Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: December 1993

Michael Jackson makes his first public statement regarding the child molestation allegations leveled against him; Jackson calls the accusations “totally false” and asks the public to “wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me.” Astronauts begin repair of Hubble telescope in space. The Long Island Rail Road massacre: Passenger Colin Ferguson murders six people and injures 19 others on the LIRR in Nassau County, New York. Deadline for Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza, they don’t. Shannen Doherty (Brenda) is fired from TV series Beverly Hills 90210. Vatican recognizes Israel. Colombian drug lord, shot to death by Colombian Police. American rock guitarist, composer, activist, and filmmaker Frank Zappa dies from prostate cancer.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Ice Cube: Lethal Injection
  • Pigeonhed: Pigeonhed
  • Jodeci: Diary of a Mad Band
  • Nickel Creek: Little Cowpoke
  • Man or Astro-man?: Is It … Man or Astroman?
  • Me Mom & Morgentaler: Shiva Space Machine. They have a song titled Everybody’s Got AIDS.

Ramones: Acid Eaters (1)

Normally I don’t give albums exclusively composed of covers the time of day, but this is a slow month music-wise, so…


Enigma: The Cross of Changes (6)


Charlie Hunter: Charlie Hunter Trio (8)

Jazz.


Takara: Eternal Faith (8)

Not bad. I wouldn’t consider this metal band outstanding in any way, but they’re a pleasant listen.


The Verve Pipe: Pop Smear (9)

Fun album.


Apoptygma Berzerk: Soli Deo Gloria (10)


Everclear: World of Noise (10)


Pitchshifter: Desensitized (14)

This is some kickass stuff. Album of the month.


Gumball: Super Tasty (1993)

Real Gone Deal.




Movies

Honorable mentions:

  • Geronimo: An American Legend
  • Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (HBO). Just lame, despite what people say about it being better than the original black and white film (which also sucked). Pro-feminist as fuck.
  • Six Degrees of Separation. Couldn’t get into it. Pity too, since this is Will Smith’s breakout film role after gaining popularity with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • A Dangerous Woman. The protagonist is insufferable.
  • Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Garbage sequel with a high level of wokeness.
  • Three Colors: Blue (foreign [France]). This is considered one of the best French flicks of all time, the start of a trilogy (where each film stands alone as far as I know). And… well… most French flicks like these just aren’t my thing. I’m not artsy enough of a viewer for this. But for everyone else…
  • The Nutcracker. A meh adaptation of the ballet (that doesn’t hide the fact this takes place on a stage; not necessarily a bad thing). I mean, it’s not terrible, but you have to be into this sort of thing. Plus there’s better adaptations out there.
  • Ghost in the Machine. Mediocre sci-fi thriller.

Wayne’s World 2 (10)

Never thought I’d see a sequel to a comedy that’s every bit as good as its predecessor (Sister Act 2 can suck it).


Gypsy (12; CBS)

Not my thing, but it is good for what it is.


Schindler’s List (15, limited; wide release February 1994)

I’ve come to fucking hate this emotionally manipulative historically inaccurate tripe that has done a lot of damage to society. I cover why in my review. Regardless of how much I hate this film, I can’t deny the cultural impact it had. It altered the landscape about as much as Jurassic Park did, and that’s no small feat for a single director (Steven Spielberg). Despite my feelings about the film, there’s no denying the director has some serious talent/skill. It’s just too bad it was used to make this film appear so good when it’s really just a shitload of makeup and perfume and lipstick on a fat ugly pig, enough to make it look like a glamorous dog.

This makes my inner turmoil borderline unbearable when I have to decide if I’m to give this a film of the month mention or not, especially when I really want to give it to something else worthy of it. Weighing between what I want personally versus the impact this had objectively. I’m begrudgingly going to go with the latter and say this is film of the month, but I do so under emotional duress.


Beethoven’s 2nd (17)

Not as bad as you would think a sequel to a film like that would be. I don’t consider it as good as its predecessor, but it’s an entertaining enough watch (and Sister Act 2 can suck it again).


The Pelican Brief (17)

Solid, though the finale got a bit ridiculous with the action.


What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (17, limited; wide release March 1994)

Leonardo DiCaprio is unrecognizable in this role. It’s probably the best acting he’s ever done in his career, and that’s saying a lot. Johnny Depp is good too. Slice of live drama that is something I’d rather watch than last month’s A Home of Our Own.


Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (17)

A nice drama about a couple old guys way past the prime of their life. Funnily enough, another film of similar subject matter came out this month, except it’s far heavier on the comedy and holds back on the drama.


The Wrong Trousers (17)

Our introduction to the classic duo of Wallace and Gromit. Not really a feature film per-se, at least not in the sense that it made it to theaters and is longer than 30 minutes. I probably won’t mention the other short films released in this franchise; just know that this was big stuff back then (more-so in the UK than in USA, but it was still significant, and still damn entertaining).


