Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: November 1990

Notable events: Sandra Miller awarded $100 for Mike Tyson fondling her breasts. Iraq says it is preparing for a “dangerous war”. Reports of increasing Saudi petroleum production and lower world demand. Fire destroys some of Universal Studios’ stages. Saddam fires his army chief & threatens to destroy Arabian peninsula. Unconfirmed rumors emerge that Bush might announce an airlift of supplies to US embassy in Kuwait, which could ultimately trigger a military clash. “The Body Bag Game” – after Eagles coach Buddy Ryan threatens beating Redskins so badly “they’ll have to be carted off in body bags” the Eagles defense score 3 touchdowns winning 28–14, knocking 8 Redskins out of the game. Great Britain performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. US President George H. W. Bush signs Clear Air Act of 1990. George H. W. Bush visits US troops in Saudi Arabia. Margaret Thatcher announces her resignation as British Prime Minister. 1st Billboard Music Awards: M.C. Hammer & Janet Jackson win. Mikhail Gorbachev tells Iraq to get out of Kuwait. American actor Burt Lancaster suffers a stroke. The late-1980s teen pop wave was near its end.




Music

Honorable mentions: Morrissey: Bona Drag. The Trash Can Sinatras: Cake. Steve Windood: Refugees of the Heart, for the only hit song “One and Only Man”. Blue Rodeo: Casino, decent alternative rock and country band. Kylie Minogue: Rhythm of Love. Debbie Gibson: Anything is Possible, more groovy than the average chick pop band, enough for me to kind of get into (just a little). The Beautiful South: Choke. Happy Mondays: Pills Thrills and Bellyaches. Ralph Tresvant (self-titled deebut rap album). Whitney Houston: I’m Your Baby Tonight, yeah yeah, another one of those albums/singers I don’t care for that was so popular and went (quadruple) platinum that I can’t exactly ignore it. Clint Black: Put Yourself in My Shoes, same comment as the previous entry, except for country music; Christ.


Robert Palmer: Don’t Explain

Don’t let the cover of the album fool you. This has some rockin’ beats to it, especially “Your Mother Should Have Told You.”


Buffalo Tom: Birdbrain

It’s alright.


Kreator: Coma of Souls

Meet Slayer’s competition from Germany. Despite having no explicit lyrics, it still got the Parental Advisory label.


Scorpions: Crazy World

You’ve heard Winds of Change at some point. One of their most famous tracks, and arguably one of the greatest tracks of all time. A track that celebrates the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Contender for album of the month.


Danielle Dax: Blast the Human Flower

As far as girl lead bands go, this is more like it. At least when it comes to the opening track The ID Parade. Big Blue ’82 sounds like it ripped off some Doors lyrics, to an extent (Come on Baby Light My Fire).


KMFDM: Naive

Worth mentioning this German metal band just for this little factoid:

The album was out of print for over a decade due to copyright infringement: the seventh track “Liebeslied” used unauthorized samples from a recording of “O Fortuna”, from Carl Orff’s 1930s cantata Carmina Burana. The album was recalled approximately three years after being released. Copies today are rare and considered collector’s items.


Ween: GodWeenSatan: The Oneness

This band is one of those that gave a name to alternative rock (and experimental rock). I don’t believe this particular album of theirs can say it is mainly responsible for this, since it’s basically a glorified “best of” for many of their previous works. If I were to describe this band, I’d say it’s Psychostick before Psychostick was around.


Run-DMC: Back From Hell

You know, one of those typical gangsta rap bands you think of when you think late-80s and 90s.


Cherry Poppin’ Daddies: Ferociously Stoned

Well now.


Cinderella: Heartbreak Station

Another solid hard rock album. This month certainly had an interesting variety of albums to choose from.


Bad Religion: Against the Grain

One of those punk bands whose name you’ve heard around.


Psychotic Waltz: A Social Grace

I like solid debut albums.

The Mission: Grains of Sand

Alternative rock that I can enjoy every now and then. Not enough to own, but solid enough.




Movies

Honorable mentions: Frankenstein Unbound, better than you would expect it to be, but the budget wasn’t big enough to make it work, and the finale dragged on a bit too long.  Rocky V, notorious for being the worst Rocky film ever made, so bad that many pretend it doesn’t exist. Graffiti Bridge, I tried to get into this, I couldn’t do it; notorious for being Prince’s major failed experiment; you may like it if you’re a die-hard Prince fan, or are that desperate for something more on the artsy side of musicals; but for me, personally, I can see why this film is infamous. China Cry, one of those films building off the Tienanmen Square event of June 4, 1989, while it was still fresh in everyone’s mind; an anti-Communist pro-Christian film about this Chinese chick whose life suffers while in China until she flees to a neighboring country; it’s not what I would consider a good movie, but it is noteworthy, and somewhat relevant.

Hold on to your hats boys.  Because you’re in for one hell of a month for movies.

Jacob’s Ladder

The horror film that inspired Silent Hill.


Child’s Play 2

It’s not as good as the first, and honestly the only reason this film has to exist is for the finale at the factory.


The Krays

Not in the same league as the classic gangster films from last month. But it’s ok. Focuses less on their mob reign than it does on how their mother and significant others feel about them half the time, which makes this seem like lost potential to me.


Home Alone

The all-time Christmas classic.  I reviewed it.


The Rescuers Down Under

A great sequel, superior to the first in every way, that unfortunately bombed in theaters.  But, I mean, do you see what this was up against?


Dances with Wolves

Do I even need to say anything?


Predator 2

So this sequel isn’t as good as the first film, and I had issues with Danny Glover as the protagonist (he got too good at going after the Predator during the finale).  But it does expand the Predator’s lore and weapon tech in very good and creative ways.  I like the look of the film, but the execution could’ve been better.


