o you think you’re a 90s fan? OK, Kaiser Soze, can you handle this? It’s I Love the 90s, and this is 1995! The flicks, the fashions, the trends, the TV, the tunes—a totally awesome year that brought us these burning questions:
Just how off-putting can full frontal nudity be?:
Zach Smola: Showgirls is sincerely among the most horrible things I have ever seen. If I ever witness a gruesome murder, I think I might still feel the same way.
And once and for all: Blur or Oasis?:
Charlie Frame: I blame my allegiance to Blur for most of my troubles at school. The Oasis kids could be recognized by their massive foreheads, primal postures and their tendencies to throw you in the lovely prickly bush some sadistic school caretaker had thoughtfully planted next to the playground.
Because you still love the 90s, because you still harbor fond memories of your first dial-up connection, admit it: This is 1995!
*** Clueless*** Magic Eye*** Alanis Morrisette*** My So-Called Life***
*** Showgirls*** Breakfast at Tiffany's*** Mallrats/Empire Records***
*** Spike Jonze*** Shaq*** Braveheart***
*** Bjork*** Friends*** Michael Jackson's Scream***
*** The Usual Suspects*** Father Ted*** Reggae Hip-Hop*** Alternative Rock***
*** Singled Out*** Sunny Delight*** Blur vs. Oasis***
*** Kids*** Smashing Pumpkins*** Mr. Show***
*** Skee-Lo*** Twelve Monkeys*** Internet***
Christina Adkinson: Ew. Clueless. Gag with me a spoon.
Gabe Gloden: In 1995, Amy Heckerling struck teen gold again thirteen years after directing Fast Times At Ridgemont High, to make another age-defining comedy, Clueless, which reveled in mid-90s excess.
Ken Munson: I’ve got a few female friends in college who are ridiculously devoted to this movie; one of them, if they were writing for this article, would be able to give you an entire dissertation on it.
John Rothery: Like great manufactured pop music, teen flicks can be irresistible. This one was loosely based on a Jane Austen novel (Emma) and captured the essence of materialistic America and dumbed down, mall rat culture to a tee.
Ken Munson: Clueless: the adventures of a stupid ditzy girl in a stupid ditzy world.
Gabe Gloden: Clueless cinematically slayed grungy Generation X as the 90s image of cool, ushering in Generation Y and celebrating the new Clinton-era American prosperity.
Matt Chesnut: Alicia Silverstone was hot. In Clueless, she and her hot friends try to make a social misfit cool, who is not so hot until they discover that, lo and behold, she actually is hot.
Christina Adkinson: All I remember about Clueless is the scene where’s she’s driving. They should replace the “Baby on Board” signs with “Blonde on Board” signs. That would drive fear into every motorist’s heart.
Andrew Unterberger: I don’t think anyone expected that frumpy Brittany Murphy would be the one to go on to a career, not megastar Alicia Silverstone, who went nowhere but down from here.
Gavin Mueller: Having sex with Eminem will get you anywhere. Just ask 50 Cent.
Matt Chesnut: Doesn’t she get together with her stepbrother at the end?
Christina Adkinson: In the movie Clueless Alicia Silverstone falls in love with a gay man. Realizing that her love is unreciprocated, she attempts a more feasible relationship… with her STEPBROTHER.
Andrew Unterberger: I think that people miss the true horror of the ending of Clueless, which is not that she falls in love with her stepbrother but that she falls in love with Paul Rudd, the smuggest, most annoying actor of the 90s. Oh well, at least he listens to Radiohead.
Matt Chesnut: If they haven’t already, they could do an entire Celebrity Poker tournament on Bravo using the actors from this movie
Christina Adkinson: Alicia Silverstone has done so much since Clueless like that one movie where she got into Harvard Law School. No wait, that was Reese Witherspoon. …What HAS she been doing? Miss Match? She really IS clueless.
Ken Munson: Clueless dared to speak one of the unspoken truths about high school: Many times, the coolest and nicest kids in school are pretty, shallow and popular. This movie is a lot closer to the reality of high school than, say, Heathers.
Tony Van Groningen: I have always had a strong affinity for the high school romantic comedy, and Clueless is my favorite of them all except for Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It’s an excellent mix of humor, teen pathos, and love story. I don’t think I’ve ever rooted harder for a happy ending in a movie.
Ken Munson: And that’s what I like about this movie. It never pretends that Alicia Silverstone is secretly deep or all that important, a la 90210, yet it treats her like a decent human being anyway.
Josh Timmermann: Clueless is a classic. It's right up there alongside Groundhog Day as the best Hollywood comedy of the '90's. It's terrifically funny, admirably sweet-natured, smart, and romantic; it launched Jane Austen into Southern California circa 1995 while perfectly capturing the essence of mid-'90's youth/pop-culture.
Matt Chesnut: Magic Eye Pictures, a.k.a. “How to Get Cross-Eyed and Stay That Way.”
Christina Adkinson: Ahhh! My anguish!
Joe Niemczyk: These were the biggest scam perpetrated on children since Sea Monkeys.
Matt Chesnut: Not only did you look like a moron with your face pressed against the page, but if you couldn’t see what was there, you felt like one, too.
Christina Adkinson: I NEVER, EVER, EVER got these! People would spend hours with me trying to get me do these tricks with my eyes like ‘squint” or “cross your eyes” or “look at it kind of sideways” to get me to see it and I NEVER SAW IT!
Joe Niemczyk: Were they cool? Oh, definitely. You'd better not have gotten caught with Where's Waldo? once these hit the street.
Adrien Begrand: We all first saw these things in malls, and when we finally managed to figure out how to see the hidden picture, it was an epiphany. Like seeing God or something.
Gabe Gloden: My friend had one of these over his toilet and one day I was concentrating so hard on it that I urinated all over his bathroom floor without realizing it.
Steve Lichtenstein: Getting me to do these things was about as likely as getting me to ovulate. I kept trying to imagine that my eyes were mini-Cracker Jacks decoders, but that’s honestly very difficult.
Gavin Mueller: I have gotten exactly ONE of these to work in my entire life. Goddamn it!
John Rothery: I couldn’t do these. They didn’t work for me. File under “Things That Should Be Easy But I’ll Never Get the Hang Of,” a list including:
-Making a funny sound with a reed
-Taking off a girl’s bra
Tony Van Groningen: I had a book of these, and was able to do them with no problem. They were cool only because they were so fucking weird—how did a picture of neon static turn into a 3D dolphin when you crossed your eyes? Something about stereophonic vision or something, but it never made sense.
Pat Beers: Two notable pop-culture appearances of Magic Eye Pictures: the schooner in Mallrats and the Seinfeld episode where George and Mr. Pitt are so entranced by one that they, respectively, emerge shirtless from a bathroom and become Hitler.
Ben Woolhead: I sympathize with the guy from Mallrats—I could never see anything, and always felt like I was missing out. Being able to make out the image from a magic eye picture was like being able to roll your tongue or ride a bike without touching the handlebar—a completely useless talent, but one much-prized amongst classmates all the same.
Adrien Begrand: Poor Mr. Pitt. He finally gets close to seeing the spaceship ("You mean deep focus!"), and Elaine breaks the picture over her knee.
Tony Van Groningen: But once you see the magic picture, there’s not much else going on.
Ken Munson: For the longest time I had no idea how these things worked; they were just weird repetitive designs. And none of the Magic Eye instructions ever helped me at all. And then one day I got it. I figured out the one thing no one ever told me: Cross your eyes. Cross your eyes and the magic appears!
Zach Smola: I could rarely get Magic Eyes to work properly, but the one time I did, it was on the back of a package of squeezable Kool-Aid bottles. It was a real turning point for me, a real moment of clarity in my life, when there was nothing blurry, just a solitary floating image. Zen Buddha mind-control tricks at their finest.
Christina Adkinson: Unfortunately my math teacher thought they were the best things ever and made the class look at one every single day. I hate public schools!
Gabe Gloden: Those were addictive books and they usurped actual reading material in my bathroom for about four months.
Ken Munson: Now I work the magic eye all the time, even things not strictly designed with Magic Eye in mind. You’d be surprised the images you can find in a page of blank text.
Ken Munson: Alanis Morissette: still the worst thing about the 90s.
Tony Van Groningen: I’m not sure how Alanis Morisette blew up as quickly as she did. I guess a blend of femme-power, punky attitude, and some soft rock radio crossover appeal will work wonders for your career.
R.S. Ross: Alanis was so cool back in the day. That unfettered bile (which was nevertheless adamantly sexual) made being a guy seem so cool.
Charlie Frame: Alanis was like an AOR Spice Girl. It was stuff for preppy gap-year chicks to go backpacking round Australia to.
Christina Adkinson: Shaving my bikini line with a sea urchin is far less irritating than any of Alanis Morissette’s songs.
Ken Munson: Alanis Morissette has the most vile screech ever capable of being recorded. She sounds like a Velociraptor mating with a lawnmower.
Matt Chesnut: Now alternative is safe for everyone. And incidentally, Jagged Little Pill is a pretty great record.
John Rothery: PMT in minor chords? Nah, that’s way harsh. Jagged Little Pill was pretty good, lots of anthemic stuff, well produced and she was everywhere for about a year
Matt Chesnut: All of Alanis’ femi-angst makes this a quintessential 90’s album. Seriously, weren’t there about five singles off this album?
Andrew Unterberger: Jagged Little Pill had six hit singles—“All I Really Want,” “You Oughta Know,” “Hand in My Pocket,” “Ironic,” “You Learn” and “Head Over Feet”
Adrien Begrand: Morissette's transformation from teen pop singer to extremely angry woman was especially shocking to us Canadians. "Alanis swore in her song!"
Kareem Estefan: “You Oughta Know” was the first song to shock me by using the “f” word. It also elicited the first time I ever heard my mom curse, when she asked me if hearing the word bothered me. “What word, mother?” “Fuck!” You can imagine my terror.
Christina Adkinson: As for “You Oughta Know”, all people who listen to this song oughta know better. I will rephrase one of my favorite quotes of all time from Roger Ebert, “I hated this [song]. Hated hated hated hated hated this [song]. Hated it.”
Tony Van Groningen: I have to give her credit for being pretty blunt and honest about all sorts of stuff, her music wasn’t as sterile and pretty as a lot of her contemporaries. “Did she go down on you in a theatre?” Refreshing.
R.S. Ross: As a complete novice with women, the notion of evoking such strong emotions in a member of the opposite sex was sadistically empowering.
Christina Adkinson: Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
Steve Lichtenstein: So, really…..Dave Coulier?
Andrew Unterberger: Supposedly “You Oughta Know” was written about Full House star David Coulier, or as he’s better known to longtime fans, “the other one”.
Christina Adkinson: For crying at loud, she’s having problems getting over DAVE COULIER! Not John Stamos, not even Bob Saget, but DAVE COULIER is making her turn into psycho bitch. And the line “Would she go down on you in a theatre” makes me want to stay far away from any and all cinemas (thank god for bootlegs).
Ken Munson: “You Oughta Know,” unequaled as a stalker anthem until Clay Aiken’s “Invisible.” And somehow, somehow, this lunatic ex-girlfriend rant was supposed to be some kind of feminist anthem?? This is empowering??
Christina Adkinson: And what the hell is she even talking about: “It's not fair to deny me / Of the cross I bear that you gave to me” What cross to bear did Dave Coulier give her? Full House re-runs? Olson twin direct-to-video movies? That cross is too much for anyone to bear.
Ken Munson: Let’s see how empowered you are when I take out a restraining order on you, you banshee psycho!
Josh Timmermann: "Hand in My Pocket" is probably the most curiously dirty song that might not even have intended to be dirty in the first place. I don't know. Maybe I just have a dirty mind.
Ken Munson: “Hand in My Pocket,” what a hideous, tuneless dirge that is. So you’ve got one hand in your pocket. So what? What does that mean? What does that have to do with anything? You’re boring but you’re self-absorbed, bay-bee.
Gabe Gloden: “Ironic”. Still one of the best uses of different color sweaters in any video, ever.
Kareem Estefan: I don’t think I could come up with a real opinion for “Ironic” any more. It’d be tainted by irritation at the song’s once ubiquitous presence as well as nostalgia for its once loveable charm.
Ken Munson: Everyone talks about the irony/unirony of “Ironic,” and I think what really gets lost in the debate is the song’s incredible stupidity. It’s like ten thousands spoons when all you need is a knife, with which to slit your wrists because that line is SO FUCKING BAD.
Adrien Begrand: The album wasn't that bad, really. But as she's proven over the years, it's not easy to whine and moan on record all the time and continue to sell records. The public can only withstand so much.
Gabe Gloden: Her career ended quickly unfortunately because she took way too long to record her last album. She should have spent the time pitching ideas for You Can’t Do That On Television: The Next Generation.
Zach Smola: I credit Alanis falling off the face of the earth to the fact that she started writing her own songs. She even tried nudity in the video for “Thank You”, but that didn’t work.
Gavin Mueller: The suits at Maverick could only trick the public into believing Alanis was attractive for so long.
Charlie Frame: She disappeared because I killed her. I killed her because my sister played "Ironic" at me over and over and over again for the entirety of the summer. I am not sorry for what I have done!
Ken Munson: Alanis Morissette is PJ Harvey without intelligence, Sarah McLachlan without the niceness, Tori Amos without depth, Liz Phair without attraction, Jewel without sweetness, Aimee Mann without insight. She is a jagged little plague and I wish she would disappear for good already.
Zach Smola: She should have stayed in that car. All four of her.
Andrew Unterberger: Oh god. Paul Verhoeven strikes again.
Zach Smola: Showgirls is sincerely among the most horrible things I have ever seen. If I ever witness a gruesome murder, I think I might still feel the same way. Nudity has never been less sexy.
Ken Munson: I watched Showgirls for a little while and then I turned it off. The movie is nothing but non-stop nudity and I was thirteen, and I turned it off. How could any movie possibly be that bad?? Jesus, I would have killed for a glimpse of breast back then, but all I can remember is that I was so BORED with Showgirls.
