My History with WWF/WWE

When I was growing up in my younger years, I only caught glimpses of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, as it was known up until April 2002) here and there.  The earliest image I can remember, one of the first episodes I watched (only a portion of it) was one of the worst episodes to start on.  The earliest episode I can recall, aside from some tag-team match where this woman accidentally causes her boyfriend the victory (that happens a lot, so it’s difficult to pinpoint), is the Bryan Pillman Tribute Show.  Because he died, and so the whole episode was the wrestlers and announcers talking about him and honoring his memory and having a moment of silence for him.  Eventually my mother got me to change the channel because she knew what this was, that it wasn’t a normal episode, and knew I wasn’t really going to enjoy it all that much.  This was in 1997, when I should’ve been watching it regularly (but didn’t).  So I pretty much stayed away from it for the most part, occasionally getting a glimpse here and there, until 2003.

I was more familiar with the “characters” than I was with the matches or the storylines at the time.  They were a background thing that I never watched very much.  I don’t remember why exactly I didn’t watch it more often than I did at the time.  I think it was partly due to school, other shows I had an interest in, and partly due to my parents disliking the program and thus discouraged me from watching it.  It wasn’t until just after Wrestlemania XIX that I actually started watching it regularly.  In hindsight, thinking back on it, I’m so angry with myself for not watching it earlier that I wish I could time travel back to 1996 (I’d settle for ’97 if I had to) and slap my younger self in the face and shout, “You start watching this show right now or your going to regret it for the rest of your life!”  Because, well let’s face it, if there’s any time period in WWF/WWE that anyone really remembers, it was the Attitude Era, which (officially) began in 1997 and ended (officially) in 2001.  And knowing what was on the shows back then, and knowing how shitty it is today compared to back then, I know now that I missed out on a lot of great stuff.

Through the Eyes of a Growing Teenager

But anyway, with that in mind, the years following the attitude era weren’t half-bad.  Shawn Michaels, the Heartbreak Kid (HBK) had returned and, though I didn’t know it or appreciate it at the time, would eventually go on to be my favorite wrestler of all time.  Aside from him, my personal favorite when I first got started was Kane.  His bulking size, his mask, the fire and flames theme, his intimidation and power.  Probably because he looked like a Jason Voorhees action figure dipped in red or something, it made him appealing to me.  So I always hoped he would hold the World Heavyweight Championship (something that I believe most fans wanted of their favorite wrestlers, assuming they were in that weight class, up until they decided to fuck with that when Rey Mysterio got the title at Wrestlemania XXII in 2006).  But he never did, at least not while I was watching it.  That got me to look into the past to see if he ever held the championship, which he did, for a few days, before losing it again to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  Knowing that made me dislike Steve Austin pretty quickly, though his personality and “takes no shit from authority” attitude eventually won me over some time later.  And in hindsight, Kane was just a so-so wrestler.  He could do some decent wrestling, but like most “big guys,” his wrestling moves were fairly limited compared to those who were smaller.  That being said, for one of the big guys, he was a bit above average when it came to wrestling moves.  His main appeal was his character and presence/appearance.

But the man with the mask wasn’t the one I would become primarily familiar with.  I started watching the show regularly after he removed his mask and fought without it.  I still found him intimidating, but even though I was suckered into thinking he was more badass without the mask at the time, in hindsight (I’m going to be using those two words together, back-to-back, a lot throughout this review), I would’ve found him just as intimidating, if not more-so, with the mask on.  Plus the mask was awesome.  But in any case, I was all into his reign of destruction and power, even if he never held the title.  Because it seemed like the only guy capable of beating him in a fair fight at the time was Bill Goldberg, whom the WWE built up as this powerhouse of a man.  Someone who could beat Kane, but only barely.  Aside from Goldberg, Kane’s feud with Rob Van Dam (RVD; someone I was convinced was Jeanne Claude Van Damme’s brother at the time) and Shane McMahon was fun.  But then the Undertaker returns at Wrestlemania XX, the dead man, the phenom, the one guy who was built up to be definitively better and stronger than Kane.  So eventually my favorite changed over to him.  Plus, let’s face it, his getup is great, and the only thing better than that was his entrance.  However, he was a Smackdown guy.

I still don’t recall watching Smackdown very much, even if Undertaker was the biggest draw for me at the time, giving me a reason to watch that show.  And in hindsight (told you), Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit (yes, I’m going to be saying “he who’s name should not be spoken”‘s name frequently, fuck all you deniers) should’ve been the other reasons to get me to start watching Smackdown.  Pretty sure I gave the show a few chances, but the Raw program was overall more entertaining at the time, or at least that was my mindset back then (2003-4).  The other reason I remember primarily avoiding Smackdown was because of John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL).  I fucking hated that guy, and couldn’t stand the fact that he was winning all the time until Wrestlemania 21 in 2005 (they didn’t use roman numerals for that Wrestlemania for some reason).

Granted, Hunter Heart Helmsley (HHH) also hogged the spotlight a lot and was almost always on the World Heavyweight Title scene, but he was a wrestler I loved to hate.  And he put on better matches and better speeches/promos.  The HBK and HHH feud was great, and I was digging the rise of the Evolution klique, even if just to be eager to see someone destroy them.  The main one to challenge them ended up being Goldberg, plus HBK got involved too, and there was that whole feud between Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff (another guy everyone loved to hate).  I kept watching the show eagerly waiting for somebody, anybody, to just destroy and obliterate HHH and his lackeys (Randy Orton [never really cared much for him, though he played a great heel], Ric Flair [always looked too old to be considered a legit threat in an actual match], and Batista [Jesus aged Christ, the muscles on that motherfucker]), along with Eric Bitchoff.

You fun smug fuck.

Speaking of which, I really loved how Raw opened for a while, showing an image of Bischoff (to which everyone boo’d at) and then an image of Steve Austin (to which everyone cheered at).  The Austin and Eric feud was the only thing more epic than the feud with Evolution vs, well, everyone else.  Also helped that Eric was allied with Evolution.  However, the main showdowns were always on pay-per-views.  And those had to be paid for.  So I asked my parents if they would order a pay-per-view for me.  And I can’t for the life of me remember if they ever did.  I’m going to assume they didn’t, because they were too expensive, and the only way I ever really got involved with the pay-per-views (aside from seeing the highlights and aftermath on Raw, and Smackdown) was either purchasing them for a discount price at used thrift stores, video stores (like FYE) or GameStop back when they were trading DVDs along with games.  I made sure to do some research online (mostly Amazon.com) to see if the matches were worth it prior to purchasing.  Aside from that, I eventually started going online and watching the play-by-play results on various websites to read the results live.

Bikini contest, In Your House: Fully Loaded, 1998.

Thinking back on it, the main reason I was watching this show was less because of the matches (though I remember them being decent enough, with the occasional great one here and there) and more because of the characters and the soap-opera-for-dudes storylines.  That being said, there were a few matches I do still remember from the shows, even to this day.  I remember Kane vs. RVD in a steel cage match.  RVD vs. Randy Orton at the time when Orton was feuding (or at least attempting to feud) with Mick Foley.  Lita vs. Trish in what was probably the best Women’s match I’d ever seen on Raw (December 4, 2004).  Kane vs. Goldberg (something tells me if I watch that match again today I won’t remember it as fondly).  The Rock vs. The Hurricane (oh yeah, that reminds me, I enjoyed the Hurricane and Rosey tag-team at the time).  HBK vs. Cena in a 50+ minute match (that never fucking happens, ever, it’s a miracle this one did).  HBK vs. Angle in a 30 minute Iron-Man match.  HHH vs. Benoit in a 30 minute Iron-Man match.  HBK vs. HHH (December 29, 2003).  Chris Benoit vs. Kane in a rematch after their Bad Blood ppv match.  And those are the main ones I remember.  All those years, all those hours, and that’s all I remember off the top of my head.

Everything else I remember more clearly were the characters and storylines.  That’s what kept me hooked, and kept me coming back for more.  I still remember the Hurricane and Rosey tag team, Trish and Lita’s feud, HBK and HHH’s feud, Steve Austin’s feud with Bischoff, the whole rise and fall of Evolution, HHH’s feud with Batista, HBK’s feud with Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero’s feud with Rey Mysterio, JBL’s title reign (which angered me to no end).  And, of course, the rise of John Cena.

I know it’s “not real” and all, but there has to be some semblance of realism here!

Now, John Cena is worth mentioning because I initially liked the guy even if I found his matches monotonous (he takes a beat-down throughout the match until he miraculously recovers like Hulk Hogan and beat the opponent a few moves later; that tended to be the pattern).  I liked him because he finally beat JBL (I would’ve fawned over anyone who finally took the title off that asshole).  And then he came over to Raw in 2005.  At first I was just “meh” about him.  But then I started picking up his patterns, and how monotonous his matches were getting.  His attitude and character started to get tiresome.  And then next thing I new, he was thrust into the main event spotlight at Wrestlemania XXII against HHH.  Now, pretty much everyone new he was going to win this match, but most people didn’t want him to.  But win he did, even if his match quality was only good so long as he was paired with good wrestlers.  So then, for the first time ever, I was starting to hate a “face,” even if it’s “heels” that are supposed to be the ones getting the hate from the fans.  And this hatred towards Cena that I felt continued well into the next Wrestlemania, XXIII (2007), where he was once again in the main event and defeated HBK.  At that point, I knew I hated this son of a bitch.  He was hogging the spotlight as much as JBL and HHH were, except that unlike those heels who managed to maintain holding the title because they resorted to cheap tactics and had outside help from other heels in their klique, he was supposedly strong enough to do it on his own.  He basically became fucking Superman (though Rocky would’ve been a better nickname).  And I couldn’t stand that Vince McMahon was keeping this guy as the title holder when he just wasn’t all that great of a wrestler.  However, it is worth mentioning that I have been told he’s done some decent amateur wrestling in the past, which I’m willing to believe.  However, I wouldn’t give a shit if he was a gold medal winner for Olympic wrestling if he couldn’t put on an entertaining and at least somewhat believable match.  There were many other wrestlers around at the time he were easily better than him, who knew at least as much amateur wrestling as Cena.  In addition, I believe the overall quality of the shows (both Raw and Smackdown) were in decline.  At first I thought it was just because my hatred for Cena was making me want to hate everything else, but eventually I realized, no, it was the quality of the shows that were declining.

