Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: February 1993

Oprah Winfrey interviews Michael Jackson during a US television prime time special; it becomes one of the most watched interviews in television history and is Jackson’s first in fourteen years. Federal trial of 4 police officers charged with civil rights violations in videotaped beating of Rodney King begins in Los Angeles, California. President Clinton selects Janet Reno to be first female US Attorney General. “World Trade Center bombing of 1993”: truck bomb explodes in parking garage of NYC World Trade Center on the 26th, at 12:18pm, killing 6 and injuring over 1,000 in what was the deadliest act of terrorism perpetrated on US soil at the time. Gun battle erupts near Waco, Texas at Branch Davidian compound after FBI attempts a raid.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Jellyfish: Spilt Milk
  • Superchunk: On the Mouth
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd: The Last Rebel
  • Einstürzende Neubauten: Tabula Rasa
  • The Auteurs: New Wave
  • Grant Lee Buffalo: Fuzzy
  • Brooks & Dunn: Hard Workin’ Man
  • Big Head Todd and the Monsters: Sister Sweetly
  • Dolly Parton: Slow Dancing with the Moon
  • Goo Goo Dolls: Superstar Car Wash

Accept: Objection Overruled (1)

Sounds like if AC/DC decided to be heavy metal instead of hard rock.


Above the Law: Black Mafia Life (2)

Only really giving this a highlight because this was apparently what lead to the G-Funk genre.


Brand Nubian: In God We Trust (2)

Just for the hit Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down.


Phish: Rift (2)

Not bad for a rock/jazz mixture.


Paul McCartney: Off the Ground (2)

Not bad.


Infectious Grooves: Sarsippius’ Ark (2)

They certainly live up to their name.


Earth: Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (5)

Ambient metal. It’s a roughly 115 minute album with only 3 tracks. I didn’t expect to get into this, but I have to admit, I’m really digging this style. Apparently this was an influence upon “drone metal/music.” So this makes 2 influential music albums that got released this year.


Poison: Native Tongue (8)

I find this band to be decent. Guess I never learned to appreciate them. Though I will admit, for this album, I prefer the tracks that weren’t big enough to get their own music video.


Mick Jagger: Wandering Spirit (9)

Groovy.


311: Music (9)

I didn’t expect to enjoy this, considering it’s sort of rap. But combine it with alternative/funk/reggae rock, and the mixture ends up making it more pleasant.


Quicksand: Slip (9)

Now this is more like it. Finally, some punk-ish metal I actually really enjoy. Not too shabby for a debut band. Main thing that holds it back is that none of the tracks really stand out from each other very much.


Dinosaur Jr.: Where You Been (9)

Not bad.


Duran Duran: Duran Duran [aka The Wedding Album] (11)


2Pac: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z… (16)

*eye roll*


Radiohead: Pablo Honey (22)

Alright, everyone should’ve heard the hit track Creep at some point in their lives. Because you wish you were special. So fucking special. Crazy they didn’t receive much recognition until that track became a single and started hitting the airwaves.


Naughty by Nature: 19 Naughty III (23)

Oh shit. “Heyyyy Hoooooo Heyyyyy Hooooo.” Hip Hop Hooray.


Circus of Power: Magic & Madness (23)

My kind of music. A blend of hard rock and metal. Reminds me a bit of Alice in Chains, but a little more lively and a little less dark. Their third album, and the last one they would release for 14 years.


The God Machine: Scenes from the Second Storey (?)

This album feels like something special. This is one of the most underappreciated bands out there, more-so than Circus of Power. You just have to listen to this to experience it if you’re into metal of any form. It’s an experience. Whether a good one or a bad one depends on your tastes. Track #3, The Blind Man, convinced me it’s a good one. These aren’t guys just doing common riffs, they put some serious effort into making this into some kind of masterpiece (so I believe it should be considered for aficionados). Just when you think the beats are going to get monotonous, all of a sudden tracks like The Desert Song mixes it up. If there was ever a hidden gem of an album this year, this would be it. I thought about giving Radiohead the album of the month, but this is going to have to be the one getting that title.


Drivin N Cryin: Smoke (23?)




