Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

First Amazon Order


Seems this is a thing we're all doing, so here goes.

I very much remember placing this order (or these orders).  Half of my friends were totally excited about this new Amazon thing, and half of them were convinced Amazon would just take my credit card and drain me of money.  Both were right, as it turns out.

Monday, January 8, 2018

90's History Watch: I, Tonya (2017)


Watched:  01/07/2018
Format:  Alamo Drafthouse, South Lamar
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's/ (actual history:  1990's)


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Uncovered 90's! Pics of My High School Years Bedroom

Let it be known - I was remarkably square in high school.  I don't want to over or undersell anything here.

But a kid's room is a timecapsule - not just of a time, but of what was going on and how things intersect.  As near as I can tell from other pics in the stack, these are from some point between Christmas and Prom of 1993.  If the other pics in the pack were taken at the same time, I have reason to think it's Christmas break of 1992.

My folks were incredibly lax about what I did with my room, which was on the second story of our house.  It was in the front, had a big window I never opened, and had a vaulted ceiling, which was kind of nuts.

At some point I just started tacking and stapling stuff to my walls, and by the time I graduated, one wall was pretty well covered and the opposite was getting there.

All this was taken down unceremoniously circa 1995 when I'd left for college and my parents had some visitors with a kid who "couldn't sleep in my room".  Apparently they found it "scary".

In theory some of the contents were preserved during the re-do of my room, but they didn't survive the purging of my old stuff pending the sale of my folks' house before they moved to Austin.

most of high school I was riddled with acne, so I don't know how I look so fresh-faced here

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The 90's Return! Taste Test: Celis White

BEHOLD..!

this post can be accompanied with any of the following tracks: 



In the 1990's, Austin was home to the Celis Brewery.  I don't think their distribution reached far outside of Central Texas, but they were much beloved here in The City with the Violet Crown.  Prior to the arrival of Celis, local favorites were more or less Shiner Bock and, while we had Lone Star, it was sort of reserved for "we're cooking burgers and it's 100 degrees out and no one cares" drinking.

I wasn't much of a beer snob (I still definitely am not), but I knows what I likes.  And I was a fan of Celis, particularly Celis White.  Also, Celis Pale Rider, but we're not here to talk about that one today.  If you read the picture above you'll note that Celis was brewed in the Belgian style.  I didn't know much about that then or now, but in our poor college and post college days, it was a bit of a premium beer that folks agreed upon, and if someone brought it over, it was like a sign of respect.

Eventually, as happened with many fine beers of the 90's, the brand was purchased by a larger company, they attempted wider geographic distribution but it didn't take.  So, instead of just giving it back and letting us live our lives, they shut it down.  Why?  Why do that?  Just let us have the beer.

Anyway, flashforward to 2016 and it became clear Celis was coming back.  The family had re-obtained all the legal necessaries, they got a brewery going again, and last week when I was walking through HEB (the Texas-based grocery store chain that is to Texas what Publix is to our friends in The Sunshine State) and one of those PR folks was handing out samples.  I mean, I didn't need a sample if I properly remembered the '90's, but it was a happy exchange and I walked away with a six-pack of Celis White, what I consider (and I assume they do, too) the flagship of Celis.

This week was bananas.  I could have just popped a beer, but JimD, also a product of 90's Austin, suggested an old-school Taste Test (this was something we did from time to time at the League of Melbotis blog).  So, here we are.


Lucy, underage, will not be participating in this nonsense

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Happy 30th Anniversary to "Star Trek: The Next Generation"


Happy 30th Anniversary to Star Trek: The Next Generation!

First of all, I wasn't looking forward to a reboot of Star Trek when this show aired.  I sort of thought of Star Trek as Kirk and his pals cruising around space in their cool car, getting into scrapes.  This was not going to be that. 

Boy howdy, do I remember being 12 and showing up at school the next day and me and my fellow nerd friends standing around trying to make heads or tails of what we'd just watched.  We knew we liked Data, Riker, Tasha Yar and Geordi.  But what was up with that kid?  And why wasn't the Klingon phasering and stabbing everything in sight?  And, of course, the notion of Counselor Troi was a lot for a 12 year old to get their head around.  And why was the Captain not a brash, emotional young man?  He seemed so old...  (he was, of course, only about 47, just a few years older than I am now). 

