In the last few days, I’ve had one of my cinema theories turned on its head and I want to tell you about it.
Like most during the quarantine, I’ve been finding ways to entertain myself, and one of them has been making a list of some of the great films I’ve never seen. My plan one day would be to watch them with my friend and then talk about it on a podcast. Hopefully one day we will do this, but for now, I’m just making a list.
So when researching certain films, I stumbled across one of my well worn theories. The theory is this: 1994 was the best year for film.
Now this sort of declaration can ruffle some feathers. But let me put this with some context. I judge films on three areas: my emotional reaction to it, how re-watchable they are and the performance of the actors. I want to be caught up in the film, I want to find new things every time I watch it, whether it be a shot or a joke and I want the actors to do something interesting in it.
And for me, 1994 had the most films from the same year that ticked these boxes. Now these aren’t my favourite films but these are films that are iconic and there is something in so many of them that I like.
Some of the films released that year were Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bullets over Broadway, Speed, Interview with a Vampire, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Leon and True Lies.
All of these films are iconic, often parodied and all immensely re-watchable.
However, recently, I learnt about this wonderful year. A year where everybody thought they were going to die. No, not 2016….. or 2019, not even 2020. The year was 1999. So long ago. A different millennia.
But I digress. 1999 was the best year for film, and I’m willing to fight your dad to prove my point.
American Beauty, The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense, Being John Malkovich, The Insider, Girl Interrupted, Magnolia, Boys Don’t Cry, Fight Club, Tarzan, Toy Story 2, The South Park Movie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Matrix!
I mean come on! What a list. And guess what? There are more. Notting Hill, The Mummy, Star Wars Episode One (which is rubbish, but I’m in a rhythm here), The World Is Not Enough, She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Office Space, Cruel Intentions, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Run Lola Run. The list actually goes on.
And the thing that amazes me most. Look how many of these films, from ‘94 and ‘99 were original creations? The majority were. It wasn’t like today’s movies, which are reboots, remakes and franchise sequels. Now of course, there are brilliant original movies coming out every year, but these films just seem different. Like it wasn’t a rare thing to have movies like this come out, it was the norm.
Filmmakers took risks and my God, were they rewarded. These films are icons of the genre, whether it be sci-fi, horror, comedy or teen rom-com. What a year.
So why not find a year – maybe one that is important to you – and have a look at the films that were released and give some of them a watch. Because God knows, I’m going to be slipping back into my high-waisted miniskirt and plastic choker [Editor’s Note: It’s a look.] and reliving some 90’s nostalgia.