1992 in Review

1992
BEST PICTURE

Nominees that didn’t make it:
5. Scent of a Woman-an overlong hammy disaster
4. A Few Good Men-amusing, and too amused with itself

For Twitter length reviews click here

68. Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
Someday I’ll have a coherent opinion on this.
Favorite Moment: Flashing red.
67. A Heart of Winter
Chilly musician intellectualism that gets pumped full of warranted feeling in the closing scenes. The definition of white people problems, which I’m not against at all.
Favorite Moment: The ending.
66. The Northerners
Roy Andersson loves this film, there’s no doubt in my mind about that even without doing any research in that field. Same style of humor and vignettes and everything to a lesser degree.
Favorite Moment: Everyone bangs on the window.
65. Deep Cover
Has heavy roots in the best kind of blaxploitation, with Jeff Goldblum’s hilariously snotty performance adds a burst of manic energy.
Favorite Moment: The slap game.
64. Alien 3
The director’s cut deserves a better rap even if it can’t ever touch the first two.
Favorite Moment: Ripley gets face to face with the alien.
63. Wayne’s World
It’s so stupid but so fun.
Favorite Moment: Bohemian Rhapsody.
62. One False Move
Propulsive momentum, never fails to stop sprinting, bonkers climax.
Favorite Moment: The house confrontation.
61. White Men Can’t Jump
Just an excuse for Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes to just yell at each other with Rosie Perez occasionally entering the fray. Also I’ll forever laugh at the Jeopardy subplot.
Favorite Moment: The reconciliation dinner between Billy/Gloria.
60. Sneakers
A very good hangout movie with technological speak that can best be described as silly. Who wouldn’t want to watch this group of hackers just snipe at each other all day?
Favorite Moment: Opening pizza run.
59. Hand That Rocks the Cradle
While the portrayal of Ernie is next level awful, Rebecca De Mornay’s deranged babysitter is very close to being the pinnacle of 1992’s home invasion nightmares. Also, Julianne Moore!
Favorite Moment: Peyton threatens a child.
58. Guelwaar
Very solid piece of satire that still has the bulk of its bite. Shockingly progressive even for a director who’s reportedly a huge feminist (have not yet seen anything else).
Favorite Moment: The wife threatening her husband when he threatens to beat her.
57. Kairat
I didn’t expect a film from Kazakhstan about a bus driver to be quite so surreal, but it’s a great lightweight exploration of the gap between reality and dreams.
Favorite Moment: The strange opening.
56. Proof
One of three Aussie Best Picture winners to get a 1992 release, and definitely the weakest of the bunch, but still very solid work if a bit of a lightweight slice of life.
Favorite Moment: The drive in fight.
55. Singles
It’s very early 90s and very, VERY Seattle grunge and it contains all the problems present in Cameron Crowe’s films but it still holds up somehow? I think I’m a sucker for a vignette structure.
Favorite Moment: The dating video.
54. Benny’s Video
Minor Haneke but some scenes are a real wow, namely my favorite moment and the opening pig shooting.
Favorite Moment: Anna having a breakdown in bed.
53. Damage
A bizarre film that is primarily successful off the back of how awful it is, with everyone coming across as some sort of unpleasant parody of a human being. It’s a sea of awful backstabbing beautiful people save for Miranda Richardson, who still reacts to the news like she wants to punch a hole through Jeremy Irons in the film’s most memorable moment (save for Irons putting the moves on Juliette Binoche).
Favorite Moment: Ingrid’s breakdown and following rant.
52. Enchanted April
Pretty standard “British women learn to love themselves on holiday” drama that is elevated by a great first half and some fun if not special performances…and then let down a bit when they all decide they love their husbands in the second half. Oh well, it was never going to end any other way, and it’s still lovely to look at.
Favorite Moment: The chat at the lunch.
51. A River Runs Through It
The sort of film you could watch with your parents easily, with gorgeous cinematography that distracts from any other issues at hand.
Favorite Moment: The drive through the train tunnel.
50. Last of the Mohicans
Wish this film cared more about the characters and not just looking pretty, although the actors elevate it beyond an excuse for pretty American wilderness backdrops.
Favorite Moment: Huron raid.
49. Simple Men
The acting in this is utterly bizarre, but it definitely gives off a great Twin Peaks vibe?
Favorite Moment: The dance.
48. Single White Female
The best of the home invasion thrillers if only for how it flirts with Persona-esque concepts. Never really commits, but JJL sure as hell does.
Favorite Moment: The haircut reveal.
47. Sister Act
Fun little Hollywood comedy that holds up fairly well thanks to a very mild sense of humor that serves it well.
Favorite Moment: O Maria.
46. Stolen Children
One of the quietest and low-key sad road trip movies ever, I think? Directly taps into Italian gloom.
Favorite Moment: The beach.
45. Braindead
I can’t help but feel that the actors from this should’ve been in The Hobbit films. It’d be much more interesting.
