On the topic of films “based on true stories/events”

“[…] any time you hear the words ‘based on a true story,’ that’s usually a translation for ‘We bought the rights to this story, took out the boring parts, then made up just about everything else.'” — Bill Simmons

“I don’t think the movie should be more important than the truth.” — Greg Paspatis

“History is written by the victors.” — Winston Churchill

So I was going to talk about the film All the Money in the World, but I’ve failed to come up with enough content to make it a worthwhile review entry. I’ve been stuck with writer’s block over the past few weeks (that, and I’ve been working longer job hours, dealing with the flu, trying to complete projects so I can review them on this site but get side-tracked by something, plus plain old procrastination), so I’ve been struggling to get back on this site and post some new content. But believe me, once I get a couple of these “projects” out of the way, I’ll get my groove back in no time. These are projects I intend to make a post about.

But anyway, after seeing the above mentioned film, it got me thinking about another topic I’ve been wanting to discuss for a while now, a topic that came up after seeing Hidden Figures, and revisiting a childhood favorite of mine, Remember the Titans. Movies based on true stories/events. In the past, I never really made that much of a deal over films like these. After all, as I’ve been told in the past, “it’s just a movie”. No need to make a big deal about it, no need to bitch about it, just simply enjoy it or don’t, and leave it at that. The thing is though, I’ve learned over the past couple years that the “it’s just a movie” argument is bullshit. That’s like saying the novel 1984, or A Clockwork Orange, or Animal Farm, “is just a book.” Because, as I’ll demonstrate, there are things going on that make it clear that it’s more than just a movie.

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Top 20 Fight Scenes

Yep, a top whatever number list.  This is by no means definitive, as I’m sure there are plenty of films out there I haven’t seen that potentially have fight scenes better than what is listed here.  However, I do consider myself to have enough knowledge and experience with action scenes throughout the years to make a list like this.

Now, when I mean top fight scenes, this does not include any that involves projectiles.  No guns, no shurikens, no lasers, none of that bullshit.  These fights have to mainly involve hands, fists, knives, swords, etc.  I mean, theoretically, I suppose you could throw a knife and call that a projectile, but there are also action scenes where someone rips another guy’s arm off and beats him to death with it and throws it at someone, thus making a dismembered arm a projectile.  For all you know, someone could slice limbs off and karate kick those limbs at their opponents while the limbs are still in mid-air from being sliced off.  There’s always a way to bend/break the rule.  Regardless, I’ll do my best to stick with those standards.  Sorry John Wick fans.

First, some runners up:

Runners Up

Star Wars

Basically anything from The Empire Strikes Back and onwards, they put on some pretty damn great sword duels.  Though I did find the one in The Force Awakens to be lacking (along with the rest of the movie).  Honestly, out of all of them, my favorite is the battle from Empire Strikes Back, and here’s why.  They fight like samurai in that film, while in the prequel trilogy they’re more like circus acrobats, showing off just for the sake of showing off.  But it’s not just the grounding (ie providing some semblance of realism in a sci-fi fantasy film) that makes it good, let alone the choreography.  It’s also the story the fight tells, how Luke shows that he definitely has potential to be a great jedi and is capable of besting Vader, but is inexperienced and too emotional, while Vader has complete control over his emotions and knows exactly what he’s doing and what he’s involved in.  And this is all told as the fight progresses, Luke starting off with some confidence, knowing that he is scared, but believes this must be done.  And he demonstrates that he is capable of challenging Vader, besting him in brief instances, only for Vader to turn the tables by using his force powers on Luke to show how out of his depth he really is, and wears him down until he is cornered.  The changing of the scenery matches with all this as well, the red lights demonstrating the fear Luke has and the aura of Vader’s reputation, to the bright tunnel showing that Luke has confidence amidst the darkness, to things darkening and running out of color to show that it really is hopeless for Luke.  And throughout all this, we eventually realize Vader is testing Luke, leading up to the twist that brings to light Vader’s true motivation, and provides more depth and an intriguing backstory for Luke.  A combination of story and choreography truly makes it a fight to remember, while the rest are fun just for the spectacle rather than the depth.  That being said, just about all my entries are more for the spectacle than anything else, so consider me a hypocrite when it comes to the other entries.