John Rothery: Genuinely awful. Does not work on any level whatsoever, the champagne/pool scene is still the worst sex ever committed to film and commercially released.
Christina Adkinson: Even though I’ve never seen this movie, I suspect that most men did not watch it in the theatre. After all, it hasn’t been too long since Paul Reubens got in trouble for something similar….
Zach Smola: At least pornography is evil; Showgirls is just abysmally stupid.
Matt Chesnut: Thanks to this movie, we know what Saved by the Bell’s Jessie’s tits look like.
Steve Lichtenstein: In retrospect, the signs were there all along that Jesse Spano would grow up to be a hilarious stripper.
Ben Woolhead: My housemate has the book of the film, which involves three big-name photographers in trying to make out that Showgirls was really a serious, thought-provoking and mature work of art rather than ludicrously cheap titillation for people who used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 and then whack off whilst imagining what Elizabeth Berkeley might look like naked. Needless to say, it fails miserably.
Zach Smola: It stars all television actors, so it is impossible to imagine Elizabeth Berkley as anything other than feminist Jessie Spano, and Kyle MacLachlan as anything other than Agent Cooper (despite his creepy resemblance to Stephen Malkmus with his haircut in Showgirls.)
John Rothery: If you have seen Saved by the Bell then you have seen Elizabeth Berkely’s finest work. She is a giraffe with implants.
Gabe Gloden: “I’m not a stripper, I’m a dancer!” People will forget this movie, but that line… I think that line will be remembered. It’s empowering, you see.
Ken Munson: As I type this, I’m reading an article about how Showgirls was recently reissued on DVD, featuring jokey commentary, its own drinking game, and interviews from people who work on the film talking about how bad it is. But from my own memories, it’s not even interesting enough to be funny.
Michael Heumann: Say what you want about Showgirls, but it was still better than Mallrats.
Josh Timmermann: I love Showgirls, but not for the same reason that everyone else loves it. That is, I disagree with the consensus opinion that it's a bad movie. Instead, I'd argue that the joke's on them, that it's Verhoeven's ultimate critique of the shallow depths of American culture, is a particularly nasty barb lobbed in the entertainment industry's direction. This isn't pure camp, as most claim—it's pure vitriol.
Zach Smola: The screenwriter for this piece of trash is the highest paid screenwriter in film history, which highlights the fundamental unfairness of the universe. It is the ipecac syrup of the entertainment world
Ken Munson: I… I’m sorry, my mind is so boggled with this memory that I don’t think I can continue.
John Rothery: NEXT.
Andrew Unterberger: You say…we’ve got nothing in common…no common ground to start from…
Christina Adkinson: My boyfriend and I actually listened to this song together the other day, and as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it. Oh wait…
Andrew Unterberger: Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”—a song about a couple’s inevitable breakup temporarily delayed due to mutual appreciation of a classic Audrey Hepburn movie.
Charlie Frame: It was about swinging with a conscience. Basically a guy and a girl want to shag each other's guts out but have to come up with a contrived excuse to do get it on. I highly doubt they're still together.
Ben Woolhead: Quite possibly the dullest song I’ve ever heard: a fact that, inevitably, guaranteed its heavy rotation on commercial radio stations.
Josh Timmermann: Whenever I'm asked what the most embarrassing CD I've ever purchased was I infallibly cite Deep Blue Something, though I actually bought it for my then-girlfriend. No, really. I swear!
Christina Adkinson: I realized that have been listening to this song on the radio for almost a decade, and I have never, in my mind, ever formed an opinion about it. It is so mundane that it doesn't fire off enough synapses to store its significance into my cortex. That sentence I just wrote was more interesting than this song.
Ken Munson: This song is so wishy-washy. “As I recall, I THINK we both KINDA liked it.” No conviction at all.
Kareem Estefan: If “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” were about two people who shared a deep, passionate love for the titular film, then perhaps the link would be strong enough for a relationship between them to make sense. But “we both kinda liked it”…I don’t know about that.
Zach Smola: You have to more than “kinda” like something if you intend to base your love life on it.
Christina Adkinson: I definitely have no sympathy for this guy. He obviously didn't put any energy into making his relationship last. He didn't even put any energy into naming his own band.
Ken Munson: These guys are so feeble and pathetic they couldn’t even finish naming their own band. I’m sure if they had been so lazy or ineffectual, they could have come up with a third word for their name (“Deep Blue Sky,” maybe?).
Gabe Gloden: “Hey dude, the record company has got our new song and they want to sign us.” “That’s great.” “There’s only one problem, they need to know our band name… what did we decide on last night?” “Deep?…. Deep Blue?… something.” “Close enough.”
Christina Adkinson: Everything about this band is boring. Their outfits, their haircuts, the scene where they "jam out" in the music video. Even the guitar solo is boring. Is it even physically possible to make a guitar solo boring??
John Rothery: The chorus melody is, y’know, quite good but it rocks about as much as a dead granddad. I hate it when this record comes on in a club.
Steve Lichtenstein: Thank you, Deep Blue Something, for emphatically introducing me to the bitter world of selling back my CDs. In spite of the awful, awful song that I tricked myself into liking due to my horrendous impressionability and blind acceptance of a hook, you set an important precedent.
Ken Munson: What’s funny about the song is that even the singer himself seems to realize what a weak defense it is. It’s like a lame joke he tells his girlfriend to break the tension, and which would probably only result in the girl getting pissed off at him for being dumb.
Brad Shoup: My brother's band used to break out a killer "Breakfast At Tiffany's". A true crowd-pleaser.
Ken Munson: I guess liking an old movie is kind of a weak basis for a relationship, but my girlfriend and I have built a strong relationship out of our shared hatred of Dave Matthews, so maybe they could work it out.
Ben Woolhead: If the relationship really was based on a mutual appreciation of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, then the sex must have been shit.
Zach Smola: If I had a dollar for every relationship I founded that existed purely on a mutual love for a lone film, I would not have very much money, now would I? Though I would prolong breaking up with a girl in the event that we could bond over both kinda hating this song.
Gabe Gloden: Hey, I based a whole relationship on our mutual hatred of this song once, so it’s possible
Christina Adkinson: I think that a delusional mutual interest in a movie isn't good foundation for a relationship. A relationship should be based on a more stable foundation….like sex. That works for me.
Gavin Mueller: Well, if this song is enough to base a hit record on, anything is possible.
Andrew Unterberger: In 1995, there was a short-lived attempt to sort of forge a Brat Pack of the 90s with movies like Mallrats and Empire Records.
Adrien Begrand: Oh man, is Mallrats ever terrible. Not even Stan Lee could save this flick.
Ken Munson: Mallrats is probably the worst of the Kevin Smith movies.
R.S. Ross: I remember Kevin Smith on MTV apologizing for what an egg he’d laid. At least he was honest.
Ken Munson: The best thing about it is that Kevin Smith, like Richard Linklater, realized that Ben Affleck is best when he’s playing a complete asshole.
Ben Woolhead: Ben Affleck really is a twat. Thankfully his character gets fucked over.
Andrew Unterberger: Did this movie even have a plot? All I remember in terms of story is Jeremy London trying to get back with some girl and Jason Lee being an asshole.
R.S. Ross: That Jeremy London was such a lame actor. Why would Smith choose him as the lead?
Ben Woolhead: Unlike fellow ex-Beverly Hills 90210 star Elizabeth Berkeley in Showgirls, Shannon Doherty at least got to keep her clothes on and, with it, her dignity.
Zach Smola: Mallrats arose to guilty pleasure status for millions of film snobs, and is a superior film to Empire Records if only due to the fact that it has those hilarious blue-print schemes with Jay and Silent Bob. And, also, an apt critique of the Magic Eye phenomenon.
Gabe Gloden: “That kid is on the escalator again! I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues.”
Gavin Mueller: Mallrats was funnier, but Empire Records had hotter girls. Both these movies suck.
Josh Timmermann: The only thing I remember about Empire Records was Liv Tyler in a mini-skirt. The only thing I remember about Mallrats is a fortune teller lady with a fake third nipple.
Andrew Unterberger: Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, the chick from The Craft…and a bunch of guys who never went on to do absolutely anything else. Though Lucas was also Slater in Dazed and Confused, so he gets a footnote for that.
Ken Munson: My friends tell me often I remind them of Lucas. I have no idea why.
Andrew Unterberger: Like Mallrats, Empire Records achieved a sort of classic status with kids my age in 1995.
Ken Munson: Empire Records has no classic characters, a weak plot and a lack of memorable comic sequences. Why is it so great?
Akiva Gottlieb: I'll be goddamned if this isn't every ex-girlfriend's favorite movie of all-time. A flop upon initial release, and it should have stayed that way.
Ken Munson: Despite its young Gen-X stars, its down-with-the-man philosophy and its Gin-Blossomed, Cranberried soundtrack, Empire Records doesn’t feel like a 90’s movie at all. There’s no irony, no hip self-awareness. Everyone is an easily identifiable stock character with their own compelling problems.
Zach Smola: Empire Records was almost a really good teen movie, until the completely unnecessary scene where out of nowhere, Liv Tyler’s character is accosted for her addiction to speed. It’s like the producers thought “hmmm…this isn’t teenage and controversial enough…make the good girl a speed addict.”
Akiva Gottlieb: This is the Gen-X movie for wimpy younger siblings, the Can't Hardly Wait of 1995. In other words, a mildly palatable "edgy" flick for populists. The soundtrack is pretty killer, though.
Andrew Unterberger: Edwyn Collins, ex-lead singer of Orange Juice, had a deservedly huge hit with “A Girl Like You”. And it wasn’t even the weirdest 1995 top 40 hit from an ex-lead singer of a legendary indie band on the soundtrack to a hip teen movie. What a year, huh?
Akiva Gottlieb: Gin Blossoms have always transcended the wimp-rock tag, and Edwyn Collins' sexy smash sounded like the background music for some retro-chic hipster bordello.
Ken Munson: The soundtrack is actually a major defeat for alternative rock. The movie is emblematic of the mid-90’s rock scene, but the film’s best song by far is “Say No More (Mon Amour)” by the Robert Palmer sound-alike.
Akiva Gottlieb: I don't remember if Rex Manning made the soundtrack, but his "Say No More (Mon Amour) " is the movie's saving grace.
Zach Smola: The single “Say No More (Mon Amour)” is absolutely hi-larious. Plus, it’s the only movie I can think of in which Gwar eats a character.
Andrew Unterberger: OK, the movie doesn’t hold up like it did in 1995, but come on , there are still some classic scenes and lines—“What, no applause?” the mock-funeral, “because it would hurt a lot, Warren,” A.J. gluing pennies to the floor, the final celebration to “’Til I Hear it From You”…
Ken Munson: The whole thing makes you want to believe that all conflicts can be resolved by the end of the day, and that throwing a concert solves everything, and that if you hold up a store at gunpoint, the manager will realize you just want acceptance and hire you.
Andrew Unterberger: So for everyone who ever loved Empire Records, should it with me: “SHOPLIFTERRRRR!!!!!”
Ken Munson: Damn the man. Save the Empire.
Zach Smola: Barring the occasional strokes of genius before his emergence on the scene, before the mid-90s music videos were mostly used as a means of finding out what artists looked like. Spike Jonze was among the first people to make videos that seriously merited watching.
Tony Van Groningen: I don’t remember being cognizant of this when it was happening, but Spike Jonze directed some of my favorite all time music videos. I still love the videos for “It’s Oh So Quiet,” “Undone,” “Buddy Holly,” “Sabotage,” and many others that he has done since then.
Andrew Unterberger: I caught a special of Spike Jonze’s videos once on MTV and I just couldn’t believe that all these great videos were done by the same guy.
Gabe Gloden: The thing that really endeared me (and I think a lot of people) to Spike Jonze was his devotion to the indie DIY video aesthetic of the 90s. His videos had a “Hey, I could do that” quality about them, a style that was very easy to copy and became the norm for most of those 120 Minutes bands.
Tony Van Groningen: He was a true breath of fresh air on MTV—his videos were funny, intelligent, and just different than pretty much anything else being shown at the time.
Ben Woolhead: The videos for “Buddy Holly” and “Sabotage” are undoubtedly two of the finest I’ve ever seen, the sort of thing that make trawling through hours of mediocre anodyne shit on MTV worthwhile.
R.S. Ross: The “Buddy Holly” vid introduced a lot of us to the new coolest band ever in Weezer. Spike was the original Indie for many.
Christina Adkison: The "Buddy Holly" video consisted of Weezer being grafted into old video footage (a la Forrest Gump) into an old episode of Happy Days.
Andrew Unterberger: Ritchie gets jealous, the drummer makes google-y eyes at Joanie, and of course, Fonzie wins the dance contest.
Matt Chesnut: If you can ever learn to do the Fonzie Dance, you will be king. This I can assure you.
Andrew Unterberger: “And please….try the fish!”
Ben Woolhead: The “Sabotage” scenario: the Beastie Boys all dress up as a 70s cop show and arse about. All Beastie Boys videos involve them arsing about, but this one features big fake moustaches too and is thus superior.
Andrew Unterberger: The B-Boys break down doors, tackle bad guys into pools, break up mischievous card games and still find the time for donuts during the song’s break. All in a day’s work.
Brad Shoup: Although the form of Spike Jonze videos is such that practically anyone can mimic them (save the delightful "It's Oh So Quiet"), no one usually does.
Zach Smola: The dancing mailbox in “It’s Oh So Quiet” might be one of film’s greatest moments, period.
Tony Van Groningen: The one that really moved me was for Wax’s “California,” for some reason the slo-mo running, burning man was in my mind quite the appropriate symbol for the southern Californian lifestyle.
Andrew Unterberger: Dinosaur Jr.’s “Feel the Pain”—J. Mascis proves that full-contact golf really would be the greatest sport ever.
Adrien Begrand: Jonze's best video is, easily, Daft Punk's "Da Funk". Somehow, you care for that half-man half-dog guy, and when he can't get on the bus with the cute girl, it rips your heart apart.