This lead me to take a look into the only professional wrestling alternative I knew of at the time, TNA (not tis & ass, total nonstop action).  And for a small while, it was a pretty damn solid alternative.  However, match/show quality and company decisions eventually made me lose interest very quickly in that franchise.  I mainly stuck with it during the Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe feud, and for a brief time afterwards.

 

The Event That Changed Things

And then, suddenly, an event happened that shocked the entire professional wrestling industry practically by its very foundations.  The death of Chris Benoit on June 24, 2007, and his wife and child.  When I first heard about his death, my first reaction was shock and sadness, and then recalling seeing his DVD at GameStop a week or 2 prior to this.  Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story.  So I went online to see if it was available.  Well, it was out of print, but the prices weren’t unreasonable last I checked.  But then sure enough, on the day this incident happened, every-single-mother-fucking-copy available on Amazon.com had shot up to prices not much less than $100, if even that low.  So, I got in my car, drove over to the GameStop store to see if the DVD was still there.  Sure enough, it was, for around $10-15 or something like that.  I snatched that up as fast as I could and went home with it.  And that night, on Raw, they did a tribute show towards Benoit, much as they did for Eddie Guerrero in the previous year (he had also died due to heart failure, likely caused by drugs).  It was as emotional as the Eddie Guerrero tribute.  The major wrestlers talking about their experiences with Benoit, what a great guy he was, what a loss this is, their sadness, etc.

But then came the day after this news broke.  All of a sudden, the story is that Chris Benoit killed both his wife and child, and then himself.  At this point, I was in disbelief.  I went online and saw rumors floating about that this could’ve been a mafia hit, that Benoit’s wife’s ex-husband/boyfriend may have been associated with the mob, and had them all killed and made it look like an accident.  For a small while, I wanted to believe that to be the true story.  But eventually, I began to accept the facts.  That this wrestler whom I admired for a period of time had done an abominable act.  Why?  Well, it was all speculation as to why, and I don’t remember everything I was thinking or what websites/forums I went to discussing this.  But I do remember that on the ECW show that night, it opened with Vince McMahon issuing an apology for the insensitive tribute show they had the previous night before the show went on.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit’s name tonight. On the contrary, tonight’s show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world: entertain you.

Continuing as if nothing had happened.

As the days/weeks/months went on, more news began to hit.  That Vince McMahon and the WWE were no longer acknowledging the existence of Benoit, and were attempting to erase just about every trace of his existence from their history.  All mentions of him were removed from the WWE website.  Versions of Wrestlemania XX where Benoit was one of the main event wrestlers for the world heavyweight championship (which he had won) had removed that match.  Just about every release of ppv events and other stuff, either digitally or physical copies, would not feature Benoit in any way shape or form, even going to far as to remove any mention of his name by announcers.  If I recall correctly, there was also some place where wrestlers had their names carved in stone, and the owners of that place had decided to etch out Benoit’s name.

While I was appalled by Benoit’s actions, this censorship didn’t sit well with me (and you know how I am today in regards to censorship in general).  This was not the way.  This also ended up aiding in my decision in regards to watching WWE regularly later on.

 

 

What is worth noting is that, a year or so after this incident, it was determined (albeit unofficially) that the primary reason for Benoit committing this act was due to the condition of his brain.  His brain was severely messed up to the point of appearing like that of a brain belonging to an old-aged individual with dementia.  It was determined that all the blows Benoit received to his head throughout his wrestling career (one of his main maneuvers was a flying head-butt off the top rope).  This case of brain trauma would also be found in some ex-NFL players, and is the main topic of discussion in the Will Smith film Concussion.  This apparently lead to a branch of the U.S. government to examine WWE wrestlers, checking for drug use, mismanagement, anything wrong that could lead to something like this happening.  Many wrestlers were found to use steroids (of course), and steroid use became a hot-topic for a while.  One theory that popped up amidst all this was “roid-rage” being the cause for Benoit killing his family (that ended up not being the case, at least primarily, as mentioned above).  But in any case, this lead Vince McMahon to want a more friendly and careful image attributed to the WWE.  More on that later.

 

 

What Lead Me To Stop Watching

At this time, I was also on the WWE website participating in a live chat with other fans.  And, of course, there were some Cena fans and Cena haters in the chat.  We went back and forth, and I watched other people go back and forth, talking about Cena, Vince, the show, the other wrestlers, etc.  And then at one point, someone replied to something I (or someone else) said, basically saying something along the lines of, “You know, with all your bitching and moaning, you’re just going to go back to watching this show that you call a piece of shit.”  At that point, I thought to myself, “Wanna bet!?”  And that was it.  At some point in 2008, I decided to stop watching Raw and Smackdown (and the WWE’s excuse for ECW).  I believe I did this at an earlier point in time just to see if the overall quality of the show would improve or something by reading reports on the shows and/or the ppvs.  Going on temporary strikes just to see if other were following suit so that the ratings of the show would suffer and therebye get Vince to listen to us and give us what we want and get Cena out of the title spotlight; but he pretty much never did (at least not on a permanent basis, not while Cena wasn’t injured or involved in a movie anyway).  But, once I made that mental remark to myself in the chat room after some contemplating, I stopped watching the damn show(s).

And this is why I can’t quite say the attitude era actually ended in 2001 when they were doing a “live sex celebration” in 2006.

That being said, I did keep tabs on the wrestlers and stories and match qualities for a while, mainly via IGN.com’s Matt Fowler which is still going to this day (and I must confess, his blogging style heavily influenced my blogging style on this website), if only to see if there were some decent ppvs worth tracking down and purchasing.  And I managed to keep following for a couple years.  But once I learned of the “PG Era” transition in 2009, that sealed it’s fate for me; I wasn’t ever going back to watching it while that policy was maintained.  Soon after HBK retired (if I recall correctly), my interest began to wane.  And after Undertaker lost his sacred streak to Brock Lesnar, I lost interest entirely, and stopped following any updates altogether.

So, yeah, John Cena and declining show quality were the primary reasons I stopped watching professional wrestling.  And with TNA being no better, I lost interest in professional wrestling altogether.

This is what I miss most of all, knowing that we’re never going to get this again.

In regards as to why the WWE would go into this “PG era,” I can think of a few reasons.  Firstly, John Cena.  He wasn’t all that popular with those who were adults and/or lifelong fans of the show, but he was a big hit primarily with dumb cunt kids who convinced their dumb cunt parents to by his dumb cunt merchandise by enough boatloads that Vince determined the business didn’t need those viewers who were from the Attitude Era (and earlier).  This show needed to appeal to kids.  Thus, he kept John Cena in the spotlight as much as he could.  Plus Vince also has a hard-on for big massive muscular dudes.

Who are they to say what kids can and can’t handle?

The other reason is because his wife Linda was planning to get involved in politics, so a more politically correct image was needed to improve her chances of a political career.  In addition, I believe the Benoit incident gave another reason to make the show more family-friendly, and give less of an appearance of a show that was raising potential murderers.

In any case, the PG era was not for me.  John Cena was not for me.  This wasn’t the show that I grew up with and enjoyed anymore.  It didn’t improve, it got worse.  It got too sanitary.  It lost its edge.  It lost its attitude.

Yeah you fucking fuckers!

 

Through My Eyes Now

However, in recent months, the urge to revisit the WWF/WWE hit me, like that urge to watch a movie you haven’t seen for nearly a decade that you remember enjoying.  But there was no way I was going to watch the current shows (especially since, from what I understand, it’s still PG).  So I went back to one of the pay-per-views from 2001 that I had acquired and had stored in the past, Wrestlemania X-Seven (arguably the greatest Wrestlemania of all time).  Many consider 2001 to be the greatest year in WWF/E history (highly debatable), so I figured that would be a good place to start.  However, a few matches in, and then I began to think to myself, “If the attitude era is supposed to be the greatest era of WWF/E history, why not try to go back further?”  So I did a bit of research as to when professional wrestling was considered great, to have great matches, great storylines and characters, and great segments on their shows.  From what I gathered, prior to Bret Hart coming onto the scene and becoming a big name, Hulk Hogan pretty much dominated the scene and was the big top guy.  Big buff dudes were getting title shots, and their matches got monotonous real fast.  The only guys around to make things entertaining were either the tag matches (not a big fan of those, though there are exceptions), or the people going for the Intercontinental title.  When Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect got into the title spotlight, being able to headline events, and especially when Bret Hart gained the spotlight with the title, things began to get decent.  This was in the very early 90s.  Up until then, the main stand-out wrestlers in terms of having actual “wrestling” talent with a variety of moves and pacing were “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.  The only real downside to this early 90s era was that it was too cartoonish, too safe (especially with Roddy Piper largely absent).

