Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: October 1992

Cartoon Cable Network (aka Cartoon Network, CN) premieres. The Carandiru Massacre takes place after a riot in the Carandiru Penitentiary in São Paulo, Brazil. Sinead O’Connor rips up a picture of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live” (apparently SNL has been political longer than 2016 gives it credit for). 1st overturn of a George H. W. Bush veto (cable bill). NY senator Alphonse D’Amato filibusters for 15 hours 20 mins. US Air goes on strike. A 13 kilogram (est.) meteorite lands in the driveway of Knapp residence, Peekskill, New York, destroying family’s 1980 Chevrolet Malibu. Brett “Hitman” Hart beats Ric Flair for WWF heavyweight title. “Gilligan’s Island” TV pilot filmed in 1964 is 1st shown on TV (TBS). Madonna’s book “Sex” goes on sale.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Bonnie Tyle: Angle Heart
  • The Sundays: Blind. They’re honestly not bad, but I consider myself going too soft if I let them be a main mention this month.
  • 10,000 Maniacs: Our Time in Eden
  • The Jesus Lizard: Liar. Maybe if they had a better singer.
  • Mudhoney: Piece of Cake
  • Insane Clown Posse: Carnival of Carnage
  • Keith Richards: Main Offender
  • Roy Orbison: King of Hearts
  • Neil Young: Harvest Moon
  • Neneh Cherry: Homebrew

Lagwagon: Duh (1)

Not the biggest fan of punk rock (though I’m usually more keen towards that compared to rap and country), but even I have to admit I thought this was good stuff.


R.E.M.: Automatic for the People (5)

It’s a pleasant listen for me. I don’t consider it outstanding, but a lot of critics and music lovers do. Plus, it’s one of those band names that went around at the time (and earlier). Maybe if I give it enough listens, it may be able to sink in how majestic it is.


Soul Asylum: Grave Dancers Union (6)

Another definitive grunge band from the 90s.


Sick of it All: Just Look Around (6)

Hardcore punk.


Gruntruck: Push (6)

Solid grunge metal. Very solid stuff. A band lost amidst the sea of grunge during the time period. This would be their last significant album before they went through tumultuous times resulting in some breaking up, reuniting, replacing, and occasionally dying. The only other album released is some “lost recordings” compiled in a 2017 release. From what I’ve heard from them, they deserved better, as they virtually went unrecognized through their career.


The Tragically Hip: Fully Completely (8)

I’m impressed.


4 Non Blondes: Bigger, Better, Faster, More! (13)

Everyone should know this band just from their What’s Up track on this album. You might be more familiar with the chorus used in that He-Man meme, but this is where it first came from, and that’s what’s going on. The track Dear Mr. President is also worth mentioning, as it’s also got some relevant lyrics. The ironic part being that this was directed at Bush Sr. (who in all fairness deserved this) and not at Clinton (who deserves this at least as much). Let alone the presidents who came afterwards. Hell, I guess a lot of presidents before and after this album’s debut deserve to have this track played in their memory.


Prince and the New Power Generation: Love Symbol, ala Love Symbol #2, aka Symbol Album (13)

Not my tempo, but this album sure wanted to make something of itself.


Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds: Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (13)

Train Tracks won me over.


the Offspring: Ignition (16)

Never was a fan of this band, but others were/are, so…


Madonna: Erotica (20)

It’s Madonna.


SWV: It’s About Time (27)

Ok, I’m only putting this here because this album was apparently a big hit. But this is so not my kind of music. But I have a feeling someone who goes through this post will be right at home with this.




Movies

Honorable mentions:

  • Mr. Baseball. Decent, albeit forgettable.
  • 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Honestly, I think it’s worse than the other Columbus film that came out earlier this year, in spite of the bigger budget and better music.
  • Of Mice and Men. A decent adaptation of the original classic story.
  • There Goes the Neighborhood. Typical fast-food B movie.

