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

Sunday, September 3, 2023

PodCast 251: "Drop Dead Fred" (1991) - a SimonUK and Ryan Episode

Watched:  08/28/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  3rd?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Ate de Jong

Ryan and his imaginary British friend delve into their respective inner children and try to figure out who is responsible for all the mess. We take a look at an early 90's cable staple!



Drop Dead Fred Suite - Randy Edelman 

SimonUK's Cinema Selections!

Monday, August 28, 2023

Riff Watch: Time Chasers (1994)

Watched:  08/27/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's


Jamie started scrolling through options and decided we were watching *something* by the RiffTrax or MST3K guys.  She settled on something called Time Chasers, which had been covered by MST3K at some point, but RiffTrax had covered it again during a live show a few years back, and that's what we watched.

Look, if this movie was good, it *probably* wouldn't be a RiffTrax selection.  

Edit: hours after watching this, a making-of YouTube video showed up in my algorithm, and I watched the first part.  It turns out, the movie was written and directed by a 19-year-old.  So, I am impressed in some ways.  I assume no real film school, and a lot of moxie.  And yet...

It's a movie that both really takes the concept of time travel seriously and works through the implications, but also has a plot that requires the characters be utter morons who have *not* thought out the implications - such as, hey, maybe selling your time travel device to a corporation could have consequences.  

It's your usual no-budget, big-dreams, let's use all the things we can borrow from friends, sci-fi indie feature that was a staple of MST3K programming and shoot-your-shot movie-making of the era.  Cast with people who were the best to audition, usually with regional accents, and the actress who looked closest to what a Hollywood actress might look like.  

Like a community theater production of a play that you realize isn't quite working, you still want to cheer everyone on.  Until you realize, no one has told anyone involved that this script needed some work, and you're allowed to leave things on the cutting room floor.  

Anyway, you get the picture.  

The Riff is a lot of fun, and I recommend.  

Sunday, August 27, 2023

90's Watch: The Fugitive (1993)

Watched:  08/19/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Andrew Davis

It's hard to convey to The Kids exactly how popular The Fugitive (1993) was upon its release.  I didn't see it for a week or so because it was sold out, but I did finally catch it in the theater, I think with my parents just before I headed off for college.  It went on to get Oscar nominations for Best Picture and other things, but snagged Tommy Lee Jones a Best Supporting actor, cementing Jones in a persona he'd take straight to No Country For Old Men.  

But in the intervening years, I'd argue it's not been forgotten by the original audience, but it's also not a movie I hear people talk about, rewatch as part of any canon, or pass down to The Kids as a pretty good movie.  It had its time as a popular renter and cable staple, but like a lot of movies aimed at a teens-and-up audience of the day, it's just sort of faded as adults don't imprint on movies and make them part of their world-view in the same way as a kid seeing a Star War.  It wasn't part of the character-driven indie movement which would catch fire at this same time, nor was it part of the FX extravaganzas that started appearing in the wake of Jurassic Park, released a few months earlier.  

But, also, even at the time, I thought the movie was just... strange.  These days I have my head wrapped a bit more around how movies work, and I stand with the choices made for this movie.  It's logical and lends a sense of realism to the movie - but, also, the filmmakers decided that our hero would have no friends and no one to talk to for most of the runtime of the film.  So, that weird feeling I had about the movie was really centered on the oddly-loose-fitting fiction-suit that was Richard Kimble.  

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Cubs Watch: Rookie of the Year (1993)

Watched:  08/20/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Daniel Stern

So, every year before baseball starts, I tell myself "I gotta watch The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year", and then, I do not watch them.  I've never doubted they're fine movies, but both came out when I was not really watching non-animated kids movies, and baseball wasn't my jam at the time.

But movies were part of my interest in baseball.  I loved Field of Dreams and Eight Men Out (you have John Sayles to thank for my interest in the sport).  A League of Their Own is one of my "I'll sit and watch this" movies when it comes on TV.  

Anyway, I kind of had an idea of what this movie would be - and it was not that.  It's actually really funny and goofy in a way that sells the absurd concept, bordering on cartoonishness.  In a good way.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

90's Watch: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)

Watched:  07/23/2023
Format:  Max, I think
Viewing:   Unknown
Director:  Trey Parker

If you'd told me in 1998 or so that South Park, the goofy animated construction-paper show on a young Comedy Central would now be a permanent part of the cultural landscape in 2023, you could have knocked me over with a feather. 

