Category Archives: The Art of Awesomely Bad 90s Movies

Super Mario Bros.: An Awesomely Bad 90s Video Game Movie

By Dan MK

(Screencaps and captions by Tom Kapr)

 

Not a Joel Silver production. Not a James Cameron film.

 

Once upon a time, there were two Italian plumbers who somehow got magically transported to another world, where they had to fight against the evil King Koopa in order to save the Princess and restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom.

Those of us who grew up as Nintendo addicts know the story well. We spent hours playing and replaying the video game (and all of its sequels) until it was in our bloodstream. When they finally came out with a Mario Bros. movie, any child in America could have guessed what the plot of the movie would be, which goes something like this:

(Warning: Here be spoilers!)

Mario and Luigi (that’s Mario Mario and Luigi Mario) are trying to help the Princess out with some plumbing issues (don’t ask) when she gets kidnapped by the Koopa cousins — all two of them. The Marios follow her through a mysterious portal which leads them to a parallel dimension, created by the meteor which struck the earth millions of years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs — or so we thought. In actuality (i.e., fiction), dinosaurs continued to exist in this parallel dimension, evolving into humanish things in much the same way that apes evolved into humanish things in our dimension (i.e., New Yorkers).

 

Or present-day North Carolina. Whichever.

 

Mario and Luigi make their way through the city of Dinohattan (get it? GET IT?), fighting off Goombas (i.e., “de-evolved” humanish descendants of dinosaurs) and other things that are kind of like Goombas, but their heads are different, and that difference is never explained (Koopas?).

 

Dinohattan (view from Governor's Island, pre-9/11).

 

They befriend a knowledgeable (and musical) man-creature named Toad, who is promptly arrested and turned into a Goomba.

 

See you in your nightmares, children!

 

The Marios are arrested too, after which they meet up with Dennis Hopper, who pokes Luigi in the eyes and hisses. They then break out of prison on a zip-line, hijack a police car, make a wrong turn, and wind up in the desert. Fortunately, the fungus saves them, but Mario doesn’t trust it.

With the help of the newly reformed, “intelligent” Koopa cousins, Mario and Luigi return to the city and break into a dance club in flamboyant clothing. You see, in order to save the Princess, Mario has to romance an obese woman in a spiky dress, so that he can snatch the rock she is wearing around her neck which she had stolen from them earlier after they were mugged by an old lady. Mario tries to grab the rock with his mouth, but ultimately realizes he can still use his hands.

 

It was either this, or Mario would have had to romance a giant fish that could swallow him whole.

 

Mario gets the rock, but then he and Luigi instantly lose it. King Koopa’s wife (girlfriend? mistress? cousin?) takes it, and celebrates by drinking a glass of earthworm. Mario and Luigi, having gone through all this trouble, decide they don’t need the rock after all, and jump through the roof with crates on their heads. They sneak into King Koopa’s castle by pretending to be garbage. Then they mess with the plumbing and put on two uniforms that they just happen to find in a locker. (Wow! Those uniforms are just like in the video game!)

 

"Do you always have to do that weird thing with your finger?"

 

After this, Mario finally eats a flower and spits out a freakin’ fireball — eh, wishful thinking. Actually, Mario and Luigi get on an elevator and hide behind Goombas. They make the Goombas dance. It turns out Goombas love to dance (contrary to popular rumors that Goombas only love to walk off cliffs). Oh, and Mario almost falls down a pit, and is saved at the last minute. Luigi dangles on a hook, and Mario still doesn’t trust the fungus. (Unbelievable!)

 

The fungus. Trust it.

 

Meanwhile, the Princess meets Yoshi. King Koopa enters her chambers and tries to seduce her with his long tongue (something only Dennis Hopper could pull off?). She is understandably bothered by this, but the fact of the matter is that she was born out of an egg, and her father is a pile of fungus (played by Lance Henriksen). She rejects King Koopa, and he scares Yoshi and leaves (that meanie). Shortly thereafter, Koopa’s girlfriend enters the room and befriends the Princess before trying to stick a knife in her throat. Yoshi protects the Princess by trying to eat the girlfriend. The Princess flees, and Yoshi gets freakin’ stabbed, to the delight of all the young children in the audience. And no, he doesn’t poop out any eggs.

