Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: July 1992

After undergoing the traditional five-year waiting procedure, Czech tennis star Ivan Lendl officially becomes a US citizen. Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe creates the office of High Commissioner on National Minorities. US Major Soccer League folds after 14 seasons. Presidential candidate Ross Perot at NAACP speech calls them “you people.” Axl Rose arrested on riot charges in St Louis stemming from a concert on Jul 2. All star MVP: Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle Mariners). 386BSD is released by Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz, starting the open source operating system revolution. Linus Torvalds release “Linux” soon afterwards. The Security Council of the UN examine violence in South Africa. Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar escapes prison. Nelson Mandela says a general strike will go ahead to protest for the removal of South African President F. W. de Klerk from power and for free elections.




Music

Honorable mentions: Clint Black: The Hard Way. Sonic Youth: Dirty; now this is the sort of shit that gave grunge a bad name in my opinion; just listening to this, it comes off as so artificial and manufactured by wannabes; I could be wrong, in that this style of grunge is what inspired the empty schlock that would eventually become dominant in the industry, but I didn’t like it, regardless of its reception. Mary J. Blige: What’s the 411?

Barenaked Ladies: Gordon; not my kind of music, but I have to give them special mention just for this little factoid: Though most of the album was recorded without incident, difficulty with “The King of Bedside Manor” caused the band to record the track naked—a tradition they would continue on other albums. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_(album)]

You know, I think the metal gods heard my plea from last time when Billy Ray Cyrus threatened to take away their momentum. Because this month proved the metal genre was anything but dead in the wake of the rising grunge movement, for now.

Dream Theater: Images and Words (7)

Now this is a damn good metal album, that makes a case for progressive metal. Just the 8 minute track Pull Me Under should be enough to convince you that this is awesome. And believe me, that’s not the only good song on this album where everything is consistently good. This is album of the month for me personally.


24-7 Spyz: Strength in Numbers (7)

Interesting mix of metal, reggae, soul, and funk. They made this combination work. Though the lyrics are the typical “fuck the police” and “but muh persecuted past” stuff that’s pretty much standard at this point.


Danzig: Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (14)

Solid.


Megadeath: Countdown to Extinction (14)

The main standout from this is Symphony of Destruction, of course. Which alone is enough to compete with Dream Theater for album of the month.


Ministry: Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, aka ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (14)

Considered to be their finest album, with N.W.O. being their most popular single. This is the type of (industrial) metal where you’re going to have a hard time understanding what’s being said by the lead singer, which normally isn’t my kind of metal. But the beats are certainly groovy enough.


Paradise Lost: Shades of God (14)

Again, this normally isn’t my kind of metal, but the beats are good enough to make this an exception.


House of Pain: House of Pain (21)

You had to have heard Jump Around at some point. One of those definitive hip-hop tracks that shaped the 90s, primarily for that repetitive beat that’s become so ingrained into the genre. And… I’ll be damned if I’m going to state that this overcomes Dream Theater’s entry for album of the month just because of that single iconic track!


Morrissey: Your Arsenal (27)

Smooth.


Widowmaker: Blood and Bullets (28)

They’re just ok in my opinion. It’s my type of music to be sure, but there aren’t really any tracks that stood out for me.


Rozalla: Everybody’s Free (?)

Not my kind of music, but the titular track was a worldwide sensation, so…




Movies

Honorable mentions: Prelude to a Kiss; so-so romance-comedy-drama about a couple that falls in love, but then a body switch thing happens between the wife and some random old guy. Mo’ Money; I actually wanted to like this Wayne’s Brothers comedy/thriller, but it just didn’t have enough fun moments in it for me; plus these protagonists aren’t very sympathetic. A Stranger Among Us; clearly just to showcase the Jewish community, which wouldn’t have been so bad if not for Melanie Griffith playing a “police person” (she refuses to say policeman because she’s a strong independent woman whose totally capable of being a tough cop in spite of her slender figure and soft-spoken voice). Bébé’s Kids; a cult animated classic that didn’t do it for me, but it might work for you.

There’s also this one film called Afraid of the Dark that I haven’t been able to track down, and can’t vouch for it’s quality as of yet.

Boomerang (1)

This was better than I thought it was going to be. I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s great though. Typical role reversal film where the male protagonist is the usual womanizer, who winds up falling for this other woman who turns the tables on him by being the one who uses men sexually without caring for them at all. All things considered, as telegraphed as it all is (you can see every plot point coming from a mile away), it’s not all that bad.



A League of Their Own (1)

This should’ve been better. Semi-historical film about the birth of women’s baseball amidst WWII when most of the men were drafted into the war, leaving a void where men’s baseball once was. Entertaining first hour, but let’s just say a couple things happened in the second half that turned me off just a little. And this film would’ve been much better if it deleted the intro and epilogue entirely. And instead of having a black and white photo of the cast “back in the day,” they used an actual historical photo showcasing the real women of the team. The fact that they didn’t do that while hyping up the historical significance of this whole thing just didn’t feel right. Still a solid bittersweet film though.


