Razor Burn

Today is June 03, known the world over as International Razor Burn Day. Get out there and show your bumps!

There will be material tomorrow, but in case you decline to show up, June 04 is International DUDE Day. Release your inner dude. (There are new contributors to International Day, but I want to wait until Wednesday to introduce them.)

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We've been counting down the best movies of the '90s, and are up to 1994. I posted it, and I realized that these movies were so awesome, they deserved to make the home page. So that's what I'm doing.

Read part 1 (15-11)

Read part 2 (10-6)


We come now to the cream of the crop of 1994, and you'd put this group up against any of the decade; or any decade. Before I get there, though, here are some off-beat smaller films I totally enjoyed, and well worth the look on their own merits: REALITY BITES, THE CROW, SPANKING THE MONKEY, COLOR OF NIGHT, THE LAST SEDUCTION, DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, I.Q., PRET-À-PORTER

and now the top 5:


#5 LEGENDS OF THE FALL – I think this is my favorite Brad Pitt performance, and he’s incredibly underrated as an actor for such a star. I’m more than half convinced that the major reason I grew my hair halfway down my back was to look like Brad Pitt in this movie. After LEGENDS I used to say I was in love with Brad Pitt, but I think I just wanted to be him. Anthony Hopkins is reliably awesome as usual, and Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas round out the family destroyed by a woman; played by Julia Ormond. At the time the world was blown away by her. The following years showed she was a one trick pony, but thank God we got her best performance first. LEGENDS OF THE FALL had the best non-Star Wars preview I’ve ever seen (no words; nothing but that fantastic score over the incredible images), and captures larger-than-life tragedy in a way that wasn’t duplicated until TITANIC. Heartily heartily recommended.



#4 FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL – This is one of my very favorite films. I saw it in the theatre that year a dozen times, and it became my litmus test for whether people were cool. I think I had a crush on Hugh Grant for about a year after WEDDINGS. A genius premise (delivering pretty much what it promises), filled with warm and biting humor. (I got my parents to watch it by explaining how in England the “F” word wasn’t considered as bad. You may need to employ this tactic.) I think I like FOUR WEDDINGS so much because of the friendships. Those are the kinds of friends I wanted to have then. Still do, I guess.



#3 HEAVENLY CREATURES – Remains the most difficult film in the world for me to watch, because of how close it hit to home. Based on the real life events of a murder in New Zealand in the 1950s that shocked the country (as the opening credits reveal this I give away nothing), HEAVENLY CREATURES is directed with skill and daring by a then-unknown Peter Jackson. (Is it any wonder he went on to become the legend he is?) Also introduced to the world was Kate Winslett, pitch-perfect in her first performance. There’s nothing about this film that isn’t flawless. There also isn’t anything about it that isn’t difficult, scary, perplexing and audacious. Do not attempt to watch unless you are a brave person. (Ironically, film-tone-deaf people will have no problems with HEAVENLY CREATURES, and will probably find the film boring. They are not allowed in my presence.)



#2 THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – As Steven King can ruefully tell you, it is difficult to adapt a full-length novel into a coherant movie. Up until 1994 the only real successes (with the exception of THE SHINING, which King hated because of how they butchered the book) were TV miniseries, where more time to be given to develop the complex characters and stories. With SHAWSHANK, they adapted a Steven King short story, and were thus able to really get into it. For the first time the Literati snobs were forced to admit that King is a great writer (before that they usually wrote him off as a genre hack because he wrote so much horror, never bothering to read and see how psychological much of it was). SHAWSHANK gives us two great actors giving arguably the performances of their careers in Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, but includes great supporting work as well. Most of all it is just a compelling story, powerfully human, powerfully sad, and just plain powerful.And the number one movie of 1994 is.....



#1 PULP FICTION – The third best film of the 1990s is also—easily—the most important. It is not possible to overstate the impact PULP FICTION had on the movie landscape. We hadn’t seen a jolt to Hollywood like this really since STAR WARS. Everyone just assumed that movies had to be made a certain way. Suddenly the possibilities opened up. Much like CITIZEN KANE (another film so ahead of its time that the Academy could only award it Best Original Screenplay, the one award PULP won), director/auteur Quentin Tarantino didn’t invent anything, but mixed and matched movie tricks he’d learned watching every film ever made to deliver a kalaidascope world like nothing we’d seen before. Tarantino used language, costumes, sets and dialogue as weapons, as art, as integral pieces of his film. The result was an explosion of ideas and genres; as countless filmmakers were inspired. Those who attempted to copy the master usually failed miserably, but the movement could not be undone. Today we enjoy a much broader experience in the world of Cinema than the people of 1994. Much of this is directly because of the vision of one man. PULP FICTION is the most essential film of the decade, one of a handful the history books and memories will hold onto and embrace for decades to come.

There's also a great Political version of Guess that Celebrity on Monkey Barn, and Alligator Pit is full. Up Tomorrow: Special Patriotic (more or less) edition

1 comment:

tiff said...

I do so love the new header quote.