Previously on FTCH, there was a case of dead poets for the Batman, Columbo, and the girl u want for Mystery Science. There was also roulette ranch and crunchy cookie for good measure. This week is dedicated to the Nineties. There are casual mentions of everything from Andre Agassi to Zima. There are montages, Ross Perot, Bronson Pinchot, Ben Affleck, and Violent Femmes. There’s still a bit of frosty beer bites to anchor you in current times. Remember that FTCH gives a hoot, and FTCH does not pollute.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Chuck Klosterman – The Nineties (2022) (Penguin): “No stories were viral. No celebrity was trending. The world was still big. The country was still vast. You could just be a little person, with your own little life and your own little thoughts. You didn’t have to have an opinion, and nobody cared if you did or did not. You could be alone on purpose, even in a crowd.” – Klosterman. Longer quote than I would usually use. But this paragraph sums up the book, Klosterman’s points in most of the chapters and the way you come out feeling about The Nineties. Chuck has the Nineties starting with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind (Sept. 1991). I would argue the point that the decade changed in just as many ways when Michigan’s Fab Five debuted together in December of 1991. Klosterman offers interesting takes on Gen X, Tarantino, Zima, AOL, and a really fascinating breakdown of the 1992 election and the influence of Ross Perot. The decade comes to a crashing conclusion with the 2000 Presidential Election in November 2000. This isn’t a comprehensive encyclopedia of the decade. It doesn’t read like a scholarly essay. It’s accessible and makes interesting connections. The book serves as a jumping off point for me to explore more of a decade that I had put into the “yesterday” category.
- 1994 The Year In Sports – Sports Illustrated Subscribers Exclusive (Narrated by Marv Albert) (1994): Michael Jordan was playing baseball and the Heisman Trophy winner (Charlie Ward) was drafted in basketball but not football. The winning coaches of the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup both quit after winning. The Montreal Expos and the Texas Rangers were having great seasons and Ken Griffey Jr, Matt Williams, and Frank Thomas were chasing records. Then the season ended with a strike (not the fastball kind). Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan gave us Olympics drama. This video doesn’t even address the O.J. Simpson saga which forever changed how we viewed our sports heroes. There’s something about such a broken year where we got positive stories like Andre Agassi winning the U.S. Open and the NY Rangers winning the Stanley Cup that feels ancient and current all at the same time.
- Violent Femmes – “American Music” (1991) (from Why Do Birds Sing?): “You’re born too soon / I was born too late.” This line flips a lyric from earlier in the song “You’re born too late / I was born too soon”. This album and particularly this song, presage a sea change coming with the arrival of Grunge and Hip Hop that will completely change the landscape later this same year. “American Music” is this crazy three minute and fifty seconds of everything this trio from Milwaukee loves about American music. It packs in guitar sounds of the ’50s and early ’60s. It has a tinge of gospel and country influence. There’s even the over-produced wall of sound of the late ’60s in the production. They accomplish this all with a nod to their post punk listeners. As the music industry would change around them, this album is a blueprint for what would splinter into the umbrella of alternative later in the ’90s. I finally get to see these guys in May and I’m hoping that this song is on the playlist for me to sing along.
- The Langoliers (1995) (ABC) (Dir. Tom Holland): “The Langoliers had come for all the foolish, lazy people, just as his father had always said they would.” In 1995, we were a year removed from the TV adaptation of The Stand and the idea of the Stephen King adaptation was part of the zeitgeist. Before The Stand, there were adaptations of the lengthy books IT and The Tommyknockers. The Langoliers wasn’t a 1,000-page novel like The Stand or IT. It’s a novella from his Four Past Midnight collection. Ten strangers on a red-eye flight to Boston wake up to find everyone (including the pilots) disappeared. There are lots of tropes from deserted-island films, end-of-the-world films- and more traditional horror films. The cast is pretty decent with Bronson Pinchot as a standout as Craig Toomey, a villain who in no way resembles his Perfect Strangers character. There’s the quality acting that you expect from David Morse playing David Morse as a pilot and Dean Stockwell playing Dean Stockwell the supporting actor as a writer this time. The effects are very dated and the story just doesn’t fit the four-hour format. Tom Holland directed Fright Night and Child’s Play so he knows his way around a horror film. Just not a mini-series. The May Sweeps ratings were decent enough for ABC to move forward with Rose Red, Storm of the Century ,and The Shining miniseries. There’s something very mid-’90s about the optimism of adapting a Stephen King story not known by many people and thinking it would be successful.
- Armageddon (1998) (Directed by Michael Bay): “United States astronauts train for years. You have twelve days.” – Col. William Sharp. You could put up a pretty solid argument that this is the pinnacle of ’90s blockbuster filmmaking (with apologies to Klosterman’s take on Titanic and The Matrix) Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, and actors you recognize at every turn. Jerry Bruckheimer produces and Michael Bay directs. Soundtrack full of classic rock with an emphasis on Aerosmith. Montages and lots of slow-motion walking let you know it’s heroic. This takes what made Independence Day (1996) so popular and turns the volume to twelve. You can literally chop out any two minutes of this film and have a trailer. Every word of dialog could be a tagline for the movie. It’s loud, full of explosions, and beautiful special effects. Deep Impact is very similar and came out for Memorial Day the same year. It didn’t have the same star power as Armageddon which was the July 4th weekend release of the Summer. The idea of destroying the planet wouldn’t hold the same attraction after September 2001. The superhero genre would put the disaster films out of business. But for one shining moment we were all astronauts.