Movies

Noteworthy mentions:

  • The Vanishing. This remake is a disgrace to the original foreign film. Watch the original instead; this movie sucks.
  • Loaded Weapon 1. Found this more annoying than funny.
  • Sommersby. Typical Hollywood remake of a French classic. Plus they just can’t help themselves with rubbing in those elements of racism and anti-KKK stuff to the point of hilarity and eye-roll-inducing. Let alone some extra female empowerment. Stick with the original, titled The Return of Martin Guerre.
  • Love Field. And speaking of elements of racism… I had a very difficult time getting into this movie. For a moment it actually started to get me invested when they were at the station and suspicions of intent were being heavily aroused. But in the end, the protagonist sucks, and the film is typical liberal pandering, with racism (ie white guilt) and feminism in equal doses. I’ve seen films that are good in spite of having these traits, this isn’t one of them.
  • The Cemetery Club. I didn’t expect a Jewish drama about old ladies going to funerals and weddings to be interesting to me. And it wasn’t. But I’m sure others might get a kick out of it.
  • Hostages. One of those HBO films. I hoped this would be a more enjoyable film than it turned out to be. But it’s not so much through a fault in the film itself so much as my own personal tastes. The film itself is fine, albeit not great. It spends the majority of its time with the hostages taken and held in Beirut (or Lebanon) between 1986 and 1992, showing their conditions and the conversations they had with one another. For the most part, I didn’t find it all that riveting, or the dialogue all that captivating. Aside from a couple food-for-thought lines, it all seemed basic to me. Not great, not terrible, just middle of the road. It may or may not be your kind of film.

Strictly Ballroom (10, foreign from Australia)

Actually a pretty good dance movie, and I’m usually not into this genre. Has a great energetic sense of humor for the first act, but then it mellows out and gets more serious afterwards. Yet it still maintains a great sense of energy, and a fine display of what makes the art of the dance, in general, a great thing. Showcases how any style from various cultures can be good so long as one makes it work. Who is anyone to judge this so long as it bring about happiness on the part of those dancing together, and those who watch them? A pleasant surprise from this year in films. A hidden gem. Do kinda wish it was less black and white regarding the motives of this one judge, and his history with the protagonist’s father though.


Dead Alive, aka Braindead (12; foreign from New Zealand)

The cult classic zombie flick that put Peter Jackson on the map (elevated from the cult status he achieved with Bad Taste) that’s considered to be one of, if not the, goriest movies ever made. Watch with caution if consuming a meal.


Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (12)

One of my childhood favorites. I grew up with this film, as did many of the other kids I hung out with at the time. Sure it’s a remake of an older film with more slapstick humor involved, at least it’s not as slow-paced and as dull (for a child) as the original. 2 dogs and a cat making their way back home through the wilderness, while bantering with each other (before they did that CG lip movement thing that I think is stupid 99% of the time). One of the greatest live-action children’s films of the 90s, and this wouldn’t be the only one (or even the best) to come out this year for this category (just wait until April, let alone October).


Groundhog Day (12)

Probably my favorite Bill Murray film (Ghostbusters doesn’t entirely count, because that wasn’t entirely his show). The classic comedy/drama about a flawed man reliving the same day of his life over and over again. Film of the month, and I state this with hesitancy considering some of the other films it was up against this month (probably one of the best months of February in film history). The philosophical discussions one can have with this film. A film that never gives an explanation as to why he’s reliving the same day over and over again. That mystery gives the film its timelessness.


Untamed Heart (12)

Not bad for what it is. Drama about this guy who’s “simple-minded” (ie a bit retarded) and has a weak heart, who gets a girlfriend. You can telegraph the ending, but it was overall entertaining enough.


Mac (19)

A solid John Turturro vehicle that fans of his will like next to Barton Fink. About brothers who decide to try starting their own construction business independently. And how Turturro’s character is every bit as ambitious as he is overbearing; and at times destructive.


The Crying Game (19, limited release November 25, 1992)

The film famous for having that tranny twist in the middle. This might be the start of films coming out with actual LGBT representation that didn’t simply utilize them as the butt of a joke. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in hindsight, you be the judge. In any case, I thought this movie was fine.


Army of Darkness (19)

The third and final film in the Evil Dead trilogy (each film can be enjoyed on their own). And it’s the goofiest one of them all. More slapstick humor than horror, but the combination worked for me, as it’s one of my favorite entertaining films that’s so shameless in what it is. It borders on being too stupid, but never goes quite that far. There is a Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut, and this is one of the very few times I will say the Theatrical Cut (and hence the studio interference) actually makes for a better film. Hail to the King baby.


Visions of Light (24)

A decent little documentary on the art of cinematography. Though it seems more of a glorified highlight of several classic films than something that goes in-depth on the art of cinematography. But hey, I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff.