Glengarry Glen Ross (2)

A classic showcasing A-grade acting skills from top-tier actors, who are allowed to let loose. Foul language aplenty. About despicable salesmen who you can’t feel pity for, but at the same time their career and lifestyle showcases why they are the way they are, and implies heavily how they came to be what they are. Jobs like this inevitably bring out the worst in people, and irrevocably change them permanently for the worse, in a dog-eat-dog world.


Hero (2)

Pretty good film analyzing the concept of being a hero. The facade, the merit, the circumstances, the publicity (or lack thereof). Even though it plays itself as a comedy-drama where I didn’t find the humor to be all that funny, the drama qualities and solid script. I’d say it tackles the theme from The Dark Knight (partially) fairly effectively regarding why lies are sometimes necessary for the sake of having an inspirational individual the public can get behind.


The Mighty Ducks (2)

Giving this film a second chance did get me to appreciate it. Actually a solid kid flick, that would go on to get a film trilogy (discounting any film made beyond the third that claims to have anything to do with this franchise that ended a long while back, despite what anyone says). Sure it has that 90s slapstick stuff and typical cues, but there’s just enough heart in it, and just enough passion, to make it stand out. You just have to be patient to see it.


Under Siege (9)

This may be considered Steven Seagal’s best film (I personally prefer Out for Justice, and Marked for Death), but that’s mainly because he’s surrounded by actors who are at least a league above his acting talent. Garry Busey and Tommy Lee Jones act circles around him to the point where I was rooting for the villains. Seagal stands as the odd man out in this movie. Regardless, this delivers on some very solid pacing and action. Plus that sequence where the girl pops out of the cake. Kinda wish some other action star took his place for this Die Hard (on a boat) knockoff. Like Stallone, or Schwarzenegger, or Lundgren, or Kurt Russel. As tempted as I am to list JCVD, he would get his own Die Hard knockoff film a few years later that was also pretty good.


Candyman (16)

Cult classic Wes Craven flick where Tony Todd gets his defining moment of his B-film acting career. Themes of urban legend, of lower class issues eventually bleeding over into the more middle and upper class areas. About some boogeyman called Candyman who appears when you say his name 5 times (2 more than Beetlejuice) who then proceeds to kill people with his hook hand, when he’s not showing off his skinless chest and mouth full of bees.


The Public Eye (16)

Decent drama where Joe Pesci plays a photographer (who is loose with his morals) who seems to get in over his head when he gets too involved with a dame and the mob.


Night and the City (23)

Decent remake of a Humphrey Bogart film.


Dr. Giggles (23)

Guilty pleasure tongue-in-cheek horror film about a crazed doctor who goes around killing people while making puns and giggling all the time.


Pure Country (23)

While his acting skills aren’t exactly A-grade, George Strait has enough charm and charisma and music talent. I actually liked this movie, and I’m usually not a fan of romance flicks or country music. It has a pretty good theme regarding how music gets too glamorized to the point where the actual talent is either hindered or absent, because all the attention is on the spectacle money throws at concerts and whatnot. It’s a call for a return to simplicity, where the heart of the music can be on full display. Where it can be pure again.


Reservoir Dogs (23, limited; also throghout October, and January 21 limited)

Still my favorite Tarantino flick to this day. The acting is as good as the slick dialogue. Film of the month.


A River Runs Through It (30)

Classic slice of life drama.




