So, are you getting pumped to watch the Oscars this Sunday?!? Yeah, us neither. A three-plus hour Hollywood circle jerk of unnecessary affirmation really is no way to spend your precious Sunday night. To free you from your exhaustive award show chains, we flashed back 20 years to a particularly banner year for film — good ol' 1994 — and rounded up a top ten based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings, Metacritic scores, box office grosses, and, full disclosure, a dash of our own self-proclaimed expert opinion. Enjoy.
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10.Ace Ventura Pet Detective Rotten Tomatoes: 45% Metacritic: 37 Average: 41 Box office gross: $72,217,000 The greatness of this movie requires no explanation. Oddly enough, it was universally panned by critics (they clearly don’t know a good ass-talking scene when they see one).
9.PCU Rotten Tomatoes: 47% Metacritic: n/a Average: 47% Box office gross: $4,350,774 This may not be a crowd favorite, but for posterity, it deserves inclusion. PCU is the story of a super (duper?) senior at Port Chester University and his quest to postpone real life, while also bunking the politically correct nature of academia that he and his crew of misfits loathed. It also has an excellent before -they-were-big lineup with Jeremy Piven, David Spade, and a dread-locked, bong-hitting Jon Favreau. Sneaky favorite line: "Gutter is a tool!"
8.Dumb and Dumber Rotten Tomatoes: 64% Metacritic: 39 Average score: 51.5 Box office gross: $127,175,354 Sorry everybody, ’94 was a banner year and this one regrettably couldn’t make it to #1. The film (FILM!) is not only a masterpiece of comedy, but it's also sacred to many of its biggest fans and one of those movies that people get competitive over how much they like it. It’s also widely used as a litmus test for one’s sense of humor, i.e., if you don't think this movie is amazing, get lost.
7.Natural Born Killers Rotten Tomatoes: 47% Metacritic: 74 Average: 60.5 Box office gross: $50,282,766 A stylish, fantastical, and sickening portrayal of our obsession with violence in America, NBK is a movie impossible to forget. It's definitely not the most feel-good movie of the year, but hey, it stars Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as murderous lunatics in love which makes it very watchable and entertaining. Guess Oliver Stone has a point there... Anyway, bonus points for Rodney Dangerfield popping in there for a cameo!
6.Forrest Gump Rotten Tomatoes: 74% Metacritic: 82 Average: 78 Box office gross: $329,691,196 This epic actually won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1994 along with Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Director (Bob Zemeckis). Fitting, as Tom Hanks definitely deserved something after not even getting a nod for Joe Versus the Volcano, and Zemeckis’s role in bringing Back To The Future earns him all the awards. That aside, the movie had it all: a righteous double-CD soundtrack, special effects rendering Lt. Dan legless, people with mental disabilities becoming billionaires... and on and on. In all seriousness, it’s an undeniable classic.
5. Clerks Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Metacritic: 70 Average: 79 Box office gross: $3,151,130 While it may not be your all-time favorite, this cult classic earns itself the #7 slot. The snarky, quick, and witty "film" was the brainchild of a pre-morbidly obese Kevin Smith and his cast of surprisingly funny nobodies. And it was in black and white, which made it even better and more artsy and stuff. Right? Either way, at the end of the day it’s entertaining and eternally quotable. Noogins.
4.Shawshank Redemption Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Metacritic: 80 Average: 85 Box office gross: $28,341,469 It's hard to top this movie. Shawshank is so good you still watch it on TBS for four hours even though you own it on DVD. Like the title suggests (spoiler alert), the main character in this movie, Andy Dufresne, is wrongly imprisoned at Shawshank Prison and ultimately finds redemption by escaping to freedom in the most awesome way possible while simultaneously besting everyone that attempted to ruin his spirit. And nothing beats the sweet, calming narration by Morgan Freeman. A true classic in every sense of the word. Get busy livin, or get busy dyin'.
3.Speed Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Metacritic: 78 Average: 85.5 Box office gross: 121,248,145 1994s definitive edge-of-your-seat thriller for simpletons, Speed was everything you wanted in an action movie and more. And because you were 13 when it came out and it was rated R, it was extra awesome and even more action packed. And it was chock full of helpful advice, i.e., when in a hostage situation, just shoot the hostage. Made sense then. Still makes sense today. Thanks, Keanu!
2.The Lion King Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Metacritic: 83 Average: 86.5 Box office gross: $422,783,777 A powerhouse Disney classic, the Lion King was a wonderful coming of age story replete with an evil villain uncle, great cast, all around comedic relief, and the timeless musical stylings of Elton John. We laughed, we cried, we gained valuable insight into the circle of life as revealed by animated lions talking to their dead relatives in the clouds. A+ movie through and through. Remember that stampede scene? Where Mufasa gets mangled? And Simba thinks its all his fault? Man, that was intense.
1.Pulp Fiction Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Metacritic: 94 Average: 94 Box office gross: $107,928,762 Occasionally a movie comes along whose awesomeness is simply too difficult to explain. Due to the scattered plot, out of sequence timing, and seemingly unrelated characters, Pulp Fiction is most certainly one of them. The good news though is that you should never have to explain it to anyone. Simply reply with “Wait, you're joking right? You've never seen Pulp Fiction? Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?" Then, they go watch it and baptize themselves in the brilliance, violence, and badassery.