Most Annoying Performance
HOLLY HUNTER – The Piano
Best Comedy Performance
Bill Murray – Groundhog Day
Best Ensemble Cast
Tombstone – Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Booth, Charlton Heston, Thomas Haden Church
WTF did I just see?
Most overrated movie
Best juvenile performance
Simon Fenton, age 17 - Matinee
Notes from awards committee:
The cinematic results of 1993 were outstanding with many notable and rewatchable great films. Sadly none of the best films were nominated for the 1994 Oscars, in fact, the House Clark awards are in 100% disagreement with the top movies and best actor/actress awards made by the academy. The Best Picture is awarded to Jurassic Park; perhaps the ultimate summer Blockbuster and a classic adventure film with lasting cultural impact. The cast of awesome dinos includes a towering T-Rex in ass kicking action scenes. Scientists Sam Neill and Laura Dern make a cute couple and are joined by a collection of misfits that we know will be killed by berserk dinosaurs. We loved every minute of it. This is Spielberg filmmaking at his very best before he took to the pulpit.
In one of the worst mistakes in Academy history, Groundhog Day was totally snubbed for Oscar nominations. House Clark is here to correct this mistake; we award Best Actor to Bill Murray and Best Actress to his co-star, Andie MacDowell. Murray is one of the very few actors who can seamlessly combine comedy and serious themes into the same character. I have trouble imagining any other actor pulling off his performance in Groundhog Day. MacDowell pairs perfectly with Murray, and every scene the two are together works. She is kind and generous and a guiding light for Murray’s trip into the time loop abyss.
Fun Surprises -
Groundhog Day – is the most underrated movie of the year, and maybe the decade. Over the years this romantic-comedy masterpiece by Harold Ramis has gained in popularity.
Tombstone - The legend of the gunfight at the OK Corral is one of the paragons of the American Wild West. And like most old legends, the OK Corral is a blend of fact and fiction. Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp gives a strong portrayal of an ex-lawman struggling with the moral dilemma of killing. He didn't want to get involved until he had no choice but to strap on the wheel gun. However, this movie really belongs to Val Kilmer playing gambler, gunfighter Doc Holliday. He gave his character a sense of tragic fatalism with plenty of style and charisma. A truly unique American Western.
Red Rock West - It is a mystery to me why this outstanding neo-noir thriller is so underrated. A mostly unknown film, it is a classic story of conscience, greed, betrayal, mistaken identity, and murder most foul. The cast is solid: Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, J.T. Walsh and femme fatale - Lara Flynn Boyle. The four leads are cast in the types of roles that perfectly suit their individual talents, and they turn in memorable performances. The plot twists are clever, the script is tight and smart, and even the minor characters have good roles. This is an excellent movie for fans of intelligent crime-thrillers.
True Romance – adopts one of the common Hollywood narratives of the “hooker with a heart of gold.” The TR director ups the ante and makes his hooker (named Alabama) the breathtakingly beautiful actress and co-star, Patricia Arquette. Alabama is irresistibly attracted to the film’s male protagonist, who is almost invariably a stand-in for the sexual fantasies of screen writer (Quintin Tarantino) and/or director, Tony Scott. In this laughable example of QT fantasy world, the male star, Clarence, instantly wins the heart of Alabama then kills her pimp and steals millions worth of cocaine, as comic-book-store employees tend to do all the time. The story then adopts the old throwback of “two young lovers on the run.” This guilty pleasure racks up the body count with plenty of violence and vulgarity. There are no good guys in this flick.
Matinee – October 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis grips the country, and the military is on red alert. With the Cold War threatening to go nuclear hot, up steps Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) - King of B Horror movies. This has to be one of the most underrated comedies of all time. It is funny, touching, nostalgic, and the clincher, a cast of kids that do not annoy. Goodman has a career best performance in the role of a movie director /writer /producer with big dreams, who is also a super salesman. Also outstanding is actress Cathy Moriarty. She shows a talent for comedy with her deadpan, sultry voice, and is the perfect balance to Goodman’s high energy and panache.
Menace II Society – was one of the most culturally impactful movies of the 1990s, and appeared on both Siskel’s and Ebert’s 1993 top ten lists. The story follows Caine, a young black criminal, through a series of assaults, murders, thefts and an arrest. Released on bail, Caine is killed in a drive-by shooting in the ghetto. The film’s bleak message was helpful in convincing the real world or “body politic” to crack down on crime. In 1994 President Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The results of the act were dramatic; many inner-city, high crime, no-go zones were tamed as more and more violent criminals were locked up in prison.
Mrs. Doubtfire – Robin Williams clowning in drag as a “hip-hop Granny” was Box Office Gold.
The Piano - in a more normal world, no self-respecting actress would play the disgusting role of Ada McGrath. Grim, perverted Art House crap and a sad reflection on some fine actors.
The Fugitive – As far as I’m concerned, David Janssen wrote the book on Dr. Richard Kimble, thirty years before Harrison Ford played the role. Sorry, but this film is just a needless remake; nothing new here.
Remains of the Day – This Merchant Ivory film has famous actors, but a terrible story and script that lacks a satisfying dramatic arc and is dreadfully slow. Nothing much happens. A possible cure for insomnia?
Schindler’s List – as propaganda films go, this is one of the most polished. But do we really need to be flogged again with the same, tired message – all Jews saintly; all Nazis irredeemable. Overall a punishing 3+ hour assault on the senses and emotions.
Sleepless in Seattle – does not hold up and was quite silly when rewatched recently. This romcom has an utterly improbable storyline.