Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: October 1990

10,000 Uganda RPF rebels move into Rwanda.  Meteorite explodes above Pacific Ocean.  US President George H. W. Bush at UN, condemns Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait.  Serbs in Croatia proclaim autonomy.  WW2 Allied nations cede any remaining rights as occupiers of Germany.  Radio Berlin International’s final transmission (links to Deutsche Welles of West Germany); final song is “The End” by Doors.  Reunification of East and West Germany. West German flag is raised above the Brandenburg Gate on the stroke of midnight.  Florida record store owner Charles Freeman is found guilty of obscenity, for selling 2 Live Crew rap records.  Cincinnati jury acquits art gallery of obscenity (Mappelthorpe photos).  US 67th manned space mission STS 41 (Discovery 11) launches into orbit.  Radio stations around world play “Imagine” honoring John Lennon.  First Russian Orthodox service in over 70 years held in St Basil’s Cathedral, in Red Square, Moscow.  Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wins Nobel Peace Prize.  US forces reach 200,000 in Persian Gulf.  Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong drops out of school to pursue a career in music.  3 members of 2 Live Crew acquitted on obscenity charges in Florida.  Antiwar protest marches begin in 20 US cities (US-Iraq).  Jeff Goldblum and wife Geena Davis file for divorce after nearly 2 years of marriage.

Music

Honorable mentions: Iron Maiden: No Prayer for the Dyin’; the band’s first major misfire.  Prefab Sprout: Jordan: The CombackWaterboys: Room to Roam. Brian Eno and John Cale: Wrong Way Up [maybe include this]. Selina: Ven Conmigo. Hall & Oats: Change of Season. Mekons: Fun ’90; the album is only 4 tracks long, too short, and would be compiled with another album in a later release, which in when it’s more suited for consideration; though the track “One Horse Town” is worth a listen. Information Society: Hack. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians: Ghost of a Dog. Pet Shop Boys: Behavior. Paul Simon: The Rhythm of the Saints. King’s X: Faith Hope Love; throwing gospel groups a bone here. Inspiral Carpets: Life (altered from the UK release, with the removal of one song, addition of another). The Charlatans: Some Friendly. The Traveling Wilburys: Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3; there was no volume 2, and this was the last of their two studio albums they would ever release; worth noting the group consisted of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty (under psuedonyms). Naked Raygun: Raygun… Naked Raygun. Van Morrison: Enlightenment; “Gone Real Gone” would be my pick.

The La’s: The La’s

“There She Goes” is one of the greatest songs of all time.  It’s incredible that something like that can be produced in a debut album.  The album itself is solid.

The Darling Buds: Crawdaddy

Considered one of the most overlooked albums and bands of the 90s.  I may not be into pop, but after giving this a listen, I have to agree.

Galaxie 500: This is Our Music

Good relaxing soft-rock music.

Styx: Edge of the Century

I kinda like this type of music, and kinda like the band. But only “kinda.” But they are a famous name in the music industry, and the track “Show Me The Way” was the biggest hit on the album, to the point where variations of it would be played on the radio with congressional debates and Gulf War stuff. Seems random to me, but I guess people were wondering about the U.S.’ place in the Middle East, and if they should even have one.

Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss

One of the definitive thrash metal bands. Personally not my cup of tea, as most of their tracks are monotonous in my opinion. But some do consider this to be their best album, even better than their debut Reign in Blood (of which there were only 3 tracks in that album I found enjoyment in, and 2 of them seem like they should be interlinked as one track). The standout (and most ambitious) song on this album is the title track Seasons in the Abyss. Also one of those albums U.S. troops blasted while in the Middle East.

Testament: Souls of Black

Not bad.

Ride: Nowhere

Shoegazing is apparently the genre that defines this album. A sub-genre of indie/alternative-rock in the U.K. And it’s considered one of the best shoegazing albums ever, and one of the best albums of the 90s (by some people anyway). A bit on the hypnotic rock (or psychedelic rock) side.

