Making Movie History – A Look Back at 1995
From Bond to batnipples to talking toys, we take a look at the films that are just one year shy of being able to buy alcohol. And let's be honest, some of these movies are better when you're drinking.
As per usual with our "Making Movie History" series, we are taking a look at fifteen movies, this time turning 20-years-old this year. We'll give you a brief synopsis in case you're not familiar with the film, then we take a look at its lasting legacy.
Synopsis: Finally graduating after seven years of college, Tommy returns home to work at his father's auto parts factory and meet his soon-to-be step-mother and step-brother. At the wedding reception, Tommy's father suffers a fatal heart attack, leaving the factory in Tommy's incapable hands and on the verge of foreclosure to the bank. In order to save the factory, Tommy teams up with his father's assistant to go on the road to promote the company's new brake pads.
Legacy: Debuting at #1 at the box office, 'Tommy Boy' was a financial success and a modest critical success. Though critics were mixed, 'Tommy Boy' gained a cult following among audiences and has become a beloved comedy of the decade. Chris Farley and David Spade would work together again in 'Black Sheep', and both would go on to individual projects, though neither were able to find similar success they had with 'Tommy Boy'.
Synopsis: $100 million in seized heroin is stolen from the Miami Police Department in the middle of the night, leading Internal Affairs to believe it was an inside job. Detectives Lowrey and Burnett, who originally seized the heroin, are put back on the case. Lowrey asks a call-girl friend to let him know if clients start talking about large amounts of heroin, a favor that unfortunately leads to her death. While Lowrey is following up a lead, Burnett receives a phone call from the call-girl's roommate and witness to her murder, saying she'll only talk to Lowrey. Now Burnett must protect the witness, while masquerading as Lowrey, until the witness can identify the men who stole the heroin and killed her friend.
Legacy: Michael Bay's directorial debut was a financial success, but a mixed critical success, citing Bay's over-reliance on explosions over substance. A sequel was made 8 years later, reuniting the original cast, this time including Burnett's sister as a DEA Agent and love interest for Lowrey. 'Bad Boys 2' became a cult hit and a beloved action film, regularly listed as a sequel that surpassed the original. While a third film has been talked about several times, reportedly brought up by Wil Smith whenever one of his film's is unsuccessful, current rumors suggest a third film helmed by 'A-Team' writer/director Joe Carnahan.
Synopsis: After a bomb goes off in a New York department store, the NYPD receive a call from the bomber, Simon, saying he will detonate another bomb in the city unless Detective John McClane does as Simon orders. While following Simon's orders by carrying an offensive sign in Harlem, McClane is attacked and saved by a pawn shop owner, Zeus. Simon continues playing a dangerous game of "Simon Says" with McClane, including Zeus in his plans for helping McClane.
Legacy: 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' was a box office smash, praised for the chemistry between Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, and for being better than the previous Die Hard film. Unfortunately, this would mark the last publicly praised Die Hard film, with two more sequels made, both of which were slammed by critics and fans of the series for changing McClane from an everyman to a superhero.
Synopsis: After the death of his father and brother, young William Wallace is raised and educated abroad by his uncle Argyle. Returning home as a man, Wallace plans to build a farm and raise a family, proposing to Murron, a girl he knew in his youth. William and Murron keep their wedding a secret to avoid Prima Nocta, where the local English lord would sleep with the bride on the night of her wedding. After fighting off a rapist, Murron is publicly executed, causing William to lead his clan in storming the English soldiers in retribution. Inspiring neighboring clans rise up against King Edward's forces, William Wallace leads the clans in a revolt against the English armies to gain Scotland's freedom.
Legacy: Though a critical and financial success, 'Braveheart' was criticized for completely butchering historical accuracy, such as the swapping of the religions of the English and Scottish, incorrect costuming for the time, and blatantly fictionalized events like William's affair with the Prince's wife. 'Braveheart' ended up being nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning five of them: Best Picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Makeup, Best Cinematography, and Best Director for Mel Gibson.
