1994: The Most Important Year of the Nineties

Pop Culture Affidavit, Episode 27: 1994 — The Year in Comics, Part Two

Episode 27 CoverIt’s It’s the big conclusion of my conversation with Michael Bailey about 1994 in comics.  Whereas we spent last episode talking about the comics industry, we spend most of this episode talking about what we thought were the most important comics of the year.the big conclusion of my conversation with Michael Bailey about 1994 in comics.  Whereas we spent last episode talking about the comics industry, we spend most of this episode talking about what we thought were the most important comics of the year.

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the Zero Hour/Zero Month promo video that Mike mentions in the episode:

A Banquet, a Song, a Date, a Mug

December_1963_oh_what_a_nightA few months ago, I was doing the dishes after breakfast, and after putting my coffee mug in the drying rack, I heard it crash to the floor.  I sighed and grabbed the broom and dustpan, and while sweeping it up, got annoyed.  I was annoyed at myself for not being careful, but also annoyed that a mug I had owned for twenty years was now gone.

The black coffee mug with a gold rim and “Sayville High School ’95” was the favor from my junior banquet, which took place on April 18, 1994. I honestly don’t know why it was called a banquet and not a prom–I suspect it had something to do with the seniors not wanting the juniors to call our dance a “prom” because my high school was all about that petty sort of crap–but it was the first formal school dance I ever attended.  In fact, if you want to get technical, it was my first date.

It is shocking to absolutely no one that I was an incredibly late bloomer.  Oh sure, I knew as early as elementary school that I liked girls, but at sixteen, I had not evolved socially beyond the awkwardness I had around girls when I was twelve.  I could control my behavior and wasn’t as obnoxious or immature in the presence of a pretty girl, but I still had ridiculous crushes on girls who were way out of my league, and even as late as college it took signals brighter than the average Times Square billboard for me to pick up on the fact that someone found me even marginally attractive.  In fact, at that point, my pursuit of the opposite sex amounted to asking out my crush in the ninth grade (and getting rejected) and getting friendzoned by someone prior to Christmas break, so the idea that I’d actually get a date for a dance was pretty ridiculous.

The junior banquet, though, was the social event of the year–at least for me, anyway–and because of that I felt that finding a date was necessary.  Okay, there was no stated obligation to find a date, but I definitely felt some sort of pressure to make sure I had a companion for the evening.  Maybe it was because my friends were getting dates or maybe because the dance was formal.  Personally, I blame our class’s choice of a theme song:  “Oh What a Night.” (more…)

Interstate Love Song

Interstate Love SongThere have only been a few times where I looked at the title of a song and said, “This is going to be a good one.”  Usually, song titles are pretty innocuous and if you were to give me a list of titles from a band’s latest album, I’d shrug.  The song’s called “Stay?”  Well, that could mean anything.  But like I said, every once in a while, I see “Raining in Baltimore” or “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” and pay a little more attention to what it might be about.

Such was the case with “Interstate Love Song.”

When Purple was released in early June 1994, I had been waiting in anticipation for a couple of weeks.  “Big Empty” had been playing on the radio and in commercials for The Crow, and “Vasoline” had made its debut a week before.  Couple that with the fact that Core was still in regular rotation in my CD player and I didn’t need anything else to be sold.  I’m not sure if I bought the album the week it came out or if I picked it up a few weeks later.  All I know is that one afternoon, I came home from the mall (probably Sam Goody) with copies of Purple and 10,000 Maniacs’ MTV Unplugged.

One of my friends, who was the self-appointed authority when it came to all things music, wasn’t too hot on the album because it wasn’t as heavy as Core; however, I actually preferred Purple, and my co-purchase of the 10,000 Maniacs album should have been a sign that I had different tastes (the number of times that girls I knew borrowed said 10,000 Maniacs CD should have also been a sign that I was on the right track).  Purple wasn’t exactly a revelation in the way Dookie would become later that year, but in hindsight, it was a sign that the alternative music scene was lightening up a little.  “Big Empty” was the “this is the same as Core” track; “Vasoline” was a little different but still had guitars and speed the way I thought guitars and speed should be in a song.  But “Interstate Love Song?”  I looked at the title and wanted to listen to it because it sounded like a great title, even if a love song–which was more suited to people like Jon Secada–did not fit the criteria for a “good” song among my friends and I.  I mean, we listened to metal, not love songs.

