When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked at 1993, it gave its Best Picture award to Steven Spielberg's Holocaust drama Schindler's List. Great movies have been made about the Holocaust; I have written elsewhere about why I don't think this is one of them. But I do like it better than Spielberg's other '93 release, Jurassic Park.
1. Short Cuts
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Altman and Frank Barhydt, from stories by Raymond Carver
The best disaster movie ever made.
2. Groundhog Day
Directed by Harold Ramis
Written by Ramis and Danny Rubin
Buddha's favorite romantic comedy.
3. A Perfect World
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by John Lee Hancock
The joke goes that this is the picture that proved Eastwood's standing as a great director, because he actually managed to elicit a good performance from Kevin Costner. After The Outlaw Josey Wales, it's my favorite of Eastwood's films.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Directed by Henry Selick
Written by Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell, from a story by Tim Burton
"Haven't you heard of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men?" "NO!"
5. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
Directed by François Girard
Written by Girard, Don McKellar, and Nick McKinney
So much better than a conventional biopic.
6. Latcho Drom
Written and directed by Tony Gatlif
A celebration of Gypsy music. Frequently described as a documentary, but since the entire thing was scripted and staged it might make more sense to call it a hundred-minute music video.
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Rafael Yglesias, from his novel
Someone once told me he saw this on an airplane. I don't believe him.
8. Manhattan Murder Mystery
Directed by Woody Allen
Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman
Proof that Allen was capable of being laugh-out-loud funny as late as the 1990s.
9. Dottie Gets Spanked
Written and directed by Todd Haynes
The strange intersection between childhood, homosexuality, and television.
10. True Romance
Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Tony Scott probably wasn't the right director for this, but Tarantino's charmingly boyish script shines through.
11. The Bed You Sleep In (Jon Jost)
12. Red Rock West (John Dahl)
13. Mad Dog and Glory (John McNaughton)
14. The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung)
15. The Wrong Trousers (Nick Park)
16. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Ray Müller)
17. Body Snatchers (Abel Ferrara)
18. The Junky's Christmas (Nick Donkin, Melodie McDaniel)
19. The Hour of the Pig (Leslie Megahey)
20. Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Of the films of 1993 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life.
If you compare this to the last time I did a 1993 list, you won't see many differences. Some new movies have arrived, but only The Nightmare Before Christmas is new to the top 10. In the Name of the Father dropped out of the #20 spot to make room for it, while White and High Lonesome came out because I had misdated them. (According to the IMDB, they were actually released in 1994. Sorry 'bout that.) And I decided that I like True Romance better than The Bed You Sleep In. The rest of the changes are in the introduction and the descriptions, not the list itself.