 

A little something for the ladies in the audience.

 

After Yoshi gets stabbed, Goomba-Toad gets set on fire and screams. Princess puts out the fire (she finds an extinguisher!) but then runs away. The two useless Koopa Cousin characters appear just long enough to introduce the Princess to the fungus and then scram (they won’t be seen again until after the credits). Meanwhile, Luigi and Mario find the Princess. You see, they relied on their wits and made the Goombas dance — JUST LIKE IN THE VIDEO GAME!!!

 

She has her father's... um... nevermind.

 

After meeting up with the Princess and her father (who is in no condition to be having company), Mario runs off to save a roomful of Brooklynite women (“except for Angelica — she’s from Queens, but she’s alright”) who have been kidnapped by King Koopa. One of them is Mario’s girlfriend (mistress? cousin?) . As soon as Mario leaves, Princess and Luigi get captured by the evil King Dennis Hopper, who wants his pizza, for goodness’ sake! On the other hand, Mario does considerably better by escaping with all the women on a mattress. They are being pursued by Goombas (who are on their own mattress, of course), but it’s okay because Mario sticks a wrench in the ground. He’s a plumber, you see?

 

Remember that cool level in the video game where you have to save a bunch of women who aren't the princess from King Koopa's World Trade Center-lookalike tower by maneuvering a Goomba's used mattress through a huge iced-up heating duct? Me neither.

 

Mario’s mattress turns out to be a magical mattress because instead of simply falling out of the pipe, it glides slowly across a substantial portion of the Dinohattan set and disables King Koopa and his Goombas. Everyone celebrates, completely forgetting that King Koopa is still holding a gun, and still very conscious.

Koopa points a gun at the Mario Bros., so they throw — correction: they shoot – their shoes at him and knock him down again, this time over a railing and into a bucket. I’d like to point out that, during the course of the film, we actually see quite a few people fall over this railing. Not many railings; this railing. It’s pretty ridiculous.

 

This railing.

 

Things get more intense at this point. People run. Luigi brings all of the women, including the Princess, back to the portal, where King Koopa’s girlfriend accidentally kills herself by sticking a small rock into a big one. Luigi sends all the Brooklynite girls back through the portal except for the Princess.

 

Everybody's got their thing.

 

Meanwhile, Mario and King Koopa duke it out in the city. Their fight begins in the bucket, continues through a crowded street, and ends with King Koopa holding a gun to Mario. Mario sets off a Bob-omb (yay!), but it falls through the ground (what!?). Meanwhile, the small-rock-in-the-big-rock situation causes the two parallel dimensions to merge, and Mario, King Koopa, and a small handful of Goombas are transported to Manhattan (for some reason the rest of Dinohattan wasn’t invited).

 

"Holy crap! I'm turning 8-bit!"

 

In our world, King Koopa promptly turns a sleazy man into a sleazy chimpanzee, and all of the many civilian-bystanders think it’s absolutely adorable.

 

The video game was alright, but what really would have made it great is chimpanzees dressed up like humans.

 

Koopa points the gun at Mario and says the now infamous line:

King Koopa: “And now, I’m gonna make a monkey outta you, plumber!”

Just when all seems lost, Mario trusts the fungus (finally!!!).

 

Trusting the fungus (actual footage).

 

Luigi uses his quasi-plumbing skills to remove the small rock from the big rock, returning Mario, Koopa, and the Goombas to Dinohattan. Then he and Princess Daisy hurry back to catch the end of the Mario-Koopa fight. The Goombas dance again. The fat woman gives Luigi more shoes. Koopa screams. Finally, to the deep satisfaction of all the hardcore fans of the video games, the Mario Bros. defeat the evil King Koopa with… um… guns.

 

Guns which are in no way re-painted Super Scopes.