Like any 20-something with cable, I was a watcher of the show and in 1999, shocked to see they were going to the big screen.  

July 4, 1999, Austin received some rain and fireworks were unlikely.  The folks who'd assembled at our apartment decided to load up and go see the movie to extend our day.  Mostly what I remember was that the theater was only partially full, and almost immediately, people were trickling out.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Material Watch: Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)

Watched:  07/22/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Alek Kesheshian

It's probably a cultural bellwether that the biggest name in music right now is Taylor Swift, who is a fine singer/ songwriter and who is about as challenging as a pair of fuzzy socks.  Like, I get that she speaks to the suburban experience like no one's business, but she's not exactly out there getting angry notes from the Pope.

But not so Madonna circa 1990 when this documentary was shot and subsequently released.  The Material Girl was not poking anyone in the eye, but she was giddily pushing the envelope enough that she was constantly getting free publicity from outraged pearl clutchers.

I was something of a secret Madonna fan around the time this movie came out.  Attempting a persona as a fan of music which sat outside of pop and the Top 40, I didn't advertise that I knew all the words to La Isla Bonita.  That said, it was expected you'd seen Madonna's videos and knew her songs as both were inescapable through the mid 80's to the mid-90's.  And I wasn't avoiding Madonna.  She, uh, was not funny looking, and her songs were catchy, and on the radio, fairly non-threatening.  And, right out of the gate, she started with Like a Virgin, which always felt like it should be dirty, but you had to make it so, and so it landed on regular MTV rotation.  

Monday, July 17, 2023

WA Watch: Rushmore (1998)

I figure this is me and my nephew in about 8 years

Watched:  07/16/2023
Format:  Streaming Amazon
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Wes Anderson

Recently, I was watching some old Bugs Bunny cartoons, circa 1940, and I was surprised to see the name "Charles M. Jones" in the credits.  While "Chuck Jones" is synonymous with WB animation, he's really associated with a certain artistic style and flair that is characterized in certain styles of background, character design and with his comedic timing in everything from "What's Opera, Doc?" to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  But there was his name in plain text.

He had not yet timed how long it took an anvil to fall or for Wile E. Coyote to hang in mid-air before plummeting for maximum comedic effect.  He hadn't quite gotten the rise of an eyebrow or a sly look to the viewer.  But.  It's there.  

Jamie was the one who requested a watch of Rushmore (1998) a film we saw together way back at the Arbor IV upon its release.  And we've watched a number of times over the years.  And, for her, it was an academic exercise in "what was he doing in 1998?  and how does it true up to what's there in 2023 with Asteroid City?"

It's interesting how Anderson springs into a form we all would have been fine with here in 1998 and with his second feature (after the excellent Bottle Rocket).  He's locking in on some of the themes he'd return to (certainly distant, bad dads), certain camera shots/ edits, formal dialog fit more for a 20th century short story than a film in the naturalist mode, aesthetics of symmetry and retro-ism.  

It's also curious to ponder how much of the Wes Anderson story that Owen Wilson occupies.  The two were roommates at the University of Texas, and Anderson - maybe UT's brightest star in film - did not actually participate in the film program, but got a Philosophy degree.*  Bottle Rocket was a deep partnership between Anderson and the Wilson brothers and he'd co-star in the film as well as co-writing and appearing in Royal Tenenbaums.  And, of course, he appears in numerous other Anderson pictures, including French Dispatch, which I haven't seen yet.  

I assume the pacing of events means Anderson and Wilson wrote Rushmore while in their mid-20's to late-20's, and while there's certainly a level of goofiness to the proceedings and it is, in part, about a middle-aged man in a juvenile spat with a 15-year-old, there's some great character stuff that rings even more true here as I roll towards 50.  

I don't know that Anderson could do Rushmore again.  Maybe.  He's never quite given up on teen geniuses, including underperforming teen and adult geniuses.  He's still working through dead parents, bad parents, indifferent parents.  He's still invested in messy romance treated as a matter-of-fact.  I'm not sure a studio would be as ready to fund a movie about a teen and teacher with a complex relationship in the last 20 years.  

But, in general, there's nothing  - to me - about Rushmore that doesn't work.   