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • Ghost Lion (NES). Worth mentioning just for that cover alone.
  • Stanley: The Search for Dr. Livingston (NES)
  • Hit the Ice (1992?; Game Boy, Genesis, Turbografx, SNES [1993]). This was also on the NES, and they were all semi-ports of the arcade game that were each surprisingly different. Decent hockey title.
  • The Jetsons: Robot Panic (Game Boy). Surprisingly playable.
  • Looney Tunes (Game Boy).
  • Alien 3 (Sega Genesis). Wait for the SNES version next year.
  • Menacer 6-Game Cartridge (Sega Genesis). It’s a light gun for the Sega Genesis, but the games for it overall aren’t quite as good as what the Nintendo had (Super Scope).
  • Superman (Sega Genesis).
  • Sküljagger: Revolt of the Westicans (SNES). The comic book game manual is more interesting than the game itself. Though that being said, you do get to use bubble gum.
  • TKO Super Championship Boxing (SNES)
  • Strike Gunner S.T.G. (SNES). Noteworthy shmup.
  • BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge (SNES). Really cool concept of absorbing an enemy to become like him. Sweet music. Decent shmup that’s primarily let down by being really slow-paced.
  • Dead Moon (Turbografx). One of those shmup months.
  • Ghost Manor (Turbografx)
  • Shape Shifter (Turbografx). Like an alternative to Altered Beast, with more of an RPG feel. The clunky platforming hinders it too much though.

A new console (well ok, add-on) managed to hit the market, though I don’t recall it ever being as good (or as big, despite the promotions and hype) as the leading Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. The Sega CD released October 15, 1992.


Mortal Kombat (8; Arcade)

Oh yeah. The other definitive fighting game that rivals Street Fighter in popularity. While it may not be as tight and competitive as Street Fighter II, it’s every bit as much of an impact on the gaming culture, and just 90s culture in general. Game of the month, easily.


Dragon Warrior IV, aka Dragon Quest IV (October; NES)

The best one yet. And you get to choose between multiple roles. Hopefully people back then enjoyed it while they could, because this would be the last one they would see in the U.S. until VII got released.


Felix the Cat (October; NES)

I would not have expected it to be this decent.


Gargoyle’s Quest II (October; NES)

So this is a sequel to a game that was exclusively on the Game Boy. And this version also had a Game Boy release, but it was exclusive to Japan. I mean, where’s the damn consistency? That’s like releasing a novel that’s the first part of a trilogy in the U.S., then releasing a film version of part 2 without having the decency to make a novelization of it or a film adaptation of the first part.


Power Blade 2 (October; NES)

Not as good as the first one, but still enjoyable (though much more friggin’ difficult).


Rolan’s Curse 2 (October; Game Boy)

Better than the first.


Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (October; Sega Genesis)

The computer version is still the best, but this is a solid port of an educational game.


Night Trap (October 15; Sega CD)

The infamous game that also made the Sega CD (in)famous. FMV game where you can interact at certain points to try and save these 5 chicks from getting killed. Dumb and corny as shit. And one of the instigators of the whole, “violence in videogames” controversy of the 90s. This has become one of the definitive console games responsible for bringing about the ESRB rating system (due to the fallout from political hearings stirred up over this, among other games of the time). And, really, the game isn’t all that violent, especially compared to some PC games that have come out prior to this. It’s primarily because Nintendo was using the law and outrage against Sega in order to gain leverage in the console war (since they were the “family friendly” console). That’s low.

If I’m being honest, this game isn’t that great by today’s standards, and Dragon Quest IV probably deserves this title more; but due to the popularity and controversy this caused, and the impact this had on gaming culture, I’m giving this game of the month. I mean, to this day, this game is still listed as one of the most violent videogames of all time. Now if that ain’t comedy I don’t know what is.

Edit: Didn’t realize Mortal Kombat was released this month until recently (for shame). That steals game of the month from this.


Sewer Shark (October 15; Sega CD, 3DO [1994])

Shoot the tubes dogmeat!


Battle Clash (1; SNES)

Well what do you know? A Super Scope game that’s actually good.


King of the Monsters (October; SNES, Sega Genesis [1993], Arcade and Neo Geo [July 1, 1991])

It’s an ok monster fighting game, which only works decently if you face off against a human opponent. The Arcade (or Neo Geo) version is the way to go, simply because it has 2 more monsters than the SNES.


Phalanx (October; SNES)

The game is just an ok shooter. But, I mean, you gotta at least see that game cover.


