Most Annoying Performance
HUGH GRANT – Four Weddings and a Funeral
Best Comedy Performance
Tie - Johnny Depp & Martin Landau – Ed Wood
Best Ensemble Cast
Bullets over Broadway – John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Tilly and Chazz Palminteri
WTF did I just see?
In the Mouth of Madness
Most overrated movie
Best juvenile performance
Joseph Mazzello in The River Wild
Notes from awards committee:
In 1994 Forrest Gump dominated the Academy Awards, winning best picture, best actor, and four more Oscars in lesser categories. We liked Gump, but the film did not make our top five list. Sorry, but “Life is like a box of chocolates” is not a deep philosophy, and asking the audience to identify with a simpleton is a bridge too far. Topping our list for best picture is Bullets Over Broadway, one of our favorite crime-comedies of all time. It has an embarrassment of riches – a fun storyline, witty & clever dialogue, hilarious characters, authentic feel of the era and great musical score. The film is a pure delight from beginning to end. And has one of the most talented ensemble casts you will find in any genre; with Dianne Wiest as stage diva, Helen Sinclair, leading the line and earning the Best Actress award. This film is one of Woody Allen’s best, and all the more enjoyable with Woody right where he should be – behind the camera and not in any scene.
Fun Surprises -
Ed Wood - Without question this is director Tim Burton's career best work. Perhaps it's the total understanding and likeness of his subject (Director Ed Wood) that allowed Burton to connect, or relate, so perfectly here. Ed Wood has been crowned as the worst movie director of all time, yet some of Burton’s bizarre clunkers (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, et al) could give Wood a run for the money. As far as I’m concerned, this is the film that Tim Burton was put on Earth to make.
The River Wild – is a film about a rafting trip from hell and features Meryl Streep at her most athletic and heroic. This movie is a worthy edition to the Streep Oeuvre with delightful and thrilling scenes of kick-ass white-water rapids in the Rocky Mountains.
I.Q – is a romantic comedy gem with Walter Mathau in the lead role as Albert Einstein. With a thick Bavarian accent and wild, white hair, Mathau brings the famed physicist to life spouting off great quotes from the real Einstein like, “God does not play dice”. He dotes on Catherine, his charming, whip smart niece played by Meg Ryan, the IT GIRL of the 1990s. Catherine is single and has trouble finding the right guy to marry. Einstein struggles with the challenge of playing matchmaker for Catherine, and attacks the problem with the cool savvy of an ace mathematician solving a complex love equation. Viola! And a Best actor award for Walter.
Clear and Present Danger - Harrison Ford plays Jack Ryan, the fictional CIA agent, in a tale about the imperial US presidency in yet another illegal war –this one against a criminal narco-empire in South America. The always reliable Willem Dafoe, and an unheralded, very talented, ensemble cast of B-actors make this flick worth watching.
The Getaway – is a remake of the 1972 original that starred Steve Queen and Ali McGraw. We like both versions the main difference being the 1994 version containing more sex and nudity. Both versions are intense and violent with guns, guns, guns.
Quiz Show – earned 4 Oscar nominations but went away empty handed. The story about a scandal engulfing a 1950s TV quiz show bombed at the box office and is mostly forgotten today. The film has low visual impact, and yet, there are four or five brilliant acting performances worth watching. To be brief, the actors create realistic characters all of whom are presented in shades of gray. Special mention to John Turturro as Herb Stempel, a high-strung, neurotic Jew from Queens and Ralph Fiennes as intellectual, upper class WASP Charles Van Doren, the tragic, noble hero. The film’s affectionate portrayal of 1950s America is welcome and the thoughtful script with Jew versus WASP makes for a good grown up film for fans weary of super heroes and Disney trash.
In the Mouth of Madness – This film is one of Director John Carpenter’s sleeper hits. Sam Neill starred as John Trent, an insurance investigator hired to find Sutter Cane, a missing writer of horror tales. In the process Trent finds himself trapped in the nightmare world of Cane’s creation.
Speed - The epitome of a popcorn flick that never tries for the complex plot or something deep.
The simplicity of the plot is wise here. Once we’re over the opening sequence, we hop on a bus that can’t drop below 50mph or else it’s going to blow up. On board the bus are Keanu Reeves (a daredevil cop) and Sandra Bullock (the likeable bus driver). The evil schemer is played by Dennis Hopper in one of his best roles.
Maverick – This western-comedy is perhaps the funniest film Mel Gibson has starred in. Pairing him with Jodie Foster worked far better than expected. Furthermore, James Garner’s supporting turn is a nostalgic delight. Maverick is a hidden gem that is mostly forgotten in Mel Gibson’s powerful stable of successful movies. The film was a commercial success, making over $100m at the US box office; however, it never got a green light for a sequel.
Mask – has Jim Carrey clowning, bizarre magic, a funny dog, and Cameron Diaz movie debut. Also was one of the first films to successfully translate the slapstick, cartoon antics of Looney Tunes into live action. Good family entertainment.
The Shawshank Redemption – is set in an only-in-Hollywood prison where the all the inmates are innocent great guys and the prison staff is rotten to the core. I am not the target audience for prison-buddy flicks, but the hype was heavy so I watched it. I think it was nominated for seven Oscars – that must be record for prison flicks. This inordinate praise is in spite of its lack of compelling drama and a clearly ridiculous premise, which sees Tim Robbins escape from prison with nothing more than a tack hammer.
Four Weddings and a Funeral – One clever critic wrote, “This movie was specifically made to cater to women who have that ridiculous hope that a one-night stand at a wedding can lead to their own trip down the aisle.” Labeled a romantic comedy, I was expecting some laughs. Sorry, not even a chuckle in this flick. Nor is it romantic. The relationship between the leads makes absolutely no sense and fails to produce a spark of screen chemistry.
Pulp Fiction – A Trashy masterpiece that includes repulsive, vulgar scenes I regret seeing. Once seen, you can’t un-see it. QT delights in waving his middle finger at the audience and presenting COOL gangsters. The real killer of this movie is that it has no center no morality, and relies on gun play and violence to carry the film. This technique is disturbing. A Pop favorite people still talk about and compare to every other QT movies.
Natural Born Killers - If you liked this movie, do not hesitate; call your local mental health center for help. This movie isn't just a dreadful, chaotic mess, it's seriously evil.