Archive for the ‘Back to the ’90s’ Category

h1

The movie that predicted the ’90s: “I Come in Peace”

September 12, 2013

1990-i-come-in-peace-poster1

Here is a little-seen gem of an action movie. 1990’s I Come in Peace (released internationally as Dark Angel) didn’t make much of a splash when it was released in theaters (it was actually released in theaters—the kind with seats and popcorn an everything—I shit you not), but it’s enjoyed a well-earned re-visiting in recent years. The Bad Movie Fiends podcasters rated it a “5 Jox” movie (that’s good), and after falling off the map after it’s VHS incarnation, has even gotten a Blu-Ray release (probably because of the BMFCasters full-throated endorsement—I mean, I can’t think of any other reason for it). While I Come in Peace may have been released at the cusp of the decade, but in many ways it foresaw the dominant trends in society and film that would dominate for a good part of the decade. Are you old enough to remember the ‘90s? No? Then trust me; everything I say is totally true.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the ’90s we were really worried about killer robots wielding sex toys: “Hardware”

September 8, 2013

hardware

In 1990’s Hardware inexplicably got a theatrical release. I’m not sure why. It was clearly made on shoestring budget with no bankable actors, but, whatever. George H. W. Bush was in the White House, the Berlin Wall had fallen…everything was up for grabs. Today, Hardware has long (well, 20 years) been considered a lost classic. Personally, I think this praise is a bit inflated. Yes, Hardware was made for a relatively low budget, and has a ‘90s industrial soundtrack, but that hardly makes it the next coming of Blade Runner. I mean, when you get right down to it, the movie’s awfully silly and the people in it are much, much sillier. You can hose down the sets with as much blood as you want and crank up the Motorhead on the soundtrack, and you’re still just talking about a traditional “Robot-meet-girl; Robot-tries-to-kill-girl; Robot-is-hopelessly-inept-at-killing-girl” story.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the ’90s, John Woo came to Hollywood…and then had to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme: “Hard Target”

September 5, 2013

poster

Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo pretty much defined a genre and re-defined action movies on a global scale. He brought an almost heretical stylization to action sequences that went beyond Sam Peckinpah’s loving slow motion and straight into semi-deification of the human form in motion. He made films that were legitimately great and that transcended cultural and language barriers.  Naturally, the logical next move was to move to Hollywood, where surely the greatness of a non-white, non-American would be recognized and prized, and where directors held complete sway over a film, never challenged by producers or stars, and where his pure, undistilled vision could be put on screen…(cough). And then, as I like to imagine it, he had a meeting with a studio exec that went more or less like the climax of Crank 2: High Voltage, in which a head in a jar just galumphs “Dorp…dorp..dorp…” and then gives him Jean-Claude Van Damme’s phone number.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the ’90s we thought this was a good idea: “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man”

September 2, 2013

hdambm

So, um, who thought green-lighting this movie was a good idea? I mean, really, what was the selling point here? I just…I’m sorry, I can’t figure out why an actual movie studio—you know people whose job it is to sell things that the general public wants to see—decided to blow millions of dollars on a watery action movie starring two stars at the end of their initial peak and the beginning of their long season in the wilderness. Oh, and they gave an overly cutesy title featuring two brand names synonymous with masculinity and embodied them with one dude famous for playing punks and another who wore pastel colors for five seasons. I’m tempted to think the whole movie was an elaborate practical joke, but I can’t figure out on whom.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the ’90s we were totally okay with statutory rape (we weren’t really okay with it): “The Crush”

September 2, 2013

crush

So, we’re back on the misogyny of the 1990s—well that was quick—but it’s hard to escape, what with the decade being so rife with it and all. 1993’s The Crush was no doubt sold to studio execs as “Fatal Attraction with a teenaged girl.” And they no doubt lapped it up like a…thing…that laps stuff (sorry, wrote myself into a corner, there). The final product, however, viewed some 20 years on is basically the story of a potential statutory rapist struggling with his urges. Well, the first half anyway. After that, it does actually become Fatal Attraction with a minor. But by that time I already felt like showering with acetone. Because if we were anything in ‘90s, we were terrified of women, no matter their age.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the 1990’s the future was really lame: “Johnny Mnemonic”

August 29, 2013

poster

Okay, now this film is instructive indeed. It shows us a glimpse of a very specific moment in time—1995, in fact—when the world arrived at the intersection of science and culture. It was the moment that the Internet became a looming thing, a soon-to-be fixture on our lives. We could see this tsunami curling above us, and could only marvel at how it would change our lives. With 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic, we have a window into the predictions and anxieties of the way our future would be transformed into something new. And man, were they retarded.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

In the 1990s beautiful women terrorized us all: “The Temp”

August 28, 2013

temp_xlg

So, the first installment of “Back to the ‘90s” feature (for no reason other than I had it in my iTunes rental queue) is 1993’s The Temp. If forced to come up with a reason for the significance of this film—and, um, by definition I pretty much have to—I would point to the presence of Lara Flynn Boyle. After all, this film was meant to be somewhat of a vehicle for the up-and-comer (it wasn’t), and despite it, she up and came. The 1990s were very much her decade. She was introduced to audiences in 1990’s TV series Twin Peaks, and by 2001 she was headlining in a Will Smith vehicle. Along the way, she taught American women they should want to be skinnier than is humanly possible or remotely sane. So, yeah, the ‘90s were good to ol’ LFB. And kicking it off was this…uh…well, this.
Read the rest of this entry ?