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January 19, 1995 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, January 19, 1995

Independents ran like crazy in '94

Scott Plagenhoef's Top 10
Films
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Hoop Dreams
3. Ed Wood
4. Heavenly Creatures
5. The Shawshank Redemption
6. 32 Short Films About the Life of
Glenn Gould
7. Spanking the Monkey
8. Quiz Show
9. Bullets over Broadway
10. Clerks
(see story on page 1)

("Clerks"), Tom Noonan ("What Hap-
pened Was...") David O. Russell
("Spanking the Monkey"), and Rose
Turner ("Go Fish") beat out 1994's
dirty old men's club, namely Barry
Levinson ("Jimmy Hollywood" and
"Disclosure"), Kenneth Branagh
("Frankenstein") Ivan Reitman ("Jun-
ior") and Oliver "Conspiracy is thy
name" Stone ("Natural Born Killers")
didn't force you to face the music,
then surely the success of "Pulp Fic-
tion" must have done the trick. Few
recent films have even come close to

"The Last Seduction" was critically acclaimed, despite low box receipts.

Alexandra Twin's Top 10 Films
1. Pulp Fiction
2. What Happened Was...
3. Spanking the Monkey
4. Quiz Show
5. Little Women
6. Heavenly Creatures
7. Queen Margot
8. Bullets Over Broadway
9. Ed Wood
10. Clerks
Runners-up: Death and the Maiden,
Widows Peak, Speed, The Last Se-
duction
Once again, Independence rules.
While America may have gone Gump,
it should have gone gauche. In an in-
dustry where green means painting by
numbers, left of the dial was where the
action was at, with the best films com-
ing from the independent and foreign
markets. Even the good alleged main-
stream films weren't all that main-
stream. Woody Allen anyone?
If seeing virgins Kevin Smith

achieving the level of excellence
"Pulp" inspires.
If "Forrest Gump" seems a con-
spicuous absence, so be it. Here's
hoping that that film follows the route
of most over-hyped cultural phenom-
enon, dissolving into a passing fad, a
momentary topic of conversation, a
film filed away on the video store
shelf, labeled "CLASSIC" so that you
know exactly what you're supposed
to appreciate if you're a good Ameri-
can.
Sarah Stewart's Top 10 Films
Face the facts -in a world full of
meaningless conversation, sometimes
the most interesting topic is films. For
example, pretend wejust met. We have
nothing in common, but then you ask:
"Seen any good movies lately?" As
long as we both know something about
movies, we're set for at least ten min-
utes. In an effort to improve your con-
versationonfilm,here'saquiz. Takeit,
study it until thoroughly prepped to
discuss ten of the best movies of 1994.

All answers follow. Good luck.
1 ."Searching forBobbyFischer' meets
'Boyz in the Hood"' What film does
this imaginary title loosely describe?
2. The main character of___ was in
love withagirl namedJenny andowned
a shrimp boat by the same name.
3. One of the most memorable scenes
in this film includes heroin, a foaming
mouth and a hypodermic needlejabbed
into a young woman's chest.
4. What's the name of this documen-
tary which features guest appearances
by Isiah Thomas, Jalen Rose and Juwan
Howard?
5. The glamour of the 1920's, John
Cusack and a surprising Mafia twist all
in one film entitled_ .
6. This film has been compared to "The
Graduate," except the character com-
parable to Mrs. Robinson is themother
of the character comparable to Dustin
Hoffman.
7. What's the significance of the girlie
posters? Ifyou'veseen___youknow.
8. Almost everybody, including Charles
Van Doren, is guilty of something in
this film based on a 1950s scandal.
9. This film features the male star of
"Four Weddings and a Funeral" and
one of the female stars of "Sports Illus-
trated".
10. Currently, there's doubt as to
whether will be considered for an
Oscar because it was originally re-
leased on HBO.
Answers 1.9,2.7,3.2,4. 1,5.10,6.5,
7. 3, 8. 4, 9. 8,10. 6
1. Hoop Dreams
2. Pulp Fiction
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Quiz Show
5. Spanking the Monkey
6. The Last Seduction
7. Forrest Gump
8. Sirens
9. Fresh
10. Bullets Over Broadway
Shirley Lee's Top 10 Films
1. Red
2. Forrest Gump
3. To Live
4. Eat Drink Man Woman
5. Quiz Show
6. Bullets Over Broadway
7. Pulp Fiction
8. The Last Seduction
9. Barcelona
10. Heavenly Creatures
Popularity breeds discontent. Dis-
agreement over anything that reaches a
mass audience is probably inevitable.
So is distancing yourself from some-
thing popular that you may once have
liked. Such is the case with Quentin
Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
In 1994, whether or not movies
started out as critics' favorites or festi-
val prize winners, they invariably turned
into love-it-or-hate-it phenomena.
Although they seem to speak to

