The Hidden Gems List (1993)

My Hidden Gems list is an in-depth look at all the films I feel are in some way, underseen, underappreciated, or just plain unknown, and they really shouldn’t be that way.

I have a lot of lists of films I really like on this blog. But there are a lot of films out there that I like, so it can be overwhelming for someone who just wants to find a few movies to watch. Plus, I assume that people reading this know enough about movies and have seen enough to where they know what big shit (Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, etc) they need to see. I don’t need to tell you that. Plus, everyone loves when you can find a movie that not a lot of people know about that’s really good that you can now show other people who don’t know about it.

So the idea was to write, in depth, about some movies that I love that I think people need to see. From each year. And what I’m gonna do is go very slowly go through all of them, and give them their time in the spotlight. And then you can read them and maybe find some to go, “All right, I should check that out,” and maybe add them to your Netflix queue.

The idea is to give you things to see (specifically ones I feel most people would ignore, have ignored, or would assume it wasn’t something they need to see, that I think are really good and worthwhile that not enough people know about), and to show some love to more stuff than the big things from each year. We get enough of that. The big stuff is always there, but it’s these ones that fill out a collection.

You can always buy a diamond, but isn’t it more fun to pan a gem from the rest of the dirt? Here are 1993′s gems.

1. The Age of Innocence

    • One of Scorsese’s most underrated movies. Because it’s one of those movies where, if you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t guess, “This is a Martin Scorsese movie.” It’s a movie in the vein of those Merchant-Ivory movies. A costume drama. Daniel Day-Lewis is engaged to Winona Ryder, but falls in love with Michelle Pfeiffer, her cousin, who is about to get divorced, which makes her shamed in the high circles of society. It’s absolutely terrific. This is one of those movies the fake Scorsese fans (i.e. the ones who’ve only seen Taxi Driver, Casino, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and the like) won’t see.

2. Falling Down

    • This is one of the movies that’s why this list exists. I love this movie, and I love showing it to people. The movie starts with Michael Douglas in traffic. It’s a hot day, sweltering hot, his A/C breaks. The traffic isn’t anywhere near moving. All the people in the other cars are loud and annoying. A fly won’t leave him alone. There’s this cacophony of sounds and images that build. All of these things lead to him snapping and getting out of his car and leaving it. And we follow him over the course of the day as he gradually goes on a killing spree. It’s — it’s one of the best movies of the 90s. I fucking love this movie so much. If I can stress one thing upon you, it’s that you need to see this movie. I haven’t shown this movie to one person who hasn’t liked it.

3. In the Name of the Father

    • Daniel Day-Lewis movie #2 on this list. This was nominated for Best Picture, but I can’t imagine the regular movie person would know such a thing. I watched a lot of movies, but I didn’t know anything about this until I started the Oscar Quest. I feel like most of Jim Sheridan’s movies (save My Left Foot and In America) are not really that well-known. And even if they are — whatever. People need to see this. Daniel Day-Lewis is a rabble-rousing Irish youth who is thrown in prison with his father for pub bombings that he didn’t commit. And the film is half-Shawshank, half trial movie. It’s riveting as hell and is one of the best movies of 1993, and probably the 90s too, if I actually were to make that list.

4. Last Action Hero

    • This movie is fun as hell. I love how playful and inventive it is. I don’t know how many people have actually seen this, but even so — it’s better than most people would think. It’s more than just your standard Schwarzenegger movie. It’s a pretty smart movie that was probably smarter as a script, but even so — lots of fun.

5. My Life

    • I’ve always loved this movie. I remember watching this when I was young, which is weird, but whatever. Michael Keaton is a successful businessman who has it all — married to Nicole Kidman and happy, and she’s pregnant with their first child. Only problem — he’s just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. So he goes about spending his last days making these videos for his son to watch as he grows up, so he’ll remember his father. It’s a very sweet and touching movie, and one that’s almost forgotten today. It’s a damn shame. I love this movie.

6. The Remains of the Day

    • I love the book this was based on so much. And the movie is damn good too. The one Merchant-Ivory film I actually like. Big fan of this one. It’s about Anthony Hopkins as a dude who was born into a family of butlers, so all he knows is being a butler. And he’s completely repressed and never notices it. Until Emma Thompson shows up as part of his staff and is very lively. So he has to deal with all these feelings that come up and everything — it’s terrific. The book is even better. Nominated for Best Picture, but I know people haven’t seen this.

7. The Sandlot

    • I’m stretching, but I need to make sure everyone has seen this movie. It’s perfect. So if you haven’t seen this, what the fuck is wrong with you, go out and see it right now, and you disappoint me.

8. Searching for Bobby Fischer

    • Huge fan of this movie. One of the most underrated movies of the 90s. About a child chess prodigy. And it’s riveting. Absolutely astounding movie.

9. True Romance

    • Another one that I’m stretching, but for the greater good. In case there are people who don’t know how awesome this movie is. If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to go out right the fuck now and see it. Right now.

10. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

    • Another one of those movies that I feel is vastly underseen nowadays. This movie is incredible. DiCaprio gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen someone under the age of 20 give. Definitely a hidden gem of the 90s.

– – – – –

Quick Hits:

  • A Bronx Tale — just in case. You never know who hasn’t seen this. Better safe than sorry.
  • Deadfall — Best Nicolas Cage performance. Ever. Trust me. Ever.
  • Hocus Pocus — Another gem of my childhood that most people probably haven’t seen if they didn’t grow up with it. And if I’m wrong — whatever. The movie is great. Why shouldn’t I get more people to see this? It’s awesome. If you haven’t seen this, your childhood sucked.
  • Red Rock West — Great western noir. Cage and Dennis Hopper. Nice little hidden gem of a movie.
  • Tombstone — Because I needed one more and because I’ll always recommend a western. If, for some crazy reason, you haven’t seen this… do it. Like, now.

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