Philadelphia (22)

I hate this film for reasons similar to Schindler’s List. Emotionally manipulative tripe that somehow, some way, manages to be more cringe than the aforementioned movie. It wants you to feel sorry for the protagonist so fucking badly it pulls out all the stops to make you do so. Pushing the pro-fag agenda while its at it. Though I do find it ironic that the first few pro-fag films that came out this decade are all about them dying from HIV/AIDS. The difference between the victimization in this and Schindler’s List is at least in Schindler’s List, it had actual boogeymen to persecute Jews. In this, it’s primarily the result of the homosexuals making victims of themselves by willingly fucking each other up the ass knowing that there’s a risk of catching a fatal disease as a result.

But this was a bit too popular to ignore, so I begrudgingly include it as I did Father of the Bride (seriously, fuck you people who gave this film enough money to be a success). It’s also the film that instigated my hatred of Tom Hanks (made worse by Forrest Gump), who picked up this habit of playing roles where he’s a flawless good-hearted man that you would have to be a prick to want to hate (fucking self-righteous bullshit).


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (25)

Now this is a Batman movie that deserved to succeed, but it bombed hard through no fault of its own, nor of the audiences (they couldn’t have known better, this just had shit advertising and buildup).


Grumpy Old Men (25)

That comedic alternative old-men movie. It didn’t make me laugh as much as it wanted me to, but it does have enough moments that got some chuckles out of me. Plus the characters are solid enough (though the woman is a bit much with her quirky personality). And his has some nice heart-driven character moments during the last act.

The biggest weak point of this film is the son, the one guy who is obviously Jewish (in real life), who could’ve only been in this film because of his Jewish Hollywood connections, and because he needed a paycheck or something (or someone owed him a favor). That’s the only explanation I can think of, because he has no acting talent or charisma whatsoever. Fucking William Hurt on a “just give me my paycheck” day could give a better performance than that, and that is a bar every actor in every movie should be above.

Oh yeah, and this would eventually get a sequel… that’s better than Sister Act 2 (that movie deserves more bashing than I’m giving it here; I’m going to milk this as much as I’m able for this post).


Heaven & Earth (25)

It may be a more tolerable Oliver Stone flick, even with the typical American guilt complex that’s inevitably in this (and every) film of his (that is almost always misguided). None of that really bothered me with this film, especially since Stone is more reigned in than usual. The problem is I found the film to be on the dull side. It’s not bad, it’s decent enough, but it’s a tad bit dull. It is a bit refreshing though that it actually shows that the Vietcong were actually villainous at times (virtually no Vietnam flick outside of The Siege of Firebase Gloria, and Rescue Dawn portrays them this way). Plus I hate that it shares the same title as that awesome Japanese war epic that came out a couple years prior, making it difficult to track that title down while going through an endless list of copies of this movie.


Shadowlands (25)

Basically a precursor to C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed book. A biographical film about Lewis’ time with his love/wife, and the tragic end of it. While the film isn’t bad, I’d also recommend the 1986 made-for-tv film of the same title, which has more emphasis on Christianity; while this film waters down that element. Considering who C.S. Lewis is and what he’s written, and how much of a man of the Christian faith he was, I’d take this film with a grain of salt because of that.


Tombstone (25)

This should’ve been the film of the month. One of the greatest western flicks ever made.


In the Name of the Father (29)

Solid.




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • Metal Masters (Game Boy).
  • FIFA International Soccer (Sega Genesis, SNES [May 1994]). Just wait for the 3DO version next year.
  • Winter Olympics: Lillehammer 94 (December; Sega Genesis, SNES)
  • Tom & Jerry: Frantic Antics! (Sega Genesis). Not bad actually.
  • Dune (Sega CD, PC [May 1992]). It’s worth a highlight, but I already did so for the May 1992 PC version.
  • MegaRace (Sega CD, PC, 3DO [1994]). It’s worth taking a look at just for the FMV scenes with Lance Boyle.
  • Art of Fighting (SNES). Arcade version came out September 1992. That or the Neo Geo version is the way to go.
  • Inspector Gadget (SNES)
  • Side Pocket (December; SNES; Genesis [August 1992], Game Boy [November 1990], NES [1989]). The pool game that just keeps popping up. Pool aficionados will probably enjoy this.
  • Super Chase H.Q. (SNES). Play the 1992 arcade version instead, titled Super Chase: Criminal Termination.
  • Super Nova (SNES).
  • World Soccer ’94: Road to Glory (SNES)
  • Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D (SNES). Damn your eyes!

1993 is going to end with a bang.


Blades of Vengeance (December; Sega Genesis)

Righteous. One of the hottest 16-bit babes in game history (if not the hottest). Plus you gotta love that tagline. Not just Evil, but “Unbelievable Evil.” Very difficult, but also rewarding. A true hidden gem in the Genesis library.


