Staff Picks: 1993
Movies from a great movie year.
Feature Presentation’s Staff Picks is not a best-of list. How do you even craft a list of the best of something as subjective as film? This is a list designed to highlight films (and occasionally television shows or other mediums of entertainment) of a certain theme or topic. It’s a watchlist, they are suggestions. Movies on this list will very in quality, length, genre, and home video or streaming availability.
This list’s theme: 1993
The Crush (1993)
A precocious and obsessive teenager develops a crush on a naive writer with harrowing consequences.
Things that make this movie really uncomfortable:
1 — Alicia Silverstone, in her feature debut, was actually 15 years old when she made this movie. She legally emancipated herself from her parents so she could do it. It launched her career, but also typecast her in similarly sexualized underage roles.
2 — Apparently this actually happened to writer/director Alan Shapiro and he didn’t even change the girl’s real name until a lawsuit made them change it.
Things that make this a cult classic:
1 — Silverstone showing that she will be underrated her entire career
2 — Cary Elwes being unable to hide his English accent
3 — Everything else about this ridiculous movie
Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
Wayne Dobie is a shy cop whose low-key demeanor has earned him the affectionate nickname “Mad Dog.” After Mad Dog saves the life of Frank Milo, a crime boss and aspiring stand-up comedian, he’s offered the company of an attractive young waitress named Glory for a week. At first both are uneasy about the arrangement, but they eventually fall in love. However, the situation becomes complicated when Milo demands Glory back.
If you tell me that Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, and Uma Thurman are all in the same movie — you’ve already convinced me.
And I’ve probably convinced you.
But if I haven’t, what if I told you that De Niro and Murray play opposite type, essentially switching their typical roles — with Murray as the hardened gangster and De Niro as the lovable loser?
Or that Thurman, in one of her early roles, proves that she can always make a character interesting — even if she’s just kinda written as “girl?”
I don’t really know what more could you want. Maybe you could want the movie to be better, and I do too, but Staff Picks is not about great movies — it’s about suggesting movies you should be on the lookout for.
I Can Make You Love Me (1993)
A beautiful young computer technician starting off her career in Silicon Valley during the Eighties, is stalked and harassed by a nerdy, dangerous and mentally-unstable colleague with a twisted obsession.
Also known as Stalking Laura, we’ve got another film based on a true story of obsession and taking it too far.
Richard Thomas (who I knew growing up as the wide-eyed John Boy on The Waltons) plays Richard Farley. He falls in love with his co-worker, Laura (Brooke Shields), who wants nothing to do with him, but he’ll stop at nothing for her to love him.
This 90-minute tv movie tries to jam four years of this cat-and-mouse into about half of its runtime, so it can use the other half for an extended mass shooting climax where Farley attacks Laura’s office in a last-ditch effort. It’s surprisingly violent and made in a world pre-this being a regular occurrence, so it handles it without tip-toeing in a way that’s bound to make modern audiences uncomfortable. It’s trashy, sure. But it’s also a bizarre time capsule — not only for the ripped from the headlines true story that inspired anti-stalking laws nationwide, but for the way the media would depict things like this in the ‘90s.
Jurassic Park (1993)
A wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. Before opening day, he invites a team of experts and his two eager grandchildren to experience the park and help calm anxious investors. However, the park is anything but amusing as the security systems go off-line and the dinosaurs escape.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Staff Picks is not a best-of list. But after a handful of varyingly problematic picks, I thought it would be nice to recommend a sure-fire hit, and a movie I consider to be totally perfect: Jurassic Park.
You’ve probably seen this movie, so I won’t spend too much of your time talking about what makes it great (the answer is everything), so instead I’ll tell you about my most recent rewatch:
One of our local art museums projects movies on the side of their building during the summertime, free of charge for families to do something fun and easy. We went to their Jurassic Park screening last week and got there a little early to eat our picnic of homemade sub sandwiches and pasta salad, play our Jurassic Park board game, and chat with the people around us. So many people there clearly hadn’t seen it in a long time or maybe had never seen it and this is a movie that we rewatch regularly, so it was really fun to watch it through their eyes. Every joke still lands, every scare still jumps, and it’s completely effective from beginning to end.
When it ended, this guy seated near us (who had never seen it before) said, “WAIT. They made SIX of these? What more do you need!”
As someone who had to watch The Lost World for The Vince Vaughn-a-thon and couldn’t bring himself to write anything nice about the latest installment, I had to agree with him.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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