Gabe Gloden: Poor Charles the Dog Boy. He had to choose between his girl and his radio.
Brad Shoup: Let's call a turd a turd, though. "Undone" was crap. A bunch of dogs running across the screen? Twice?
Ken Munson: You know, the coolness of the Buddy Holly video notwithstanding, I’ve honestly never been that impressed with Spike Jonze. I am a Michel Gondry person at heart.
Tony Van Groningen: I definitely prefer Spike Jonze doing music videos to Spike Jonze doing full-length movies, although his movies have some cool moments in them as well.
R.S. Ross: It’s difficult to assess his films because they’ve all been buoyed by Charlie Kaufman’s scripts, although seeing Kaufman’s work in the hands of Michel Gondry’s sheds a bit of doubt on Jonze’s “genius”.
Zach Smola: The videos for “It’s Oh So Quiet”, “Sabotage”, “Buddy Holly” and “California” fit their songs better than any other concept possibly could. Just as he had previously done with skateboarding videos, Spike Jonze manages to make music videos that actually transcend their medium and defy all the trappings it entails.
Christina Adkison: It's a shame that Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola didn't stay together….they could have combined forces and directed music videos with mopey girls that are always in their underwear, Japanese people, and a not-so-funny Bill Murray all pretending be cops.
Tony Van Groningen: Visionary? Maybe.
Zach Smola: Oh, for the days when an absurdly large shoe-size entitled you to your own kung-fu videogame, series of terrible films, and hip-hop career.
Andrew Unterberger: Shaquille O’Neal, center for the Orlando Magic in 1995, was possibly the most popular athlete in the world after MJ’s first retirement.
Ken Munson: Some basketball stars are successful because they have incredible speed, grace, and talent. Shaquille O’Neal was successful because he bulldozed over people like a stampeding elephant and dunked like no tomorrow.
R.S. Ross: Tuning in to the Sunday game of the week and watching Shaq-Diesel open a can of whoop arse on him to the accompaniment of Marv Albert (pre-bite) grunting “Shaquille O’Neal, banging down in the paint. Puts up a shot… YES!” was a great excuse to lounge on the couch eating fast-food.
Ken Munson: It’s funny; here was a star player with the world’s most killer dunk but a regular shot that was pitiful. It also gave other teams an easy way to neutralize him: just keep fouling him, because he’s never gonna make those free throws.
R.S. Ross: I also remember him breaking a couple backboards, which seems gratuitous now but was absolutely breathtaking at the time.
Ken Munson: Then he started expanding himself into other media, including making shitty movies that no one liked, recording shitty hip-hop that no one listened to, and licensing a shitty video game that I seriously hope to God no one played.
Brad Shoup: I am Kazaam!
Christina Adkison: For me, Shaq wasn’t very credible as a genie. Considering how many times he screws up three point plays, he would almost certainly screw up three wishes.
Matt Chesnut: In Kazaam, the kid wishes for a lifetime of junk food or some such business. This is followed by Shaq’s granting of said wish what with the torrential downpour of candy and burgers. Even as a kid, I thought it was ridiculously unhealthy. Plus, where does one keep that many perishable items? He should’ve wished for a storage shed first.
Andrew Unterberger: Could this guy really play anything except a genie and a gentle giant?
Brad Shoup: Don't forget Blue Chips. Shaq and Nick Nolte. To the producers' eternal shame, they didn't face off in a game of twenty-one.
Matt Chesnut: If I could wish one thing of Shaq, it would be that his ankles break whenever he plays the Spurs in the playoffs.
Brad Shoup: Can we talk about Shaquille the artist? “What's Up Doc (Can We Rock)”? “I Know (I Got Skillz)”? “I Hate 2 Brag”? All classics of the New Shaq Swing Style.
Andrew Unterberger: TWisM for life, bitches.
Brad Shoup: The Big Irrelevance set the bar for future baller/rappers like Chris Webber, Allen Iverson, and Aaron Carter. It's about time he received his due.
Zach Smola: It deeply hurts me that Wu-Tang Clan at one point associated with Shaquille O’Neal in a musical context. It also hurts that any 9-year old boy could probably, given Shaq’s resources, design a game superior to Shaq-Fu.
Gavin Mueller: Shaq Fu was a poorly conceived fighting game in which you could beat every computer player by high-kicking repeatedly. East Asian demons were involved.
Brad Shoup: My brother and I bought Shaq-Fu for our Super Nintendo. Our fat hero had to save a kidnapped urchin by traveling through time and taunting shamans. The 16-bit soundtrack was awful and eminently sample-worthy.
Andrew Unterberger: Playing Shaq Fu for the first time was without a doubt the funniest experience of my life. Seriously, if you ever find that game in a $2 bin, don’t pass up a golden opportunity.
Zach Smola: If the Noid, mascot of Domino’s pizza, had a game, I guess Shaq can too. I’m being a little harsh.
Matt Chesnut: Forget Shaq. I was all about Penny Hardaway and those unforgettable Lil’ Penny commercials, which would prove to be the reemergence of Chris Rock.
Ken Munson: I remember Shaq’s glory reflecting onto Penny Hardaway, and how they were going to be the next Jordan and Pippen, but that didn’t quite happen, seeing as how Jordan and Pippen weren’t done being Jordan and Pippen yet.
Matt Chesnut: It’s too bad Penny’s legs were made of breadsticks because he used to be able to tear it up.
Zach Smola: In all seriousness, given his stirring film performances, revolutionary rapping skills, brilliant espousal of the videogame industry, and tremendous shoe-size, Shaq truly was the Leonardo Da Vinci of our times. Also, he could play basketball. A super man, indeed.
John Rothery: Big, epic, swashbuckling, Oscar-pleading, schmaltz-fests usually involve Kevin Costner or Tom Cruise looking constipated. This one was Mel doing some Scottish folklore. A shout of BOTHERED was issued from this observer.
Joe Niemczyk: As far as historical epics go, Dances With Wolves was still the king. Braveheart was bigger, bloodier, and more quotable, but it's not a classic or anything.
Christina Adkison: Braveheart is the pre-Passion Mel Gibson epic where he, as William Wallace, runs around resembling a member of the Blue Man Group and attempts to rid the U.K. of everything that isn’t Scottish. Because after all, if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!
Josh Timmermann: Ugh, this was just vile. It's a big, dumb, historically oblivious, intensely homophobic action flick dressed up in a kilt (which actually weren't even worn yet, by the way) as some sort of grand period epic thingy.
Ken Munson: Braveheart is an epic in every sense of the word. Everything about it practically drips with grandeur: William Wallace is the greatest hero and strategist of all time, his love of his dear wife the greatest love ever given, Longshanks the most sadistic and evil king to ever reign, the battles the most spectacular ever seen.
Zach Smola: Braveheart was probably the first hint that Gibson was going Jesus on us. The film took some tremendous historical liberties to make William Wallace a grander character than he actually was, editing out some massive mistakes he made.
Ken Munson: The great thing about Braveheart is that absolutely none of it ever happened. The moral of Braveheart’s success: Fuck historical accuracy.
Josh Timmermann: The worst part of it is the opening narration where the guy says "history books are written by those who hang heroes" or some such utter bullshit, thus giving ol' Mel a convenient excuse to bastardize history to his little (brave)heart's content.
Brad Shoup: I thought it was kind of boring, actually. Not even vaguely homoerotic.
Ken Munson: And: Rapid cut battle scenes! Slice!Spear!ArmCutOff!Smash!Wham!Death! I hate war movies, but I could watch the battle scenes in Braveheart all day and all night.
Christina Adkison: This movie (unfortunately) confirmed my suspicion that Scots do not wear anything under their kilts.
Matt Chesnut: Hey, you know what would be a really good parody of this movie? If someone would paint blue and white halves on their face and do some variation of the “freedom” speech! That would be such a riot!
Brad Shoup: Er, Wallace? Ever heard of the United Kingdom? They took your freedom, boy-o.
Gabe Gloden: I heard Mel Gibson had a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts flown in fresh every day from the U.S. to Europe on location as part of his contractual agreement for this movie. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ll believe anything anybody tells me about Mel Gibson nowadays. Psycho.
Joe Niemczyk: Now I'm not a huge Gibson fan, but I don’t get why everyone accuses Gibson of some kind of terrible hubris for making this film. He's no more self-indulgent than Tarantino, and no more of an historical revisionist than Scorsese. I'm not saying he's an auteur like them, but that he's just been on the end of some unfair barbs from armchair film critics for too long.
Ken Munson: And then William Wallace conquered England and the entire British Isles, beat back the Spanish Armada, led the American Civil Rights movement, and defeated Dr. Robotnik. Yes, truly, William Wallace was a great man in history.
Zach Smola: Then came The Patriot, or, as it should have been titled, American Braveheart. Eventually, we knew Gibson was going to make the movie about the guy who saves not just a nation, but the entire human race. He can’t help himself.
Andrew Unterberger: I don’t understand why Mel didn’t just fulfill his destiny by casting himself as Jesus in The Passion and turning it into Braveheart IV. The movie’s greatness would’ve been a lot less contested, that’s for sure.
Pat Beers: Yeah, I never got Björk.
Adrien Begrand: It is impossible to not like Björk. How can you hate someone who sings with so much joy and passion all the time?
Brad Shoup: Yoko Ono beat Björk to most everything with a lot less indie cred.
Ken Munson: Björk sounds like something Pinky would shout at The Brain. Narf. Björk.
Gabe Gloden: No other female performer of the 90s more successfully walked the thin line between artistic talent and saucy pin-up girl. Do we like her because her music’s good or because we can’t stop looking at her hypnotic elvin beauty?
John Rothery: She is a little mad creature, probably slightly too odd looking to be endearing.
Ben Woolhead: She effectively patented that weird bobble hairstyle, the most distinctive female hair design since Princess Leia’s ear donuts.
Zach Smola: The first time you heard Björk sing or saw what she looked like, you knew she wasn’t exactly from around here. And when I say here, I mean the entire planet.
Joe Niemczyk: Björk was, and probably still is, the last pure pop star since Madonna. Has any artist really used the media to express themselves like Björk did, or broken down so many barriers in creating their music?
Charlie Frame: I don't get it. I just don't understand how this shouty little sprite could find her way onto normal decent people's car stereos and become the biggest thing since sliced puffin.
Ken Munson: I find all the enthusiasm about Björk as incomprehensible as Björk herself.
John Rothery: She possesses the most wonderful speaking voice as her broken English has a cockney twang to it.
Charlie Frame: Her accent is priceless. It goes from incomprehensibly thick Icelandicto rough'n'tumble Cockney "Já, njóta hlusta sounds of the drum an' da bass massive innit me ol' china?"
John Rothery: This accent is normally the preserve of Dutch darts players.
Josh Timmermann: I've long loved Björk, though I do have a couple friends who are rather, uhh, frightened by her. I honestly don't get it; she just gets really, really excited.
Brad Shoup: Did you see her knock that reporter out? Fiona Apple would never do that. Lisa Gerrard? Girl, not in a million years!
Gabe Gloden: Whatever you do when you meet Björk, under no circumstances should you say, “Hi Björk, welcome to Thailand!” She’ll see nothing but red and that pixie’s got claws.
Zach Smola: “Welcome to Thailand!” PUNCH! Madonna certainly wouldn’t do that.
Joe Niemczyk: The only thing more amusing about Björk assaulting the paparazzi is the idea that they were watching her in the first place. Couldn't they find Dennis Rodman?
Christina Adkison: I’m sure that everyone is going to talk about the dress….Ellen Degeneres looked ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS in that swan dress.
Brad Shoup: The swan dress may never die. But it got her name out there. As a serious artist/actress who's... out there.
Zach Smola: Regardless of how she ended up on earth, Björk rocks hard enough to wear a bird. Nuff said.
Ben Woolhead: Is she a pixie or flake? Both. Surely that’s the only conclusion that can be reached from watching the video for “It’s Oh So Quiet”?
Zach Smola: “It’s Oh So Quiet” stands head and shoulders above 99.98% of music videos ever filmed.
Gabe Gloden: I love all those videos, especially “Bachelorette” where the book writes itself in real time and creates that narrative loop, a play within a play within a play until everyone turns to plants.
Adrien Begrand: Björk finds a book that writes itself, she gets it published, and becomes famous. She attends a play about her finding a book that writes itself, getting it published, and her sudden fame. Then in the play there's a play about her finding a book that writes itself, getting it published, and her sudden fame...Then the words in the book gradually vanish, and the world reverts back to nature.
Gabe Gloden: It’s profound if you think about it.
Adrien Begrand: Every time "Human Behaviour" came on, I was glued to the tv. I still don't know what it means, but it still amazes me. It's creepy and kind of cute at the same time.
Joe Niemczyk: ”Hyperballad" is a mind-blowing piece of video art. There's no narrative, no close-ups of her looking seductive or cute, no bear suits, but it's still as exciting and moving as anything she or her collaborators have ever put together.
Steve Lichtenstein: After I marry her, Björk will give birth to one daughter, named Car Parts, Bottles, and Cutlery. I will then spend the remainder of my life in a stoned bliss, listening to my wife talk to my daughter.
Adrien Begrand: She might take her own sweet time between albums, but Björk has amassed a catalogue of albums of such high quality, that no female artist has come close to being able to match it in the last decade. Björk might have inspired a generation of Icelelandic kooks (MuM, Sigur Ros, Emiliana Torrini, Gus Gus), but nobody can hold a candle to her wacky self.
Joe Niemczyk: Unfortunately, the couch potatoes and Generation Y drones of America, who have no capacity for irony and can't distinguish fashion from real style to save their subscriptions to People, never really got it.
Andrew Unterberger: Björk might be remembered more for her bizarre public behavior and Celebrity Jeopardy parody than her music or her music videos, but we have no right to complain. We must only be thankful that she graced us with her presence for as long as she did.
Gabe Gloden: You dudes want to get a “Venus as a Boy” chant going?
