In all honesty 1994 wasn’t a great year for it’s depth in great movies so whereas I usually have to trim down my list to get it to 35 I actually struggled to get it up to 35. Really had to go looking hard. Anyway the upper part of the list is insanely strong so that makes up for it.
35. Street Fighter
Oh boy we’re off to a flier for so many reasons. Ok so first off yes, this is a famously guff movie with corny acting, weak action, truly bizarre casting choices, unnecessary plot changes from the game and Kylie Minogue for some reason. Bad guys were now seen as good guys and vice versa, most Asian characters were played by native Americans, it’s just weird. So why is it here?. I was ten years old and obsessed with the video game on my Super Nintendo and anything Street Fighter related I was all about. Raul Julia did this movie because his kids we fans like me even though he was dying from stomach cancer. This would be his last movie and although that is always lamented, I think it’s great that this wonderful actor finished his career by making his kids happy. ….Oh and remember last time I said I thought Van Damme’s streak on the list was over?…..I lied I guess.
Best Bit-“One Bison dollar”
34. Hated: GG Allin And The Murder Junkies
A documentary about GG Allin and his band of misfits. If you don’t know the man then you’re in for a shock and that’s exactly what he wants. A sad man really in many ways, he was desperate to shock and was pretty damn successful with shitting on stage and eating it being commonplace at his gigs. A heroin addicted psychopath that even Dee Dee Ramone couldn’t be in a band with for more than a couple of weeks after seeing him throwing bottles at prostitutes. He’d fight with audiences, cut himself with glass and perform naked with his tiny willy staring at you like a button for his pubes. He’d eventually overdose during post production on the movie that stunningly is the work of a college student called Todd Philips. That’s the guy that did Old School and The Hangover trilogy……quite the range.
Best Bit-Bye bye banana
33. I’ll Do Anything
James L. Brooks, the master of the emotional comedy and one of the genuine brains behind The Simpsons classic era directs this slice of warm satire about a struggling actor (Nick Nolte) looking after his 6 year old daughter (Whittni Wright) alone. It’s sweet and amusing with an annoying but great performance from the wee girl. Albert Brooks being in a movie always helps elevate it.
Best Bit-“I want my yellow dress”
32. Killing Zoe
Another poster I had on my wall as a kid (on my door actually) despite not having seen it at the time. It’s one VIP video store was throwing out and they used to give me ones I wanted. Around this time the opportunity to plaster Tarantino’s name over anything he’s remotely involved in all over posters. He’s an executive producer in this French heist caper (by way of America) which is basically saying he allowed his name to be used and would consult the crew if needed. This is Roger Avary’s first movie and it’s a good one about safe crackers.
Best Bit-Entering the safe
Kevin Smith’s micro budget debut that became a wordlwide cult hit and in my opinion is wildly overrated by many but hey that’s just me. It’s obviously a good film in my opinion or it wouldn’t be in here but it was hardly the generation defining masterpiece his hardcore fans hail it as. It has the biting dialogue that Smith would become known for with toilet humour and pop culture references but poor acting (Other than Jeff Anderson) all round bogs it down a little. Smith is a polarizing figure and I understand that as sometimes I really like him and other times I find him insufferable. I really do have a confused viewpoint towards him, it’s incredibly frustrating. Oh….good soundtrack too.
Best Bit-Death star conversation
Ok so I double lied about Van Damme’s streak being over…..pretty sure it is now…..we’ll see. Set in the distant future of 2004 where time travel is now a thing, Van Damme plays a cop who is heading through different periods of time, sorting out criminals and leaving plot holes the size of a very large ….thing. Yes it’s convoluted and a bit of a mess but it’s a fun mess and in the end sometimes you just want to turn your brain off and have fun. Based on the Dark Horse comics.
Best Bit-Home invasion
29.Leon: The Professional
Where this stylish hitman movie sets itself apart from others is in the unusual but sweet relationship between Jean Reno and a young Natalie Portman. Portman plays a wee girl whose family is killed by corrupt DEA agents who find herself being looked after by Reno’s hitman character. He teaches her how to defend herself and then some. Luc Besson directs this slick French thriller.