- This is only for the truly dedicated members of my Couch Crew. If you want a deep dive into the Nineties without the aid of a time machine, here’s the full video of the Microsoft Windows 95 launch. There’s Bill Gates, Jay Leno, and an Operating System that would be very important for the first true personal computer that most people of that era would have in their homes. Put the Jolly Time popcorn in the Presto hot air popper and grab a Fruitopia Berry Lemonade, this is your Nineties Zen of the day.
Best of the Rest
- A planet nine times the size of Jupiter is being born out there. The Hubble Telescope is still up there doing some amazing work. That includes images collected for the past 15 years of the “ingredients” of this huge planet coming together. Orbiting its star at twice the distance as Pluto orbits our Sun, this changes lots of theories on how these huge planets are formed. Much larger and this planet would become a brown dwarf, too big to be a planet but not quite a star.
- This is an area that I often highlight some of my favorite advertisements. As I celebrate the Nineties this week, let’s take a quick time travel back to Spring of 2021 and remember that advertising loves the Nineties as nostalgia already. This Edgar Scissorhands commercial for Cadillac featured Timothee Chalamet before the release of The French Dispatch or Dune. This car commercial doesn’t play out much differently than you’d imagine a screenwriter today would structure the sequel.
- If you thought it was difficult to figure out the taste of Starlight, wait until someone hits you up with a Coke Zero Pixels. According to Coke it will taste like “Firing up a game.” Ummm. Yep. Got it. You can get it virtually now on Fortnite. I just wrote a sentence that contains words I know but has no meaning to me. Don’t be disappointed if I skip reviewing this release in May.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 11/5/2006, the weather was stormy but my sister-in-law was in town and we were headed to some museums in Dallas. November Sweeps had kicked in. The Simpsons had their “Treehouse of Horror” episode, Prison Break was firing on all cylinders, Friday Night Lights was increasing ratings, Heroes was featuring Hiro, and The Office was shutting down the Scranton Branch. A new show was debuting on Discovery. After a March pilot episode, Man vs. Wild was back for what would be a long run as one of the anchor shows on the channel. I watched it for a couple seasons and thought I should look it over again.
- Man vs. Wild (S.1 E.2) (2006) (Discovery): This episode drops Bear Grylls into the Moab Desert of Utah. Two hundred people a year are lost, injured, or die in the Moab Desert. There’s the weird dichotomy of 110-degrees days to dehydrate you or cause sun stroke and 40-degrees nights to freeze you. I know later this show would get a “black eye” for not being “real”. I watch this thinking that I always viewed the show as informational anyways. I didn’t want the stress of thinking Bear could die each week. There are some fascinating facts here that combine bits of geography, animal trivia, how to find food in a situation like this, and Special Forces survival training. The show has aged well and it’s still an entertaining ride.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Wendy’s Frosty Cereal
I looked up and down the aisle for Wendy’s Hot French Fries Cereal so I could dip it in this cereal. A fairly disappointing limited edition release. The smell of this is of a typical Cocoa Puffs cereal. The mini-mini-marshmallows are problematic. The are so small that they don’t add any flavor and they just sink to the bottom in your milk. I’m not Cuckoo for this cereal. A Wendy’s Frosty doesn’t have a corn taste to it like these chocolate balls. The cereal itself isn’t terrible, just not a Frosty. The closest you come to a Frosty is the milk remnants when you are done. Try again, Kellogg’s.
DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites
The first question on my mind is if “pizza roll” is a proprietary term. DiGiorno is a trusted brand name for me in the frozen pizza realm. It’s an area that I don’t dip into very much since my college days, to be honest. The “bite” is bigger than a “roll” but not big enough to be a pizza burrito, at which, I guess, it would be a calzone. The crust is good. It’s not too greasy and crumbles nicely without falling apart. The pepperoni left much to be desired. It’s certainly pizza roll quality pepperoni and that’s disappointing. Maybe I’d like the three cheese variety better. Prepared in the oven – I would be curious to see how they turn out in an air fryer.
Stone Enjoy By: 04-20-22
At a 9.4% ABV, this tasty Hazy Double IPA packs a surprising punch. The smell might be a bit too “weedy” for some people but don’t let that fool you. The taste is all fruit. Hints of mango, orange, and other citrus fruits blend well with the Mosaic hops. The end result is a tad bit closer to the mouth feel of a glass of wine. But this is definitely a beer and one of the best beers I’ve had in a year.
“I want you to hold me
I want your arms around me
I want you to hold me
Baby” – Violent Femmes