Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: October 1993

Savatage guitarist and co-founder Christopher Michael “Criss” Oliva killed in a car accident. Tupac Shakur is arrested and charged with shooting two off-duty police officers in Atlanta; the charges are later dropped. The Rocky Horror Picture Show makes its TV debut on Fox; the movie is inter-cut with a live cast performance. The first Got Milk? commercial is broadcast on TV; directed by Michael Bay. Michael J. Nelson makes his debut as host of Mystery Science Theater 3000, replacing Joel Hodgson. Battle at TV station Ostankino, Moscow townhall, about 25 killed; Boris Yeltsin declares state of emergency. Battle of Mogadishu: In an attempt to capture officials of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organization in Mogadishu, Somalia, 18 US Soldiers and about 1,000 Somalis are killed in heavy fighting [Black Hawk Down]; captured American Pilot Mike Durant is filmed in an interview in captivity by a CNN camera crew. After 9 seasons & 3 Championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan announces his retirement from the NBA; returns on March 18, 1995 and leads Bulls to another 3 NBA titles. UN lifts remaining economic sanctions against South Africa. Mighty Ducks win their 1st NHL game. Nelson Mandela and South African President F. W. de Klerk awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. General Omar al-Bashir appointed Sudan president. IRA bomb attack on fish & chips restaurant in Belfast, 10 killed. Highest scoring, longest lasting World Series game – Toronto Blue Jays score 6 runs in 8th inning to defeat Philadelphia Phillies 15-14, in 4 hr-14 min slugfest at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia. NFL announces new expansion team, Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. 25 people killed during Ghana-Ivory Coast soccer match. River Phoenix, American acto, dies of a drug overdose at 23. Vincent Price, American actor, dies of lung cancer at 82.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Entombed: Wolverine Blues. Worth a mention just because of that limited (albeit edited) issue of albums with wolverine on the cover, despite the band not wanting to be associated with that Marvel character.
  • Altered State: Dos
  • Redd Kross: Phaseshifter
  • Mazzy Star: So Tonight That I Might See
  • Take That: Everything Changes
  • Th’ Faith Healers: Imaginary Friend
  • Tindersticks: Tindersticks
  • Letters to Cleo: Aurora Gory Alice
  • the Lemonheads: Come on Feel the Lemonheads
  • Faith Hill: Take Me as I Am
  • Carcass: Heartwork
  • Crowded House: Together Alone
  • Possum Dixon: Possum Dixon
  • Crash Test Dummies: God Shuffled His Feet
  • Shaquille O’Neal: Shaq Diesel. Heheh, Shaq did a rap album.
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra: Symphonic Music of Yes

“Weird Al” Yankovic: Alapalooza (5)

Well… you know.


The Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen (5)

Only because this is somewhat obligatory.


James: Laid (5)

One of the Three is nice and soothing. Same with P.S., and Knuckle too Far. The titular track isn’t bad either.


Swervedriver: Mezcal Head (5)

Last Train to Satansville won me over.


Yo La Tengo: Painful (5)

Atmospheric/shoegaze. I dig. Prefer Nowhere Near. And I Was the Fool Beside You for too Long.


Robert Cray: Shame + A Sin (5)


Salt-N-Pepa: Very Necessary (12)

Ok, you must’ve heard Shoop at some point.


KMFDM: Angst (13)


Motherhead Bug: Zambodia (15)

What do we have here?


Rush: Counterparts (19)

Reliably good.


Hum: Electra 2000 (19)

Better than their first album.


Tad: Inhaler (19)

Seems to me Seether was inspired by some of the riffs from the first track of this album (Grease Box), for Remedy. Nice hard/heavy grunge, but doesn’t have much to stand out.


Concrete Blonde: Mexican Moon (19)


One Dove: Morning Dove White (19)

Not bad for a band that only did one album (this one). Yet another one hit wonder. White Love (Guitar Paradise Mix) was the standout, and apparently that song is so good that the album has 3 different mixes of it.


Pearl Jam: Vs. (19)

And here comes Pearl Jam to snatch up album of the month. No denying how big they were. While I don’t think this album is as good as their prior debut Ten, it’s not bad. Animal is my favorite track.


