My Favorite: Movies: of 1994

One of a series of posts, continually updated, where I write about [media] I love, in this case being movies from 1994.  Not necessarily movies I saw in 1994, but ones released that year regardless of when I got around to watching them.  Most of these I actually saw in the theaters back in 1994 so it has been many years ago and I’m relying on my memory and my general sense of how I would have ranked them back then.  I did a trawl through IMDB to try and make sure I wasn’t forgetting a less popular gem I might have overlooked but I can’t swear I’m not forgetting something.  I also will need to update this list after watching any of these again or after watching something great from this year for the first time.

1.  Pulp Fiction  

This was the first Quentin Tarantino movie I had seen and it completely overwhelmed me.  All my thoughts creatively for several years were infected by this movie’s hyper pop culture quirkiness and jump cut approach to chronology.

2.  Clerks

Like many, many people I was impressed by the story of Clerks as much as the movie itself.  Made for a ridiculously low amount of money by a dude who looked as average as you can get, watching Clerks was an invitation to everyone to make their own movie if they really, really wanted to.  Turns out I didn’t really, really want to but the Clerks mythology fueled my creative efforts for some time to come.

Also as rough as it is there are a lot of funny scenes in this movie.

3.  Shallow Grave (which is currently posted on YouTube here)

The first movie directed by Danny Boyle that I saw and probably still my favorite of his — such a great twisty story presented with a ton of style.  This was such a well done character study of three flawed, but totally identifiable people – it both charmed and horrified my 20ish year old self.

An impressive cast — Ewan McGregor going on to the fastest fame and fortune afterwards, but also including Christopher Eccleston who has also had an amazing career.  Rounding out the flatmates is Kerry Fox.

The screenplay was by John Hodge who seems to almost exclusively worked with director Danny Boyle — their collaborative films include Trainspotting (1996) A Life Less Ordinary (1997), and The Beach (2000).

4.  The Last Seduction

I hadn’t seen a lot of noir movies at this point in my life so this one introduced me to a lot of the genre as well as being a nicely executed movie itself.

5.  The Hudsucker Proxy

I have a tremendous sweet spot for Tim Robbins’ character in this movie; I just loved the way he captured the naive striver.  Granted the whole movie feels like a movie the entire time but that is often the case in a Coen Brothers production and I never was that bothered by the artificiality of this effort.  I also thought Jennifer Jason Leigh’s reporter was amazing and whether she was doing a homage or a parody of characters from classic screwball comedies was besides the point for me.  When you add in that Sam Raimi co-wrote the script that completely seals my affection for this movie.

6.  Natural Born Killers

I hated lots of the movie on first watching but I also had the benefit of seeing with a lot of smart friends who immediately after viewing it set to drinking and discussing it.  It’s a powerful movie that in retrospect was just ahead of reality by not that many years at all.

7.  Backbeat

I have fond memories of this take on the years before the Beatles became famous with its focus on the tragic Stuart Sutcliffe, the fifth Beatle.

8.  Crumb

Seriously have you seen this documentary?  Robert Crumb – amazing comic artist and amazing character.

9.  The Crow

Charismatic star turn from Brandon Lee in the movie mixed with the real life tragedy of his death.  Plus a killer soundtrack.

10.  Cabin Boy

I really though Chris Elliott was funny in this.  Plus, I loved the cameo by David Letterman.

Other pretty good films from 1994 I have seen:

  • Muriel’s Wedding 
  • Bullets Over Broadway
  • Barcelona
  • The Madness of King George
  • Quiz Show
  • Reality Bites
  • Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
  • Dumb & Dumber
  • Clear and Present Danger
  • Forrest Gump
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Speed
  • Serial Mom
  • The Road to Wellville
  • True Lies
  •  Il Postino: The Postman
  • I.Q.
There are also a bunch of movies from 1994 that I didn’t see that I need to put on my to-watch list including Interview with the VampireStargateFour Weddings and a Funeral; Léon: The Professional; The Shawshank Redemption; CrooklynEd WoodPrêt-à-PorterHeavenly CreaturesMrs. Parker and the Vicious CircleSpanking the Monkey; Chungking Express; Swimming with Sharks; and Rapa Nui.

I am also amazed that I never got around to seeing the Krzysztof Kieslowski Three Colors trilogy: Blue (released in 1993); White; and Red.

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