Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: July 1990

Members of 2 Live Crew formally charged with obscenity in Florida.  400 New Kids on the Block fans treated for heat exhaustion in Minnesota.  2 Live Crew release “Banned in the USA” the lyrics quote Star Spangled Banner and Gettysburg Address.  “Jetsons the Movie” by Hanna-Barbera with Tiffany, premieres.  First Three Tenors concert featuring Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti at Baths of Caracalla in Rome – recording of is world’s best-selling classical record.  Andrew Dice Clay cries on Arsenio Hall Show.  NYC police arrest “Dartman” (stabbed over 50 women with darts).  “Howard Stern’s Summer Show” premieres on WWOR-TV (NYC).  Civil trial by parents of Suicide victims against Judas Priest begins.  NYC’s Empire State Building catches fire-no fatalities.  Rick Dee’s “Into the Night” premieres on ABC-TV.  Ukraine declares independence.  Richard Nixon library opens in Yorba Linda, California.  Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is performed where the Berlin Wall once stood.  Roseanne Barr sings the National Anthem at Cincinnati Reds-San Diego Padres game, and caused controversy because of how she sang it.  US President George H. W. Bush signs Americans With Disabilities Act.

This month in 1990 brought about this label placed on various music albums.  Thanks to 2 Live Crew, and Uncle Luke

Music

The Afghan Whigs: Up In It; Jeff Lynne: Armchair Theatre; Devo: Smooth Noodle Maps (received negatively upon its release, but some say it’s misunderstood; even then, no one would really call this a masterpiece on a good day); Steve Earle: The Hard Way; Harry Conick Jr.: Lofty’s Roach Souffle (if you want some nice Jazz); The Time: Pandemonium (funk isn’t really my thing, but the rest of you might find the song “Jerk Out” interesting, and the title of another song “Donald Trump (Black Version)” amusing); Aztec Camera: Stray; Three Hypnotics: Live’r Than God; Boogie Down Productions: Edutainment (certified gold); The Neville Brothers: Brother’s Keeper;

Suicidal Tendencies: Lights… Camera… Revolution!

No, it’s not something I’d listen to regularly.  It’s included simply because of their popularity, particularly from this album (some would call it a 90s essential).  The music video “You Can’t Bring Me Down” on MTV contributed to that.  That being said, I do fancy the lyrics to the track “Lost Again.”

Took my dreams, ya left them there shattered
Took my hopes, ya dug ’em and they splattered
Took my mind like it didn’t even matter

Entered a world that I didn’t belong
Thought I could take it but I stayed too long
Thought I could handle it, boy was I wrong

Fighting a war I can never win
Where the nightmare never ever ends
And I’m, not into playing

Got into a war with reality
That motherfucker it was waiting for me
And I lost again

The Allman Brothers Band: Seven Turns

No comment.

Santana: Spirits Dancing in the Flesh

Again, not a fan of this stuff.  But considering how big this band was, and how revered this album is…

Harry Connick Jr.: We Are In Love

Another one I’m not a fan of (it’s just the music style in general, Jazz normally isn’t my thing).  But since it hit multi-platinum, and was a major it across the Jazz and Pop scene, it can’t be ignored.  Plus this maniac released a solo album alongside this one.

Iggy Pop: Brick By Brick

Yet another album with a famous musician which made a music video directed by David Fincher used to promote a film.  Except the film, Black Rain, was released last year.

Poison: Flesh and Blood

Had the hits “Unskinny Bop,” “Something to Believe In,” “Ride the Wind,” “Life Goes On,” and “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice.”

Adamski: Liveandirect

Normally wouldn’t have much interest in this.  Rave music isn’t my thing.  However, according to Dazed Digital, stated that this is the first rave album ever released, so it has that historic thing going for it.

2 Live Crew: Banned in the U.S.A.

Again, I’m normally not into Hip-Hop and rap.  However, this is one album can’t be ignored.  Why?  Because around this time 2 Live Crew became highly controversial.  So controversial that the highlighted album “Banned in the U.S.A.” being sold today doesn’t contain the song “Fuck Martinez,” with Bob Martinez being the at-the-time Florida governor; and the song also says “fuck Navarro,” referring to Florida police sheriff Nick Navarro.  Why fuck them?  Because they filed obscenity charges, and arrested store owners for selling the album (likely for their previous album As Nasty As They Want To Be).  And most importantly of all, this was the album responsible for the creation of the Parental Advisory sticker that is imprinted on obscene albums.  Historic for its impact on culture, and bringing a spotlight to the issue of censorship.

Ian Gillan: Naked Thunder

I’m partial to “Gut Reaction” and “Sweet Lolita.”

Blind Guardian: Tales From the Twilight World

Interesting enough.

Mother Love Bone: Apple

Another one of those grunge pioneer groups (though it doesn’t sound too much like grunge).  What makes them notable is that the lead singer Andrew Wood OD’d on heroine and died in the hospital a few days before their first and only full-studio-length album was released.  A short run that is all the more tragic considering this is a solid album in of itself, and it would’ve been nice to see what else they could’ve produced.

Jellyfish: Bellybutton

This is probably one of the most underappreciated pop/rock albums in existence.

Movies

Films that didn’t make the cut: Jetsons: The Movie (disappointing, even more-so considering two of the voice actors died prior to the film’s release, one even died while doing the voice recording).

Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Ok look, I didn’t care too much for this one, many others feel the same, yet it was big enough to be constantly mentioned and referenced and advertised.  So there, it exists.  Take it or leave it.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

This movie has become a cult classic, but it’s only because it stars Andrew “Dice” Clay who was one of the most popular stand-up comedians at the time.  Because other than that, this film really isn’t anything special.  And it bombed in theaters, and critically reviled, and given the Raspberry award.

Ghost

Well, we’ve got ourselves another all-time classic that got released this year (how many are we at now? 5?).  Major box office success.  And the highest grossing film of 1990.  Plus it has this scene that was referenced and parodied a lot since then:

Arachnophobia

Oh yes.  Now this is the best, and most terrifying (for those who are scared of spiders) spider film that will ever exist.  Another classic (though more on the cult side compared to Ghost).

The Freshman

Some people give this movie crap, but I liked it for what it was.  Plus, it’s got a komodo dragon in it; that gives it some cred.

Navy SEALs

It’s a dumb fun action movie.  That is all.

Prisoners of the Sun (aka Blood Oath)

Relatively unknown film about Japanese prisoners post-WWII in Australia, having their fates determined by the court, and how some political relations bias interfered with some judgments, causing some to be punished who shouldn’t have, while others were able to get off Scott-free.  Tragic, but important.

Presumed Innocent

Another blockbuster hit, and one of the top ten highest grossing films of 1990.  A thriller mystery that’s actually quite good.  Harrison Ford was on a roll with films like these, alongside the earlier films Frantic and Witness.

Problem Child

This poster received some backlash from the Defense of Animals organization, who called for protests against it, which forced some theater chains to remove it.  Because we can’t have it implied Jr. stuck a cat in the drier, that would be too demented.  So let’s stick the dad in there with the revised poster.

Oh God.  This is one of those films I can’t stand to watch today.  It has a lot of that stuff in kid flicks, especially during the 90s, that drive me up the fucking wall.  I wanted this kid to die, in multiple ways.  But of course, we all know that’s not going to happen.  And the kid manages to do and get away with stuff that shouldn’t be in the realm of possibility.  At least Michael Richards (aka Kramer from Seinfeld) is in this to elevate it a notch or two.  I don’t like this film, but it was a box office success (and an even bigger success in the video market), which would leave the door wide open for a sequel to be made.

 

Games

There was a game called Image Fight on the NES, but it’s a much lesser port of the arcade version.  So much lesser, that I would be ashamed if I included it here (same thing applies to Bad Dudes).  Bigfoot (NES) is a monster truck racing game that’s too complicated control-scheme-wise to be considered good.  The Amazing Spider-Man (Game Boy); not considered great  (decent at best); but it would pave the way for things to come, as it’s not only one of the first Spider-Man games to ever be made, but also one of the first Rare (game company) games to ever be made.

Little League Baseball: Championship Series (July 1990; NES)

 

It has its fans.

 

Dusty Diamond’s All-Star Softball (July 1990; NES)

Another for those into sports games.

 

Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements (July 1990; NES)

Man, that image for the game is epic.  As for the game itself, it’s not considered one of the greatest, but again, there are people who enjoyed it.  Difficult to get into, and requires some note-taking.  Not something I would play personally,  but you might be interested:

 

 

Crystalis (July 1990; NES)

Hailed as one of the greatest RPGs few have heard of, in the same vane as Legend of Zelda, and the later SNES game Secret of Mana.

 

 

Snake Rattle ‘n Roll (July 1990; NES)

Before there was Sonic 3D Blast, there was this game.  Tough and fun.

 

 

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (July 1990; NES)

Jesus.  I hate these types of RPGs.  Confusing as fuck.  Hard as fuck too.  And it’s not something I would consider fun.  But it was influential, and spawned other superior games.  So if nothing else, for historical significance.

 

Final Fantasy (July 12, 1990; NES)

Where it all started.  While Phantasy Star may have been released prior to this in the U.S., this had been in Japan since 1987.  It took 3 years for it to get here.  And when it did, Phantasy Star had some serious competition, which would cause their downfall in the long run.