Cool World (10)

So this film is notorious for basically being the death nail in Ralph Bakshi’s film career, and having a bunch of behind-the-scenes turmoil over how the film was going to be. I find it to be like the majority of Bakshi’s works: moments of greatness, marred by a majority of mediocrity. Clearly made to be the next Roger Rabbit, and failing. But it’s still worth a watch for some interesting ideas and social commentary (if nothing else, Bakshi’s works tend to have a solid dosage of the latter, so long as it isn’t Fire & Ice or Lord of the Rings).


Universal Soldier (10)

Finale is a bit underwhelming, but it’s an entertaining JCVD and Dolph Lundgren action film.


The Comrades of Summer (11, TV Movie)

The film is typical, but I found it enjoyable, with an interesting plot regarding an American coaching a Russian baseball team right after the fall of the Berlin wall. An interesting, albeit lowkey, footnote in history.


Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (17)

Not as good as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but I had fun with it. Seems to primarily exist for showcasing special effects more than anything else.


Mom and Dad Save the World (24, HBO)

This movie is stupid, and it knows it. But I do have to admire the effort that went in to some of the special effects, with some imaginative creatures here and there. And oddly enough, I think these mushroom monsters inspired The Flood in Halo. This movie may or may not be your thing, but I say give it a chance. At least up to the point where they go to the small planet and the husband winds up in the sewers.


Mistress (24)

Biggest surprise of the month for me. While not as renown as other Hollywood satire films like The Player, I thought this was rather good. All about the turmoil that comes from a screenwriter and his attempts to get his screenplay made into a film.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (31)

Before the show became a smash hit by Joss Whedon (which ended up being his claim to fame prior to Firefly), there was this movie. And honestly, it’s just mediocre it me. Regardless, it’s a cult vampire classic that I believe is primarily remembered more for, “The TV series wouldn’t exist without this.”


Death Becomes Her (31)

It’s difficult to choose between this and Universal Soldier for film of the month, but I’ll side with this just because it’s more solid on a consistent basis. Dark humor about the dangers of immortality (or the pursuit of it), and envious rivalry. Unlike Honey I Blew Up the Kid, this one makes more practical use of the (at the time) top-of-the-line special effects in a more practical manner relevant to the film’s artistic merits regarding theme/tone/metaphor/etc.


Enchanted April (31, limited, also April 24 limited)

I probably should’ve included this in the April entry, but whatever. It’s a chick flick that didn’t appeal to me that much because, well, it’s a chick flick. These types of films usually aren’t my kind of thing. That being said, I can see the endearing qualities this would have. It’s not a terrible film, but I will say that, in my personal opinion, it took too long to get going with what it sets out to do. But what do I know? It’s considered to be an endearing low-key classic about women who want to get away for a while, and thus go on vacation at this place in Italy.


The Adjuster (?)

Weird, different, interesting. This film isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth taking a look. That’s all I’ll say.




Games

Honorable mentions: Prophecy: The Viking Child (Game Boy), play the Atari-ST or Amiga version instead. Wave Race (Game Boy), just waiting for the classic N64 version to show up years later. Arch Rivals: The Arcade Game (Sega Genesis), if you have any interest in this game, go for the arcade version instead. Dragon’s Fury (Sega Genesis), fun but inferior version of Devil’s Crush on the Turbografx-16. Taz-Mania (Sega Genesis), wait for the sequel.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: DragonStrike (July; NES)

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t an RPG. It’s a game where you play as a dragon who flies around blasting other dragons.


The Blue Marlin (July; NES)

Not something I’d ever play. But the fact that people into this genre actually like this game, kinda makes have cult favorite status.


Knight Quest (July; Game Boy)

For a Game Boy game… it’s ok.


Spanky’s Quest (July; SNES, Game Boy)

I mean, just for the title. The game isn’t too bad either.


Ultima: Runes of Virtue (July; Game Boy)

What are the odds that the Game Boy version would be better than the SNES version?


Atomic Runner (July; Sega Genesis)

The history to this game is great, especially when you consider the arcade version’s link to Chernobyl.


Spanky’s Quest (July 1; SNES)

Yep, SNES got it too. And it’s different enough graphics and level-design wise to be its own thing.


Lords of the Rising Sun (July; Turbografx)

Ambitious for this console, especially with the gameplay variety. Game of the month.




Shows

Honorable mentions: Human Target

Def Comedy Jam (1; HBO)

Stand-up comedy show that was a popular and regular thing back in the day. Not really my scene, but one can’t ignore its cultural relevance.


Melrose Place (8, Fox)

Fucking soap operas.


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