 

After an emotional farewell, Mario and Luigi return to their world, while the Princess stays behind to… well, I suppose to take her rightful place on the throne of Dinohattan. Most of her dimension is a desert, so this seems to be a bleak sort of existence. Nevertheless, she wants to get to know her dad, who “loves those plumbers.”

 

Winning!

 

I would just like to point out that once the Marios leave, the Princess’s remaining two friends are both sorely disappointing versions of their video game characters, and both of them will spend weeks recovering from the horrendous injuries they suffered because of her. Her reign as the Princess is off to a very rocky start.

 

Princess Daisy, a slightly charred Toad, and a slightly stabbed Yoshi.

 

Three weeks later, Mario and Luigi are in their apartment, when who should appear but PRINCESS DAISY RAMBO TOADSTOOL MCCLANE, ready to mutilate some more Koopa scum!!! Unfortunately for our heroes, however, the obvious sequel setup is in vain. After all, you can’t take a beloved story about two plumbers and their adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom, where they use items like fire flowers, mushrooms, and stars, and turn it into a stupid story about two plumbers and their adventures in the reptile dimension, where they use items like guns, boots, and mattresses. It’s just not the same.

 

"And then I said, 'Get away from her, you bitch!' You should have seen the look on her face!"

 

It should go without saying that this is quite possibly one of the weirdest movies ever made. From what I understand, making the movie was just as painful an experience as trying to watch it. I have heard that Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo could only make it through the production with the help of heavy drinking. As a result, one necessarily expects for there to be a number of elements in the film that simply defy comprehension.

 

Should've read the fine print in those contracts.

 

And yet there are a few scenes that really hurt my brain. When the Marios are arrested and taken to a police station, there is a woman who keeps rubbing one officer’s shoulder with her foot. It is not clear who the woman is, why she is so much higher than the cop, or why this character even exists in the movie.

 

Catherine Tramell visits the set.

 

Later, when the Marios are taken to a “devo chamber,” an enormous pile of nasty-looking poop suddenly appears all over the floor just moments after Toad is turned into a Goomba. It is of course an error that the editor made — at least, I assume that in the script there was some explanation for why a clean floor would suddenly be covered in feces. But that’s what bugs me so much. What possible explanation could there possibly have been that would not have seriously altered the tone of the movie? Or, would it really have altered the tone all that much?

 

Approximate visual representation of the average viewer's brain while watching this movie.

 

My personal favorite visual treat is at the end when Dennis Hopper shoots a man with a “devo gun” in order to turn him into a monkey, and then continues to act as if the gun is still shooting something, despite the fact that NOTHING IS HAPPENING.

 

King Koopa de-evolving an ordinary man into Ted Nugent.

 

Super Mario Bros. set a standard for all films based on video games, in that it was the first one ever made. A low standard is still a standard, after all. (Author’s note: My brother informs me that there was ONE Japanese movie based on a video game before this one. My brother is the type of person that film critics like to refer to as a “nerd.”)

If there is anything admirable about this movie, it is the way in which the filmmakers so blatantly ignore almost everything in their source material, boldly replacing it with an astoundingly stupid storyline, and asking — even expecting – critics and audiences to seriously entertain the notion that they’ve created a movie which deserves to be associated with the Mario Bros. Those elements of the original storyline which somehow survived this process and made it into the final film (such as Toad, Yoshi, and even King Koopa) seem like they would be more at home in a film by Terry Gilliam or even Paul Verhoeven — except, of course, for the title characters themselves, who clearly belong to a much more lighthearted kind of family film.

 

Two weeks later, "Jurassic Park" was released. Coincidence? (Yeah, probably.)

 

The result of all this is a wildly uneven film which takes you violently from one end of the spectrum, featuring the goofy slapstick of the Koopa cousins and the corny optimism of Luigi, all the way to the other end, where Yoshi must suffer a horrific stab wound while the Princess screams in terror.

 

Couldn't resist one last screencap riff, and here it is: "Set design courtesy of the Ikea Dungeon collection." Thank you!