Synopsis: After stopping Two-Face's bank robbery attempt, Bruce Wayne becomes involved with a Batman-obsessed psychiatrist, Chase Meridian. Taking Chase to the circus, the circus is taken hostage by Two-Face who believes someone in the audience must be Batman. The acrobatic act, The Flying Graysons, saves the audience from Two-Face's bomb, but are killed by Two-Face, leaving only the youngest, Dick, alive. At the same time, a Wayne Enterprises employee, Edward Nygma, develops a television accessory that probes the viewers' brain and creates 3D images. Taking his prototype experiments too far, Nygma kills his boss and takes on the name "The Riddler". The Riddler teams up with Two-Face to discover Batman's true identity, while Bruce takes in the orphaned Dick Grayson and tries to help him come to terms with his family's death.
Legacy: 'Batman Forever' was a massive financial success, setting the record for the highest grossing opening weekend, and becoming the second-highest grossing film of the year. The film didn't fare as well critically, being criticized for the abrupt change in tone to a family-friendly film. Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey were both slammed for their villainous portrayals, noting that both men were closer to playing The Joker rather than their actual characters. Director Joel Schumacher was also greatly criticized for his design choices, with his focus on neon and addition of nipples to the Batsuit. 'Batman Forever' was followed by another Schumacher helmed film, 'Batman and Robin', which was so bad that Warner Bros. immediately cancelled all plans to continue the series.
Synopsis: The crew of the Apollo 13 are aiming to land on the moon when one of the fuel tanks explodes and the other starts leaking fuel. With limited power and losing fuel, the three-man team use the lunar module as a lifeboat in an attempt to get back to Earth. However, with their limited power, surviving the re-entering of Earth's atmosphere will be impossible unless they can activate their systems. While the Apollo 13 crew fight to stay alive in space, Mission Control specialists rush to figure out a way for the crew to reactivate their systems without causing more damage.
Legacy: 'Apollo 13' spent three weeks in the #1 spot at the box office, and was a critical success with nine nominations at the Academy Awards, winning two: Best Film Editing and Best Sound. Many believed Tom Hanks would end up with a third Academy Award for Best Actor, but he ended up not even being nominated. Director Ron Howard was praised for his balancing of historical accuracy with the Hollywood three-act format, so much so that some audience members in test screenings forgot that it was a true story and scored the film low, complaining about the cliche Hollywood ending where the crew survives.
Synopsis: In the distant future, Earth's polar icecaps have melted, causing the entire planet to be covered in water. Living on floating cities called atolls, humans have lived on water for so long that dry land has become a myth. A stranger named "The Mariner" arrives at an atoll to trade dirt, a valued commodity, but gets drawn into a battle with pirates who are searching for a young girl who has a map to dry land tattooed on her back.
Legacy: While debuting at #1, the extreme budget of the film, most expensive film made at the time, meant that it didn't break even until released on home video. The film was only nominated for Best Sound Mixing at the Academy Awards, but picked up four Razzie nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Actor for Kevin Costner, Worst Director for Kevin Reynolds, and Worst Supporting Actor for Dennis Hopper, who ended up winning.
Synopsis: Con-Artist Roger "Verbal" Kint is one of two survivors of a deadly firefight on a ship in San Pedro Bay. While Kint has turned state's evidence to cut deal, Customs Agent Dave Kujan believes Kint isn't telling the whole story. Kujan has Kint recount the events that lead up to the shootout, starting with his inclusion in a line-up with four other felons, which is revealed to have been orchastrated by criminal boogeyman Keyser Soze. The five men had all unknowingly stolen from Soze, who wanted them to work for him to pay him back. While Kujan tries to get the whole story from Kint, the other survivor, a Hungarian mercenary, wakes up in the hospital with the ability to do what no living person can, to give a physical description of the elusive Soze.
Legacy: Though a wide critical success, critic Roger Ebert called the film confusing, giving it 1.5 stars out of four and putting it on his most hated films list. 'The Usual Suspects' was named as one of the 10 Best mystery films by the AFI, which also nominated the film for its lists of Best Line and Best Villain. The screenplay won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Writer's Guild of America named it #35 on their list of Best Screenplays of all time. Kevin Spacey was also honored with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film's twist ending has been regarded as one of the best in film history, having been parodied in films like 'Scary Movie'.