 

Plus I don’t have that much time on my hands to go back that far.  So I’ve decided to take a look back into 1995, and see how the WWF slowly evolved towards the Attitude Era, and how it was during that period compared to the later years up to 2005.  So, yeah, I aim to revisit 10 years in wrestling (1995-2005), maybe to 2008 if I wanted to.  I’ve started taking a look into matches and events from back then, to see the wrestling quality.  Sure enough, Bret Hart was the main guy in the spotlight bringing out the best matches.  But of course, he wasn’t alone.  Shawn Michaels was also there stealing the spotlight from Bret off and on with the quality of his matches, especially in 1994 at Wrestlemania X with his famous ladder match against Razor Ramone.  Those 2 were in the spotlight because they brought out the best matches out of others.  That being said, they weren’t the only ones doing decent matches, but they were the best.  There was also Jeff Jerret, Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramone), Diesel, the 1-2-3 Kid (soon to be X-Pac), British Bulldog, Bam Bam Bigelow, Owen Hart,  and Goldust.  There may have been others I missed.

The heart and soul of the Attitude Era was Stone Cold Steve Austin in my opinion, so I say it didn’t really begin until Steve Austin took on his “Stone Cold” persona and began his legendary “break the glass” entrance and his pissed off badass redneck persona.  If I recall correctly, this happened at King of the Ring 1996 (June 23).

From there, the WWF would continue to build more and more attitude, as well as more and more controversy (the Pullman gun incident, the Montreal Screwjob, the Turner/CNN incident), having characters that would become as iconic as Hulk Hogan without the 1-dimensional character, without hogging the spotlight to the point where it harmed the careers of others, and pushing the envelope not just for entertainment, but for necessity and survival against WCW which entered onto the scene big time in 1995.

The 90s was on fire!

So many great moments from 1996-2001, and great inventive matches as well.  Say what you will about the classic mat wrestling of yore.  While there are classics among matches from that time period (Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at 1992 Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramone in the ladder match at Wrestlemania X, Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog at 1992 Summerslam, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at Wrestlemania X), much of those would become overshadowed from matches from 1996 and onwards.  In 1996, the 60-minute Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels happened and is considered legendary (and rightly so, it highlighted the best of mat wrestling along with some instances of high-risk maneuvers).  In 1997, the Hell in the Cell Match introduced in 1997, Mick Foley’s insane stunts, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s attitude and dominance and skits and rivalry with Vince McMahon, the rise of The Rock as well as his rivalry with Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho Y2J, Kane, Undertaker finally able to do good matches, HHH, the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz, Edge, Christian, Rob Van Dam, Chyna, D-Generation X, the Rock-n-Sock connection, the street fight at King of the Ring 2001 between Angle and Shane McMahon, Angle and Benoit’s rivalry, the Tables Ladders & Chairs matches, among other things that are impossible to cover in a single paragraph with justice.  And women’s matches started to get good from 2002 and onwards (at least the ones involving Trish and Lita).

Revisiting portions of this time period (mainly via PPVs) has been fun.  But it’s also worth noting that it wasn’t a perfect golden age.  Not every PPV was a hit.  Not every wrestler was great.  There were shows and PPVs that were just so-so at best, some of them just downright bad.  But there was also enough entertainment to be found surrounding those lulls to keep one invested.

This continued into 2005, even if a few storylines and “incidents” were being copied from those found during the 1997-2001 attitude era (that’s the official timeline, but I’d go farther and say 1996-2001).  Hell, in 2002, a miracle happened, with Shawn Michaels making a return after leaving for 4 years due to a back injury that should’ve ended his wrestling career permanently, let alone his drug problem, and managed to wrestle better than ever before.  Chris Benoit went from being a practical nobody to a big champion for a while in 2005, breaking the HHH dominated years and allowing new(ish) talent to thrive.  But from 2006 and onwards, John Cena became a problem (and thus, Vince McMahon became a problem, especially when there was a lack of serious competition in the industry).  It started out small, everyone thinking he would have his proper amount of time in the spotlight before other talent got their chance, except that no other talent really had much of a chance once he was in the spotlight.  It’s like the whole thing went on a bell curve, the curve starting at a low point in the early years, rising to its peak during the attitude era, and then slowly going back down to where it started once Cena became the new Hulk Hogan (with the same goddamn 1-dimensional good-guy trait once you ignore his early years), stealing everyone’s spotlight, putting all the other talent down including new up-and-comers, and the company eventually regressed into the same PG-era environment that pervaded the industry earlier on prior to the attitude era.  On top of that, it got too gimmick-heavy, much like it was during the cartoon period of the early-mid 90s (except marginally better).

Anything you can do has been done better.

The one saving grace that I hear exists currently is the NXT show, but it’s something that can only be watched via the WWE Network, so you have to pay a subscription fee.  While it may be worth it for better match quality and better talent, I’m not going to be paying a monthly fee while Vince McMahon continues to make this PG-era a thing.  Hell, as far as I’m concerned, there’s enough entertainment from 2005 and all the years earlier to keep me entertained while ignoring the other more previous years.

There may come a time where I decide to get back into professional wrestling.  Likely if I end up getting a wife, a more decent job, and kids to raise (and I’ll be sure they’re raised on Attitude Era stuff before they even think about watching the stuff that’s on today).  The kids would most likely be the factor that would get me to get back into it all, in the present-tense.  Until then, nostalgia and “the good old days” is all I need.

Yes, I know hon, the PG era sucks, and so does Cena.

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: January 1990

Source

Introduction

So, it starts.  My trip back into the 90s, digging up old memories, returning to the nostalgia, and bringing it to light for those around today, who visit this site.  At first I thought this was going to be an endeavor that would take a few months to do to cover the entire 90s decade.  Nope.  It’s going to take a lot longer than that in order for me to do the decade justice.  Considering how much work it has taken just to do this month alone, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to complete the project.  But I will do what I can, so long as I have the willpower and don’t allow other priorities to overtake this one (that’s inevitable).

This is not a definitive retro-trip.  I’m not going to be covering every single thing.  That’s nearly impossible, and it would get too muddled.  Instead, I am going to be covering what I consider to be good (or even great) about each month, covering film theatrically released, games released, music albums released, and some tv shows that aired in the month.  So this is going to be a biased coverage, to some extent, but for the sake of fairness I will also include a few things that don’t personally appeal to me, but were respectable hits back in the day.  Except for music, because fuck anything that isn’t rock and roll or heavy metal.

 

Movies

Films released in theaters that are worth revisiting today:

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

“I tried to talk to you, but you wouldn’t let me, so I had to kidnap you so you could get to know me. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with me, just as I’m in love with you.”

This film is basically a more light-hearted remake of the 1965 film The Collector, and I found it to be quite fun. It has Antonio Banderas in it, a good amount of humor, suspense, romance, and thought provocation. But here’s something about the film that cements its place in film history:
[Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!] was the last film to receive the MPAA’s X-rating due to its depiction of forced bondage and rape – however, it was re-rated and released as an NC-17 film.www.filmsite.org/1990-filmhistory.html

And like several films that suffered at the hands of the MPAA for reasons related to this, this film is not that intense, in my opinion. There’s a scene of a toy scuba diver swimming up against a woman’s vagina, and one long sex scene, but other than all that, there’s nothing else all that edgy about it. It sucks how an NC-17 rating harms a film since most theater chains won’t show films with that rating.

Internal Affairs

“I think most people want to be bad.”
“That’s because it is bad. That’s why we’ve got cops.”
“Except the cop is the guy that wants to do it worst of all.”

Solid film, albeit with an ending that wrapped up things far too conveniently in my opinion. In any case, it’s a solid thriller with an otherworldly soundtrack to it. It played on the concept of distrust in police, a trend that was growing even during that time period (along with Maniac Cop from the previous decade). It also took Richard Gere, who normally played roles as a heart-throb ladies-man in light-hearted films up to that point, and put a very dark twist on it. Quite brilliant in that regard.

Brain Dead

“By the perception of illusion we experience reality.”

Now this movie. This movie is a fucking head trip. It’s weird, but seemingly straightforward and easy enough to follow for the first half hour, even if there are hints here and there that something is up with what we are seeing. And sure enough, once the film reaches the midpoint… Well… Let’s just say you’re going to start questioning what is real and what isn’t, if any of it is real, what story should be believed, if they should all be believed, etc. Think of it as the anime film Perfect Blue, but taken up a couple notches on the “What the fuck is going on!?!?!?” factor. It may seem low budget, and it is. But it has Bill Pullman in it (doing ok, nothing too spectacular), and Bill Paxton (also does alright) in it, and enough of a weird factor to it to make it worth watching. And despite the insanity of it all, it is cohesive and everything is linked and comes together in a bizarre fashion. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make sense of it all on a first or even repeated watch, but, well, there it is.

Tremors

“This valley is just one long smorgasbord. We have got to get out.”

Now this. This is easily the best film of January 1990. Still one of my favorite films today. Arguably the last good practical effect monster film, which is fitting because it was made to pay tribute to older monster films. If you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve been living under a rock, and that’s the last place you want to be when graboids are squirming around. This is the only film on the list I saw when I was a kid in the 90s, and we watched at home via VHS rental. Good times with my mom, dad, and sister. We we enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

This film also, unfortunately, marked the end of creature features that had life-sized models (at least in terms of making those for films on a regular basis).

But you know what? People may bitch about people seeing trash in theaters today and overlooking the great stuff. But I gotta tell ya, it’s been going on since forever. And with this film, it’s no exception. Motherfuckers.

Although “Tremors” was not a big hit during its theatrical run, the film became a runaway smash in the home video market, and ultimately tripled its original box-office gross with VHS sales and rentals.IMDB

I also would’ve liked to have seen the R-Rated audio version.

