see it when I'm changing channels I'll usually stop and watch it for a while, even though I own it on DVD.