Hindu Love Gods: Hindu Love Gods

Hey, a Warren Zevon side project with R.E.M. I’m always willing to give Zevon’s stuff a listen. And this album, it’s not bad.

Goo Goo Dolls: Hold Me Up

Another famed band. That’s all I have.

ZZ Top: Recycler

Interesting musical direction they went in for a while. Anyway, they played a country version of the song Doubleback via a cameo appearance in the film Back to the Future: Part III.

Geto Boys: The Geto Boys

Again, I’m not a rap person. But when the band has a track titled, “Fuck ‘Em,” which maintains this “fuck everyone” attitude maintained throughout the album, and when the original Def American Recordings release contained this statement next to the Explicit Lyrics warning:

“Def American Recordings is opposed to censorship. Our manufacturer and distributor, however, do not condone or endorse the content of this recording, which they find violent, sexist, racist, and indecent.”

Originally to be distributed by Geffen Records, they decided against it after seeing some of the lyrics, from tracks such as “Mind of a Lunatic” which had lyrics regarding necrophilia with a murder victim. Eventually Warner Brothers Records.

I mean, I have to include this just on principle. It’s too much fun knowing this stuff. I had to do a bit of extra research to verify the release date. I was initially getting two different dates: October 16, and January 17, 1990. After tracking down a Los Angeles Times report stating that Geffen cancelled the release in September, that convinced me of the October release. Be wary of which version of the album you get, some have been messed with.

Don Dokken: Up From the Ashes

Potential pick for album of the month.

Pop Will Eat Itself: Cure For Sanity

Not my type of music, normally; but this is something that screams 90s. This is the type of music that is somewhere in the definition of 90s attitude. But if nothing else, I had to include it for having this message:

What is the truth about rock music?
Music is a powerful, and perhaps
The most powerful medium in the world, music
Plato says
When the music of a society changes
The whole society will change
Aristotle, a contemporary of Plato’s, says
When music changes there should be laws
To govern the nature and the character of that music
Lenin says
The best and the quickest way to undermine any society is through its music
Music, ladies and gentlemen, is the gift of God
It was given by man to offer praises to God
And to lift us up to Him, and to exalt Him
And so even touch the tender recesses
Of our heart and of our mind
Satan has taken music and he has counterfeited it
Convoluted it
Twisted it
Exploited it
And now he’s using to hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer…
Hammer a message
Into the minds and the lifestyle of this generation

Deep Purple: Slaves & Masters

You probably only know this band from their song Smoke on the Water. That’s not on this album. But fans consider this underrated. The track “Cut Runs Deep” was enough for this album to steal Dokken’s position as my pick for album of the month.

Skinny Puppy: Too Dark Park

Jesus. Watch out Nine Inch Nails, you’ve got some competition. And no, this music is definitely not my thing, but it’s seems so significant, and an anomaly to behold, and so perfect for Halloween.




Movies

Honorable Mentions: Sonny Boy; strange little film about a transgender (or crossdresser) played by David Carradine, crazy Brad Douriff, and intimidating Paul Smith raising this baby they kidnapped into a sort of monster (production company Trans World Entertainment). Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; it could’ve been a great film if there was about 10-15 more minutes of footage during the ending to give it some more *oomph*, somehow.

Avalon

I don’t believe it. A Jewish film that I actually enjoyed that isn’t Fiddler on the Roof. Assimilation into American culture, and how it changes their lifestyles, and leaves the old ways behind. Tragedy, yet a sense of hope for the newer generations. It’s dull at times, especially during the first half, but the second half gets more interesting, especially once the kids play with firecrackers in the basement. Despite the heavy-hitting emotional moments (which aren’t overdone in my opinion, save for the opening), I still felt it pulled its punches at one or two points in time. This is part of a quadrilogy of films about Jewish immigrants going to America, and this is considered the weakest of them all. But I have to admit, this has me curious about the others, especially one that would come out before the decade ended. Personally liked this little message (though I may be reading too much into it) on how getting overly emotional and attached to the past can lead to potential tragedy in the present via the firecracker incident with the Nazi plane model.