Super Batter Up (October; SNES)

Basically a remake of the NES classic RBI Baseball. If you liked that, you’ll like this. Both are quality baseball games.


Wings 2: Aces High (October; SNES)

Interesting that the sequel to Wings was released on console and not PC. Then again, this isn’t trying to be the same game, not exactly anyway.


Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (October 5; SNES)

So this game is a bit controversial because it’s Final Fantasy in name only, and also because it’s so simplistic by design. Meant to be a “beginner’s RPG,” sort of like Ghost Lion except much easier. It has some fans, but this tends to be a “love it or hate it” game, where I sympathize more with the “hate it” group. Regardless, there’s some fun to be had here. How much “fun” depends on the gamer.


Super Double Dragon (October 8; SNES)

Well, it’s better than Double Dragon 3.


Hook (October 13; SNES, Sega Genesis [April 1], Sega CD)

Actually fairly good. And the SNES version is superior to the Genesis version, though the Sega CD version does have a better soundtrack and is superior to the Genesis version gameplay-wise.


Space Megaforce (October 30; SNES)

This game is the reason the other few SNES shmups that came out this month were only worth an honorable mention at best. This is considered one of the best shooters on the SNES.


Super Buster Bros. (October 31; SNES)


Air Zonk (October; Turbografx)

Cartoonishly fun shmup (I mean, cute-em-up) on the Turbografx. One of the best games to come out on that system, despite being real short.


Prince of Persia (October?; Turbografx, Sega CD, SNES and NES [December 1], Sega Genesis [1993], Game Gear, Game Boy [December 1991])

This game had a lot of ports. It is a classic after all, all the way back from October 3, 1989 (on older systems such as the Apple II, before getting a 90s graphics and sound update for this year, and on the NES in 1991). Not sure which ones are considered the absolute best, but the Sega CD has an interesting opening style, the Turbografx version has arguably the best music, and the Genesis has an interesting take on what the princess looks like. But some consider the SNES version to be the best, in-part because it has 20 levels instead of the traditional 12.


Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant (October 15; PC)

Just prepping for the 8th game.


Putt-Putt Joins the Parade (30; PC)

I’m putting this here as an all-encompassing entry for the entire franchise. A classic kids computer game series meant to be more of a learning experience for juniors.




Shows

Honorable Mentions:

  • Great Scott! (4; Fox). Doesn’t have anything to do with Back to the Future, but it does have a very young Tobey McGuire in it.

ToonHeads (2; Cartoon Network)

Not really an original show per-se. Just something that showcased the older retro toons from way back when. One of those things that made me enjoy, and in hindsight appreciate, the older stuff. At least the stuff outside of syndication. Really like how it had some information about the toons and those who created them. The new Cartoon Network channel had to start with something. This is where it all began, and what it began with.


GhostWriter (4; PBS)

I actually watched a few episodes of this back then. I think of this as a show that succeeded where that show Likely Suspects from last month failed. Pulling the viewer into the show to partake in the investigating and trying to determine whodunnit alongside the main cast. More for kids, obviously, but I thought this was good stuff back then. And the mysteries always spanned multiple episodes.


The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (23; The Family Channel)

Well now… I’d say this is the best way to experience Peter Rabbit outside of the children’s books.


X-Men (31; Fox Kids)

Legendary. The definitive kids show back then that rivaled, and surpassed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sure it pulled its punches on the violence (there was only so far a tv show, especially an animated one made for kids, could push the envelope back then), but this was some damn fine entertaining stuff right here. The last season was terrible, but everything up to then was good, with two major arcs in the middle of the series that each could’ve been their own ending for the show. Series of the month, easily.


Edit (8-11-2021): Added The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends to Shows.

Edit (8-29-2021): Added Sewer Shark to Games.

Edit (9-9-2021): Added Mortal Kombat to Games.

Edit (9-17-2021): Added Putt-Putt Joins the Parade to Games.

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