Was originally given an R-rating by the MPAA not for violence, but for language. The film included as many as twenty f-bombs. As an appeal, producers removed all utterances of the “f” word, with the exception of two. Many of the swears were dubbed over with other words, including “can you fly you sucker?”, “we killed that motherhumper,” and “what the s***” when Val is overlooking the dead sheep.IMDB

Commercial Break

I thought about taking clips from various commercial videos and making my own custom vids of what I consider “best of the best” of the 90s commercials, but then decided, “Nah, I’m too lazy for that.”  But I will point out clips from certain commercials that I believe stand out from the rest.

3:00, the Ring Raiders.  I wish I had that shit back in the day.

3:30, Flying Fighters

5:11, Hot Lixx (God I love that name).  Before there was Guitar Hero, there was Hot Lixx.

6:11, SqueezeIt Fruit Drink.  Seems sexually suggestive to me.

8:19, Typhoon Hovercraft

10:31, SqueezeIt returns, this time with a girl doing the sexually suggested squeezing.

11:01, Zero Gravity Cliff Hangers

17:09, an amusing Corn Flakes commercial

19:13, Bug Out

19:52, Dino Riders.  These look cool.

22:43, Tiger hand-held games.  These things sucked ass, but I found the beginning of the commercial amusing considering the idea of hand-held games.

 

Television Shows

Grand

I must confess, I haven’t seen this show. And it’s not readily available on any film site I’m aware of (including sites like Amazon where you could normally buy a DVD version or something, that doesn’t exist either). It’s just a sitcom, and those are a dime a dozen. But some people state that this show is great, especially the opening theme song, but there’s mixed opinions about the actual quality of the show itself once it got started.

There is potentially one way I could get a hold of some episodes to watch, but it would require me to spend seventy-five fucking dollars on BluJay.com, and I don’t feel like doing that for a show I’m pretty sure isn’t going to be all that memorable for me personally.

So just consider this a reminder that this show existed, and it had its fans at the time, but I was never aware of it until now. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to do this for very many shows on this nostalgia trip, I prefer to watch a few episodes before deciding if they’re worth putting on this blog series or not. That being said, if anyone wants to donate $75 to my blog site, and specifically requests I use that money for purchasing and reviewing the series, I’ll see what I can do (fuck knows why anyone would want to spend that much money for something like that).

Pirate TV

So this isn’t technically a show per-se, it’s more like in the same vane as Tom on Toonami, with little tidbits between shows/commercials and whatnot. That being said, there were some fairly entertaining comedy bits that this came up with. This show didn’t last very long. And to be honest, watching some of these clips again, I’m getting very vague memory lapses.


The Baby-Sitters Club

Originally ran January 1 – March 26, 1990 on HBO.

Yes, this show is girly as fuck. It’s also 90s as fuck. The acting, the camera shots, the video quality, the clothing, the music. Everything about this show screams 90s. And despite the fact that I probably can’t stand to watch more than 2 episodes in a single day else risk my balls falling off, it’s a show I recommend for families who want some good moral lessons. The friendships are good, the lesson to take away from each episode is good, the girls have an amount of professionalism about them, and it only ran for 1 season (in stark contrast to The Simpsons which is still ongoing). Oh, and you probably won’t get that theme song out of your head once you hear it.

The 1995 movie that came a few years after this show isn’t half bad either.

Zorro

Not to be confused with the Disney series from the 50s, this show ran from January 5, 1990 – January 30, 1993 on The Family Channel. You might be wondering what The Family Channel is, since it’s a channel that no longer exists.  Well, it was eventually acquired by Fox and being renamed the Fox Family Channel in August 15, 1998, before eventually being acquired by Disney and renamed ABC Family, and then later renamed Freeform.  But anyway, while the channel was still The Family Channel, it aired this little series that’s a decent family-friendly swashbuckling adaptation of Zorro.

And I’m not going to lie, I haven’t actually seen an episode in its entirety recently (I only remember small portions of it from my early days).  I was tempted to purchase a copy of the first season, since I can’t seem to find it anywhere online, but decided against it, since I’m currently not making any money off this blog site anyway, yet.  But from what I remember, it was fun enough, though by my present standards it probably wouldn’t do enough to keep me interested past the first few episodes.

The Simpsons

While the first episode did technically air in the previous year (December 17, 1989), the first regular episode aired on January 14, 1990 on FOX. Until then, they were first seen as short sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show (April 5, 1987 – May 26, 1990). I don’t think much needs to be said about this show and its legacy, especially since it’s still running to this very day. Oh yeah, 1990 really did start off with a bang. And it would only get better and worse at the same time from here on out.

Commercial Break

0:42, racial tensions, prior to the 1992 LA riots.

19:59, Encyclopedia Britannica

21:29, what a difference, Blockbuster Video!

23:10, now this, THIS is a true bona-fide 90s commercial!  Street Hot court shoes.

25:56, arguably the most epic Mario commercial ever created.

26:26, an amusing Bill Cosby commercial, doing a picture page (be warned, it’s a long one).

32:50, Nick Jr. ad for Eureeka’s Castle

36:14, I actually remember this fucking bizarre Nick Jr. ad.

33:48, jeans commercial.

44:18, shoe commercial, because these shoes will cause skateboards to spontaneously appear and make you play basketball better than the pros.

 

Music

Ok, I’m not going to lie, I’m not the right person for the job when it comes to this subject. Unlike films where I’m usually willing to watch just about anything, that is definitely not the case with music. With very few exception, I prefer hard (alternative) rock and heavy metal (but not that type where you can’t understand what they’re saying because of the deep hoarse voice ala Metalocalypse). So when it comes to music for the month, I’m only going to list hits, and stuff I personally liked, and bands that made an impact with their presence. In other words, this portion is going to be quite biased.

And honestly, when it comes to music, the 90s was the beginning of the end of the era of great music. Just my opinion, but music for me never really took off until the late 70s (with some obvious exceptions such as The Doors and The Beatles). Because it wasn’t until the late 70s that some semblance of heavy metal came into the picture (and ironically enough, the magazine series too), which got established in the 80s, and slowly eroded away in the 90s. The true destruction of all that is good and holy with the music industry came with the arrival of Nsync and The Backstreet Boys. When they first arrived, things were ok. But it was no longer cool when every-single-mother-fucking-major-band ended up just being replicas of those two. At least that’s the impression I’m getting with the shit I hear on the radio all the time, and in clubs that blast music, let alone at school campuses (Christ, no wonder the youth is so fucked up today).

Gwar: Scumdogs of the Universe

Typical trash metal by today’s standards. A satirical shock rock band. Guess those were common back then, considering Ween also came out with an album in the same genre in the same month. But what makes them really stand out is seeing them in person, live, with those insane fucking costumes that they wear and how much they pushed the envelope.



There was also a Hank Williams Jr. album released titled Lone Wolf. But I honestly don’t care about that, ’cause his music isn’t my type. What is worth mentioning is that he is responsible for making the intro to football fun. Monday Night Football. ABC. Now technically I’m kinda cheating here, since this Monday Night Football song technically started in 1989. But fuck it, it carried on over through the 90s up until around 2005. “Are you ready for some football!?”

Ween: GodWeenSatan: The Oneness

This band is one of those that gave a name to alternative rock (and experimental rock). I don’t believe this particular album of theirs can say it is mainly responsible for this, since it’s basically a glorified “best of” for many of their previous works. If I were to describe this band, I’d say it’s Psychostick before Psychostick was around.

Fish: Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors

I’m not saying anything.

The Black Crowes: Shake Your Money Maker

Not bad actually. A nice little rock album from a band I’ve never heard of (though that’s probably not saying much coming from a guy who’s been living under a rock when it comes to the music industry throughout most of my life). Was received well and was quite popular at the time.  You may know this band by their hit song (also from this album)  Hard to Handle.

Slaughter: Stick It To Ya

Now this is my kind of music right here. A metal band. And yes, it was big back in the day. And I think this album is still pretty damn great to this day.

Commercial Break

0:29, funny that they decide to spell out the names of the kind of people their mother is likely to have an affair with.

3:25, I could never stand that smug fucking bear, but he does manage to stick with you.  Golden Crisp.

Video Games

The main home console system out at this time that was pretty much wiping the floor with all other competition was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was 8 bits, but at least it had graphics superior to the Atari ST (also still around at that time).  However, having been released since October 1985, it had been out for nearly 5 years.  And when it comes to video game consoles, it’s usually about 4-6 years before the next big thing hits the market.

But that’s not all Nintendo brought out to the fore.  There was also the Game Boy, released in the U.S. in July 1989.  The first major hand-held game system.  Too bad a lot of the games sucked and were just inferior ports of console counterparts.

And that next big thing is the Sega Master System II, or so Sega thought.  Unfortunately, that system crashed and burned.  Thankfully, since August of 1989, the Sega Genesis was released with its fancy 16 bit graphics to give it an edge over the NES.  And it was definitely giving Nintendo some much needed competition in the home console market.  But it wasn’t alone.

There was also the NEC Turbo-Graphx-16, which also had its own decent line-up.  Unfortunately, it’s popularity would never get as high as that of the Genesis or the NES.

One other main competitor for the games of the early 90s was a glorified PC system that was built for the purpose of gaming and video graphics/editing.  And that PC system is the Amiga.  Of course there’s the MS-DOS and all that, but the Amiga stands apart from those as being a PC built for gaming first, everything else second.

The other minor mentions due to games still being released for them during this time period is the Atari ST, and the Commodore 64 (January 1982).

