The Year In Movies continues as we take a look at 1994, a year dominated by The Lion King, which held the record for the highest grossing animated film of all time before Finding Nemo took that, and Forrest Gump among many other movies.
So, let’s begin with a look at the best movies of 1994:
10. Forrest Gump
Yeah, Forrest Gump is very Oscar baity BUT it’s a harmless enjoyable film and there’s a reason why Tom Hanks won back-to-back Oscars for this and the #1 movie on this list because his performance in this is excellent.
9. True Lies
Not only was this a return to form for Arnold Schwarzenegger after Last Action Hero was a financial failure….but a fun over the top action movie on its’ own…and it’s James Cameron doing what he does best.
8. Natural Born Killers
A great Oliver Stone underrated movie with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis leading an all-star cast in one of the funniest and most insane over the top action movies ever made.
A slick fun over the top action movie with Reeves showcasing his good acting abilities along with Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, and Jeff Daniels.
6. The Shawshank Redemption
A great Frank Darabont movie with Tim Robbins & Morgan Freeman in the first of Darabont’s two great adaptations of Stephen King novels, the other being The Green Mile.
5. Quiz Show
The film on the Twenty One game show scandal in which it’s the rise and fall of popular contestant Charles Van Doren after the rigged loss of Herb Stempel, and Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin’s subsequent probe. A great Robert Redford directed movie with Ralph Finnes, John Turturro, Rob Morrow, and David Paymer.
4. The Lion King
Problems aside, The Lion King does hold up to this day. I don’t think it holds up to the levels of Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, or The Little Mermaid, but it does hold as a whole. If you really enjoy this movie, definitely check it out just to see it on a big screen.
The chemistry between Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson as Dante and Randal is excellent, you immediately get the sense that these two know each other for a long time and have a good riff going on between each other. And then you have Jay & Silent Bob, which, yeah, what more can you say about these two that hasn’t been said already? In this movie, they’re hilarious.
As is the rest of the movie, it’s hilarious, very hilarious, extremely funny, very well written, well directed by Kevin Smith, well acted, it’s a indie classic and one of Smith’s greatest accomplishments as a director.
2. Pulp Fiction
Tarantino at his finest, great cast, great characters, great action, great comedy, great dialogue, it’s just great entertainment.
and the #1 best movie of 1994 is…
Hoop Dreams works because you become invested in its’ two main characters, you see families acting like real families, you don’t see obnoxiousness for the sake of being obnoxious, you see anger when it needs to be there, you see joy when it needs to be there, you don’t care that it’s over three hours long because you’re loving what’s going on.
That’s what makes this movie so great and that’s why it’s one of my favorite movies, it takes chances but at the same time, doesn’t lose sight of the messages it’s trying to bring out. It’s a classic movie that keeps you invested all the way through.
Those are the best but what about the worst movies that 1994 gave us:
10. On Deadly Ground
Steven Seagal wanted to do this so Warner Bros., trying to get Under Siege 2 made, said, “yes, Steven, do whatever you want with this.” And this is why Steven Seagal will never be taken seriously as an action star because my god, this shit was bad.
A really lazy attempt at trying to create a new Basic Instinct by also getting Michael Douglas involved. This movie was so stupid, it was trying to be sexy but it comes off as sleazy, Demi Moore’s character comes on to Douglas and fucks him on the first fucking night, the first night, I expect this kind of shit in porn films not in a studio produced movie from Barry Levinson.
8. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Francis Ford Coppola essentially trying to do what the same thing he did with Dracula two years prior except it’s Kenneth Branagh producing and Coppola presenting and it just doesn’t work Branagh directs and stars and Robert De Niro as the monster is a waste in this.
7. Milk Money
A loving heartfelt family comedy about three boys who pay for Melanie Griffith as a prostitute and Griffith ends up falling in love with one of the boys’ father, played by Ed Harris…..wait, what?
6. Being Human
The film portrays the experience of a single human soul, portrayed by Williams, through various incarnations. Williams is the only common actor throughout the stories that span man’s history on Earth. Sort of a precursor to what Cloud Atlas would eventually become, Being Human has interesting ideas but a botched delivery.
5. Monkey Trouble
What a badly made kids movie with Thora Birch working off an asshole monkey…no, really, the monkey in this movie is a straight up asshole.
Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering a baby….oh no, he’s not a doctor, he is literally giving birth to a child…should’ve been funny but instead, it’s horrifying on all cylinders.
Oh, a movie about the Big Red Dog, right? No, stop me if this sound so stupid, okay, Martin Short plays a 10 year old kid….okay, I’ll shut up now. A reminder, this is not an animated movie where Short is voicing the kid, no, this was a live-action movie where the then 44 year old Martin Short is playing a damn 10 year old throughout the entire movie. I don’t even need to say anymore, this sucks horribly.
2. Beverly Hills Cop III
Beverly Hills Cop III failed because the people working on this, even Eddie Murphy, feel like they didn’t want to do it. Hell, there are even reports that Eddie Murphy was in a state of depression when he decided to take on this project and has since publicly come out against the film stating that the third film was “atrocious” and such a disgrace that “the character was kind of banished for a while [from Hollywood].” He said he felt the third film did not reveal enough of the “edginess” of Axel that was present in the first two films. He also said he hopes to return the edgy qualities to the character when he reprises the role next time, and is going to pay more attention to the development of the project and its quality.
So, whether or not a fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie actually gets made is still to be determined but let’s hope it does and it does go back to the original roots of the first two films because BHC III is not what you should be getting from a Beverly Hills Cop sequel. It lacks the comedy, it lacks the heart, it lacks the action, it lacks the good storytelling, it lacks Eddie Murphy’s wit and edge to the character, it’s a threequel that feels like nothing but a bad cashgrab. It sucks, plain and simple, and it’s only gonna get worse from here folks.
and the #1 worst movie of 1994 is…
The plot is interesting enough but the fact that somebody with the caliber of Rob Reiner was making this junk, that’s the biggest flaw of this movie, it has all the right elements there but Reiner basically just said “fuck my credibility, I need to make one really terrible movie in my career, apparently, it’s the law.”
North really is one of the biggest stumbles of all time, a great cast, a great director, and an interesting plot all wasted on bad story development, huge continuity issues, and just downright offensively bad comedy. You can say that most kids movies from your childhood hold up for nostalgia sake but trust me, this really is one of those movies that regardless of how old it gets, will never be remembered as anything but what it is, a steaming pile of shit.
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