 

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (July 24, 1990; Sega Genesis)

There’s also an Arcade version, but the main one people are familiar with is the one on the Genesis.  It was famous because it was released while Jackson was still at the height of his popularity.  It’s not a good game, but it has huge cultural relevance.

 

Gargoyle’s Quest (July 1990; Game Boy)

Starring Firebrand, who makes an appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom.  Considered one of the best Game Boy games ever made.  For a Game Boy game, it’s definitely a cut above the rest.

 

Lock n’ Chase (July 1990; Game Boy)

It’s like an alternative to Pac-Man.  And a pretty good one at that.  Another great Game Boy game.

 

 

Penguin Wars (July 1990; Game Boy)

Interesting dodge-ball-esque game.  Port of an arcade.

 

Dexterity (July 1990; Game Boy)

Tile flipping game that will make you stressed enough to flip something else.

 

Daedalian Opus (July 1990; Game Boy)

Yet another puzzle game on the Game Boy.  Well, let’s face it, that limited spec system could only work with puzzle games as its primary genre.  Fit the blocks in the space allotted.

 

Dr. Mario (July 27, 1990; NES, Game Boy)

Surely you’ve heard of this Tetris-inspired classic.

 

 

 

TV Shows

There was this one obscure show called Wish You Were Here, which was a scripted (yet tried not to act like it was) show where the “host” visited various locations, and basically pointed out the good stuff about it.  Too obscure and unknown to really mention too much, but I recall seeing a bit of it back in the day.  There was also this other sitcom show that ran for only a couple months called Glory Days, which is only worth mentioning because Brad Pitt was in it.  Lastly, there was another show trying to capitalize on the popularity of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Tim Conway’s Funny America.

SK8-TV (July 4, 1990; Nickelodeon)

SK8-TV Logo

The skateboard variety show by Nickelodeon.  It had a young and career-rising Tony Hawk, and was also created/produced by the original Dogtown and Z-Boys.  Good lord, I’ve never heard of this show until now.  I wish I’d known about it back in the day.

 
Wild & Crazy Kids (July 4, 1990 – December 1, 1992; Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon always had a thing for wacky game shows.  Great stuff.

 
Blossom (July 5, 1990 – 1995 [Pilot preview]; NBC)

TV Review: Blossom On The Hub Network – Geek Alabama

A sitcom many would consider this show very dated and too corny nowadays, but it made a big enough impact to last 5 seasons.  Doubt I’d ever watch it, but it was a thing at the time.

 
Dream On (July 8, 1990 – March 27, 1996; HBO)

Managed to run for 6 seasons despite never being all that popular, in terms of numbers of viewers.  Yet it had a strong cult following in the day, with several proclaiming it to be the show Sex & the City wishes it could be.  And it was geared towards adults, pushing the envelope of what was allowed on TV.  Being on HBO, it could get away with a little more than normal.  A bit difficult to track this show down, as only the first 2 seasons ever got a DVD release, and it’s out of circulation.  From what I’ve seen of it, I do rather enjoy the whole flashback to old movies/shows in an Ally McBeal style fashion, except this predates Ally McBeal, and uses old film footage instead of original FX gags.  Probably what makes it difficult to put onto DVD, rights issues and all.

 

Northern Exposure (July 12, 1990 – 1995; CBS)

Northern Exposure (1990) for Rent on DVD - DVD Netflix

Considered one of the best and one of the most intelligent TV shows ever made.

 
The Howard Stern Show (July 14, 1990 – August 8, 1992; WWOR-TV (Syndication in 1991))

It is what it is.  You’ve probably heard this guy’s name at some point in your life.  Hard-cutting and extremely controversial satire show where threats of censorship and pulling the plug on the show happened frequently.

 

 
Swamp Thing (July 27, 1990 – May 1, 1993; USA)

Swamp Thing (TV Series) Title Card

Yup.

Edit (7-8-2019): Miscalculated the release date of this album by Jellyfish. It was released this month, it’s a good album, so it’s been added to the Music section.

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: June 1990

Cowboy Channel on cable TV begins transmitting.  “Turtle Power” by Partners In Kryme hits #13.  Greyhound Bus files bankruptcy.  Dr Jack Kevorkian assisted an Oregon woman to commit suicide, beginning a national debate over the right to die.  “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” last airs on Fox-TV.  Supreme Court says law prohibiting desecration of US flag unconstitutional.  “Mariah Carey” debut album by Mariah Carey is released.  Supreme Court rules police check for drunk drivers constitutional.  “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer peaks at #8.  Asteroid Eureka is discovered.  NYC’s Zodiac killer shoots 4th victim, Larry Parham.  At Yankee Stadium rally, Nelson Mandela dons a NY Yankee baseball cap and proclaims “I am a Yankee!”.  Adam Sandler joins “Saturday Night Live”.  A rally to save Alien Nation from cancellation held at Statue of Liberty.  Police find marijuana at Chuck Berry’s home.  “Dave Thomas Comedy Show” last airs on CBS-TV.  NBC decides to air episodes of “Quantum Leap” for 5 straight days.

This month, it was all about the videogames.  What a glorious month for gaming.  But first, as a warm-up…

Music

Stuff I don’t care for (that either wasn’t a big enough culture hit, or it managed to make the top charts in some category) that you might dig: Tiamat: Sumerian Cry (I may like heavy metal, but I despise death metal); Anita Baker: Compositions; Keith Sweat: I’ll Give All My Love To You; Colin James: Sudden Stop; Deicide: Deicide; Dusty Springfield: Reputation (her big comeback album after 11 years without releasing new material); Sonic Youth: Goo; Cheap Trick: Busted; James: Gold Mother; Robert Cray: Midnight Stroll.

New Kids on the Block: Step by Step

Oh Jesus.  Ok, so this is not my kind of music.  But considering how famous these guys have gotten, how heavily they were being promoted, and all the goddamn merchandise they were selling, I can’t exactly ignore them.

Teenage Fanclub: A Catholic Education

Very rough around the edges (though this was their debut album, and I hear they improve later in their career), but it does have some nice beats to it.  Kinda groovy once you get past the rough stuff.  The track “Heavy Metal II” won me over.

Bad Company: Holy Water

Mariah Carey: Mariah Carey

Debut album from this famous singer.  Personally, I don’t care for this music, at all.  But considering how well known she is, kinda have to include it.

Mike Oldfield: Amarok

This is more on the unique side.  It’s intended to be listened to in its entirety rather than have a single standout track.  And, uh, I don’t know if I like it or don’t.

Alias: Alias

The band seems on the verge of going more hard edge than it is in this album.  But this was a big debut for this new band, and I do enjoy “Haunted Heart.”

Green on Red: This Time Around

I like this album.  That is all.

Uncle Tupelo: No Depression

Normally not interested in country music, though I will admit this is a tad above average.  Plus it’s classified as “alternative country” rather than just plain country, which is probably why it appeals to me a little more.  Main reason I’m including this is because it is considered one of the most important alternative country albums ever released, mainly because of its impact on the alternative country genre.  Not to mention it helped kick-start the “Americana” music movement.  Can’t ignore it because of the impact it made.

His Name is Alive: Livonia

Interesting.

Nelson: After the Rain

It’s just ok.  But their single “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” was the #1 hit for a while.  And considering this was their debut album, in that time period, that does make it an achievement.

Danzig: Danzig II Lucifuge

While not containing a single that ever got as popular as “Mother” (from their previous album), it’s a pretty damn solid album.  My choice for album of the month.

Sonic Youth: Goo

I initially didn’t want to add this here, mainly because the single “Mildred Pierce” sounded like nails on a chalkboard to me.  But since this album is considered one of the most important alternative rock records of all time, primarily for its contribution to the music culture, how influential it became…  Well, the whole album is very hit and miss for me.  And when it misses, it misses a lot harder than it hits in my opinion.  But that’s just my subjective opinion.

Gene Loves Jezebel: Kiss of Life

It’s worth listing just for the title song alone.  The single “Jealous” was considered a hit from what I understand; but the other song I really enjoyed was “Why Can’t I?”  Especially because that latter song would be so appropriate for Captain Marvel when you consider some of the lyrics.

Movies

Movies that didn’t make the cut: Another 48 Hours was an inferior sequel to the solid first film, and is ultimately forgettable.  With that out of the way, you’re about to witness why this is one of the best months in 1990.

Frankenhooker

I personally didn’t care for this movie, but it is a cult classic for many.

Total Recall

Now we’re talking.  One of my all time favorites, and one of the most well-known sci-fi flicks of all time.  Everyone knows (or should know) about this classic masterpiece.  Easily the best film of the month, by a mile.  Maybe even best of the year.  One of those movies that MADE this year.

Dick Tracy

Christ, all the build-up and hype for this film.  Even Madonna was hyping it up, mainly because she was starring in it too.  But this is one of those films that is not as good as it’s hyped up to be, it’s overlong, a bit tedious, and Warren Beatty is full of himself (and so is Madonna).  The first 15 minutes is as good as it gets.  Make-up effects are pretty damn good too.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

This is one of those sequels where there is heated debate to this day as to whether it’s better or worse than the first film.  Sometimes it can go so far as people saying you’ll either love it or hate it.  I’m one of those who finds it superior to the first, but that’s just me.

