Netscape Navigator was the browser of choice, OJ Simpson took a ride in the back of a white Ford Bronco, baseball went on strike, Snoop still went by “Doggy Dogg,” Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley got married, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband took a whack at Nancy Kerrigan’s knees, and the world said goodbye to Jackie O and Kurt Cobain. It was 1994, the year of the “Rachel” (the haircut), Ace of Base, the Wonderbra, and grunge. And it was 25 years ago.
The highest-grossing film of the year was the ubiquitous Forrest Gump. The movie in second place,The Lion King, was still a cartoon, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would one day be governor of California (and we thought thatwas weird) had a hit on his hands with True Lies.
At the time, we all thought we were so edgy and cynical, but like all bygone days, it’s hard not to look back a quarter of a century and say anything but “OMG, we were so young.” While many moviegoers took a fond trip back to the 90’s with the release of Marvel’s only female-led blockbuster, Captain Marvel, earlier this year – we at The Rewind Project decided to go back to 1994 for real, to revisit some of the movies that defined the year – and it was a very good year indeed, at the movies.
If you’d like to view the films before listening to the shows, here they are. Our block of episodes about the movies of 1994 officially begins on May 31, but if you subscribe today (wherever you listen to podcasts), you’ll be sure not to miss an episode. Happy viewing!
The Lion King was Disney’s version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but set in the African plain with lions instead of royalty and flatulent warthogs in place of court jesters – and, of course, a suitably happy ending. The show was a phenomenal success and spanned one of the most innovative musicals to ever be seen on Broadway (it premiered in 1997), as well as a “live action” (mostly CGI, but okay, whatever) that will open this year. The Lion King is available to rent via iTunes.
Forrest Gump is a trip through American history from the point of view of a simple man who has no idea that he taught Elvis how to groove, singlehandedly brought the Nixon administration to its knees, and coined the phrase, “Shit Happens.” Forrest Gump took home six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Forrest Gump is available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
Reality Bites is a portrait of the generation that was so disaffected and nonchalant, that it couldn’t even come up with a proper name for itself, so they just called themselves “Generation X.” Ben Stiller made his directorial debut, and Winona Ryder cemented her reputation as the very coolest of the cool girls as she weighed the merits of selling out or being true to her grungy self. Ethan Hawke and Stiller play the men vying for her heart, and Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn play her disaffected, dancin’-at-the-Food-Mart friends. Reality Bites is available to rent on Starz, Amazon Prime, VUDU, and iTunes.
Pulp Fiction is Quentin Tarantino’s follow-up to his first film, Reservoir Dogs. He wisely avoided the “sophomore slump” by writing and directing a film that was, if anything, more audacious, more unpredictable, and more unforgettable than its predecessor. Anchored by Oscar-nominated performances from John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman, this story of hitmen, crime bosses, fugitives and fixers living large in sunny L.A., Pulp Fiction broke all the rules, probably just for the fun of it. Pulp Fictionis available on Netflix, or you can rent it on Amazon Prime or iTunes.
Four Weddings & a Funeral uses the five titular events of the title to tell the story of a band of friends that includes Charles (Hugh Grant, operating at peak Hugh), a committed bachelor who will never, ever, ever fall in love. If you think you know where this is going, you are correct – but like all good romantic comedies, the fun is all in the getting there. Four Weddings & a Funeral is available on Hulu, or you can rent it on Epix, Amazon Prime, or iTunes.
Finally, The Shawshank Redemption is the story of a unique friendship between Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a man sent to Shawshank prison for killing his wife, and Red (Morgan Freeman), a fellow convict who lives and works alongside Andy for thirty years within the walls of Maine’s most notorious prison. Prisoners come and prisoners go, but the bond between these two men only deepens with time. The Shawshank Redemption features what might be the best performance of Freeman’s career, and that’s saying something. This prison drama is, unexpectedly, the highest rated film ever in the IMDb database. The Shawshank Redemption is available on Hulu, or you can rent it on Google Play, Amazon Prime, or iTunes.
Enjoy the Rewind – and if you like the show, please subscribe, rate and review us wherever you find your podcasts, and tell a friend.