Hoop Dreams

yesterdocs

Hoop Dreams. Kartemquin FIlms 1994.
Hoop Dreams. Kartemquin FIlms 1994.

Before watching the movie:

This is one of those movies I’ve heard the title bandied about and little else. Perhaps the phrase predated the movie, since I’ve always known it as an idiom rather than a title.

Unfortunately, that gives me very little to go on for comment in this section. It apparently has an incredibly positive reputation, but yet I only came across it by specifically researching documentaries to consider for this month. I know it follows two inner city kids who are trying to get basketball scholarships to lift them out of where they are. Do they compete, or simply run parallel? I couldn’t say. There must be plenty of athletic scholarships out there, but they might be both scouted by one school for one spot. I can see the potential for a powerful portrait of their lives and potential, but I couldn’t guess at much more.

Unrelatedly, anyone who wishes to can now support this blog on Patreon. I promise not to have obtrusive reminders about it, whether it works out or not.

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Mixed Nuts

Mixed Nuts. Tristar Pictures 1994.
Mixed Nuts. Tristar Pictures 1994.

Before watching the movie:

I found this because I was looking for Christmas movies. I thought I knew what this movie was about, then I read more than one description. Now I’m less sure. Something about a crisis hotline, and somehow a tangled mess of relationships is involved.

Lots of big-to-medium names here. It’s sold as a comedy, and Steve Martin is in it, so it should be fun.

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Greedy

Greedy. Imagine Entertainment 1994.

Before watching the movie:

Way back in my first year of doing this blog, I found a four-movie set of Michael J. Fox comedies. For practical reasons, the only one I ended up reviewing, or even seeing, was For Love or Money (though I prefer the other title, The Concierge), which happened to be the one I was least interested in. It was still a very enjoyable movie.

I recently remembered that and got around to tracking down the other movies from it that I hadn’t seen (I already own one from the set, which I’ve been wanting to watch again), and now that the musicals theme has reached its end, I can watch this one.

I know I’ve seen other stories of families backstabbing each other to get in good graces with the rich dying relative, but I can’t name any. The closest specific thing that comes to mind is YouTube: a sketch by The Frantics.

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The Hudsucker Proxy

The Hudsucker Proxy. Poly Gram Film Entertainment 1994.

Before watching the movie:

The plot reminds me vaguely of Trading Places, without the “trading places” part. A guy lands in the CEO position of a major company because somebody above him is plotting nefariously. It’s a comedy! Tim Robbins and Paul Newman are in it! It’s made by the Coen Brothers! It’s a comedy!

I’m hoping for Wall Street meets The Secret of My Success.

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Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction. Miramax et al, 1994.

Before watching the movie:

This is one of the films that college students flip out over, and any “true film buff” needs to have in their top ten. We’ll see about that.

Tarantino is perhaps held in too high of regard, but this is early days, and a good example of his talent. I’m prepared for the non-Euclidean timeline, which is usually considered good, unorthodox storytelling.

Because of the way it’s formatted, the large cast shouldn’t be as indicative of an over-reaching, complicated plot. Or it may be more indicative than most. Or both at the same time.

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Radioland Murders

Radioland Murders. Lucasfilm 1994.

Before watching the movie:

I have high expectations for this movie, but I’m surprised considering its source. It was recommended to me by a friend on Facebook (I’m not sure who. He made a general recommendation through a status update) and it sounds like it has the potential to be hilarious.

On the other hand, it’s from George Lucas in the years between his old glory and much-maligned revival. The story is his, but fortunately he didn’t write the screenplay. Also, the last time I saw a movie about the radio with musical numbers, it was A Prarie Home Companion, and that was dull mixed with depressing. Continue reading

The Shadow

The Shadow. Universal Pictures 1994.

Before watching the movie:

I never heard of this movie before, and I’m not terribly familiar with the Shadow radio dramas it’s based on. I’m fairly certain that the Shadow is a costumed hero in the style of Zorro or the Scarlet Pimpernel, fighting through sheer force of will. I don’t know how well Alec Baldwin can fit into that role.

The box says it’s witty, so this should be fun.

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Wagons East

Wagons East! Carolco Pictures 1994.

Before watching the movie:

Yes, it’s another John Candy movie. Why? Because not only does one of my primary sources of films have a ridiculous amount of John Candy movies, it’s actually started recommending them to me. This film was recommended to me by Hulu after I watched the last potboiler starring him to appear on this blog, and I chose to review it today because a lot of people, myself included, are falling over themselves about a certain Wild West-themed video game. Will this be fun for fans of that game I will not name, or will it be a counterexample to the genre?

It also stars Richard Lewis, who seems to have blipped through Hollywood in the early 90s, never seen before or since.

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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump. Paramount Pictures 1994

Before watching the movie:

Why did I chose this movie? Because it’s definitely in the top ten of the Canon of Movies You Should See In This Era. At the same time, I really don’t know why it’s there.

Sure, I know a bunch of stuff about it already, like the early computer effects used to have the character interact with famous dead people, and he’s supposed to have a low IQ.

There’s also the memes that spread before we knew memes were memes, like “Run Forrest Run,” “Life is like a box of chocolates,” and the way Forrest says “Lieutenant Dan.”

But then, how can I avoid knowing about a movie that’s been parodied by The Simpsons and Weird Al? I even read a MAD Magazine parody of it… not that I got much of it at the time. I’ve even sat on what King’s Island claimed was the actual bench from the film.

I watch this movie because I want to know why everyone knows about this one and not Being There.

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