Magnificent imagery.

 

City Hunter

This film has a couple fairly decent fight scenes, but the one that stood out was the absolutely classic Street Fighter parody fight.  I swear, this is a better Street Fighter film than any of the live action films just because of this scene.  Yeah, it’s goofy and cheesy as hell, but at least it’s accurate to the games goddamnit!

 

Way of the Dragon and Fists of Fury

I respect the Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris fight more than I enjoyed it.  Fists of Fury, on the other hand, had much better fights, but none that I thought stood out enough for this list.  But don’t worry, Bruce Lee won’t be excluded from this list.  I’m going to include what I consider to be his best work.  Stay tuned.

 

They Live

Come on, it’s a WWF fight put onto film.  Plus it goes on forever, which adds to the humor of it all.  This fight had to be brought up just because.

 

Broken Path

Probably never heard of this movie have ya?  Honestly, I’d almost recommend it, except that this fight does the one thing I fucking hate in any fight scene ever.  Having the good guy receive one hell of a one-sided beat down, only occasionally getting in a hit or two, before shrugging it all off and beating the bad guy to death in a quarter of the entire fight time.  It’s bullshit, but I can’t help but admire the amount of work and effort that must’ve gone into this.  Hate it too much to like it, but enjoyed the first 3/4ths to much to ignore it.

 

Special Forces

Scott Adkins, this guy is never going to get a fair shot in Hollywood because Hollywood is run by hacks, pedophiles, molesters, left-wing nuts, and just plain old-fashioned cocksuckers.  Thankfully that won’t stop Adkins from outputting decent martial arts films.  Personally, I think his best film is Ninja II (the first Ninja film isn’t all that great, though it is worth watching just to see a central character from that film get offed pretty damn fast in the sequel, to the point where it just becomes fucking hilarious after all the effort made to save said individual’s life in the first film).  But this movie Special Forces contains what is arguably his best fight.

 

Well, that’s enough of the warm-up, time for the actual films.  Don’t consider the ordering definitive.

 

Actual Top 20 List

#20 Universal Soldier: Regeneration

Jeanne Claude Van Damme vs. Dolph Lundgren.  A sequel that’s better than the original, and on a lower budget too.  In fact, Scott Adkins would go on to star in the sequel to this one, which also isn’t a half-bad movie in of itself.  What makes this fight stand out is seeing how much power these two have behind their punches, smashing through walls left and right, falling several stories to the ground, and having a gnarly ending.  And it all works because we know that these are super soldiers, stronger, faster, and more durable than the average soldier.  Basically something you would hope for in a Dragon Ball movie (you know, before those freaks got so strong they didn’t even wince at bullets).

 

#19 Rapid Fire

Poor Brandon Lee, dying before his time.  At least he managed one decent fight scene that manages to strive towards that of Bruce Lee.  Brandon Lee vs. Al Leong.  The movie itself is just so-so.  It’s a decent enough watch, so-bad-it’s-good at some points (Brandon Lee’s acting wasn’t as good as it would be in The Crow), but managed to keep me entertained.

 

#18 Chocolate

The fights are fun, but as the film goes on, things start to get a bit monotonous.  That being said, the finale at the apartment complex provided that extra “Ooomph!” to make it stand out from everything preceding it.  Plus it’s great to see a martial arts flick with a woman who can kick ass, and is choreographed well enough to make it seem like she is capable of kicking ass, and not having too many of those bullshit fast cuts to cover up the fact that the girl isn’t capable of kicking ass like this.  Although this sequence does raise 2 questions.  1.) Just how many minions does this villain have at his disposal, considering how many got offed prior to this scene?  2.) Why the fuck don’t these idiots take a hint?  Seriously, doesn’t it ever get to the point where they have to start thinking, “Ok, we’re not capable of kicking this girl’s ass.  You’re on your own boss.”?  Made me a fan of Jeeja Yanin, who would go on to display more of her talent in Raging Phoenix among others.