El Mariachi (26)

Robert Rodriguez’s claim to fame. For a very low budget film made in Mexico, it’s actually fairly good. Personally though, for as ludicrous as it gets, I prefer his arguably more famous film Desperado which would come out a couple years later.


Falling Down (26)

This film could’ve been legendary if the 2nd half was better. At first it’s a great allegory for the downfall of the white man in America (seriously, that’s basically what it is), showing all the ways this divorced father is driven to the breaking point, and finally breaks. What brings it down is bringing in this neo-nazi character who just so happens to have an arsenal of weapons, including a bazooka. Plus the revelation that the father was mentally unstable long before the film starts, showcasing how he directly lead to getting divorced. It’s a cult classic in spite of those issues, so I don’t know, maybe you’ll be able to appreciate it more than I did. It’s just painful to see a film get this on-point and relevant on this issue, then just stray so far before it’s finished.


Howards End (27; limited release February 26, 1992)

Period piece drama. I tried to get into this, but period pieces like this normally aren’t my thing. I managed to stay invested for the first quarter of the film, but eventually lost interest. But I acknowledge that it’s well-made for what it is, and it is considered a small-time classic. So if you’re into this sort of thing, go for it.




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • Adventure Island II: Aliens in Paradise (Game Boy); decent port of the NES version.
  • Darkwing Duck (Game Boy); ditto.
  • The Flintstones: King Rock Treasure Island (Game Boy).
  • Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (Sega Genesis, SNES [April]). Port of the arcade, but we all know the arcade versions are better than the consoles.
  • G-LOC: Air Battle (Sega Genesis, Game Gear [April]). The lesser Air Diver and Afterburner game, but it does have cool music.
  • The Flintstones (Sega Genesis)
  • Shanghai II: Dragon’s Eye (SNES)
  • SimEarth (SNES, Turbografx-16, PC [1990]). Jesus fuck. It’s too complicated to figure out, and too boring once you manage to. I’ll give it kudos for ambition, but they needed a few more years and better technology to make this work.
  • Super Valis IV (SNES)
  • The Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt (SNES). Decent platformer.
  • Riot Zone (Turbografx-16). Mediocre beat-em-up.

NBA Jam (February 10; Arcade, Sega Genesis and SNES and Sega CD [March 1994], )

The iconic sports game. One of the definitive 90s arcade gaming experiences that influenced many others.


Bomberman II (February; NES)

Superior to the first NES release.


Paperboy 2 (February; Sega Genesis)

Ignore the existence of the SNES version. You’ll want to play either the Sega Genesis, or NES version of this game, if at all.


Flashback: The Quest for Identity (February 20; Sega Genesis, Sega CD, PC)

The other classic game that rivals Another World (aka Out of This World). More emphasis on the story in this one. And I love that cover. There’s just something about it. Be wary though, each port of the game has their pros and cons, whether it’s Genesis, SNES, Sega-CD, 3DO, PC, etc.


The Adventures of Willy Beamish (February 2; Sega CD, Amiga and DOS [1991])

The PC/Amiga versions are better than the Sega CD version.


Hit the Ice (February; SNES, Genesis [1992], Arcade [December 1990], Turbografx [1992])

The ice hockey response to NBA Jam. Arcade version is better, but SNES is still entertaining if you have someone else to play with. Has a good sense of humor too. But honestly though, this is mentioned more for how fun it was back in the day, rather than how good it is in the present.


Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! (February 16; SNES)

Nostalgia hit for me. I played this a bit back in the day. Never beat it, and that dashing train level infuriated me (I will beat you!). But for me, it was a fun time.


Star Wars: X-Wing (February 15; PC)

This, in my opinion, is the game that started some serious momentum for the Star Wars gaming genre. The Wing Commander-like gameplay, finally being put into the cockpit of an X-Wing and living out the fantasy of being in the Star Wars universe. And being a solid all-around game for the time. But this would be the lesser of the Star Wars flight-sim games that would eventually be released. But they wouldn’t exist without this fun little game. Game of the month.




Shows

Babylon 5 (22; PTEN)

Saying this is the show of the month would be a disservice. This is one of the greatest sci-fi epics ever made in film history, alongside Star Trek and Farscape. It’s a candidate for best show of the decade, let alone the year. Review here.


Bonkers (28; Disney Channel, Syndication)

I know this is largely considered an unfunny show that deserved to not run for all that long. But Bonkers was still a memorable character for me. If nothing else, at least he wasn’t annoying.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s