Robocop 2

It’s not as good as the first, but it has some good stuff to it.  Just got a little too goofy at times.  Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as the 3rd film.

Days of Thunder

Here’s that other Top Gun-like movie.  Except with race cars.  And, it’s alright for what it is.

Ghost Dad

Despite its bad rap, I find this film both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious.  I even made a drunk review of it.

Games

Others not listed that could be worth checking out: Shingen the Ruler (NES),
ESWAT: City under Siege (Sega Genesis), Batman (Game Boy), Shanghai (Game Boy), Little League Baseball: Championship Series (NES).  With that out of the way, get ready for bombardment of goodness.  This month offered gaming overload.

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend (June 1990; NES)

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend (Game) - Giant Bomb

It’s a solid port of the arcade version (by NES standards).  But one of the things people remember about this game is the music.

Boulder Dash (June 1990; NES)

Boulder Dash - Nintendo NES - Games Database

A classic, in my opinion.  The name is so familiar and nostalgic.

Bad News Baseball (June 1990; NES)

One of the more fun baseball games.  It may have some issues, but that’s because, in this game, you can play ball like a girl!

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (June 1990; NES)

It’s not that good, but people have, uh, memories of this one.  Left too much of an impression to ignore.

Arkista’s Ring (June 1990; NES)

It’s ok.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (June 1990; NES)

When we didn’t have Ducktales (woo-ooo), we had this.  There were enough times where licensed games were legitimately great.

Cabal (June 1990; NES)

Cabal (Game) - Giant Bomb

This is not to be confused with hunting simulators.  When it first came out at the arcades in the 80s, it set a standard for arcade third person shooters.

Captain Skyhawk (June 1990; NES)

Play Captain Skyhawk Nintendo NES online | Play retro ...
Why is this motherfucker flying with his eyes closed?

An ambitious NES game that simulated a 3D flying experience in the same way Sonic 3D Blast on the Sega Genesis (much much later) simulated a 3D Sonic game. About as good of graphics as the NES was capable of putting out.

Silkworm (June 1990; NES)

Silkworm (video game) - Wikipedia

Yep, another shoot-em-up that was cool.  With co-op, the way it is intended to be played.

Rad Racer II (June 1990; NES)

Rad Racer II (Game) - Giant Bomb

One of the most famous racing series to ever hit the NES.  Plus the first Rad Racer is also well-known particularly for the power glove scene in The Wizard.  Some prefer the first to the second, but the second has its fans too, and people enjoy it either way.

Pinball Quest Jaleco Entertainment (June 1990; NES)

What a fascinating concept for a pinball game.  A sort of pinball RPG.  The concept is great, but the execution is lacking, especially by today’s standards.  It can be very frustrating and repetitive, especially for those not all that skilled at these type of pinball games.  But it really stood out from every other pinball game back in the day.  Hell, this would stand out in the present day.

Starship Hector (June 1990; NES)

Bullet hell.  Hard as fuck.  Good luck.

Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos (June 1990; NES)

Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos (Game) - Giant Bomb

Whew.

The Mafat Conspiracy (June 1990; NES)

One of the main ways Americans were introduced to Golgo 13, based on the famous manga (which became an anime series, and an anime movie).  If not for that, I probably wouldn’t mention this.  I mean, yeah, there are people who enjoy it in spite of its faults, especially that cocksucking first person portion of the game.

Columns (June 1990; Arcade, Sega Genesis, Atari ST)

Yes, it’s time for the Sega Genesis to shine.  And it got an all time classic puzzle game.  True, it was also on the arcades and the Atari, but what mattered is that the Sega Genesis had it.  There’s just something about that music and sound effects.  So enchanting.

Ghostbusters (June 29, 1990; Sega Genesis)

Oh yeah.  Damn right.  One of the most revered Sega Genesis titles ever.

Budbrain (aka Megademo; June 1990; Amiga)

This has become a cult classic.  It’s just a demo for the Amiga system, or something like that.  But it’s a big thing for some people.

Target Earth (June 1990; Sega Genesis)

Don’t let the reviewer fool you, this game was fucking awesome.  Hard as balls, but so damn rewarding.

CyberBall (June 1990; Sega Genesis [ported from 1989 arcade])

This is one of those games that could get people who don’t normally enjoy football to play football.

 

Budokan: The Martial Spirit (June 1990; Sega Genesis, DOS)

A non-streamlined fighting game.  Intentionally complicated so you’re forced to play methodically.  Either you’re into this type of play style, or you’re not.

 

 
Sid Meier’s Covert Action (June 1990; MS-DOS, Amiga)

I’m just going to leave this here.  Don’t make the mistake of believing Sid Meier was only good at developing Civilization games.

Ultima VI: The False Prophet (July 1, 1990; MS-DOS, Amiga)

The last in the “Age of Enlightenment” trilogy.

 

 

TV Shows

Jack shit for tv shows this month.  Some attempted game shows like Monopoly and others that never caught on and never became anything special.  So, yeah, we’re ending the month on that note.  But let’s face it, we can’t become spoiled with every category in every month.  We had an unbelievable dose of great games, and that’s good enough as is.  Never mind that we also got Total Recall.

 

Edit (6-29-2016): Added Ultima VI and Budokan to the Video Game section.

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: May 1990

microsoft 3

Stuff that happened this month: Angela Bowie reveals that ex-husband David slept with Mick Jagger.  Nora Dunn and Sinead O’Connor boycott “Saturday Night Live” to protest Andrew Dice Clay’s hosting which was perceived as sexist; the show uses a time delay for the third time in its history.  “Cheers” star Kelsey Grammer sentenced to jail for 30 days for DWI.  European court rules on pension rights for men & women.  World Health Organization takes homosexuality out of its list of mental illnesses.  Hubble Space Telescope sends its 1st photographs from space.  Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.  NYC’s Zodiac killer shoots 3rd victim, Joseph Ponce.  James “Jim” Henson, American puppeteer, artist, screenwriter and filmmaker, best known as the creator of ‘the Muppets” (Sesame Street, The Muppet Show), dies of toxic shock syndrome caused by pneumonia at 53.

Source: https://www.onthisday.com/date/1990/may

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music

Music some may like that I don’t (again, I won’t include everything, as there’s too much, and I’m not exactly a connoisseur): Sonia: Everybody Knows; Kim Wilde: Love Moves; Tony! Toni! Toné!: The Revival; Adrian Belew: Young Lions; Doug Anthony All-Stars (notable for only releasing one album, which was successful in Australia, but banned in the UK); George Strait: Livin it UpThe Pretenders: Packed!; Katydids: Katydids; John Doe: Meet John Doe; The Breeders: Pod (maybe add this, with the track Fortunately Gone); Wire: Manscape.

Billy Idol: Charmed Life

His 4th studio album.  You should know his name, as he’s one of the most famous rock stars to have ever existed.  While I enjoy the whole album, the biggest hit was the single Charmed Life, which also had a hit music video directed by David Fincher, which also appeared in the film The Adventure’s of Ford Fairlane, an Andrew “Dice” Clay movie that would be coming out very soon this same year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flotsam & Jetsam: When the Storm Comes Down

Thrash metal.  Not considered their strongest album (it does get monotonous at times), but it does have some notable standouts such as The Master Sleeps, and Suffer the Masses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Lanegan: The Winding Sheet

Not bad, but I’m only really keen for “Mockingbirds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yngwie Malmsteen: Eclipse

“Devil in Disguise,” “Faultline,” “See You In Hell,” and “Save our Love” are pretty damn good songs.  In fact, the “See You In Hell” song has some beats similar to what would be used in Final Fantasy VIII battle music some years later.  This could very well be the best album of the month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Dickinson: Tattooed Millionaire

First singles album from the lead singer of Iron Maiden.  The song “Lickin’ the Gun” isn’t half bad either.  Rather enjoyed “All the Young Dudes,” if only to be reminded of that awesome song’s existence (originally done by Mott the Hoople).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dio: Lock Up the Wolves

It’s Dio.  You can’t go wrong with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y&T: Ten

Not bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Cube: AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted

Considering this is one of the most famous rappers and rap albums of all time, kinda have to include this just for the culture shock (though not as big of a culture shock as NWA, but that was the 80s).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madonna: I’m Breathless

Released to promote the film Dick Tracy, which would be released next month.  Also has a music video directed by David Fincher (that guy sure gets around) that was also a big hit.  Big hits were “Vogue” and “Hanky Panky.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jeff Healey Band: Hell to Pay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting

Behold the resurgence of the goth subculture.  And I’ll be damned if I didn’t find some of this catchy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Breeders: Pod

Quite unique and interesting girl band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movies

There was this one little movie called Bird on a Wire, starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn.  It sucked.  That’s why I’m not listing it.  But it does have some amount of popularity, mainly because it was such a terrible film made with a film starring two popular stars.  There’s also this bland forgettable Top Gun knockoff with Tommy Lee Jones and Nicolas Cage called Fire Birds that isn’t really worth recommending.  The better Top Gun knockoff would come next month.  Lastly, there’s this one film called The Swordsman, Chinese martial arts film (kind of), which was the first part of a trilogy of which many say the 2nd is the best.  I can’t seem to find a way of getting a hold of this film currently, so this blog might get revised if I ever do see it.  That being said, this wasn’t exactly what I would call a good month for movies in my personal opinion.

