Movie Diary 1994 previous • next

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1994 may be the best year for movies in my adult life. The Academy Award nominees for Best Picture were Forrest Gump, Four Weddings & A Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, and The Shawshank Redemption (Forrest Gump won six Oscars, including Best Picture). I saw Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump in preview screenings (before the hype got too big), and somehow I didn't see Four Weddings in the theater at all. Then again, I missed the boat on Silence Of The Lambs too. These days Forrest Gump has fallen in my opinion, but The Crow and Clerks are ready to take its place in my personal Top Five Of 1994.

January 9, 1994 •  Indiana Jones Trilogy • The Wang Center for the Performing Arts
John Rhys-Davies (Sallah, Gimli) introduced the films. Little did the audience know that we'd still be waiting for Indy 4 a decade later.
January 16, 1994 •  Philadelphia • Loews Janus Cinema (now closed) Harvard Square
Not a dry eye in the house, especially during the home movies at the end.
February 18, 1994 • Reality Bites • Copley Place "shoebox" Theater, Boston
Afterwards, had a mild argument with my date over who Winona should have ended up with. I thought Ethan Hawke was a slacker jerk with no redeeming qualities. I didn't know then that some women are drawn to the "bad guy" versus the "good guy" (see Aragorn/Legoas, Wolverine/Cyclops)
March 18, 1994 • Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
With Dan & Dan & Mike at a huge theater in Times Square, NYC.

Ed: You might end up dead!
Frank Drebin: "You might end up dead" is my middle name.
Ed: What about your wife Jane?
Frank: I don't know her middle name.

Sometime in March 1994 • The Ref • A Theater Near Verona, NJ
Dan and I went to see this Christmas movie in March(?) while visiting New Jersey for Beatlefest '94.

Gus: From now on, the only person who gets to yell is me. Why? Because I have a gun. People with guns get to do whatever they want. Married people without guns - for instance - you - DO NOT get to yell. Why? NO GUNS! No guns, no yelling. See? Simple little equation.

April 23, 1994 • Backbeat • Loews Church St, Harvard Sq.
A decent pre-history of the Beatles. Somehow it makes Stu Sutcliffe seem interesting. For some reason, 1994 was the year of movies with vomit- it seemed like I saw a whole series of films where characters spew chunks that year.

The Summer Of Free Preview Screenings • This special section chronicles all the free movie preview screenings I attended in 1994. Movie studios frequently hold free screenings, always on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, often a full week ahead of their release. These screenings are intended as either press-only screenings, or general-audience screenings to build "buzz" before opening weekend. Both of these types of screenings require a pass, which would often be handed out at the Emerson student union, for example. From May to December 1994, I worked at a video laserdisc sales & rental store called Laser Craze. The shop was located on Newbury Street, next to Sonsie (a shoe shop is there now). As movie fans, all us clerks wanted to go to many preview screenings. A friend of one of the clerks worked at Kinko's, and he frequently made counterfeit full-color, two-sided copies of the passes required to enter the screenings. The front of the pass was generally a reproduction of the poster, and the reverse listed the date, time, and place of the screening. As a result, I saw several of the best pictures of 1994 before anyone else. I also saw several of the worst films I've ever encountered. The tale of free movies continues below...

May 19? 1994
Beverly Hills Cop III
The first Axel Foley adventure was a perfect blend of action and comedy. Originally written as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, Sly passed on Beverly Hills Cop and made Cobra instead. Beverly Hills Cop II, directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun), is much more serious, and Cop III, directed by John Landis, is just awful. Landis has successfully blended comedy with horror (An American Werewolf In London), but this comedy-action hybrid stinks.

June 22, 1994
Wyatt Earp
Too long, and not as much fun as Tombstone which came out the previous Christmas. But Dennis Quaid is good and gaunt as Doc Holliday. Kevin Costner is overly wooden, and he was unconvincing as the young Wyatt Earp. His soft, 39-year-old jawline betrayed him.

June 1994
Quality entertainment, and my second Western in a row! A reunion of Mel Gibson and Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner, Maverick felt really long- if you pay attention, the story has 4 or 5 "acts", where most films only have 3.

June 30, 1994
Forrest Gump
Copley Place "shoebox" theater
For some reason, I sat right up front. That feather floating around the sky was enormous! Ten years later, it's treacly, overly sentimental, overly long, manipulative crap. The whole sequence where he runs cross-country could have been excised and the film would've been better.

July 14, 1994
The Client
Quality Hollywood product. The Firm is still my favorite Grisham adaptation, but Tommy Lee and Susan squeeze out sparks.

July 25, 1994
It Could Happen To You
I don't remember much about this "cop wins lottery, splits jackpot with waitress" romantic comedy.

July 27, 1994
The Mask
Terribly silly, but fun debut for Jim Carrey, and an unforgettable debut for Cameron Diaz too!

August 2, 1994
Corinna, Corinna
Very sweet movie, featuring Ray Liotta's paternal, tender side.

August 24, 1994
Wagons East!
I drove all the way to the outer reaches of Brighton (Cleveland Circle)...for this horrible movie?

August 25? 1994
Natural Born Killers
Church St, Harvard Sq.
The movie which begat another wave of "Violent Hollywood Corrupts Young America" politics, Oliver Stone's NBK is thought - provoking and overcooked. Got everyone in the theater riled up. Great soundtrack.

September 20, 1994
The Shawshank Redemption
I am a big fan of Stephen King's novella, so I had high expectations for the movie. Of course, they left out some nuggets I missed, but they also made some improvements. So rarely do I love a novel and a movie equally, for different reasons. I always cry when Morgan Freeman gets to the big tree and finds the box with the letter in it.