Sarah McLachlan: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (22)




Movies

Honorable mentions:

  • Short Cuts
  • Twenty Bucks
  • Judgement Night. Starts out well enough, hos a solid first 20-30 minutes. But it just becomes typical, and at the end of the day, forgettable. Could’ve been something special.
  • For Love or Money. The most hilarious thing about this movie is Michael J. Fox saying, “I don’t like to stand still.” Anyway, this is standard forgettable rom-com fare that’s neither great or terrible.
  • Mr. Nanny. The kids need to die.
  • Mr. Jones. Decent portrayal of bi-polar disorder, but it needed the same actors in a better movie.
  • Dust Devil. Pretty much the same thing as Hardware, but with supernatural stuff in Africa instead of technology in a dystopian future; and not as good. Though the atmosphere and artistic stuff is interesting.
  • Fatal Instinct. The opposite of Deadfall, in that this goes too far into satire. That being said, that moment during the finale with the rubber duck was hilarious.

Now this was a damn good month for movies.


The Age of Innocence (1; limited release in September)

I tried to get into this movie, I really did. I know there’s a good movie to be had here. You really have to be invested in this, and really be paying attention to the characters and their names, as the narrator often drops the names when referring to something about them, and there isn’t often a visual cue to help you out. Maybe someday I can finally be in the right mood and mindset to give this an honest-to-God effort. For now, I have failed each time I tried to watch this film. Furthest I got was 40 minutes before I got too lost with regard to the characters and their motivations (I had an inkling of an idea, but I wanted more of an inkling if I was to continue).


Deadfall (1)

The film itself is just so-so. It seems like it wants to be a satire of noir/con films; but it doesn’t fully succeed because it doesn’t go far enough into the satire, at least in my opinion. So why highlight it? Because Nicolas Fucking Cage is pure fucking gold. Every moment he’s on screen makes this film elevated to God-tier with his presence. Seriously, if you thought Cage was 100% unhinged in films like Ghost Rider (either one), Vampire’s Kiss, Wicker Man, Leaving Las Vegas, or Face-Off… you haven’t seen anything yet. This is the most unhinged Cagiest of Cage performances I’ve seen this guy do, and that’s saying a lot. His performance more than makes up for any other shortcomings this film has. And he seems to be one of the few people involved with making this movie who is in on the joke.


A Bronx Tale (1; limited release in September)

It’s a decent mobster-like film. It’s somewhat of a classic, but I don’t consider it up there with the best. Still, all things considered, it’s worth a watch.


Malice (1)

This actually turned out to be a pretty good thriller. It can also be more amusing than it should be if you start making Alec Baldwin jokes related to, uh, more recent incidents.


Cool Runnings (1)

Well, there it is. It’s standard Disney fare, but it’s unique because of the subject matter, and for having John Candy in a supporting role.


Freaked (1; limited)

One of the wackiest comedies of the 90s. A film that only could’ve been made in the 90s. This may not be film of the month, but trust me, if you have any interest in 90s feel and culture, you gotta see this film at least once.


M. Butterfly (1)

Found this to be more fascinating than The Crying Game, particularly because it’s based on true events. Plus David Cronenberg could still churn out a good film at this point, though he is starting to move on from his usual body-horror shtick.


Supercop (8, limited, foreign)

Well… it’s Jackie Chan. And… that poster.


Demolition Man (8)

The film that prophetically foretold what a society run by political correctness would look like. Also probably the only film with comedy in it that worked for Sylvester Stallone. Contender for film of the month.


Gettysburg (8)

One of the best Civil War films ever made. The pinnacle Civil War film that is an accumulation of film events that started off with Glory until it got to this point. This one focuses on one particular battle, is is fairly accurate to how it actually went down. Contender for film of the month.


Rudy (22)

Overrated, primarily because the real Rudy isn’t exactly someone who should be an inspirational figure (let alone the fabricated BS made up in the movie, including having a black guy be the sole inspirational mentor for Rudy’s short/shitty football career). But hell, this movie is considered a classic, and it’s made well-enough, so whatever.


The Joy Luck Club (29; limited release in September)

It’s meh for me; but it’s also considered a bit of a classic.


The Nightmare Before Christmas (29)

I believe this is Tim Burton’s magnum opus, only rivaled by Batman. And against such fierce competition, this barely ekes out being film of the month.




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • Tetris 2 (NES)
  • Sports Illustrated: Championship Football & Baseball (Game Boy)
  • Tom and Jerry: Frantic Antics (Game Boy)
  • Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions (SNES)
  • Pac-Attack (October 1993; Sega Genesis, SNES, Game Boy, Game Gear). Decent Tetris knockoff.
  • Crime Patrol (3DO, Sega CD, Arcade)
  • Escape from Monster Manor (3DO). Would be good if it wasn’t so tedious.

