Category Archives: 1993

The Piano (1993)

Jane Campion’s The Piano is one of my favorite movies of all time. I regretted not having reviewed this for the LAMBs in the Director’s Chair with her and Kathryn Bigelow a couple of months ago. The movie won Oscars for Best Actress, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay. Watching the film again made me marvel at the subtle poetry displayed onscreen.

Ada McGrath (Hunter) is a mute that has not spoken since she was six years old. She is set to be married to Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill) who she had never seen. She has to move across the sea to New Zealand with her daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin) in tow. The boat she is traveling in is packed with crates of clothes, household items and her cherished piano.

When the ladies arrive on the beach, they have to wait for Mr. Stewart to come and take them to their new home. They had to camp out on the beach overnight until Stewart came with a party of Māori tribe members with his guide, George Baines (Harvey Keitel). Stewart learns right then and there that Ada is mute and only her daughter could interpret the words that she says in sign language.

Stewart wants to take everything on the beach, except for the piano because it would have been too much of a burden to carry. Ada insists on taking the piano with them. It is her only prized possession. It is her way of communicating what she is feeling to the world. Eventually, she realizes that she has to leave the piano behind for the time being.

The marriage is not joyous. There is not love there at all. Ada does not show any affection to Stewart. It really bothers him. When Stewart leaves for a quick trip, Ada and Flora come knocking on the door of Baines to ask to go get the piano. In exchange for getting her piano back into her possession, Baines asks her to teach him how to play. The catch is that he doesn’t want to play, he wants to see Ada plays. Their lessons become increasingly awkward as Baines slowly seduces her.

This movie is beautiful to watch. It’s very moody with the blue wash, the torrential rain and the wonderful score by Michael Nyman. The acting in this movie make it what it is. You think that you are not going to like the love story that is happening, but you are strangely drawn to it. The piano plays a major part of why I love this movie. I have this theory that when a person plays a piano, they win an Oscar. Think about it. Adrien Brody is The Pianist, Jaime Foxx in Ray, Ellen Bustryn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Geoffrey Rush in Shine, the list goes on.

The one thing that bothers me about this movie is the Sam Neill character. I know that he is supposed to be the other guy, but I wish I could have how did he fall in love with Ada to make him do some of the things he did in the movie.

Judgment: A beautiful movie to watch and marvel.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Groundhog Day (1993)

Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

— Phil

I always wanted to see # 157 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Groundhog Day, but I never got the chance to watch until a couple of days ago. I thought maybe this film would help me, because I feel like I am stuck in the same day repeatedly. I try to change the outcome, but it’s always the same. Besides, the great character actor Stephen Tobolowsky talked about some memories of the movie on his podcast, The Tobolowsky Files. I had a duty to watch it.

A jaded Pittsburgh weatherman, Phil Conners (Bill Murray) is sent once again to Punxsutawney for the fourth year in a row to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. He goes on the trip with his new producer, the bubbly Rita (Andie MacDowell) and the cameraman, Larry (Chris Elliott).

Rita wants to talk more about the preparation that goes into watching a groundhog being plucked out of a stump to look at its shadow. Phil is not interested in doing that, because he wants to do bigger and better things than cover a silly festival.

His day starts with him waking up at 6 am to go downstairs to have his coffee where he run into the Man in the Hallway (Ken Hudson Campbell) who wants to talk about the upcoming festival. The owner of the bed and breakfast that he is staying in, Mrs. Lancaster (Angela Paton) asks him if he wants to stay the night. He declines. He want to leave immediately after his segment.

An old classmate of Phil’s runs into him on the street, Ned Reyerson (Tobolowsky). He doesn’t remember him. Ned rambles on about their past run ins until Phil tries to make a swift exit and steps in a puddle. Phil goes to the festival to see that Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter.

Phil wants to leave, but a huge snowstorm blows into the area. He said that it would hit another place. The only way out of the town is closed. Phil thinks that his day cannot get any worse. He tries to shower with cold water and goes to sleep.

Waking up the next day, Phil feels a strong sense of déjà vu. He thinks that the town is trying to play a trick on him, but it seems like it’s no trick. He begins to freak out and taking out his frustrations on the people that he already met. He remember what happened before, but everybody else doesn’t. He is wondering why is he reliving the same day. He tries to change the scenario, but it doesn’t help.