Robot Jox

Now this is one hell of a fun cult classic.  This only really has 2 major robot fights, but the padding and buildup in the middle honestly isn’t half bad.  Entertaining cheesy film you should check out if you’re interested in live action mecha-fighting films.


Misery

One of the few Steven King film adaptations that is actually good.  Having read the novel, I can say this film is on-par with it.


Reversal of Fortune

A sleeper hit, with a guy playing the lawyer that managed to get OJ off (before that case was a thing). Guess that lawyer sure knew how to pick the controversial cases, and somehow win them. Anyway, this is a pretty good hidden gem of a film, that’s basically a legal procedural, not spending as much time in court as films of this genre usually do. It’s more about making up the court case, speculating on what may have happened without ever knowing the truth, how everyone has an angle. The only real downsides I had to this film was that the lawyer was portrayed in too positive of a light (which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the film is based off of his book); and that this one “it could’ve happened this way” scenario has some holes in it that they didn’t address. But in all fairness, it does still end on a note of mystery, which I guess makes it a minor nitpick.




Games

WWF Wrestlemania Challenge (NES), a so-so wrestling game; most wrestling games back then were bad, so at least this raised the bar just a tad. Serpent (Game Boy). Ishido: The Way of Stones (Macintosh, MS-DOS, Sega Genesis, Atari Lynx, Game Boy, Amiga, Famicom Disk System, FM Towns, MSX2, NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Sharp X68000), another fucking puzzler, albeit a unique-looking one. Disney’s DuckTales (Game Boy), a solid enough port of the September 1989 NES classic, but in this day and age, we’d all rather play the NES version. Side Pocket (Game Boy), typical pool game, but worth noting because it wasn’t half bad with the physics on a Game Boy. The Punisher (NES), and LJN title on-the-rails shooter that’s actually better than you would expect it to be.

Formula One: Built to Win (NES)

Decent racing game. You can upgrade your car as the game goes on.


Arch Rivals: A Basket Brawl! (NES)

A basketball game, except there’s only two players from each team on the court at a time. And it’s legal for them to punch each other and knock each other on the ground. Holy Mary Mother of God, why isn’t this game more of a renown classic, and why isn’t this fucking sport legal!? An arcade game (1988) before getting ported to the NES, and later the Sega Genesis in 1992.


Conquest of the Crystal Palace (NES)

Hidden gem.


Silver Surfer (NES)

A game legendary for its ungodly level of difficulty. So much so, that this isn’t a game that is good so much as it is an endurance test. A game to separate the men from the boys (but those men are insane in this case).


Puzznic (NES)

Another one of those interesting puzzle games.


Mega Man 3 (NES)

It’s Megaman, of course it’s going to be given a mention. Many consider the 2nd game in the series to be the best, but they also say this one comes close. Could be the game of the month.


Palamedes (NES)

Another fun unique puzzle game. Man, the late 80s and early 90s seemed to be golden years for these types of games. But that is one fucked up looking cover.


The Immortal (NES)

A very tough dungeon-crawler. It’s like Diablo before there was Diablo. Ported from MS-DOS.


Werewolf: The Last Warrior (NES)

Very difficult, but very cool cult classic.


Yo! Noid (NES)

This game is just average. Corporate sponsored game made to promote Dominoes pizza, because Noid was their mascot at the time.

So why mention it? Oh boy, Noid has an interesting little history behind him. Mainly referring to events relating to a hostage situation and a suicide.


John Madden Football (Sega Genesis)

Where this popular sports game series got started.


Strider (Sega Genesis [port of arcade, arguably the best port next to Sharp X68000 version in November 1992])

A true classic of the era. If Megaman 3 wasn’t released this month, this would probably take the title for game of the month. But on the other hand, Electronic Game Monthly rated this in a higher position for game of the year, so…


Bubble Ghost (Game Boy)

This game scares me. Not because the ghost is scary, but because I worry I’m going to go insane from the frustration this would cause me.


Speedball 2 Brutal Deluxe (Atari ST, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Commodore 64, PC, Sega Master System)

Released on the Amiga this month, and would get ported to the Genesis later on (which is ironic considering the first Speedball game was on the Sega Master System). A successful popular classic game that has gotten several remakes/reboots/sequels/whatever you want to call them. It’s like Rollerball (the movie), but without the skates and more football-like. And don’t worry, it would get a Sega Genesis release on a later date (1992).


Ys: Books I & II (TurbograFX-16)

I don’t know exactly which month this game was actually released, but now is as good a time as any to mention it.

Arguably the best version of the classic game ever released (some would say it even beats the modernized Chronicles+ version released more recently with updated graphics and controls). This is the one game that, IMHO, managed to beat Megaman 3 for game of the month, let alone being potential game of the year.




Shows

Had 3 classic shows reach their end this month (just because they ended doesn’t mean repeats weren’t shown on syndication or something). Pee-wee’s Playhouse ended November 17; originally aired 1986. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers ended November 19; originally aired 1989 (that didn’t last as long as it should have). DuckTales ended November 28; originally aired 1987.

Honestly, nothing really all that noteworthy. Two shows were released, both on CBS, both only lasting a season. Over My Dead Body (November 2, 1990 – June 20, 1991), and Broken Badges (November 24, 1990 – June 20, 1991).

Edit (1-30-2020): Ok, apparently that’s not quite true. There was one very noteworthy miniseries released on this month.

It (November 18-20, 1990; ABC)

They all float down here, and you will too.




Edit (1-24-2020): Added The Mission: Grains of Sand to Music.

Edit (2-13-2020): Added Reversal of Fortune to Movies.

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