90s

 As nerds, bastard-like or otherwise, cartoons are at the core of what started the love of all things nerdy for the vast majority of the community. Nerds are exposed to them as children and from then on the seed grows. Cartoons can shape and inform what we choose to indulge in as adults. Nerds rally against any change or reboot or reimagining of our beloved childhoods, some even going so far as to say that these changes ruin what came before. As the years roll by we tend to look back on the cartoons so endeared to us with rose-tinted glasses. But do they hold up? Were our cartoons as good as we remember them being or are they better left in the rear-view mirror we call nostalgia?
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Nickelodeon’s hype train of millennial nostalgia doesn’t seem to be dying down. Fans said “bring back the old shows,” and it seems like Nick is finally listening. Though many were disappointed with the trailer for the Legends of the Hidden Temple TV movie, the faithful designs released for the upcoming Hey Arnold! movie still have 90’s kids as optimistic as ever. With series creator Craig Bartlett set to write the film, the long-awaited Hey Arnold! movie: The Jungle seems to be just the return to form that the network needs. As if the new Hey Arnold movie wasn’t enough, Nickelodeon announced today that another famous Nicktoon is coming back from the days of Dunkaroos and Planters Cheez Balls and onto your flat-screen TV.  (more…)

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If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s (such as yours truly), Nickelodeon’s new line of programming will be bringing back all the feels.  It’s called “The Splat”, and, through it, all the classic shows like Hey Arnold, Kenan & Kel, and Rugrats are coming back; not only to television, but through social media platforms and its own website as well.  The Splat is pulling out all the stops, by plunging viewers right back into the 90’s with programming stunts featuring retro gems like Nick or Treat, U-Pick, and Super Toy Run.  It boasts recreations of the original 90’s era programming, with original promos and interstitials that bring back sorely missed characters such as the Doo-wop Dinosaurs and the Opera Lady. (more…)

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Sometimes I wonder why I pay so much for my cable subscription. My television only visits three channels. No, it’s not broken. There are only three channels that I like watching – BBC AmericaESPN, and Cartoon Network. In the early 90’s, my television was tuned into only one station, Nickelodeon. Back then you had shows like Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude!, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!! Real Monsters, and so much more. Now, it seems that Nickelodeon might be revisiting some of the shows that made the channel so dominant for kids. Two of the shows that are making the rounds are Rugrats and Hey Arnold!.

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John Semper Jr., the guy behind the 90’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series, wanted everyone to know that there a Captain America animated series that almost made it as well. We all loved the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons from the 90’s, there was some really good story telling in those series. I would have liked to see this Captain America series set in World War II. Heck, I’d like to see that series now., but I guess I’ll just have to settle for the promo video that Saban put together to sell the show. (more…)

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Welcome back to our newly revamped “Retro Reviews” column, where we explore both the movies you know and love, as well as the oft overlooked gems you should be spending more time with. Our eighth entry is John Carpenter’s final masterwork, In the Mouth of Madness (1994)…

“Do you read Sutter Cane?” 

The 90s were a woeful decade for many a 70s horror filmmaker. Wes Craven may have changed the slasher game forever with his self-reflexive Scream series, but hasn’t made a picture worthy of his (truthfully already spotty) legacy since (unless you count the aughts’ My Soul to Keep — a film so inept it almost feels like an avant garde experiment). Dario Argento’s 90s output ranges from decent (TraumaThe Stendhal Syndrome) to unwatchable (The Phantom of the Opera). Meanwhile, George A. Romero’s sole solo directorial credit (The Dark Half) is definitely one of the more entertaining Stephen King adaptations, but that’s using both dreck like The Tommyknockers and Golden Years as well as Kubrick’s The Shining or Rob Reiner’s Misery as ends of the qualitative spectrum (meaning Romero’s movie is still hanging somewhere around Pet Sematary). Outside of Joe Dante*, whose feature track record went completely unblemished with Gremlins 2Matinee and Small Soldiers, the decade was somewhat of a nightmare for those who found their start in the gritty 70s, resulting in many horror fans closing the book on what’s viewed by some as the genre’s most auteur-driven period.

