1994: GREATEST YEAR EVER OF HOLLYWOOD?
Brian Lara broke a 36 year old record when he pulled Chris Lewis in Antigua Recreation Ground. Six weeks later he cover drove his 427th ball of the innings and the last ball of the day to break a 35 year old record.
Pete Sampras won the Australian Open for the first time in his career. He went to win the "Sunshine Double" few weeks later to become the first man to win the "Spring Treble" of Australian Open, Indian Wells Masters & Miami Masters.
Johan Cruijff calmly said, "Don't worry he'll miss it." as Miroslav Djukic stepped up to take the penalty that would give Deportivo La Coruña their first ever La Liga title. He duly missed and the Dream Team had won their fourth league title in a row. Barcelona would also inflict a La Manita on their eternal rivals.
Fabio Capello's Milan won their 3rd consecutive Scudetto scoring just 36 goals in 34 matches and absolutely annihilated Johan Cruijff's arrogant Dream Team in Athens 4-0.
Soccer, derided as a girl's game and a communist conspiracy, came to USA in the form of the first FIFA World Cup after the back pass rule was introduced. Brazil broke a 24 year drought to win the first ever penalty shoot-out final.
Hakeem Olajuwon's Rockets took full advantage of MJ's retirement to lift their 1st Larry O'Brien trophy. The Dream would become the first and only player to win league MVP, defensive player of the year and finals MVP in the same season.
The common factor throughout is: 1994. A fine year as any in sport but this post is not about sports. It's an historic event on KKB's blog: The first ever blog on movies, specifically Hollywood.
1994 was one fine year for Hollywood. So many movies across genres are classics today and haven't aged one bit.
Let's start with the Academy Awards. The five best picture nominees were:
- Forrest Gump (won)
- Four Weddings and a Funeral
- Pulp Fiction
- Quiz Show
- The Shawshank Redemption
I haven't seen Four Weddings but it is, by many accounts, a rom-com classic. The remaining 4 had all time classic performances by Sam Jackson, Tom Hanks, John Turturro and the best of them all, Morgan Freeman.
1994 was the year Jim Carrey became a superstar. He gave not 1, not 2 but 3 hit movies that year: The Mask, Ace Venture: Pet Detective and Dumb & Dumber. Coen Brothers' attempted their then biggest budget screwball comedy with The Hudsucker Proxy. There was the last installment of Naken Gun series. Probably the weakest of the trilogy but it sure had its moments.
My most favourite comedy of 1994 is actually not that famous: Maverick. I just love the movie. Mel Gibson, Jodi Foster, James Garner, Alfred Molina, James Coburn make one helluva of ensemble cast and the movie is charming as any movie can be. It even had a 2 minute cameo from Danny Glover, saying his most famous line "I'm getting too old for this shit.". If you haven't watched it yet, do it post-haste. It will be one of the most enjoyable 127 minutes you'll spend staring at a screen. This probably deserves a post of its own.
Three...., okay, four words: Speed and True Lies. Speed was the first English movie I saw in a theatre. It was in Devi theatre. Ticket was ₹20 if memory is right. The drama, the tension, the technology was mind-blowing for a tween.
Arnie tried his hand at comedy many times, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Junior, Jingle All The Way but it worked, ironically, only in True Lies. A classic James Cameron action movie with guns, fire, and crazy stunts. Arnie tried to jump from that a skyscraper to the swimming pool on a horse! Arnie flying a fighter jet. Was it awesome or was it awesome?
There were others too. 13 year old Natalie Portman's brilliant performance in Leon: The Professional. Jean Reno's laconic character. Gary Oldman as a corrupt cop. Pure brilliance. Then, there were other fine action movies like Clear and Present Danger, Blown Away. Hell, even Maverick had a superb stunt sequence when Mel Gibson tries to stop that driver-less stagecoach.
The Shawshank Redemption. Is there a movie scene that warms the cockles of one's heart better than when Red runs to embrace Andy in Zihuatanejo? If there is, please let me know. No wonder it is the top movie in the IMDB Top 250 for the best part of that website's existence. One of the handful of movies I have seen at least 20 times.
What is life but a big box of chocolates? The movie that won Oscar, Forrest Gump, was another ace in the sleeve in the drama department. I am not a fan of the movie but I can understand why it was successful. Tom Hanks was brilliant.
The year also saw my most favourite English movie of all time release: Pulp Fiction. One of my dreams is to see Rajinikanth do a cameo in a Tamil movie exactly like the one Mr. Winston Wolf. Can you imagine how supercalifragilisticexpialidocious it would be? "kaṇṇā I think fast and I talk fast". Ooooh goosebumps. Christopher Walken's brilliant cameo as the watch giver. So many spectacular quotatious quotes. Magnificent movie. Is the classification as drama wrong? Probably but I tried classifying it somewhere else Ringo, I tried real hard!
Other dramas include Ed Wood, Disclosure, Bullets Over Broadway, The Client, Little Women, Quiz Show. A who's who of good-to-great movies.
Probably the most famous & popular animated movie for the last 50 years: The Lion King. I haven't seen it yet but even after 20 years children still like it. I have seen many of my nieces/nephews, friends'/acquaintances' children still love a Simba toy.
Flintstones was made on screen. The first installment of Santa Clause was released. The underrated It Could Happen to You. Norman Jewison's Marisa Tomei starrer Only You. Live action Richie Rich and much much more.
I am sure I have missed many other movies. As you can see it's a brilliant list. Possibly unmatched and given how Hollywood is so into Superhero movies & reboots these days, it is likely to be unsurpassed.
So my dear reader, I ask you this: Is 1994 the greatest ever year of Hollywood?