I'm glad it's shot in Houston.  Bleak, wintery Houston in all its no-zoning-laws glory and mix of industrial mess and bucolic park-like environs.  I love that dumb town.  

And, of course, it really gave the world Jason Schwartzman and a new view of Bill Murray.  Co-star Olivia Williams has remained feverishly busy, appearing in American works, from The Sixth Sense to Hyde Park on the Hudson (reteamed with Murray).  

But the film also has Brian Cox, briefly Connie Nielsen, Luke and Andrew Wilson, and the late Seymour Cassel.  Sara Tanaka and Mason Gamble seem to have retired from acting - but I think Tanaka is a cardiologist now?

Anyway, 25 years later, the movie still works as well as it ever did, and at this point, it's much more than a curious artifact of Anderson's early work - it's clearly pointing the way he's headed.


*Little tip for you brainiacs like me who burned through 5 years of college and panicked in their 4th year and also got a history degree

Friday, July 14, 2023

Dog Watch: Lassie (1994)

Watched:  07/13/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Daniel Petrie

Like all good Gen-X'ers, I grew up in the aftershocks of the baby boomers, and Lassie - the very clever collie - was certainly a character and concept we knew of, if not through direct experience, then by osmosis.  I guess there was a book, originally (1940).  Our canine hero starred in wildly popular movies beginning in the 1940's (it's where Roddy McDowall got his start as a lad) and television - running for a cool 20 years, from 1954-1974.  Plus several more movies and TV shows over the years people who are not huge Lassie fans probably are unaware of.

I know!  That's a lot of Lassies.  

The artificial monoculture created via mass media and limited outlets did, at least, give us a chance to have some familiar talking points, and you never knew where they'd coalesce.  Personally, I didn't watch Lassie in reruns.  Or the movies.*  For most of us, Lassie was one or two jokes about kids falling down wells and dogs alerting us to calamity.  Maybe we whistled the theme song at our dogs.  

This 1994 film is more or less an original story, but if you know anything at all about Lassie from the TV show, etc... this movie carries on quite a bit of the world's bravest, smartest, wisest dog *and* best friend to a boy who needs one.  This dog seems like it's ready to pick locks and drive cars.  Three cheers for Lassie.

Our story:  

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

PodCast 246: "Out Of Sight" (1998) - A Social Bobcat / Neo-Noir Episode w/ Ryan

Watched:  06/16/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Third?  Fourth?
Director:  Soderbergh

The Social Bobcat is back to dig deep into this 1990's classic of cool. Join us as we take a look at what forces were at play in the 1990's, what works in this movie that makes it okay to be cool, and that putting Clooney and JLo in your movie is not a bad idea.



Fight the Power, Pt. 1 - The Isley Bros. 
Foley, Pt. 2 - David Holmes, Out of Sight OST 

Noir and Neo-Noir Playlist

Art House NSFW Watch: Singapore Sling (1990)

Watched:  06/19/2023
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  First
Director:  Niklos Nikloidas

Sometimes JAL pitches a movie and, knowing nothing about it, I say "sure.  This will surely be different from my usual fare."  And, indeed, such is the case with 1990's Singapore Sling, a Greek-made film in English and French, that was part of a movement I'd never heard of before, that being a Greek-based Shock Cinema.  I am unsure this is a real movement, but this is maybe the second Greek film I've ever seen, and I know no one who is Greek, so, why not?

Firstly, I'm not sure I actually think you should watch this movie.  It's a real YMMV bit of cinema that is intended to deliberately provoke and upset and make you laugh.  In the US we'd call it exploitation cinema for lack of a better label, but I'd argue that label is on the wrong jar in this case.  

In general, I don't ask the question:  what is this movie for?

Thursday, June 8, 2023

PodCast 244: "The Big Lebowski" (1998) - A Coen Bros Rewatch w/ Stuart and Ryan

Watched:  05/28/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Coen Bros.

Stuart and Ryan try to keep their minds limber to keep up with all the moving pieces and new things that have come to light. We're rewatching a cult favorite and maybe the Coen Bros. best remembered film? Anyway, we don't roll on shabbos, but we do podcast. So, join us for a convo on a fan favorite!



Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) - Kenny Rogers & The First Edition 
Dead Flowers - Townes Van Zandt 

Coen Bros. Films

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

PodCast 243: "Gremlins 2" (1990) - a Ryan Canon Film PodCast w/ SimonUK

Watched:  05/05/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Joe Dante

Simon and Ryan once again break the three rules and now it's chaos in the big city! Join us as we discuss a sequel that maybe outshines the original and is always a joy to watch. It's a movie that was ahead of its time no matter what year it came out, and a throwback to an era that probably never existed. A satire, a spoof, a comedy and a monster movie. And, of course, it gave us Marla Bloodstone.

this is a pro-Marla website



Gremlin Credits - Jerry Goldsmith
New York, New York - Tony Randall and the Moonlight Gremlins Orchestra

Additional Audio
Key & Peele - Gremlins 2 Brainstorm

Ryan's Random Cinema

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

PodCast242: "Deep Rising" (1998) - An Angry (Sea) Animals PodCast! Jamie, SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  05/01/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Stephen Sommers

SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan head for the high seas, and think deep thoughts on things from the deep! We take a look at a forgotten late-90's gem that floats on an ocean of charm and will surprise you from all new angles. Join us as we get aboard this suspence, sci-fi horror voyage!



Main Titles - Jerry Goldsmith
The Girl from Ipanema - Walter Wanderley

Playlist - Angy Animals

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Neo-Noir Watch: The Last Seduction (1994)

Watched:  05/06/2023
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  First
Director:  John Dahl

Well, at long last I got around to The Last Seduction (1994).  

I can see how well-meaning dopes would have cast Fiorentino in Jade on the heels of this movie, possibly trying to borrow some of the heat she brings to this film, but the two movies are worlds apart, and one is a 90's indie darling playing to a punchline, and the other is a shiny studio movie that feels like a hastily jotted-off airport-book thriller.  

The Last Seduction reads more like a Goodis novel or Jim Thompson book, with low-level crooks twisting and turning over each other and innocence is a commodity of dubious value.  Fiorentino plays a con who encourages her husband (Bill Pullman) to take part in a risky drug deal, earning a huge amount of cash.  After a bitter argument in which Pullman slaps Fiorentino, when he goes to shower, she takes the money and runs.  

Headed for Chicago, Fiorentino stops off in a small town in upstate New York, where her attorney advises her to lay-low while she runs a divorce through.  She picks up Peter Berg in a bar (who believes he's picking her up).  Berg has recently returned from Buffalo, where things didn't work out.  He's a bit bummed as he thought he was the guy who was going to get out of this one-horse town.  Now he's met someone from NYC who seems like his ticket out.

Fiorentino schemes.  A lot.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

PodCast 241: "Jade" (1995) a Neo-Noir-Thriller-of-Doom w/ Jamie and Ryan

Watched:  04/28/2023
Format:  Criterion Channel
Viewing: First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  William Friedkin

Jamie and Ryan sleuth their way through a mid-90's erotic thriller and are trying to solve the mystery of what happened to both the thrills or eroticism promised. We piece together the clues and, much like the detective of this movie, just sort of aimlessly wander around trying to figure out why we're supposed to care.



Main Title - James Horner, Jade OST
End Title - James Horner, Jade OST 


Thursday, April 27, 2023

PodCast 240: "Deep Blue Sea" (1999) - an Angry Animals podcast with Jamie, SimonUK y Ryan

Watched:  04/14/2027
Format:  HBO?
Viewing:  second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Renny Harlin

SimonUK takes Jamie and Ryan to the darkest depths of late 90's sci-fi horror action so they can all take a bite out of a film that's a little fishy. Join us as we flap our jaws discussing sharks with engineering degrees, sea bases of dubious design, that old chestnut of imitating better films, and neat-o puppets.



Main Title - Trevor Rabin, Deep Blue Sea OST
Deepest Bluest - LL Cool J

The Angry Animals Playlist

Monday, April 17, 2023

90's Watch: Chungking Express (1994)

As Jamie and I discussed after the movie - the 90's were the wild west for cinema in the US.  Indie cinema and the *flavor* of that indie movement were a truly big deal.  It was also a rich era for a semi-mainstreaming of international cinema as the same theaters that carried those indie pics also brought in some European film and Hong Kong cinema.  I'm not saying no theaters do this anymore, but it was much more a part of your standard film scene at the time.