Gavin Mueller:Friends was the show that made young people around the country believe that they too could live in a posh NYC penthouse apartment off a coffee jock's salary.
Ken Munson: I think Friends marked the point where the generic sitcom template ceased a mom and a dad and their playful, goofy kids, a la The Cosby Show. From now on, all sitcoms would be about quirky but attractive young people in apartments.
Tony Van Groningen: I was never a true Friends fan, but inevitably there were still nights when I ended up watching the show. It definitely had funny moments, but the humor really got to be predictable and stale even to a part-time watcher such as myself.
Matt Chesnut: Three’s Company Times Two? Any way you slice it, this was boring, unfunny, and is responsible for causing the downfall of network sitcoms. Jennifer Aniston is not hot enough to have to sit through half an hour of preppy banality.
Pat Beers: The fact that Friends is awful is only confirmed by the fact that many of the people I disliked in school loved the show.
R.S. Ross: I know I’ll sound like a snob, but the popularity of this show really boded poorly for American culture. Flakiness, mediocrity and self-absorption officially became desirable qualities. Thanks Rachael Green!
Adrien Begrand: Friends was your usual, run-of-the-mill sitcom, but as the years went on, the series settled into a nice groove, proving to be one of the most consistently funny shows on network TV.
Zach Smola: I can be honest when I say that I enjoyed the first season of Friends.
John Rothery: Back in the days of series 2 this was fantastic. Of course it was a victim of its own success but back in the day I would laugh my ass off at Chandler’s wise cracks.
Brad Shoup: Eventually the show lost its sense of absurdity and settled in to cheap caricatures and soap-opera stunts (all the babies! all the marriages!), but its first few seasons were ensemble comedy at its best.
Christina Adkison: The entire show can be summed up in four points:
1) There are six friends that live in New York City: Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross
2) All of them end up making out with/ sleeping with each other (except for Monica and Ross because they’re related and that would be a different 90s show)
3) All of them end up getting married (except Joey)
4) All of them end up having babies (except Joey and Chandler)
Ken Munson: If Friends is so great, why can’t I name one thing that ever happened in it? I mean, granted, I don’t watch sitcoms, but I’ve heard the plots and punchlines of at least a few episodes of Seinfeld, there isn’t but a few people who don’t know a couple lines from The Simpsons, and I’m sure we can all come up with something to talk about Saved by the Bell.
Christina Adkison: I had a two-hour conversation with friends today about our favorite episodes from The Simpsons. I could never have one of those conversations about Friends. Friends episodes just kind of blend into one, just like “different” Jell-O flavors.
Ken Munson: How can a sitcom be watched by that many people and yet the only thing about it that passed into national consciousness is, what, Jennifer Aniston’s hairdo? “Smelly Cat”? Pathetic
Christina Adkison: “Oh, remember the one where Joey screwed up an acting job? I think that’s the same one where Phoebe says something stupid! Yeah, and Ross and Rachel almost end up together, but don’t in the end! That was great!”
Matt Chesnut: Also, David Schwimmer sucks from the hind teat.
Andrew Unterberger: I’d like to be able to list Friends as a guilty pleasure, but there’s this guy named David Schwimmer who keeps on finding his way onto the set while they’re filming. He just makes it impossible.
John Rothery: I could live without Schwimmer - the destitute man’s Jeff Goldblum.
Andrew Unterberger: I will, however, give it up for Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry.
John Rothery: The best character in Friends is Joey. That is a fact.
Brad Shoup: Joey: "Can I read the comics?" Chandler: "This is the New York Times." Joey, exasperated: "Fine. MAY I read the comics?"
Adrien Begrand: Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow were the two real genuine talents on the show. Both had their characters, and their comedic timing, down perfectly since day one.
Zach Smola: Also, I wholly support everything the program has done to bring awareness to the great sport that is foosball. It was not, however, a good enough program to launch the career of the Rembrandts. But I could have told you that ahead of time.
Adrien Begrand: If I ever catch a syndicated episode, I always keep the remote handy, in order to flip the channel as soon as that friggin' song begins.
Christina Adkison: For a comedy series, I always found their theme song “I’ll Be There for You” rather depressing. If “it hasn’t been your week, your month, or even your year”, you don’t need Friends. You need Zoloft ™.
Steve Lichtenstein: “People who haven’t ever seen an episode of Friends”: the new “people who don’t masturbate?”
Josh Timmermann: Friends's cultural usefulness lies in our ability to identify people that we meet as one of the show's six principles. Just the other day, for instance, I commented that a particular girl was like the Rachel to a friend of mine's Ross.
Ben Woolhead: As a Brit I find the American sitcoms to which we’re exposed almost uniformly shit. And Friends is the worst of all – terrible scripts stuffed with cheeseball lines, wooden acting and nauseatingly feel-good material. Suffice to say, I always switch off.
Pat Beers: Give me the worst Seinfeld episode over the best Friends any day – wait a second, there was no worst Seinfeld…so just don’t give me a Friends episode, and get the fuck away from me.
Tony Van Groningen: A clever, respectable show, but not one that I enjoyed.
Zach Smola: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Christina Adkison: Awww, poor Michael Jackson. Always the victim.
Zach Smola: What do you do when you’re running out of money, tabloids are accusing you of sexually assaulting children, and your career will never reach what it once was? You get pissed! And the best way to get pissed off is to do a duet with your sister and finance the highest budgeted video in history, even if that video is totally needless special effects tomfoolery. That’s what you do.
Gavin Mueller: The Jacksons don't have genuine emotions like normal people. Every action and reaction is a response and a dialogue with their extreme fame.
Christina Adkison: Michael Jackson has a way of making all his songs (albeit some of the greatest songs of all time) talk about his anguish concerning his celebrity. I mean, it’s not like he ever does anything outrageous or scandalous that would merit such public attention.
Kareem Estefan: This is the type of video solely intended to appear on VH1 specials…ahem, VH1 specials and specials based on VH1 specials.
Ken Munson: The music video for “Scream” is monstrously ugly. It’s overloaded with effects and painful to look at, it’s just too many damn special effects.
Brad Shoup: “Scream” was the most expensive video ever made by someone not named Puffy.
Charlie Frame: It was so expensive they ran out of money to film it in colour.
Brad Shoup: I know that if I were ungodly rich, I'd play racquetball with antique vases. I'm Michael effing Jackson!
Christina Adkison: The most memorable scene in this music video for me was Janet and Michael playing a Pong-like video game on a HUGE TV screen. Losing to someone in Pong makes me scream too.
Charlie Frame: Going "aahhhhh" and bouncing around a spaceship with your sister isn't provocative in any way whatsoever. Sure, it looks like a lot of fun, but I don't think it would affect my political allegiances.
Matt Chesnut: I seem to remember this video having an incestual vibe to it.
Gavin Mueller: I liked the part where Janet grabbed her breasts. How much did that cost?
Josh Timmermann: I'm one of the few people I've ever encountered who actually loves this song. I just love every little thing about it: the weird-ass b&w video, the disturbingly incestuous undertones, Michael saying the f-word; it's a total gem.
Charlie Frame: What exactly was he screaming for?
John Rothery: “Stop pressuring me... just stop pressuring me”--that is the worst bit.
Brad Shoup: Michael, Janet... it's space. If we stop pressuring you, you'll be crushed by the vacuum of space. Trust us.
Charlie Frame: I'm surprised Wacko would have even been allowed on Concorde, let alone a space shuttle. Wouldn't his face implode due to the Gs?
Gabe Gloden: How does Michael find playmates in space? I wonder.
Ken Munson: The whole thing is a blaring cautionary example of how lack of restraint can create something overwhelmingly hideous, much like MJ himself.
John Rothery: It is a genuinely sad sight. A child in the body of a grown man. A musical genius peddling this utter crap.
Zach Smola: And for the next video, just hang around nude with your wife from a marriage that existed solely in an attempt to acquire the rights to Elvis’ songs. Ladies and gentlemen, Michael has left the building.
Zach Smola: In 1995, a thriller wasn’t a thriller unless it had Kevin Spacey and you felt like you had been punched in the stomach at the end of it.
John Rothery: Kevin Spacey is possibly THE actor of his generation. He plays a startlingly good psycho and of course this trailblazed him into the spotlight.
Andrew Unterberger: The Usual Suspects and Se7en were two of the greatest movies of the 90s, no question. And Spacey was brilliantly evil in both.
Kareem Estefan: The Usual Suspects and Se7en taught us that bad guys are much smarter and cooler than good guys.
Ben Woolhead: The Usual Suspects taught me a valuable lesson: you should never trust anyone with a limp.
Ken Munson: The Usual Suspects is a decent crime movie marred by one of the worst twist endings in history.
Ben Woolhead: The disillusioning thing about The Usual Suspects is that, when you see it for a second time, the twist ending becomes infinitely less clever –there’s an overriding disappointment at the realization that you’ll never be able to return to that state of naïve innocence in which you watched it first time around.
Ken Munson: Not only does the ending negate the entire movie, I fail to understand how anyone could be surprised by it. I figured it out without being told. I figured it out easily. I figured it out before I even watched it, reading the back of the video box at Blockbuster. And keep in mind, I was blindsided by the end of The Sixth Sense..
John Rothery: The Usual Suspects was tight, slick, suspenseful and all that you could possibly want from a thriller. But, on reflection we discover that in fact the entire movie is told from the perspective of Spacey’s character and this means that we have no idea what is true or false. The entire plot is fictional fiction and just what is Spacey’s motivation for spilling when on the verge of being free? Does this matter? Not to most people…
Ken Munson: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that Kevin Spacey is a great actor. Why doesn’t anyone talk about how good Gabriel Byrne is? Gabriel Byrne is the heart of The Usual Suspects; Kevin Spacey is the gimmick.
Tony Van Groningen: Like everybody else at the time, I loved this movie. Unlike a lot of other people, I still think it is a very enjoyable, intelligently scripted crime movie. Looking back on it, it’s hard to think that I had no idea about the surprise ending, but Spacey played the Verbal character so well that it honestly never crossed my naturally suspicious mind that he was the notorious Keyser.
Gavin Mueller: Keyser Soze is too cool a name to be real.
Andrew Unterberger: The Usual Suspects was my favorite movie for such a long time that I must’ve seen it almost 15 times. So I’ll never get how people say the movie doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings.
Brad Shoup: The Usual Suspects talked me into a state of amazement. By the end of the movie, I didn't know what was real or BS. But hey, I felt cool just for sticking it out.
Kareem Estefan: The Usual Suspects had one thing towering over every other thriller, and that was its characters. Especially Fenster and especially Verbal. These guys made “Give me the fucking keys, you cocksucker” the most brilliant utterance known to man.
Brad Shoup: But that final tracking shot of Kevin Spacey losing his limp? Perfect.
R.S. Ross: Every time I see a bulletin board made in Skokie, Illinois I think about Verbal’s barbershop quartet.
Tony Van Groningen: Usual Suspects deserves its accolades.
Ken Munson: Se7en, I guess I watched that on video when I was thirteen or fourteen. However old I was, it reduced me to a quivering little mess in a corner, and if I watched it right now, it would happen again. God, just the memory of this movie makes me squirm.
Christina Adkison: Se7en is by far one of my all-time favorite thrillers. In this movie, Brad Pitt is a detective/cop that is trying to track down this serial killer (Spacey) that kills his victims according to whichever of the Seven Deadly Sins that he or she is committing. For example, the man that dies of Gluttony is forced to eat and eat until he busts a gut (literally).
Gabe Gloden: Se7en was also successful in curbing my canned spaghetti diet thanks to the Gluttony scene. So disgusting that if I was on the Chef Boyardee board, I’d have sued the filmmakers.
Christina Adkison: The killer believes it is his duty to rid the world of such filthy sinners. And I know what you’re thinking…if he’s KILLING sinners and killing is a sin, isn’t this whole situation paradoxical? Silly fool. Do not ever question the genius of Kevin Spacey.
R.S. Ross: Seven picked up where Silence of the Lambs left off, giving us lots more quotable lines. Whenever I saw somebody loading a moving van I’d ask them, “What’s in the box?” over and over.
Adrien Begrand: The end of Se7en is as good as suspense movies get.
Christina Adkison: The big twist is when Pitt finally captures Spacey. Spacey convinces Pitt to take him out to the middle of a field where there is a wonderful present waiting for him…Gwenyth Paltrow’s decapitated head. Spacey’s Deadly Sin is Envy. He, like every other man in the world, envies Brad Pitt’s life, and forces Pitt to become so angry that he shoots him in the field. “And here comes the Wrath”. Bam! Dead Spacey.
Gabe Gloden: Holy Shit! Keyser Soze put Gweneth Paltrow’s head in a box and mailed it to himself!! Yeah, the ending got to me.
Brad Shoup: Dammit, Pitt, let the justice system take over! Don't give Kevin Spacey the briefist of satisfactions!
Steve Lichtenstein: Every time I see Se7en, I think the ending is going to magically change and Brad Pitt will open the box and find a kitten and a glazed ham, and then him and Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey will sit around in the field and feed the ham to the cat, and then they’ll shoot Kevin Spacey.
Ken Munson: I know this film owes a great deal to Dante’s Inferno. I’ve read The Inferno, and believe me, Dante was a pussy compared to David Fincher. This is possibly the single most brutal and bleak film I’ve ever enjoyed.
Christina Adkison: It’s because of this movie that I will never, ever trust Kevin Spacey. He could play Jesus and I still wouldn’t trust him.
Zach Smola: However, Spacey reached his most terrifying with Pay it Forward and K*Pax. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Brad Shoup: If we find out in a decade's time that Kevin Spacey has many, many decapitated and sodomized bodies stored in oil drums under his house, you won't be surprised, because this guy from I Love the 90's called it.
MICHAEL HEUMANN AND BEN WOOLHEAD REMEMBER FATHER TED
Michael Heumann: Father Ted is easily one of the funniest comedies of all time.