 


 

Henry & June

Notorious for being the first theatrically released NC-17 film (which is why that rating was established in the previous month). And, honestly, it’s not must more out there in terms of sexual content than an R rated flick. It just has more sexual content than normal.

Other than that, the film is just meh.

 


 

 

Marked For Death

Probably my favorite Steven Seagal flick. One of the very (if not exclusive) rare films where the final showdown has the bad guy get some licks in on Seagal. It’s not convincing, and wish they had a showdown like that saved for a film with a more deserving baddie (like Under Siege), but it’s an all-around fairly entertaining flick with some of the best action and fight sequences outside of Out for Justice and Under Siege.

 


 

Miller’s Crossing

Definite pick for film of the month. Contender for film of the year, maybe even the decade. Probably my favorite Coen Brothers film, that competes with gangster flicks like The Godfather and Goodfellas. In fact, Goodfellas was released last month. This probably makes this the definitive month, if not year, of gangster flicks. What a year 1990 is.

 


 

 

Memphis Belle

Fairly good WWII flick, primarily taking place on a B17 bomber.

 


 

To Sleep With Anger

I want to enjoy this movie more than I do, but it’s a bit difficult to get into. Basically a metaphorical folklore tale in a similar vane as O Brother Where Art Thou, except more personal and familial.

 


 

Troll 2

This has become one of the most renown so-bad-it’s-good flicks of all time alongside Plan 9 From Outer Space, and The Room.

 


 

Night of the Living Dead

Some people actually like this more than the original. Well, the special effects are better, I’ll give it that. And I like that Barbara wasn’t such a whiny bitch in this one. But otherwise, the acting quality is roughly the same as the original (maybe even worse), kinda wish they stuck with the original ending (the film is less terrifying and effective as a result), the music sucks (opening track aside), and the MPAA can kiss my ass for forcing the removal of some overly violent imagery in this R rated movie. I mean Christ, maybe this should’ve been the film to get the NC-17 rating, then it would’ve been more historically significant. Long story short, I prefer the original. This one had potential though.

 


 

Quigley Down Under

A sort of classic western. Protagonist was a bit too unstoppable for my tastes, but it’s a fun enough film.

 


 

Graveyard Shift

Aside from the death of one character I found to be unnecessary, this isn’t a half bad horror film. It’s not great, or terrible, just a light fun B movie time (usually about the best you could hope for from an adaptation of a Stephen King story). Brad Douriff makes an appearance that I can say is like John Goodman’s character in Arachnophobia, except the zaniness ramped up to 11 in the way only Douriff can do.

 


 

White Palace

Not a half bad erotic drama. Considering this stars David Spader, in an early 90s erotic flick, it’s a safe bet there will be a sex scene that’s more revealing than your average flick. Susan Sarandon is good too.

 


 

The Hot Spot

Erotic thriller by Dennis Hopper. So you know you’re going to get some sex and nudity that pushes the limit (seriously, this is probably more explicit than Henry & June is). And… it’s interesting. Not sure how much I enjoy this movie yet. It’s a slow burn, but a slow burn I can get into thanks to the atmosphere.

 




Games

Honorable mentions: Orb 3D (October 1990; NES). Godzilla (October 1990; Game Boy); the cover for this game is deceptive, it’s just a puzzle game; would consider including this if there weren’t similar puzzle games pointed out in previous months, and if there wasn’t a better Game Boy game released this month; and if there weren’t already so many games (if there were less than 10 decent ones, I’d include this).

Dr. Mario (October 1990; NES)

What has become a classic, the best block builder since Tetris.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (October 1990; NES)

Not bad actually, for a game based on a movie. Still though, as was the norm, it’s difficult. And it’s got killer tomatoes in it.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (October 1990; NES)

Some people hate it, some like. I say it’s more middle of the road.

