Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: April 1991

US Supreme Court rules jurors cannot be barred from serving due to race. US minimum wage goes from $3.80 to $4.25 per hour. Kitty Kelly publishes a book knocking Nancy Reagan. LA King Wayne Gretzky scores NHL record 93rd playoff goal. Last automat (coin operated cafeteria) closes (3rd & 42nd St, NYC). Former child actor Adam Rich charged with burglary. Johnny Carson announces he will retire next year from “The Tonight Show”. The premium movie channel Encore launches in the United States, primarily on TCI cable systems.

Music

Honorable mentions: Mike + The Mechanics: Word of Mouth. Simple Minds: Real Life; just because they had a track (See the Lights) that was among the top tracks at the time. Chris Rea: Auberge. King Missile: The Way to Salvation. Alison Moyet: Hoodoo. The Fall: Shift-Work. Hoodoo Gurus: Kinky. Joe Walsh: Ordinary Average Guy. Michael Bolton: Time, Love & Tenderness. Luther Vandross: Power of Love. Birdland: Birdland; their one and only studio album. Joe Jackson: Laughter & Lust. Spartacus: The Far. Yes: Union; was almost great; even members of the band openly dislike this album. Violent Femmes: Why Do Birds Sing? The Candyskins: Space I’m In.

School of Fish: School of Fish (1)

Mainly known for their hit single “3 Strange Days”. Bigger fan of the “Talk Like Strangers” track.


Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: God Fodder (1)


Lenny Kravitz: Mamma Said (2)

The tracks are very hit and miss with me. The more rockin’ tracks are few and far between (as in this album has some tracks that are closer to my thing, but most of them are not). “Always on the Run” is groovy, but “It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over” is definitely the stand-out memorable track from the album.


White Lion: Mane Attraction (2)

Now this is my kind of music. Apparently Glam Metal according to wikipedia, but there are those who would disagree with that association. I wouldn’t say the album is anything outstanding, but it is pleasant to listen to.


The Orb: The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (2)

Ok, this is one of those psychedelic trip albums that is meant to be listened to in its entirety in one go, with no distinct stand-out track. So, light up a joint, inject the heroin, drink the booze, snort the coke, take the acid, sniff the glue, or whatever floats your boat.


The Doobie Brothers: Brotherhood (15)

My kind of rock.


Banderas: Ripe (16)


Temple of the Dog: Temple of the Dog (16)

The one and only album ever released by the band. And it was certified platinum. One and done. Guess they didn’t want to be part of the grunge that was about to sweep the nation.


Julian Cope: Peggy Suicide (22)


Firehouse: Flyin’ the Flannel (23)


Fishbone: The Reality of My Surroundings (23)

Holy shit. A talented black alternative/funk/punk rock (and/or ska) band. That’s more rare than white rappers with talent. Not hard enough (overall) to be my cup of tea, but certainly memorable. “Sunless Saturday” is the top pick.


Pat Benatar: True Love (27)

Jump Blues style, popularity of which was revived in the 90s due to Swing revival (see Cherry Poppin’ Daddies album Ferociously Stoned, from November/December of last year [depending on whether you got the original or slightly sanitized re-issue version]). Must admit, I am digging the 90s Swing revival.


Boyz II Men: Cooleyhighharmony (30)

Not my kind of music, but it was immensely popular, and was certified 9x Platinum, so… Debut album.




Movies

Films that I thought were too meh to be worthwhile, but may be worth a mention: The Marrying Man; the fact that this is based on a true story is the most interesting thing about it. Mortal Thoughts; decent if predictable film about two women trying to cover up the murder of an abusive husband. Oscar; Stallone’s attempt at comedy does not match that of Arnold’s. Toy Soldiers; has nothing to do with that later film with actual toy soldiers trying to kill people; Sean Astin takes on terrorists at a high school; it’s not as good as it sounds, not in my opinion. The Comfort of Strangers; some regard as a cult classic, but I regard as fucking boring. Paris Trout, made for cable film where Dennis Hopper plays a crazy asshole who shoots the shit out of a black girl, and violates his wife with a bottle; kinda boring after the first 30 minutes.

So this wasn’t exactly the best month for movies. But a couple stand-out titles prevented this month from being a total slog. Including a Seagal film that I argue is one of his top 3 best films (I personally rank it at #2). Plus Luc Besson had something in store for us Americans, from France. Then there’s that Spike Lee film without Spike Lee.

Rock-a-Doodle (3)

I know this movie gets a lot of shit, but I actually kind of liked it.