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp working together? NEVER. Anyway this comedy biography of the cult sci fi horror film maker is a tongue and cheek, playful look at the man who made what many believe to be the worst movies ever. The movie that is coming out soon about “The Room” is the exact same premise and there’s something endearing about so bad they’re good movies that are fun to watch. It was a huge critical success despite bombing at the box office with critics praising Martin Landau, Depp Bill Murray for their performances, particularly Landau who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bel Lugosi. Legendary practical effects guru Rick Baker also won an Oscar.
Best Bit-“I have no home”
27. Wing Chun
Ahhh Michelle Yeoh, how amazing you are. Oh Donnie Yen you’re here too? Well let me tell you how amazing you are too. Two fantastic and charismatic legends in their prime with some monumentally stunning choreography makes this an insanely enjoyable watch. What a great year for Hong Kong martial arts movies this is. Focusing on a a woman named Wing Chun (not the martial arts style of the same name) the movie explores her life as a martial artist and how she breaks sexual stereotypes and boundaries.
Best Bit-Trying to smash the tofu
26. Clear And Present Danger
Part of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series and Harrison Ford plays Ryan in this political spy thriller. It’s a sort of sequel to “The Hunt For Red October” and “Patriot Games” and is probably the best of those three. It focuses on a covert war being carried out by the American government against a Columbian drug cartel.
Best Bit-“How dare you sir”
25.Interview With The Vampire
Based on the novel from legendary horror writer Anne Rice, this atmospheric gothic drama has an all star cast but most impressive is a young Kirsten Dunst who makes her presence felt as the girl who has been turned into a vampire by two male vampires played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. It’s clumsy and a little pretentious at times but overall it captures the dark, sexy gothic vibe that vampire flicks used to be about.
Best Bit-“I made you what you are”
24.In The Mouth Of Madness
In the mid 00s there was a cool anthology series developed by Mick Garris called “Masters Of Horror” in which many of the great horror directors and writers would come together and each develop a one hour episode. John Carpenter directed one of the more popular ones called “Cigarette Burns” which was about a movie that sent people into a murderous rage when they saw it. Anyway when I first saw it all I could think about was this Carpenter movie from a decade before in which a horror novel sends people insane. Sam Neil plays an investigator looking for the author Sutter Cane whose agent had gone on a rampage after reading one of his books. It’s based on H.P Lovecraft’s work and like a lot Carpenter’s stuff he scored the movie himself.
Best Bit-Visiting the cinema
Probably the last great Arnie movie in my opinion. Here he teams up with Jim Cameron again in an action comedy with a supporting cast of Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Eliza Dushku and more. Arnie plays a spy and Curtis plays his wife who has no idea of what he gets up to until she gets roped into the action. Typical over the top nonsense but fun.
Best Bit-Final battle
One of the ….two Adam Sandler movies I like and I like it a lot. It’s right in my wheelhouse of course as it’s about a struggling band desperate for a radio station to play their demo so they raid the studio with water pistols and take over the airwaves gaining a legion of metalhead fans but also attracting the attention of police. Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi make up the other band members with Michael McKean as the the station manager brilliantly playing the sleazy smugness up.
Best Bit- Interrogating the cop
21. The Bodyguard From Beijing aka The Defender
Early to mid 90s Jet Li was a beautiful thing to behold…he was still amazing after that but for me this was his peak. His speak, precision and timing was just utterly incredibly and a lot of that is on show here. It’s directed and choreographed by Corey Yuen who would later go to Hollywood to choreograph the likes of Lethal Weapon 4 and X-men.
Best Bit- The gas leak fight
Or as Homer called it “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down”. This was a big hit in my school, eveyone was talking about it if they had been allowed to watch it (we were ten when it came out). Such a cool concept for a movie in which a bomb has been placed on a bus and it’ll explode if it’s speed drops below 50 mph. Keanu Reeves plays the cop who must save the civilians and the always likeable Sandra Bullock plays a passenger who helps by driving the bus. Good fun and a surprise hit.
Best Bit-Escaping the bus
19.Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
Another of the posters I had on my wall…yes I was an odd child. This was on my horror sequels list and it’s a clever meta film that showed Craven innovated the meta horror genre before he directed Kevin Williamson’s script for Scream. Good old Wes, horror legend. In this movie, the Elm Street series actually exists as a movie series and the actors all play themselves but a real life Freddy creeps into their lives.
