(April 1, 1993)
It’s the summer of 1962. The first Wal-Mart had just opened, and President Kennedy was about to announce that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Aside from the general fear that the Soviet Union was going to launch nuclear warheads at the United States, starting a apocalyptic thermonuclear war, 1962 was a time of happiness, optimism, and prosperity. The Sandlot captures this feeling perfectly.
The Sandlot follows the story of Scotty Smalls, a twelve year-old kid who just moved to a small neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. In an effort to fit in with the neighborhood kids, he begins to play baseball with them. At one point, Scotty borrows his Babe Ruth-signed baseball to play with. He ends up hitting the ball into the backyard of Mr. Mertle, a man who has a notoriously vicious dog that, according to rumor, eats anybody that enters his domain. Hilarity ensues as the boys attempt to recover the ball.
As cliche-heavy as it is, The Sandlot is a goofy, loveable movie.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
(October 13, 1993)
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, the leader of a Halloween-themed town, appropriately named Halloweentown. At the beginning of the movie, Skellington feels empty inside, as he no longer enjoys celebrating Halloween and only Halloween year after year. Skellington eventually stumbles upon Christmastown, a town centered around
St. Patrick’s Day Christmas. He enjoys the idea of Christmas, and tries to bring it back to Halloweentown. Skellington ends up having Santa kidnapped, and takes Santa’s job into his own hands. He nearly ends up ruining Christmas by giving children presents that scar them.
Aside from the writing, directing, and voice acting being fantastic, the film itself is an artistic masterpiece. Nearly the entirely film was shot in stop-motion animation, meaning that all of the figures were made of clay and moved with each frame to mimic speech and movement. In total, 20 different sound stages and 120 workers were used to take over 109,000 frames that would eventually be used for the film. As always, composer Danny Elfman did an excellent job with the music for this movie, and did a fantastic job singing the film’s songs as Jack Skellington.
(December 15, 1993)
This depressing yet touching film shares the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.
In the beginning, Schindler seems to be like any other businessman who abused the free labor that came with the en masse incarceration of Jews during the Nazi regime: cruel and thirsty for profit. However, after witnessing the massacre of Jews in the during the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, Schindler has a change of heart. With the help of his assistant, he begins trying to ensure that as many Jews as possible are deemed necessary for the war effort in order to keep them from being sent to concentration camps. In the end, he manages to save lives of more than twelve-hundred people.
By the end of the movie, Schindler has practically bankrupted himself, continuously bribing Nazi officials in order to keep his workers from going to death camps. Schindler, who had originally gone to Krakow to make a fortune, made himself destitute in order to save lives. At the end of the movie, Schindler even blames himself for not being able to save more people, saying that he could have sold his jewelry, his clothes, and all of his possession in order to save more Jews.
I would definitely recommend that anybody reading this watch Schindler’s List if they can. While it is quite possibly one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen, it’s extremely powerful in showing the horror of the Holocaust, and how the strong the kindness of some people could be.
(July 6, 1994)
Just weeks after Leesville graduated its first senior class, Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump had its debut in the United States. The film chronicles the life story of simple-but-sweet Alabaman Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks. The varied events of his life include wearing a cumbersome leg-brace during much of his childhood, being a star player on the University of Alabama’s football team, serving in the Vietnam War, meeting the President of the United States three times, representing the United States in a ping pong tournament against China, and becoming a billionaire from investments in Apple and starting his own shrimping business.
While maintaining the feeling of a light-hearted movie, Forrest Gump exhibits some of the hardships of life. The movie shows the loss that Forrest feels when he loses his mother, best friend, and wife. Jenny’s (Forrest’s wife) life was shown to have been incredibly rough, with her being sexually abused as a child, getting involved in hard drugs later in life, and eventually dying of what was likely AIDS.
Overall, the film is extremely powerful and entertaining, and I would highly recommend watching it if you have not already.