Okay, my friends listened to metal and I was only listening to it so I could fit in.

Even so, that title drew me in.  I wanted to know more.  So after binging on “Big Empty” and “Vasoline,” I skipped ahead to track #4 and almost immediately, Purple’s status above Core as the better of the two albums, was established.  The tune hooked me in, which is perfect because I couldn’t understand what the hell Scott Weiland was actually singing about anyway.

By the way, it’s heroin.  He’s singing about heroin.

Okay, that’s not entirely true, although his heroin addiction–which was common among musicians of the early 1990s alternative scene–is something he’s cited in interviews as an inspiration.  The song’s also about honesty, and touches upon how relationships are inherently complicated.  Having not been in a relationship yet when I was sixteen, I didn’t know anything about this.  But I understood, on some level, the song’s sense of longing and of hoping for something (albeit pessimistically).

“Interestate Love Song” would eventually receive the highest of honors when it came to my musical tastes–I put it on a mix tape for a girl.  Granted, I had completely misinterpreted the song and had it mean something about long-distance relationships (I guess I took the title a bit too literally), but in that misinterpretation, the song wound up fulfilling the purpose of a mix tape anyway–it was repurposed by a listener.  And that’s usually why it’s one of those songs that reminds me of being a teenager, with the contradiction between its tune and its meaning recalling the conflict between youth and burgeoning adulthood and the struggle between longing and ultimate fulfillment.

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 26: 1994 — The Year in Comics, Part One

Episode 26 CoverAs my look at 1994: The Most Important Year of the Nineties continues, it’s time to take a look at the comic books.  Joining me for this endeavor is Michael Bailey of Views from the Longbox (among other podcasts).  In this two-parter, we’re going to talk about the comics industry of the 1990s, what the big releases were in 1994 as well as what our favorite books were that year.

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be

kurt-cobainSo it’s been twenty years since Kurt Cobain’s suicide.  I suppose that I’m not the only person writing a piece about it today (although I’m definitely one of the least important people writing about it).  Truth be told, if I wasn’t spending much of this year looking at 1994, I might not have even noted it beyond recognition upon seeing a Facebook post or something.

His death didn’t affect me very much–celebrity deaths rarely do.  However, when I was sixteen, I wasn’t that much of a fan of Nirvana.  Oh sure, I’d enjoyed the songs I’d heard off of albums like Nevermindbut I didn’t own any of them and was more into stuff like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Metallica.  I suppose that might all have been different had I access to MTV on a daily basis but I can’t exactly write about something that wasn’t true.

What was true is that my friend Brendan called me up on April 8 and told me he saw something on MTV about Kurt Cobain having been found dead (Cobain’s autopsy would later reveal that he’d died on April 5).  We made some jokes about it adn then talked about something else.  It was probably hockey or school.  That night, I went to a meeting for the People to People Student Ambassador group for the trip to Europe I was scheduled to take that summer.  One girl, whose name I think was Tammy, was wearing a Nirvana T-shirt and I innocently asked if that was because of the news.  She replied that he wasn’t dead and that wasn’t completely true about the heroin overdose.  I apparently then became the person who first told her about Cobain’s suicide.

Beyond that, life went on.  I listened to other bands and explored other genres.  I did noticed that other people were more upset.  My sister’s friend, who had a flair for the dramatic, seemed pretty insistent on proclaiming that every lyric on every Nirvana album was a clue to his suicide.  There was at least one piece in the student newspaper about it.  And T-shirt stops at the mall seemed to be selling a lot more Nirvana T-shirts.

As the grunge of the early 1990s gave way to the fluorescent pop of the late 1990s, I began to see the significance in his death, culturally if not personally.  Cobain’s suicide is almost a dividing line between the two decades, establishing a Nirvana/Britney Spears divide between Generations X and Y (for lack of better terms, anyway).  It also winds up establishing Nirvana as a near-perfect band.  Okay, I’m not a fan of In Utero but the group has that Beatles-esque achievement of ending before they could really suck, whereas Pearl Jam was more like the Stones–slowly fading with diminishing returns and occasional flashes of brilliance.

Had Cobain not taken his own life, how would things have been deifferent?  Would we have gotten another Nevermind or would they have been put out Binural?  Would Kurt and Courtney have continued to be a trainwreck of a couple or would they look like Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani (well, before they broke up)?  Would Nirvana’s continued presence prevent the rise of The Goo Goo Dolls, Marcy Playground, Third-Eye Blind, Smashmouth, Fastball, and a host of other “Where are they now?” bands from the late 1990s and early 2000s?