Ben Woolhead: Father Ted was the product of the ever-so-slightly deranged minds of Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews. Like all the best sitcoms, Father Ted started out with a situation which gave a grounding to the comedy but which never restricted it – though few people would have expected three priests and their housekeeper living in the Parochial House on Craggy Island off the coast of Ireland to be ideal comedy material.
Michael Heumann: When people ask me about it, I tell them it's like The Young Ones, only with priests. It's about three Irish priests who have been exiled from the mainland and forced to live in a parochial house on Craggy Island, an island so far west of the mainland that it's not actually on any maps (and it's near where the British dump their nuclear waste). The leader is Father Ted Crilly, a nice enough priest whose life-long dream is to be rich and live in Las Vegas. Joining him are Father Jack Hackett, and Father Dougal McGuire, perhaps the stupidest person alive.
Ben Woolhead: The show’s stars were Dermot Morgan and Ardal O’Hanlon, who played Father Ted Crilly and his naïve sidekick Father Dougal Macguire respectively. Both were successful stand-up comedians plucked straight from the stage, unlike classically-trained actor Frank Kelly, who played the third priest Father Jack, an armchair-bound drunk notable for his belligerence and monosyllabic shouts of “FECK!”, “ARSE!”, “DRINK!” and “GIRLS”.
Michael Heumann: Rounding out the group is the housekeeper, Mrs. Doyle, a woman so obsessed with tea that she even owns tea for sheep. Other priests and bishops and townfolk show up here and there throughout the series' three seasons, including the irate Bishop Brennan (the man who put these three priests in Craggy Island in the first place for their various sins), the insanely enthusiastic Father Noel Furlong (played by Graham Norton), Father Larry Duff (who is seen in about half of the episodes receiving a call from Father Ted, right before something horrible happens to him), and Ted's enemy, Father Dick Burne (great name there).
Ben Woolhead: Sufficiently innocent and daft to charm tabloid TV critics, the show’s humor also had a slightly darker edge that drew in leftfield comedy fans.
Michael Heumann: There were only three seasons (22 episodes plus a Christmas special) ever produced, but each one holds a prominent place in my DVD collection.
Ben Woolhead: The best episode is a fantastic parody of Speed, which centres on a former milkman embittered at getting the sack who attempts to get revenge by putting a bomb on a milkfloat that will go off if it goes under 4mph. With predictably hilarious consequences. The episodes about the Eurovision song contest, the King Of The Sheep competition and kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse are all classics too, though.
Michael Heumann: Some of my favorite moments include Ted and Dougal's Eurovision song contest entry, "My Lovely Horse," with its obligatory video featuring them playing in a pool and staring off into the distance; the episode where Fun Town comes to the island, and the inhabitants are treated to such magical rides as a cat spinning on a record player, a hippie pointing at old people, and the Crane of Death ("It's called that because there was a fella killed on it last year").
Ben Woolhead: Tragically, Morgan died of a heart attack the day after filming finished for the final time, cut down in his prime and deprived of the richly-deserved chance to shine in another show. O’Hanlon has since desecrated the memory of his time in Father Ted by appearing in the lead role of the appalling primetime shitfest that is My Hero. Meanwhile, Linehan and Mathews have gone on to contribute to or perform in recent comedy classics such as I’m Alan Partridge (with Steve Coogan), Jam (with Chris Morris), Black Books (with Dylan Moran) and Big Train.
Michael Heumann: The show is hilarious from end to end.
Ben Woolhead: Quite simply, a work of genius.
Andrew Unterberger: The mid-90s were an ideal breeding ground for one-hit wonders of all sorts, but none as much as those bizarre reggae/dancehall cats.
Brad Shoup: In which America thinks, "Hey, I'm sick of knowing what my pop musicians are singing."
Zach Smola: I think this business caught on just because people like not understanding lyrics. At least that’s the only way I can explain terrible music like Ini Kamoze.
Gavin Mueller: Na! Na-Na Na-Na! Na Na Na Na Na Na Na…
Tony Van Groningen: Strangely enough, now these bands seem ahead of their time, considering the recent popularity of dancehall-inflected hip-hop. But back in ’95, singers like Snow, Ini Kamoze, and Shaggy were pretty much destined to be novelty acts in America.
John Rothery: This sub-genre of music is certainly one of the weirdest ever. Snow gets the shout for the hardest to understand what with his talk of licking bum-bum’s down.
Zach Smola: Informa!
Charlie Frame: I would like to nominate "Twelve Inches of Snow" as best album title of all time. What exactly is a leekybumbum anyway?
Tony Van Groningen: Here’s the one strong impression I have of this music: Snow’s “Informer” had a TON of bass and sounded really good in a cheap car with a good stereo system, even if you couldn’t understand a thing he was saying. (“A licky boom boom down” or something? I still don’t know.)
Ben Woolhead: I reckon Snow called his big single “Informer” because that was the only intelligible word in the whole song.
Ken Munson: Those aren’t actual, real words he’s using, right? That’s just gibberish he’s making up as he goes along. It’s gotta be.
Christina Adkison: For writing a song about an Informer, Snow doesn't really inform us much about anything really important like what the song is about; all he talks about is licky and boom boom. Well, I guess that’s important.
Andrew Unterberger: The best of all, though, had to be the one and only Mr. Lover Lover.
Zach Smola: Possibly the height of 90’s wackiness was the claymation Levi’s commercial with the burning building and the rock-ish remix of Shaggy’s “Boombastic” playing throughout. How we used to laugh at the 80’s, thinking we’d never get that ridiculous.
John Rothery: Shaggy was ok in this cod-reggae incarnation with his cover of “Oh Carolina”. It certainly beats the tepid cheesefest of his Rayvon collaborations – “Angel” still gets regular airtime in parochial English bars. This is plain wrong.
Steve Lichtenstein: It’s astonishing how I often I heard the Sliver soundtrack when I was 16. Sharon Stone and Shaggy (“WOH CAROLINA”) captivated my best friend, as the old adage goes.
Ben Woolhead: If only Shaggy WAS just a one-hit wonder. Unfortunately he was back a couple of years ago with “It Wasn’t Me” and several other equally excruciatingly bad songs.
Zach Smola: There was absolutely no reason for Shaggy to come back, and I still can’t piece together how he did, aside from selling his soul to someone unholy.
John Rothery: Other notable contenders in the genre of cod-reggae. Chaka Demus and (the humorously named) Pliers, clearly some kind of handyman in his spare time. Peter Andre, too. His hit ‘Mysterious Girl’, his six pack and orange skin have all made a return in 2004.
Ken Munson: I dunno, I could never get into any of this bubble-reggae stuff, and that includes Shaggy then and Sean Paul now.
Andrew Unterberger: It’s the eight-year rule. Just like Latin pop came back eight years after the prophetic appearance of Gerardo in 1991, so would dancehall pop back up to the surface in 2003.
Zach Smola: Reggae gets us all, sooner or later.
Zach Smola: Oh, the tragic, sad birth of suck-rock.
Andrew Unterberger: See, now this is where the US and the UK diverge. When punk died in the UK, it was replaced by post-punk, a movement that took punk and expanded on it, with thrillingly creative results. When grunge died in the US, it was replaced by post-grunge, a movement that took grunge and…watered it down considerably, with dishearteningly middling results.
Brad Shoup: An awful style. Radio rock has sucked for years, all because Caucasian males equate guitars with art.
Ken Munson: Maybe these bands didn’t have the dynamic, world-changing power of their predecessors, but a few of them had some good riffs, right? I think a lot of them suffered from heightened standards.
Andrew Unterberger: Bands like Bush, Candlebox and Stone Temple Pilots weren’t exactly paragons of imagination and innovation, but they had some seriously great singles. Honestly.
John Rothery: Bush are horrid. Horrid horrid horrid.
Jos Timmermann: Talk about dated: 9 or 10 years ago if you said, "God, I hate Bush," people would usually chime in about how much "Glycerine" or whatever sucked. If someone were to make that comment to me today, I'd assume they were either a) voting for Kerry, b) not a fan of pubic hair, or c) preferred Bud or Miller or Coors or whatnot.
Matt Chesnut: Bush: the band whose name would produce a giggle out of any school child. Incidentally,
Gavin Mueller: I hated Bush for raising the profile of my name. The repercussions continue to this day: "Oh, like Gavin Rossdale! Are you guys related?"
Tony Van Groningen: Bush…I really hate Bush.
Charlie Frame: And what in God's name possessed them to stick the rhyming-dictionary vomit they called lyrics on their record sleeves?
Tony Van Groningen: They kinda rock in a faux-Nirvana-ish way, but the lyrics are so fucking horrible that it cancels out any remotely positive thing to be said about the band.
Ken Munson: “I am poison crazy lush”? The fuck?
Andrew Unterberger: Gavin Rossdale taught us many universal truths, among them that we live in a wheel where everyone steals and when we rise, well, it’s kind of like Strawberry Fields, and that contary to popular belief, it’s the little things that kill. Word, Gavin.
Christina Adkison: The first time I heard the song “Glycerine” by Bush I thought he was saying “Kiss the Rain.” So, the song made absolutely no sense to me. Re-listening to the song almost a decade later, it still makes absolutely no sense.
John Rothery: If Cobain symbolises suicide, Rossdale is someone sitting in the work canteen having a whinge about the bad weather we are having.
Ben Woolhead: Gavin Rossdale was a cheap Cobain impressionist, and not a very good one at that.
Christina Adkison: I happen to like Bush the best because Gavin Rossdale ended up with Gwen Stefani, so the entire band is just cool simply by association.
Tony Van Groningen: I was none too pleased when I learned that in spite of his lameness that Gavin Rossdale was dating Gwen Stefani, who really should know better.
Matt Chesnut: Oh Gwen, you could do so much better. Me, for instance.
Gabe Gloden: You know, Bush wasn’t all that bad in retrospect. “Machine Head” was a pretty good jam.
Adrien Begrand: I liked Bush's "Everything Zen" for about a second in 1995.
Andrew Unterberger: Ridiculous lyrics aside, I’ll still defend “Glycerine” always. Grunge needed more sing-alongs like that. And “Everything Zen” was pretty damn cool.
Joe Niemczyk: On behalf of my entire generation, I apologize for the success of the second Candlebox album. Even after a mediocre debut album, which should have left them remembered as one-hit wonders, we rewarded them by making Lucy a platinum smash, dooming alternative radio for years and setting a new standard for awful album art.
Brad Shoup: Candlebox, more than any other band I can think of, is synonymous with shitty music. I’ve never heard anyone defend Candlebox.
Pat Beers: Candlebox was another one of those bands from the Pacific Northwest that possessed absolutely no artistic merit, but somehow tapped into the whole grunge thing and charted an album and a song or two, replete with long hair, loud guitars, and sweaters.
Zach Smola: I don’t know how anyone could be in Candlebox and keep a straight face.
Tony Van Groningen: I don’t remember a single song that Candlebox ever sang except for “Far Behind.”
Pat Beers: Does any record store bargain bin in the United States not contain at least one copy of Candlebox? I’d be surprised. ] I mean, c’mon, “Far Behind” is a great song (at least up until the awful bridge) and “You” is OK, but the rest basically sucks.
Brad Shoup: Come to think of it, I’ve never heard Candlebox. Even so, whenever anyone says “Candlebox,” they almost always mean, “I hate grunge.”
Joe Niemczyk: Again, I'm sorry. We were young.
Tony Van Groningen: Stone Temple Pilots were pretty much “eh” to me after the first album. I was rooting for Weiland and crew to do something amazing, but I don’t think they ever got there.
Matt Chesnut: One more trip to rehab and Scott Weiland gets a free round of bowling. And chances are he will use the bowling ball to smuggle cocaine someplace in the future. Oh Scott, you rascal!
Ken Munson: Stone Temple Pilots were the mediocre Pearl Jam to Bush’s mediocre Nirvana.
Adrien Begrand: Stone Temple Pilots tried hard to earn listeners' respect, but there was always a heavy helping of lameness to their whole shtick.
Gabe Gloden: And STP… who would have thought such a hastily-signed rip-off would have produced songs as good as “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song”?
R.S. Ross: STP’s Purple was a great album. Each song was like a tribute to one of their hard-rock ancestors. No duds. I listened to this for an entire summer waiting to find a flaw…and I never did.
Ben Woolhead: Purple still stands up as a fine record in its own right, from Vaseline through Interstate Love Song to Army Ants.
Pat Beers: A great forgotten album to come out of the alternative era was Glodeon by The Sons of Elvis. The band was straight outta Cleveland-- probably the only real rock band from Cleveland to make it big since REO Speedwagon. They actually had one video on MTV rotation (“Formaldehyde” – I highly recommend it), but, sadly, they broke up before recording a follow-up. Sons of Elvis, I salute you and your post-grunge melodies.
Ken Munson: Sponge had a couple really good singles.
Joe Niemczyk: You've gotta give it up for Collective Soul. Sure, they were grunge-lite, but they made sure to put at least one killer hook in every song they wrote. "Shine," "Gel," "Listen," all modern rock classics. Plus they could get serious and do ballads without sounding sappy, which makes them a hundred times cooler than Creed.
Brad Shoup: Live's "I Alone," though. Great song.
Ken Munson: Hey, you know what’s a decent song? “Water’s Edge,” by Seven Mary Three. Everyone download that and see what you think.
Steve Lichtenstein: I can’t comment much on any of this without hating myself. I SHAKE MY FISTS AT YOU, RADIO AIRPLAY!
Charlie Frame: Nothing good came out of it at the end of the day. I remember quite liking Live for about an nth of a second but then I sobered up.
Gavin Mueller: The only reason people like this stuff is because it's at least better than the rock music that followed.
Zach Smola: Thankfully, diet-grunge was replaced with the soothing antidote that was rap-metal.
Gabe Gloden: It’s amazing that I would be able to look at today’s post-grunge artists and nostalgically look back at a better time when grunge rip-offs were just kinda half-sucky, as opposed to the total suckitude of Nickelback and Hoobastank.
Zach Smola: And where are all these people now, almost a decade down the line? Like what was once Tripping Daisy, all members of suck-rock groups have gone on to start successful cults. Robes are the new flannel.
