Saturday, March 8, 2014

1992: Honorable Mentions/Guilty Pleasures

We continue our trek through the twenty years I covered in the series with 1992.  An eclectic year for film, it was a blend of decent blockbusters, solid dramas, some sleepers and a few huge duds.  Let's begin with the best of the rest and the ones I like in spite of myself.

Honorable Mentions

 Billy Crystal brings us Raging Bull with a comedian instead of a boxer and the results are sort of pretty treat.  When the film is willing to be funny, it works nicely and Crystal gives a solid performance (as does David Paymer) but overall, the movie is overly schmaltzy for far too long, a common failing of Crystal.  Still, it's worth seeing at least once.

 The trailer gave away all the funny bits, yeah, but I still get a kick out of this agreeable Whoopi Goldberg comedy that stretches its one joke about as far  as it can.

 This is a fun, twisty little thriller with a good cast and an interesting plot.  It's a bit on the predictable side but the actors are engaging enough to make it worth watching.

 With a little more oomph, this might have made the top ten.  It has a great cast, highlighted by the always fun Michael Caine and Carol Burnett plus some fun bits of slapstick.  It's an entertaining diversion.

 Even with the flaws it has, this is still a solid little horror movie from the mind of Clive Barker. Tony Todd plays the title character, a murderous ghost who menaces the lovely Virginia Madsen and while I could do without the villain's assorted murders being blamed on Madsen, the film is well done and Todd is a great screen monster.

 Eddie Murphy's second film of the year after Boomerang (which I thought was sort of blah), this is an amiable flick about a con man who gets elected to congress.  Murphy is funny and to be honest, he sort of ends up carrying the film on his shoulders.

 Not generally a fan of chick flicks but this is one of the more guy friendly ones.  A fun comedy/drama about women's baseball during WWII, this features good work from Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.  It also has solid work from Madonna of all people and the rare time that Lori Petty's voice has not automatically made me hate a movie.

Pretty damn good thriller from Bill Duke that stars Laurence Fishburne as a cop assigned to a deep cover detail in order to nail drug dealer Jeff Goldblum.  Fishburne and Goldblum are quite excellent and Duke has a real flair for drama.  It's a nice, underrated gem of a movie.

A real drop in quality from the second one, the third in the Lethal Weapon series has good acti0on and some funny stuff but is just too run of the mill and in some parts it simply forgets to be much fun.  Still, the climax is good and Rene Russo is sexy as hell.

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson star in this pleasant enough basketball comedy directed by Ron Shelton who also did Bull Durham.  It's not great or anything but the two leads and Rosie Perez keep the viewer entertained for the duration of the movie.

It's no patch on An American Werewolf in London but John Landis' take on the vampire film is a fun, quite watchable horror flick with some nice gore and a fun performance from Robert Loggia as the main bad guy, a mobster bitten by sexy vampire Anne Parillaud.  There are some nice twists such as the the lead vampire being more or less a vigilante who only preys on bad guys.

Quentin Tarantino's debut is a rough around the edges crime flick with a great cast and dialogue.  It gets points for being his first film and lays a solid foundation for what will come from the man.

My favorite Brandon Lee movie, this stars the late actor as a young man drawn into a mob plot after he witnesses a murder.  It's a fun, quick, unpretentious meat and potatoes action flick with some great fight scenes including an awesome one-on-one between Lee and fan favorite Al Leong. 

The clash of the second tier action hero titans begins!  Van Damme and Lundgren star as deceased Vietnam vets who happen to hate each other and also happen to end up as part of a special ops program using undead soldiers for missions.  A fun, utterly stupid popcorn flick with good action and a nice villainous turn from Dolph.

This is actually one of my favorite boxing films with great turns from James Woods as a con man and Bruce Dern as the ruthless owner of a small town.  Louis Gossett Jr. is also good as a boxer Woods uses for a huge con.  Woods is funny as hell and the only thing keeping this from my top ten is that the film meanders a little on the way to the bet that Gossett can't beat ten fighters in one day.  Still, it's quite good.

Guilty Pleasures

I have a grudging affection for Francis Ford Coppola's overblown take on the Dracula tale.  Anthony Hopkins is hammy fun as Van Helsing and Gary Oldman is pretty good for the most part in the lead but the real fun comes from seeing Keanu Reeves struggle like hell to do an English accent and Winona Ryder isn't a hell of a lot better.  The makeup f/x from Greg Cannom are fantastic as well.

Not the best King film you will ever see but it's still an enjoyable enough monster movie with some wonderfully cheesy early morphing effects.  I love the cheesy early 90's CGI, there is a certain charm to it.  Alice Krige is also quite good as the main villain in this tale about a pair of incestuous, shapeshifting cat monsters who must kill in order to survive.  I think Stephen King was sober when he wrote this too so... Damn!

One of the last things Cannon ever made (and that is the only reason I own it, honestly), this is a quite uneven action/comedy with Peter Weller and Robert Hays of all people as a pair of mercenaries looking to liberate your standard Central American dictatorship.  It's cheesy fun for the most part though oddly heartless in how it treats the female lead (a pointless death to spur the heroes to the end) and really the best action comes at the end by which point you will probably be too drunk to give a crap (booze dulls the badness of the film) or asleep.

The early 90's were a golden age for crappy would-be horror franchises.  Some films became shockingly successful like the Leprechaun films and others, like Dr. Giggles, got their one shot and went away.  Larry Drake is the only reason to watch this as the title character and he chows down on the scenery with hysterical glee.  He's essentially a pun machine with lethal medical devices and the story is predictable as hell but Drake is so much fun to watch that you almost don't mind.

The official poster child for troubled film productions, the third in the Alien series is a too dark for its own good, gory horror film nicely directed by David Fincher but also about as satisfying as a book missing the last thirty pages.  Sigourney Weaver is good as usual as Ripley and the f/x are fine but the film just ends up being depressing as hell to watch.  That being said, it is a very good looking movie with good acting and enough solid bits to justify a viewing.  Without that, it would have been a given for my worst list.

To be Continued in the Worst of 1992 post

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.