Synopsis: Unbeknownst to almost all people, the fate of the realms is regularly decided in a fighting tournament known as Mortal Kombat. If a realm wins ten tournaments in a row, they may claim ownership of the opposing realm. Three fighters from Earthrealm, actor Johnny Cage, there to prove he is not a fake martial artist, Sonya Blade, tracking down an arms dealer who killed her partner, and Liu Kang, who is seeking the man who killed his brother, enter the tournament under the guidance of Raiden, the god of thunder and lightning and protector of Earthrealm. As Outworld has won the last nine tournaments, under the direction of the sorcerer Shang Tsung and the brutality of the reining champion Goro, one more win will allow Outworld to claim dominion over Earthrealm. Though the three Earthrealm fighters entered the tournament for personal reasons, they must learn to overcome their fears to win the tournament and keep Earthrealm out of the grasp of the Emperor Shao Khan.
Legacy: Though a critical disappointment, 'Mortal Kombat' spent three weeks in the #1 spot at the box office, making eight times more than any other new release film the week of its release. The film has since become the fourth highest grossing video game adaptation, but is regularly considered by fans to be the best adaptation. A sequel was created two years later, largely following the story of the third video game. The sequel was largely panned by critics and fans, and underperformed at the box so drastically that plans for a third film were immediately cancelled. Two spin-off series were created, a cartoon series and a live-action prequel series. Due to the poor response to the series and the sequel, adaptations of Mortal Kombat went silent until 2011, when director Kevin Tancharoen created the short film 'Mortal Kombat: Rebirth'. The response to 'Rebirth' was so positive that an internet series based on the short film and reusing the same actors was created, running for two seasons.
Synopsis: Detective William R. Somerset, who plans to retire soon, is paired with a new partner, the brash but idealistic Detective David Mills. The two detectives begin investigating a series of murders where the victims represent each of the seven deadly sins. David's wife Tracy confides in William that she's pregnant and is concerned about raising a child in such a city, a sentiment William shares. After five murders, the killer, known only as Doe, turns himself in to the authorities, claiming God tasked him with showing how sick society is. Doe agrees to take the two detectives to the location of the last two victims, and confess to the crimes. But things are not entirely as they seem, and Doe might be in a position to get the last laugh.
Legacy: Spending a full month at the top of the Box Office charts, 'Seven' went on to be the 7th highest grossing film of the year and a critical smash. Though only nominated for Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards, the film was a success with younger audiences and won three of the four MTV Movie Awards it was nominated for: Best Actor for Brad Pitt, Best Villain for Kevin Spacey, and Best Film. The cast was widely praised by fans and critics, especially Spacey as the killer Doe, pulling off vastly different performance than his Oscar-winning role in 'The Usual Suspects', but still pulling off an audience-shocking twist ending that relied heavily on his performance and delivery.
Synopsis: Young drifter Naomi Malone is on her way to Las Vegas with aspirations of becoming a famous showgirl. To make ends meet, Naomi takes a job as a stripper, something the experienced showgirls look down upon as akin to prostitution. Cristal Connors, the head showgirl as a topless review, takes notice of Naomi, but finds enjoyment in humiliating her and reminding her of her position. As Naomi begins to enter the world of Las Vegas showgirls, her talent gets her a great deal of attention, causing tension between her and Cristal and a battle over the top spot.
Legacy: 'Showgirls' was widely panned by critics, creating the critical phrase "Showgirls-Bad", describing a terrible film that is perversely enjoyable. Most of the attention for the film stemmed from its gratuitous nudity, simulated sex, and 'Saved by the Bell' star Elizabeth Berkley's abrupt change from her former persona as Jesse Spano. 'Showgirls' went on to become the highest-grossing NC-17 film of all time, and was nominated for thirteen Razzie awards, a record that still stands, winning a record-setting seven awards: Worst Picture, Worst Actress for Elizabeth Berkley, Worst Director for Paul Verhoeven (who accepted the award in person), Worst Screenplay for Joe Eszterhas (who earned $2 million for his screenplay), Worst New Star for Elizabeth Berkley, Worst Screen Couple for Any Combination of Two People or Body Parts, and Worst Original Song. The record for most Razzies would later be broken by Lindsey Lohan's 'I Know Who Killed Me', winning eight in 2008, and then Adam Sandler's 'Jack and Jill', winning ten awards in 2012. 'Showgirls' would go on to win an 8th award in 2000 for Worst Film of the Decade. The film has gained a cult favorite status since its release on home video, owed in a large part to people who ironically enjoy it for its terrible script and ridiculously acrobatic sex scenes.