Brad Shoup: Self-centered lyrics, trite riffs, boring structures, unthreatening, safe, lame, uninspired, bloodless. If we're not careful, we'll be rehashing this crap for I Love 2005.
Ken Munson: Dating shows, as a rule, are brainless and inane, so of course MTV realized that they needed one.
Zach Smola: Singled Out sucked. Even Double Dare was more romantic.
Ken Munson: If I recall correctly, they would give you a bunch of dumb little questions to answer (Michael Jordan or Michael J. Fox?) and the contestant who answered them all the same as the won the bachelor / bachelorette won the date.
Christina Adkison: Whoever the contestant was, they’d find a large group of the opposite sex. They’d go through a grueling selection process (picking random people off the street). Speaking English and good hygiene: not required.
Gavin Mueller: It was sort of like Guess Who, where you eliminated people if they wore glasses or had brown hair or refused to do anal.
Christina Adkison: A series of either/or questions would be asked, such as on top or on bottom. If the guy or girl agreed, the contestant would stay, and if they didn’t, they would leave, until they were “singled out” to one person.
Gabe Gloden: The funniest moments in the show took place when the contestant decided to oust the (supposedly) stupid candidates in favor of the intelligent ones and, like, 95% have to do that rejection walk of shame.
Christina Adkison: This was most definitely the narcissist’s show, because in the end you would end up with someone EXACTLY LIKE YOU. Screw “opposites attract.”
Ken Munson: It’s a dumb way to meet people, but it’s also how most online dating services work.
Zach Smola: The date the winners went on was bound not to work out because no one in history has ever muttered the words “I met your father on a game show.” That’s just not how love works, people.
Andrew Unterberger: Of course, the show is far better known for its female hosts—first Jenny McCarthy, and then a couple years later, Carmen Electra.
Pat Beers: Ohhh Jenny McCarthy. It was almost unbelievable how hot she was when I was in the 8th grade (dammit, she’s still hot). I recall being mesmerized by her breasts.
Brad Shoup: If I remember correctly, here's how the show worked: Jenny McCarthy would hold a microphone and talk, and I would touch myself. At the end of the show, everybody wins.
Adrien Begrand: Jenny McCarthy constantly kept pulling those idiotic faces. It's what set her apart from the other bimbettes at the time...she was the one who looked like a complete idiot.
Pat Beers: I think she left the show because she kept getting groped by all the dudes.
John Rothery: Neither Jenny McCarthy or Carmen Electra are ‘hot’. Neither of them are real – they are femmebots who should have their tongues removed by a hooded claw.
Matt Chesnut: I was told by E! that Jenny McCarthy has a great sense of humor. Can’t argue with that. Jenny wins.
Christina Adkison: In the epic battle of Carmen Electra vs. Jenny McCarthy, we must consider what they did after Singled Out. Carmen Electra started strip aerobics and married Dave Navarro. Jenny McCarthy did some stuff and married Some Guy. I think we all know who won the battle here: Some Guy.
Brad Shoup: This brother and sister rummage around their refrigerator, dismissing sodas and sports drinks like liquid bigots, until they hit the gold mine: sugary orange drink.
Christina Adkinson: This commercial consisted of kids who are illiterate and must identify the contents of their refrigerator by their color. But somehow, through the magic of commercialism, they are able to find the radiance that is Sunny Delight.
Matt Chesnut: What post-soccer game celebration was complete without an Igloo chest full of Sunny Delights? A lame one, that’s what.
R.S. Ross: Having been raised on horrible, re-hydrated orange juice, Sunny D seemed like a great alternative. Then I tried real orange juice and have never looked back. Their advertising scheme was clever, though, what with that MILF enticing the world with her sticky sweet fluids.
Gabe Gloden: “Yeah, that’s my mom. She’s cool. At first I thought she had just trapped herself in a suffocating patriarchal existence of female disenfranchisement and subordination to her husband, but then she came home with this awesome fake orange juice shit!”
Brad Shoup: Think about it. Their mom bought the soda and purple stuff too. Which means she's batting .333. Not too great, Mom. Not too great.
Gabe Gloden: “Sure, we don’t get to talk much, because I’m always out shooting hoop with my surprisingly racially diverse group of neighborhood friends, but I feel like she has finally liberated herself through wise consumer choices, such as this.”
Zach Smola: There is little need to rip on this commercial because Spike Jonze got Sunny Delight pretty bad in the Sprite commercial he directed, where the cartoon character leaps off the bottle and chases the screaming mother and children around the house.
Gavin Mueller: But... but... Sunny D is the orange stuff! Sunny D is the orange stuff! You gotta tell somebody!
Ken Munson: I think Dave Barry put it best: If you actually tried to high-five your friends because of Sunny D, they’d consider you the world’s biggest dipshit.
Zach Smola: Now, I’ve never tasted urine before, but it can’t be that much different from Sunny Delight. The only thing worse is the increasingly rare medicine-flavored soda, Moxie.
Matt Chesnut: The best description I can think of regarding its taste is orange juice-esque. It reminds you of orange juice in the same way that ketchup reminds you of tomato sauce.
Christina Adkison: Since humanity has invented a citrus Vitamin C drink called orange juice, Sunny Delight is about as useless as 7 Up in that respect. Actually, Sunny D is more useless because at least 7 Up as clever T-shirts.
Gavin Mueller: Sunny D mixed with malt liquor is surprisingly palatable.
Ben Woolhead: Sunny Delight only really arrived in Britain a few years ago, immediately becoming hugely popular before it was discovered that drinking large quantities of it turned you orange, literally.
John Rothery: This stuff was dangerous. My mum used to tell me that if I ate too much of something I’d turn into it e.g. “John, if you eat another carrot you’ll turn into one” Of course, this was just some crazy nonsense. Or so I thought until I saw a TV program where kids who had drunk large quantities of Sunny D TURNED ORANGE. Parental wisdom – never doubt it.
Zach Smola: This raises the important question, “Was this the best commercial of the 1990’s”, to which I say “Yes. Unconditionally.” I’d probably favor the purple stuff.
Ken Munson: Sunny Delight is marginally better than Snapple and Fruitopia, but I really can’t stand drinks like that. They’re all watery and fakey-tasting. Give me my goddamn Kool-Aid.
Charlie Frame: Blur vs. Oasis was the defining moment of the 90s for me.
Ken Munson: What things we miss in the States. What was the huge thing we were paying attention to in ’95 while this was going on? Hootie?
Ken Munson: Let me see if I’ve got this right: Blur hates Oasis, and rightfully so. They release both their big, follow-up singles at the same time.
Ben Woolhead: Blur and Oasis decided to release singles on the same day in August. Whoop-de-shit.
John Rothery: Essentially the pair of them had produced very good albums in Parklife and Definitely Maybe. Due to the nationalistic fervour at the time, the hype and the apparent dichotomy (Middle class vs. Working class, The South vs. The North, Students vs. Students of Life) between the bands, it became a great news story.
Charlie Frame: Slap bang in the middle of the decade and suddenly everyone I knew had to have an opinion. I think at the time it was cooler to support Oasis as they had a harder image because Liam used to stick his finger up at reporters. It's a wonder anyone bought his records after insulting every tabloid reader in the country like that.
Andrew Unterberger: On one hand, you’ve got a bunch of art-school pretty boys whose biggest hit to date was a euro-pop disco anthem. On the other, you’ve got a bunch of lower-class tough guys who’re in the NME every week ripping on someone and exalting themselves as the greatest thing to ever happen to pop music. Regardless of whose music is better, who’re you gonna root for?
Kareem Estefan: Blur wins when it comes to music, but when it comes to trash-talking, Blur and Oasis are a regular David and Goliath. Wherein Goliath wins, of course.
Charlie Frame: The first thing I heard about it was on the Brit Awards. Blur had bagged a gobload of awards and then Oasis came on to collect theirs and sang "Marmite" to the tune of "Parklife". Next thing I know Liam is wishing AIDS upon Damon and Alex and the rest is history.
Andrew Unterberger: “There’s all this talk about how Blur are the new Beatles and we’re the new Rolling Stones. Well, that’s rubbish—we’re the new Beatles and the new Rolling Stones, Blur are the new fookin’ Herman’s Hermits.”
R.S. Ross: Watching MTV cover some British festival, a VJ stuck a mike into the face of one of the Gallaghers, who’d just arrived, late, and casually mentioned that Blur was performing on-stage. The Gallagher deadpanned something like, “Yeah, I heard the droning on the way up the drive.”
Charlie Frame: I blame my allegiance to Blur for most of my troubles at school. The Oasis kids could be recognized by their massive foreheads, primal postures and their tendencies to throw you in the lovely prickly bush some sadistic school caretaker had thoughtfully planted next to the playground.
Steve Lichtenstein: I was a junkie for Oasis. I bought all the import singles, had posters fun-tac’d onto scaly dorm room walls, drove to nightmarish venues in nightmarish places like, did graphic arts projects centered on the brothers and their delightful melodies and, perhaps most shockingly, listened to them on what’s most often described as “a constant loop.”
Tony Van Groningen: I’ve always been much more of a Blur guy. They were funnier, took themselves less seriously, and their songs weren’t all in the same vein.
Adrien Begrand: I've always liked Blur, but in 1995, I loved Oasis more. The high quality of their b-sides was the clincher.
Matt Chesnut: I was too young to have participated in Britpop rivalries. I did, however, own What’s the Story (Morning Glory). But, ever the revisionist autobiographer, I side in the Blur camp.
Steve Lichtenstein: But yeah, Blur’s probably better
Andrew Unterberger: So then in mid-’95, Oasis decide to release “Roll With It,” their lead single from What’s the Story (Morning Glory) , six weeks before the album’s release. Blur, not to be outdone, decide to bump back the release of their Great Escape lead single, “Country House,” to the same date. Everything was set for the ultimate britpop throwdown.
Ben Woolhead: Pledging allegiance to either would have been akin to choosing to eat one rancid dog turd over another. “Roll With It” was a limp, lame and lethargic attempt to recapture the sporadic magic of Definitely Maybe. “Country House”, on the other hand, was the absolute nadir of a musical movement that was already a nadir in itself.
John Rothery: Disappointingly the high water mark was the chart battle between two mediocre singles.
Charlie Frame: Basically "Country House" was a million times better than "Roll With It", which was a dirge even for Oasis. Neither was either band's best song though.
John Rothery: If we ignore the dreadful post-96 Oasis, “Roll With It” was the low ebb. Very dumb rocker attracting the witty Quoasis tag from Albarn. Blur’s offering ‘Country House’ was the winner, and though more inventive and sufficiently zeitgeist it has aged horribly. Nasty parping horns and more than a nod and a wink to infamous Cockney pub duo Chaz n’ Dave.
Ben Woolhead: Just take a look at the “ironic” Benny Hill style video and you’ll realize it’s little wonder that Graham Coxon, the only member of the band blessed with any taste, looks back on the whole affair with acute embarrassment.
Adrien Begrand: "Country House" was the better single that summer. I've always liked that song...
Ken Munson: Blur’s “Country House” was a great single, and easily outsold Oasis’ weak “Roll With It.” And Blur wins. Or so they thought.
Ben Woolhead: Blur won and Oasis lost. This was only the battle, though, and the war was comprehensively won by Oasis, whose album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory thrashed The Great Escape in terms of sales.
Ken Munson: Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory is released, spits out something like six singles, and becomes the first major British band to break America since ’89, whereas Blur’s “The Great Escape” turns out to… well, really really blow. I keep meaning to sell my copy of it back.
Charlie Frame: Oasis got huge straight after the original scrap despite Blur winning in the charts. Every issue of Select and the NME had an exclusive interview with the Gallaghers. They were utterly inescapable in Britain.
Gabe Gloden: I suppose that Oasis won the battle stateside with “Wonderwall”. That’s depressing.
Ken Munson: So Blur won in the short run, but Oasis won in the long run. But Blur won in the very long run, because they continued to make good music.
Brad Shoup: I have become convinced that Blur are the true victors. Variety over flattery. Plus, Oasis is on their last legs, eh? Blur's still going strong.
Charlie Frame: Blur won the battle and eventually the war. How many people are still listening to Oasis, and how many people are beginning to remember that Blur were far more than a bunch of posh Mockneys with good cheekbones? Blur were one of the most inventive mainstream bands of recent times – no one else did punk songs, waltzes, acoustic weepies, acid jazz instrumentals AND "This Is A Low" AND get consistent hit singles.
Gabe Gloden: Fuck Oasis. “Country House” 4 Eva.
Andrew Unterberger: But if Blur and Oasis represented the two major political parties, it was Pulp’s Ross Perot that really made things interesting.
Adrien Begrand: In the end, Pulp won. They were the only UK band who consistently put out great album after great album during the 90s. The had a cool confidence about their music that only a group of seasoned veterans who spent years and years struggling would have. Different Class was the best album of 1995, the best album of 1996...hell, the single greatest album to come out of the entire 1990s.
Andrew Unterberger: Almost ten years on, “Common People” is still far more well remembered than either “Roll With It” or “Country House”—arguably even more so than any single by either other band.
Adrien Begrand: 1995 and early '96 belonged to Jarvis Cocker and Pulp. You had their heroic Glastonbury performance, "Common People" becoming THE anthem of '95, the hilarious "Sorted For E's & Wizz" controversy, the sheer mastery of Different Class, the Mercury Prize, and best of all, Jarvis invading Jacko's performance on the Brit awards, which was side-splittingly subversive.
Zach Smola: This fight was tired in 1995, and it’s still tired now. My ruling: “What’s the Story, Morning Glory” is better than The Great Escape, by a long shot. However, Blur kept on growing musically, and actually recorded more good music, as opposed to Oasis sliding into a vast abyss of irrelevance and has-beenitude.
Charlie Frame: I don't think anyone really knew the true reason behind the rivalry.
Kareem Estefan: I like to think that the Gallagher household is secretly stacked ceiling-high with Blur CDs.