Best Bit- Julie’s death
18.Three Colours: Red
No not the rubbish 90s band, the final part of the Three Colours trilogy.A film that pretentious pricks used to use to try and hit on girls. ….is it Amelie now?. Either way it’s always French cinema for those kinds of hipsters. It’s a French film directed by a Polish director, Krzysztof Kieslowski who died a couple of years after this celebrated work. It’s about life and relationships and how all the character’s live intermingle. Good date movie…..especially for hipsters.
Best Bit-The ending
17.Natural Born Killers
Mickey and Mallory, basically Bonnie and Clyde for generation x. Oliver Stone directs this hyper stylish movie documenting the murderous rampage of the duo and satirizing the way in which the media glorifies their actions. The movie was a huge source of controversy when it came out due it’s violent content and subject matter but was praised by people who don’t jump to conclusions and get their panties in a twist over movies they haven’t seen.
Best Bit- The sitcom
The directorial debut of Danny Boyle started his relationship with Ewan McGregor as he stars alongside Cristopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox as roommate looking for a new lodger. A mysterious man gets the room and dies in it, leaving behind a suitcase full of money. The film takes a turn as the three friends spend the money recklessly until one of them starts feeling weird about the whole thing and slowly goes insane. It’s incredibly tense as the money turns them all against each other and there are some excellent performances.
Best Bit-The ending
15. Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
Possibly the weakest of the trilogy but still very very funny, it just shows how strong the other two are. Silly, goofy parody, slapstick, puns and other word play and of course Leslie Nielson who is the master of the genre. This was OJ Simpson’s final movie before….well you know.
Best Bit-Sperm bank
14.Dumb And Dumber
Another one of those movies I’m pretty sure everyone has seen so you don’t need a big description from me. It’s about two idiots and it’s funny. One of the more beloved Jim Carrey movies and Jeff Daniels certainly does a good job at keeping up with him where Carrey usually steals movies like this with his manic physical humour. It’s someone you knows favourite movie.
Best Bit- The airport
13.Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
…Well here he is again and he really was in his pomp at this time. An incredibly roll of hit movies, it seemed directors couldn’t pump out movies fast enough starring the rubber faced goofball and for the most part they were actually good. This one in particular sees Carrey sent on a mission to discover who stole the Miami dolphins’ mascot dolphin and the crazy escapades he gets up to along the way. It also introduced the world to Cannibal Corpse in a hilarious scene.
Best Bit-Sliding doors
This is getting ridiculous now. What more can I say about prime Jim Carrey in a single list? This slapstick movie is based on the Dark Horse comics of the same name and although not nearly as dark as it’s source material it makes up for it with incredible visuals and slapstick fun. Directed by Chuck Russell, the man who brought us The Dream Warriors. It’s a perfect vehicle for Carrey’s physical comedy.
Best Bit-Trouble in the club
11.New Legend Of Shaolin
It’s that man Jet Li again and once more he’s in a period epic. A then 9 year old Miu Tse plays Li’s son and performs in some incredible scenes at such a young age. It’s another movie directed by Corey Yuen alongside Wong Jing so the choreography is top notch with some impressive fight scenes and let’s be honest that’s all we want from a movie like this.
Best Bit-Kid fight
10..Street Fighter The Animated Movie
Jesus, two Street Fighter movies in the same year, just goes to show how popular the game series was at the time. The difference here is this movie is actually genuinely good and makes it in on more than nostalgic value and my childhood memories of it. It stays much closer to the motivations of the characters and the storylines made in the games. It’s really good stuff for fans and the soundtrack is great feauring the likes of Korn, KMFDM and Silverchair.
Best Bit- Vega vs Chun Li
9.The Shawshank Redemption
It may seem a little low for a movie that many critics view as the best movie of all time. The great Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “Rita Heyworth And The Shawshank Redemption” about a friendship built in prison and their quest to escape is beautiful, often funny, at times disturbing and of course emotional with superb performances from Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins (who I thought was John Gordon Sinclair when I was a kid….).
Best Bit-The ending
8.Once Were Warriors
A brutal depiction of poverty ridden Maori culture and a man’s struggle to balance the toxic masculinity of drinking with his friends and his family life. The man in question is played by a terrifying Temuera Morrison who is now more known for playing Jango Fett in Star Wars but in his mid 30s here he is just the hardest looking fella to grace the screen, just pure intimidation but he also has a handsomeness that translate to the softer scenes. Rena Owen plays his long suffering wife who has to deal with bringing kids up and a husband who is loving one minute and then flies off the handle. It’s a tough, harsh and upsetting movie that plays havoc with your emotions and it’s brilliant. It doesn’t feel like a movie, the acting is too real and it’s look at the dangers of alcohol is one that many will relate to.