Synopsis: Nine years after the death of his friend and fellow agent 006, James Bond is sent to Monte Carlo to tail Xenia Onatopp, a suspected member of the Janus Crime Syndicate. Xenia steals a stealth helicopter and makes her way to Severnaya, a Serbian research facility, where she and a rogue Russian general set off the Goldeneye satellite, destroying the facility. Bond is tasked with investigating the attack by the new M, the first female to hold the position and who regularly reminds Bond that he's a relic of the Cold War. Tracing Onatopp to Russia, Bond comes face-to-face with Janus, better known to Bond as 006..
Synopsis: Six years since the previous Bond film, 'License to Kill', and the longest gap between Bond films, many were concerned if the time for Bond movies had passed. Pierce Brosnan was a welcome addition to the franchise, having lost the role to Timothy Dalton 8 years prior due to his contract on 'Remington Steele'. The film went on to be a financial and critical success, with many praising the adapting of Bond into a post-Cold War society. Judi Dench's portrayal of M was praised by fans and critics, resulting in Dench becoming the only actor to carry over when Bond was rebooted in 'Casino Royale'. 'Goldeneye' regularly appears on lists of the best Bond films, and the video game tie-in for the Nintendo 64 is credited with being one of the best movie tie-in games and the game that ushered the PC mainstay first-person shooters onto video game consoles. Brosnan would appear as Bond in three successive films, each less well-received as its predecessor, ending with 'Die Another Day', which was considered so bad that a reboot was deemed necessary.
Synopsis: Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a gambling handicapper, is sent to Vegas by the mod to oversee the operations of the Tangiers casino. Due to lax gambling laws and Rothstein's direction, the Tangiers doubles its profits, leading to the mafia sending Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro and his brother to protect Rothstein and the casino. Nicky's temper leads to him being blacklisted from every casino in Vegas. Rothstein and Nicky begin making many enemies in Vegas, culminating with the events that led to the mafia pulling out of the city.
Legacy: 'Casino' proved to be another widely successful team-up for director Martin Scorsese, writer Nicholas Pileggi (who also wrote the original non-fiction novel), and actors Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, all of whom worked together on 'Goodfellas'. Though the action was widely praised, Sharon Stone was credited as the standout performance, being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress.
Synopsis: A look at what our childhood toys do when no one is around, Andy's toys are led by Andy's favorite toy, the cowboy Woody. While preparing for a move to a new house, the toys are surprised to find out that Andy's birthday party has been moved up. Worried about being replaced, the toys are shocked to find a new toy, Buzz Lightyear, may have replaced Woody as Andy's favorite. While all other toys know their status as toys, Buzz believes he is an actual astronaut, trying to repair his ship and return home. Fueled by jealously, Woody manipulates Buzz into leaving the house, resulting in both toys being lost next door at the evil Spike's house, trying to escape back home before the move.
Legacy: Originally hoped to be a modest success at the box office, 'Toy Story' blew all expectations out of the way, becoming a smash critical and financial success and the highest grossing film of the year. Pixar was praised for their mastery of the new CGI animation format, and Disney was praised for the beautiful and engaging story, with many filmmakers calling the movie a work or art. 'Toy Story' was nominated for a slew of movie awards and spawned two sequels, each more well-received than its predecessor, with the third film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. A fourth film has been announced, with a planned release in 2017.
Synopsis: LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna has been investigating the heists of career criminal Neil McCauley. After botched armored car heist and resulting assassination attempt, McCauley plans one final bank heist before escaping to New Zealand. While dealing with an unfaithful wife and depressed step-daughter, Lt. Hanna must balance his personal life with is professional aspirations to finally take down McCauley and his crew.
Legacy: Though critically and financially successful, the film was criticized for failing to capitalize on the first on-screen teaming of DeNiro and Pacino. Though both men share a pivotal scene together, director Michael Mann was criticized for use of cutaway shots during the scene and not featuring to the two actors in the same shot. The film was not only inspiration for Christopher Nolan in creating 'The Dark Knight', but also inspired armed robberies in South Africa, Denmark, Norway, Columbia, and the famous North Hollywood shootout.