But make no mistake.  It was the Sega Genesis and the NES that were dominating the game market in 1990.  That would change (sort of) in the next year.  And now for the major memorable games that came out this month for those systems.  Some of these games are ports from older Arcade versions, just an FYI:

A Boy and His Blob (NES)

This game was nearly impossible to beat without a strategy guide.  Hell, players were lucky enough to know how to play it back then.  Yet its style was enough to make it a revered classic that later got a (much more playable) remake on the Wii decades later.  Not my kind of game personally, but it has its charm.  But I agree that this game is far too fucking frustrating to play without a guidebook, and it’s at that point that you have to wonder, “Why bother?”

Not something I would play today (or even back then), but it has cultural appeal, so I’m including it here.

Clash at Demonhead (NES)

Now this is more like my kind of game.  Not to mention it’s the inspiration for that one scene in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  However, it’s hard as fuck, right off the bat.  Those goddamn flying bees piss me off.  It’s a basic platformer/shooter where you run around and dodge bullets, hop on platforms trying to get from point A to point B and not fall to your doom, collect a few important items, and then make it to the end for a final boss encounter.  The thing that sets this game apart from most others at the time is that it has an impressive amount of narrative elements within the game.  You’ll encounter characters who start a dialogue with you.  Plus you have multiple paths to choose from to determine in what order you’ll collect things to beat the game.  Sounds a bit like Megaman doesn’t it?  Granted, Megaman beat this game to the punch, and is better from a gameplay standpoint.  But this game makes up for it with the narrative element, and the more natural open-world nature of it. And you will be taking notes during this game when it comes to learning which route you need to get to.

Worth checking out.

Demon Sword (NES)

Now this is a fun game.  It’s like if Sonic the Hedgehog was a bit slower but could jump higher, climb trees, swing a sword (that gets longer as the game goes on), and can climb and jump through trees.  It’s like you’re playing one of those Chinese martial arts films where everyone is on a wire and leaping in the air for too long (ex: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).  The one thing that brings it down is that, if you’re to play it proper and playing to win, you’re going to have to grind a bit in some of the levels.

It’s ok.

Kings of Beach (NES)

It’s actually a fairly a solid beach volleyball game.  That’s all.

River City Ransom (NES)

A decent beat-em-up with RPG elements.  The Scott Pilgrim vs. the World game released a few years back ripped this game off tremendously, even if it had better graphics and better gameplay and is the overall superior game.

The Chessmaster (NES)

Surely you’re familiar with the Chessmaster series.  This is where it all started.  Simple, but effective and perfectly playable to this day.

That being said, I personally wouldn’t play this version when there’s superior alternatives out there nowadays.

Top Gun: The Second Mission (NES)

Now this, this is easily the best flight simulator that the NES has ever had.  It blows the first Top Gun game out of the water in every way.  Gameplay is better, landing is easier, graphics are better, more variety in music and sound effects.  This game is fun.

I’d still play this game to this day.

A quick note.  It’s worth mentioning that while this is the best flight simulator on the NES, this isn’t the best flight simulator experience available at the time.  There’s one that predates this, in the Arcades, that is very much worth mentioning even if it’s before the 90s.  But it was still played in the 90s damnit!  Hell, I played it in the 90s back when my local mall actually had a decent arcade room.  Now I have to drive all the way to Dave & Busters to get anything decent!  Anyway, After Burner, by Sega, released in 1987.  That’s the ultimate arcade flight simulator experience.

Kickass!  I would kill to relive this experience again (don’t take that literally, unless you’re talking about killing digital 16-bit enemy sprites, in which case: gladly).

Motocross Maniacs (Game Boy)

The only decent game that I know of released for the Game Boy during this month.  The programmers were perfectly aware of the Game Boy’s limitations, and thus made this game more of a puzzle game rather than a straight up racing game.  It’s about knowing how to race and get through obstacles without crashing rather than making the best time.

Not something I’d play today, but I had to throw the Game Boy system a bone here.

Bases Loaded II: Second Season (NES)

I hate sports games.  I really do.  I’ve been through so many football and baseball games during this time period they make me sick just thinking about them.  Monotonous garbage, all of them.  If you’ve played one of them, you’ve played all of them.  Yet for some reason people tend to have fond memories of this baseball classic.  I’ll just take their word for it.  But what I do find interesting is that this game was released without an MLB license.

Arrow Flash (Sega Genesis)

I don’t care if that’s a picture of the Japanese edition, it kicks way more ass than the U.S. image.  It’s basically just another side-scrolling shooter.  If you’ve played one, you’ve pretty much played them all.  But it’s an anime-style mecha game.  Plus, I’m going to be honest, side-scrolling shooters were the best type of games back then, at least during this period.  However, there were signs that a new type of gameplay would arrive to rock our 90s world.  Also from Japan.

Phantasy Star II (Sega Genesis)

The first game was good until I realized just how much fucking grinding I had to do.  The sequel isn’t much better in that regard.  But in any case, this was the main fantasy (oh, I’m sorry, phantasy) series to compete against Nintendo’s Final Fantasy games.  And to be honest, I think this game series really did give Final Fantasy a run for its money.  Just a pity it never got as big.  And like I said, it’s a grind-fest, but so was the early Final Fantasy games.  Nowadays I wouldn’t play this without cheats or something to reduce the amount of grinding needed to progress past the bosses.

Now while this isn’t a game that has aged all that well, the storyline is quite good.  Plus, this is just a sample of the masterpiece that is yet to come in this series.

Zoom! (Sega Genesis [ported from Amiga version, 1988])

Pretty damn fun actually.  Try the Amiga version for a different style of graphics.

Overlord [aka Supremacy: Your Will Be Done] (Amiga, Atari ST)

The Amiga version is superior to all others.  And this is arguably the best game of the month unless I’ve overlooked and/or misjudged any.  I mean, just look at this thing.  It’s like the precursor to Master of Orion.

Technology, Culture, Etc.

 

 

 

End of the Month

So if there’s anything I missed that you think is important for the month of January 1990, let me know.  Considering how much shit there was back in the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if I overlooked something.  If you bring up something that is important/significant enough, I will include it.  But if it’s something WWF related, I wasn’t planning on getting into that until 1996, maybe 1995.  Because that’s when the company began to slowly get better, acquiring attitude.

Ladybugs (and a bonus mini) review

90s rated: 2.5/5

2017 rated: 3.5/5

So my initial interest in this film drew from information I had gathered that this is one of Rodney Dangerfield’s best films, the others being Easy Money and Back to School. But when the film got going, all of a sudden I found another reason to get into it. This film also has the kid who played “Stuttering” Bill in the 1990 It miniseries, Jonathan Brandis. I kept waiting for this kid to stutter, but unfortunately he never did (except for maybe one brief moment in one scene, but that doesn’t count).

Anyway, this movie is a bit bizarre. It seems like it should be a kid flick. It’s constructed like one. Has plot developments like one. Has that 90s kid stuff that makes it seem like one. But it ends up being as much of a kid flick as Game of Thrones is a porno. Sure the latter has some nudity and sex scenes, but that hardly qualifies, even during the first 2 seasons. As for this film, oh man, the dialogue and content are way out there.

She seems pretty concerned doesn’t she?

Where to start? Oh let’s just start with the fucking swearing. There weren’t any fuck-bombs dropped, but they sure let loose with everything else. Asshole, son of a bitch, blind bastard, a girl soccer team called the beavers, bullshit, shit, and bitch are all words uttered at one point or another during the film’s runtime. I mean, I guess I could’ve taken a hint early on by seeing that the film was rated PG-13, but why look at the rating when the poster looks so family friendly?

Now if I was watching this in 1992 (or during the 90s in general), I wouldn’t have thought much else about it. Yeah it had Rodney doing his one-liners (most of which are definitely PG-13 rated), but it also has typical 90s kid hi-jinks and some painful attempts at comedy. If you’ve seen enough 90s films aimed at being comedies, especially the kid ones, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The sort of stuff that if you’re kid talked into seeing today, you would be thinking, “Christ, why didn’t I get an abortion?” It would be one of those films you wouldn’t think to much of after seeing it.

However, this isn’t the 90s anymore. Today’s cultural climate is different (for the worse) compared to that of the 90s. Stuff that was typical and moderate back then is considered far too extreme and offensive today. That isn’t a good thing under almost every circumstance I can think of, but one way in which it is a good thing is that it got me to enjoy this movie more. Back then, it was just a so-so comedy elevated by Rodney Dangerfield’s presence and dialogue with a couple decent morals, marred by some painful attempts at comedy (not all attempts are painful, but there’s enough to make you hurt). By today’s standards, this is one of the most politically incorrect sexist racist perverted stereotypical homophobic films ever made. Not to mention Rodney Dangerfield plays the dirty creepy old man angle so well it would make the Japanese proud. It turned me into one happy masochist. I tolerated the painful moments just to be showered in the anti-PC nature of this film. How the changing of times can make one appreciate things of the past.

Anyway, the plot of the film.  Rodney Dangerfield plays the main protagonist who works for a company that he wants a promotion at.  And he’s not the most pleasant fellow around, he’s a womanizer, and spouts one-liners that put everyone down, of all ages, genders, and races.  And that’s part of his charm, because I’m not going to lie, as despicable and politically incorrect the jokes he makes are, that’s what makes them so funny.  Like much of the stand-up humor back then, the jokes were so shockingly outrageous and offensive you just had to laugh at them.  But in any case, he’s despicable, and is willing to stoop to despicable levels to get his promotion.  So he winds up coaching a girl’s soccer team in the hopes of getting them to win the season.  And he knows jack-shit about soccer, much less how to coach a soccer team.  And as to be expected, the team sucks.  They play like shit and couldn’t win a game to save their lives.