People have told me to change the ways that you do things, you could change your outlook. It’s so hard to do that when you have hit rock bottom and there is no way out. I should take some lessons from the movie and input it into my life. Try to work life in different configurations to see what works and what doesn’t.

Judgment: It’s an essential movie for people who want to have existential questions.

Rating: 8/10

True Romance (1993)

 

Hi. How are you? My name’s Elliot, and I’m with the Cub Scouts of America. We’re… we’re selling uncut cocaine to get to the jamboree.

— Elliot

Quentin Tarantino penned the script for True Romance for director Tony Scott. I heard about this movie, because when I saw the IMDb page of Inglourious Basterds. He made one of the characters “Bear Jew” Donowitz the grandfather of one of the character in this movie. I thought I might check it out. I think this was Tarantino’s attempt to have a bloodily romantic movie, but it fails.

Taking place in Detroit, a comic book store worker, Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) goes to a Sonny Chiba “Street Fighter” triple feature. A beautiful young woman, Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) intentionally bumps into him there. They take a liking to each other and meet each other for pie. He tries to get to know her more, but she is coy.

They quickly fall in love and have sex. Afterwards, Alabama confesses to him that she is a call girl that was hired by his boss to get him laid on his birthday. They promise to be with each other always and get married the next day. She tells him about her fucked up life and how needed to get her stuff back from her pimp

When shit is about to go down the spirit of Elvis (Val Kilmer) gives Clarence a quick pep talk in the bathroom. Clarence wants to retrieve Alabama’s stuff from her former pimp, a Rasta man named Drexl (Gary Oldman). Going over there, things go wrong when he kills Drexl and takes a suitcase. It turns out that suitcase is filled with a million dollars worth of cocaine from a drug lord, Blue Lou Boyle.

The duo doesn’t know this. When Clarence comes back to the apartment bloody and bruised, Alabama is turned on by doing anything for her. They go over to a trailer house to meet his father, Clifford (Dennis Hooper), who is a police officer. They haven’t seen each other in three years. He wanted to know if the cops are after the twosome. Clifford tells them that they are in the clear.

They take a road trip Clarence’s best friend in Hollywood, Dick Ritchie (Michael Rappaport), an actor with his stoner roommate, Floyd (Brad Pitt). After the duo leaves, Vincenzo Coccotti (Chirstopher Walken), the local counsel for Boyle, pays Clifford a visit. The thugs interrogate him when Clarence dropped his license at the crime scene. They want to get their score back.

The movie is supposed to be a modern version of Bonnie and Clyde, but the movie felt false. You know you hear Tarantino dialogue when the characters ramble on about movies and minute trivia. The movie as whole laid flat. There was no oomph. I didn’t care if the characters lived or died. It was disappointing.

Judgment: Words cannot describe how terrible this movie is.

Rating: **1/2

Schnidler’s List (1993)


After the endless craptastic movies that I have seen over the past couple of days, I wanted to see a GOOD MOVIE. I realized that my mother has a copy of the #7 movie from IMDB 250 list, Schindler’s List on tape when it was shown on NBC back in 1997.

I sat down and watched it. Is it me or is this film terribly overrated? Okay. Before you harp on me, hear me out.

My problem with the movie is the lead character Oskar Schindler’s personality. He is an unscrupulous character that when he sees the atrocities on the Holocaust, he tries to save the Jews. I don’t buy that.

I thought that the pace at the beginning of the film was very slow. The only way that saved it was when Ben Kingsley came in.

I have seen so many Holocaust movies that I am getting sick of them. I believe that if I have seen this film when it came out in 1993, I would have thought that it was best movie ever. I think this is just my bias that Hollywood is draining the well dry. Just beating a dead horse. We get it. Holocaust, bad. Jews, good. Nazis, evil.

I will say that I loved Ben Kingsley as Oskar’s accountant, Itzhak Stern. He was wonderful. He deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Liam Neeson was fine as Schindler. Ralph is Ralph. Nothing special.

The crispness of the cinematography. I loved it. It felt like a noir film. The lighting, the shadows. Great.

I just have to say that my tolerance for these movies is waning. I have seen so many that it’s like it has been done before.

Maybe the film is showing it’s age. Maybe it doesn’t hold up. That’s my opinion about this movie.

My rating: *** stars. (Up to review at a later date.)

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