Such speculation is both fun and frustrating.  So are overwrought odes to dead artists and pretentious think pieces.  At least on a day like this, we can take the time to appreciate his contributions to music.

Bottom of the Inning: Taking Baseball Personally (Baseball, Part Two)

Baseball 10thIn my last post, I mentioned that watching all of Baseball made me feel like I was in an introductory, or “101” class on the game.  As well-researched and well-crafted as Ken Burns’s documentary was, there were times where I felt like I was getting the history textbook version of the baseball story:  hit the high points, go selectively in-depth, and completely skip over quite a bit.

While that’s a valid criticism, leaving it at that would be giving the work short shrift, especially since it’s a full day’s worth of a documentary.  Furthermore, I spent much of that first part of my look at Baseball on summary and critique and didn’t give much of my personal “story” as it is, or at least my personal reactions while I was watching it.  Which is kind of the whole purpose of this blog, right?

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Inning by inning.

First Inning (“Our Game” 1850s-1900):  This isn’t Baseball, this is seventh grade social studies with Mr. Kerkhof.  We’re talking about the Antebellum period and …  man, the 1800s are boring.  But this?  This isn’t so much because it’s an origin story, the kind I’m fixated on whenever we begin looking at an important event.  What were the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War and how did it progress from there?  Who actually founded the Roman Empire?  When did the  Middle Ages officially begin?  Who played that first game of baseball and what was it like in what seems like the Dark Ages to me–before Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Mantle, and every other name I know?

Second Inning (“Something Like a War” 1900-1910):  I’m ten years old and my parents have given me a “Baseball’s All-Time Greats” baseball card set, the one I spotted in the Sears catalogue.  There’s Ty Cobb, and there’s Honus Wagner, who has the most expensive baseball card in existence, something I learned on a feature I saw on 20/20 the previous year.  I begin looking at the all-time stats for the old players and am amazed and even though many of their records have been broken, they still are in the top five for many of their most notable categories.  The card set is worth original retail price (and even today it’s not worth much), but what it lacks in monetary value it more than makes up for in facts.

Third Inning (“The Faith of Fifty Million People” 1910-1920):  To me, it’s not the Black Sox scandal; it’s Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams.  It’s “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” and the last scene of that softball episode of Married … With Children that parodies the last scene of Eight Men Out.  It’s also the idea that even something as pure as a game I play on Saturday mornings in Little League can be corrupted by outside influences (yunno, beyond the opposing team’s coach being friends with the umpire).

Fourth Inning (“A National Heirloom” 1920-1930):  I’m in the fifth grade and we’re asked to take a biography out of the library for our latest book report/conference with the teacher.  I grab one about Babe Ruth.  He competes with Gehrig.  He is supposedly “stranger than fiction,” which is what one of the chapter titles says.  Despite my being an excellent reader, I have trouble getting through the entire book.  I don’t know if it’s because the book’s badly written or because I don’t find the subject matter as interesting as I thought I would.  In fact, I can’t remember if I ever finished that book.  I do know that when I had my conference with Mr. Schafer about it, I did fine.

Fifth Inning (“Shadow Ball” 1930-1940):  I have no personal context for this.  In fact, if there is any episode that I found myself glued to, it’s this one.  Growing up, my knowledge of the struggle of African-Americans was limited to slavery, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, and Martin Luther King Jr.  I was not exactly a scholar.  I knew the Negro Leagues existed but I don’t think that what little I read about them in books clued me in to what extent.  If anything, I’m grateful for what I gained from this episode.

Sixth Inning (“The National Pastime” 1940-1950):  It’s 2012 and I’m in a used bookstore on the Downtown Mall.  I’m looking for a copy of As You Like It but am also perusing the small graphic novel section.  On my way to the counter, I pass sports and Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer.  It sits on my shelf until the start of the 2013 season rolls around.  While Kahn’s biographical retelling of his time becoming a sportswriter is interesting, it’s his visits with former Dodger greats and the retelling of Jackie Robinson’s history that pulls me in.  For years, I knew three things about Robinson:  he played for the Dodgers, he broke the color barrier, and he stole home once in the World Series.  This tells me so much more.