two different audiences, "Pulp Fic-
tion" and "Forrest Gump" both con-
cern themselves with fate, the luck of
the draw, and being in the right place
at the right time.
Gump does not triumph through
ignorance but becausehe has acharmed
life and a flexible nature. In "Pulp,"
Samuel L. Jackson's hitman escapes
the ironic fate of his partner (John
Travolta) because he believes in
miracles.
The watch sequence that determines
much of the comedy-of-errors action
in "Pulp" makes us wonder how much
our lives are guided by coincidence
and obsessive choices.
Atthe high end of the scale is "Red,"
the final film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's
trilogy (the other two are "Blue" and
"White"). "Red" is a chic intellectual
shell game that gets by largely on its
beauty and intrigue.
In "To Live," China's Zhang Yimou
confirms his status as one of the world's
best living filmmakers. Avoiding the
impersonal sweep of a grand-scale epic,
Zhang opts for avisually restrained yet
emotionally wrenching tale of simple
lives caught in the turbulence of China's
political upheaval. "Live" lives up to
the promise of his earlier work, "Raise
the Red Lantern."
Finally, there's "Heavenly Crea-
tures." "Compulsion" meets "The
World of Henry Orient" in Peter
Jackson's audacious account ofaclose
schoolgirl friendship that led to matri-
cide in the early 1950s. That's all the
plot I need.
Fred Rice's Top 10 Films
1. Bullets Over Broadway
2. Pulp Fiction
3. The Last Seduction
4. Forest Gump
5. Crooklyn
6. Clerks
7. Ed Wood
8. The Hudsucker Proxy

Just what exactly are these girls up to in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" when they have no knees?

The Office of ,lcademicMulticultural 9nitiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Leader
positions for the KinglehveziParks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
Application Deadline is r7anuary 27, 1995
Student leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about
the college experience. Student leaders usually
work in teams of three. They should be fairly
outgoing individuals and have a keen interest in
and commitment to helping students underrepresented
in higher education develop personal motivation for a
college education. Many positions are
available, and scheduling can be flexible.
Alpplications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of 'cademic Multicultural 9nitiatives
1042~7leming kuilding, first floor.
3or additional information contact
3elton Rogers at 936-1055
Leasing Now For Fall 1995!
May-to-May Leases Too!