Short Time

Honestly, this movie is just an ok film.  So why mention it?  Because it has this amazing car chase sequence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie

http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/99/MPW-49945

This personally isn’t my kind of film.  I’m not really into horror anthologies, or even anthologies in general.  But it’s a cult classic that deserves to be mentioned, and you’ll likely enjoy it more than I did.  This film is also known as the true sequel to Creepshow 2.

Back to the Future: Part III

While it is considered the weakest of the trilogy, it’s still Back to the Future.

Class of 1999

Easily my favorite film of the month, by a mile.  Such a guilty pleasure.  Schools taken over by gangs, so cyborg teachers get sent in to get the students in line, and then they start a gang war, and it ends in a climax at the school with shootings and explosions and stuff.  And to be honest, it’s kind of eerie when you consider how relevant some of the thematic implications of this are today.

Games

I couldn’t find a large selection of games that were released this month in particular.  Either I’m missing a bunch of releases, or there weren’t very many released this month compared to the previous months.  Either way, here’s a short but very sweet selection.

Qix (May 1990; Game Boy)

Fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shove It! …The Warehouse Game (May 1990; Sega Genesis)

I’m getting a sense of deja vu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (May 1990; NES)

Are you a glutton for punishment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TV Shows

America’s Funniest People (May 1, 1990 – August 28, 1994; ABC)

America’s Funniest Home Video’s spiritual cousin; both shows aired during the same period (this one came a few months after AFHV got started).  I personally consider this to be inferior, but it has its fans, and it certainly ran for a long enough time period.

 

 

Talespin (May 5, 1990 – August 8, 1991; The Disney Channel)

Oh-eyah!

 

 

 

 

 

The Dave Thomas Comedy Show (May 28 – June 25, 1990; CBS)

Another comedy sketch show that was somewhat popular at the time, but has faded into obscurity.  Seriously, despite how it crashed and burned in the ratings, many today still think it was great, and wished it went longer.  Or even got a DVD release.

 

 

 

 

Edit (6-29-2017): Removed Final Fantasy from Video Games (the actual release date for that game in North America was in July).

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: April 1990

The “Ha!” comedy Channel on cable TV begins transmitting.  Wrestlemania VI, Ultimate Warrior fights Hulk Hogan.  World’s largest bunny hop at Radio City Music Hall (NYC).  Madonna starts her controversial Blond Ambition Tour in Tokyo, Japan.  Hubble space telescope is placed into orbit by shuttle Discovery.

 

Music

Honorable mention to the soundtracks that have their fans but that I can’t personally get into: The Lightning Seeds: Cloudcuckooland; Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Mask (I was never into this band, though it was difficult to get through the 90s without hearing them mentioned); Suzanne Vega: Days of Open Hand (won a Grammy); Lou Reed and Jon Cale: Songs for Drella; Barry Manilow: Live on Broadway (eventually reached Platinum status); A Tribe Called Quest: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm; The Dead Milkmen: Metaphysical Graffiti; Hunters & Collectors: Ghost Nation; The Afghan Whigs: Up in it.

En Vogue: Born to Sing

This is the type of music you would expect to hear in those gangsta teenage/adult flicks that have a romantic main plot or subplot to it.  Decent music to fit those type of films where they couldn’t think of something better to play over the opening or closing credits of a 90s film.  But in all seriousness, this did make Platinum, so it has to be up there for consideration.  It may not be my type of music, but this is some definitive 90s hip-hop, soul, and r&b.  “Strange” is the track that stood out for me.

 

Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet

Now while I usually don’t prefer giving significant mention to rap groups (because rap isn’t really my kind of music), when we’re dealing with Public Enemy, and with the album that released the track Fight the Power, I kind of have to make an exception.

 

Green Day: 39/Smooth

Yep.  The debut album from Green Day.  You know their name.  And as far as debut albums go, this is a pretty damn good one.  Top song pick: I Was There.

 

That Petrol Emotion: Chemicrazy

This was supposed to be the “make or break” album, their “do or die” attempt.  Some say it is the best stuff the band has ever put out, and is one of the best hidden gems of music out there.  Which pretty much says all you need to know as to whether or not the Irish alternative rock band made it.  They didn’t.  But there is this stuff to look back on and remember them by.  And I have to admit, this album isn’t half bad.

 

Death Angel: Act III

A band that attempted to be the next Metallica, and many would argue they succeeded when they released this album.  Considered their magnum opus.  Unfortunately, they would break up soon after this album’s release, but reunite during the next decade to release some more albums.  Personally, I think the album is just ok.  No single track is fantastic or terrible.  The whole thing is consistent, and decent.

 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: The Good Son

Huh.  I’m honestly at a loss for words for this one.

 

Johnny Gill: Johnny Gill

So this isn’t an album I would listen to.  But, this is one of those albums whose style screams 90s.  Well ok, so it’s more like mid-80s to early 90s, which is basically when this style of music called New Jack Swing burst onto the scene, but it was definitely prevalent during much of the time period.  It had 4 hit singles: “Rub You the Right Way,” “My, My, My,” “Wrap My Body Tight,” and “Fairweather Friend.”  While I wouldn’t purchase the album to listen to, I would eat up these songs when they play in a movie or 90s tv show.

 

Warrior Soul: Last Decade Dead Century

Fairly good grunge rock album before Nirvana came along and popularized the genre.  A pity they ended up not catching on to popularity.

 

Consolidated: The Myth of Rock

This one is interesting.  That’s all I’ll say.  This is one of those strange hip-hop, hard-rock, and industrial mash-up styles.

 

Fugazi: Repeater

Interesting punk-rock style, which basically has some genre titled post-harcore.  Well whatever you want to call the style, the album itself, it’s not bad.

 

Beats International: Let Them Eat Bingo

Some damn infectious funky stuff.  If you should ever seek this album out, try to get the out of print Japanese 2-disc release.  Otherwise, it might either be missing a couple songs, or trimmed down a few.

But anyway, the album of the month for me would have to be, undoubtedly:

 

Bathory: Hammerheart

Now this is more like my kind of metal.  And not just metal, but Viking Metal!  In fact, one could argue they created the genre, starting in 1988 with their album Blood Fire Death; only to completely define the genre here with this album.  Just listen to this epic masterpiece (assuming it’s your kind of music, like it is for me).

 

Now for my highlights for films of the month.

Movies

Honorable mention to a film called Spaced Invaders.  Not because it’s good, but because it’s a notorious piece of shit.  And there’s this horror film called The Guardian which has a bit of a cult status, but I personally didn’t think much of it.  Some people who like Ernest will likely enjoy Ernest Goes to Jail, but I didn’t find that movie all that appealing; but it does highlight kiddie 90s humor at some of its most extreme.  With that out of the way…

Cry-Baby

The only real reason to mention this movie is because this was Johnny Depp’s performance that put him in the spotlight.  Otherwise, the film itself is a lesser version of Grease, and just meh overall.

 

Mister Johnson

While I don’t personally enjoy this movie myself, it has become revered as a classic that isn’t all that well known.  It’s about a black African who was more or less raised as a British person, and how both those cultures end up clashing with each other in the worst ways.  He embodies the best and worse traits of both, which inevitably leads to a tragic albeit fitting conclusion.  A film misunderstood back in the day, and deserves a chance.

 

Q&A

An interesting enough police procedural, with Nick Nolte giving a great performance.  That is all.

 

Miami Blues

Bit of a cult classic, with a role that Alec Baldwin is actually good in (because he plays an asshole).  Sort of like Payback in that you get ready to root for the bad guy.  And this film doesn’t beat around the bush with his character, he stays villainous, with only small slivers of good that temporarily peek though, until the very end.  And this film had the plot of a criminal stealing the identity of a police officer before that show Banshee did it decades later.

 

I Love You To Death

This is one of those movies I wouldn’t enjoy so much, if I didn’t know that it was based on a true story, and some of the most insane events that take place during the film’s second half actually happened.  Truth is stranger than fiction.  This would be the most criminally overlooked film of the month if not for…

 

Backtrack (aka Catchfire)

I reviewed this film.  A misunderstood masterpiece that has been crippled by a theatrical cut, only for the Director’s Cut (the way it is meant to be seen) to pass by largely unnoticed, only given a VHS release.

 

Now for my highlights for videogames of the month.

Games

There was sort of a sequel to Metal Gear called Snake’s Revenge that came out on the NES, but that’s one of those Metal Gear titles everyone would like to forget about.  There was also a Fist of the North Star release for Game Boy, the system’s first fighting game.  But it didn’t seem all that great, despite the existence of a few people who seem to enjoy it.

 

NAM-1975 (April 1990; Arcade, Neo Geo)

Gotta point out the first major Neo Geo game.
Galaxian 3 (April 1990; Arcade)

This wasn’t just an arcade game.  This was a motherfucking 90s event!
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road (April 1990; NES)

Oh yes.
Phantom Fighter (April 1990; NES)

Pinbot (April 1990; NES)

 

 

Tecmo World Wrestling (April 1990; NES)

Some call this the greatest wrestling game of all time.  Eh, I don’t know about that, but many loved it back then.
Super C (April 1990; NES)

The sequel to Contra.  And it was better.

