Best of birth years, this is where I take a look at the movies I loved & hated, but I'm also adding in some honorable mentions. I'm also adding a fourth (Though short) category of the 'Love/Hate' which are movies I both hate & love.
My birth year, 1993, was a fascinating year due to the fact that I went into this thinking of a few movies that I know were released in 93, but then the deeper I dug into it I started seeing titles I totally blanked out or forgot were released that year.
So let's get started with the best movies!
-The Sandlot: With parents who were very much enamored with watching Dodgers baseball games on TV throughout my life, this films was unavoidable. In my opinion this film is a baseball film second & a coming of age film first. The characters are all so realistic that I as a kid very much related to. We had the fat kid, the nerdy kid, the new kid, the kid who was like a veteran badass but with a heart of gold (Am I forgetting more?). Though it was very relatable, I didn't know anyone who had a club treehouse. 'Sigh', I wish I had a treehouse. The Sandlot is also a fine Comedy/Drama first, then a fun kid's film second with scenes like when they all chew tobacco, ride on the spinning roller coaster & start filling the skies with puke, then there's that scene that I'm shocked people are complaining about. The scene where the nerdy kid fakes drowning so the busty girl can save him & give him mouth to mouth. As a pre-pubecent kid that shit is funny! In my more analytical, more socially conscious self now.....I STILL FIND THAT SHIT FUNNY! Fuck all y'all!
I was shocked to find out this film is a cult classic, it should be more than just that. Also the sequel is a piece of shit & now I'm hearing rumors that '20th Century Fox' wants to make a prequel to this film. How in hell is that going to work? We don't need a prequel, what made this film work is we pretty much see the film through the view of the new kid as he moves in to the new home, meets this ragtag group of kids & bond over baseball in the 1950's. It was good, funny, heartwarming & it's something you don't see alot in mainstream kid's films anymore. It's all goofy comedy & over the top slapstick. We should get more of these live action, slice of life movies again, for kids.
I don't understand the 'hate' this film gets. Sure, it's a SNL movie & provides cameos from other Saturday Night Live cast members & in that library of films based off sketches it's no 'Blues Brothers', but it is nowhere near the dread of 'It's Pat'.
Coneheads is my favorite comedy film of this year! It took the Coneheads & put them in middle America suburbia where they struggle to reach the American dream while being chased by the INS. Many people today may think "Oh really? They're just making fun of Illegal immigrants. This is insensitive." I really don't believe that. I truly think this film is pro sanctuary because the villains in this film are the INS & they are the butt of the satirical joke. There's the David Spader character always kissing ass, being insensitive rather than helping the people in his job & it's really funny when after kissing the head of the INS's ass so much, at the alien planet he starts kissing the Conehead emperor's ass. The Coneheads are really just trying to live their new life & adjusting to America just like real life Immigrants. Thankfully Dan Akroyd & Jane Curtin reprise their roles as Beldar & Prymatt & they don't play these aliens, they are the aliens the same way Gary Oldman doesn't just play Drexyl, but he becomes Drexyl. I also love that scene where Connie (The daughter of the coneheads) eats that Subway sandwich in one bite, not only because it was weirdly erotic, but because it was odd. Rather than making some weird special effect to make her mouth open wide, they made this Subway sandwich all wavy & wobbly with a CGI effect. This film has some very awesome special effects, from the sorta dated CGI to the miniature effects of the spaceships. Also the film has an awesome/creepy sequence of this stop motion Garthok done by stop motion extraordinaire/Dinosaur supervisor Phil Tippet & the fine folks at ILM.
It's funny & it's pretty imaginative, a word you rarely say in these sketch turned feature films. The creature effects, the miniature effects, the exterior shots of the Conehead planet, it's all gorgeous! You could tell alot of effort was put into this movie & I wish there was more Conehead planet stuff. This film also is one of those PG rated films that would easily be R-rated today. Lotta raunchy humor in this flick & we get a huge eyeful of Beldar's no ass crack ass in a locker room scene. Then there's that chewing gum bit I mentioned earlier, that still gets me.
I just adore this film, it's one of those films that's capable of cheering up my cynical ass. I was also glad to find that 'State Farm' the insurance firm released a commercial, three years ago, starring the coneheads & that made my day!