But eventually I got sucked in, and by the time I got to college, one of the few posters I brought with me for my dorm room wall was a poster-sized portrait of Captain Picard that I woke up to every morning. 

Mostly I watched the show in nightly reruns in syndication, catching them out of order in a way that TV could never withstand today.  And, since I was living with other people during college, if I didn't catch a reference to something from a prior episode or Star Trek mythology, often someone could fill in a gap who had seen those episodes. 

Man, we *all* watched this show back then.  Where watching the original series still carried the whiff of nerdiness to it, the seeming omnipresence of ST:TNG made it kind of okay, and while not everyone was super into the mythology, people mostly knew who the cast were and whatnot.

The show can be intensely uneven, everyone has things they like about it and things they don't just because of the sheer sprawl of the cast and show (I have mixed feelings about the holodeck stuff).  But the good outweighed the bad to a massive degree. 

I can intellectualize issues with the show, and while I continue to watch the show from time to time, I've never returned to it in any systematic way.  Mostly I'll catch an episode or two on BBC or streaming.  But, yeah, I still enjoy it quite a bit, even if its a clunker of an episode (but what do you want?  They had around 180 episodes.  Not everything is going to be gold.). 

The show underwent a lot of changes over the years, with cast coming and going, plot threads and characters continuing, growing, changing, revealing themselves in episodic bits.  The Trek universe expanded into new edges of the universe and contracted (lots of guest appearances by TOS cast members). 

Some of you may have enjoyed Star Trek: The Experience in Vegas, and if you did not, I'm very sorry.  But in addition to a recreation of Quark's from DS9, the experience also included a recreation of the bridge of the NCC-1701D, down to the last detail.  And not a person who found themself on that bridge did get something of a shiver.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Re-Reading "Preacher"/ Quitting "Preacher"



note:  Preacher, both TV series and the comics series upon which the show is based, contain graphic violence, deeply mature themes, deeply immature themes, sexual frankness and deviation and no small amount of content of a religious nature which many-a-good folks would reasonably find offensive.  You can read this post, watch the TV show, or read the comics, but you've been forewarned, you're on your own, and your mileage will vary.   

Last year, Preacher came to television via AMC - arriving as a sort of high octane dramedy and a loose adaptation of the original comics which ran from 1995-2000 under DC's Vertigo imprint.  The second season is now underway, but I only made it fifteen minutes into the first episode of this year's offering before saying "You know, I'm good.  Let's not watch this."

You can do well with a superhero comics adaptation so long as you remain basically true to the intention of the authors, or - in the case of serial comics - find that core to the characters and concepts that have brought readers back, year after year, outlasting almost all other forms of long-time serial publications in the states.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

TL;DR: We Discuss Our Love of Wonder Woman as Character, Icon and Hero



This isn't a review of the movie, which I'm slated to see in a few hours.  But with the arrival of Wonder Woman in cinemas, I wanted to reflect on Wonder Woman as a character and my road with Diana.

Like most kids of my generation, I grew up with Wonder Woman as the default "superhero for girls".  Sure, DC had a wide array of female characters, but a lot of "team" concepts aimed at boys included 1 or maybe 2 girls on the team no matter how big the roster got (see: GI Joe).  And on Super Friends, Wonder Woman was the all-purpose female character who was not Jayna of The Wonder Twins of Wendy of Super Marv and Wendy (ahhh, the 70's).

but at least they gave WW two villains from her rogues gallery

Sunday, April 2, 2017

MST3K Watch: The Final Sacrifice (1990)


For whatever reason, this has long been one of my top 5 MST3K episodes.  Well, that reason is primarily Zap Rowsdower, the burly, mustachioed, Canadian-tuxedo'ed co-star of the movie.  Paired with the weiniest kid to ever star in a movie, it's a match made in cinema glory.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Under the Sycamore Trees: End of Twin Peaks (1991) and Fire Walk With Me (1992)



As I mentioned previously, as a TV series, Twin Peaks managed to limp along for most of the second half of the second season.  You could feel the writers realizing they'd taken a bad turn and trying to right the ship in the final few episodes, but the good continues to be outweighed by the bad.