 

 

WCW World Championship Wrestling (April 1990; NES)

Well, they weren’t going to let Tecmo have all the fun.  So here’s the other good NES wrestling game:

Wrath of the Black Manta (April 1990; NES)

Despite just about every video reviewer bitching about this game today, it holds a lot of nostalgia for many, who still proclaim this game to be good for a Shinobi knockoff.  It may be inferior to Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden, but it had its fans.

Xexyz (April 1990; NES)

Oh lord yeah!

Air Diver (April 1990; Sega Genesis)

Well, the Sega Genesis had to have at least one decent one.  The system was still just getting going.  It would get better titles and be more capable of competing with Nintendo down the road.  Until then, this was their Top Gun (more like Firefox, the Clint Eastwood film).

Nemesis (April 1990; Game Boy)

Basically an inferior port of Gradius.  But everything on the Game Boy was inferior, so…

 

 

Heiankyo Alien (April 1990; Game Boy)

This game is unique and weird, and that’s all I’ll say.

Flipull (April 1990; Game Boy)

Man, just when I thought the Game Boy had no more surprises in it, we get this unique little puzzler.  There’s a Famicom version with better graphics.

 

 

 

TV Shows

Afterdrive (April 1, 1990?; Ha!)

The Ha! channel before it became Comedy Central.  They had this little show with Dennis Leary and Billy Kimball.  Never saw it, but people seem to remember it for Dennis, the theme song, and a couple comedy sketch bits that they retained in their memories over the years.

 

Marshall Chronicles (April 4 1990; ABC)

Only ran for one season.  Many loved this show, but it never had enough viewers to keep it maintained.  The fans claimed it had a great combination of intellectual and slapstick comedy.

 

 

Shannon’s Deal (April 16, 1990 – May 21, 1991; NBC)

Shannon's Deal (1990)

Another short lived 2 season series that had its fans who wished the show ran longer, or at least got a legit video release.  About a lawyer/gambler.  I mean, seriously, there are fans of this show who legitimately love it and consider it one of the best ever.  And I never heard of it until doing research for this month.

 

 

Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue (April 21, 1990; 4 major TV networks)

Gotta inform the kiddies about the war on drugs.

 

 

 

And now for the big 3:
Wings (April 19, 1990; NBC)

Famous comedy series that ran for 8 seasons.  Though the show did decline in quality during the last 2 seasons.

 

 

In Living Color (April 15, 1990 – May 19, 1994; Fox)

Of course, who can forget one of the best skit-comedy shows that is probably only topped in terms of popularity by Saturday Night Live?  Not to mention all the celebrities who were made famous because of this (again, like SNL).  Watch how long it takes before the anti-PC jokes start to fly.

 

 

Twin Peaks (April 8, 1990 – June 10, 1991; ABC)

Undoubtedly the most influential prime-time television series of the year, let alone of the month.  The show that broke ground of having an ongoing story progress from episode to episode, as opposed to having most episodes be stand-alone events (like sitcoms).  Everyone was in a frenzy over the first season, to the point where even news broadcasts would ask the question, “Who killed Laura Palmer?”  Unfortunately, the second season answered that question, and many have mixed opinions about it, mostly negative.  But then we got a third season in more recent years that is far more difficult to approach for casual viewers.

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: March 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 1990, the sequel to February 1990.  An interesting month to be sure for that year.  Steve Jackson Games gets raided by the U.S. Secret Service; a case that would evolve years later into something establishing the legalities of online speech still equating to speech; as in free speech.  Carole Gist becomes the 1st African American to be crowned Miss USAHeriberto Seda becomes a New York City Zodiac Killer copycat.  Janet Jackson wins a Soul Train Music Award.  The first world ice hockey tournament for women is held in Ottowa.  The LA Lakers retire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Star Trek V wins the Golden Raspberry Award.  Akira Kurosawa wins the Lifetime Achievement Award.  The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba in an effort to bridge the information blackout imposed by the Castro regime.  The final episode of the cancelled series Alf aired on the 24th.  And Michael Jordon is still hot in basketball.

 

Music

Ok, some disclosure before proceeding here.  I’m generally not a fan of rap and hip-hop, but I can’t ignore something that reached platinum status (and later quadruple platinum; that’s not a joke in case you were wondering, that’s a real thing apparently).  So Bill Biv DeVoe released an album titled Poison that was a huge hit.  Not my kind of music, but for those who are curious to know and are interested in that style of music.  I’ll be sticking with my metal and rock.  Also worth mentioning is Salt-N-Pepa: Black’s Magic, Digital Underground: Sex Packets, Above the Law: Livin’ Like Hustlers, Urban Dance Squad: Mental Floss for the Globe.  The rap and hip-hop wave was out in full force.  For those electronic lovers, there’s also The Beloved: Happiness.  As for the rock & roll genre, I’ll give an honorable mention to The Fall – Extricate, and to Nitzer Ebb: Showtime.

Tribe: Here at the Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The song “Outside” would later be featured in the game Rock Band.  Personally, I’m more akin to the song “Rescue Me.”  The band never made it big and only released 3 albums and disbanded in 1994.  It had its fans; I wasn’t one of them (a casual listener at best).  But the songs are decent enough.  Plus I’m a bit biased with this particular selection, considering some band members would go on to get involved with the creation of the videogame Thief II: The Metal Age.  And System Shock 2.

 

Borghesia – Resistance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this is an electronic band, which usually isn’t my thing.  But I have to admit, I really dig the beats on this album.  It sounds epic, yet not overdone.  I mean, just the opening track is incredible.  The downside is that it’s in a foreign language that us English speakers won’t be able to understand, but that’s ok, because I usually have a hard time listening to lyrics in general anyway.

 

Robert Plant: Manic Nirvana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting rock n’roll stuff.  It’s groovy.  Stand outs for me were Tie Dye on the Highway, Anniversary, Watching You.

 

Depeche Mode: Violator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know this band from the song Personal Jesus.

 

Heart: Brigade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely one of the best female bands that has ever existed.  But there’s only one song for me on this album.  Wild Child.

 

Social Distortion: Social Distortion

It’s one of the most famous rock bands with their debut album.  I have to include this just on principle alone, even if these guys are pricks.  You’ve heard the songs “Ball and Chain” and “Story of my Life.”  I think the band is just ok, but one can’t ignore their fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movies

I’ll give an honorable mention for a film called Side Out.  The film itself is just so-so at best, but it does have, “that’s so 90s” feel to it, and many do consider it the greatest beach volleyball movie ever made (some competition that genre’s got; I still say Top Gun is the best one, and it’s not even a beach volleyball movie).  So, with that out of the way, there were some fairly good picks for this month.

Lambada

A film to capitalize and promote the lambada dance craze, which never really took off as well as many hoped it would.  In fact, in the same month, another lambada film was released titled The Forbidden Dance.  Let’s just say it’s not even in the same league as this film.  But whatever, this is a prime guilty pleasure film, with great cheese and ridiculous moments.  Such a guilty pleasure for me that I enjoy it more than Dirty Dancing (you can’t hit me, I’ll lambada dodge all those beer bottles and bullets coming my way).  This is one of the definitive, “that’s so 90s” films.  Though I have to admit, that chick in the poster is a bit of a bitch in the movie, in ways that, well, just don’t happen in movies anymore, at least not in the context of this movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Versus the Volcano

First it’s a dystopian future film about a guy who hates his desk job.  Then it turns into a road-travel-romance flick.  It’s interesting, and a bit of a cult classic (this month’s films have plenty of those).  What would you do if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal disease and only had a few months to live?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last of the Finest

So it’s mainly a so-so cop action-thriller, but I’m a bit of a sucker for this movie.  Especially because of the bitchin’ shootout during the finale.  Also known as Blue Heat in the UK, which is a better title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ambulance

This is a pretty damn fun thriller that moves along at a brisk pace which never lets up once you get about 30 minutes in.  James Earl Jones literally chews the scenery, Stan Lee makes a cameo, and there’s some fun stunts served with a decent dose of cheese.  This film flies under the radar of many, but it’s a great under-appreciated popcorn flick worth checking out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blind Fury

A cult classic.  It’s no Zatoichi, but it’s the best American-made blind swordsman movie we’re ever going to get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Party

House Party movie posters at movie poster warehouse ...

Found it difficult to get into until the 2nd half kicked in (though I do believe I should give that portion a second chance).  That second half alone makes the film worth seeing.  Great down-to-earth characters and moments; some good laughs; and one of the best endings ever.  A true cult classic, the kind that Superbad wishes it could be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Woman

This was the #1 highest grossing film of the year.  It also skyrocketed Julia Roberts film career.  And… it’s not bad, for a dream scenario of a rich guy going out with a hooker and making her life better and saving her from it (I’ll take it over 50 Shades anyday).  Richard Gere and Julia Roberts work well together, and would team up again in a future romantic comedy film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Come on, you know this movie!  You know this franchise!  The most financially successful independent film of that decade.  And you bet your ass it’s the best live action TMNT film ever made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hunt for Red October

Arguably the best film of the month, at least as far as popularity from today’s perspective goes.  Also arguably the most famous Tom Clancy novel-to-film adaptation ever done (though not my personal favorite; that one comes later on).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Games

I’ll give brief mention to Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Wonder Herbs, just because the Kid Kool franchise  was known well-enough during the time period.  But this game is too fucking irritating to recommend playing.  Fuck you, and your Mario Bros. rip-offs.