F-117 Night Storm (December; Sega Genesis)

Good Lord, it’s trying 3D effects on a Genesis console. And somehow pulling it off.


Greatest Heavyweights (December; Sega Genesis)

Normally I would pass on highlighting this game, because it doesn’t stand out enough for me. But then I look at that box cover and get a nostalgia trip. Probably doesn’t seem like anything much to anyone else, art-wise. But it does something for me. Plus it gets a bit more violent than the average boxing game of the time.


James Pond 3: Operation Starfish (December; Sega Genesis)

Not as good as the second game, but it has some merit.


Lotus II: R.E.C.S. (December; Sega Genesis)

Outrun knockoff. Amiga version is great if you can get it.


McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure (December; Sega Genesis)

This should not exist. A McDonald’s themed game has no right to be this good. The game company that created Gunstar Heroes is better than this, yet they decided to make this game good enough to fit their standards. This game, somehow, someway, is good.


ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron (December; Sega Genesis)

If you liked the first game, which is a Genesis classic, then you’ll enjoy the just as funky sequel.


Eternal Champions (December; Sega Genesis)

I used to have the poster for this game on my closet door (one of the greatest game covers of all time). One of the better Genesis fighting games that could actually compete with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II.


Lunar: The Silver Star (December; Sega CD)

The game that proves the Sega CD is capable of churning out a masterpiece, though there are only a handful of them at best on that console. Anyway, this is an RPG classic that would get a sort of remaster on the PSOne in the future, but some will attest to the Sega CD version being the better game (others will disagree, both have valid arguments). The changes made between versions aren’t just limited to graphics and audio, it also changes the dialogue and story to varying degrees.

Arguably the best game on the Sega CD.


The Terminator (December 15 [or March 8]; Sega CD)

The definitive console version of this title. Play this instead of the Genesis/SNES counterparts.


Battle Cars (December; SNES)

Like a more hardcore version of F-Zero, with some great music.


Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Wolf (December; SNES, Sega Genesis, PC)

Complex. I’m more familiar with the PC version, which has a different combat look than the Genesis and SNES versions. This will be one of several deep strategy games to be released this month, and they are all good; but they’re only good for those willing to invest the time to learn and get good at them. For instance, this has a system that I haven’t seen done since, where you have to go back home every now and then to fuck your wife so she can bear children, who will grow up into military leaders who can hold the provinces you conquer, who are more reliable than some of your generals who can turn on you. If you don’t make enough children, you’re going to lose control of conquered provinces in the long run. That mechanic is astounding, and makes for some interesting history lessons.


Lufia & the Fortress of Doom (December; SNES)

The sequel is better, but this RPG has its fans; patient gamers who don’t mind monotony.


Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge (December; SNES)

A Super Scope game that’s good (probably the best Super Scope game). Basically a sequel to BattleClash.


Metal Marines (December; SNES)

Kind of like a real-time-strategy game. Quite ambitious for a console system to attempt during this time period. There is a learning curve.


Nobunaga’s Ambition (December; SNES, Genesis)

The alternative to Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which also had an NES release earlier this decade. Another one of those deep strategic games that requires time investment. I like the music.


Romance of the Three Kingdoms III: Dragon of Destiny (December; SNES, Genesis [February 1993])

The more well-known of the strategy games released this month. But not quite at masterpiece level yet for this franchise. That was yet to come.


Beyond Shadowgate (December; Turbografx-16)

Man, the death scenes are fucking gnarly! One of the best Turbografx games out there.


Duke Nukem II (December 3; PC)

A huge step forward in quality and gameplay compared to the simple DOS game that came prior.


Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (December 3; PC)

It’s easy to see why this is overlooked. Sure, it’s on-par with Wolfenstein, but both those games are going to pale in comparison to…


DOOM (December 10; PC)

If you think this deserves anything short of game of the year, let alone game of the month, then you are sorely mistaken. This is a fucking icon of gaming (wouldn’t be an icon of sin until the sequel). Being game of the year is an understatement for something that solidified a genre. The FPS shooter to rule over all FPS shooters, until they started allowing for aiming vertically in addition to horizontally. This is game is bloody awesome to this very day, and it will never age. It’s perfection.

Yet another reason why I believe 1993 defined the ’90s.


Gateway 2: Homeworld (December 14; PC)

One of the most text-heavy games I’ve ever seen in my life.


Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (December 17; PC)

A classic among point-and-click adventure games.


Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (December; PC)

And another point-and-click adventure classic. The CD-ROM version that came out next year is better than the version that came out this month of this year.




Shows

The Moxy Show, aka The Moxy Pirate Show, aka The Moxy & Flea Show (5 [or November 6 or 26, 1993]; Cartoon Network)

The first original series on cartoon Network, though it was more of an anthology/shorts thing.

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