50 Years, 50 Movies (1994): The Secret of Roan Inish

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life.  The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously.



Top Grossing Movies of 1994:

  1. The Lion King
  2. Forrest Gump
  3. True Lies
  4. The Mask
  5. Speed

Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winners of 1994:

Other Movies I’ve Reviewed from 1994:

Title: The Secret of Roan Inish
Release Date: September 12, 1994
Director: John Sayles
Production Company:  Jones Entertainment Group | Skerry Productions

In the late 1940s, 10-year-old Fiona (Jeni Courtney) is sent from the city where her father and brother work in factories, to live with her grandparents (Eileen Colgan and Mick Lally) and cousin Eamon (Richard Sheridan) in a village on the coast of Donegal.  When Fiona was younger her whole family lived on the offshore island of Roan Inish until they were forced to leave during World War II.  During the evacuation, Fiona’s infant brother Jamie was lost, floating to see in a boat-shaped cradle, a family heirloom.  Fiona hears stories of her family including the legend that an ancestor married a selkie, a magical being that can transform from seal to human.  She begins to believe that Jamie is still alive and cared for by the seals around Roan Inish.

This gentle coming-of-age family film is a beautiful story of storytelling and how stories hold us together.  It’s also beautifully filmed, capturing the natural beauty of Ireland.  Courtney is solid as the curious and confident Fiona, although she only has a couple of other acting credits.  I also feel like John Sayles should get discussed more among the directors who came of age in the 80s and 90s, because he’s made some excellent films.  I feel bad for sleeping on this movie for almost 30 years, but now I can say it’s among my all-time favorites. This movie would pair well with another one of my favorites, Song of the Sea.

Rating: ****1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: The Firemen’s Ball (1967)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: The Firemen’s Ball
Release Date: 15 December 1967
Director: Miloš Forman
Production Company:

The Firemen’s Ball is reputed as key film in the Czechoslovak New Wave and the last film directed by Miloš Forman before he left for the United States and directed films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  The film is set in a function hall where a group of firefighters who resemble the Keystone Kops are holding a fundraising dance and raffle.  The main plot involves the horny old firefighters selecting young women for a beauty pageant while guests steal all the raffle prizes.  The movie is supposed to satirize the Communist government but honestly it just felt like a long Benny Hill sketch.  I guess this style of humor doesn’t hit my funnybone but your mileage may vary.

Rating: **