Baseball Simulator 1.000 (NES)

No, I’m not a fan of sports games.  But this one is remembered by anyone who played it during that time period.  That’s all I’ll say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burai Fighter (NES)

Now this is more like my kind of side-scroller shooter.  This is fun, but like most of them, hard as hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abadox: The Deadly Inner War (NES)

Yep, another fun side-scroller.  Just look at those levels.  Aren’t the graphics great?  It’s like you’re flying through intestines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures of Lolo 2 (NES)

Finally.  Something that is neither a sports game nor a shooter.  A puzzle-like game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict (NES)

Well what-do-ya-know?  Another one that stands out.  This time it’s more of a tabletop wargame than it is a puzzle game or shooter.  Basically think of it as one of those Avalon Hill wargames from the 70s and 80s put into videogame format, and this is basically what you get.  If we had an NES back in the day (I was a Sega Genesis person, didn’t hop over to Nintendo until the N64 came out), I’d imagine my dad would’ve played the hell out of this.  He’s a sucker for stuff like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Code Name: Viper (NES)

Another side-scrolling shooter, but this time it’s a shameless rip-off of the arcade game (also ported to the NES) Rolling Thunder.  However, they did improve on the gameplay, letting it be a bit more forgiving (ie fair).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Unser’s Jr. Turbo Racing (NES)

That racing music.  The immersion this manages to bring for an NES title.  Have to admit, despite racing games not being my thing, there’s something alluring and addictive about this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astyanax (NES)

Good luck pronouncing the name of this hack-and-slash side-scroller.  Another port of an arcade game (most NES games were).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (Game Boy)

Well…  Ok, so this game isn’t regarded as good.  But it does have a reputation that made it well-known.  The first videogame released to feature Bugs Bunny.  Puzzle elements.  And gameplay that infuriated gamers; including the inability to fucking jump, while you played as a fucking bunny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kwirk (Game Boy)

So this is when I usually throw the Game Boy a bone here, because their games aren’t on par with those from the NES and PC.  But when the games emphasize puzzle-solving rather than action, then it’s not bad.  The hand-held systems weren’t capable of making any decent real-time action games yet.  But every now and then…  But this is no masterpiece.  It gets monotonous.  But the fact that there’s a Game Boy game that’s fun which isn’t Pokemon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the ‘Gator (Game Boy)

And what-do-ya-know?  Another decent title for the Game Boy.  Another pinball game.  Quite polished for a Game Boy title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shows

Well, there were at least 2 memorable ones that go a bit beyond being just cult favorites.  Makes it better than last month’s offerings then.

NewsWatch TV (March 1990 – present; AMC Network, Ion Television)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pretty much tell what this is from the description.  A news series.  Well, considering it’s still ongoing; kinda worth mentioning.
H.E.L.P. (March 3, 1990 – April 14, 1990; ABC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I honestly can’t say I know much about this series.  What I do know is that some consider it to be ahead of its time, and cancelled as a result.  To quote a youtuber: “it was basically Third Watch…but a decade earlier, with some really big names in it.” Also came out before Law & Order, though that would be coming soon.  Only ran for one season (6 episodes), and was intended to be a simple mid-season replacement for Mission Impossible.  Mainly mentioning the show because it may have inspired others that came after it, particularly Third Watch (which wouldn’t come out until near the end of the decade).

 

Sydney (March 21 – June 25, 1990; CBS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A show that was hyped and sort of popular, likely because it starred Valerie Bertinelli.  But it was short lived and didn’t go past 13 episodes for 1 season.  Never saw it, but I’m aware of the brief popularity it had at the time.

 

The Outsiders (March 25, 1990 – July 22, 1990; Fox)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of mixed opinions about this show.  On the one hand, the pilot episode ended up being one of the highest watched and rated series premieres of all time during that time period.  On the other hand, the ratings fell sharply after that, thanks to 60 Minutes and Married With Children.  Some revere the show, others think it is a borderline disgrace to the famous film it acts as a sequel to.  Main reason it has its haters is largely due to the cast, which many felt were inferior to those who were cast in the 1980s movie.  The show only ran for one season and was cancelled, but from what I understand it didn’t end on a cliffhanger either; so it can be considered more-or-less complete.  You be the judge, if you ever decide to watch it.

 

Equal Justice (March 27, 1990 – July 3, 1991; ABC)

 

 

 

 

The show had its cult following, which were outraged when the show got cancelled after 2 seasons.  From what I understand, just about everyone who watched the show loved it.  Great cast and writing.  But it never built up a big enough audience (like others); probably because many dismissed it as an LA Law ripoff.  Plus the early 90s was loaded with courtroom drama and police drama shows already, and Law & Order hadn’t even aired yet.  So if you like your Pittsburgh D.A. shows, well here’s another you might like.
Bagdad Cafe (March 30, 1990 – July 27, 1991; CBS)

 

 

 

 

 

As if The Outsiders wasn’t enough, now we have another series made that is based on a film (and may more or less act as a sequel to it).  I wouldn’t have given this sitcom much thought if not for one thing.  It stars Whoopi Goldberg.  That should be enough to convince some to give it a watch, even if it did get cancelled midway through season 2.

 

Carol & Company (March 31, 1990 – July 20, 1991; NBC)

Only ran for one season, then got cancelled (though there was some sort of spin-off which some would consider season 2, which also didn’t last long).  An anthology series without any ongoing character development or storyline.  So it didn’t leave any threads dangling when it got off the air.  Anyway, some people love the show.  I was never a watcher.

 

Alright, so enough with the petty shows only some fanatical fans remember.  Now for the 2 big tamales.

 

Tribes (March 5 – July 13, 1990; Fox)

Ah, this show.  One of the High School soap operas that made its mark alongside other shows like Degrassi and Edgemont (the latter of which would show up during the next decade).  It was created precisely for the timeslot it occupied, so that high schoolers could catch an episode when they got home before doing their homework.  Unfortunately, despite the popularity and cult following this series had, it was cancelled after 1 season of 95 episodes.  Fox hoped the series would reach Syndication, but it never happened.  Oh well.  Thanks for the memories.

 

Road to Avonlea (March 5, 1990 – March 31, 1996; The Disney Channel)

Heard good things about this Emmy Award winning series from Canada.  Ran for 7 seasons.  Technically, the series started airing in Canada in January 1990, but made it’s way to American televisions for this month.  But watch out for those alternate titles and versions.  To quote Wikipedia, “In the United States, its title was shortened to simply Avonlea, and a number of episodes were retitled and reordered. When the series was released on VHS and DVD in the United States, the title changed from Road to Avonlea to Tales from Avonlea.”  It’s a family show that takes place during the very early 1900s.  And this could very well be the top show of March 1990, and one of those series many hold in high reverence.  I should check it out sometime.

 

 

Backtrack (1990), review of a criminally underrated film.

I’ll admit, the tagline sucks.  It becomes apparent why.

Rated: 3.5 / 5

 

Introduction

backtrack (verb):
1. To go back over the course by which one has come.
2. To return to a previous point or subject.
3. To reverse one’s position or policy.

— The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

This is one of those films not many know about, and if they do know about it they’re probably only aware of the theatrical cut.  Upon my first viewing, that’s the version I saw.  Sometimes the film goes by the alternative title Catch Fire, other times it goes by the intended title Backtrack.  Either way, it’s most likely the theatrical cut (TC).  The Director’s Cut (DC), on the other hand, can be found and can be viewed.  But as far as I can tell, it’s only available on VHS.  It has never gotten a DVD release, let alone a Blu-Ray release.  So I had to settle for lesser video quality, which is a shame because it becomes impossible to make out some text that, while not mandatory to see, would certainly improve the viewing experience.  Also hurts that it’s not available in widescreen unless it’s the TC version.

To make a long story short, the DC is far superior to the TC.  This is a criminally underrated film, underrated because of the ravished treatment it got by studio interference which made it more shallow than intended (to the point where Dennis Hopper demanded his name be removed from it as director).  Also underrated because it is misunderstood, primarily because of the TC treatment, also because few have seen the DC version, and because those who do watch it tend to view it more as a guilty pleasure than anything else (though I will admit, that’s how I initially viewed it until giving it a closer look).

Jenny Holzer reference.

 

Director’s Cut Review

This film is a cry for something different.  A film that is aware of how stale films in general have gotten, which is something more relevant today than back when this was made.  Granted I’m only speaking from my current experience, but I do recall there being plenty of 70s and 80s films that generally had bleak endings and/or formulaic plots and atmosphere/progression that seem to come straight out of an assembly line; the independent film wave of the 90s. had yet to hit, but it was just around the corner after this film’s release.  The statement is made early on with one of the LED art signs which states:

I AM CRAZY BORED AND FAMILIAR WITH THE ENDING

And another sign which states:

I WALK IN AND OUT OF THE CRACKS OF MY SKULL WHEN THERE IS NOTHING

Blatant, literal, with very little wiggle room for interpretation.  This is the art style of one of our main protagonists Anne Benton (played by Jodie Foster).  She specializes in LED light art for politics, personal relationships, cliches, and for statements on the excessives of average people.  LED lights appeal to her because they are familiar, they are everywhere, and people are drawn to them.  Normally they are used for advertisements, for shallow consumption; but she aims to use them for artistic merit.