9. Quiz Show
10. Backbeat
"Bullets Over Broadway" bril-
liantly makes the point that good art-
ists do not necessarily have good eth-
ics (i.e. Woody Allen.)
"Pulp Fiction" because it is all style
and almost no substance, because its
characters live in a moral vacuum, and
are unable to find anything worthwhile
in life besides moronic post-modern,
TV culture. Because good artists do
not have to have good ethics.
"The Last Seduction" is not only
intelligent, but seamier and steamier
than any of the "Disclosure
BasicInstinct" mainstream crap.
"Forest Gump" because it's as sug-
ary as a box of chocolates. The best
mindless entertainment in years.
"Crooklyn" because Spike Lee
proves that he can tell a good story
without creating a controversy.
"Clerks" because it's funny, and
needs to be cherished. Because novice
and independent filmmakers, while vi-
sionary, are rarely successful. It will
not happen to anyone else, any time
soon.
"Ed Wood" because independent
filmmakers, while visionary, arerarely
successful.
"The Hudsucker Proxy" because
when Sam Raimi and the Coen Broth-
ers formed a team, they created a very
funny, genre piece that is almost all
style and no substance.
"Quiz Show"'s explicit message is
overblown (corrupt game shows cor-
rupted America's innocence), yet it
still takes a curious look at the televi-
sion industry of the 1950s and a rich
academic who compromised his val-
ues.
"Backbeat" The Beatles. Need I
say more?
Joshua Rich's Top 10 Films
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Hoop Dreams
3. Four Weddings and a Funeral
4. Backbeat
5. Nobody's Fool
6. Disclosure
7. Crooklyn
8. Jason's Lyric
9. Speed
10. The Shawshank Redemption
1994 was a year that saw the re-
lease of two of the highest grossing
films of all time, the most money
spent by the American public at the
box office, and wide criticism for a
lack of Academy Award-worthy "ep-
ics." Instead, there were many good
films that were a pleasure to watch,
but not necessarily cinematic tri-
umphs.
Nevertheless, this past year saw
the release of only two outstanding
movies amidst a densely populated
assortment of average films. "Pulp
Fiction" and "Hoop Dreams" used
daring concepts to entertain and en-
lighten their audiences, each in their
own respective ways.
"Pulp" was an organized mish-
mash of comedy, violence and sus-
pense that led us into the dark world
of gangsters through pop culture ref-
erences and biblical quotations. Filled
with magnificently portrayed charac-
ters, it caused many an audience mem-
ber to see the film more than once.
"Dreams," on the other hand, was
an unconventional documentary that
followed seven years in the lives of two

Chicago teens who strive to escape the
ghetto to play basketball in the NBA.
The clear, intimate window into to
lives of these young men provided a
high-level drama rivaled in no ficticious
film in memory. Unfortunately, due to
its excessive length, "Dreams" falls to
number two on my list behind "Pulp,"
which is an hour shorter.
Other remarkable films included
"Backbeat" a vivid and caring por-
trait of the Beatles before they be-
came famous, "Nobody's Fool" abo
the life of a youthful old man, a
"Speed," which may prove to be the
most exciting and inventive action
movie of the 1990s, if not ever.
Prashant Tamaskar's Top 10
Films
1. Forrest Gump
2. Speed
3. Pulp Fiction
4. Red Rock West
5. Four Weddings and a Funeral
6. Jason's Lyric
7. Clear and Present Danger
8. Little Buddha
9. Fear of a Black Hat
10. Clerks
In a mediocre year for the movie
industry, the best film was clearly
"Forrest Gump." This tale of a nai
man blindly making his way throug
American history is sentimental and
entertaining. "Speed," with Keanu
Reeves is what summer movies are
supposed to be about - fast paced,
exciting, and down right fun.
Although many people were
shocked by its violence, the use of
sharp dialogue and clever story tell-
ing set Quentin Tarantino's "Pul
Fiction" apart from most movies.
darkly satirical "Red Rock West"
didn't receive much attention, but it
was one of the best noir-esque films
to hit the screen in recent history.
"Four Weddings and a Funeral"
was the hit romantic-comedy of the
year despite Andie McDowell's cast-
ing as the leading lady. "Jason's Lyric"
presented an intelligent, emotionally
draining view of the lives of two 1ir
poverished brothers _in Galvest
Texas. "Clear and Present Danger,"
the third film based on a Tom Clancy
book, was a rare complex, action
movie that thrilled a wide variety of
audiences. "Little Buddha," starring
a remarkably believable Keanu
Reeves as Buddha, managed to intro-
duce Buddhism to the West, while at
the same time telling a sweet stor
about a boy in Seattle. "Fear of!
Black Hat" was a rather ludicrous,
and humorous satire of the rap indus-
try. "Clerks," the low budget mock
documentary, proved once again that
movie makers do not have to spend
tons of money to entertain audiences.
WORST OF 1994
1. Exit to Eden. Five words: Rosie in
aleatherg-string.
2. The Flintstones. 32 screenwriters
for two hours of fuckin' 'stone' puns.
3. Clifford
4. Getting even with Dad. see Mac
kick hisdad Kit's butt for making him
starin so many stupid, exploitive films.
5. My Father the Hero
6. The Cowboy Way
7. North
8. Baby's Day Out
9. PCU
10. Road to Wellville.Enemas are just
not as much fun as they used to be.

"Hoop Dreams" was a documentary-style blockbuster about basketball.

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