Ben Woolhead: The real losers, though, were the British record-buying public who had this shit foisted on them and were expected to part with their hard-earned cash. Worse still is the fact that they did, voluntarily, and in their droves.
Ken Munson: And in the end, I don’t care. Blur vs. Oasis isn’t near as interesting as Oasis vs. Oasis.
Gabe Gloden: By now, everyone knows Blur to be the superior of the two. But let’s not speak too soon, I heard in an interview with Liam recently that Oasis is currently recording the greatest fucking album ever in the history of composed music.
Brad Shoup:Too bad America's lost its love for singles. Franz Ferdinand versus Modest Mouse! Ja Rule versus Lloyd Banks! Dave Matthews Band versus Switchfoot... go!!!
Andrew Unterberger: Rappers and metalheads get all the good feuds. It was about time that scrawny white kids got one to call their own.
Andrew Unterberger: KIDS--at last, a movie that accurately portrays what it’s like to be a real teenager. So I assume, anyway.
Dan Maguire: KIDS was exactly like real life. It was awesome. I had this one friend who gave the entire county AIDS. Of course, we were all doing 'the helicopter' by the pool, especially me and my buddy Casper. I was also black at the time.
Joe Niemczyk: Rampant sex? Drug use? I was about 15 when this movie came out. Where was I and how did I miss out on all this hedonistic fun? Oh yeah, I was sitting on my ass in the basement playing Super Nintendo.
Tony Van Groningen: This movie really disturbed me, to say the least. The life of the kids was similar enough to what I had gone through at their age that I could still relate to it somewhat, but so much more fucked up than I ever was that it truly disgusted me at some points.
R.S. Ross: I remember running with a crew who used to worship this flick. As a 16 year-old, hopping from party to party, I remember seeing lots of Telly wannabes, spitting game on gawking girls over plastic cups of keg beer.
Adrien Begrand: I loathe this movie's characters so much. Which is probably what Harmony Korine and Larry Clark intended. You just want to smack that Casper kid and his marblemouthed friend.
Zach Smola: KIDS, to me, seems like unnatural and mean-spirited anti-youth propaganda.
Gabe Gloden: KIDS was as sinister in its depiction of youth culture as blacks were depicted in Birth of a Nation. No other film did more in the 90s to cultivate the myth of depraved and violent young people.
Zach Smola: I mean, granted, children that evil do exist. But me and my old running crew never did stuff like that.
Andrew Unterberger: These KIDS are truly the most despicable characters on earth. They fuck for conquest’s sake, they steal from everyone (including their parents), they practically kill people for minor insult’s sake, they date rape their friends’ ex-girlfriends…but they do have cool New York accents.
Dan Maguire: KIDS is such a piece of trash. Its one redeeming quality involved making fun of the skinny white dude who liked virgins and talked like a pre-pubescent Sly Stallone.
Adrien Begrand: What Larry Clark does so well is tread the line between artistic and exploitative perfectly. When he's at his best, he lures you in with the gratuitous nudity, then like a punch in the gut, he serves up a glimpse of just how deplorable those characters, and society at large, can really be.
Akiva Gottlieb: The opening scene has the most realistic, most revolting close-up of adolescent french kissing I've ever seen onscreen.
Josh Timmermann: KIDS is, at once, both an incredible failure and a great cult film. As a cautionary work, advising implicitly against the sort of hedonistic lifestyles enjoyed by Telly, Casper, et. al., it fails miserably. As a cinema-verite teen flick, it's frankly inexhaustible (if still very, very dirty and exploitative).
R.S. Ross: It’s scary to think how readily we accepted the movie as a realistic approach to living. We all agreed the ending was “fucked-up”, but only half of this “cautionary tale” stuck.
Tony Van Groningen: But it still all made sense, nothing that happened in the movie seemed impossible, even the stuff that was borderline shock value. I had no doubt after watching it that there were actually kids out there living like this. I never watched this movie again.
Akiva Gottlieb: With the casual misogyny of the dialogue, the seemingly inexplicable lack of parental intervention, and the heart wrenchingly fatalistic tone of the ending, "Kids" is almost impossible to watch. Korine and Clark, both sickos at heart, will never top it.
Josh Timmermann: Still, there are so many classic moments: "lemme smell...buttahscotch!"; the skateboard beatdown in the park; the legless black man wearing a "Kiss Me I'm Polish" shirt on the subway; the girl-on-girl make-out in the pool; and my personal favorite, the "I wanna buy you corndogs!" seduction attempt.
Zach Smola: KIDS totally neglects mentioning that the majority of the youth of America were just watching TV or playing Magic Cards. Most of us didn’t beat other people up with skateboards and sleep around. And I’ve never met anyone named Casper. Wholly unrealistic.
Gabe Gloden: Ultimately, KIDS was a crappy, overrated film with no redeeming qualities and poor characterizations.
Akiva Gottlieb: Justin Pierce, who in his auspicious debut role gets to pose the film's powerful final question, committed suicide by hanging in 2000.
Andrew Unterberger: For me, though, the most important thing of KIDS is that it brought Lou Barlow—member of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh and perhaps the definitive figure in indie rock—to the US top 40 with side project Folk Implosion’s “Natural One”.
Brad Shoup: Of all the Lou Barlow songs to cross over... well, I wouldn't have picked any of 'em. But still, "Natural One"?
R.S. Ross: I loved “Natural One”. Like Soul Coughing’s “Super Bon-Bon”, anything with a bass-line that phat is going to be fabulous.
Andrew Unterberger: “Natural One” is one of the greatest singles of the 90s. It was my favorite song at the time and I still bliss out every time I hear it.
Zach Smola: Lou Barlow showing up on the top 40 is absolutely hilarious. Natural one is a very bizarre song to find that level of success…analog synths, noisy guitar leads; I suppose given a little single called “Loser”, the public was primed for this sort of thing.
Dan Maguire: Lou Barlow never should have gained any commercial success. He's been trying a little too hard ever since.
Andrew Unterberger: Yeah, that’s never gonna happen again. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, Lou.
Ken Munson: God, is there anything that speaks to the heart of a suburban teenage boy with no friends like The Smashing Pumpkins?
Pat Beers: Everybody has a band that, for them, began their love affair with music. For me, it’s the Pumpkins.
Kareem Estefan: Smashing Pumpkins were my first favorite band. I think Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was the first tape I ever bought of my own volition.
Ben Woolhead: The Smashing Pumpkins were my favorite band for a time – back when you absolutely had to have a favorite band.
Pat Beers: LPs, EPs, singles, B-sides, imports, boxed sets, bootleg tapes, even interview CD’s – I probably poured more money into the Pumpkins from 1993 to 1995 than I’ve shelled out for clothes in my lifetime.
Ken Munson: Before my parents decided I was allowed to listen to rock music, I would listen to the Pumpkins on my headphones in the dark while I was supposed to be asleep, and angst my little heart out. …This is seriously embarrassing in retrospect.
Ben Woolhead: A lot of bands thrive on what is euphemistically termed “chemistry”, but The Smashing Pumpkins were stretched almost to breaking point during the recording of Siamese Dream. No doubt much of the friction was the fault of their front man. Billy Corgan has a reputation as a bit of an annoying dictatorial egomaniacal primadonna.
Ken Munson: Billy Corgan said he chose his band members for “maximum visual impact,” which I believe qualifies him as some kind of evil genius. I mean, you had the Dr. Evil looking front man, the pale blond waify female bass player, the dark Asian guitarist, and the druggie drummer. They were the greatest alt-rock band ever because they looked like it.
Christina Adkison: Billy Corgan reminds me of Freddy Krueger….I don’t know whether it’s the similar names or the fact that they look the same, but I swear that he does. Maybe Pumpkins reminds me of Halloween…..
John Rothery: The whiny voiced baldie is an unlikely frontman.
Ben Woolhead: It remains a mystery: whatever happened to Billy Corgan’s hair? Gish – full, wild and unkempt. Siamese Dream – neatly trimmed short back and sides. Mellon Collie – completely bald.
Zach Smola: As for Corgan’s hair, a friend of mine hypothesized that Billy parallels Samson in the Bible—when his hair was long, he could not go wrong. However, once his coif of power was removed, he did things on par with recording Machina.
Ben Woolhead: The feud between The Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement, the reasons for which I never really understood, was painful, though. It was like looking on helplessly as two of my best friends argued and scrapped in front of me.
Charlie Frame: He said something along the lines of "People get up in the morning and eat their breakfast to the Pumpkins while Pavement fans are all high on smack" or some bullshit. Then Malkmus did some rather wimpy Billy-baiting on "Range Life". It was like a really anti-climatic alternative to the Britpop crusades.
Josh Timmermann: I don't understand what they mean and I could really give a fuck.
Pat Beers: Gish rocked harder in 1991 than anything other than a certain Seattle outfit’s sophomore release. Then Siamese Dream came out and blew emo-grunge poseurs out of the stratosphere. God – I love every single song on this album. “Cherub Rock”? “Geek USA”? Please. Thanks for playing, STP. And I could write an f-ing term paper about “Hummer” or “Mayonaise.”
Andrew Unterberger: It wasn’t until 1995, though, that Smashing Pumpkins became the biggest band on the planet.
Pat Beers: Then out came Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, unfortunately titled for those of us desperately attempting to proclaim the coolness of the band.
Adrien Begrand: I loved Gish. I was very impressed with Siamese Dream. Corgan completely lost me with Melon Collie, however. What an overindulgent mess that album is. I can't bear to listen to it anymore...Corgan's whininess is excruciating. And shrill. Painfully shrill.
Ben Woolhead: With the benefit of hindsight, Siamese Dream might be rightly regarded as their finest hour, not a weak song in sight, but I’ll always have a soft spot for their 1995 double album – a flabby, flawed, hubristic and schizophrenic work of genius. But what possessed them to call it Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness?
Adrien Begrand: Mellon Collie would have been a classic if it had been pared down to under 45 minutes.
Zach Smola: As easy as it is to utterly despise the egomaniac that is Billy Corgan, 1995 showed he could write a follow-up album pretty darn well. How a double-disc album as wanky as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness managed to produce a song as earnest and gloriously teenage as “1979” is a lesson in the gloriousness of contradiction.
Andrew Unterberger: Oh god, “1979,” what a heavenly song. Taps into an instant nostalgia that makes you re-fall in love with it every time you hear it. The lyrics are totally meaningless, and it’s all the more a teenage classic for it.
John Rothery: “Tonight Tonight” is still one of my all-time faves and I can’t help but think of the heavy drugs inspired dreamscape of the video with it’s unique as I listen to it. Best pop video ever made, such is the evocation.
Kareem Estefan: The videos to “1979”, “Tonight, Tonight”, “Today”, and “Thirty-Three” are all spectacular enough to make me long for the days when MTV still played music.
Zach Smola: “Tonight Tonight” might be the most overplayed video in the history of MTV, but not without reason, because it was pretty good. However, give me the antics of “1979” any day.
Andrew Unterberger: My biggest disappointment ever was when I became a teenager and my life didn’t instantly turn into the “1979” music video. TPing houses, playing convenience store bowling, rolling down my backyard in a giant tire…I did once talk my drunk friends into throwing all the lawn furniture into the pool once, though.
John Rothery: “1979” is great too, its yearning vocal bringing to mind the endless stretch of a hot adolescent summer.
Pat Beers: I still stand by the vast majority of the songs on Mellon Collie, even though I agree that the ZERO shirt was vomit-inducing.
Gabe Gloden: The pumpkins really jumped the shark with those Zero t-shirts. Something about marketing nihilism and self-hatred to your fanbase that struck me a tad exploitive. I wanted to channel those frustrated feelings of angst into something constructive, yet despite all my rage, I was still just a rat in a shopping mall. Yeah, I had one. OK, you happy now?
Charlie Frame: Right, were those actually Pumpkins t-shirts? Because if so then they've outshone the band in popularity. Even today you're more likely to find a Zero T than even a Che Guevara or Mod Target shirt down Camden Market.
Gavin Mueller: The ZERO shirt's appearance on the animated Billy Corgan in the Simpsons' "Hullabalooza" episode marked the garment's premanent transition into kitsch.
Ken Munson: I really thought the Zero shirts were awesome. I still believe that all black sweatshirts should have the word ZERO on it, which is part of the reason I didn’t really like Ghost Dog.
Andrew Unterberger: Yeah, I’ve still got mine. Yeah, it’s my second one. Yeah, it’s got holes in it. Yeah, I’ll probably get a new one when this one is completely torn. I regret little.
Ken Munson: In a way, the Smashing Pumpkins were like the decade’s The Cure: Dark, dark, overwhelmingly dark, but every here and there, some really beautiful pop songs.
Pat Beers: Today it’s not cool to say you liked the Pumpkins (I don’t know if it ever was), but to this day I don’t know if I’d be into the music I’m into now if it wasn’t for them. But still, despite all the drawbacks, songs like “Galapogos” and “1979” are nevertheless amazing songs, and define an era in my life.
Zach Smola: For a while the 90s knew it’s sketch comedy pretty well. Between The State, Mr. Show, and Upright Citizens Brigade (and let us not forget the short-lived brilliance of The Dana Carvey Show), Saturday was no longer the night for comedy. Mr. Show will always reign supreme, though.
Akiva Gottlieb: One of the great sketch-comedy shows of all-time, Mr. Show was unafraid to take every joke past the point of no return.
Andrew Unterberger: Mr. Show was nothing less than the American Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Just brilliance through and through without a single second of respite.
Akiva Gottlieb: More than a series of clever gags, Cross and Odenkirk's performance piece was essentially one long, metamorphosing scene, each sketch interconnected with the one before.
Zach Smola: From the moment you saw a commercial in which Bob and David humbly state “We’re rigging this microwave to work with it’s door open to prove a point”, you knew it was worth watching.
Akiva Gottlieb: The cast was a veritable who's-who of the alternative comedy circuit: Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, Julia Sweeney, Brian Posehn, Paul F. Tompkins, Mary Lynn Rajskub. And despite lacking indie cred and not being an obnoxious political loudmouth, Bob Odenkirk was actually much funnier than David Cross.
