What I’ll Remember About the Films of 1992: A Personal Sampling


Time to continue the What I’ll Remember post tradition; a logbook of sorts, a way to pay tribute to all the year-specific viewing I’ve done and to point out some notables that stuck for me. It’s also a way of stressing that, while the Top Ten list is something I love working towards, it’s really a means to an end. It goes without saying, but the most important part is the process and journey of watching and re-watching these films in a concentrated and time-specific fashion. This is the first year I’ve completed that I was alive for (5 years old), so more of these remembrances than usual are from outside the films themselves.

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“Tammy” (The Long Day Closes)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Best Actress Edition: Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me), Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns), Alfre Woodard (Passion Fish), Tilda Swinton (Orlando), Romaine Bohringer (Savage Nights)

At least Keanu Reeves is affable; the real stinker of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is Anthony Hopkins

The slow burning imagery of Bad Lieutenant and Harvey Keitel’s limpness/dying animal wails

“Anything you can do I can do better” – Kristen Scott Thomas, telling Hugh Doofus Grant like it is, later proving it in spades with her sultry boat rocking dance with Emmanuelle Seigner (Bitter Moon)

1992 is a special year because if Sheryl Lee gives the female performance of the 1990’s in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Michelle Pfeiffier also gives my favorite female performance of the 1990’s, and possibly the one that means the most on a personal and formative level.

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The primal contorted ferocity and awkwardness of Damage’s sex scenes

Wes Studi packing more loaded meaning and subtlety into that simple, quick hand gesture than most convey with their whole bodies (The Last of the Mohicans)

Somehow watching 3 1992 films in a short period of time that all take place/lead up-to New Year’s Eve (Peter’s Friends, A Tale of Winter, Bitter Moon)

Hexxus scaring the bejeezus out of me as a child and adult (Ferngully: The Last Rainforest)

Watching Medicine Man in 7th grade Social Studies and having our teacher absurdly fast-forward the Amazonian-set nudity

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John Lithgow trying (keyword trying) to be badass (Raising Cain)

The fact that an innovative effects driven film for 1992 constitutes a scaled down black comedy about catty bitches (oh how times have sadly changed) (Death Becomes Her)

“We’ll have barbecue jumbo shrimp motherfuckerrrrrr!!!” Deep Cover courtesy of Jeff Goldblum

The amusing sight that is Jeffrey Combs in a blue jumpsuit in Doctor Mordrid 

Notable female directed films of 1992: Orlando, Gas Food Lodging, Wayne’s World, A League of Their Own, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T

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The wallpapers and costumes of Centre Stage, both by Lai Pan (and my favorite wallpaper in a film goes to…..yup, up above)

Films playing with ‘mockumentary’ styles for bracing effects (Bob Roberts, Husbands and Wives, Man Bites Dog)

Awards Dream Ballot: 1992 Best Actor Edition: Denzel Washington (Malcolm X), Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant), Daniel Auteil (A Heart in Winter), Al Pacino (Glengarry Glen Ross), Bill Paxton (One False Move) 

The agonizing sight of Lyman Ward taking the stand in Brother’s Keeper

Buying Little Heroes (starring Fuzz the dog and Fritz the paperboy) on VHS from Video Visions when it was closing down years ago because it was the best worst film I’d seen in eons

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That costume (or put better, a top made of ornate costume jewelry) worn by Isabella Rossellini in Death Becomes Her

Dressing up as Catwoman for Halloween as a youngster, and hoping to go as pre-psychotic break Selina Kyle this year (Batman Returns)

Bitter Moon, the only film where you can see Emmanuelle Seigner pour milk down her breasts while looking like a zombie as Peter Coyote licks her chest as George Michael’s “Faith” plays in the background

Wondering if the fish-lensed in-your-face formal madcap, to the point of discomfort, qualities of both Dead Alive and Strictly Ballroom is a coincidence

That Bob Roberts somehow manages to reach horror levels of creepy with its what’s-underneath-the-surface investigation and Tim Robbins’s impenetrable programmed rebel conservative

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The floundering fistlight between Porco Rosso and Curtis (Porco Rosso)

Films that address race relations or issues of race (One False Move, Deep Cover, Candyman, Love Field, Malcolm X, Gas Food Lodging, Passion Fish)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Supporting Actor Edition: Jack Lemmon (Glengarry Glen Ross), Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game), Forest Whitaker (The Crying Game), Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)

The seemingly unending set of frustrations with Enchanted April, and the character of Lotte

Robin Williams; wisecracking sidekick voice artist extraordinaire (Aladdin, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest)

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Eiko Ishioka slaying us all with the intricate, pulsing and now iconic costumes of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Winona’s outfit above, which we barely get a glimpse at, a personal favorite)

Being reminded that Dr. Ernest Menville is my favorite Bruce Willis performance (Death Becomes Her)

“Masturbate in hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'” (Full Contact)

Amanda getting to participate in 1992 craziness with our viewings of Baraka, Husbands and Wives, The Last of the Mohicans, Peter’s Friends, Enchanted April, Dead Alive, and A Tale of Winter. This included post-film discussions and of extremely important happenings like considering Daniel Day-Lewis’s Peak Pretty, fawning over Liam Neeson in Husbands and Wives, the cuteness of Felicie in A Tale of Winter, Peter Jackson’s career, who is the worst in Husbands and Wives (Jack), and simultaneously having appreciation for and then giving up on humanity thanks to Baraka.

