Yearbook 1995: A Tidal Wave of Films (And An Incomplete Column)

HUGE DISCLAIMER: There are a ton of movies from 1995 I have not seen. A ton. So I’m going to play fair and tell you all this upfront. No, I have not seen 12 Monkeys, Bad Boys, Congo, Crimson Tide, Friday, Heat, or Seven. But I will. Because starting late next week, I’m going to post a column every two weeks where I look at my blindspots. So look ahead to that.

And so I come to my final column on the 90s for Yearbook. In all honesty, I’m only going to do two more after this: 2001 and 2002 with a possible exception for 2009. Otherwise, I kind of feel like this well has been tapped. That’s fine. There’s only so much history to examine. I will likely jump back to my older columns and do a few audio reviews but otherwise, this has been a fun exercise in nostalgia.

But wow do I leave the 1990s at the exact best moment. When you look at the middle of a decade, you’re really looking at the perfect cross section. I could easily merge this with the 1996 column and my Friends piece and this would feel like one narrative. The age of conspicuous consumption and empty gestures.

And with all that NOT here I have 23 reviews.

The reviews

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

A Goofy Movie

Apollo 13


Batman Forever

Billy Madison


First Knight




Jury Duty

Man of the House

Mortal Kombat

Nine Months

Runaway Brain

Strange Days

The Net

Tommy Boy

To Wong Foo…

The Usual Suspects

While You Were Sleeping

The Themes of 1995

The familiar dominated the year. Of the top 10 films of the year, three were based on original screenplays and Pocahontas shouldn’t count as a Disney animated movie, part of that grand franchise. Toy Story also bore the Disney logo. Seriously there was very little risk among the top 10, a sharp contrast to 1994 when Pulp Fiction slipped in. Batman, Ace Ventura, Casper, John McClane and James Bond all popped up.

Lip service was a big deal in 1995. I’m stuck on this point. The 1990s were such a big decade for looking progressive and thinking you were. Thus you had movies like To Wong Foo (gay themes), Dangerous Minds (inner city violence), and Mad Love (mental illness.) There was also a general increased sprinkling of all of these themes into mainstream film. But let’s be blunt, most gay representation looked like Martin Short in Father of the Bride part 2. (Poor B.D. Wong. At least the universe was nice by letting him not age.)

The star system worked… Brad Pitt was 1995’s biggest bet and that paid off as you would expect for an impossibly handsome man with an obscene amount of talent. I will theorize Pitt working with David Fincher for the first time and scoring a megahit helped ensure he got the career he wanted. Sandra Bullock also got the push and deserved it, though can we never give her thrillers again? Adam Sandler and Chris Farley made early marks and were good calls. Jim Carrey and Tom Hanks continued to have great years.

…Except it glitched a lot. Look, Hugh Grant and Antonio Banderas are talented guys but can we concede they weren’t ever really the big deals they were hyped as? Banderas’ Desperado costar Salma Hayek? Definitely. Not them. The attempt to make Jonathan Taylor Thomas a star fizzled after two films. Furthermore existing stars like Sylvester Stallone and Eddie Murphy needed to sit the year out.

The low budget kids movie really had a bad year. With the exceptions of hits Casper, Babe, Toy Story, and Pocahontas, kids movies struggled in 1995. A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Babysitter’s Club, Tom and Huck, and The Big Green all died upon release. It’s hard to say Heavyweights or Man of the House were shining moments in the art. Even the hyped Power Rangers: The Movie tanked. I feel like there’s a reason come 1998 this genre was more or less dead.

There weren’t the same level of hits as the year before but there were more classics. The previous year gave us two 300 million grossers in Forrest Gump and The Lion King. No movie crossed 200 million, even Toy Story. On the other hand, what endured from 1995 floored me. In addition to the films I didn’t see, the classics include Toy Story, Clueless (there is a full ep coming), Pocahontas, Casino, and Apollo 13. It was a great year for greatness.

Did the Oscars Get it Right? :sigh: You still hear Braveheart quoted more than any film aside from Toy Story in 1998, don’t you? Yes, they did. I hate that I have to say it but they did. Usual Suspects winning best script was bs though.

Worst movie of the year: Jury Duty but Nine Months was a contender.

Best movies of the year:
Apollo 13
Strange Days

Next up: I actually have something to say about everything. 2001 hits.

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