This weekend, I will be turning 18 on the 16th April, which is also the same day as Charlie Chaplin as Spike Milligan’s birthdays. Go me. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I’d do a Top 5 list highlighting my favourite movies from the year I came into the world. Looking over what films came out in this year, I was surprised by how many good films there actually were within the year. There was The Piano, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Shadowlands and that timeless classic Super Mario Bros: The Movie (ahem). The cream of the crop for me though are the following 5 movies, some that I grew up with and some I’ve discovered over the course of my 18 years. Getting old now. So, here I present my 5 favourite movies from 1993… the year legends were born.

1. Jurassic Park: Dir- Steven Spielberg

The biggest blockbuster of 1993, and the 16th highest grossing movie of all time just has to be in this list. This is certainly one I grew up, as I was once a Dinosaur fanatic, wanting to be a paleontologist like Sam Neill’s Alan Grant (saying that, my future career always seemed to change depending on what film I was in to at the time). This has to be a film that everyone has seen (if not, then there is something wrong with you), a perfect adventure in which a group of Dino-experts and scientists are invited to Isla Nublar an island just off of Costa Rica, where an ambitious billionaire has discovered how to bring Dinosaurs back to life, inventing a theme park in which to present them. This brings up all sorts of questions on existentialism and morality, but that isn’t what really matters with this movie, what matters is the Dino-action as the inhabitants of the park soon go out of control. And after the foreboding and slow-burning first half, all hell breaks loose in a glory of pioneering visual effects and excellent animatronic work by the late great Stan Winston, based on the book by the also sadly deceased Michael Crichton. It’s no wonder that this movie reached just shy off the Billion dollar mark on its initial release in the Summer of ’93. The film spawned two inferior yet still highly entertaining sequels, with the fourth stuck in what seems to be an endless circle of development hell. Which seems a bit strange, considering this is both Spielberg’s and Universal’s most financially successful film. Still, there is something I suggest you watch to keep yourselves satisfied if JP4 never materializes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-6cfumntM8 

2. Schindler’s List: Dir- Steven Spielberg

It really is a testament to your skill as a director if you can go from making a film like Jurassic Park, and then make the most personal film of your career, one that makes people take you seriously as a director, one so gut-wrenchingly emotional and vital that it is one of those films that just has to be seen. Schindler’s List is one of those films, proving Spielberg could make more than just box-office friendly blockbusters. He was over-seeing editing on Jurassic Park whilst filming this true-life tale of one Oskar Schindler (the excellent Liam Neeson), a man who enlisted Jewish workers into his ammunitions factory, in turn saving thousands of lives from the horrors of the Concentration Camps. The cast is flawless, particularly Ralph Fiennes, who is perfectly evil as S.S Officer Amon Goth, and it features a beautiful score from the one and only John Williams. It’s a hard film to watch more than once, as when are you ever really in the mood to watch a film about the Holocaust, but it’s a film made with such craft and masterful skill that it needs to be seen. It throughly deserved to sweep the boards at the Award ceremonies of this year, which it did, winning 7 Oscars, 7 Baftas and 3 Golden Globes.

3. Demolition Man: Dir- Marco Brambilla 

 On a less serious note, my third movie in this list is a daft, fun and awesome action movie which a refreshing air of originality about it. That’s pretty rare for a 90’s action movie. Sly Stallone stars as John Spartan (awesome name), a reckless cop who has gained the nickname Demolition Man due to his unorthodox policing methods, is put into a cryogenic prison after his successful arrest of madman killer Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes, also another awesome name) results in the death of hostages. Both are placed in the freezer, but when Phoenix is defrosted and sent on the rampage in the clean-cut future of 2032. The decision is made to defrost the only cop who successfully captured Phoenix, John Spartan. The amount of detail gone into the conception of the dystopia future landscape of San Angeles, in which all swearing, violence and general nasty things have been eradicated by the new order of the city that used to be San Diego and Los Angeles. Along with some fun action, good support from Sandra Bullock, this goes down as one of Stallone’s strongest action pictures. It’s also worthy to note that  Stallone had another good action flick in this year in the form of Cliffhanger, which I highly recommend as well.

4. The Fugitive: Dir- Andrew Davis

Another Best Picture contender of this year (the first movie based on a TV series to gain such a nomination), is something that you don’t really see get nominated, a quick paced action-packed popcorn flick. Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble, who returns home from work one day to find his wife has been murdered. If that wasn’t bad enough, the lack of evidence and a mis-leading 911 call put Kimble as the main suspect. Determined to prove his innocence and find out who really killed his wife, Kimble escapes from prison and becomes… a Fugitive. So that’s why they called it that. As Kimble investigates, he must also try to stay one step ahead of the U.S. Marshalls who are after him, led by Deputy Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). Despite a great performance, I’m still surprised Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar over Fiennes this year, but the film itself is incredibly involving, through inventive action and an engrossing mystery as to the true identity of the killer. Also, fellow Scrubs fans, keep an eye out for the Janitor on the subway train scene, as once referenced in an episode.

5. Mrs. Doubtfire: Dir- Chris Columbus

Out of context, the premise for this film would seem a bit strange. A Dad desperate to see his kids cross-dresses as an old woman so he can infiltrate his ex-wife’s home and spend quality time with them. But it really is quite a sweet and funny film at heart. Despite paedophilic undertones. It is Robin Williams at his best, in the granny suit moving from slapstick to more sentimental humorous moments. Williams had a great run of movies in the 90’s, from Aladdin to Jumanji to his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting. He’s been a bit quiet in recent years (although I highly recommend his film from last year, The Worlds Greatest Dad), but those films and particularly this one highlight how much of both an acting talent and comedic talent and Hollywood superstar Williams was back in the day. Most of the funniest scenes of this movie were as a result of improvisation, and I’m sure it must have been hard for the cast (which features the girl from Matilda and a pre-Bond Pierce Brosnan) to keep up. So for daft, touching, classic Robin Williams you can’t go much wrong with this one.

Ok, that rounds out my Top 5 films from the year I was born. I hope you enjoyed the choices and have been inspired to either watch these films again or discover them for yourselves. Right, I’m off down the pub. Live long and prosper.

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