We're back in our time machine with the broken dial, and this time we land in 1993.
What Was the Story?
Bill Clinton began his presidency, and Monica Lewinsky had yet to be hired as a White House intern. The internet was just a few years away, and things were looking pretty good... mostly. Janet Reno was selected as Attorney General, thereby insuring many hours of spoofing on 'Saturday Night Live' (the cast of which included Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, David Spade and Chris Rock). Hellboy made his comics debut, and people were reading "The Client," by John Grisham, "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" by Stephen King, "Vanished" by Danielle Steele, "Trainspotting" by Irvine Welsh, and -- heaven help us -- "Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend" by Robert James Waller. On TV, there was a new show called 'The X-Files' and Conan O'Brien started his "Late Night" stint.
On the radio, there was "Loser" by Beck, "Cannonball" by the Breeders, "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana, "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill, and "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow, but Whitney Houston, Kenny G., and Eric Clapton had the biggest selling albums of the year. Major League Baseball expanded and added two teams, the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins, and the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series. Evander Holyfield was the heavyweight champ. In more upsetting news, the World Trade Center was bombed in February, and Ted Kaczynski, "the Unabomber," struck twice. And in funnier news, Lorena Bobbitt does something terrible to her husband John Wayne Bobbitt that insured their infamy forever.
[Note: When Micky Ward takes Charlene to the movies in this year's 'The Fighter,' they sit through that year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film, 'Belle Epoque' -- and they're both bored to tears.]
Why Was 1993 Significant?
It was a year of big blockbusters, with at least eight movies grossing more than $100 million in the United States; 'Mrs. Doubtfire' grossed more than $200 million -- despite the fact that it's just awful -- and 'Jurassic Park' more than $300 million. Ticket sales went up by more than 5% from the previous year. Forty-seven year-old Steven Spielberg was at the head of it all, with his brilliant two-sided, one-two punch: a popcorn-muncher of a dinosaur action movie, and a heart-rending masterpiece.
At the same time, Asian film seemed to be exploding. Hong Kong films had begun to catch on -- new movies that year included 'Iron Monkey,' 'The Heroic Trio,' 'The Bride with White Hair,' 'Once Upon a Time in China III' and 'Fong Sai Yuk' -- and director John Woo made his first movie in Hollywood, 'Hard Target.' From China's Fifth Generation, there was Tian Zhuangzhuang's 'The Blue Kite' and Chen Kaige's 'Farewell My Concubine,' from Japan there was Takeshi Kitano's 'Sonatine,' and Akira Kurosawa's final film 'Madadayo,' from Vietnam, there was Tran Anh Hung's 'The Scent of Green Papaya,' and from Taiwan there was Hou Hsiao-hsien's 'The Puppetmaster.' Not to mention that Quentin Tarantino paid homage to Sonny Chiba in 'True Romance.' These new signs of life in world cinema would continue to be more and more influential in years to come.
People Born in 1993: Jenna Boyd, Cameron Bright, Brett Kelly, AnnaSophia Robb
People Who Died in 1993: Audrey Hepburn, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lillian Gish, Brandon Lee, Fred Gwynne, Stewart Granger, Raymond Burr, Vincent Price, Federico Fellini, River Phoenix, Don Ameche, Myrna Loy
Acting Debut: Alicia Silverstone in 'The Crush'
Top Grossing Films: 'Jurassic Park,' 'Mrs. Doubtfire,' 'The Fugitive,' 'The Firm,' 'Sleepless in Seattle,' 'Indecent Proposal,' 'In the Line of Fire,' 'The Pelican Brief,' 'Schindler's List,' 'Cliffhanger,' 'Philadelphia,' 'Free Willy'
Top Movie Stars: Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg, Sylvester Stallone
Roger Ebert's Best Film of the Year: 'Schindler's List'
Gene Siskel's Best Film of the Year: 'Schindler's List'
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or: (tie) 'The Piano' & 'Farewell My Concubine'
Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear: (tie) 'Women from the Lake of Scented Souls' & 'The Wedding Banquet'
National Society of Film Critics' Best Picture: 'Schindler's List'
New York Film Critics' Best Picture: 'Schindler's List'
National Board of Review Best Picture: 'Schindler's List'
Oscar Winner, Best Picture: 'Schindler's List'
Oscar Winner, Best Director: Steven Spielberg, 'Schindler's List'
Oscar Winner, Best Actor: Tom Hanks, 'Philadelphia'
Oscar Winner, Best Actress: Holly Hunter, 'The Piano'
Oscar Winner, Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, 'The Fugitive'
Oscar Winner, Best Supporting Actress: Anna Paquin, 'The Piano'
Oscar Winner, Foreign Language Film: 'Belle Epoque'
My Ten Favorites: 'The Piano,' 'A Perfect World,' 'Short Cuts,' 'Groundhog Day,' 'Sonatine,' 'Schindler's List,' 'The Heroic Trio,' 'The Puppetmaster,' 'In the Line of Fire,' 'The Fugitive'
Cult Favorites: 'Cronos,' 'Dazed and Confused,' 'Hard Target,' 'The Nightmare Before Christmas,' 'Ninja Scroll,' 'So I Married an Axe Murderer,' 'True Romance'
Horror Films: 'Body Snatchers,' 'Cronos,' 'The Dark Half,' 'Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday,' 'Leprechaun,' 'Matinee' 'Needful Things,' 'Trauma'
Sci-Fi Films: 'Demolition Man,' 'Jurassic Park,' 'Robocop 3'
Westerns: 'The Ballad of Little Jo,' 'Geronimo: An American Legend,' 'Posse,' 'Tombstone'
Siskel & Ebert's Worst Films of the Year: 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' 'Carnosaur,' 'Coneheads,' 'Cop and a Half,' 'Dangerous Game,' 'Hocus Pocus,' 'The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them,' 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights,' 'Super Mario Brothers,' 'The Vanishing'