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July 27, 2023


Since I turned the golden age of 30 back in April, I wanted to be kind and rewind back to the year I was born, 1993. That is when it all started for me, so why not craft a retrospect on cinema for that year? With that in mind, in an effort to honor my birth year, let’s pay homage to the 30-year-old films that made the biggest impact, not only on the world, but on me personally as a cinephile.

My approach is to use many of the same categories that we use for our annual Bitesize Awards because, had Bitesize been around in 1993, I honestly think we’d have many of the same winners that I picked today. If you’ve read our Bitesize Awards before, you know how we do things, breaking films down by genre, but I’ve also added a couple surprises.

Now, join me in 1993!



In all seriousness… are you surprised that Schindler’s List won the drama award?!? With excellent storytelling and great performances, there’s no denying that this film is ranked among the best films of all time. Inspired by the Thomas Keneally novel and Oskar Schindler's real-life story, this historical drama follows Schindler (Liam Neeson), a businessman who tries to save thousands of Jewish people by employing them in his factories during World War II. While it’s a heart-wrenching watch, it’s one that should be seen because it tells a story of survival through a raw and devastating lens that allows viewers to see the triumphant faith of one human being trying to do good. Plus, the film received twelve Academy Award nominations, winning seven, including Best Picture and Steven Spielberg’s first for Best Director.


Runner-up: A BRONX TALE





In another “no surprise,” we have Jurassic Park, the adrenaline-fueled film that was the number one movie at the box office in 1993. Given the jaw-dropping visuals and CGI, it’s honestly baffling that this movie came out 30 years ago, but this action adventure has aged like fine wine. The film’s mastermind, Steven Spielberg, still stuns audiences to this day with how real and believable the dinosaurs look. Adapted from Michael Crichton's novel, the movie follows a group of visitors to an island where a millionaire has successfully cloned dinosaurs; then things go awry. Of course, the film is filled with astonishing action sequences and chilling sound effects (I can still hear the echoes of T-Rex footsteps in the distance), but it also has so much heart and such memorable characters that you’ll want to become a paleontologist. The fact that this movie brought dinosaurs back to life has truly made it one of the ultimate adventure films.





Alright, alright, alright…not only is Dazed and Confused the funniest movie of 1993, it's also my favorite movie to be released that year, as well as my second favorite movie of all time (Scream (1996) is first). This coming-of-age comedy by Richard Linklater follows a group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating their last day of school in 1976. The film is totally authentic, funny, charming, and it makes you wish you grew up in the 70s, interacting with these fascinating characters. It really captures the essence and tone of the era, which makes it the ultimate hangout film. This carefree day-in-the-life film also has the raddest soundtrack to jam to, and it stars - not one, not two – but three performers that would eventually go on to win Oscars (Renée Zellweger, Ben Affleck, and Matthew McConaughey).






While 1993 wasn’t the best year for horror, there is one film that does stick out to me: Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos. This happens to be del Toro's first feature length film, and his first of many monster movies. This unique vampire flick is stylish and gory while, at the same time, isn’t all in your face trying to frighten you. It’s the visual aesthetic and practical effects that make it feel so creepy. Cronos tells the story of an antique dealer who stumbles upon an ancient scarab called…you guessed it, Cronos…that grants him eternal youth. However, this newfound youth comes at the cost of needing to reluctantly consume human blood, which leads the main character to seek blood in ways that do not involve hunting victims. The story shows the internal struggles he faces when choosing between eternal life and his family's safety.






Clint Eastwood’s most underrated film as a director, A Perfect World, is also the biggest hidden gem of 1993. This film will surprise you with how much heart it has, and if you haven’t seen it, you need to jump on it because it’s such a moving story that will give you all the feels. The movie is set in Texas in 1963, and it follows escaped convict Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) as he takes an 8-year-old boy hostage while fleeing the authorities. While on the run, the two embark on a road trip that results in an unlikely bond and friendship. This character-driven film is a tender but thrilling manhunt movie that explores themes of childhood trauma. We also get Kevin Costner playing against type as a “bad guy,” which we almost never get, and it's arguably one of his best performances to date.

Runner up: MATINEE




Okay, listen… before everyone jumps down my throat about this pick, let me just say that this Halloween cult classic from Disney is rightfully beloved by many, including myself. It’s a must watch for me every October, and l love visiting Salem, MA, every year during the spooky season. That said, let’s be honest… Hocus Pocus is campy as hell, and it hasn’t aged very well in many ways. It has a sexualized teen aspect that is downright creepy, especially with the virginity of 15-year-old Max (Omri Katz) being a major plot point, not to mention his 8-year-old sister (Thora Birch) calling him out on it every five seconds. All that nonsense takes up the majority of screen time instead of giving us more of what we want: the Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy). It’s also worth pointing out that the special effects in this film are cheap and cringey. The film would’ve benefited so much more if it used more practical effects.





Now is the time for the Grab Bag Award, which goes to a film that doesn’t exactly fit into any of the categories listed above but still deserves a shout-out. I decided to go with one of my favorite films written by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance. Is it a drama? Is it an action movie? It has a lot of humor, but can you call it a comedy? Who’s to say? Directed by the late Tony Scott, the story revolves around comic-book nerd Clarence (Christian Slater) and prostitute Alabama (Patricia Arquette), two people who fall in love and go on the run from the mafia after crossing it in several ways. It’s a hell of a road trip film that features a wicked unique love story with the perfect blend of humor and violence. With a murderer’s row of a cast, including Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, and James Gandolfini, True Romance is a love story for the ages that is so exhilarating that you need to check it out if you haven’t.


Photo Credits: Photo 1 - Amblin Entertainment; Photo 2 - Universal Pictures; Photo 3 - Gramercy Pictures; Photo 4 - October Films; Photo 5, 7 - Warner Bros; Photo 6 - Walt Disney Studios

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