“Look, cows: this movie has everything!” – Amanda on her long-felt love for The Last of the Mohicans

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Andrew Garfield doppelganger as a greasy Satanist in Doctor Mordrid!

“Women are lonely in the 90’s; it’s our new phase” – Gas, Food, Lodging

 Bit player Jeremy Piven (The Player, Bob Roberts, Singles)

My complicated hate-hate-kind-of-appreciate-hate feelings for Lori Petty’s work and character in A League of Their Own

Uncommonly irreconcilable and complicated relationships (and our difficult relationship with the relationships) at the heart of Howards End

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This shot, the funky costumes, and the purple room in Naked Killer

The propulsive hands-on stunt work performed by Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh in Supercop

Urinating babies, the five minute tracking shot, and baby-faced crane building Tony Leung in Hard Boiled

The melding of memory and music in The Long Day Closes

A Heart in Winter, the only time Emmanuelle Beart is involved in a love triangle where her love goes unrequited

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The unsurpassable WTFuckery of Society’s orgiastic final act. The only place you can watch a man being fisted until a hand comes out of his mouth, pokes out his eyeballs and, finally, rips his face apart

Banner Years for: Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant, Sister Act), Miranda Richardson (Enchanted April, The Crying Game, Damage), Tim Robbins (The Player, Bob Roberts), and Introducing Actor Sydney Pollack! (Husbands and Wives, The Player, Death Becomes Her)

10 Favorite Characters of 1992: Selina Kyle (Batman Returns), Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs), Chantelle (Passion Fish), Shade (Gas Food Lodging), Linguere Ramatou (Hyenes), Charles Dickens and Rizzo the Rat (The Muppet Christmas Carol) Bonnie (The Player), Ricky Roma (Glengarry Glen Ross), Luc Deveraux (Universal Soldier), Orlando (Orlando)

Stephen “It’s just that I’m not really in the vagina business” Fry (Peter’s Friends)

“Oh no, I’m not a pilot, but, I know what’s going to happen. We’re going to spin and die” – producer in making of Baraka doc

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Forever wishing that Mae and Doris from A League of Their Own had a spin-off in some form

Similar hopeful endings about the deep connections between two people (The Crying Game and Light Sleeper)

Least Favorite Film Characters of 1992: Lotte (Enchanted April), Andrew (Peter’s Friends), Carol (Peter’s Friends), Kit (A League of Their Own), Veronica Roberts (Universal Soldier), Jack (Husbands and Wives), Henry Wilcox (Howards End)

I really don’t know where to start with Batman Returns (I really don’t, I could have a separate list it), so I’ll leave much of that for my final write-up. But Christopher Walken’s reading of “Santa Claus? ‘Fraid not” is a perfect morsel of indifference and how he lets that performance register as a series of abstract statements.

The final 15 minutes of The Last of the Mohicans, which will get some dissection in a later post

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Playfully breaking through gender and the fourth wall with Tilda Swinton in Orlando

It can only go up from here – starting my 1992 viewings with turkey Innocent Blood

Bill Pullman’s laughable “Hiya cutie”, quite possibly the least appealing and unintentionally funny husband-returns-from-war scene (A League of Their Own)

Footage of post-Gulf War Kuwait in the apocalyptic Lessons of Darkness and Baraka

Being in 9th grade and watching Of Mice and Men in English class, which, all of things, promptly kick started my yearlong John Malkovich phase/obsession in a big way

If you ever wanted to see Willem Dafoe be adorable and smile a lot (in a Paul Schrader film, no less!) look no further (Light Sleeper)

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Speaking of adorable, look no further than Christopher Reeve in Noises Off…!

Speaking of adorable, look no further than Steven Bauer in Raising Cain!

Speaking of adorable, look no further than Jean-Claude Van Damme (and his derriere) in Universal Soldier!

The faces-only outback intimacy of The Player’s central sex scene

Debbie’s dating video (Singles)

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The Paula Prentiss fishing montage in Rock Hudson’s Home Movies

De Palma’s riff on the exposition scene in Psycho (Raising Cain)

Dream Awards Ballot: 1992 Supporting Actress: Dana Delaney (Light Sleeper), Miranda Richardson (Damage), Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End), Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives), Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)

Habeas Corpus starring Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts (The Player)

Having so much empathy for poor patronized Sam in Husbands and Wives

Hedgehog or fox? (Husbands and Wives)

 

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