It’s at this point you would be able to guess correctly exactly how this film is going to go from here.  The team is going to learn to overcome their differences/obstacles/lack of talent, they’re going to get better, and they’re eventually going to come out triumphant.  And that does happen, but it’s how it gets there that makes it interesting.  Rather than Rodney mustering up the willpower to read the Soccer rulebook (which his black assistant played by Jackée Harry is at least willing to do, even if I’m pretty sure she doesn’t finish it), or do better coaching, he decides to take his stepson, who is a talented athlete but has issues with authority, to dress up as a girl and join the team and get them to win more often.  Let the tranny and sexist jokes fly (let alone the pedophilia)!

“Oh how I want to tap that young manly ass.”

Oh yeah, this film got fun real fast.  It makes bearing through the “90s painful humor” bits worth it for all that gets unleashed.

Oh and don’t worry.  There’s room for racism too.  Like this discussion between Rodney and Jackee have about sports:

“You know that black people are the best at sports, c’mon! We’re the best runners, the fastest runners, the best at track. We’re the best at baseball, the best at boxing, the best at basketball, football. Hey, you name it! ”

“Eeesh, black people are best at sports. Are you kidding? How about hockey? And waterpolo? Fencing! Best at sports… hey, badminton! Yachting! Best at sports… Oh, I forgot fox hunting! Best in sports…”

And this other moment when their Asian goalie blocks several ball shots, and Rodney says something along the lines of, “She’s become the Great Wall of China!”

I love this film, in all of its anti-PC glory as much as I hate political correctness with all of my little black fucking heart.  The film and Rodney let these jokes fly not giving a single flying fuck about who (or what) it would offend.  Even to the very end (even if the last joke is really stupid), do these jokes continue.

But anyway, back to a more serious note (yeah right), Jonathin Brandis disguises himself as a girl named Martha at the behest of Rodney so that he can teach the game to get better.  However, because the stepson is a selfish prick, he’s all about himself during the game.  Playing on his own, scoring on his own, leaving the rest of the team in the dust and getting pissed at them when they’re not playing on the same level as him.  Basically acting the same way he would when playing with the guys.  On top of that, he rarely puts forth the effort to disguise his voice as a feminine voice, and often still yells around like a dude.  But eventually, he learns to be less selfish, starts teaching the other girls how to play better and function as a team, and by the end they are able to play fine and win games even without his help.  In fact, the final game of the film is played entirely without him.  Have to admit, for such an immoral film, it actually has some decent moral lessons in it.  It’s all brought to light with an inspiring speech by Rodney near the end:

“You don’t need a boy to help you win! You’re women! You don’t need anyone! You’re liberated! You got the vote! You can burn your bras! When you get them!”

Plus he even learns to value those around him rather than his promotion in another fairly decent speech.

“The best, the best. That’s all I keep hearing. You want to be the best. Let me ask you this, what good is being the best if it brings out the worst in you?”

Granted, the last moment of the film pretty much pisses on all of those good morals for the sake of a cheap laugh; but hey, at least they’re there.

But anyway, going outside the box for a moment, this also reminds me of other issues today.  Of guys not only disguising themselves as women, but identifying as a woman, on and off the field.  Like that transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, and an actual transgender soccer player Miranda Salman, among other cases.  Plus the 2018 Olympics should be interesting since they’ll freely allow transgenders to participate in whichever gender section they feel like, regardless of how they were born.  The point is, as this film shows, and as other real-life cases have shown, men tend to be better than women at sports.  Sorry ladies, but it’s a fact.  You can wipe the floor with us at college studies and the mental games, but we tend to be dominant when it comes to physical sports.  It’s just not fair (and biology proves this) for people born as men to compete in a women’s sports division.  It’s unfair to the other (naturally born) women.  Most women aren’t like Chyna damnit!

That being said, this isn’t the only soccer film to do this concept, and it pretty much fires back against that last paragraph you just read.  Over 10 years later, and a similar plot would be used in another movie, but with the gender roles reversed.

Now, by the end of Ladybugs, I was reminded of She’s the Man.  I remember watching it many years ago, remember thinking it was a so-so film, and didn’t think anything of it afterwards.  But now that I’ve seen Ladybugs and have been reminded of this film again, and have seen some of the comments made about this film in more recent years, comments long the lines of, “This movie invented [modern] feminism.”  In this movie, a girl decides she wants to play soccer in the men’s division at college, and so dresses up as a guy to fool everyone.  And it pretty much goes the same as in Ladybugs, a soccer ball to the crotch joke, a love interest, everything working out in the end.  So I rewatched it, and determined that there wasn’t enough material there for a big review.  Like Ladybugs, it also has annoying humor.  And the first 15-20 minutes is fucking agonizing in that film, it made me question my tastes in films a decade ago.  Then some familiar faces start to show up.  Like, “Hey, that’s Vinnie Jones!  Hey look, a young Channing Tatum!  Hey look, that Jewish guy who shows up in films like this!”  The humor in the film is nowhere near as great or memorable as in Ladybugs, but there’s enough there to keep the movie going once it gets past the first 20 minutes; and then I was reminded of why I didn’t think it was all that bad back then.  I mean, it does have a moment where, when they discover the protagonist is carrying tampons (while she’s playing a dude), she uses the excuse that she shoves them up her nose when she gets nosebleeds, and Channing Tatum takes the advice later on.  There’s also a scene in a pizza restaurant that worked better than I thought it would.  And the flashing at the soccer game.  But then there’s the fact that the protagonist falls for Channing Tatum rather than that hot chick who was into her.  Come on, they were a better fit for each other.  Let the girls kiss each other damnit!

“Kiss her!”

Other than that, it does have a couple characters who pretty much say what I stated earlier about men being superior to women in sports, only a lot more assholish about it.  Because, you know, yay feminism!  Even so, I kinda wonder if even this film would be made today with dialogue like this:

“Listen, I know I should have told you who I was, but I was afraid. I’m sorry.”

Well, you know maybe if I had known you were a girl, we wouldn’t have talked like we did, and got to know each other the same way. And that would’ve been a shame.”

“Just so you know, everything you told me when I was a guy, just made me like you so much more as a girl.”

“Ok, but just from here on in, everything would just be alot easier if you stayed a girl.”

Then again, there is dialogue like this:

“Just remember, inside every girl, there’s a boy. That came out wrong but you know what I mean.”

Honestly though, the movies not half-bad once you get past the first act.

So, back to Ladybugs, some of you outraged fellows may be wondering how it is I could enjoy such tripe as Ladybugs, wondering why it is I haven’t moved on the the immature and intolerable 90s era.  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I’m sick and tired of the safely manufactured and sterilized humor of today.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against safety PC humor in of itself, but only so long as the unsafe homophobic transphobic non-white-phobic humor is still around in other films, which they’re not, nowhere near the extent of stuff like this.  “But isn’t that a good thing, like moving on from The Birth of a Nation films and such?”  No, it isn’t, and here’s why.  Today it’s considered ok (ie open season) to make fun of straight white people.  Today it’s not considered ok to make fun of anyone or anything else (just ask Milo Yiannopoulos).  Worse yet, it’s become taboo, to the point where it can’t even be discussed with people why it should or shouldn’t be ok to use this type of raunchy humor.  And lest we forget, that’s all it is, humor.  It’s not meant to start a gender/race war with anyone, it’s made for laughs (cheap or otherwise).

“But these jokes put those people down as being inferior.”

All jokes do that!  Every funny joke is done at the expense of either some individual or some group of people!  And I’m not biased, I love seeing jokes made at my expense, at white people’s expense, and at straight people’s expense (let alone at the pervert’s expense).  But I want to see jokes fly everywhere at everyone.  In fact, I think it should be mandatory for everyone to be made fun of at some point in time.  It makes them learn how to deal with insults and such (and if they’re quick-witted, they may learn to deal a few of them back), and they learn how to toughen up and not let it get to them.  Or maybe it does get to them and they end up committing suicide.  Didn’t say there weren’t cons, but the pros outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned, because the alternative is a lot fucking worse as I’ve seen.

“But they should never be put down!”

Says who and by what authority and what logical reasoning?  Let me provide some insight into what some legends of the profession have to say about this (not George Carlin, I’ve used him enough for now):

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Brooks stated: “We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy.”

“It’s not good for comedy,” he added. “Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”

Source

 

 

 

 

 

PS: Honestly, I wasn’t planning on ending this on a rant about the current state of comedy.  But sometimes, that’s just the way things go.

 

PPS: Oh, right.  She’s the ManRated: 3/5

 

Blade Runner 1 and 2049 dual review

Blade Runner rated: 3.5/5
Blade Runner 2049 rated: 3/5

Like the first film, this one ended up bombing at the box office, even though it’s ranked at #1 for the weekend (well thank fuck not that many dumbass kids and fucking bronies are giving My Little Pony that much fucking money). Will it gain as much of a cult following and reach the same level of fame as its predecessor? Or will it just be remembered as a meh movie? Only time will tell. Until then, here’s my opinion.

So I was going to be very disappointed in this film if it didn’t at the very least provide a visual treat that is pure ecstasy for the eyes. Not only because the first film was also that, with intense attention to detail, but also because it provided a way to make both things that are pleasant and/or horrible (death, pollution) beautiful to look at. There is beauty even amidst suffering and a toxic environment. Not only because of that, but also because the first film had a theme that was all about the eyes. That film opened with a visual shot that ended up being a first person perspective of the city of Los Angeles 2 years from now (hey, it could still happen), and showcased this by switching from a view of the city, to a view of the eye that reflects the city. This film opens in a similar way, minus the fire and smoke. It opens with an eye. I’m honestly not sure why, because if it’s supposed to be the main protagonist’s eye, which was my assumption, then it shouldn’t have started with Gosling asleep at the wheel, with his eyes closed. Fuck advertisements against drinking and driving, they need advertisements about not sleeping at the wheel!