October 4, 1994
Ed Wood
Nickelodeon theater, Comm. Ave, Boston
Delightful tribute to the joy of moviemaking.

October 11, 1994
Exit To Eden
Cheri Theater, Boston (now it's the Kings bowling & billards joint)
Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd are detectives sent undercover at some kind of kinky sex spa, forcing the audience to see them both in leather and chains. The only saving grace is watching Dana Delany play a dominatrix.

October 13, 1994
Pulp Fiction
Cheri Theater, Boston (now it's the Kings bowling & billards joint)
Debuted at Cannes five months earlier, this was a preview screening before its general release in Boston. The PR firm was handing out full sized Pulp FIction posters at the screening. This was the first of six screenings of this film I will attend in next 4 1/2 months.

November 2, 1994
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Not as much fun as Bram Stoker's Dracula.

November 8, 1994
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Cheri Theater, Boston (now it's the Kings bowling/billards joint)
It's remarkable how different vampire movies use the vampires to symbolize different ideas. It's probably why the vamire myth is so enduring.

June 4, 1994 • The Crow
Terribly tragic movie, in so many ways. In the ten years since this film was released, director Alex Proyas has made Dark City (1998), Garage Days (2002), and I, Robot (2004), and that's it.
June 25, 1994 • The Lion King • Loews Fresh Pond
Disney at their apex. This would remain the all-time highest-grossing animated film until Finding Nemo in 2003. Of course, ticket prices have gone from $6-$7 to $8-$9 since 1994...
June 26, 1994 • City Slickers 2: The Legend Of Curly's Gold
Totally unnecessary and pointless sequel.
July 2, 1994 • Blown Away • Cheri Theater, Boston (now it's the Kings bowling/billards joint)
We all laughed all the way through. Could not have mis-represented Boston more.
July 3, 1994 • Wolf
Jack Nicholson would pee on a bathroom floor again in About Schmidt.
July 6, 1994 • The Shadow • Cinema 57, Boston
Weak attempt at a Batman-esque franchise. A matinee showing on a very hot day. I was required to see it as a fellow member of the Big Head club (Alec Baldwin) was starring. We gotta stick together, ya know.
July 17, 1994 • True Lies • Cheri Theater, Boston (now it's the Kings bowling/billards joint)
Sat way up front, with Craig. As much as I enjoy watching Jamie Lee Curtis in her underwear, the pretext for making her strip was incredibly demeaning and sexist. Plus the terrorists were a crude racist stereotype.
July 20, 1994 • Speed
Incredibly impossible, lots of plot holes and flawed logic, but I can't look away. I hate myself for loving Speed.
August 12, 1994 • Clear And Present Danger
I hated the movie of Patriot Games, and this was no better.
September 17, 1994 • Quiz Show
One of my favorite films, period.
November 11, 1994 • Clerks • Nickelodeon theater, Comm. Ave, Boston
The most claustrophobic film I've ever seen (not set in a submarine). Nearly the whole movie takes place in a convenience store with the shutters down. Director Kevin Smith shot the movie after hours, so the shutters enabled night-for-day shooting. Clerks would make a good play- one set only!

Randal: Salsa shark! We're gonna need a bigger boat! Man goes into cage, cage goes into salsa. Shark's in the salsa. Our shark.

November 19th and 21st, 1994 • Star Trek: Generations
This is the "bridge" movie, and I don't mean they never leave the ship: This is the movie where William Shatner is strapped into his Starfleet uniform for the last time to say farewell, and the Next Generation cast hits the big screen. This is also where they say farewell to the old Enterprise-D: the saucer section and the stardrive separate, the stardrive section explodes, and the saucer emergency-lands on a planet's surface. The first time the Enterprise-D did the Transformers thing was in the pilot episode of the Next Generation TV show. It had been well-documented during the TV show's run that this emergency landing was possible, but it had never happened. In fact, during the 176 episode series, the saucer and stardrive never separated again after the pilot episode. During Generations, when Riker orders the separation, I went into a fanboy euphoria: finally, I was going to see the fabled emergency landing! It was totally worth it.
Place These Star Trek Movie Titles in Chronological Order • Numbers 5 through 10 are chronicled in this diary, but that would be cheating! (Movies 1-4 were released in the pre-history of this diary)
AlphabeticalChronologicalMy Ranking (best to worst)

  • The Final Frontier
  • First Contact
  • Generations
  • Insurrection
  • The Motion Picture
  • Nemesis
  • The Search for Spock
  • The Undiscovered Country
  • The Voyage Home
  • The Wrath of Khan
Click and Drag for Answers...
  1. The Motion Picture
  2. The Wrath of Khan
  3. The Search for Spock
  4. The Voyage Home
  5. The Final Frontier
  6. The Undiscovered Country
  7. Generations
  8. First Contact
  9. Insurrection
  10. Nemesis

  • The Wrath of Khan
  • The Search for Spock
  • The Voyage Home
  • The Undiscovered Country
  • First Contact
  • Generations
  • Insurrection
  • The Motion Picture
  • Nemesis
  • Final Frontier

November 20, 1994 • Pulp Fiction
Second time seeing Pulp Fiction. You can forgive me if I cannot recount specific memories from each showing, but they've all blended together!

December 16, 1994 • The Santa Clause
Pretty good vehicle for Tim Allen, a comedian who I don't care about at all.

Movie Diary 1994 previous • next

This Movie Diary has migrated to Blogspot. Visit Stub Hubby for current reviews!