This film is way more than just a shoot 'em up action film with Stallone, it's satirical & it's funny. My favorite bit is the one where Stallone, Sandra Bullock & the other guy travel underground & Stallone smells burgers. He buys one by bartering a Rolex (I believe) & Sandra Bullock (Her character's name is Lelina Huxley) asks "Do you see any cows anywhere?" Then the lady selling burgers says the burger is made of rat meat. I love the look Stallone gives, he gives this genuine look of satisfaction & says "Well that's a damn good rat burger." I just love that. Then there's that bit he says at that Taco Bell
"Hurting people isn't fun! Well, sometimes it is, but not when those people are
I gotta talk about Lelina, she is the perfect cipher for all of us who were born in a specific decade & have an appreciation/fascination with stuff from before we were born. Also she's a badass martial artists who references 80's/90's HK Action. Her room is full of retro stuff from a jukebox, all the way to a poster of 'Lethal Weapon 2' (Or was it 3?). Lelina is badass & we as action film fanboys & fangirls can easily relate to this awesome chick, but of course she is then knocked unconscious by John with those techno baton things. She can handle her own in a fight! Why knock her out? Macho bullshit, but whether this was meant to be a satirical joke or succumbing to action movie tropes, I do not know.
Then there's Simon Pheonix, Wesley Snipes plays a damn good villain & his maniacal cackling still makes me smile. I don't even think Snipes was acting, I truly believe he was let loose on the set & the cameras were rolling without him knowing. He looked like he was having such a great time in that film.
This whole movie has been severely overlooked & it really is more relevant now than it was back then. Just replace the society with the internet. That whole world of San Angeles is what the internet is now where we got the people who want to keep the internet clean, safe & uber democratized while you got the other side wanting to just be free from the BS, but then you also got the minority (portrayed by Simon Pheonix) who just want anarchy & destruction, kinda like a specific group online that just likes to be ruthless & remorseless. Think about it.
My first exposure to this movie was funny. It was a Saturday & the film aired on TV. As a troll, my sister changed the channel & said "You can't watch that." I just ran into our shared room & turned on the TV to watch this epic as hell sci-fi movie with Stallone. Some of my cousins came to visit & they were begging me to go outside with them. I pretty much dismissed it & said "No, I'm watching this movie."
Then in return they reply as stupidly as they can "We already saw this one."
Piss off. That's all I got to say & also Miguel Ferrer is awesome in this film, when is he not?
-Kalifornia: David Duchovny & pale goddess Michelle Forbes go on a road trip to document places where murders took place. All along their trip they come across redneck Juliette Lewis (When is she never a redneck? Oh wait, she was a DJ in 'GTA IV' as herself) & redneck Brad Pitt. As they travel far it becomes slowly clear that Brad Pitt is a serial killer & he wants to have sex with Michelle Phrobes. Who doesn't, but his way is rapey so no, we don't want her in that way. God no!
I kinda dug the film, didn't think it was bad. It was a solid film which I didn't find any flaws in. Want to watch Brad Pitt have sex with a short Juliette Lewis in a classic car while Brad Pitt makes the funniest grunting sounds? This is the movie for you!
Fun for the whole family!!!
This film is all kinds of awesome & it's over the top. You got Van Damme judo chopping a snake & biting its tail off. Everything from cardboard to the water in the lake blows up in a firey pyrotechnic explosion & everyone gets riddled with bullets! One of the best shots is where Van Damme dual wields pistols & fires them on this guy who was attempting to toss a grenade at him & the grenade blows up on this dude's face! It was fucking awesome!!!
This was one film I've been trying to find as a kid with no luck, it wasn't until I was in High School I downloaded a rental copy from the (This shows how old school I am) Playstation Network. This film is a must see for any action film fans, also check out 'Hard Boiled'.
Before I forget, this film shows Batman bleeding. I miss when kid's films get pretty gruesome like that. Sure, nobody's getting torn to bits, but why can't we have cartoons where characters bleed? We all bleed! Not just a nose bleed, I mean getting scrapes all over! Let cartoon characters bleed damnit!
Oh, and Bill Cosby is in this film. Sadly it's pretty hard to ignore that since he plays a pivitol role in the film. Just to warn you. Aside from that, it's a good film for movie night.
-City Hunter: If you want to read my thoughts on this flick, check out my review on an 8-pack Jackie Chan DVD collection. 'City Hunter' is one of those films I reviewed on there.
Jackie Chan Eight Film Collection (Review):
All you need to know is this film is 'based' (I say that very loosely) on the Anime & Manga and this is the film where Jackie Chan cosplay as Chun Li.
-Only The Strong: Mark Decascos (Yes, the Iron Chef guy) stars in this film that I can only describe as a hybrid of 90's genres. Only The Strong tries to be an inspirational underdog story, it tries to be a Martial Arts action film & it tries to be one of those 'One person takes on crime in an inner city school plagued by gangs & drugs' genre from films like 'Dangerous Minds, The Principal, The Substitute, etc etc.' This film is not a great film, but by god it's a fun film & whenever it's on TV I will watch it!