 

And that is the genius of creating such an awesomely bad 90s movie based on… ah crap, the Goombas are dancing again. I gotta go.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

Die Hard 2: Making an Awesomely Bad 90s Action Sequel

By Dan MK

(Screencaps and captions by Tom Kapr)

(Warning: Here be spoilers… and a bit of strong language.)

Die Hard 2 is a fitting introduction to a series of reviews about bad films from the 1990s. It was released in July of 1990 (despite its Christmas theme). We weren’t even a full year into the new decade. But it’s clear the filmmakers wanted this film to be hilariously dated. Very early in the film, John McClane’s beeper goes off (a beeper!). He doesn’t recognize the number, so he finds a pay phone (a pay phone too!) and makes a phone call. Here’s the masterfully written dialogue that ensues:

John McClane: “Yeah this is Lieutenant McClane. Somebody there just beep me?”

Holly McClane: “I’d like to think I’m somebody.”

John: “Honey! What are you doing? Where are you? Did you land yet?”

Holly: “Honey, it’s the 90s, remember? Microchips, microwaves, faxes, airphones.”

John: [laughs] “Yeah, well, as far as I’m concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza.”

Oh boy! They’ve got airphones in this movie? What about microwaves? Will we get to see microwaves too???

Airphones! (actual footage)

Immediately after hanging up her AIRPHONE!!!!, Holly McClane has a conversation with the little old lady sitting next to her on the plane.

Lady: “Isn’t technology wonderful?”

Look everybody. An old person who’s excited about technology. The film’s believability rating just dropped eighty points.

Holly: “My husband doesn’t think so.”

Lady: “Well I do. I used to carry around those awful mace things. Now…”

The old lady reaches into her handbag and pulls out a TASER (!!!).

Lady: “…I zap any bastard that screws with me!”

The movie’s blatant focus on early 90s technology simply begs us to raise some rather awkward questions. Did the filmmakers think that tasers were going to be as popular as microwaves? Isn’t it telling that my edition of Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize “taser” as a real word? Maybe they assumed that tasers were soon to become a typical feature of any old lady’s purse. Merry Christmas, Grandma! I got you a taser! You hold it like this, see? No Grandma, you’re only supposed to use it on- GAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!

Occupy this, hippie!

Whatever the filmmakers were thinking when they put this scene together is anyone’s guess. But there is some obvious foreshadowing here. Not only is 90s technology going to be playing a key role in this film, but something bad is going to happen to some bad guy with that taser. You can just feel it! Maybe that’s how McClane will get the upper hand over the main villain, as opposed to say, I don’t know, biting off his finger!

Let’s see how the technology theme plays out. John McClane wants to get information on a set of fingerprints, against the advice of Airport Security Man Carmine (played by Dennis Franz, whose naked butt does not appear at any point in this film, thank God). So McClane sends a fax to his pal from the first film, Al (played by Carl Winslow from Family Matters). Here’s the very first thing that McClane says to Al on the phone:

John McClane: “Take that Twinkie out of your mouth and grab a pencil, will ya?”

Wow. John McClane is a jerk – oh wait, Al actually was eating Twinkies. Plus he’s fat! Get it??? Fat people love Twinkies!!! The 90s are off to a terrific start. Poor Carl.

(Also, my edition of MS Word suggested “twinkles.”)

A substantial portion of the conversation between McClane and Al is about how to use fax machines properly. I’m very grateful for how the film takes the time to educate its audience. Later on in the film, a fight takes place in a section of the airport that is under construction, and John McClane uses it as an opportunity to talk to us about the importance of wearing face masks when dealing with asbestos. Then he makes fun of fat people some more.

No, no, no, Al -- you can't fax a Twinkie!

On the airplane, in an astonishing coincidence, a cartoonishly annoying news reporter by the name of Richard Thornburg (played by William Atherton) is seated near Holly. Thornburg, as you may recall, had put both McClanes’ lives in jeopardy in the first film when he exploited their little children in order to win journalism awards (that probably sounds worse than it should). At the end of that movie, Holly punched him in the face. It was a wonderful moment. In the second film, we learn that Thornburg actually lost a couple of teeth because of this, and subsequently filed a restraining order against Holly.