 

A reference to another artist, Georgia O’Keefe.

But in so making her art so literal, the abstract is sacrificed (to the point where other artists, including one played by Bob Dylan, look down on it).  While her art is easy to understand, her wants/needs/desires are not.  She isn’t truly happy, and she subconsciously wants something different, but she can’t figure this out for herself because she is so literal.

bob13-05
Oh yeah, Bob Dylan is in this.

Opposite of Anne is Milo (played by Dennis Hopper), a hitman for the mafia who also has a taste for the abstract art.  His hobby, when he’s not collecting art, is playing the saxophone.  He knows what he likes, he knows what he desires, but he has difficulty in expressing it clearly.  Thus he plays the sax very poorly, but becomes drawn to Anne’s art style because she can express things so clearly.

backtrack 1
PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT

The film becomes a sort of “opposite’s attract” love story, with a dose of Stockholm syndrome thrown in for good measure.  The plot is about artist Anne witnessing a mob murder, then being chased by the mob, the police, and the mob hitman Milo.  Milo eventually tracks her down, but decides to keep her as his own rather than kill her.  Over time, they both fall in love with each other, and attempt to flee the mob and the police together.  There are a few ways to interpret this, one of which is the happy union of the literal and the abstract.  Of having art daring to try something different, something many may find controversial.  Of having two art forms together that shouldn’t be together, that just don’t match up.  But the thing about art is that it is subjective.  Some will enjoy various forms more than others.  And sometimes the strangest combinations can work.  In the case of the film, the idea that Stockholm syndrome can work; in that regard, I state that this film was ahead of it’s time before Beauty and the Beast made that shit popular.  And come on, not everything can turn out like The Collector (1965).

There is also a reference to D.H. Lawrence in this film, which is ironic not because he expressed similar themes about relationships in his works, but also because his works were also subject to censorship and misrepresentation.  It’s as if the controversy surrounding this film only helps to make its point, though it would be nice if the DC was around in some modern streaming service or on DVD/Blu-Ray so others to appreciate it.

“Passion’s a hard thing to conceal.”

Let’s get back on track here (heheh).  Anne’s LED signs have an affect on Milo.  Signs with messages such as:

LACK OF CHARISMA CAN BE FATAL

EVEN YOUR FAMILY CAN BETRAY YOU

MEET DREAMS YOU CAN’T RESIST

CALM IS MORE CONDUCTIVE TO CREATIVITY THAN IS ANXIETY

PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT

The art inspires him, makes him want to change his life.  But being a hitman who has difficulty in expressing himself, that’s kind of difficult to do (obviously).  And on top of that, he becomes self-aware at how much he sucks (or more appropriately, blows) at playing the sax.  So he opts for kidnapping her, after being influenced to do so in a manner she mentions in an audio recording he gets a hold of, where she says:

“I don’t know if I can be with people I don’t know, if I’m fit for it anymore.  I’m cut off and I’m losing my connection.  I do have this fantasy.  There’s a man in the dark.  I can see his face.  He’s got a scarf around my neck and I know I’m gonna die.  And nothing else makes any difference.  I realize now that I’m selfish and I’ve always been selfish, and that’s fine.  […]  This time I actually believe I’m safe.  No one knows where I am, and eventually this will all be forgotten, and I’ll be forgotten too.”

So when he comes to kidnap her, he does so in the method she envisions.  He handcuffs her and wraps a scarf around her neck.  He then gives her the choice of being killed by him, or by living, but belonging to him.  She takes the second choice.  Thus Milo is fulfilling a desire within her, while also fulfilling his own desire.  Yet she is against this at first (understandably), and does not warm up to Milo at all for a long period of time.

backtrack 1

But as the film progresses from there, she eventually begins to accept her internal desires, and begins to accept Milo.  The literal and the abstract begin to intermix, and both become more accepting of each other’s views; though they get in an argument over the validity of the way each view art, and how meaningful their lives are whether together or as individuals; it is more-or-less reconciled soon after, as if the film doesn’t really give a shit about that typical moment in romance films where the inevitable temporal break-up happens before the inevitable reconciliation.  The film is attempting to be different after all, and could be said to be somewhat satirizing other films of that type of genre.

Which brings me to the other meaning to be had outside of abstract vs. literal art styles.  As stated earlier, it is a film that cries out to be different because it’s bored with the average Hollywood fluff that comes out regularly.  So the film itself opts to be different, not just with the progression of the plot and subject matter (Stockholm syndrome works), but also changing genres at various intervals.  It goes from being a thriller, to a slow-burn character study, to a teen romance (I’ll expand on that in a moment), to an action shoot-em-up, and having a happy ending in spite of the odds and how it seems to go against what had been built up during the first half (at least on an initial watch; it does fit together when looking at it from a critical stand-point, barring leaps in logic).  It attempts to make it so that either it gives you an ending you don’t expect, or an ending you’re not bored with even if it is expected.

Which brings me to the overall theme of the film, relating to the title Backtrack.  In one sense, it’s about backtracking to what made us enjoy films in the first place at an earlier age at an earlier time.  Particularly that of the 70s, and anything pre-Hay’s Code mid-1930s, and in the modern context, much of what has come since 2012 (personally, I think films have largely lost there edge at some point between 2006-2012, depending on how strict you are about film quality and allowing studios/directors to take chances with respectable budgets).  Just let the film-makers run wild and do what they want how they want, and come what may.  A cry for freedom, for independent film-making.  While the film’s cries may not have been heard, given that it bombed in theaters and was re-edited to make the theme convoluted, if not entirely absent, they were cries shared by others which lead to the indie film movement of the 90s.

The alternative way to look at the term backtrack is with how the characters go from being mature to immature during the 2nd act, primarily during the 2nd sexual encounter between Milo and Anne.  They go from being mature adults, who have been conditioned to lock away all childish thoughts and impulses over the years, to regressing back into a child-like state.  It’s like how college kids (or even teenage kids) who are in one of their first relationships would interact.  How they laugh and giggle, and how they become more care-free about the world (even though the dangers of reality creep in off and on with the mafia goons catching up to them).  They even bicker like teenagers at one or two points.  The backtrack refers to going back from adulthood to childhood.  Because children are more easily pleased, more easily entertained, than adults.  They possess something that is missing from adults which can make them more closed off and isolated.  They don’t have those walls built around them which are slowly but surely built as they age, especially in schools.  It’s something that was preached in Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  To backtrack is to tear it down.  Embrace what allowed you to embrace the joys found in childhood.  It is what can allow you to not be alone, to not become isolated.  But this doesn’t work if it’s one-sided.  Others can only be as accepting if they are just as free of this thought-control.  In order for that to happen, the current life must die in order for the new life to arise, like a phoenix.  The film represents this with the native american ceremony, the burning of the pilgrim, who represents people in general.

And when you think about it, don’t we all have our own innate desires that may be considered abnormal, or even taboo?  Some women want to be dominated by a macho man who can take charge.  Some men want to have a woman in a slave-like role.  Many want to have someone who can change their life for the better, even if it is done in extreme manners that usually only work out well in your head.  Some things that teenagers daydream about.   And in the end, all children enjoy seeing a happy ending.

It is a way of life Anne didn’t consciously realize she wanted.  She finds a piece of pottery under the dirt at this theater house in New Mexico, something she doesn’t understand yet, something she wasn’t actively looking for.  Then later on in the movie, she finds a matching set of pottery in an entirely different location (this may have implications within the literal context of the film, but I’m not sure myself).  Thus she realizes she has found something she didn’t even know she was looking for, which is fixing something she didn’t realize was broken.

One last thing before ending the analysis.  There comes a point in this movie where Jodie Foster’s character finds and cares for a lamb.  I shit you not.  And this came before she did the film Silence of the Lambs.  Good God, how can one not watch this portion of the movie without making jokes or puns?  But anyway, the film makes some symbolism of this by showing a statue of some woman with a lamb at the mob boss’ house, the mob boss being Vincent Price (someone make a Vincent Price as Hannibal Lector meme please, I’m begging ya’).

 

Issues With The Movie

Now as great as this all sounds, the film isn’t without its issues (putting aside TC and DC differences).  The helicopter action scene is mediocre at best.  There’s a moment where Milo leaves his sax behind before driving away from the cabin to run from the mafia, yet he has the sax back during the end credits (maybe he bought a new one).  Dennis Hopper may not have been the best choice to play Milo; he’s not terrible, but he seems a little too off and awkward even for his character.  And the ending is a bit far-fetched, but one could argue the reason those mob bosses put themselves in such a vulnerable state is because Vincent Price basically wanted them all to do, along with Milo, and coerced them into confronting Milo on their own.  This isn’t explicitly stated at all, but one could reach that conclusion with the dirty cop twist.  Still, would’ve been nice to have seen that conversation.

Some argue that the film falls apart and becomes stupid during the second half without how the dialogue and character interaction get, but I chalk that up to the whole Backtrack theme.  Of course the dialogue becomes more childish and less intelligent.  They’re backtracking!  As to whether that will be to your tastes, that’s up to you.

