Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: May 1993

South Africa agrees to multi-racial elections. Major League Baseball’s owners overwhelmingly approve a six-year joint venture with ABC and NBC; the venture, eventually dubbed “The Baseball Network”, displaces CBS as MLB’s primary network television package holder. Judd Nelson pleads no contest to kicking Kim Evans in the head. Intel’s new Pentium processor is unveiled. 274th & final “Cheers” episode airs on NBC. Kim Basinger files for bankruptcy to avoid paying $7.4M settlement. In Major League Baseball, Carlos Martinez famously hits a ball off Jose Canseco’s head for a home run. Four Neo-Nazis kill 5 Turkish women in Solingen, Germany; they are later arrested. In response to growing unease over large numbers of immigrants and asylum-seekers already in the country, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, passed a law to restrict the entry of refugees.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Run-D.M.C.: Down with the King
  • Paw: Dragline
  • The Coup: Kill My Landlord. Interesting to hear rap advocating the Communist Manifesto and being critical of the capitalist system in the U.S. It’s misguided to be sure, but it’s more ambitious than the usual rap that’s usually more of the “fuck the police, and fuck drugs too [maybe]” type of lyrics regarding black oppression (when/if they’re not bitching about black-on-black violence).
  • PJ Harvey: Rid of Me
  • Blur: Modern Life Is Rubbish. Not my kind of music, but there is a pretty good line in the titular track: “Modern life, well it’s rubbish. I’m holding on for tomorrow.”
  • The Hooters: Out of Body
  • Terence Trent D’Arby: Symphony or Damn
  • Aimee Mann: Whatever
  • Joshua Kadison: Painted Desert Serenade
  • The Roots: Organix
  • Donald Fagen: Kamakiriad

Terrorvision: Formaldehyde (3)

It’s a decent listen, but I have a feeling this type of music is going to get monotonous after a while when most 90s hard rock/grunge bands start sounding like this.


New Order: Republic (3)

Not my kind of music, but this was popular.


Funkdoobiest: Which Doobie U B? (4)

Huh. I didn’t realize that the Bow Wow Wow song I used to hear as a kid was just a remix/ripoff of the track on this album.


Annihilator: Set the World on Fire (4)

This little surprise gem of a band from 1990 is back and as good as ever, even though they toned down a bit of the thrash elements.


Rancid: Rancid (10)

Gotta give a highlight to the debut of this famous punk rock band.


Winger: Pull (18)

Junkyard Dog is a fun track, as is Like a Ritual.


Janet Jackson: Janet (18)

Too famous to ignore.


Guru: Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 (18)

Well, this is something. An “experimental fusion of hip-hop and jazz.” It may not be my type, but it’s definitely worth a big mention.


NoMeansNo: Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? (21)

The River is the standout, as is Cats, Sex, and Nazis. But the entire album is quite an experience. Another one of those “most underrated album of all time” deals, in the punk rock genre. Trust me, this isn’t your average punk rock.


Fishbone: Give a Monkey a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe (23)

I’m not sure what to make of them. Some tracks I don’t care for, others aren’t bad. They’re style and music pacing are all over the place. Most of their tracks are entirely distinct from the other.


Pat Benatar: Gravity’s Rainbow (23)

I don’t believe I was impressed with her last album. This one though, this is more groovy and funky, to my liking.


The Waterboys: Dream Harder (25)

They won me over with the opening track. Preparing to Fly solidified this. Suffer is also good. In fact, the entire album is solid all-around. This is the kind of rock I want from the genre.


Anthrax: Sound of White Noise (25)

Wow. I’m impressed. Anthrax usually strikes me as a band that is just shy of being great, like their metal wasn’t “heavy” enough. This is the album where they do become heavy enough. They sound more mature and focused, making this one of, if not the, best albums they’ve ever put out. Pretty damn good. John Bush proves to be an excellent replacement for Joey Belladonna for lead vocals. And here I thought I was going to give album of the month to Winger. This tops it for me. This was a good month for music.