Now before going any further, here’s something that needs to be pointed out. When Thornburg is introduced in this movie, he is being forced by two flight attendants out of the first class section, and into the coach section (where Holly is). They tell him that he already knew first class was overbooked, so obviously he shouldn’t have been expecting to sit up there. But wait a second. A few scenes earlier, on this very flight, Holly told her husband that they’d all be landing shortly. Why did it take so long for them to remove him from first class? If there were no available seats, what was he doing up there??? Perhaps he was crouching in a corner somewhere, hoping that nobody would see him. Perhaps he was showing off his beeper to one of the flight attendants (again, that probably sounds worse than it should). Whatever the answer may be, rest assured that this is the least of the film’s plot holes.

But let’s get back to the taser. As luck (i.e., the lazy screenwriter) would have it, Thornburg gets seated near Holly McClane. Now I understand as well as anybody that this man is a jerk. But Holly is viciously merciless toward him in this film. Yet the film really hasn’t set him up to be the kind of character who should just have all of this profound verbal abuse heaped upon him. Instead, it shows him whining about not being able to ride first class. That’s Steve Martin from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. If you haven’t seen the first film, Holly’s invectives seem way out of line.

That is, of course, until Thornburg inevitably puts the lives of the passengers in jeopardy in order to win journalism awards. Holly’s response is to grab the old lady’s taser and electro-shock Thornburg right in the freaking heart. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the woman whose lack of affection sends John McClane into a terrible spiral of alcoholism by the time of the third Die Hard film – this woman, the one who almost certainly just killed a man for acting the way people in coach always act. Now the movie is raising profound psychological questions about its main characters that I am not equipped to answer.

Not moving. Not breathing. Dead eyes. Yeah, he'll be fine.

Thornburg’s idiocy centers around his use of the airphone. This leads me to my absolute favorite plot hole in the film: The airphone on the plane can be used at any time during the story, even while terrorists are causing a major crisis at the airport. Since this is the case, then why, when the communications tower is prevented from contacting their airplanes by the terrorists, doesn’t anybody think to use the magnificent, wonderful, state-of-the-art airphones? Why was there so much buildup about them?

The main plot of the movie is not much more coherent than that. Here are some of the film’s highlights:

  • John McClane talks out loud to himself.
  • John McClane uses spray paint to subdue an enemy.
  • John McClane kills Charlie McCarthy with scaffolding.
  • John McClane bites off a bad guy’s finger.
  • John McClane sends a fax!!!
  • Most importantly, John McClane befriends Marvin, the world’s weirdest and most irritating action hero ally in all of cinematic history.

What about the bad guys? Well, the first thing we see of the main villain is…um, rather awkward to explain. It’s him, in the nude, practicing martial arts. Again, this raises some difficult questions about what the director was trying to accomplish. Is this what he thinks the audience was paying to see? Who was the target demographic here? When I picture a stereotypical Die Hard fan, I don’t think of anyone who wants to see this man naked. To make things worse, the film seems like it’s trying to make a joke out of how much of this man’s nudity it shows us. If you’re going to watch this movie, then here’s a very important piece of advice, learned from a mistake I wish I’d never made: Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – look in the mirror.

Tai chi hard.

Fred Thompson plays the man in charge of air traffic control. I don’t know how airports work, or what the chain of command is, or even what Thompson’s character’s position is supposed to be. From what I can tell, his job title must be something like “Supreme Chancellor of the Airport.”

Supreme Chancellor Thompson delivers the most annoying lines in this movie, including his awful inspirational speech to the rest of air traffic control, which concludes with, “Stack ‘em, pack ‘em, and rack ‘em. Move,” after which the airport employees do indeed get moving right away on stacking, packing, and racking, um, “them,” whomever “they” may be.