Seventh Inning (“The Capital of Baseball” 1950-1960): I’m twelve years old and my family is throwing one of those big barbecues where everyone–from my mom’s side and dad’s side–is there.  My Uncle Brian, a die-hard Yankees fan, spends a good hour talking to Grandpa Panarese about baseball in the 1950’s.  They talk about the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers.  I don’t interject; I just listen.  It’s one of the best memories I have of these two men and one of the most informative conversations upon which I ever eavesdrop.

Eighth Inning (“A Whole New Ballgame” 1960-1970):  To me, this is where baseball begins; specifically, in 1962, when the New York Mets go 40-120 and set an all-time single-season loss record that still stands.  I cut my baseball history teeth on An Amazin’ Era in 1986 and to me, “baseball history” has always involved Seaver, Koosman, Swoboda, Clendenon, Agee, Grote, Garrett, and McGraw.  Yes, there are more important figures in baseball history and more important events.  But it’s the lovable losers’ transformation into the Miracle Mets that I always remember.

Ninth Inning (“Home” 1970-1993):  It’s fascinating to see Bob Costas tell the story of being in the Red Sox locker room during the Buckner play and watching the champagne get wheeled out as quickly as possible.  It’s also fascinating to see testimony from Red Sox fans who were wounded by the play.  After all, I rooted for “the enemy” in 1986.  My nine-year-old dreams came true when Jesse Orosco threw the last pitch to Marty Barrett (I have a poster on the wall of my classroom), so it never occurred to me that someone might be upset by that night’s events.  Beyond that, there are so many recognizable faces here and I wish he was taking more time on them; I wish he was reminiscing with me the way he was reminiscing with my parents through the seventh inning.

When it ends with a talk about how baseball endures I realize that this isn’t a documentary; it’s a eulogy.  The season was cancelled due to a strike the month before the first episode aired and it doesn’t seem like we’ll get the game back.  Furthermore, it’s hard to pick a side because everyone seems greedy; everyone seems like a villain.  And here, at the funeral, we’re all trying to remember why we came.

Tenth Inning (1994-2010):  I was there.  I remember that.  I watched that.

I will never tire of watching Barry Bonds fail to throw out Sid Bream.  I always loved how much fun Ken Griffey Jr. seemed to be having–and always wished I had that swing.  I was cheering for McGwire the whole time and have to admit I was disappointed when the PED charges came to light.  I never cheered for Bonds unless he struck out looking.  I want to buy Steve Bartman a beer and talk baseball with the guy–not that game, just baseball.  No, the 2004 ALCS is not overrated and yes, I’ll watch the Yankees choke like that any time, day or night.  My heart was in my throat when Endy Chavez made that catch, only to have the Cardinals rip it out and crush it a few innings later.  You’re really using that Springsteen song, Ken?  Don’t you realize it’s about looking back and realizing how middle-aged you are?

“But then time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.”

You know what?  That’s exactly what this is, isn’t it?  Good job, sir.

Top of the Inning: The 101 Course (Baseball, Part One)

Baseball DVDThis post and the next post is part of the Big League Blog-a-thon, coordinated by Forgotten Films, home to one of the best film podcasts out there, The Forgotten Filmcast, which is about the movies that time forgot.

I discovered early on, after volunteering to sit down and watch Ken Burns’ documentary, Baseball, that one simply does not sit down and watch Ken Burns’ Baseball. No, it is something that taunts you from the screen of your Netflix queue, daring you to take it on like a pitcher who’s been throwing heat all night and has only just hit his stride.  And all you can do, really, is step up to the plate, bear down, and let him know that if he’s going to get you out, you’re going to have to work for it.

In other words, challenge accepted.

Bad metaphors and even worse Barney Stinson jokes aside, Baseball was something I had watched when it was originally on back in 1994 but didn’t remember much about except that Burns spent the segment about the 1986 Mets talking about the agony of the 1986 Red Sox and that he must have exhausted every available version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” over the course of the documentary.  That I remember the former should not be a surprise–my Mets fandom runs deep, even when they lose–and after re-watching all ten innings, the latter still rings true.

Baseball originally aired twenty years ago as a nine-part documentary, each part appropriately titled an “inning,” with a two-part “tenth inning” being added in 2010.  What this adds up to is a documentary that if one were to sit down and watch without a break, he would be on the couch for nearly a full twenty-four hours.  Burns begins with the  origins of baseball, both real and myth (an urban legend involving Abner Doubleday that has been disproven countless times yet still seems to have legs all these years later) and then moves chronologically through the beginnings of the game up until what at that point was the present.