Movies

Mentions:

  • Sliver. Another one of those erotic thrillers that isn’t all that great.
  • Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. I didn’t expect this to be historically accurate, and it really isn’t. But it does have some fun fights, as it pretty much indulges in portraying him as being exactly like he is in the movies, in real life. But it goes a little too heavy on the “racism against Chinese during the 50s and 60s” stuff. Yet another instance of Hollywood ever so subtly sowing the seeds of white guilt.
  • Posse. It’s just so average (at best) for the topics it’s trying to cover. While it does have the right idea in covering historically significant topics regarding black cowboys in the old west, it does so in the typical bleeding heart liberal way of having stereotypical one-dimensional white villains. Doesn’t help that the protagonists have the usual plot armor and ridiculously good skills against their adversaries. This is the film that is giving me doubts about the 90s moving on from the more bleeding heart liberal infused films from last year. We’ll see.
  • The Long Day Closes. Honestly, this film isn’t that bad for what it is. More of an atmospheric musical than anything else. But it never got interesting enough, or built up to anything to make the viewing worthwhile. But that’s just my opinion, as this film might be more your thing if you’re into this genre. If nothing else, it’s an innocent film.
  • Like Water for Chocolate. Foreign Spanish film that was popular at the time, and my class watched a portion of it back in the day. But, honestly, this film is highly overrated. That nagging bitch mother got on my nerves fast, the ending is complete bullshit, and it just wasn’t all that interesting after the first 20 minutes.

American Heart (7)

It’s a decent gritty indie drama with Jeff Bridges starring alongside Edward Furlong. One of those films about a low class blue collar working dad trying to scrounge a living with his rebellious son in the big urban setting, and how difficult that life is. It’s the kind of film Where The Day Takes You wishes it could be.


Dave (7)

Yes, there’s liberalism being flaunted in this film. But compared to the political satire we got last year, this is tame by comparison. The main fault with this movie is how easy they make it seem for some down-to-Earth wannabe president to accomplish financial reform and start the process of removing debt. It’s not that easy, because there are several high level organizations with bought-off politicians who won’t make it that easy. And this film pretty much ignores that. Gabriel Over the White House is more believable by comparison (except that one has conservatism being flaunted). Regardless, this isn’t bad for what it is.


Much Ado Without Nothing (7)

It’s not bad, but Michael Keaton nearly derails the film with his terrible portrayal.


Map of the Human Heart (14)

Interesting drama with a depressing ending. Striking visuals with the bombing of Dresden. It’s a standout for sure, but how much you enjoy it depends on your mileage.


Lost in Yonkers (14)

Solid drama (that seems based on a play) of family drama.


Hot Shots! Part Deux (21)

Superior to the first one.


Carnosaur (21)

The dinosaur flick that beat Jurassic Park to the punch. It’s nowhere near as good as Jurassic Park. In fact, it’s not really an objectively good film. But I have a soft spot for it. Plus it has some sincere ambition behind it that is plain to see if you can look past the music, acting, and low budget. Review here.


Menace II Society (26)

The other major black gangster film that I haven’t seen up to this point. The one that’s in the same class as South Central, Boyz in the Hood, and Juice. Out of all of those films, this is probably the most realistic and gritty of the bunch, although it does slow down a bit too much during the middle act for my liking. But in all fairness, it has a reason for doing so. It showcases how living this gangster lifestyle is aimless without ambition. Aside from that, this shows what happens when a black kid is brought up without an inspiring father figure, without being around friends who have some good traits (aside from an energetic personality). Which pretty much makes this a good companion piece to Boyz and Central in removing the “father” from the equation to showcase the downward spiral a son will have without (a good) one. It’s also the most violent of the bunch, to the point where it was controversial at the time of release. Out of those 4 definitive 90s black urban gangster flicks, I’d rank this above Boyz, but behind Central and Juice in terms of personal enjoyment. But overall, it’s probably the most well made of the bunch. Plus it has that famous drive-by-shooting finale. Film of the month.


Cliffhanger (28)

Primarily listing this more out of obligation than anything else. This was kind of a classic at the time, particularly because of the famous opening sequence that would later get parodied in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Sylvester Stallone’s famous mountain-climbing action film. I didn’t like it all that much. That’s all I’ll say.