"Stack 'em, pack 'em, and... oh, I'll never get to be President!"

Bruce Willis has a lot of stupid lines in this movie. My favorite is when he and Airport Security Man Carmine finish having an argument, and Willis says, “Hey Carmine, let me ask you something. What sets off the metal detectors first: the lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?” I’m probably a nerd for even saying this, but it’s not a very smart comeback. Feces doesn’t set off metal detectors — or at least, mine doesn’t. But who knows? Maybe, if you’re an action hero like John McClane, you eat lead for breakfast.

So, how do you make a top-notch action movie sequel that’s cool enough to inaugurate the 90s? I can make three crucial suggestions.

First, have your characters make a lot of pointless references to the first movie, with a strong emphasis on how awesome it was (thus inviting the audience to compare the two).

Second, make sure the main characters talk about how strange it is that they just so happen to be going through a series of unusual, improbable circumstances that are remarkably similar to what they experienced in the first film (thus inviting the audience to think about the realism of the film).

Finally, and let me make myself very clear on this, make your main character so important, so ridiculously, face-meltingly awesome, that grenades fail – nay, refuse - to blow up in his presence until he has managed to escape.

"aaaaaAAAAHHH!!! this movie blooooooooows!!!!"

If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand why this movie is ridiculous. On the other hand, if you’re a highly esteemed film critic who gets paid to say critical things about movies – like say, I don’t know, Roger Ebert – then you’ll be convinced that this is the best Die Hard movie ever made, hands down, no questions asked, especially compared to the awful first movie!!!

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The Art of Awesomely Bad 90s Movies: An Introduction

By Dan MK

If you’re reading this, then I’m already dead.

It’s my fault. I’m the one who told my brother Tom that he couldn’t use my movie reviews for his website unless he pried them from my cold, dead hands. Of course, my reaction was completely uncalled for. My brother had taken me out for a nice brunch at a classy diner to discuss an opportunity for me to submit some movie reviews, and he was being perfectly reasonable. He had just asked me how my wife was doing when I responded with the comment about my cold, dead hands. I spoke in a loud, commanding voice to make sure that my point was clear. For dramatic effect, I had risen to my feet and thrown my fists into the air. I was just trying to employ a business negotiating tactic that I had learned from one of my old college roommates. But I was nervous, and my timing was probably a bit off.

Things got tense after that. All the other conversations in the diner came to a halt. A baby started crying, and several families with young children promptly left. I saw the hostess pick up the phone and speak nervously to whomever was on the other end, keeping her eyes on me the whole time. After the initial shock wore off, Tom relaxed a bit, and stared down at his half-eaten sandwich for what felt like an eternity. Eventually I lowered my fists and sat back in my seat, but he just kept staring. Finally, I broke the silence. “M-maybe that could be, like, a joke in one of the articles,” I stammered, “right?” I tried to follow up with a laugh to ease the tension, but I was so nervous that it came out sounding like some kind of weird cough. Tom looked back up at me, cleared his throat in his usual fashion, and said, “Maybe we should just go.”

He paid the bill and we walked outside and I made a terrible joke about how unbelievably snobbish some of these suburban diners were. He just nodded in an ambiguous fashion before getting in his car and driving away, leaving me standing alone in the parking lot.

That was the last time I saw him.

Ever since then I’ve been hiding out in a cabin in the woods, since I’ve become paranoid that he might actually take me up on my offer. I broke off all contact with my wife and friends, because I knew that if I made so much as a single phone call, he would find me.

All of the waiting in endless solitude has given me a lot of time to organize my thoughts. Or rather, my thoughts seemed to have organized themselves. They recently started to manifest themselves in the form of three other people who live in the cabin with me. One of them represents my stomach, and always tells me how hungry he is. Another one represents my face, and always complains about how ugly he is. The last one is a talking bear. The bear is always trying to convince me to kill Stomach-Man. Things are starting to get a little weird around here. And I’m pretty sure Face-Man watches me while I sleep, which seems kind of impossible.

