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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

PodCast 202: "Hudson Hawk" (1991) - a 90's Reconsideration PodCast w/ MRSHL and Ryan



Watched:  06/25/2022
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Michael Lehmann




Marshall and Ryan look into one of the worst reviewed, most notorious movies of the 1990's! We're looking at what they did, what critics and the public were sort of expecting at the time, where it went wrong and where it surprised us. Join us as we steal a bit of time and ponder an artifact that might turn movie lead into gold!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Swinging on a Star - Bruce Willis 
Side by Side - Bruce Willis & Danny Aiello




Sunday, April 24, 2022

Watch Party Watch: American Cyborg - Steel Warrior (1993)




Watched:  04/22/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Boaz Davidson

A movie that actively resists how movies are supposed to work, American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993) eschews character, story, pacing, and more to tell the plot outline of a cute blonde carrying a jar-of-baby to a port to give it to Frenchmen whilst being stalked by a robotic gym coach.  Luckily, she's saved by Unfrozen Caveman Hero Joe Lara.  

The movie has exactly two modes:  (1) uninspired fighting - 90% (2) awkward romantic moments - 10%.

It's a movie that is only 90 minutes, but somehow feels 4 hours long, because it has no story and thinks it should make up for that with the exact same fight sequence happening over and over and occurring in 10 minute spurts.  It's insane.

Anyway, I hate it and want to eject it from my brain as soon as possible.  So this write-up is over.




Tuesday, April 12, 2022

90's Watch: The Freshman (1990)




Watched:  04/12/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Andrew Bergman

I'm kind of fascinated by the writer/ directors who did a few things but aren't workhorses with thirty directing credits or a hundred writing credits.  Because Andrew Bergman is one of these guys.  He doesn't have any movies in his IMDB that's a big mark against him, but it's just not clear why their last big credit was in, like, 1997.  

The Freshman (1990) arrived at a very peculiar time in my life.  That summer I had been in DC for my uncle's wedding, and we had some downtime as it wasn't a touristy sort of week in town.  And, frankly, although my brother and I were 15 and 17, we got shunted to the side as not-adults.  My uncle, being my uncle, had some videotapes he owned, and that included Godfather, Godfather II and Das Boot (just to prove Bob knows how to party).  And, Jason and I watched all three.

Anyway, 1989-1990 was more or less the year that I became a nascent film-jerk, because that Spring we'd also rented Lawrence of Arabia and a host of others for the first time.  But The Godfather movies hit me like a ton of bricks.  And then I got home, and a few weeks later, The Freshman hit theaters.  

To this day, this is one of my favorite comedies.  Everyone in it is perfectly cast and nails their business.  Brando is fucking magical.  Broderick is the best he'll be til Election.  And it rewards rewatches to really pick up on some of the dialog and what people are doing and saying.  Man, we lost Bruno Kirby decades too early.  And, man, Penelope Ann Miller is so, so good.

But, yeah, I absolutely love this goofy movie.  It's incredibly warm-hearted for a movie made in a period where that often translated to schmaltz or dumb-assery (this same producer made Chances Are).  And I still think it's psychotic that this movie didn't do better, but maybe the Godfather crowd didn't want to see Brando send up one of his most famous characters, and maybe the younger crowd wasn't interested.  

And how DOES a komodo dragon fit into a mob comedy, anyway?  Or Bert Parks?  

Anyway, I think history has mostly been kind to the film.  Hasn't it?  I don't know.  But it was a great little push to let me know "movies can be fun" - not just the movie I was watching, but how it played with the most sacred of cows.  It's still shocking to me that all the pieces came together as they did.


Saturday, April 9, 2022

90's Watch: Nobody's Fool (1994)




Watched:  04/05/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Robert Benton

It's been decades since I've seen Nobody's Fool (1994), but it's a movie I saw in the theater twice and a few times after.  I recalled feeling weirdly and profoundly moved by the film and was unsure how it would sit as I'm closer to the main character's age than the grandson's age at this point.

On first blush, the movie could be read as some smalltown schmaltz, but reviews of the time were overwhelmingly positive and reflect a lot of how I felt about the film at the time.  It takes place within the kind of small town romanticized by politicians in ads, of Main Streets and "working people", but it's also frank that small towns are kind of hard, that it's not always the pathway to the achievement of the American Dream and when you know everyone in your town, it can get weird.*  

To that end, it's a reminder of a kind of film you don't see as often these days as it's a quiet, thoughtful ensemble film where actors seem to be enjoying the work, a few name Hollywood types playing supporting roles just to be there, in the mix with up-and-comers and character veterans.  Of course, anchored by one of the best of the post 1950 American cinema, Paul Newman, still handsome and better than ever when it comes to what he does, which is say a thousand words with a glance or even in stillness.