“But the flying vehicle is on auto-pi–“
I don’t care!

Anyway, the first film had a lot of instances with regards to “eyes,” which is a central theme/symbol in that film. Not just with the showing and highlighting of the eyes, but also the discussing of them.

 

Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, only uses “eyes” as a brief callback to the first film, in only 2 scenes. I didn’t catch anything particularly re-ocurring objects throughout the film in that way, at least not on this watch.

That being said, as I had hoped, this film is fantastic from a visual perspective. The special effects, set designs, all fantastic. One of the best-looking sci-fi films since Tron: Legacy. And aside from some scenes in the city, the film largely carries a different color scheme to it, a different atmospheric film, than the first one. That’s not a bad thing, because it looks great in any case. Plus we actually get a look outside Los Angeles in this film. Usually foggy, sometimes an orange color.  Both films use atmosphere and visuals as their primary strength, becoming a mood-piece, leaving the plot and characters secondary, and this works to their advantage since both films have their own share of plot holes (more on that in a moment).  It makes it easier to overlook those flaws in that way.  How scenes drag on and let the music carry you, how the sound effects carry you, how the pleasant visuals allow you to settle into and take in all that there is in each well-crafted sequence.  Letting the colors dominate to create a particular mood, almost making things dream-like.  This is when both films are at their best.  In the case of the previous film, the mood of it is dream-like, but slowly becomes more and more like a nightmare (with less music to lighten the mood I might add), before rising back up to its dream-like quality, and then having the final sequence take place in silence as if the dream is over, we are awake, and on edge, wondering what will happen next.

The 2049 film follows this aspect for the first half of its runtime, but becomes more plot/character driven during its latter half (with a couple scenes here and there that return back to the welcoming atmospheric style), which ends up being to its detriment because then one has to consider the problems with the plot if there’s going to be heavier focus on it.

But make no mistake, the previous film has some plot holes (or at least some leaps in logic) as well.  It may be a masterpiece, but it’s a flawed masterpiece.  For starters, why the fuck would they be designing androids to look exactly like humans? Pleasure models I can understand, but models made for work and labor, why? Not to mention why the fuck they would program them to act real and have emotions? Seems to me like a lot of the problems brought up in these films would be solved if they stopped making robots look and act human, since it brings no logical benefit. I mean seriously, how are they profiting off of these things if they’re going to make this many? Does the robot labor force make so much profit that the Tyrell Corporation have no problem putting the entire workforce at risk by giving them emotions and making them all look and act human, giving all of them unique looks and personalities in the process? Granted, this film mentions the aftermath of all that and how it lead to Tyrell going bankrupt and being bought out by some other company, that would continue to make the exact same fucking mistakes that Tyrell did before going under!

Another problem with both films is the security issue. Not just in the city air, but also inside actual security buildings! In both films, an employee/employer of importance within the company gets blasted/knifed/thumbed into oblivion, while inside the security building, and the perpetrator gets away each fucking time in each fucking movie! That’s just insane! Did Los Angeles turn into Mega City One or something?

As for the flaw unique to this film, it’s more of a storyline and thematic issue. As a sequel, it is mandatory to compare this to the first film, and consider how it’s going to develop the story/world/lore/character(s). In terms of developing the theme, it honestly doesn’t. The theme of the first film is if artificially created beings are capable of being human, of being alive, of feeling/giving love, etc. This film is basically the same thing, except limited to Ford’s and Gosling’s characters. Any other (supposed) replicants don’t count because they’re not given enough screen time to matter, even if it happens in one scene for the sake of sequel-baiting. It doesn’t take the theme in any other meaningful direction that expands from the first film, except that it ignores the religious aspect of fallen angels from heaven, and implies robots will eventually fight back and threaten to take over the world. That’s bullshit, and that only belongs in Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and Planet of the Apes films.

Also it relies too heavily on the existence of the first film. I’m not talking about building off of established plot/world/characters; I’m talking about the last scene ending not only on a character of the past film, but also not ending on any note that is thought-provoking and/or conversation-starting like the first film did, let alone making you view the film differently on a second viewing knowing what you know after a first view. Speaking of that, if you’re wondering whether or not this film answers the question definitively if Deckard’s a replicant or not, to my surprise, it doesn’t. It actually handles Deckard’s character in such a way it would be the same whether he was a human or replicant. So viewers can look at this movie with either conclusion they arrived at after seeing the first film.

That aside, the pacing was well-done in the 2049 film. It starts at a crawl, but starts to kick into gear about 30-40 minutes in when Gosling’s character arrives at a junkyard.

Back to the visuals for a moment. In this film, there’s a (kind of) sex scene that I’m sure people will talk about afterwards. It’s not explicit or anything (if it was that would be legendary, us guys would get to see 2 smoking hot females in the nude, and the girls and gay guys would get to see Ryan Gosling’s six-pack and incredibly tight muscular ass; fair trade), but it’s an interesting stylistic scene with a digital girl trying to “sync” with a physical human during sexual intercourse. If that scene was cut down to to MPAA censors, then I want to see a goddamn director’s cut! This honestly wouldn’t surprise me, since the sex scene in the original film was also cut down, I shit you not.

Like the first film, this film succeeds as an atmospheric visual film, with everything else taking second priority at best. The scenes in both films are top notch. The 2049 version even manages to succeed the original in terms of visuals for a brief duration when Gosling visits the corporation (and after he leaves it) that took over the Tyrell Corporation. The lighting, the rooms, the sounds. It’s glorious.

Anyway, I’ve discussed the flaws of the film, but there’s one other thing I personally consider a major fault, but only on a personal level. I felt it played it too safe and strayed too close to reliance on the original in a way different than mentioned above. It’s that this took place on Earth. In both films it is mentioned that there are colonies established on other planets, some of which are used for replicant slave labor. I’d like to see a film take place on one or more of those, to see what life is like there. This would expand the world building (a lot), and potentially the lore and themes in this way. Plus there wasn’t any good reason to continue a story arc for Ford’s character. This film didn’t take it in a direction any more interesting than Gosling’s character, and it was wrapped up in a satisfying way in the first film.

And, well, there it is. The first film is better, but this film is worth seeing just for the visuals alone. And the story, despite my gripes, is still worth going through even if just to experience the visuals.

 

Edit 10-9-2017:

Oh, right, and the villains didn’t have as much depth as those in the previous film.  They came off as cookie-cutter villains compared to those from the first film who had a sympathetic plight.  It wasn’t enough to make them out to be good guys, but it made them more relate-able, even if they were machines.  And in my opinion, that’s the whole point/purpose of films that focus on artificial intelligence.  Using robots as a metaphor for some aspect or element to humanity, so that humans can know more about themselves, what it’s like to be alive, what it’s like to be human.

Dune Club notes part 12 (Final)

Continuing from part 11 of the Dune Book Club, run by Comic Book Girl 19. This is the last entry.

Pages 651-709

Notes Before the Twitch Stream

Page 719:

“How could you do such a foolish thing?” she demanded.

“He is your son,” Chani said.

Jessica glared at her.

Heheh. But in all honesty, Jessica has made some questionable choices, what with drinking the blue Kool-Aid while pregnant, plus all the manipulations she causes to others, including Paul. She’s not in much of a position to judge in that regard.

Page 722:

Paul said: “There is in each of us an ancient force that takes and an ancient force that gives. A man finds little difficulty facing that place within himself where the taking force dwells, but it’s almost impossible for him to see into the giving force without changing into something other than man. For a woman, the situation is reversed.”

[…]

“The greatest peril to the Giver is the force that takes. The greatest peril to the Taker is the force that gives. It’s as easy to be overwhelmed by giving as it is by taking.”

This sounds familiar. Oh yes, that film Mother!. In that film the “mother” is a symbol for nature, something that gives and gives and gives until there is nothing left to give, and man/god/religion represented by people who take and take and take until there is nothing left to take.

But it is stated in the novel that there is a balance to be had here. That if one cannot give without taking, or cannot take without giving, then a balance is achieved. That it is ok to take so long as something that is given, and vice-versa. Seems to imply that man and woman belong together to achieve this sort of balance in their lives, assuming they cannot gain this balance on their own.

But what does it mean that the woman is a giver and the man is a taker? Women giving love and babies? Men taking that love? Taking control, taking the lead? It’s abstract, but something I’d like clarification on. Maybe Comic Book Girl 19 will provide some answers.

Page 731:

“‘Use of atomics against humans shall be cause for planetary obliteration.'”

Something tells me that will be worth remembering in this Dune universe.

Page 732:

“Tell us Gurney, why were the cityfolk down there driven from their homes by the Sardaukar?”

“An old trick, my Duke. They thought to burden us with refugees.”

Oh, well now. It seems as if Frank Herbert knows that an overabundance of refugees can become so much of a burden to a society that it could cause their downfall. A tactic that has been intentionally used in past wars. Surprisingly relevant today, likely more-so than when the book was written.

Page 763:

Jessica stopped in front of Paul, looked down at him. She saw his fatigue and how he hid it, but found no compassion for him. It was as though she had been rendered incapable of any emotion for her son.

Now this is another part that I would like more clarification on. Why does she have no compassion for her son now? Because she views him as less of a son and more of a monster, because of the actions he has been taking, because of the things he has been saying? More of a freak? Or is she becoming more like he was at an earlier point in the book, where he felt nothing for his dead father? Or is compassion something she currently can no longer give, indicating she is now less of a giver and more of a taker? Or neither?

