It’s two weeks before spring break, a period which marks the beginning of events like Easter, the NHL, NBA, NCAA Basketball playoffs, and more time with family and friends. It is also less than a week away from the 2016 Oscars. With that said, we are reminded of some of the best and worst films of the year, notable among them are The Revenant, The Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road for the best, but as for the worst, we are also stuck with The Cobbler, Fantastic Four, and Ted 2. So when looking to binge watch some awesome movies, where do you start? The answer: 1994.
Looking back into history, when you think of the year 1994 what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Is it the Rwanda Massacre toll rising to over 2,000 people? Or the scandalous O.J. Simpson trial? How about the Major League Baseball strike? Or do you think of the most dominant year in movie memorabilia? 1994 was the year when several of the greatest film ever were debuted, most notably among them being The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and even The Lion King. Every single film listed above is ranked 52 and above on IMDB’s Top 250 Movies of All Time, and they are all from one year. The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction dominate the list, sitting at the #1 and #5 spot respectively. Not only do these films dominate TV screens today, but they were also well popular back in ‘94. After the year came to a close, Forrest Gump finished with 13 Oscar nominations, The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction, both, with 7 nominations, and The Lion King with 2 nominations.
But why exactly do these films deserve our attention? You may be thinking, “The Revenant has gotten 12 nominations and several other nominated films at the Oscars have gotten good reviews. Why should I reacquaint myself with the classics? Why is an old film like Pulp Fiction so deserving of my attention?”
20 years ago, during the year of the 67th Academy Awards ceremony, which took place on Monday, March 27, 1995 at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center, the people that created Forrest Gump walked up to the stage six times that night to claim 6 Oscars, all of which were moments where people were either scratching their heads in confusion or banging their heads against the wall exclaiming, “What!? Again! Forrest Gump didn’t deserve that!” In many cases, they didn’t despise their critical acclaim at the time, but the scenario created on March 27, 1995 emulates the very point people fail to realize: despite what the Academy says, there is more than just one winner for each award. Every year, the Academy picks what they believe is the best movie of that year, but many times they fail to pick the best option. This creates anger and disruption with movie-lovers everywhere, which is why when searching the web we find articles like the ones pictured below.
But despite their acclaim and greatness, many deny themselves the opportunity of watching some of these great films.
Joseph Berg ‘18 said, “I used to think Christopher Nolan was the best until I saw Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption. The movies [were] literally life changing.”
It’s a pity that kids today aren’t familiar with the spectacular movies that emulate the 20th century’s awesomeness, movies of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, or even with Oscar winners from recent decades. The problem with society today is that people fail to realize the cinematic greatness in the years that preceded their existence. People seem reluctant to watching movies before the turn of the century seemingly because of modern film’s more “engaging” plot lines.
Marcus Hill ‘18 also added, “I’m all for watching one of the Transformers movies now and then, but when I sit down to watch the Star Wars trilogy, I find something that you just can’t replicate in movies today.”
So pick up a remote and dive into the greatness of the 20th century.