 

TC vs. DC

The music is different and far worse in the TC.  Both versions contain scenes that aren’t in the other, though the DC is the overall lengthier film.  Ultimately, the TC tries to make the film out to be some off-kilter action/thriller/romance flick, but it comes off as more awkward than the DC intended, and that’s saying a lot.  At first it sets up the feel that Anne isn’t in to Milo at all, to the point where he rapes her during their first encounter, that she berates him (as opposed to just messing with him in a lighthearted manner) during the second encounter.  Then next thing you know, she’s laughing with him and enjoying herself with him.  It comes out of the blue as opposed to the more gradual development seen in the DC.  Granted, it’s still a strange thing to see, the whole Stockholm thing working out, but at least the DC makes a better effort at it.  And they make it seem like Milo is an expert sax player in the TC, which contradicts that abstract-literal art theme which the TC pretty much tosses aside.  Lastly, they downplay (if not altogether remove) any hint that the movie is attempting to subvert expectations, to be a satire of mainstream film, or at the very least something that attempts to do something different just for the sake of doing something different, making that one of the main messages.  It does so by removing some of the LED light art which spells this out for the viewer.

backtrack 1
‘insert Vincent Price Hanibal impression here’

Take a look at how this scene differs greatly between the TC and DC versions of the film.  It’s amazing how much a difference in editing/pacing/music can change a scene.

 

Overall

Highly recommended movie, so long as it’s the DC version you’re watching.  It’s different and fun.  It’s something wants to be taken seriously, and yet doesn’t want to take things so seriously.  It’s an intentional fun contradiction.  A film made by an adult for adults who want to release a bit of their inner-child, while Joe Pesci is screaming fuck fucker motherfucker and motherfucking every other second he’s on the screen.  Plus you get to see Jodie Foster naked, which is incredible because I didn’t think that was possible.

 

 

PS: It is worth mentioning that the character Anne Benton is inspired off the real-life artist Jenny Holzer, who has been doing similar art styles since the 70s, and is still around today doing her own kind of art as far as I know.  Even the line, PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT is something that made her famous.  Seems as if she had an admirer in Dennis Hopper.

 

PPS: Jodie Foster probably did Silence of the Lambs after this just to spite the film, because she didn’t enjoy working on it.

 

Other recommendations for more on this film:

http://www.stockholmfilmfestival.se/en/festival/1991/film/backtrack

http://regrettablesincerity.com/?p=7151

https://mikestakeonthemovies.com/2018/07/13/backtrack-1990/

https://projectorhasbeendrinking.blogspot.com/2015/09/protect-me-from-what-i-want.html

https://dcpfilm.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/catchfire-hopper-1990/

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: February 1990

Ok, finally finished up February 1990.  Going lighter on the “Cultural Etc.” stuff because, well, I was too lazy to methodically track down ads and clothing styles and stuff from that month.  So here it is, the noteworthy music, movies, and shows from February 1990.

 

Music

Last month was just a warm-up compared to what was unleashed this month in the music industry.

MC Hammer: Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em

Everyone knows U Can’t Touch This, even if it is a rip-off of Super Freak by Rick James (bitch) .

KLF: Chill Out

Relaxation music.

Primus: Frizzle Fry

Too Many Puppies, and John the Fisherman were the big album hits.  I can only listen to this album in small bursts, like 2 songs at a time tops before I’ve had enough.

Damn Yankees: Damn Yankees

High Enough, Coming of Age, and Come Again were among the big hits, and this album was known for reviving the career of Ted Nugent.  Despite what they say the big hits were, my personal favorite song from this song is “Tell Me How You Want It.”

The Cramps: Stay Sick

Garage Band with several songs that take a big nod to other songs (God Damn Rock & Roll is a heavy nod to Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger).  UK band.

Riot: The Privilege of Power

Decent rock n’ roll album, though I find the intermissions between songs questionable.  Upon a listen, didn’t find any notable standouts, but I didn’t hear any weak songs either, so it’s an all around solid album.

Peter Wolf: Up to No Good

Not bad.  The best song is a toss-up between Up to No Good, and Shades of Red-Shades of Blue.

Gamma Ray: Heading for Tomorrow

Would’ve been my favorite of the month if only it didn’t have several weak songs stacked atop the few excellent songs (the standouts are Lust for Life, Free Time, and Heading for Tomorrow).  First studio album of the German metal band.  I strongly recommend the original version as opposed to the remastered version.  Best song on the album is the one the album is named after, which runs at a vast 14 minutes (though there are various versions of this song, one of which is the live version which runs at an insane 20+ minutes).

Oingo Boingo: Dark at the End of the Tunnel

Arguably their last good album.

 

Eric Johnson: Ah Via Musicom

The way he plays that guitar, especially in Cliffs of Dover.

Movies

While the music album selection improved this month, it’s debate-able as to whether or not the film quality improved or worsened or stayed the same compared to January 1990.  None of the films were as good as Tremors (in my opinion), but some of the others sure gave last month’s top films a run for their money.

Mountains of the Moon

Think of this as The Lost City of Z, except better.  While the locations may not involve tropical rainforests, it’s still an adventure film where two men form a common bond over exploring the unknown (to England) locations, yet become torn apart due to semi-political conflicts at home.  Sure doesn’t hold back on the violent moments (as brief as they are), nor the harshness of the environments confronted during exploration.

 

Hard to Kill

Not one of the better Steven Seagal films in my opinion, yet for some reason a lot of Seagal fans hold this film in high regard.  I’m only including it here for that reason, otherwise it’s forgettable to me.

 

Nightbreed

Fun film.  Great practical effects work, an adrenaline-filled finale, music that sounds like a Batman-rip-off (understandable considering both films were conducted by Danny Elfman), and David Cronenberg playing the villain.  Be sure you see the director’s cut.

 

Cinema Paradiso

I reviewed this movie.  TL;DR: a fun drama film that’s all about nostalgia and love for films and how they can shape one’s life and one’s community.  Likely the film of the month (while last month, in my opinion, it was Tremors).

 

 

Video Games

More or less about as decent as last month’s selections, except that this month would get a game release on the NES that would go down as an all-time classic.
Rollerball (NES)

Fun little pinball game, which weren’t all that common on the NES, or in general as far as I know for back then.

 

Super Spike V’Ball (NES)

Well, I guess the NES just wouldn’t let Sega get away with being the only console to release a beach volleyball game, so they had to take their shot at it, even if they had to port it from the arcade to do it!  And they did a decent job from what I’ve seen.

 

Golf (Game Boy)

Gotta give the Game Boy something just out of pity, like the last episode.  Don’t get me wrong, this game has its fans back in the day, and it’s decent, but it’s not anything I would ever want to play today.

 

Batman (NES)

One of the big NES classics in the same vane as Ninja Gaiden (and probably just as difficult; hard as hell).  Need I say more other than the 90s knew how to make a solid film-to-game adaptation?  Sega would follow suit in the months to come.  And as great as this game is, while it should have by all right been the best game of the month, something else came out that would top it, and practically every other NES game ever made.  And I’m not so sure I have the willpower today to get good enough to beat this thing.  But it is fun, so long as I don’t get pissed enough to throw the controller and the console out the fucking window.

 

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

Well, it’s Super Mario Bros. 3.  Nothing else is going to top this for game of the month.  Was definitely a contender (if not winner) for Game of the Year.  A game so hyped up (and lived up to it), that there was an entire movie created for the sole purpose of being a glorified advertisement for it.

To bad this was in 1989, kinda hoped to dig into it a bit for the 90s nostalgia, especially since I watched it in the 90s.

Television Shows

I could only find 3 shows that were halfway decent, though none of them lasted the year, let alone half the year.  These are mostly sympathy picks, key word being “mostly.”

Rodeo Drive (February 5, 1990 – May 4, 1990; Lifetime Television)

A so-so game show that was never going to be popular, but the host made it entertaining.

 

Elvis (February 6 – May 19, 1990; ABC)

Show didn’t gain enough ratings, so it was cancelled, and re-released along with the unaired episodes as a 4 hour miniseries.  Honestly, the show seemed ok to me.  Maybe audiences got Elvis fatigue during this time period, or the show wasn’t advertised enough.  Then again, a lot of great shows got cancelled before their prime from the late 80s to about 2010 (seriously, fuck you people for cancelling Firefly, Surface and Deadwood).  It is what it is.

 

Nasty Boys (February 19 – July 20, 1990; NBC)

“Is this College Boy?”

“No, this is Donald Trump.”

Ok, now this show was so fucking fun in the way only the 90s could be (well ok, late 80s too).  What the early 90s crowd thought awesome cops were like (more gangster than cop, but in all the right ways).  Entertaining for the cheese and the awesomeness.  Seriously, fuck you people for cancelling Nasty Boys!

 

Edit (11-18-2018): Well, looks like I may have overlooked one.  There was this made for TV movie which ended up acting as a pilot for a series that would show up next month.  The series is a bit different from this made-for-tv film, which itself is a glorified series pilot.  But it’s worth mentioning, mainly just for the pilot/movie.

 

A Family For Joe (February 25, 1990 for pilot/film; March 24 – August 19, 1990 for series)

So the film itself has some fans who like it.  The show has less fans, but worth mentioning.  And that’s all I’ll really do here, give an honorable mention.  It’s about some foster kids who don’t want to get separated, so they get some bum off the street to act as their father.

 

Other Cultural Stuff