 

#17 BKO: Bangkok Knockout

I’m not going to lie, this movie really isn’t that great.  The story sucks all kinds of ass, and you’re not going to give a shit about any of the characters.  The only thing that makes this film worth watching is all the fight scenes that are littered throughout this film.  Seriously, the whole thing is basically non-stop fighting scenes.  While they’re all fun in their own way, the stand-out fight is the cage fight.  I’m amazed that this was pulled off without wire-work (or if there was wires involved, it was used pretty damn well because I couldn’t tell).

 

#16 Man of Tai Chi

Keanu Reeves, he knows what he’s doing when it comes to making martial arts films.  This film delivers on providing bitchin’ martial arts fights.  It does have its shares of issues however, mainly how dumb the villains get when it comes to handling this female cop who’s onto them.  Plus they threw away their opportunity for what could’ve been the best fight in the last 20 years by having the protagonist Tiger Chen puss out on fighting Iko Uwais (that guy from The Raid films, more on that later).  But despite that, there’s still some great fights, including the finale fight between Chen and Reeves.  It’s the one fight that made me go, “Hey, Keanu’s still got it!”  This was before John Wick came out for the record.

 

#15 Game of Death

Now this.  This is Bruce Lee’s magnum opus.  It would’ve put all his other films to shame if he completed it, but he didn’t.  He died before he could finish it.  Because of that, they scrapped what footage they could and put it into a piss-poor excuse for a Bruce Lee film.  If you want to see this as it was originally intended (minus any footage Bruce Lee didn’t shoot), then go watch the documentary A Warrior’s Journey, which is a special feature on some editions of Way of the Dragon (not the 40th anniversary edition unfortunately), which is not only a solid documentary on the man, the myth, the legend, but also compiles all that footage Lee shot, and shows it the way Lee originally wanted.  Bruce Lee facing off against 3 men, 1 on a different level of the tower Lee is climbing for the treasures at the top (sounds like inspiration for some videogames doesn’t it?).  The highlight is the first fight, a nun-chuck fight.  Don’t think I’ve seen that replicated in any other movie, save for a brief duration during the finale of Black Dynamite.

#14 Dragons Forever

Jackie Chan vs. Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.  I’d say more, but I’m going to save that for a later entry below.  Let’s just say this particular film is a bit special for Jackie Chan, as this would be the last film he would do with his pals Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.  This was their swan song movie, and it didn’t disappoint.

 

#13 Special ID

Ah, Donnie Yen.  No top fight list is complete without him showing up somewhere.  This particular fight scene demonstrates the influence of mixed martial arts, UFC stuff, making its mark in films.  The way they fight and the mixing of submission moves demonstrates a shift in martial arts films, though I don’t believe this shift caught too much weight.  It showed signs early on with Flash Point (was tempted to add that, but decided on this one instead), and it matured greatly here.  The MMA style looked more natural in this film.

 

#12 Ip Man

Yep, Donnie again.  While this movie is good, I don’t hold it in as high of regard as most people seem to.  That being said, the whole thing is worth watching just to get to this amazing fight in the middle section where Donnie takes on 10 men in a dojo.  Easily the best moment in the movie.

 

#11 Oldboy

The infamous long take that inspired all other long take fight sequences.  One man against an army.  Absolutely incredible sequence.

 

#10 Wheels on Meals

Ah, and here’s the first time Jackie Chan fought against Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.  Their first encounter so good, audiences demanded it happen again, which it did in Dragons Forever.  This was also when Jackie Chan was teaming up with his two buddies and making several films with them, including Project A among others.  But it’s the fight between Jackie Chan and Urquidez that makes this film stand out.  Benny is a fucking beast.  I swear, this guy moves as fast as Bruce Lee.  Not to mention, in reality, Benny had gone undefeated in the kickboxing world.  And Jackie Chan said something during post-production, jokingly of course, that he could probably whip Benny’s ass anytime he wanted just like he did in the film.  Well, soon after that, Benny met Jackie outside, and challenged him, basically all like, “If you were being serious, try me out right here right now.”  Jackie backed down, stating it was just a joke.