Favorite Moment: The custard zombie feast.
44. For a Lost Soldier
Is it wrong to say a movie improves once a possible pedophile shows up? Because once he does, it becomes much more wistful and sad.
Favorite Moment: The love scene.
43. Romper Stomper
Electric filmmaking despite a plot that doesn’t really go anywhere. Russell Crowe is at his most deranged here and certainly should’ve gotten attention for this over some of the other crap he was celebrated for.
Favorite Moment: The fight at the half hour mark.
42. Hard Boiled
Mindblowing action sequences meet a script that is basically just an excuse for said action sequences.
Favorite Moment: The hospital fight.
41. Basic Instinct
Pure trash of the most misogynistic variety, with Michal Douglas totally not getting that his character is an idiot and a rapist, but Sharon Stone is just hypnotic, openly cackling at what pathetic little men are all around her in both the cast and crew. Can’t help but like it for that.
Favorite Moment: The interrogation.
40. Lorenzo’s Oil
Has a lot more style than most biopics thanks to George Miller, who also doesn’t try to dumb down the complicated science any more than necessary thanks to his experience as a doctor. Nick Nolte’s dreadful Italian accent is redeemed by Susan Sarandon, who plays her mother a little like she’s an action heroine, not shying away from the fact that her mothering instincts are still potentially a danger to herself and others. For a film to convince me for a few seconds that maybe the oil wouldn’t work out is a minor miracle.
Favorite Moment: The Baby Jesus scene.
39. Light Sleeper
A superb hang out movie that becomes something else entirely thanks to Dafoe’s slow unraveling.
Favorite Moment: The final chat.
38. My Cousin Vinny
One of my first introductions to films that both won an Oscar and were well liked by the general public has a lot more holes than I remembered (why are the protagonists so bland?), but I still laughed a lot at it anyway. Tomei is simply superb and her shock Oscar win is mostly a pleasant surprise (although if it robbed Judy Davis then it’s a little tragic).
Favorite Moment: Biological clock.
37. Delicatessen
Like Amelie with more dirt and grime (and a totally nonsensical climax that I dug anyway).
Favorite Moment: The squeaky spring.
36. Jamon Jamon
Sort of an incompetent version of Tampopo but I love it anyway? Impossible to resist Cruz’s great debut while the other three just play as sex-addled caricatures.
Favorite Moment: Ham fight.
35. Candyman
A forbidden love story disguised as a horror film. Way ahead of its time despite being recent.
Favorite Moment: Parking lot.
34. Center Stage
Fascinating postmodernism meets the mustiest of all genres in the biopic. Maggie Cheung’s amazing both at impersonation and putting her own spin on things.
Favorite Moment: The numerous takes of the bedroom scene.
33. Leolo
Grimy as fuck, filled with caricatures that aren’t pleasant to look at or listen to, and yet still somehow achieves greatness in small ways.
Favorite Moment: The tomatoes.
32. Gas Food Lodging
I like thinking about the lives of these women and what happened to them after the film ended.
Favorite Moment: The girls get into a fight over the birth control.
31. Bob Roberts
Has become only more alarming over the years because this is genuinely how the Republican party thinks. A nightmare despite the fact that it indicts fear mongering.
Favorite Moment: The SNL performance.
30. The Hairdresser’s Husband
A fascinating take on escapism for most of its runtime…and then it becomes something else entirely.
Favorite Moment: The kid’s haircut.
29. Death Becomes Her
I wish we could see Meryl Streep go full vamp like this more often, for her dynamics with her husband and arch nemesis are delicious. Way more hilarious than it got credit for, and the effects amaze too. Shame Zemeckis decided to use his talents for evil instead and went into full on conservative fantasy rather than just making the “good” guy here a Republican!
Favorite Moment: The Sweet Bird of Youth musical.
28. Aladdin
Not Disney’s best, and Robin Williams may have pioneered a whole bunch of bad voice acting (plus Dory), but his performance sort of warranted it and the film is a great way of using color coding + wonderful music.
Favorite Moment: Prince Ali.
27. Army of Darkness
This is one of the best trilogies ever so I won’t hear anything too bad about this movie’s tendency to get sillier than scary. I also feel a great amount of affection for the fact that you can essentially choose your own ending.
Favorite Moment: The (theatrical) ending-although I love the DVD cut ending too.
26. Glengarry Glen Ross
One of the most damning indictments of American manhood and the culture that encourages worship of money, that root of all evil, ever penned gets brought to the screen as intact as it could be, with Alec Baldwin’s entrance serving to make our increasingly scrabbling leads even more unsettled than they would be. Shame it’s so stagebound but the actors are doing such heavy lifting that it doesn’t matter, for this is a parade of F-bombs and unrelenting nihilism with a purpose.
Favorite Moment: Alec Baldwin’s rant.