This leads to an intense discussion between Paul and Jessica on pages 764-765. Of how ruthless he and Chani and others are, and how this disturbs Jessica who doesn’t want Paul to become as ruthless and political as his father. She doesn’t want him to make the same mistakes Leto and herself have made.

“Isn’t it odd how we misunderstand the hidden unity of kindness and cruelty?”

[…]

“But wisdom tempers love, doesn’t it? And it puts a new shape on hate. How can you tell what’s ruthless unless you’ve plumbed the depths of both cruelty and kindness?”

Jessica is also firmly against Paul taking the Padishah Emperor’s daughter Irulan as his wife for political gain and power. But then one must ask, what other possible alternative could there be to avoid all out violence and the potential destruction of Arrakis? It’s too late to try any other path, just as Paul now realizes this Jihad is now an unfortunate inevitability that was destined to come as a result of him regaining power. They have won, but they have also lost. Yet Paul has rationalized the Jihad in his mind now by stating, “There are no innocents anymore.” Is Paul becoming too ruthless? Or has his wisdom made him able to see the wickedness in everyone? As he said, wisdom tempers love, and how that is the case for both Paul and Jessica.

Page 766-767:

And he thought about the Guild–the force that had specialized for so long that it had become a parasite, unable to exist independently of the life upon which it fed.

[…] they’d chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward into stagnation.

Living the life of a parasite is living a life that cannot possibly ever be independent, at least not once one has reached maturity. The Guild is a metaphor for oil corporations, which cannot survive without their main product, oil, and will thus do anything to keep taking and selling it. But this can also extend toward drug-addicts, people who continue to live with their parents well into their late-20s, late-30s, etc. Towards people on welfare. It can apply to many things. Hence why it was mentioned in an earlier session that one shouldn’t become overly dependent on any one thing. It’s bad to stay addicted to the Internet just as it is bad to only rely on your car/truck for transportation, bad to stay reliant on oil, to stay reliant on your parents, to stay reliant on the government, etc. Independence is a very valuable thing.

Anyway, so Count Fenring is someone to watch out for, as apparently he is someone who could’ve become the Kwizatz Haderach. And Feyd has a bastard daughter. And there’s also Alia. All of these individuals, plus Paul, are those the Bene Gesserit wish to influence for their own gain. The plans within plans continue, as do the political games. It never ends, even when a victory and/or loss is had.

And the book ends with a speech from Jessica. She seems bitter about the way things have turned out, in regards to the present. But there is some solace to be had for the future, for those who will remember them. “History will call us wives,” as opposed to their official position as concubine, for while they may be called concubines, they are known to be the ones the husband truly loves.

I have to admit, as the novel went on, I started to dislike Jessica even more. A part of me understands her bitterness, yet another part of me thinks that this is justified karma towards the Bene Gesserit for all their plans to control others via seduction or force or the Voice. Kinda would’ve liked more insight into her reasoning in the last section so that she can become more easily understood and sympathetic there.

Well, this does have me curious about the sequel.

 

Notes After the Twitch Stream

“Even though it is the men who sit in their positions of power, it is the scheming of women working together that truly shapes the universe.”

Golgo 13: The Professional review

Rated: 3.5/5

“Yes, if only I were like you, devoid of human sentiment.”

Now this!  This is how you do a movie about an assassin! A heartless, emotionless, cold-blooded killer with no sympathy and feels no compassion for anyone, and only speaks when necessary. It’s all about the job and finishing it. None of that, “Romantic interest who reminds him what it’s like to be human again” bullshit is present here. Tackling the themes of emotions (or lack thereof) and the things they can cause us do, and the destruction they cause.

Continue reading

The Last Boy Scout and 8 Man After dual review (football edition)

Are you ready for some football? I’m not. I’ve never really been a football fan. WWF/E, MMA, and Ice Hockey are my preferred sports for viewing. But regardless, it’s difficult to avoid football when it’s America’s most popular sport, and when my dad watches it religiously. Plus there’s the Super Bowl. So I get caught up in a game or two off and on. But lately, as it’s been impossible to avoid for the past several months, these cocksucking players do their kneeling bullshit, to the delight of the coaches apparently, and it’s all for bullshit reasons. So, I’ve decided it fitting to review 2 films where football players get killed on the field.

 

 

Rated: 2.5/5 Yes, I’m implementing a decimal system in my ratings now. Don’t worry, it’s always going to be rounded to the nearest 0.5. There won’t be any 2.1s, 4.7s, etc.

“Now this being the 90s you can’t just walk up to a guy and smack him in the face. You gotta say something cool first, you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, like ‘I’ll be back.'”

“Yeah only better than that. Like if you hit ’em with a surfboard you would say–“

“‘Surf’s up pal!'”

“Yeah, something like that.”

So the film begins with Billy Blanks, playing a football player, taking a pistol out on the field and blowing away a few tacklers before reaching the goal and then blowing his own head off.  Guess he wasn’t shooting any blanks.  Great start!

Anyway, this all starts off the plot of the film, making the viewer wonder, “What? Why?” and how it’s all connected to Bruce Willis’ case. And Bruce Willis here, well, this is one of those roles he could play in his sleep, and it looks like he is playing it in his sleep most of the time. But let’s face it, 90s Bruce Willis could get away with that because he wasn’t old and tired (more than usual) back then, and still oozed charisma and coolness that made everyone want to take on a bald or short-hair look, before neo-nazis made a comeback.

And then there’s Major Payne, played by Damon Wayans. He definitely tries, he makes a legit effort to act well in this role, but he’s just so-so at best.

The film goes into topics about how heartless the NFL corporation is.  That they really don’t care about the players, they only want money, blah blah blah.

To be honest, that’s the best I can describe this movie. So-so. It’s decent and entertaining enough, but I do think it’s good enough to have earned this cult-favorite status. A couple action scenes are fun, but most are just meh. The chemistry and interactions between the two leads aren’t as satisfying as I hoped they would be. Sure it has Bruce Willis and one of the Wayans brothers in it, and sure it also has some faggot named Milo getting butchered by helicopter blades.

Wait a minute…

There’s a gay guy who’s the main villain in a Bruce Willis film and his name is Milo!? Oh, I’m going to have some fun with this.

So Milo plays an asshole who is responsible, either indirectly or directly, for the deaths of a black woman and a police officer in this film. And on top of that he wants to assassinate the Senator.  On top of that, he’s likely jealous of this bromance between Bruce and Damon because he wants to suck Damon’s cock, because there’s nothing like the thick throbbing black NFL player dick.  And lastly, he just might enjoy rap music.  He must be stopped! And if football players can’t stop him, there is only one person who can. Bruce fucking Willis!

So Bruce Willis kills Milo, saves the day, and saves feminists and football players so that can continue bitching and playing. Come to think of it, many, including Roger Ebert, have called this film sexist with its depictions of women. With this one football star trying to force a woman to blow him, that asshole senator whipping a woman just because, and Bruce trash-talking his wife (though in all fairness she is a cheating bitch and she wanted Bruce to trash talk her, so…).

Now for things to get animated.

 

 

 

Rated: 3/5

So this anime is basically a glorified remake of Robocop. It’s not a complete retread of that film, it takes the concept of making a man into a machine in different directions than Robocop did, so it becomes it’s own unique thing. But the plot does revolve around a criminal linked to a corporation taking out a private detective who gets reworked at a “special” hospital and then goes out to fight crime. But that’s where the similarities end.

With that introduction out of the way, let’s get to the part I’ve been wanting to get to. Yes, there is football in this. And it is fucking glorious.

With that out of the way, to be honest, this is actually a pretty decent anime.  It has an intriguing plot that doesn’t treat the audience as stupid.  For a while there, I was thinking the film would try to pretend that we’re not supposed to know who 8 Man is, even though the main protagonist gets (nearly) killed prior to his appearance.  Thankfully, it’s not long after 8 Man’s first appearance that we see the protagonist hacking into a computer terminal using his abilities (in a way that’s also ripped off from Robocop), and we see that he has become a cyborg.

But the similarities don’t stop there (so I lied earlier, sue me).  To my surprise, this also adapts another plot element from Robocop 2, thus in essence becoming a combination of both films.  The bad guys need drugs in order to maintain themselves after getting robotic parts.  Without the drug, their body won’t be able to power their cybernetic parts and will eventually shut down.  Think if it as a necessary shot of adrenaline in order to function.  But like most drugs, there are side effects, such as addiction and going completely fucking crazy and wanting to kill a bunch of people.  Thankfully for 8 Man, he has access to a drug that is more clean and pure, without the bad side-effects.  So unlike Robocop 2, our protagonist needs this drug too in order to function.  The downside to getting “improvements” installed to your body.

But what really surprised me is that the villains aren’t superhuman, in that they can’t be killed by anyone other than 8 Man.  The cops actually take down a few of these thugs.  A bullet to the head (or two) works just fine.  So the film maintains an acceptable amount of believably (by my standards anyway, take that as you will considering this is an anime).

In regards to the plot, there aren’t really any surprises or twists or anything like that.  The film is fairly straightforward, but has enough interesting stuff in it to maintain the viewer’s interest.  Plus, 90s anime animation style is a dead breed, which is a pity.  I miss this style of animation.  It was bad enough that it got replaced with this more cartoony look we’ve had for the past decade, but now it’s getting even worse with this weird CG style which I believe they are doing simply because it’s easier.  No longer is hand-drawn needed.  No longer do we need simple cell-shaded style.  Now we get this weird CG shit.  I wouldn’t take such issue with it if it wasn’t for the fact that it seems to be replacing all other forms.  At least Studio Ghibli is still dishing out some decent styles, for now.

So anyway, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.  It’s worth a watch.