The drippy plotline of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and Robyn (Teen Witch) Lively doing her best with a dog of a plotline for her wildly inconsistent character, Lara Flynn Boyle being reduced to a background character, Audrey and Billy Zane going full in flagrante in a private jet right in front of Pete...  and the tired plotline of Lucy choosing the father of her kid - something so worn out even the show winked at how nobody cared anymore by the time she made a decision...

Lost in all this was Harry and his plotline with Josie.  And from what I can find online, Michael Ontkean who played Sheriff Harry Truman walked away from the show fairly bitter about the whole experience.  And I can hardly blame him.

That said - the final episode of the show, directed by David Lynch with writing by Mark Frost, Robert Engels and Harley Peyton, returns the show to form.  Doing such a good job and creating some of the most memorable moments of the entire series that it's easy to forget the meandering path we took to get there.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bond Watch: The World is Not Enough (1999)


Oof.

If all you've heard about The World is Not Enough (1999) is that Denise Richards is hopelessly miscast and bad at the whole acting bit, well, yes.  That's a good chunk of what you'll want to know before entering into this particular Bond flick.

I'd never seen this movie before because, by 1999, I was not going to see a Bond movie that was starring Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist.  And maybe that was a good instinct.  Unfortunately I do think I missed out on a few good Bond scenes.  Maybe not the most exciting Bond plot of all time (there's a part in the middle that positively drags), and the post-Michelle Yeoh hangover is sorely felt.

The plot is overly intricate, even for a Bond movie, to the point where I literally didn't know what was going on, who people were, etc... because I checked my phone for a minute.  I caught up eventually, but by then Denise Richards was in the movie and that was...  man.  She is not good.

Once again Bond winds up chasing around renegade nukes (if anything should have taught us what a bad idea it is to have nuclear weapons, it would have been these movies and the propensity for these weapons to wind up in villainous hands) after a bunch of stuff about a billionaire guy's daughter getting kidnapped, Bond going to support her in Azerbaijan (her mother was Azerbaijani, her father British), and get her father's oil pipeline completed.  She'd freed herself from some terrorists led by Robert Carlyle playing a superhuman Russian, etc... et al.  It's complicated.

It's also all a bit forgettable.  What you will remember is the stunning boat chase along the Thames, Denise Richards' boob-tacular scientist wear*, and bizarrely outfitted helicopters (which are apparently entirely real).  And, they were introducing John Cleese as the all-new Q as Desmond Lleyelyn was retiring (he actually died a month after this movie was released).

Look, I'm also not the world's biggest fan of Robert Carlyle, and I felt like his character got a shit-ton of set-up, and then the movie did too little with the idea.  After Jonathan Pryce's megalomaniacal media overlord, this seems like small potatoes (even though the potential bodycount is also in the millions, should Bond fail).  I did like the primary Bond girl in the film (not Denise Richards) played by Sophie Marceau, but her storyline takes, like, forever to unfold.

I dunno.  I do know this plot is less ludicrous than what's coming in the next film.


*speaking of boobs - while Ms. Marceau is a beauty to behold, physics suggest to me that she's been dealt some unfortunate Photoshopping in the above poster.


*trust me, this is hilarious if you work on a college campus

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Legion" on FX - Breaking out of the Superhero Box



You'll hear a lot about how 90's comic books were all about Chromium covers, Rob Liefeld and .  There's some truth to that.  But that's like saying 90's music was all Garth Brooks and Hootie and the Blowfish.  The 90's brought us Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, and a host of others who came to comics mostly via the guiding hand of Karen Berger and the Vertigo imprint.

Titles like Hellblazer, Kid Eternity and Invisibles kept me in comics when I was hitting that crucial point where I might have moved on.  And, totally honestly, had I not stumbled across the "Ramadan" issue of Sandman during the final months of my senior year of high school, I suspect me and comics were headed for a bitter break-up.

Part of that break-up was what was happening in the X-Men titles, which had lost the guiding hand of Chris Claremont,  whose writing I was ready to leave behind, I suspect, but who had created multi-dimensional characters in a way that, to this day, I cannot believe comics in general haven't learned from.