Caveman Games (October 1990; NES)

Ok look, people enjoyed this game back in the day just as they enjoyed Mario Party. But any party game like this which is a button-smasher is not fun to me, at all. It starts to hurt my fingers, and lowers the life expectancy on the controller. But back in the day, this shit was fun, and we got kudos points on the playground for being the best at this shit. Plus there’s a mini game where you drag your mate by the leg, and then toss her as far as you can. If you toss her far enough, she’ll be so impressed she’ll give you a thumbs up rather than sue you for assault. Proving once and for all there is such a thing as a man too masculine and manly to sue. The only thing more memorably than that is the Saber Race.

Mendel Palace (October 1990; NES)

Under the radar hidden gem from the guy who would go on to create the Pokemon games.

Super Glove Ball (October 1990; NES)

Behold! The only NES game created with the Power Glove in mind. That’s reason enough to make one believe this is the most phenomenal game of not just the month, but of the year, maybe even the decade!

“I love the Power Glove! It’s so bad!”

Whip Rush (October 1990; Sega Genesis)

Another shmup game for the Genesis.

Bimini Run (October 1990; Sega Genesis)

This stands out a bit from the usual Sega stuff. You’re on a speedboat where you shoot bullets and rockets at other speedboats, towers, and choppers. Plenty of cutscenes too. In fact, probably too many.

Mercenary Force (October 1990; Game Boy)

Interested horizontal-scrolling shooter where you can control a group of warriors and change formation at will to take out enemies. One of the more stand-out Game Boy titles.

Balloon Kid (October 1990; Game Boy)

Sequel to an NES game, that actually improves upon it. What are the odds of finding a Game Boy game that accomplishes that?

Insector X (October 1990; Sega Genesis)

Another Genesis shmup.

Thunder Force III (October 1990; Sega Genesis)

This is not just another Genesis shmup. This is on of THE Genesis shmup games. One of the greatest renown shmup classics the system ever had. This would probably beat Dr. Mario for my pick for game of the month if not for the one below.

The Secret of Monkey Island (October 1990; Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS)

Well, guess this is going to be the game of the month. An all-time classic point and click adventure from LucasArts.




Shows

They Came from Outer Space (October 1, 1990 – March 19, 1991; Syndication)

One of those stupid comedies where the humor will either be for you, or it won’t.

Video Power (October 1, 1990 – second season reformatted September 1991 – Summer 1992; Syndication)

Oh yes. Oh hell yes. When video games were so awesome, there was a television show dedicated to them. That hasn’t been a thing since G4 Tech TV went down the shitter.

Scientific American Frontiers (October 3, 1990 – April 13, 2005; PBS)

A lot of people loved Alan Alda as the host on this informative science-based show. But he wouldn’t show up right away.

Beverly Hills, 90210 (October 4, 1990; FOX)

This is probably the biggest hit show of the month, even though I’m more fond of another that would show up on Nickelodeon. This would become the biggest teen-oriented show in the world (that’s international, not just national). It ran for 10 seasons, and had 3-4 season arcs, with the first arc being high school, then college, then post-college. Many regard the high school arc was when the show was at its best, while the later arcs gradually became worse (an opinion subject to debate; depends on what you were looking for in the show). Whatever your feelings on it, it delivered a heavy cultural impact.

Super Force (October 5, 1990 – May 26, 1992; Syndication)

Fun cheesy shit.

She-Wolf of London (October 9, 1990 – April 10, 1991; USA or Syndication)

A sign of things to come. The formula that would spawn Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. This show itself started serious, then got a bit more comedic, and had production cuts, before finally getting a cancellation before having a second season (if you don’t consider Love and Curses to be a second season that is). Nothing too big.

 

 

 

 

Edit (11-10-2019): Removed Conquest of the Crystal Palace. That didn’t get released until next month.

Edit (11-27-2019): Removed Are You Afraid of the Dark? from Shows.  While the original pilot episode did premiere this month, it was a Canada exclusive, and it didn’t launch the actual series.  The series didn’t start until 1992, where the pilot episode that aired in Canada this month would become episode 4 of season 1.

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