Through the first five innings, Burns seems to have accomplished what he set out to do, which is given us a full history of the game.  Instead of blowing through the 19th Century, he spends all of the “First Inning” exploring baseball’s evolution and then only moves ten years ahead into the future with the second inning, bringing us only up to 1940 by the end of inning five.

This slow progression works to flesh out the characters of the first half of baseball’s history, men whose names are known and aren’t necessarily forgotten but are definitely overshadowed by the names revered in my parents’ youth.  Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Rogers Hornsby, and Grover Cleveland Alexander were long dead by the time I went to my first baseball game in 1985, existing only  in trivia books like Bill Mazer’s Amazin’ Baseball Book.  Here, there is footage and there are interviews by historians and some of the few people who were, at the time, left alive to talk about playing against or watching those old-timers.

Furthermore, throughout the first half of the documentary, Burns does not shy away from the racism that pervaded the game for decades, telling the story of the Negro League whose history to me when I was a kid growing up on Long Island was a footnote in the Cobbs, Ruths, DiMaggios, and Mantles of books about baseball.  With stories from Negro League players such as Buck O’Neil (who is a delight in every interview throughout the series), you learn more about the racial history of the early 20th Century than you do in most high school history classes, even when that history is overshadowed by a mammoth figure such as Babe Ruth, who gets almost an entire episode to himself.

As Burns moves through the 1940s and 1950s, into an era where baseball really exploded and where he should have his strongest stories–after all, many of the players of those eras were still alive at the time when he was filming–the cracks begin to show and while the documentary doesn’t exactly fall apart by the Ninth Inning, it definitely is a lot weaker than at its beginning.  He relies too much on the same seven or eight different interviewees and we don’t hear directly from very many players beyond Ted Williams and a few others.  I wasn’t expecting every single player or anything, but seeing at least one appearance by Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, or Johnny Bench.  Heck, 1994 was when Tim McCarver was still mildly tolerable.

Which, in a way, brings me to the second major problem with the documentary.  Burns, who is a Red Sox fan, is committing the cardinal sin of sports reporting and being a “homer,” reporting with an incredible Northeast bias.  Walk away from Baseball and you will think that the period between 1957 and 1994 was a complete wasteland (as if the Brooklyn Dodgers’ and New York Giants’ leaving for California stripped baseball of its virginity in a way that the Black Sox scandal or the systemic racism that preceded the Jackie Robinson era never could) and that the only baseball worth happening occurred in Boston and New York and mostly in 1975 and 1986.  And I’ll readily acknowledge that both of those World Series deserve their reputations, as does the career and legacy of George Steinbrenner.  But much like a high school history class where you cover the Vietnam War in a day because the teacher has run out of time, Burns gives short shrift to then-recent history, probably assuming that we were all there and we all remember.

He sort of remedies this in the added “Tenth Inning,” but even then there’s an ESPN-like whitewash, perpetuating the narrative of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa “saving” baseball in 1998, the Yankees “saving” New York City in the fall of 2001, the Red Sox “saving” the nation’s soul in 2004, and Barry Bonds’ role as some sort of supervillain in the whole thing.  All  of those storylines have legitimacy, but Burns’ coverage only serves to date the film a little–we’ve had so many highlight reels, specials, and shorter documentaries about those specific moments that one wonders if there was a need for him to come back and tell the stories at all.

That’s not to say that this behemoth isn’t worth watching.  Technically, Baseball is carefully made and serves as a perfect “101 Class,” an introduction to a topic that can’t possibly be contained to a single film, no matter how large it is.

In Part Two:  Taking Baseball Personally

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 24 — A Comedy About Love in the ’90s

Episode 24 Cover1994: The Most Important Year of the Nineties continues with one of the most Nineties of Nineties movies, Reality Bites.  I take a look at the Winona Ryder/Ben Stiller/Ethan Hawke classic and also talk about its place in popular culture as well as talk about why it failed at the box office as did so many other attempts ot market to “Generation X.”

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Here are some links to some recent pieces about the movie …

20 Years Later: An Oral History of Reality Bites

Hit Fix interviews the principal players from the movie’s cast and production and they talk about what it was like to make it in 1993-1994.