FX's new series, Legion, is going to confuse folks who head to the comic shop to find issues of the series, or a nice trade paperback.  The character, David Haller, appeared briefly in a few runs of various X-books dating back to the mid-1980's, including his first appearances in the surprisingly weird New Mutants title, giving Chris Claremont's writing and the artistry of Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin, Stray Toasters, numerous other projects) co-creator status.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Twin Peaks Rewatch: When you see me again, it won't be me



If you've never seen the original series of Twin Peaks, my recommendation is to watch Season 1 and then Season 2 up through Episode 10 or 11 and then quit.

Over the years I've heard a lot of conflicting stories about what happened in Season 2 as the series went along, but for those of us who remember television in the 1980's and 1990's, who couldn't believe Twin Peaks was ever on a major network to begin with, it seems plain that the networks did what they always did back then - refused to leave well enough alone.

Around Episode 10 of Season 2 (of 22), David Lynch and Mark Frost seem to have moved on from Twin Peaks, abandoning one of TV's most singular visions behind, one must assume, to the suits.  You still see Caleb Deschanel's name appear as a director, but Frost and Lynch's names are basically listed as "creators" by that point, and the series is handed off to folks whose names will mean nothing to you.  A quick Google search will tell you that the network insisted that Frost and Lynch wrap up the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, and after completing their mission in Episode 9, they made haste to distance themselves from the show.

Of course, that doesn't mean the first half of Season 2 of Twin Peaks continued to deliver the same visionary television that the first eight-episode season provided that made the show a small cultural phenomenon.

Friday, January 27, 2017

That Gum You Like Is Going To Come Back In Style: A Twin Peaks Re-Watch



This spring, Showtime will bring back Twin Peaks, the short-lived, much beloved show that ran on TV circa 1990-1991 and had one feature film release, Fire Walk With Me in 1992.   Way, way back in the 1990's the show made headlines, and managed to capture the public imagination (sort of) during it's initial first season, which ran only 8 episodes.  But in the 1990's - as I am sure is true in some ways now - success meant the network and studio boys wanted to get a piece of the pie and get involved, and the second season started strong only to wobble under the weight of 22 hour-long episodes, as was the standard of the era for network shows.

The bizarre turns to quirk turns to a self-parody in pretty short order.  Time changes and a loss of the charm that marked the first dozen or so episodes plagued the show, and the show lost viewers.  At least it went out quickly.

It's hard to explain how utterly weird it was that Twin Peaks ever happened.  We were still basically in the era of three networks (with Fox just finding its footing) and a bunch of cable channels that were usually putting out original material of iffy quality.  Shows on the major networks were scientifically designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and so we wound up with a lot of what still shows on the networks today.  Cops, lawyers, doctors, and family sitcoms.  Some evening soaps with implied sex that came on between 9 and 10 in the Central time zone.  Hell, ALF was quirky.*  If you wanted a flavor of anything oddball, you were in deep cable or finding video stores with a "cult" section.  I mean, David Lynch was hardly a household name in 1990.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bond Watch: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)



I really dug Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). It's got a lot to recommend it. Terrific action sequences, two great Bond women, it’s funny in all the right parts, and a villainous plot that’s forward looking and diabolical while also being not ludicrous. The movie is also steeped in some odd cultural artifacts of the 1990's, so that makes for some interesting viewing if you were around at the time.

Heck, it has a nerve-jangling pre-credits sequence that’s better than near any of the last ten or so films.

By the time I saw this movie, Jamie and I were dating, so we believe we saw this one in the theater together but can’t piece together when or how. But because I never saw the final two Brosnan movies – the reviews were scathing on both, and I was otherwise occupied – I never returned to watch this one again.

You’ll remember Tomorrow Never Dies as "the one with Michelle Yeoh" if you spent 1993-1995 writing "Mr. Michelle Yeoh" inside a heart in all of your school notebooks (which, ha ha, surely no one did.  Cough.). Brosnan is back as Bond and seems more comfortable in the role. Dame Judy Dench continues as M, now giving Bond a lot more leash and verbally manhandling the British Navy. Our villain is Jonathan Pryce, who isn't reptilian or overly creepy, and that makes him oddly buyable as a motivated guy people would get behind. And, of course, the movie features one of the Loises of the 1990's, Teri Hatcher.