Friday, March 25, 2022

PodCast 190: "Showgirls" (1995) - A Day-Drinking Surprise Birthday Movie Exchange w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  03/19/2022
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven




NSFW!!! This year for their birthdays, Jamie and Ryan are exchanging movies, but each will surprise the other with their selection. For Jamie's birthday, Ryan rolled out the martinis and 1995's most notorious camp-tastic hit in glorious NC-17 style. It's a wild world of the American Dream if your dream is to DANCE. Mine isn't, so this mostly seemed like it was trying very hard to make a point, but forgot what that point was multiple times along the way.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Vision Thing - Sisters of Mercy
Goddess - David A. Steward, Showgirls OST


Ryan's Random Cinema

Saturday, March 12, 2022

St. Patrick's Day Watch: Leprechaun (1993)




Watched:  03/11/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Who knows and who cares

I watched Leprechaun the first time at a party during what I think was Christmas break 1993.  I don't really remember much about it except for that the Leprechaun was a vicious dick and it featured Jennifer Aniston before I knew who she was.  

It follows the same pattern as a lot of horror from that era, and this era.  People are in a country house of some kind, and a dangerous force attacks.  The house actually looks quite a bit like the house from Critters or five dozen other movies of the era.  In this case, an Irish immigrant has returned home from a funeral and brought with him a bag of gold he stole from a leprechaun (Warwick Davis).  Now in the Western United States, he rightfully assumes he's safe from a magical being an ocean away.  

He's not, but he traps the leprechaun in a box for a decade until Jennifer Aniston and her dad show up to rent the house.  The movie also features a "hunky guy" house painter for Aniston to latch onto, his kid brother and the guy who stole Pee-Wee Herman's bike playing a moron.  

A bit about the thing with Mark Holton's moron...  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Neo-Noir Watch: Fargo (1996)




Watched:  02/28/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Joel Coen

God damn, this movie.  

Like many, I loved (LOVED) Fargo when we saw it in the theater back in 1996, and I watched it several times in the years immediately following, but it's been a long stretch since I last watched it beginning to end.  I was watching the final 20 minutes or so of Blood Simple on TCM, and Jamie suggested we record Fargo and watch it in a day or so, and as Jamie is wise, I was on board.    

And, really, the two movies aren't a bad pairing.  

Blood Simple - the Coens' first - is a horror-like noir with trappings of unfaithful wives, murder of lovers, which might have been in drawing rooms in the 1940's and is transplanted to suburban Texas (the greater Austin area) where it all takes on a sheen of low-fi, red neckiness.  But it also is Texas mean - something we'd see repeated in their adaptation of No Country For Old Men.  

Famously, Fargo (1996) takes place between Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with stops in Brainerd, Minnesota - and all in the whiteout dead of winter.  The film exists in empty spaces, from the wide open plains of Brainerd to parking lots with a single car to lake fronts in winter.  Minneapolis, with people huddled inside, has its own sense of emptiness.  Even the spacious home of the Lundegaards has a kind of desolation.  

Saturday, February 12, 2022

PODCAST 183: "The Last Boy Scout" (1991) - w/ MBell, MRSHL and Ryan



Watched: 02/05/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Tony Scott




A trio of dudes who were the exact target audience for this movie in 1991 revisit a surprisingly divisive 90's action staple. Join us as we go long on on a movie with all the right elements, but which hits everyone a little different. No one's moving goal posts, but it's time to move the chains and execute as we talk for probably as long as this movie runs.






Music:
Last Boy Scout - Michael Kaman
Friday Night's a Great Night for Football - Bill Medley


Signal Watch Canon

Thursday, January 20, 2022

90's Re-Watch: Living in Oblivion (1995)




Watched:  01/19/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Tom DiCillo

In August of 1995, I entered into Film I, joining the "production" track within my university's film school.  That Fall would see a lot of changes, and I mostly remember a lot of exhaustion, a lot of learning-on-the-fly and getting to handle actual film cameras for the first time.  As well as editing, cutting and screening work I did mostly in collaboration with others.  

Living in Oblivion (1995) was released during the middle of the 90's indie boom, and maybe was just a little too indie to break huge, but it does seem like a movie that a lot of people saw back then or since.  A film about filmmaking, but not in that way that Hollywood likes to reward with Oscars, Living in Oblivion hit all of us in that Film 1 class where we lived, realizing our dumb little misadventures behind the camera were just how this business was going to work.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

90's Re-Watch: Muriel's Wedding (1994)




Watched:  01/09/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  PJ Hogan

Back in the long, long ago Muriel's Wedding (1994) was a movie I watched over and over.  I'm not really sure why.  It's a good movie, it's funny, it's a bit moving here and there.  It seems like an odd thing for a 20 year old dude to decide he's going to watch over and over, but here we are.

But I also don't think I'd seen it again in two decades.  It's been a really long time and I don't recall owning it since VHS.  

An Australian made movie, it did bring Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths to the attention of American audiences when it arrived here (I think it was showing in Austin in Spring of 1995 and I watched it probably at The Dobie).  It was, in general, an interesting era for Australian and New Zealand film as it seemed like Campion was doing her thing, Peter Jackson was freaking everyone out, Pricilla, Queen of the Desert won hearts and minds, and Baz Luhrman's Strictly Ballroom was big for indie film fans.  

Friday, December 24, 2021

PodCast 176: "Santa With Muscles" (1996) - Daydrinking the Movies Christmas 2021 w/ Jamie, Dug, K and Ryan




Watched: 12/23/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  John Murlowski




Well. We rounded up Jamie's brother and sister-in-law, got into the booze cabinet and watched a truly, truly horrible movie. And with tape rolling, we thereby talked about The Meaning of Christmas, magic crystals, soft-racism in unrelated movies and a wide, wide host of topics.

Have a cocktail or three and catch-up. We're talking a garbage movie.




Music:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Michael Buble 

hypnogram interprets "Santa With Muscles"



Christmas 2021 Playlist

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

PODCAST: "Die Hard" (1988) & "Die Hard 2" (1990) - Christmas 2021 w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  11/22 and 11/24
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's and 1990's
Director:  Jon McTiernan and Renny Harlin




Yippee ki-yay, y'all! It ain't Christmas til Nakatomi tower is smoldering, paper and glass are everywhere, several Europeans and a coke head are dead, Al has eaten a Twinkie and one Bonnie Bedelia has recognized her husband's handiwork. Yup, it's the one I've personally been refusing to do for years, paired with the (sigh) sequel.




Music:
Ode to Joy - Michael Kamen, Die Hard OST 
Let it Snow - Vaughn Moore, Die Hard OST 


Christmas 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

PODCAST 171: "Jingle All The Way" (1996) - Christmas 2021 w/ Stuart and Ryan


Watched:  11/03/2021
Format:  YouTube
Viewing: Second?  Third?
Decade:  1990's
Director:   Brian Levant




Stuart and Ryan are in a mad-cap race to find the perfect gift for you, our listeners - and that would be a terrific podcast, just like all the other kids want this year. Will we deliver as trip each other, threaten media outlets, terrorize children and generally fail to deliver as podcast hosts and law-abiding citizens? We take a look at a movie that was panned upon its release, but that younger generations have decided is GREAT (they are wrong). But you gotta love Arnie. And Sinbad, too.




Music:
Jingle Bells - Brian Stezer Orchestra 
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Johnny Mathis


Christmas 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Doc Watch: The Celluloid Closet (1995)




Watched:  11/07/2021
Format:  TCM 
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Directors:  Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

This doc came out while I was in film school, and I remember it being suggested viewing, but I don't recall an actual theatrical release locally, and then I just never got to it.

As a cultural touchstone, this film feels like it needs a review by The Kids(tm).  It captures a moment in time, just before Gen-X would start driving the cultural conversation and the ending, cast as hope, now seems quaint in some ways and like a ship was missed in others.  But if nothing else, the film shows the realities of what things came before the mid-90's and - extrapolating to the modern era - how much has and hasn't changed in what is a relatively brief period.  

Sunday, November 7, 2021

90's Re-Watch: Cool World (1992)




Watched:  11/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think.  
Viewing:  3rd?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Ralph Bakshi

In 1992, I made my brother go with me to see Cool World.  It was my chance to jump on the Ralph Bakshi train, it combined animation and live action, and it had Gabriel Byrne and Kim Basinger.  Mostly I remember thinking "this movie is not great" partway through, and being aware that for being the horniest thing I'd seen in movies in a very horny era at the movies, it never seemed to be willing to take anything as far as it could have. Or should have,

Here, 30 years later, I don't think I've changed my mind, and I'm willing to be more honest about it.  I defended the movie a lot because it *tried* something new and different, and served it up to a mainstream audience.  My suspicion is that Paramount ended up defanging the film.  As there often is decades later, there are conflicting versions of events, but I tend to believe the Fritz the Cat guy was not shying away from a Hard-R and the studio flack decided to try and get teens into the movie.  

Friday, October 29, 2021

Zombie Watch: Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)




Watched:  10/29/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Brian Yuzna


I enjoyed this movie just fine, but I don't know how much and at what point the movie was kidding.  Maybe writ-large?  But it also seemed like it was being serious?  It sure wanted to do a doomed lovers plotline that, sure... why not?