I Watched Reality Bites and it’s Bascially a Manual for Shitheads

A very funny Jezebel piece that waxes nostalgic about the film … with some perspective.

Reality Bites PosterHere’s also a link to two previous posts about the movie …

Generation X Is …

This post, actually my first column from my high school newspaper in the fall of 1994, is my seventeen-year-old self trying to make sense of my generation, especially after I watched Reality Bites on video.

Being Michael Grates

In this post, I take a look at Reality Bites nearly two decades later and discover how much I identify with Ben Stiller’s character, Michael Grates, the yuppie In Your Face TV executive who competes with Troy Dyer’s (Ethan Hawke) for Lelaina’s (Winona Ryder) affection.

Alllllllllllllrighty Then!

It’s not that I’m trying to figure out what made Jim Carrey funny in the mid-1990s, it’s just that in thinking about what was funny in the mid-1990s, I sometimes amazed that he was so huge.

Maybe I should rephrase that, or at least explain what the heck I’m talking about because that introduction is poor and it looks like I’m starting in the middle of things.  Next week’s post will be an episode of the podcast about Reality Bites, the Winona Ryder film about life after graduation.  It’s one of those films that has become … well, I don’t want to say seminal because that would be giving it too much credit, but it definitely is one of those films that stuck with much of my generation.  More on why next week, but I bring it up because around the same time that Reality Bites hit theaters, so did Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.  This film is up there with movies like Billy Madison or Dude, Where’s My Car? or Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  You look at them and say, “This is going to be ridiculous.”  In essence, you are right, but the ridiculousness of the movie is what nets them tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

Such were Jim Carrey movies in the mid-1990s, especially in 1994.  The man, who up until that point had been best known for being the white guy on In Living Color (and well, one day I’ll get to Doing Time on Maple Drive) starred in the aforementioned Ace Ventura flick as well as The Mask and Dumb and Dumber, each one of which was an enormous hit and rocketed him to superstardom.  I remember that I enjoyed two out of the three of them (I actually have never seen The Mask) because they are, at their core, pretty funny.  But as life went on and I got older, I remember that Carrey’s movies, at least to me, didn’t hold up the way that Caddyshack or Airplane! do.  So what is it?  Has my sense of humor faded or my heart shriveled up and died?  I’m not sure.

Let’s do a quick test and look at this scene from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective …

And this one from Dumb and Dumber … 

Now, at a glance this stuff is funny.  Carrey’s got one of those faces that looks ridiculous to begin with, so he’s not afraid to just act silly and really let loose.  And in both scenes, the director just lets him do his schtick.  But at the same time, even two watchings of either scene gets annoying after a little while–and this is coming from someone who can watch Chris Farley do the “I killed my sale” scene in Tommy Boy multiple times and thinks that never gets old.

I think perhaps it’s that these scenes are the type of stuff that your annoying younger brother or cousin would find hilarious and repeat over and over and over and over.  The tutu bit in the lobby with instant replay goes on way too long and is the type of thing that your hyperactive cousin would repeat out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation.

But hey, maybe that’s what we needed in the mid-1990s.  There’s a sense that maybe, after a few years of a crappy economy and serious “message” movies winning Oscars, audiences wanted something totally ridiculous and didn’t want to have to think when they went to the theater.  After all, the highest grossing film of the year was Forrest Gump, a feel-good nostalgia-fest and within the next few years we’d have Toy StoryBatman Forever, Independence Day, and Armageddon make huge amounts of money–not exactly thinking man’s movies.

But like I said, I just can’t find them funny anymore (and hey, maybe it’s just because I’m cranky), even though I know that Carrey can be …

(and yes, I know what you’re thinking … I don’t know how Courtney Love stayed in that dress either).

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 23 — The Album That Changed My Life

Episode 23 CoverDo you have the time to listen to me whine?  No?  Well, do you have the time to listen to me talk about Green Day’s Dookie, which was released twenty years ago and is one of the most important albums I ever purchased?  You do?  Great!  I’ll give some history on the album, go through it track by track and then explain exactly why, when I was 17 years old, this punk classic changed my life.

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

As a bonus, here is the CD cover …

Dookie CD CoverHere is the orignal version of the CD’s back cover …

Dookie Back Cover


And here are links to articles and books mentioned the episode …

“Young, Loud, and Snotty”  (1994 Spin article)

Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azzerad (Amazon.com)