I was surprised to realize that, at least now, I liked this movie perhaps more than I’d enjoyed GoldenEye. The writing seemed to be on better footing from both a plotting and dialog perspective, and while Martin Campbell was not responsible for this film, he’d paved the way for what Bond could be like in the 1990’s context which director Roger Spottiswoode would continue to good effect.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bond Watch: GoldenEye (1995)



If the idea of ending the Timothy Dalton experiment was to shore up the Bond franchise again, one can certainly make an argument that it worked.  This was the Bond film that brought in Pierce Brosnan as Bond, got Martin Campbell in as a director, and more than anything else that would point toward what a modern Bond could be in tone - casting Dame Judy Dench as M.

I'm a little bit convinced that the rethinking that led to Casino Royale may well have come from what M reveals about Bond to his face in her brief appearance in the film.  In a movie of very good moments, for a wide variety of reasons, Dench's scenes are the most grounded and somehow still the most engaging, and it's also the best Brosnan himself is at any point in the movie - and he's rather good throughout.

GoldenEye arrived in 1995 as The Age of the Blockbuster took a leap forward, and Bond was no longer to be an option on the marquee.  Now, we all had to go see Brosnan, whom every American had pegged for the heir to the Bond throne from his first appearances on Remington Steele.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bat-Christmas Watch: Batman Returns (1992)



So, I was at work and I DM'd Jamie.

Me:  You want to watch a Christmas movie tonight?
Jamie:  Yeah.  "Batman Returns"?
Me:  *a single tear of joy rolling down my cheek, certain I married the right woman*

I didn't immediately get to see Batman Returns (1992) upon its release.  I was at a (sigh) 7 week drama camp for high schoolers that was well worth the money as, in week 2, I realized I absolutely did not want to major in drama when I did go to college.  So when I got home and more or less immediately drove to go see the movie, I was aware it was "weird", "not as good as the first one" and the other things people were saying at the time.  My memory of seeing the movie that first time was primarily of (a) Catwoman and (b) my girlfriend at the time laughing at me as my 40 oz of soda spilled all down the floor of the theater.  Great girl.

It's been a long, long time since I watched this movie.  It's nowhere near one of my favorite films, superhero or otherwise, and it's always been a bit of a mess.  Sure, it features things I love in theory - a Circus of Crime, penguins loaded down with missiles and helmets, the Batmobile, Michelle Pfieffer...  but it also feels like too many cooks were in the kitchen deciding what this movie would be.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Regret Watch: Rollergator (1996)



In our house, a visit from The Dug is a holiday tradition, and part of that visit is always filling two hours of my life with regret.  I don't go in for terrible movies quite the same way I used to, but I'm still willing to roll up my sleeves and dig back in a few times per year.

To refer to Rollergator (1996) as a "movie" is a bit of a stretch.  Shot on, at best, 3/4" tape (but I strongly suspect it's S-VHS) over what may be, at longest, 3 days, it's nearly impossible to tell if the movie has a script, who this movie was intended for, and what anyone involved was thinking.

For something like 80-85 minutes, this thing just keeps happening, and it's all you can do by the 15 minute mark (even with the benefit of Rifftrax) to not start slamming your head in a car door to make the weird, dull pain behind your eyes go away.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Arnie Watch: Kindergarten Cop (1990)



At one point in my life, I was an Arnold Schwarzenegger completionist.  If Arnie put out a movie, I was seeing it.  This went right up through his pre-Governator movies that were of middling quality.  It is true I fell down on the job and didn't see Jingle All the Way during it's theatrical release, but I did rent it with my mom the following Christmas, and we yukked it up together to the antics of Arnie and Sinbad.

But somehow, I missed out on Kindergarten Cop (1990).  I don't know how or why.  It's kind of odd, really, because it came out during a window when I went to the movies on a weekly basis, and movies were in the theater for usually about a month or more before disappearing back then.  And Kindergarten Cop did pretty well.  Lots of people saw it.

Further confounding my how's and why's, the movie co-stars Penelope Ann Miller, who was a draw for me back in the day in a post The Freshman world (and even pre-The Shadow).   The only thing I can think is that movie came out in December 1990, shortly after I'd moved to Houston but before I had a driver's license.  So, it's possible I couldn't get to the cinema and I didn't have anyone to go with.

So, I finally watched the movie.

And it is terrible.