A Love Letter to Topanga Lawrence

90s movies

So much has already been written about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. It’s a term coined by film critic Nathan Rabin and he succinctly describes the archetype as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” While this is a pretty gloomy interpretation of the character type, it doesn’t lack accuracy.

From Natalie Portman’s character in Garden State to absolutely any role Zooey Deschanel (the alpha Manic Pixie Dream Girl) has played in her career, this type of character can be spotted from a mile away. These female characters are so aloof, quirky, and awkward that you can’t help but get emotionally invested in how adorable and enigmatic they are.

I guess it’s because I’m one of those “broodingly soulful young men” that I am hopelessly endeared by this type of character. Going back to a very young age, all it took was an eccentric girl with doe eyes to make me obsessive to the point of stalking.

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The Rock (1996)

90s movies

There are certain actors and directors in Hollywood who receive undue amounts of prejudice and hatred. Folks go out of their way to hate their movies and projects before they’re anywhere near completion and lampoon them endlessly when they are eventually released. Most people don’t realize that films don’t have to be artsy, well-acted or pretentious to be entertaining and provide an enjoyable moviegoing experience. Michael Bay’s 1996 thrill ride, The Rock, fits into this category admirably.

Showcasing one of the most honorable villains in action movie history, The entirety of The Rock takes place on Alcatraz Island which General Francis Hummel, played by a dignified and believable Ed Harris, takes over after he feels he has been deeply wronged by the country he has laid down his life for. Seething with frustration, Hummel decides to round up a squadron of fellow ex-military thugs who feel the same and take revenge on the government and people who betrayed him. After gathering his team, Hummel and his goons take Alcatraz hostage and use a biological weapon fashioned into rocket-propelled missiles to threaten the entire city of San Francisco.

Thankfully for San Francisco citizens, they have resident bomb and chemical expert Stanley Goodspeed, the ageless Nicholas Cage, to save their pathetic lives from the threat of bio-terrorism. However, a lab geek against a gang of military terrorists would be too impossible of odds for even the most contrived Hollywood action romp, so there is also a supreme badass thrown into the mix in the form of the only man to ever escape the “inescapable” Alcatraz prison: retired agent John Patrick Mason. Played by the original ass-kicker Sean Connery, Mason is the bread and butter of this action flick. He’s deadly, violent, and smarter than pretty much everyone else in the film. Mason is the only one who knows the ins and outs of the heavily-guarded Alcatraz prison and the government decides to throw him a bone regarding his life imprisonment in return for his help.

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Ninja Turtle Stuff: Sewer-Cyclin’ Raph

90s moviesSo after several months of unemployment, I’m finally back to work. I apologize for the lack of articles over the last week or so, but I’ve been pretty busy trying to get adjusted to being a productive member of society again.

Today’s edition of “Ninja Turtle Stuff” is an exploration of a pretty weird version of Raphael. Toward the end of the Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, pretty much every creative idea imaginable was turned into a Ninja Turtle toy. There were Star Trek versions, prehistoric versions, and even giant voodoo elephants. If it could be loosely tied to or fashioned into a Ninja-Turtle-Like action figure, it most certainly was.

This particular figure is known simply as Sewer-Cyclin’ Raph. Although I don’t think I’ve ever seen Raph ride a bicycle in the cartoon show on the street or in the sewer, I guess the people at Playmates thought it would be a good idea if he did.

90s movies

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Angus (1995)

90s moviesI’ve always had an affinity for love stories where the fat guy lands the attractive girl. Being a fat guy myself, it’s in my best interest that this stereotype plays out as often as possible. Throughout popular culture, there is a reliance on this trope in the realm of comedy. Whether it be the Honeymooners, the Flintstones or the Simpsons, there is no shortage of examples of obese loudmouths scoring with some pretty lovely ladies.

In the 90s, the slacker and loser subcultures were glorified often in film and television and led to some really touching stories about fatty getting the girl. It wasn’t uncommon for a socially-inept-but-likable character to find a way to overcome their naysayers and walk away with the prize at the end of the film. One such movie is a humble little 1995 film called Angus.

Angus is one of those movies I went into without a shred of prejudice. I knew next to nothing about the movie except what I could glean from the advertisements. The film itself is based on a short story by Chris Crutcher. The movie focuses on a chubby high school nobody named Angus who falls deeply infatuated with the resident dream girl, Melissa. If you’re wondering, yes Melissa is played by the same girl who hacked computers and hid from velociraptors in Jurassic Park.

90s movies

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Top 10 90s Sitcom Theme Songs

90s movies

When you’re feeling down and out, most people are satisfied being placated by a hug, a fattening meal, or escaping into a book. When I’m at my lowest point, however, the only thing that can pull me out of the pit of despair is a classic television theme song. 

There’s something about their wholesome, saccharine vibe that puts all my fears at ease and reminds me that there’s still some good left in the world. They’re catchy enough to sing along to and short enough to survive mass syndication without becoming nauseating. 

In recent years, the TV theme song has gone the way of the dinosaur, but the 90s knew how to do it right. If you wanted to pitch a sitcom to a network, you had to have a song that would be stuck in everyone’s head after only a few episode.

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