Steve Lichtenstein: I’ve never been sure of anything as much as I am sure of this fact: David Cross has the worst chest hair since cavemen. His show was pretty funny, though. I’m still frequently comforted by thoughts of Tatiana, the Weather Hermaphrodite.
Dan Maguire: Mr. Show has the best one-liners known to man: "Look lady, I don't come to where you work and slap the dick out of YOUR mouth!"
Michael Heumann: My favorite Mr. Show skit was "Jeepers Creepers," the slacker Jesus (starring Jack Black as Jeepers and David Cross as Satan, "Check this shit out…"). The production, the music, the costuming was a dead on parody of Jesus Christ Superstar. Total brilliance.
Gavin Mueller: The Buddhists vs. the Fat Camp competition.
Dan Maguire: The best sketch is the fat kid camp in season four. The best overall episode is season two's "Now Who Wants Ice Cream?"
Andrew Unterberger: “Silly girl, you can’t fly! Only British people can fly!!
Adrien Begrand: There was that one sketch where Cross plays a kid who set himself on fire because a heavy metal band (I think it was Wyckyd Sceptre) told him to in their song. Odenkirk, playing the singer, visits the kid in bed at the hospital, and when they pull back the covers, it's just Cross's big head, with the rest of his body burnt to a shrunken crisp, Odenkirk is grossed out, and goes and records a new song, where he sings, "Try again!"
Gabe Gloden: The one where the makers of Coupon: The Movie sue the American public and win, forcing everyone in America to see the film…
Zach Smola: Well, regardless, we now know they were right all along about Tenacious D.
Dan Maguire: I've never had strong allegiance to a show before this one. Others followed, but Friday (and later Monday) nights at midnight were all I cared about for a while.
Gabe Gloden: It was what great sketch comedy should be: part mind-fuck, part social commentary, all genius. I miss that show.
Matt Chesnut: “'Cause when it comes to playing basketball/I'm always last to be picked/And in some cases never picked at all.” Emo, is that you? What are you doing in my novelty rap hits?
John Rothery: Inspired. Truly inspired. I certainly felt a great deal more affinity with Skee-Lo than I did with Montell Jordan or Mark Morrison. Rap Star Does Humility Shocker.
Josh Love: The video is pretty much what I imagine Master P's tryout with the Hornets looked like.
Zach Smola: I really liked this song when it was around, and I guess it’s because Skee-Lo was the only rapper an awkward young white kid could relate to.
Tony Van Groningen: Even though this song was just silly, it was still sort of cool, especially considering that pretty much everyone could relate to a few of the lines.
Gavin Mueller: Who doesn't wish they were a little bit taller? Like a couple inches, that's all I ask. I just want to break the 6-foot barrier.
Tony Van Groningen: Personally, “I wish I was a baller” and “I wish I had a girl who looked good / I would call her” were the lines that I related to. Basketball and girls, me and Skee-Lo were like the same person. Except he probably got girls because of the song.
Dan Maguire: I'm always screaming "scat, skittle, skibobble" at hood rats, so I relate to that.
Matt Chesnut: Of all the things to wish for, though a rabbit in a hat with a bat usually registers pretty low for me. I usually wish for the tricked out car first.
Zach Smola: Why exactly would Skee-Lo want a rabbit in a hat with a bat? And was this a baseball bat, or a winged-mammal bat? Pressing issues, indeed.
Gabe Gloden: Looking over my Skee-Lo wish list now, I have everything except for the rabbit in the hat with the bat. Soon, very soon.
Zach Smola: There’s a little Skee-Lo in all of us. However, as is the case with hip-hop, a humorously self-effacing single is a career ender.
Gabe Gloden: You should have wished for another hit song, huh?
Dan Maguire: Skee-Lo's due for a follow-up; I'm sure by now he's back to driving a hatchback.
Andrew Unterberger: His stay was short, but Skee-Lo’s brief-lived success had us all believing our deepest wishes could come true.
Brad Shoup: I wish I was Nate Dogg.
Gabe Gloden: I wish I didn’t have this damn mole.
John Rothery: I wish I was still drunk.
Josh Timmermann: I wish I was a real boy. Oh, fairy godmother, please make me a real boy!
Dan Maguire: I used to wish I could get with Yoshi when I played Super Nintendo cause yo he's really fine.
Christina Adkison: I wish I had something to write about Skee-Lo.
Gavin Mueller: I wish Skee-Lo would perform at my birthday party.
Michael Heumann: Twelve Monkeys was Terry Gilliam's remake of the weird (but beautiful) French short film, La Jetée. Both films are about a time traveler sent back to the past because the world of the present has become a nightmare (after a nuclear holocaust in the French film, deadly plague in Gilliam's film).
Ken Munson: Twelve Monkeys is the story of a future-dwelling Bruce Willis going back to pre-apocalyptic 1996 to try and save the earth from a plague, or do something with a plague, or something.
Ben Woolhead: I’d like to say Twelve Monkeys is a cult classic, but I’ve seen it three times all the way through and I’m still none the wiser as to what it’s all about. Even Gilliam’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas was more comprehensible.
Zach Smola: I’ve seen Twelve Monkeys before. I think. I remember it seeming like it cost a lot of money to make. And that Brad Pitt was crazy. But past that, things get a little vague.
John Rothery: This is a cool movie. Terry Gilliam worked wonders in gradually ramping up the irony and surrealism as it played out so that by the time of the climax and pay-off, as the viewer, you ask yourself ‘Should I really have been taking that at all seriously?’
Ken Munson: I’m really sorry, but I find movies about bleak dystopian futures to be unbearably cheesy, no matter how Python the director. Ditto movies about the paradoxes of time travel.
John Rothery: It is shot in a very brooding, dirty manner and is a deeply unsettling piece of film-making.
Ken Munson: The biggest surprise is watching Brad Pitt hamming it up to near-Jim-Carrey levels as a raving nutball. In every other Brad Pitt movie I’ve ever seen he doesn’t seem to do anything but coast off of his Brad Pitt charisma and Brad Pitt good looks.
R.S. Ross: Terry Gilliam is a genius! Most of the audience, I’m convinced, just wanted to see Brad take off his shirt, but for those of us who were there for Gilliam, we got a wild ride.
Christina Adkison: I caught this movie on TV once. It was so bizarre that I ended up changing the channel after only 20 minutes or so. Keep this in mind: I saw a scene with Brad Pitt’s butt and I STILL changed the channel.
John Rothery: For me, Twelve Monkeys has all the ingredients of a cult classic particularly the performance of Brad Pitt – who to my mind is criminally underrated.
R.S. Ross: A testament to how good a director Gilliam is – even Bruce Willis seemed okay in this one.
Gavin Mueller: Ultimately, Terry Gilliam couldn't wrap up all the plot threads into a coherent ending. But as always, the visuals are more than worth the price of admission.
Steve Lichtenstein: After attending various international seminars and reading several acclaimed books on the movie, I believe that scholars and fans alike just aren’t spending enough time thinking about the wig Bruce Willis wears at the end. I mean, look at that fucking thing. It’s got to mean something.
Zach Smola: In order to actually understand this movie, I must construct a time machine and a giant yellow suit in order to travel forward in time to a generation in which we have the technology to piece together exactly what any Terry Gilliam movie means. I will also bring a copy of Brazil with me.
Ken Munson: And if nothing else, the movie really sticks it to animal rights activists, which is a plus in my book!
Tony Van Groningen: This is the best time travel movie ever. Period.
Michael Heumann: Both films are admirable efforts, but since La Jetée is only 20 minutes long and doesn't feature Bruce Willis or Brad Pitt (in his most annoying role to date), I'll take the French film.
Ben Woolhead: To regard it as the best time-travel movie ever, you would have to rate it above Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the Back To The Future trilogy. And could you possibly bring yourself to do that?
Ben Woolhead: It’s strange to think of the internet as having a beginning, just as it’s strange to imagine the world suddenly coming into existence.
Christina Adkison: Dear U.S Vice President Al Gore, thank you on behalf of all webheads across the globe for inventing the internet. It is through your invention that I have done infinite meaningful activities, such as talking to LongDongJohn119 about what “chocolate bondage” is, and finding important websites such as www.freecondoms.com.
R.S. Ross: Thank God for this! I mean, I can’t imagine how dismal my teenage years would have been without all that porn terminology. For the first time, I really felt smart about something.
Ben Woolhead: I heard or read somewhere that the porn industry was the first to realize the potential of the internet, and that it was almost solely responsible for its rapid growth.
Ken Munson: My dad refused to get Internet until the cable company he worked for set up cable internet for the neighborhood, so all I could do was seethe in jealousy for years. I wanted it so badly, I could taste it. Think of all the things I could be doing on the Internet!
Steve Lichtenstein: Going from the VAX (“holy shit, you can send MAIL to people for FREE without even WRITING anything?!?”) to the Internet (“holy shit, I can look up the lyrics to Pearl Jam songs ON MY WORK STUDY COMPUTER!?!?”) at the beginning of college was like going from ground beef to like, a hundred billion gold hamburgers.
Ken Munson: Whenever I stayed at my cousin’s house, I was amazed at his amazing 28.8 modem that let him connect to The Internet! When he and his family went to sleep, I would get on his computer and go surfing all night looking at sites that had nothing at all to do with finding naked pictures, I’ll have you know.
Andrew Unterberger: Back then, nobody cared about the slow speeds or the loud dialup noises—quite possibly the only computer-generated sound worse than a fax machine—because every chat room, every web site, every e-mail was a small miracle of technology. I never played NHL 95 on my computer again.
Joe Niemczyk: If you were lucky, the page you were trying to view would take less than a minute to load up, that is, before you'd lose your connection for the tenth time in one sitting for absolutely no reason.
Ken Munson: In my mind, there were hundreds upon thousands of great sites to be found, if only, oh if only I had Internet. Of course, now I know that there are only about eleven, twelve sites at the most worth looking at.
Gavin Mueller: Suddenly I had access to oodles of poorly transcribed Nirvana lyrics!
Steve Lichtenstein: It took me a while to fully appreciate its capabilities and to have it more readily available, but I can’t imagine going back to a time when I’d have to wonder where to get information on say, Baptist dog preachers in the Old Southwest, or Juice Newton.
Joe Niemczyk: It seems like during the mid '90s, the only thing that most people knew about the internet was that it had chat rooms, which supposedly existed to give people of common interests a chance to share in an open discussion in a completely democratic medium.
Zach Smola: It’s a little known fact that the internet was created solely to allow people to discuss the verdict of the O.J. Simpson case in various chat-rooms. Initially, it was nothing more than rooms entitled “O.J. O.K?” or “Jail the Juice”. At 14.4 kbps, you could tell some 37-year-old man in California known as “X_BartSimpson37_X” exactly what you thought about the slow-speed chase from the comfort of your own home.
Ken Munson: I hate chat rooms. I could never ever follow what was going on in any given chat room. Also, for some reason, chat rooms attract a perverse amount of idiots.
Gabe Gloden: I was so used to being bullied that when I first went into the chat rooms, I used it as a way to get some payback by just starting a fight with someone, seeing how fast we could type expletives.
Joe Niemczyk: And of course, they brought people together like never before and changed the world for the better... ROTFLMFAO!!! ;)
Gavin Mueller: "NIN R00LZ!"
Matt Chesnut: Without the internet, saying “1337” means one thousand, three hundred and thirty seven and saying “lol omg” means you are an idiot.
Gabe Gloden: Oh, and then there was the cyber sex. Kinda hard to type with just one hand though.
Zach Smola: Once scientists figured out it could be used to effectively spread more important information and lucrative pop-up ads, the medium really found its footing. Oh, yeah, and then the whole porn thing.
John Rothery: It is impossible to remember the pre-Internet world. Well, I certainly can’t remember what it was like. I wonder how people managed to do an office job without it? Did they actually work and stuff?
Joe Niemczyk: What did people do before the internet? I think I remember people reading stuff, only it wasn't on computer screens. It was like words printed on stacks of paper. What were those called?
Gavin Mueller: Before the Internet? I think I messed myself a good deal.
Joe Niemczyk: Before the internet people wrote love letters with quill pens and ink pools. They rode unicycles and made their own entertainment. Pedophiles didn’t exist before the internet. This is a fact.
Christina Adkison: Because of the Internet, I’m not only harassed by solicitors through mail and telephone calls, I now also get this wonderful thing called spam. I would never have known I could enhance my penis size, even if I’m a girl. I apologize if all of my comments have been sexually explicit, but that’s all that’s on the Internet, really.
Andrew Unterberger: For a while, the internet was so big that computer nerds sort of became chic—a short-lived phenomenon duly documented in the ’95 classic movie Hackers.
Zach Smola: Hackers made hacking seem really cool. It made hacking look like this glamorous thing which only attractive and hip people participated in.
Ken Munson: Wow! Hackers are so cool! They’re all into hip music and wear cool futuristic clothing and they’re bringing down the man! I can’t wait to be a hacker when I grow up.
Dan Maguire: For a while, hacking was the thing to do. Kids from all over signed onto their parents' Prodigy account and scoured the newsgroups for recipes to bring down the government and crack their schools' grade rosters.
Gabe Gloden: Hackers made being a cyber criminal look cool. But now that I’ve actually met some hackers, I know they don’t have that much time to spend concentrating on their clothes and hair so it’s not as glamorous.
Zach Smola: But no one as attractive as Angelina Jolie has ever hacked. Ever.
Gavin Mueller: The problem with movies about computer hackers is that hacking is fucking boring.
Ken Munson: As far as I’m concerned, Hackers is just a marginally less crappy companion piece to that same year’s Johnny Mnemonic.
Christina Adkison: I’d like to continue with this, but I’m too busy downloading Spider-Man 3 even though it hasn’t been made yet, and chatting with twenty people whose gender I’m not certain of. G2G LMAO LOL TTYL!
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-08-12