Hangin’ with the Homeboys (5)

The film of the month. Slice of life flick with 4 friends taking a ride on the town, and getting involved in stuff that tests their relationship with each other and others besides themselves, as well as ponder on the future. Also noteworthy for having a character who plays the race card constantly to try to get himself out of situations. Some describe this as a Spike Lee film if Spike Lee eased up on the racism and politics.


Out For Justice (12)

My favorite Seagal flick next to Marked for Death.


Talent for the Game (26)

A simple but good baseball flick. It’s basically Trouble with the Curve before that film was made.


La Femme Nikita (?)

I find this film to be overrated, but it is a renown classic. The film that put Luc Besson on the map. His best was yet to come.


Mister Johnson (?)

While I don’t personally enjoy this movie myself, it has become revered as a classic that isn’t all that well known. It’s about a black African who was more or less raised as a British person, and how both those cultures end up clashing with each other in the worst ways. He embodies the best and worse traits of both, which inevitably leads to a tragic albeit fitting conclusion. A film misunderstood back in the day, and deserves a chance.




Games

Honorable mentions: Wardner (Sega Genesis). Dragon Crystal (1991; Game Gear [Sega Master System in 1990]). M-1 Abrams Battle Tank (April 1991; Sega Genesis). Junction (April 1991; Game Gear, Sega Genesis [November 1990]). Psychic World (1991; Game Gear, Sega Master System [in Europe only, you lucky Euro-fucks]). Space Harrier (1991; Game Gear). Woody Pop (1991; Game Gear).

This was the month when a new game console would be released. Nope, not the Super Nintendo. The Sega Game Gear. And they would really rub in how superior it was to the Game Boy. For the most part, it wouldn’t be released with top-tier games; just ports of some well-known arcade games like Pac-Man, and some Sega Genesis games like Columns. And you’re better off playing those games on the superior non-Game-Gear platform. That being said, it did manage to pull off 2 great games worth playing on that hand-held console (or at least an emulator of it).



Golden Axe Warrior (April 1991; Sega Master System)

Sega’s Zelda clone that is argued to be better than the NES Zelda game.


Warsong, aka Landgrisser: The Descendants of Light (April 25, 1991, Sega Genesis)

Hidden gem of a Genesis game. Very detailed, very strategic, very deep, very long. You fight battles (some can go on for a long time), and control armies in a turn-based system. Considered better than the first 3 Fire Emblem games (similar style). Might just be game of the month. Too bad the sequels never got a release in the U.S.


James Pond: Underwater Agent (April 1991, Sega Genesis)


Sagaia, aka Darius II (April 1991; Sega Genesis)

Wouldn’t be a decent month without another shmup for the Genesis.


Chase HQ (1991; Game Gear [TurboGrafx-16 and Sega Master System in 1990])


Space Invaders ’91 (April 1991, Sega Genesis)

Now this is how you make a sequel/remake to an arcade classic.


Powerball (April 1991; Sega Genesis)

Yep, now the Genesis gets a port of this famous TurboGrafx game.


Flicky (April 1991; Sega Genesis)

The Genesis classic, which looks like it belongs in an arcade.


G-LOC: Air Battle (April 26, 1991; Game Gear)

Similar to After Burner.


Wonder Boy, aka Revenge of Drancon (1991; Game Gear)


The G.G. Shinobi (1991; Game Gear)

Well, if there’s any game worth playing on the Game Gear system, it’s this one. Not just a simple port, but one designed for this system. Some even prefer this version of Shinobi to the Genesis and Master System versions. Well done Game Gear, you had one legit good one.


Devilish (1991; Game Gear, Sega Genesis [1992])

Well I’ll be damned. Game Gear has another solid game that’s one of the best implementations of the “paddle genre” Breakout games I’ve ever seen. Completely revamped the genre into something amazing. And thankfully, the Sega Genesis would have a piece of it too in the following year.


Bomberman (April 1991; TurboGrafx-16)

The classic, the legendary, maze bombing game. And it’s multiplayer. Not the first game in the series (older versions got released as far back as 1985), but still fun.


Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams (April 4, 1991; PC)




Shows

The series 21 Jump Street ended April 27, 1991.

Some mentions: Scene of the Crime.

Dark Justice (5; CBS)


Tropical Heat, aka Sweating Bullets (8; CBS)


My Life and Times (24; ABC)


Dinosaurs (26; ABC)

Show of the month, maybe even of the year, in my opinion. The last thing Jim Henson (sort of) worked on, who wouldn’t see it come to fruition. But we would. A family sitcom, with dinosaurs as the family. Animatronic, people in suits. There is nothing else like it to this day. And thankfully, it actually had a conclusion to the show. It ran about as long as it needed to.


Edit (6-17-2020): Added Julian Cope: Peggy Suicide to Music.

Edit (6-18-2020): Added Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: God Fodder to Music.

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