Best Bit- Uncle Bully gets found out
7. Pom Poko
The one with all the tanuki balls. A beautifully sweet and funny Studio Ghibli about building developments over a span of decades with the tanuki’s forest being threatened with destruction. Like with most Ghibli films it has a strong focus on nature preservation and animal rights with resources growing more scarce the animals are fighting for survival against each other. The tanuki decide to fight back and try to halt further development. The music from Shang Shang Typhoon who do a great job mixing traditional Japanese music with a more modern rock style and the main theme is one of my favourite Ghibli pieces. Based on Japanese folklore the Tanuki can shape shift which lends itself to many comedic moments.
Best Bit- The ending
This sweet, emotional movie starring Tom Hanks was one that my family watched on our film rental night we used to do and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Tom Hanks is inherently likeable anyway but here he plays a simple, naive man with learning difficulties as we follow him through several decades of his life and it’s just impossible not to be hopeful for him. Based on the Winston Groom novel of the same name it was a critical smash and a box office monster hit.
Best Bit-Visiting Jenny’s grave
5. Fist Of Legend
Wow what an incredible year Jet Li had!. A remake of Bruce Lee’s 1972 classic Fist Of Fury, Li doesn’t falter in the shadow of the legendary kung fu star and instead makes the role his own with insane speed and creativity with choreography from that man Yuen Woo-Ping again. This is Li’s best movie since Once Upon A Time In China and really showcases his considerable talents. Once again this was a late night channel 4 discovery for me. Those were the days.
Best Bit-Final fight
One of the best comic book movies ever made and it’s legend has only grown due to unfortunate and tragic death of rising star Brandon Lee during filming after a prop gun malfunctioned. I’ve spoken about this movie in my favourite comic book movies list and the comic in my most emotional moments in comics list so there’s plenty to read about my views on the material. It’s sad, romantic, gothic and Alex Proyas’ beautiful visuals really bring the source material to life. The screenplay by the great horror writer David J. Schow really hit home.
Best Bit-“You’re all going to die”
3.Drunken Master 2
Seen as a reboot of the classic 1978 movie rather than a direct sequel, Jackie Chan again stars as the titular drunken master and boy does this film have some incredible fight scenes. Chan using the drunken style is a visual delight with his body swaying all over the place and confusing his opponents. I’ve long said, to much laughter from some, that Chan is the best (or my favourite) physical comedian of all time outdoing the likes of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and in newer terms Jim Carrey and this film just holds my vote up.
Best Bit-Final fight
2. The Lion King
I really struggled with my 1st and 2nd spots here and to be honest on another day they may be switched around but as it’s today I’m putting this masterpiece in second place. My second favourite in an incredible Disney library of beautiful animated epics. From the excellent voice cast of actors like James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons to the classic music, much of which came from Elton John, it’s just an enthralling experience. An emotional rollercoaster, especially for me as if you make animals the characters instead of humans then I’m going to cry at the slightest thing happening to them. I went to the cinema to see this as a 10 year old with my folks and I was in absolute bits.
Best Bit-Scar fight
It had to be something really special to beat The Lion King and there’s not too much more special than this pop culture juggernaut from Quentin Tarantino. My buddy Ewan had this poster on his wall and it had this cool, mysterious vibe to it that was enticing. When I wanted to watch an 18 rated movie my brother would often watch it first and let my folks know if it was ok for me to see. The only time he ever said no was Pulp Fiction because of the drug use and needles that he wanted to shield me from. I eventually wore them down and was allowed to watch it a few months later. It’s easy to forget the effect this had on the culture, from long forgotten songs becoming hits because they were in here, from Dick Dales hypnotising surf guitar to Urge Overkill’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”. There have been millions of essays done on the movie and it’s pastiche of genre homages and references as well as the interconnecting stories and I could go on about it forever. It’s one of the greatest movies ever made in my opinion but this is just a list series and you don’t me waffling on for too long. Put it this way though…..movie good.
Best Bit- Marsellus and Butch are captured
Ok into the mid 90s we go. Join me next time for 1995 and as always give me a shout @swing_kinker byeeee