In any case, I’d like to say a few things about movies. I assume that you are some kind of film buff (or maybe just a friend of Tom’s who is reading this because Tom is looking over your shoulder, waiting to “see what you think.” Ewww). You’ve probably devoted time, money, and… time… and money to your passion, and in all that time (and money) you’ve learned to appreciate film as an art form, and as a medium of storytelling that trumps all other mediums.

Mediums. Media. Medias? Medias, I found it in a dictionary. Shut your face, this is about movies, not grammar.

I’ve decided to make a serious effort of my own to explore the wonderful world of motion pictures–even motion pictures with SOUND in them! (Around the cabin, we refer to these kinds of movies as “talkies,” except the bear thinks it’s funny to call them “speakies.” I don’t know why. But I try not to give him a hard time.)

I’m devoting myself to movies from the 1990s–specifically, to movies that I would describe as terrible, in a breathtaking sort of way. “Awesomely bad,” if you will. These are movies that so blatantly challenge the normal conventions of reason, logic, and sanity, that you can’t help but admire their gusto even while being forced to ask the question, “Who the heck would make a movie like this?”

Before getting into the reviews, I thought I might offer some initial thoughts on what it is, precisely, that sets the films of the 90s apart from those of any other decade. After all, I’m not just an amateur film critic; I’m also an amateur philosopher. I come up with all kinds of crap to think about in my personal quest to avoid manual labor. So the question I want to explore here is, “What is 1990s-ness, and how does 1990s-ness exhibit itself in movies?”

After thinking seriously for a number of seconds, I came up with the following: The 90s was a time when film studios were making a concerted effort to be cooler than cool (without Jason Statham to help them, the poor things). Think of the catchphrases. It seems like every other movie back then was trying to start a new catchphrase. Of course, the “catchphrase craze” started before the 90s. “I’ll be back!” was obviously not from a 90s movie. But the public’s love affair with stupid catchphrases really reached its peak during the 90s. (If you don’t believe me, I have two words for you: Jim. Freaking. Carrey.)

Most of the 90s catchphrases sucked, and somehow, “must go faster” was used, not once, but twice, in two totally unrelated blockbuster megahits, by the same freaking actor. (Are you starting to understand what I mean by 1990s-ness?)

The bear has just reminded me that the quest for “awesome” catchphrases began well before the 90s. Remember Happy Days? People have been experimenting with sound-bitish one-liners even since the days of Jesus, who was known to try his own catchphrases from time to time. (I know what you’re thinking: “You will see the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven” isn’t really box office magic. But imagine how much the literary quality of the Bible would have suffered if, after rising from the dead, Jesus had jumped out of the tomb and shouted, “SSSSSSSSSMOKIN!”)

Growing up during the 1990s, I witnessed firsthand the way so many ridiculously stupid movies were received by the general public with shouts of joyous acclamation. In retrospect, I think the 90s generation feels a bit silly now. Back then, we thought we were so much cooler than the 80s, what with our elastic-band sweat pants, and our tuna sandwiches, and our Christian rock music, and our Wishbone posters… Face-Man and Stomach-Man are now making fun of me for what was apparently not a normal childhood.

Whatever. These movie reviews are my own feeble attempt to continue avoiding manual labor, and to highlight some of the more awesomely bad movies of the 90s. These movies are, in my opinion, the absolute epitome of what that decade was all about.

–Dan MK

 

POSTSCRIPT

I’ve just received a letter from my brother. He says he doesn’t want to kill me, and that I don’t have to put my movie reviews up on his website if I don’t want to. But now the bear is saying that he and Face-Man will kill me if I don’t do it. Maybe I should see a therapist.

I don’t feel like writing a whole new introduction, so I’ll just leave it as is. All in all, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends and relatives, and revisiting my favorite breathtakingly horrible films of the 90s, and hopefully talking to my wife again for the first time in years.

Stay tuned for the movie reviews, and remember, MUST GO FASTER! ALRIGHTY THEN! WELCOME TA EARTH! IT’S NOT A TOOMAH!!!