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Laramie Movie Scope:
The top 10 films of 1993

The best films of the year, with the usual caveat

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 28, 1993 -- Here's my list of the top 10 films of 1993, also known as my annual video rental list.

First, a couple of notes: I haven't seen many of the films on other critic's top 10 lists. Among the films I have not seen are ``Schindler's List,'' ``Six Degrees of Separation,'' ``Farewell My Concubine,'' ``Naked,'' ``Jacquot,'' ``Philadelphia,'' ``The Snapper,'' ``The Piano,'' ``In the Name of the Father,'' ``Remains of the Day,'' ``Short Cuts,'' ``Fearless'' and ``King of the Hill.''

Most of those films haven't been shown in Laramie. Maybe some of them will get into the spring film series.

My vote for best film of the year is ``In the Line of Fire,'' starring Clint Eastwood, who gives a marvelous performance as a burned out Secret Service agent.

2. ``Much Ado About Nothing,'' is a marvelous film by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars, along with Oscar-winning Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington. It is another tremendous accomplishment by Branagh, whose ``Henry V'' was equally flashy a few years ago.

3. ``Dave,'' the marvelous, insightful comedy starring Oscar-winner Kevin Kline. Kline is wonderful in the title role of a small-time employment agency owner who ends up as acting president through a series of accidents. Frank Langela is also very good as a diabolical White House Chief of Staff.

4. ``A Bronx Tale,'' the great directing debut of acclaimed actor Robert DeNiro. This is a very well crafted film of a boy, played by Francis Capra, who is loved by two very different men. One of the men, his father, is played by DeNiro. The other, his mentor, is played beautifully by Chazz Palminteri.

5. ``Rudy'' is the story of a boy who overcomes incredible odds to play for the Notre Dame University football team. Sean Astin turns in the performance of his career in the title role. Put together by the same team that made ``Hoosiers,'' this film is much better than ``Hoosiers.''

6. ``Like Water For Chocolate'' is a wonderful Mexican film about unrequited love. It is filled with original, magical images.

7. ``The Secret Garden'' is great film about children, but it is written on an adult level. It treats both children and adults with dignity.

8. ``Sandlot'' is another good film about children that does not play down to kids and allows the adults to be people as well. It is a nice little fantasy about kids growing up and loving baseball.

9. ``Gettysburg'' is the stunning, 4.5 hour recreation of the epic Civil War battle. Jeff Daniels gives the performance of his career as Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The film also stars Martin Sheen, Richard Jordan, Sam Elliott and Stephen Lang. It not only has huge, expertly staged battle scenes, but it takes time to develop a number of interesting characters as well.

10. ``Groundhog Day'' is the fine Bill Murray comedy that takes a highly original comedy premise and turns it into a lesson about how to live life well.

How about the worst films of 1993? I haven't seen too many. I try to avoid bad films by paying attention to other reviewers, but a few slipped through the net.

``True Romance'' was a sick thriller loaded with clichés and adolescent fantasies, but then, there are always those people who like anything Christian Slater does.

``Striking Distance'' was the terrible Bruce Willis film about a renegade honest Pittsburgh cop fighting against a crooked cop. None of the characters is very appealing, the plot if full of logical holes and the gore is pretty disgusting.

``Age of Innocence'' is one of the most boring films I've ever seen. It is a little more interesting than ``Howard's End,'' but not much more. It is a silly story of people in New York who are trapped in European-like New York high society for no apparent reason.

``Needful Things,'' a Stephen King film about the devil corrupting people in a small town in Maine. The film is nicely crafted, but the overpowering evil it depicts makes you feel sick after a while. Who needs it?

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Copyright © 1993 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)