Super Mario Bros. (28)

I know this has a reputation for being one of the worst video game to film adaptations of all time (so pretty much the title given to 90% of them). And this really does stray far enough from the source material to be justified of that. It’s a disgrace to the video game franchise. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a lot of fun watching this madness. It’s ludicrous, goofy, and crazy enough to be so damn entertaining in a way only the 90s could’ve provided. So much so, that I didn’t mind (in hindsight) that it did stray from the games to the point of not really giving a shit. For the 90s decade, this was loathed as a disgrace to the games which were still at a major peak of popularity (at a time when Super Mario World, and Mario Kart, had been released within the last 2 years, and those games were fucking big). How little did we know this would be the fate of most game-to-film adaptations, with the exception of Mortal Kombat (that’ll have its due eventually). But it could be worse. It could’ve been the opposite of entertaining.




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • MiG-29 Fighter Pilot (Sega Genesis). For a flight simulator on a 16-bit console, this is probably one of the best ones.
  • Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (SNES, Genesis [July]). Infamous garbage. The bad game that was hyped up by professional reviewers to be awesome. The prototype for every game made today (and the past 10 or so years), hype up garbage enough to where consumers buy it, say, “Fuck you, we got your money now,” and then fuck off to making the next shitty game and/or DLC.
  • Congo’s Caper (SNES). The game that pissed off fans of Joe & Mac.
  • MechWarrior (SNES, PC [1989])
  • Super Black Bass (SNES). Distinct from the other fishing games.
  • Taz-Mania (SNES)
  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (SNES). At this point, it’s kinda pointless to highlight games in this series.
  • Blue Force (1993; PC)

Kirby’s Adventure (May 1; NES)

This is the game that defined the Kirby character.


Rolling Thunder 3 (May 19; Sega Genesis)

This is awesome. Probably better than the first two games.


Ranger X (May 27; Sega Genesis)

One of the best, and most difficult to get into, shooters on the Genesis. One of the best of the 16-bit era. And it was overlooked at the time.


Pirates! Gold (1993; Sega Genesis, PC [1994])

Another port.


Final Fight CD (May; Sega CD)

If nothing else, this is better than the SNES version.


Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II (May; Sega CD, Turbografx)

Pretty much more of the same compared to the previous volume. Either it’s for you, or it’s not.


Time Gal (May; Sega CD)

I’m a sucker for these types of games, even if they don’t have much replay value once you’ve beaten them. Plus there’s the sexiness factor. Misleading cover art though (seriously, would it kill them to keep the anime style?).


Shadowrun (May; SNES)

The SNES Shadowrun game. Whether you consider this better or worse or on par with the Genesis’ own Shadowrun entry, it’s a damn good game. Game of the month.


Super Turrican (May; SNES)

A classic shooter, but wait until the Genesis version comes out next year.


Alien 3 (May; SNES)

Honestly not that bad.


Lords of Thunder (1993; Turbografx)

Schmup.


Fury of the Furries (1993; PC, Amiga)

Yeah.


Epic Pinball (1993; PC)

The definitive pinball game of the time.


Lemmings 2: The Tribes (1993; PC, SNES [November 1994], Genesis [1994])

If you played the first one, you know what to expect, except with more abilities.




Shows

Honorable mentions:

  • The Tommyknockers (ABC miniseries). Not good enough.
  • Saved by the Bell: The College Years (NBC)
  • Murder in the Heartland (ABC miniseries). The true story aspect is what makes it interesting, as the event when some guy and his underage girlfriend go on a killing spree inspired a few films, from Badlands to Natural Born Killers (which comes out next year). This didn’t get my interest until about an hour into it, in spite of the content and Tim Roth. Even then, this couldn’t maintain my interest for very long. It’s just worth a look if you’re interested in the historical stuff. Honestly, it’s worth skipping part 1 and just going straight to part 2.

No major highlights.


Edit (4-17-2022): Added Carnosaur to Films.

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