Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How do I honestly look at the 1990's?

In order to make my top 100 List or for any discussion on films in the 1990's period, it's near impossible to look at that decade with any objectivity and I thought it was worth discussing that because we all are children of one decade or another, aren't we?

The 90's was when I grew up. My movie diet during the 90's was a very different regiment than it is now.

One of the very first films I fell in love with was "Batman Forever" which has been eloquently torn apart all over the internet since. It's now remembered as the omen before the storm that was "Batman and Robin." While the performances of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones would seem like overacting to adult eyes, they were larger-than-life to my 11-year old eyes. "Batman Returns" was too scary and dark for me but "Batman Forever" was bright and colorful and the violence was playful rather than just violent. Of course, if you're desensitized to violence, you would be dissapointed. Still, I can't say "Batman Forever" wasn't one of the best moviegoing experiences of my life.

I remember watching "Home Alone" and loving it, but it was hard to retain that love after watching it at least 10 times. Watching Home Alone was the go-to activity for any summer camp on a rainy day or any teacher without a lesson plan.

I had the same experience with the "The Lion King" which I remember watching it 3 times in one day in school. My homeroom teacher, my science teacher (same as my homeroom teacher) and my drama teacher all had their classes watch the same film. Talk about overload. Then a month later, I went to visit my aunt and uncle whose 2-year old daughter watched that movie all the time. When they took us on a big yacht trip, we got so seasick and had to be put down in the galley. To take our mind off our seasickness, my aunt put in a movie but the only thing they had was the Lion King, so it was the worst thing ever. I just wanted to throw up from seasickness and to make it worse, I was watching this film, I had recently watched 3 times and had practically memorized the Lion King by then.

I also grew up thinking all the great films involved sports and dogs. "Oliver and Company" "Homeward Bound" "All Dogs Go to Heaven" were some of my early movie-going experiences. I don't know if this is still the case today with kids' films but "Cool Runnings" "Iron Will" "Sandlot" "League of their Own" "Rookie of the Year" "The Air Up There" and "Mighty Ducks" were among the defining films of my childhood and they all revolved around sports.

If there were great films going on at the time like "Crying Game" "In the Name of the Father" "Howard's End" or "Ed Wood", I was pretty unaware of them and watching them in retrospect isn't the same as being there in the moment. It's true that argument applies to any film before the 90's too, but there's much more distance from a classic film so that we appreciate it as a classic. 90's films are still looked at through the same paradigm as films of the 00's which I'm much more familiar with.

Click on this link, please, to my column at examiner:

No comments: