The Hidden Gems List (1992)

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. Chaplin

    • I love this movie. It’s so good. Robert Downey Jr. is incredible as Chaplin. And it’s definitely one of the more underrated films of the 90s. But I didn’t need to say anything more than “Robert Downey Jr. is Chaplin,” did I?

2. The Crying Game

    • This film is so much more than its — reveal. But at this point… do people even remember the reveal? On that alone, people should see this movie. The movie is really good, and has a — well — just see it, if you don’t know anything about it. You’re in for a surprise, that surprise being what a solid movie this is. And the other thing. That too.

3. The Distinguished Gentleman

    • It’s basically an Eddie Murphy remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but you know what? I enjoyed it. I remember thinking, “God, this is gonna suck,” and then going, “Damn, this actually isn’t bad.” So, since 1992 isn’t loaded with gems, and the fact that most younger people might not know what a good Eddie Murphy is — I give you this.

4. Glengarry Glen Ross

    • It’s not hidden at all, but it is a gem. It’s one of those movies that, whenever I rewatch it, I go, “Damn, this movie gets better every time I see it.” So I just wanted to shout out those movies. Show some respect to the movies that are always perfect every time you watch them. Like A Few Good Men, which is also this year. That’s mostly what this space is for. And for the idiots who, for some reason, still haven’t seen Glengarry Glen Ross. I’d hate to be those fuckers.

5. Hero

    • I saw this movie, once, a long time ago, and loved it. And it was before I really started watching shit, too. I just remember loving the shit out of this movie. And since I know nobody has seen this movie, I get to talk it up. Dustin Hoffman is a homeless guy. He’s not the nicest guy in the world, and he’s actually a thief. Petty, but still. And one day he randomly rescues a bunch of people after a plane crash. It’s my memory that he doesn’t really want to do it and it’s not his idea to be heroic. And then everyone wants to know who the hero was, and Hoffman can’t come forward because he’s in jail. But Andy Garcia, another homeless guy, takes credit for it. And then what happens is — Andy Garcia becomes a big media star, and Geena Davis is a reporter covering the story, and she starts falling in love with him, even though she starts to think he’s a fake, and then Hoffman has a personal vendetta against Garcia — it’s a nice little comedy. Very, very underrated movie. See this one. It’s a true hidden gem in every sense of the word.

6. A League of Their Own

    • God, this movie is so good. This is one of those movies I can watch every time it’s on. And I’m sure lots of people have seen this because of it being on TBS or TNT probably every other weekend or something, but whatever. That still leaves this as a hidden gem for 1992. This is a movie that’s fucking perfect, and it still doesn’t really get the respect it deserves. It gets indoor respect. Everyone’s watching it, and is like, “I really like this movie.” But it’s not out there, you know? It’s not one of those movies that’s openly talked about as one of the great movies. And until that’s the case, I have to consider this a hidden gem. Because, no joke, this is better than many of the 1992 Oscar-nominated movies. And without speculating as to why this wasn’t also nominated for anything, it deserves to have a better reputation than it does.

7. My Cousin Vinny

    • This is one of my favorite comedies ever, and if there’s even a chance that someone hasn’t seen this movie, I need to make sure that’s not the case. I’m sure lots and lots of people have seen this movie, but I imagine most people would agree with me when I say — if someone hasn’t seen this, they really, really need to. It’s hilarious. (Plus, again, 1992 isn’t that strong for gems, so I’d rather use this spot for something like this than for a movie I wasn’t as passionate about.)

8. Passion Fish

    • This was one of those movies I looked at and went, “I know exactly what I’m getting here.” And it wasn’t. To the point where, I thought, for the Oscar Quest category here, I’d have to go, “This category is terrible, but Emma Thompson is great, so we’ll just vote for her.” But then I saw this, and this movie gave me a legitimate performance to vote for. It’s about Mary McDonnell as a soap opera actress who has an accident and is paralyzed. And the rest of the film is her going to her childhood home to get away and basically not being able to cope with her condition. She just sort of sits around and gives up. And the great thing about this film is, all the stuff you expect to happen — she’s gonna get a newfound respect for life, she’s gonna try harder, she’s gonna find love — none of that stuff happens the way you think it would happen in a movie like this. It’s not uplifting. It actually feels natural based on this story. I can’t begin to explain how much respect I have for this movie for not meeting any one of my expectations going in. It’s really solid, and I can tell you for a fact that nobody has seen this movie, or really will see this movie, unless you’re watching it for the Oscar Quest or something. (Or you were around and watching movies at the time and saw it then.) This is a real hidden gem, this one.

9. The Player

    • It’s Altman, and it’s kind of well-known, but do people actually see this now? Even so, it’s really solid, so I’ll mention it. (Plus I like the idea that some of the movies on these hidden gems lists aren’t really hard to find gems. So it makes the ones that are really the good gems, like the film below this one, just a bit more hidden, which is very entertaining to me. That a film is still kind of hidden on a list called the Hidden Gems list.) That opening tracking shot is pretty great, and this is one of those Altman films that I really like. Plus I feel like the people on the very edge of movie buff (you know, the people who’ve seen only a bunch of the stuff on the IMDB top 250 and not much else) probably wouldn’t know about this immediately. I certainly didn’t. So this is for those people.

10. Sneakers

    • Definitely one of the best gems of the 90s. I didn’t know this movie existed for the longest time, and then realized I had it (for some reason. No idea how), and put it on for my 90s list. And damn — absolutely terrific film. It’s one of those movies that could have been made in the 40s. It’s one of those light, caper movies. The cast is great, Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix — and, as a heist movie at heart, it’s intriguing as hell. Fun movie, really terrific, and virtually unknown today. One of those real gems you’re gonna love and are gonna love to have up your sleeve to show other people.

– – – – –

+ Honorable Mention to: Shakes the Clown — the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.

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