So Mark Decascos plays Louis Stevens, a solider who comes back to his hometown in Florida, only to find that his old high school has become riddled with drugs & gangs. The only way he can get this school back into shape is if he teaches a handful of teenagers Brazilian Jujitsu, also known as Capoeira, also known by 'Bob's Burgers' as Sexy Dance Fighting. If you can get past the cliches & tropes, this film is fun! Mark Decascos is great in this film & so are the other folks in this flick! It's like watching Jackie Chan star in a 90's remake of 'Stand & Deliver' without the Calculus. I also have to mention the soundtrack, it's full of 90's hip hop, but it also contains a great selection of Brazilian tunes including the 'Zoom Zoom Zoom' song which many around my age remember from those Mazda commercials. I think I saw this film just as those commercials started airing. The film is great, some of the characters are laughable, but end up growing on you & end up being likable.
As I said before, this is nowhere near a classic, but it's all good fun!
-Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life): Most gang cholo films deal with the male side of that subculture, but you rarely hear about the female side who are just shoved into the background of most these films. Usually females in gang films are done as a sad excuse to show massive amounts of lesbianism or T&A, the exploitation way! Because who wants to watch a whole film with just men, put a vagina in there! Luckily this film is a drama that shows us the day & life of these Chola teens in Echo Park. There is no one story, it's a series of vignettes that connect where almost a few of these girls get their spotlight & we learn of their dreams, their day to day lives, their relationships with men or family & their struggles. One of the closest, more accurate summaries I can post on here was written by someone named 'Reid Gagle' on IMDB:
"Mousie and Sad Girl are childhood best friends in a contemporary Los Angeles poor Hispanic neighborhood. But when Sad Girl becomes pregnant by Mousie's boyfriend, a drug dealer named Ernesto, the two become bitter enemies. While their dispute escalates towards violence, the violence of the world around them soon also impacts their lives."
There always has to be a 'Sad Girl' on every gang.
IMDB's headline on the film says it's released in 1993, but in the detail description it says it was released in July 15th of 1994. Some say 93, some say 94. Fuck it, this is part of my list now! 93!
Also I like the cover for the Tartan Video release much better than the poorly designed HBO Video cover. What's up with the cheap photoshopped dude in the corner? Why's he here? It looks crappy.
Criterion needs to add this film to their library & use the photgraph on Tartan's cover. Doesn't matter what version you get, it's a great independent film & you get to see a Salma Hayek in a very early role in this flick. Highly recommended.
Tartan Video Release
Cheap ass HBO Release
What else can I say? If you love that Pit Fighter sub genre of martial arts films, you'll dig this film. Lots of good choreographed fighting, lotta cool action sequences & explosions. It's not a bad sequel & also check out the third film. The fourth film, I heard it was not that good, but I haven't seen that one in such a long while.
-Godzilla VS MechaGodzilla II: Ladies & Gentlemen, this is in fact theee first Godzilla film I have ever seen in my life. This is the film that introduced me to Godzilla & boii what an introduction! I remember being at a neighbor's house playing with legos & Hot Wheels, then his mom turned on the TV & there was Godzilla smashing buildings & being shot at by the military. At first I thought this was Power Rangers, but it wasn't Power Rangers, but it looked like Power Rangers, except there were no colorful megazords. So the plot, it's a Glodzilla film, there's your plot! Buildings get destroyed, the Japanese run for their lives, the new Mechagodzilla looks pretty badass & updated for the 90's. Not only that, but also we get a better reintroduction of the Son of Godzilla who's first debut was less than exceptional. He looked like a cookie monster & he debuted in what's considered one of the worst Godzilla films ever made, according to the fans. In this film he looks adorable enough for the kids, but at least in this one he doesn't look like a cookie monster with a goofy Hanna Barbera voice.
I adored this film back in the day & it's what got me to seek out all those other 200 Godzilla movies. Alright, that's an over exaggerated estimate, but I still haven't seen all the Godzilla movies & its spin offs
I will always view this film as the movie that formed my tastes along with the HK Action & the sci-fi movies I watched around that same time. This flick is not a bad Godzilla flick so this one is a great starting point, ignore the 'II' at the end of the title. All Godzilla flicks don't have this deep continuity, so you can start anywhere. I should also add I have not seen the original 'Godzilla VS MechaGodzilla', or maybe I have. To be honest, I haven't kept track, they all look the same, except for the creatures & the year they were made.
-Iron Monkey: Homeboy Donnie Yen (All of you kids out there may know him as IP Man) stars as what is basically Chinese Robin Hood. At the end of the day this is a Hong Kong martial arts take on Robin Hood & from the moment I saw this film I fell in deep love with it. I especially love this scene where it goes through this montage of the Iron Monkey going around mysteriously dropping sacks of money to the poor & tossing rocks at people who decide to be greedy with notes saying stuff like "Don't be greedy" with a picture of an angry monkey on it. Also you got Miss Orchard, the Iron Monkey's lover/partner in crime who isn't just another pretty face on screen. You pretty much get the gist of what Iron Monkey is all about. One thing I do find disheartening is the Miramax release pushed Quinten Tarantino's name more than the film itself. It's as if punkass Harvey Weinstein has serious contempt for the audience.