 

#9 Ip Man 2

I’m hesitant to put another Ip Man film on here.  But screw it, I like this fight.  Donnie Yen returns in the sequel in a finale that I consider to be better than that of the previous film.  Fairly intense fight where Ip Man takes on someone who is clearly stronger than him.

 

#8 The Girl from Naked Eye

The movie itself, it’s not all that special.  And if it wasn’t for this fight sequence, it would be forgettable.  But it has this 4-on-1 fight near the end that is not only a long take, but it looks completely believable.  This seriously looks like something that could be pulled off in real life.  Everyone gets more and more exhausted and out of breath as the fight goes on, and the protagonist doesn’t get out of it easily.  The protagonist gets the shit kicked out of him, and it shows.  Yet he manages to overcome the odds.  More believable than the Oldboy fight sequence, and quite possible the most realistic and grounded many-vs.-one fight sequence ever put on film.  I guess it’s because it’s not that well-known that made me push it so high on the list, but it’s not like I couldn’t change my mind sometime down the line.  It’s unfortunate that the main star, Jason Yee, hasn’t really been in anything else noteworthy, save for The Dark Knight Rises.  He never really got to show off his martial arts skills in anything else that’s notable.

 

#7 The Legend of Drunken Master

Jackie Chan again (this will be the last one with him, I promise).  This is my favorite film of his.  It’s so good that there are 2 fights in this film that I think are equally good, so I couldn’t just pick one.  Jackie vs. the axe gang, with awesome use of bamboo.  And the finale fight, of course, include a portion where Jackie falls onto a giant bed of fiery coals that makes me cringe every time I see it.  Oh, and the finale took several months to film.  The quality shows.

 

#6 Tom Yum Goong (aka The Protector)

Finally, Tony Jaa makes an appearance.  This was the film that made me a fan of his.  Christ, several great fights in this film, I’d hate to only choose one.  But I’ll only choose one, the long take going up several flights of stairs.  Oh, and if you ever see this movie, be sure to see the Thai cut, the Tom Yum Goong version.  Increases the length of some fight scenes and makes the film flow more naturally.

 

#5 The Man From Nowhere (aka Uncle)

A knife fight during the finale.  Short and sweet.  Not much else to say.  Bin Won vs. Thanayong Wongtrakul.

 

#4 SPL: Killzone

Donnie Yen again, and this will also be the last one for him on this list.  This time he faces off against Wu Jing.  A knife against baton fight that has an unbelievable speed and pace to it.  I don’t know of any other duo who could’ve pulled this off.

 

#3 Tiger on the Beat

The finale in this movie is the best finale I’ve ever seen in an action film ever.  Can’t say the entire finale made this list because, well, guns and bullets are involved.  However, there is one thing that manages to be better than the gunfights.  A chainsaw duel with Conan Lee.  This chainsaw duel makes the one in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Motel Hell look like pillow fights by comparison.

No video for it, but here’s a link to a site that does: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/videos/a-movies-epic-chainsaw-fight/82993805/

 

#2 Ong Bak 2

The entire finale.  Man, Tony Jaa doesn’t just do hand to hand combat and use different martial arts styles in a few situations, but also uses multiple types of weapons, and fight around and on top of an elephant.  How can you not love this sequence?

 

#1 The Raid 2

There’s Iko Uwai again.  This demonstrates why Tiger Chen should’ve fought against him in Man of Tai Chi.  The last major fight scene in the film.  Going from hand to hand fighting, until the villain realizes he can’t win in a fair fight, so then knives get involved and ratchet up the tension, along with the blood drops.  Going up against Cecep Arif Rahman.