For my Top 25 of 1992 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
5. Robert Downey Jr., Chaplin-you’ve all seen this kind of biopic performance
4. Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman-*doesn’t blink*

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
5. Catherine Denevue, Indochine-one of the best actresses ever gets a nom for looking pretty

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actor):
5. David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night-what does he even do!?
4. Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men-indulges in his hammiest tendencies

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actress):
5. Joan Plowright, Enchanted April-fun but nothing too out of the ordinary

ACTOR

Craig Chester, Swoon
Russell Crowe, Romper Stomper
Willem Dafoe, Light Sleeper
Daniel Day-Lewis, Last of the Mohicans
Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven-unable to face others and himself
Lee Kang-sheng, Rebels of the Neon God
Michael Keaton, Batman Returns
Harvey Keitel, Bad Lieutenant
Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross
Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Benoit Poelvoorde, Man Bites Dog
Stephen Rea, Crying Game-filled with pathos and romance in both forms
Tim Robbins, Bob Roberts
Tim Robbins, The Player
Jean Rochefort, Hairdresser’s Husband
Tim Roth, Reservoir Dogs
Daniel Schlachet, Swoon
Maarten Smit, For a Lost Soldier
Denzel Washington, Malcolm X-a performance that escapes mimicry and has its own personality

ACTRESS
Fairuza Balk, Gas Food Lodging
Maggie Cheung, Center Stage
Penelope Cruz, Jamon Jamon
Geena Davis, A League of Their Own
Rebecca De Mornay, Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Mia Farrow, Husbands and Wives
Sheila Florance, A Woman’s Tale
Anna Galiena, Hairdresser’s Husband
Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act
Sheryl Lee, Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Single White Female
Gong Li, Story of Qiu Ju
Virginia Madsen, Candyman
Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish-always an asshole but never irredeemable
Kati Outinen, Match Factory Girl
Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field-manages the ridiculous number of tonal shifts well
Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil-in the right, but comes across as wrong (so basically, the opposite of her Bernie Sanders support)
Valentina Scalici, Stolen Children
Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct
Meryl Streep, Death Becomes Her
Emma Thompson, Howards End-multilayered in dealing with the problems of society
Charlotte Very, A Tale of Winter

S. ACTOR
Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
Steve Buscemi, Reservoir Dogs
Chen Chao-jung, Rebels of the Neon God
Jaye Davidson, Crying Game-even when the pills show up, she’s always gorgeously sad
Danny DeVito, Batman Returns
Morgan Freeman, Unforgiven
Al Freeman Jr., Malcolm X
Gene Hackman, Unforgiven-evil gets a smiling face
Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
Anthony Hopkins, Howards End
Andrew Kelley, For a Lost Soldier
Ray Liotta, Unlawful Entry
Michael Madsen, Reservoir Dogs
Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross-molded and shaped into the ideal monster
Sydney Pollack, Husbands and Wives

S. ACTRESS
Angela Bassett, Malcolm X
Helena Bonham-Carter, Howards End
Judy Davis, Husbands and Wives-deliciously faux in her intellectualism
Gosia Dobrowolska, A Woman’s Tale
Frances Fisher, Unforgiven
Whoopi Goldberg, The Player
Juliette Lewis, Husbands and Wives
Jodhi May, Last of the Mohicans
Kathy Najimy, Sister Act
Thandie Newton, Flirting
Lori Petty, A League of Their Own
Rosie Perez, White Men Can’t Jump
Vanessa Redgrave, Howards End-instantly conjures up an entire life lived in loneliness and the gratitude of new friendship
Miranda Richardson, Crying Game
Miranda Richardson, Damage-gets one scene and devours it
Tilda Swinton, Edward II
Pat Thomson, Strictly Ballroom
Frankie Thorn, Bad Lieutenant
Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny-a spitfire work of genius physical comedy and balls out charisma
Angela Winkler, Benny’s Video
Alfre Woodard, Passion Fish
Wang Yu-wen, Rebels of the Neon God

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