And if you didn't see it in theaters, you might still find the movies for rent - maybe not next to Robot Jox at Blockbuster, but in the go-go 90's Austin film rental scene, I could walk across the street from my dump of an apartment and get whatever I wanted at I Luv Video.  

But, as mentioned before, I just never picked up the films of Wong Kar-Wai.  I was too busy watching Chow Yun-Fat kick ass or whatever.  I was still a dude in my 20's.  Grant me peace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Yeoh Watch: Heroic Trio (1993)

Watched:  03/20/2023
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Johnnie To

As far as I know, I hadn't watched Heroic Trio (1993) all the way through since some point in college.  I know I saw it in the theater with JAL during a student sponsored film series where we'd all go to the old Hogg theater in the middle of campus and ignore the bats flying around overhead and throwing little batty shadows onto the screen.  I recall watching part of it with The Admiral and Steanso on broadcast TV in about 1996.  And I'm pretty sure I saw it again on VHS at some point.  Jamie tells me we watched at least part or most of it in Phoenix, which I don't remember - but apparently happened.  

The film has been very hard to find in the US for years now.  Or I would have bought it on disc - DVD or Bluray.*  But now it's on Criterion Channel as part of the "Michelle Yeoh Kicks Ass" collection that spotlights her pre-US produced films as well as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which took her Bond-based running start and made her a full-fledged star in the West.

Heroic Trio is more or less a fantasy comic-book movie with some post-Burton vibes in set design, but nuttier and occasionally much grimmer than Marvel or even DC fare, featuring a story that would need tweaking to be remade in the states.  It's mostly vibes, and those vibes will change at the drop of a hat throughout the film as it can't decide if this is tragedy, comedy, horror film or what.  And a movie can contain all those things, but sometimes those movies also need to find a ramping up and down into the change of tone.  This movie is slapping down moods like playing cards.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Chiroptera Watch: Bats (1999)

Watched:  03/17/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Director:  Louis Morneau

So, I like a good movie about people being attacked by animals.  This is that.  It will not surprise you that Bats (1999) is about bats.  Attacking people.  And the people who are quite cross that they are being attacked by bats.  

Mutant bats, but bats.

So, anyway, it's about pretty much nothing else.  There's no real sub-text.  It's just a movie about trying to stop bats from eating you and the medley of challenges that arise in the pursuit of stopping bats.  No intentional analogies, but it IS about bats with a weaponized virus that is accidentally released, and threatens to doom humanity if not contained and.... ehhhhh.....  that reads pretty weird here in 2023.  

It borrows heavily from Alien and Aliens from sound FX to character choices.  The bats are shown in close-up, they are terrific puppets, and I have no notes.  Love the bats.  Well done.  The movie never lets itself think it needs sub-plots, so expect no romance.  But I do think they must have decided to do some green-screened insert shots in a few dialog bits, because it really seems like the lighting is weird and the characters are shot in a weird single mid-shot dead center of the frame dropping jokes or whatever.  Maybe the first go-round was too grim for what it was?

This isn't a criticism, but Lou Diamond Phillips was featured less prominently than I'd figured or hoped for - he's in it, but he's featured supporting. Our star is Dina Meyer, who was having a moment in Hollywood, but they chose to straighten her magnificent curls, and I am against that decision.  

she's lovely here, but just sort of bleeds into the wall-paper of 1990's young female white-girl actors

just look at those spectacular locks

Anyway - I actually liked the movie!  It did what I hoped it would do.  It didn't weigh itself down with misguided moralizing, and it set up an internal logic and stuck to it.  Animals got the upper hand for a while and the puppets were neat.

There's probably more to say about Dina Meyer as a star, but we'll save that for another day.  And certainly LDP, who is always good.  And there's a dissertation worth of discussion about the mononymous Leon playing "Jimmy" and the role of African-American males in horror and horror-adjacent films, especially in the late 90's as audiences expected tropes to be addressed.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

PodCast 232: "Cutthroat Island" (1995) - A Movie of Doom w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  02/05/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Renny Harlin

Yarrr! Shiver me timbers! 'Tis the 1995 movie that made us voluntarily seek Davey Jones' locker. We walk the plank of 90's spectacle filmmaking to reconsider a movie that no one boarded, and it still sank to the ocean floor despite extravagant sets, seemingly real boats, giant cannons, a monkey and the always watchable Geena Davis. ...and yet...



Cutthroat Island Main Theme - John Debney