 

 

Epilogue

To close this out, I’m taking this discussion away from movie fights and towards a fight that matters, that affects all Internet users.  December 14th, the FCC and that cocksucker Ajit Pai are going to vote to end Net Neutrality.  This isn’t the first time the FCC threatened to destroy it, but it could be the last, if they succeed.  Because if they fail to end net neutrality, they will try again 1-2 years after that, and if they fail, another 1-2 years after that, and on and on until it is repealed.  So protest, go to battleforthenet.com, call your congressmen who likely won’t listen to you, do what you can to let your voice be heard even if big corporations like Verizon and Comcast will do everything they can to drown you out.  This is something worth fighting for.  Honestly, the best we can hope for is to delay, delay, delay, until someone like Kim Dotcom finishes creating some alternative to the Internet that will hopefully last just as long if not longer, until the whole process repeats again.  Don’t let these assholes throttle and block without a fight.

An out of nowhere discussion on feminism, masculinity, and tranny.

So I didn’t intend to get into a debate, but this kinda ended up happening.  Putting it on this site just in case the comments get removed for some reason (anything is possible).  Started in the comments thread of this video, starting with MakiPCR’s response to Comic Book Girl 19’s review:

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.

Loom (MS-DOS, Amiga)

A point-and-click adventure game with an interesting story that makes you think.  Honestly, with very few exceptions, point-and-click games, while I’ve enjoyed some in the past, usually don’t interest me (with the exceptions being Riven, Obduction, and Blade Runner).  They’re nothing but glorified interactive stories, done better in RPG games like Final Fantasy.  Most of them rely on these dumb fucking puzzles that most people can’t solve without finding a guide somewhere or spending countless hours on something that should only take a minute.  So I usually end up watching the “movie” version online, with someone playing through it who knows the game well enough to get through it.  If the story is good enough, it has my interest.

But I’m not going to let my general disliking for point-n-click games get in the way of pointing out a classic for those interested in this genre.  Plus it has a cool style to it.  And Lucasfilm was killing it in the point-n-click genre during the 90s.

 

 

Wings (Amiga)

Now, while I did say that Supremacy was arguably the best game of the month, this one was easily the most popular.  In fact, it’s considered to be one of the best games ever put out on the Amiga.  The other major flight sim next to Top Gun 2, except it didn’t just focus on flying around and shooting planes out of the sky.  There were a few different mission types with different perspectives, and stuff to do between missions.  And it had a bit of a storyline to it.

 

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.

 

Edit 10/25/2017: Added in 2 entries to the Video Games section, Loom and Wings.  I can’t believe I overlooked Wings for the initial post.

 

The Las Vegas Gun Violence (10-2-2017)

I know what’s going to happen. Regardless of the shooter’s affiliation, whether he’s just some crazy old man who decided to go insane at this moment in his life, or if some organization convinced him to do this (be it religious or political), the same thing is going to happen that always happens in situations like this, regardless of how high or low the body count is (though from what I’ve gathered this is the highest body count yet from a shooting massacre). Most mainstream media outlets are going to call for gun control and a ban on guns. So that this won’t ever happen again. Late night talk shows are going to preach this message, most news organizations are going to preach this message, and trolls on any website that has a comments section will be blaring as loudly as they possibly can that guns should be removed from everyone. They never let a crisis go to waste. Hillary Clinton sure doesn’t.

Some sources say the shooter did all this because the crazy old man converted to Islam and joined ISIS a few months prior to this incident, but this could happen whether or not that is the case. For all we know, it could just be some old guy who despises country music and anyone who listens to it. Besides, information like this can’t be trusted or relied upon during the first 24-48 hours after an incident like this. Too much misinformation flies around.

My position on this matter is to disagree with those statements entirely. Banning weapons is not the answer, otherwise places like Chicago would be a better place to live. However, when a gunman is able to store a bunch of rifles in his hotel room including a machine gun in a state that has lax gun laws to the point that you don’t need a permit or license to purchase any (at least when it comes to non-private sales), that tends to raise a few eyebrows at the very least. While I don’t believe guns should be banned, I do believe that only responsible people should be able to purchase them, which is why I do believe that permits should be mandatory. It just saddens me that some people can be so violent and crazy and untrustworthy that it makes this necessary.