Panasonic 3DO Interactive system released (October 4)

Putting aside that other game console that got a release this year, whose name I already forgot, this is the most expensive game console to be released in the 90s. Even adjusted for inflation, it’s still one of the most expensive consoles ever. It was a graphics powerhouse that unfortunately never got enough quality games, or even got affordable, to stay in the competition long enough to become dominant. It was dead and gone by the time the next console generation of Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation came around. But until then, there was this, with a CD system more advanced than that of the Sega CD. While I personally never owned one, I did get to play it at a friend’s house a few times. Off the top of my head, the best ones I got to play on that console were Gex, Shockwave, and Road Rash.

I’ll mention that at some point in late 1993 or early 1994, a port of Star Control II was released on the 3DO, which is considered the best version of the game ever until The Ur-Quan Masters (fan-made remake) got released on the PC. This game got an earlier PC release November 1992.


Virtua Fighter (October; Arcade)

The first 3D fighting game. Without this, there would be no Tekken or Soul Caliber. This blew us away back in the day, even if the graphics don’t look so impressive in the present. Arguably as big as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II in the arcades, albeit its legacy wouldn’t remain as strong. Make no mistake, there is as much substance as there is style to this one. Still quite fun.


Virtua Racing (October; Arcade)

Isn’t this epic?

The famous 3D racing game. The most awesome and epic version in the arcades was the 8-person motion cabinet, that had the force-feedback steering wheel turning against you whenever you were making turns in the game (forcing you to use some muscle to keep control of the vehicle). It was an experience like to other to have 8 gamers racing against each other at the same time in the arcade scene. One of those things I didn’t appreciate as much as I should’ve, considering these shared arcade cabinet experiences (beyond 4-player beat-em-ups and 2-player light-guns) are practically non-existent today. Just took for granted that stuff like this would always be around.


Popeye 2 (October; Game Boy)

Honestly not that bad.


Gauntlet IV (October; Sega Genesis)

Probably the definitive way to play classic gauntlet.


Haunting starring Polterguy (October; Sega Genesis)

Well, this is different. Playing as a ghost that’s haunting a family.


Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole (October; Sega Genesis)

Good stuff. There aren’t enough games like this on the Genesis.


SimAnt (October 1993; SNES, DOS [1991], Sega Genesis)

PC/Mac version is better, but the SNES version has its charm.


NHL ’94 (September; Sega Genesis, Sega CD, SNES [October])

Bit of an exceptional sports game compared to most others of that time. This ice hockey game is very much worth highlighting.


Silpheed (October; Sega CD)

The graphics for this shooter were unbelievable back in the day. This showcased the graphics potential the Sega CD was capable of. Gameplay isn’t half bad either.


AH-3 Thunderstrike (October; Sega CD)

Well now. Some rockin’ music to go along with the shooting.


Kendo Rage (October; SNES)


Lock On (October; SNES)


Paladin’s Quest (October; SNES)

The aesthetic stands out.


Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (October; SNES)

Well, of course I gotta mention this game.


Troddlers (October; SNES)

Like Lemmings, but with some platforming.


Secret of Mana (October 3; SNES)

This game is an icon in the SNES library. One of the best RPGs on the SNES and the 16-bit game library. The AI is actually not too shabby for a game like this (especially for your allies), but this is at its best when other humans are controlling your companions (ie multiplayer).


Star Wars: Rebel Assault (1993; 3DO, PC, Sega CD)

It’s only worth playing on the 3DO. This game isn’t that great to be honest, but at least it’s competent enough to get a mention in the month the 3DO console got a release.


Stellar 7: Draxon’s Revenge (1993; 3DO)

Basically a modern version of Battletanks.


Twisted: The Game Show (1993; 3DO)

This is something else.


Fantasy Empires (October?; PC)

Interesting.


Halloween Harry, aka Alien Carnage (October 10; PC)


Frontier: Elite II (October 29; PC)

Tough call between this, Virtual Fighter, and Secret of Mana, but I’m going to give this the win for game of the month. It is a space-sim game in the sense of you being a pilot with your own ship going around doing whatever. Sandbox gameplay. The freedom allowed in this game is as insane as the size of the universe you occupy in the game. It’s just a matter of getting over that steep learning curve, and willing to have patience. The fact that all this was contained on a single floppy disc is mind-boggling.




Shows

Honorable mentions:

  • Against the Grain. A young Ben Affleck is in it.
  • Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. That CNN asshole.
  • South of Sunset. Didn’t last long, but could’ve been a decent (not great) show.

The John Stewart Show (25; MTV)

Fucking John Stewart got his major start before doing the show that really got him famous on the Comedy Channel some years later.


Diagnosis: Murder (29; CBS)

The other show Dick Van Dyke is known for. Show of the month.

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