Which brings us to John Carpenter, a filmmaker whose ten year run (from 1978’s Halloween all the way up to They Live in 1988) could be considered one of the most impressive in the history of ALL cinema. Carpenter fizzled out in 1992, with the Chevy Chase-starring Memoirs of an Invisible Man marking the end of his marvelous winning streak. His anthology picture, Body Bags, was originally supposed to be a full series on Showtime (comprable to HBO’s Tales From the Crypt), until network executives suffered from cold feet and turned it into a one-off (admittedly mediocre) cable TV movie. It wouldn’t be until 1994 that Carpenter finally brushed the dust off his shoulder and produced what seemed to be, at the time, a comeback of sorts with In the Mouth of Madness, a film that could be viewed as the last true Carpenter masterpiece, as well as the beginning of the widescreen artist’s oft-decried “late period”. (more…)

We’re Rebooting ‘Hocus Pocus’ Now (Updated)

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The 90s nostalgia craze is starting to perturb me a little — and that’s a thing that is unfortunate since we’re likely just getting started. You see, I was raised on the center rail between 80s and 90s culture in that I was born in 1982 (I’m like the Blade of eras, I can walk in the light and the dark.), so while I have a soft spot for some of the reboots of these inherently 1993ish things, others make me flip up my Dwayne Wayne sunglasses because of all the shade that I’m throwing… and I’m looking right the hell at you, Girl Meets World.

Hocus Pocus is another shade-worthy item for me, though to be fair, it’s not entirely the fault of this live-action family-horror-comedy from Disney about a trio of witches (Otto Titsling historian Bette Midler, a post Square Pegs/pre-Miami Rhapsody Sarah Jessica Parker and a Mo Gaffney-free Kathy Najimy) that are brought back from the dead to wreak havoc on a Massachusetts town. No, the fault lies with an impervious VHS copy of Hocus Pocus and my little sister, who at the age of 8 qualified as one of the youngest practitioners of the Ludovico technique. Poor 12 year old me. I vomit anytime I see a schmaltzy Disney film now.

By the way, Tina Fey is producing a sequel to the film.  (more…)

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Welcome back to our “Retro Reviews” column, where we explore both the movies you know and love, as well as the oft overlooked gems you should be spending more time with. Our seventh entry is John Woo’s operatic Hollywood bullet ballet, Face/Off (1997)…

When John Woo was five years old, his family fled from the civil war occurring in Guangzhou, opting to put down roots in a rough Hong Kong neighborhood. As he grew, Woo was recruited by the local gangs, his refusal of their invitations to join earning him numerous beat downs in the alleys of the Shek Kimp Mei slums. Hoping for escape, Woo often found refuge from the violence in two different arenas: the Christian church and the local movie houses. Both helped him develop an unshakable moral code, as the director is quick to cite the unflinching spirit of brotherhood found in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid as easily as any passage in the Bible.

Throughout his career, spiritual and secular imagery amalgamated as he crafted numerous staples of Hong Kong action cinema (A Better Tomorrow I & II, The Killer, Hard Boiled), in which he often pitted two brothers-in-arms against the world, guns drawn and blazing (just like Butch & Sundance). All the while, he set his stories in the underworld he rejected as a boy, often seemingly attempting to understand the souls of the bad men who endeavored to corrupt his ethical fabric. But it wouldn’t be until he reached American soil and helmed his third Hollywood feature that he’d perfectly combine his fully ingrained interests with his search for identification in a childhood enemy. In many ways, Face/Off not only acts as the perfect culmination of Woo’s career up until that point, but also as the final masterwork in a long, celebrated filmography. (more…)

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Apparently there’s breaking casting news from the set of the planned Point Break remake (I know: Half of you are saying “What?”, while the rest are asking yourselves “Why?”).

So I’ll back up a little: Yes–a remake of 1991’s action-packed cheesefest starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey is indeed a thing, and is set to begin filming this fall, despite the necessity of recasting one of it’s stars–more after the parachute jump:  (more…)