Maggie Carey's stellar, nonchalantly female-centric rom com The To Do List stars Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat (oh, and Johnny Simmons and Bill Hader) and is set in Boise, Idaho, 1993, the year and location Carey graduated from high school. Clinton and Gore ruled America, midriffs were high fashion, and it was quite a year for movies. In honor, here's a list of some of our 1993 faves that spotlighted history, faced cultural tragedies, played with formula, got sappy and sentimental, introduced Hollywood outsiders, garnered nominations, won awards and did some weird, kooky things.
Dazed & Confused (Richard Linklater): Not quite the first slacker flick (that would be Linklater's Slacker, from 1991) with those delicious aimless teens coming of age in Austin, Texas, 1976. Who could forget the line:"If I ever say these were the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself."
The Piano (Jane Campion): Roger Ebert called it "one of the most enchanting love stories ever filmed." Anna Paquin's breakout role as Flora McGrath earned her Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, Holly Hunter won Best Actress and Campion became the first female director to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Oh, to live back in 1993.
True Romance (Tony Scott): Just a year before Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction changed us all, he wrote Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette into the romantic role models of every adolescent parents' nightmare. (And Brad Pitt played a bit-part stoner.)
Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron): A very different, equally as life-changing romance. RIP, our romcom queen.
Naked (Mike Leigh): The British visionary's first true black comedy that took best director and best actor (for David Thewlis) prizes at Cannes and the Critic's Prize at Toronto.
Philadelphia (Jonathan Demme): The no-frills, hardhitting, thoroughly tear-jerking first Hollywood blockbuster to tackle the flammable social atmosphere of the AIDs era. Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington at their mainstream highest.
The Firm (Sydney Pollack): Tom Cruise as a John Grisham-born lawyer, necktie and suspenders in tact!
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis): Bill Murray. Bill Murray. Bill Murray. "Did you ever have déjà vu?"
The Thing Called Love (Peter Bogdanovich): River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis in an almost female-centric, small town romance that was not Phoenix's best performance (and, it's almost too sad to point out, his final.)
Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg): Best Picture, Best Director: the Holocaust epic could (but needs not) singlehandedly represent 1993 as a iconic year in movies.