1993 was a stellar year in entertainment. Meatloaf, Mariah Carey, Fresh Prince and Aerosmith were just some of the acts topping the charts - and that's not even mentioning that time Take That became Buddhist monks:
|"Dear God, keep Gary Barlow humble..."|
"Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."Jurassic Park marked the dawning of a new breed of action-adventure film, one with sophisticated special effects (you genuinely thought those dinosaurs could be real at one point, admit it), amazing set design, decent acting and humour pitched perfectly to break the tension at the opportune moments (Jeff Goldblum at his finest). Critically, we're not just shown a load of dinosaurs in the first scene - the story builds up real tension, anticipation and danger well before the 'big reveal'. I'm actually a fan of the whole Jurassic Park franchise for this reason. Even though Jurassic World was criticised by a lot of die-hard fans, for me the elements are all still there, i.e. maybe dinosaurs are safe this time? Oh no, they are still chasing and eating people, accompanied by a rousing John Williams soundtrack. I'm entertained.
|Actual footage of people in their kitchens after watching Jurassic Park.|
"Cold? I'm freezing my royal Rastafarian nay-nays off!"After watching Eddie the Eagle on Netflix the other day (which I would highly recommend), I was reminded this other classic Winter Olympics 1988 underdog story. It's a niche genre, I'll give you that. My family generally prefer winter sports to summer sports (it's a pity sports day in England didn't involve a ski slalem), so what better than a cheesy Disney film based around them? Throw in John Candy in his prime, a bunch of 'zany' Jamaicans and some snobby Scandinavians and you're on to a winner - in VHS form.
|"I just can't get you out of my head"|
BENNY AND JOON
"They used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their lives stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes. I can't say I am a big supporter of the raisin council."I didn't discover this until I was about 15 and in my 'Johnny Depp fan club' phase (which was unfortunately obliterated after the second in the Pirates of the Caribbean borefest). It's a completely sweet, charming celebration of all things eccentric, with some cheeky little nods to classic films of the past (JD's homage to Buster Keaton is surprisingly non-annoying) whilst encapsulating an off-beat, indie feel of the time. Highlights include an unconventional way to make toasted sandwiches, a staggeringly confident hospital break-in, and the perfect use of 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. A great Sunday afternoon treat.
Get a feel for Benny and Joon with this original trailer (plus you can swoon at a twenty-something Johnny Depp before he got all puffy and weird).
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
"Attacked by Christmas toys? That's strange, that's the second toy complaint we've had."Man, the 90s was THE decade for festive films! I think if I had actually watched this as a small child I would never have slept on Christmas eve, for fear of the 'Sandy Claws'. One of the earliest full feature stop motion animations, this film seems to come directly out of Tim Burton's head, the characters dark, comic and full of expression. It's Hammer Horror meets Broadway musical, with extremely sophisticated music and lyrics by Burton's long time collaborator, Danny Elfman. A perfect film to watch in that middling period between Halloween and Christmas. But probably not with kids.
See the perfect horror/festive blend, here.
Finally, because who could forget it...
"Whatever you do, don't lick yourself!"Ever since my mum got a puppy a couple of years ago, we've all got a bit sentimental about animals. So I don't think I would even DARE watch this film now, it was tear-jerking enough in the first place! Having not watched it for at least 15 years, I can't remember whether Homeward Bound is a genuinely GOOD film (although I suspect not), but it's one of those classic animal movies that sat on everyone's shelf alongside such greats as Fievel, All Dogs Go to Heaven and The Land Before Time. So it had to be recognised. The main thing that sticks with me is when the golden retriever can't get out of the ditch. SOB.
On that beautiful note, put away your lava lamp because we're heading back into the 21st century. Next time, we get to 1994 (when my main priorities in life were buggy tantrums and cold McDonalds chips. Classy).