1993 Recap

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Article by Teddy Durgin

Teddy Looks Back on the Movies of 1993

It's hard for some of us to believe that it's been 20 years since 1993. The year was definitely a great one for cinema. Many of the blockbusters were made with grown-ups in mind. Computer-generated special effects were just starting to hit. And, overall, there just seemed to be a real indie vibe permeating even many of the studio productions at this point in the decade. Here is my fond look back at the movies of 1993. There is only one way to start this article, and that's with: Spielberg's Great 1-2 Punch "Jurassic Park" and "Schindler's List" - Has a filmmaker ever had a more amazing year than Steven Spielberg did in 1993? That summer, "Jurassic Park" emerged as one of the quintessential summer popcorn blockbusters of all time - a film that was altogether thrilling, funny, scary as Hell and represented a quantum leap forward in special effects. That fall, "Schindler's List" hit screens and immediately took its place among the great films of that decade or any decade. The Other Blockbusters "The Fugitive" - The early marketing for this film was outstanding. The first trailers teased all of the film's big moments. You had to see the great train wreck. You had to see Harrison Ford take the plunge from atop that dam. What made the film a classic, though, was that it delivered on those big moments AND offered audiences a myriad of wonderful, small character moments sprinkled throughout. Everything from "I don't bargain" to "What is this? A trenchcoat convention?" "In the Line of Fire" - This movie had one of the great preview trailers of all time, featuring a black screen with the year "1963" in white letters. A phone rings and we hear a killer start taunting a Secret Service agent for not doing his job in Dallas all those years ago. The "6" then starts spinning until it slowly becomes a "9" and the year now reads "1993." At which point, the killer tells the agent that he will soon once again be standing over the grave of another dead president. Then - BAM! - Clint Eastwood appears on screen, loads his gun, looks into the camera, and growls, "That's not gonna happen!" I'll never forget seeing that trailer in the theater and the guy in front of me yelling, "Awww, Hell yeah!!!" "Mrs. Doubtfire" - Incredibly, this Robin Williams in drag comedy was the second highest-grossing movie of 1993 behind the 'Berg's dinosaurs. What the Hell were we thinking?! "The Firm" - The first great Tom Cruise Running Like Hell Movie. Seriously, has a man EVER looked more intense sprinting on screen? I'd love to see a montage of his great movie runs. You could start with this flick, and follow it up with some of his "Mission: Impossible" runs, followed by his "War of the Worlds" sprint when the aliens start firing their death rays, followed by ... well, you get the picture. The Other Oscar Contenders "In the Name of the Father" - This movie cemented Daniel Day-Lewis' status as an elite actor. Madness followed. "Philadelphia" - This is the movie that took all-American Tom Hanks, filmed him in ultra close-up, and said, "THIS is the face of AIDS! THIS is the face of HIV!" In many ways, this movie was a game changer. "The Piano" - This was the film that introduced the world to 10-year-old Anna Paquin. She was so excellent as the mute Holly Hunter's daughter in this Jane Campion-directed period piece that she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. At the Academy Awards that year, Tommy Lee Jones had the line of the night when he told her backstage: "I guess this means you're gonna get the lead in the school play!" Five More from 93 "Addams Family Values" - "She is at that very special age when a girl has only one thing on her mind." "Boys?" "Homicide." "Cool Runnings" - "The Jamaican bobsled team" ... just saying those four words still makes me chuckle. "Free Willy" - A whale of a good movie for families. "Indecent Proposal" - Would you let your wife sleep with Robert Redford for a million bucks? In my household, the question would be: "Awwww, could you've waited just two more minutes? He was gonna offer us cash!!!" "The Pelican Brief" - Scenes for this movie were filmed in an abandoned parking garage adjacent to the Bethesda building where I was working at the time. Each day at lunch, you could hear at least a hundred women gathered outside yelling "DENZEL!" in hopes that he would give them just a glimpse. OK, it was just me.


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