"Nobody's going to watch them 'Chap Sacky' films without Tarantino's name all over the packaging!"
It's cool that this film got serious attention (A decade later, released once 'Kill Bill' was a hit) because Tarantino got that maidas touch, but it's disheartening to see that nobody takes Foreign films seriously in America, unless you live in a very metropolitan city where you can get away with screening all 18 episodes of 'Twin Peaks, Season 3' at a theater.
I love 'Iron Monkey', I have yet to watch the sequel though.
-Once A Cop (A.K.A: SuperCop 2): I will save further opinions of this film for a future set of reviews I have planned, but for now I must say this is a pretty solid flick, despite the dubbing & the marketing blurbs on the 'Dimension Films' release. Michelle Yeoh stars in this exciting action packed film full of fights & shootouts. I highly recommend it. Why not, Michelle Yeoh kicks some serious ass!
-Crime Story: Once again, I must defer to my review on the 'Jackie Chan Eight Pack DVD'. I talk about Crime Story there. All you need to know is this is like an R-rated remake of 'Police Story'. It follows in the same tropes & ideas that were shown in the first two Police Story films. Jackie tries to nab a group of criminals, they always get away, Jackie becomes pissed & stressed & becomes a loose cannon on the third act. This is also a very solid action flick full of more shootouts & explosions than martial arts. Quite a rarity when it comes to Jackie Chan flicks.
If that scene does not sell you on this flick. You are fucking blind!!!!
Either way, if you're sick of male dominated action films Hollywood has been shoving down you throat for the past 100 years & you aren't some idiot who likes to put their politics into entertainment, then try some HK Cinema, they were ahead of the curve when it came to female characters in film. Try 'The Heroic Trio'. It's action packed, it's weird & it's bloody. I distinctly remember seeing part of the sequel a long while back, but I can't tell you if it's bad or good.
And last but not least, a film that has been severely maligned & in my opinion, unfairly criticized.
This flick was like an obsession for me in my childhood.
Directed by Annabel Jankel & Rocky Morton, the same couple who created 'Max Headroom', this is one of thee most oddest, weirdest & most batshit insane adaptations of a well known video game EVER.The tagline 'This Ain't No Game' (The first ever time I saw 'ain't' used in an advert) should of tipped off people that this is not going to be like the video game.
The film trades its mushroom kingdom & cartoony look for a live action dystopian cyberpunk future equipped with towering landscapes, half human/half dinosaur hybrids & Dennis Hopper (High on coke, not joking) as King Koopa! This flick was one where as a wee lad I remember my parents watching and being mindblown by the scene where a cloaked woman leaves an egg on the doorsteps of a cathedral & these nuns set the egg on a pedestal & watch as a baby hatches out of that egg. You guys can't beleive how fucked up this was to my 4 or 3 year old brain. I spent my childhood thinking babies came out of eggs & wondering what weird as hell movie this was. It wasn't until a few years back when I sat down to watch this film out of curiosity & was completely blown away when this opening scene started playing.
"It's that film!" I shouted when that scene came on. It's like a sad self sense of accomplishment.
I feel people take this film too seriously & assume it's a bad movie just because it takes a very unorthodox view on the source material. Sure, it's not a faithful adaptation, but it sure is a wild & crazy film that I completely adore for that reason alone. The special effects are amazing, especially the Arial view of King Koopa's fortress set against the sunset & towering above the almost microchip looking city below.
To all the folks who hate this film, watch it as a stand alone film, quit referring to the video games & have fun with it. It's not a terrible film, but it does have flaws, I will admit that. I will defend this flick till the day I die. Also, this is one of those PG rated flicks that tries to be a cut above. Originally Jankel & Morton wanted this film to be much darker (bordering on PG-13 to R-rated), but 'Hollywood Pictures' decided against it since they were obviously aiming at the kid's market. I would love to see their darker version of a Mario film, but just like so many 'what if' films, they can only be seen through our daydream imaginations. I don't get how people can love the Marvel films that look (Sometimes they don't act) nothing like their comic book counterparts, yet crap all over this flick?
One last memory here, I remember showing one of my best friends the trailer on YouTube. He thought I was talking out of my ass when I told him there was a live action Mario Bros movie. After showing him the trailer on ye early YouTube, it almost looked like he was going to pass out. Now it's said the people behind 'Despicable Me' want to make a Mario Bros movie. Sure, it's going to be animated & it's going to be full of Hollywood talent, but I doubt it will contain the creativity, the bizzareness & the fun of the 1993 Live action film.
But that's just my opinion. We'll see how it goes.
Next week, I will be talking the Movies I hate. So stay tuned for Part II of this celebration of films from my birth year.
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