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20 Films Turning 20: Celebrating the Incredible Hollywood Output in 1994

By Jodi Smith | Lists | January 8, 2014 |

By Jodi Smith | Lists | January 8, 2014 |

In 1994, I was mumbledy mumble years old and many of these films shaped my cinematic tastes for years to come. Others became shameful reminders of a less discerning movie palette and poor fashion choices. Please also note that these are the movies that I’ve actually seen, so the answer to your “WHERE IS D2: THE MIGHTY DUCKS??” is that I didn’t watch it.

Bow before these relics of a bygone era, tell them they’re pretty, and watch them if you haven’t yet, you bunch of rascals.

1. Pulp Fiction blew my mind the first time I saw it in a theater. It was violent, smart, funny, and employed a different storytelling device than every other movie at the time. I was enamored from the first scene.


2. The Shawshank Redemption was a film I didn’t watch until a decade or more after its release. Why? People told me it was great and I had this idiotic idea that not watching popular things was the way to go. I was kind of a dolt. When I finally watched it, I was impressed at how well it stood the test of time and just how transfixed I could be while watching a movie that had been spoiled for me several times over.

3. Natural Born Killers is a film that gets more difficult to watch the older I get. I don’t know if it’s that the televised worship of people like Mickey and Mallory Knox has become more and more common or that the cold realizations of adulthood color my reaction to the senselessness of the violence. Why is it this movie that makes me feel so terrified inside while others don’t?

4. Leon (aka The Professional) boasts precocious Baby Natalie Portman being taken under the wing of professional hitman Jean Reno as she seeks revenge against demented cop Gary Oldman.

5. Speed was so intense and action-filled when it came out. It still has those qualities, but it’s got a bit more cheese to it upon further viewings. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

6. Four Weddings and a Funeral. The absolute worst part of this movie is Andie MacDowell. They would have been better off to cast an old mop as the object of Hugh Grant’s affections. The rest of the cast, however, is glorious.

7. The Lion King needs no blurb, as it owns your ass.

8. I’m a sucker for Tim Burton movies, and Ed Wood is no exception. Though he may not always know how to work outside of his particular peculiar parameters, I enjoy the Burton aesthetic and the early collaborations with Johnny Depp.

9. Dumb and Dumber was quoted, and continues to be quoted, endlessly by most of my friends. The idiocy, slapstick, and ridiculous protagonists are more than enough to bring me out of any funk I might be in and make me laugh. I really like frozen pee jokes, you guys.

10. I had read the book and was eagerly awaiting Brad Pitt’s turn in Interview with the Vampire. I was less than excited about Tom Cruise as Lestat, but grew to love the prequel to couch-jumping insanity he brought to the role. Baby Kirsten Dunst was terrific,too, wasn’t she?

11. Reality Bites remains ridiculously quotable to this day. I had the soundtrack. I watched the movie religiously on VHS. I wondered why anyone would ever go for Ben Stiller over dirty, man-child Ethan Hawke. Thank Godtopus I grew out of that before I ever had a serious boyfriend. Dudes with jobs are better than fools that turn your home into a den of slack while treating you like sh*t, kids.

12. Serial Mom is just bonkers. BONKERS. If you think you’d like your John Waters perversion with some sultry Kathleen Turner murdering people, this is for you. Damn sicko.

13. The Crow remains a favorite comic book adaptation of mine. I don’t care how closely it hews to the source material because I find it beautifully and insanely done. Brandon Lee’s tragic hero takes on a band of psychos with cartoon names to avenge his death, his fiancee Shelly’s death, and to take care of the Sara Monster they left behind.

Toss in the incestuous Bai Ling and Michael Wincott and you’ve got an insanity stew, baby! FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

14. True Lies is one of the few movies that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyable to watch. He’s a secret agent that has to finally reveal his job to his wife, Jamie Lee Curtis, so he can stop nuclear terrorists! Jamie Lee Curtis has her infamous strip-tease scene, though I’ve always enjoyed the horse portion of the movie.

15. Legends of the Fall is a movie that, if I weren’t for Brad Pitt, I would have avoided like Patient Zero in post-apocalyptic New York. It concerns brothers and forbidden love or something? I don’t remember, but Pitt sure is dreamy.

16. Little Women brought the beloved novel to the screen. Again. This time they had Christian Bale, Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, and Trini Alvarado. (One of those names is not like the others…)

17. Quiz Show. Um. I fell asleep. This trailer is not HD, so sorry.

18. Forrest Gump is manipulative Oscar-bait and I could not get enough of it back in the day. Now I can’t bear to watch it. Unless it’s something with Lt. Dan. Gary Sinise is a national treasure.

19. The Mask, for better or worse, gave us Cameron Diaz. It also gave us the phrase “SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMmmmmmmmmmmmmokin’!” and an influx of Jim Carrey crazy in our movies for years to come.

20. Clerks. I don’t care. I love this movie. Salsa shark. 37 dicks. I’M NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TODAY.