But, yeah, it's a movie about the son of the military guy still mucking about with zombies and Trioxide which makes zombies - who is dating out of his league.  An accident occurs and his girlfriend is killed, so he exposes her to zombie-gas because he believes that the heart will go on, I guess.

Aside from zombie piercing fetish stuff, the movie is also an excuse for some Hollywood FX folks to flex, and, boy, do they ever.  Mostly that's bookending the movie, but when it shows up, it's really solid work.  

The name actor in this, as far as this blog is concerned, is Sara Douglas, who plays a very Sarah Douglas military officer.  But Melinda "Mindy" Clarke is... really good in this?  Like, she's asked to do A LOT under less than ideal conditions, and she does it all as the formerly alive girlfriend, Julie.  Anyway - she's still very much working and I guess I've seen her in things, but I did not watch The OC, so I missed out on that adventure.  

But, yeah... the movie feels like it's kidding, or at least not taking it as seriously as Romero takes his zombies, and it's probably a decent tone.  But it's also the 90's, so it's got a weird layer of anti-Hispanic racism which, you know, was incredibly common at the time.  So, maybe not "weird", but...  at least super clunky.

I don't get how zombies work in this, and I don't care.  It's fine.  

One thing I do know:  someone had a very specific kink and managed to work it into a feature film.  And for that, I applaud them.  

And I am all for a movie where the leads die in an incinerator in a loving embrace in the final shot.  Slow clap, movie.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Action-Ween Watch: Blade (1998)




Watched:  10/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think
Viewing:  Fourth?  5th?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Norrington

So.

I saw Blade (1998) the first time in a theater full of people who had apparently had a LOT of sugar.  It was one of the theaters in town at the time where there was a higher than likely chance people would talk at the screen, and that was fine by me for a movie about Wesley Snipes killing 90's sexy vampires.  

Mostly I remember at the end of the opening sequence, the place went crazy.  Like after a killer guitar solo at a concert.  I mean - Traci Lords at a rave as a vampire and then blood sprinklers at the drop, followed by Blade tearing the place up?  Yes sir.  

I was never really able to separate the fun I had watching the film from whether the film was actually "good", but sometimes a movie is "good" because you had a great time watching it.

Monday, September 20, 2021

PODCAST: "Miller's Crossing" (1990) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ JimD and Ryan




Watched:  09/09/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown (well over 30x)
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Coen Bros.



JimD looks in his heart and joins Ryan to discuss a shared canon film. It's the third from the Coen Bros. and one that is seemingly being forgotten by the current generation of film fans. Join us as we twist and turn, up is down, black is white. We're talkin' about friendship. We're talkin' about character. We're talkin' about - hell. listeners, I ain't embarrassed to use the word - we're talkin' about ethics.




Music:
Miller's Crossing Opening Titles -  by Carter Burwell
Miller's Crossing End Titles - by Carter Burwell






Signal Watch Canon:




Saturday, September 18, 2021

90's Super Watch: Mystery Men (1999)




Watched:  09/17/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  Unknown.  More than 2, less than 6.
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Kinka Usher (his only movie)

This movie was unnecessary, but it had a lot of fun bits.  It just came out totally without context, and would make way more sense in a world with 20 superhero shows on and 5 or so mega superhero movies per year. 

It's adapted from a comic, which would have made a ton of sense in a comic shop in the late 1980's - 1990's.  After all, people in a comic shoppe have enough of a feel for comics to understand satire over the camp of the 1960's.  And it's kind of not a surprise that in a decade that saw 3 Batman movies and not much else, the idea of Too Many Superheroes and Wannabe Superheroes didn't exactly land.  

I read something that said "the film is too self-aware" and that, I think, is a big problem with it.  Everyone feels sort of like they're both aware of superhero movies, and camp superheroes, and they're doing a very long sketch about superheroes where they're kind of looking at the audience going "see?  see what I did there?"

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sneaky Snake Watch: Anaconda (1998)

This is an infograph of how much you'll care about each character



Watched:  09/10/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Some guy

I dunno.  It's a movie about people heading up the Amazon to find a lost tribe who come upon a snake that is huge and doesn't act like a snake at all.  It has JLo and Ice Cube.  So, how bad can it be?

I saw this one opening week in the theater, and what really stuck with me over the years was that Jon Voight is in it, and it made me realize very famous actors can make hilariously bad choices.  And every instinct Voight has in this movie is... so bad it's good.  Paraguayan accent?  Check.  Constant scowl?  Absolutely.  

I am sure there's some conversation that occurred that said "well, Voight's character is the REAL anaconda!  He's the one who sneaks up on you and surprises you with the kill!"  But that's kind of dumb and not right.