On the other hand, even those with permits could still pull something like this off. Even those with insane evil intentions can act proper, mature, and of sound mind when it comes to acquiring weapons before they decide to use them.

It all reminds me of a post I made (long before I established this website) regarding a shooting incident in December 2012, in regards to a school shooting:

God o’mighty, another big news story that will last for weeks, only to get gradually more and more politically and media biased in some form or another, until you get sick of hearing about it. Personally, I’m already sick of it on day 2. The media won’t handle this any differently than the death of a single celebrity, except that there’s more tragedy in it (a bunch of children killed).

Don’t get me wrong, this event is sad as hell, but I hate the discussions that spawn from stuff like this. There’s always some uptight radical asshole (religious or otherwise) who will say something on the event that will piss people off for the wrong reasons. There’s always some news channel that will spin it in a despicable way. There will always be a dipshit politician who will try to make his/her own political gain/agenda from the event. There will always be some guy/gal who will say the law should change in some way that involves removing someone’s right and/or giving more power to the higher-ups (or in some rare cases taking it away). And last of all, all of the above (and more) will have me pissed off enough to post a rant about it.

Let’s face it, stuff like this has been going on a lot longer than some of us would believe. 1902. Year 1902 A.D, October 10. That’s when the first school shooting ever took place, in Altona, Manitoba, in an event known as The Altona Schoolhouse Shooting. It happened then, it happened a few years ago, it happened recently, and I have no doubt it will happen again. If guns didn’t exist, people would be using knives instead, because there is always some person out there who becomes fucked up enough to do shit like that.

Basically what I’m saying is, it doesn’t matter what law is passed, what actions are taken, or what year it is, tragedies like this are inevitably going to take place at some point in time. Only thing we can do his get over it and move on. If an agreeable way can be found to make such an event have a less likely chance of happening in the foreseeable future, that would be a bonus. No point in trying to make other people’s lives miserable by moping over it for too long, or by imposing your own set of laws/standards that hurt more people than it helps. Just let everyone be. If another f’d up person shows up wanting to start a killing spree, hope that there is another person (or multiple people) on the scene with the freedom (that no one should take away) to stop that person ASAP. You don’t have to be a security guard to do so, you just need to realize you can do so yourself, and have the balls to do it (ladies, we all know you can also grow a pair too; don’t think your excluded).

My feelings haven’t changed much in that regard since. If someone really wanted to kill a lot of people, there are alternative means to guns. If guns were banned, assuming they couldn’t get a hold of guns on the black market, they would use explosives instead. Every bit as illegal once cobbled together, but more difficult to track.

And there’s another thing to consider. This is one major incident that doesn’t happen very often. If guns were banned in order to stop a major incident like this from happening, what would the consequences of that be? Thankfully there are examples to make my point. In 1996, Australia implemented a gun ban, with the intent to cause violence to plummet. Well, gun violence did plummet (although didn’t altogether disappear, still making up for 20% of all homicides even after the ban), but other types of violence rose, such as sexual assault, manslaughter, armed robbery, kidnapping, and unarmed robbery (Source). The same thing thing happened in the UK with the same results (Source). And other studies, including by John R. Lott, have shown consistently that crime rises when guns are banned or made difficult to get a hold of (Source).

The bottom line, even if guns are banned, even if we disregard the purpose of the second amendment and why every citizen of sound mind should be able to have access to a gun, even if that does prevent major incidents of massacres such as the one that happened recently in Las Vegas, this would inevitably lead to an overall increase in crime that would defeat the purpose of banning guns in the first place. Sure, that would most likely prevent a massacre that would kill 5-80 people within the course of an hour or less; but this would be offset by having just as many people killed, if not more-so, overall, only more spread out over a series of days/months/years.

And people ask for the government to help them out. Has the government ever been that efficient at helping out citizens? Can you honestly say that with a straight face without lying through your teeth? I say that there is a reason why they say freedom isn’t free. It’s because the free have to work everyday to maintain their freedom. That includes being capable of defending your freedoms and defending yourselves. Because we will always be susceptible to dangers like this. Live with it, because it could be worse than it is now.

