1992 in Review

One Notable Film from 1992

Death

This one’s going to be a little offbeat and obscure even by my standards for this space, but today I’m going to look at one of the most improbable how-did-this-get-made films I can think of: Death Becomes Her.

Death Becomes her is a black comedy about two rival actresses who love the same plastic surgeon, end up discovering and then drinking immortality potions, realize that while they are immortal they will require constant maintenance on their bodies because they are actual living zombies. The movie somehow gets more over the top and even more like a madcap Loony Toons movie from there.

This is a bizarre plot for any movie, but what’s so insane to me is that it was a big studio film: the women are played by Meryl Streep(!) and Goldie Hawn, the surgeon is Bruce Willis and Robert Zemeckis (fresh off Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Back to the Future trilogy, and right before Forrest Gump) directed. It was a box office success (#15 in worldwide box office for 1992), and even won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects (here’s a good example of what they looked like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TvgwlnTU4Q). How often do you see big-budget, high-concept sci-fi black comedies? My guess is that Zemeckis wanted to make it, and during this time he could do no wrong so they greenlighted it. By no means is it a great or for everybody, but the satire on vanity and Hollywood is well-done, the effects are still interesting to look at and really inventively used, and it’s such an anomaly that I think it’s worth watching.

Other Notables from 1992

El Mariachi

A League of Their Own

Malcolm X

Aladdin

Basic Instinct

Wayne’s World

Chaplin

Army of Darkness

Braindead (aka Dead Alive)

Glengarry Glen Ross

Hard Boiled

Husbands and Wives

Porco Rosso

The Player

Reservoir Dogs

1992 in Review

Unforgiven: A- (Won Best Picture)

The Crying Game: B+

Howards End: B

Scent of a Woman: B-

A Few Good Men: C+

A strong year with three movies that in plenty of other years could have won Best Picture, and nothing was chore to watch. Unforgiven deservedly won Best Picture, making it only the third (and as of now, last) Western to win after Cimarron and Dances with Wolves.

In 1993 we have a Best Picture nominee that’s a remake of a 1960s TV series; Daniel Day-Lewis got off relatively easy for his standards here: all he did was lose 30 pounds and stay overnight in the jailcell his character’s in during the movie while people threw water at him; A film that earned seven Oscar nominations for women (a record); Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson team up for their second straight Best Picture nominee; and Steven Spielberg conquers the world, directing both this film which won Best Picture and Jurassic Park in the same year.

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