Besides, a lot of them speak as if banning guns will enhance our security and our safety, as if its possible for someone to live life without any danger, with a full sense of security, without needing to worry about anything. Bullshit! Danger will always be in our lives, in one form or another; ok that’s a lie, it will be in multiple forms. The point is, you have to live with danger. Besides, saying there can be safety without danger is like saying there can be light without darkness, good without evil. Live with danger. Live being prepared for danger. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Be tough, not weak. Be independent and worthy of living free.

 

 

Edit:

The only reason I’m including this little bit of information here is because it ties into the next movie post I’m making on this site.  So apparently ESPN (and Fox Sports from what I understand) was planning on not airing the national anthem segment of football games so that the controversy can be ignored and that the protesting players won’t get their free air time.  It pisses me off that it’s come to that, but that was their plan.  But now, as a result of this shooting, ESPN has decided to reverse this decision for the Monday game, 10-2-2017.  Let’s see if these assholes decide to kneel this time.

Why I can’t/won’t run WordAds

You’ve been warned, thrice.

So I’ve been wanting to start running ad revenue on my site, and I looked into Google AdSense and WordAds (which could end up getting Google AdSense).  But it turns out it’s not that simple unless I’m willing to conform.  For instance, what is prohibited on sites that use WordAds:

5. Prohibited Content. The following content and/or conduct is prohibited on sites that display Automattic Ads:

– Anything that is unlawful or promotes unlawful activity.
– Spam.
– Pornography or adult content.
– Graphic or gratuitous violence.
– Hate speech or incitements to violence.
– Harassment or the encouragement of the harassment of others.
– Disclosure of others’ personal information.
– Malicious code/malware/spyware or other technologically harmful code.
– Intellectual property infringement.
– Impersonation with the intent to confuse, defraud, or defame any third party.
– Any content that is inappropriate or not “family safe” as determined by us in our sole discretion.

1.) Don’t do anything unlawful or that promotes unlawful activity.  Fair enough, what else?

2.) Pornography or adult content.  Fuck you I won’t run adult content.  I might be able to avoid the pornography stuff (but since I’m not going to be utilizing this ad service, all bets are off on that now; yep, I might review pornographic material some time down the line).  But adult content?  What the fuck!?  What classifies adult content?  F words and B words like fucking bitch or something?  Violence?  Nudity?  Sex?  Politically incorrect language?

3.) Graphic or gratuitous violence.  Yeah, fuck that.  Sometimes the most awesome thing in a movie involves graphic violence.

4.) Hate speech or incitements to violence.  Well what qualifies as hate speech?  By Google’s standards, that could be just about fucking anything!

5.) Harassment or the encouragement of the harassment of others.  So long as this isn’t mixed in with criticism, fair enough.

6.) Disclosure of others’ personal information.  Of course, that should be taken for granted.  It’s the most unethical thing one could probably do short of making a live and real suicide/rape/murder video and posting it, unless it’s somehow for educational purposes.

7.) Malicious code/malware/spyware or other technologically harmful code.  No problem.

8.) Intellectual property infringement.  Uh, yeah, I’d like to keep within this line, but it’s so fucking easy to end up doing this, accidentally or otherwise.  But I could try.

9.) Impersonation with the intent to confuse, defraud, or defame any third party.  No problem.

10.) Any content that is inappropriate or not “family safe” as determined by us in our sole discretion.  Fuck you.

 

 

Anyway, if I’m to continue to run this site the way I want, within legal boundaries of course, without prohibiting the sort of images/gifs/vids I can share with everyone (whether I made them myself or witnessed them and want everyone else to witness them), I can’t run WordAds.  If I am to continue to be politically incorrect and continue my philosophy of rallying against politically correct language and SJW bullshit, I can’t run WordAds.

Which means, unless there’s an alternative I’m missing, the only way is through donations from visitors like you who visit this site for the reviews/information/entertainment.  Donations to Patreon or Paypal.

Anyway, sometime down the road, I’m going to have to review something pornographic.  I do have a couple things in mind.