The Quest for the Most '90s Movie of All Time


THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Over the summer, I’m going to be dipping in periodically with “analyses” of ’90s movies and assigning them points according to a very scientific method to determine which one sums up the zeitgeist and cultural milieu of the Clinton Era the best. This basically lets me watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York instead of mow the lawn. The first entry is the aforementioned Steve Oedekerk 1993 comedy.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Jim Carrey [+10] and Courteney Cox [+10]
Each of them is pretty great upon re-watching. The only reason to see this film is to admire Carrey’s astonishing commitment to the role, as well as his rubber-limbed disregard for anything but a laugh. Upon further inspection, however, Cox proves herself an able straight-man. Her smirks at the larger-than-life Ace Ventura are what ground the film. She’s essential (and gorgeous here). Each of them is associated with the ’90s above any other decade, and they’re kind of associated with failure since then.

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Tone Loc [+5], Dan Marino [+5]
Ace Ventura is part of a string of ’90s films that pretend Tone Loc is an average guy who could blend in as a detective or whatever, when he’s really an enormous cartoon with a voice so gravelly it sounds as if he’s in pain. He also contributes to the soundtrack [+1,000,000…]. More on that later. In what is also a pretty ’90s enterprise, Oedekerk casts Dan Marino as himself and gives this terrible non-actor a solid ten minutes of screen time to struggle.* At different points, we’re also asked to believe that Sean Young is sexy and not crazy.

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
Yes. [-10]

- Hacking/Computers
Ventura has a computer friend who helps him to gather information on the Udo Kier character by typing with one hand and having newspaper articles magically appear on his monitor. With a few key strokes, he is also able to “tap into all the aquatic supply stores in the area.” Despite these sophisticated keyboard commands, his monitor is black-and-white. [+5]

- Other Technological Notes
Physically sifting through files on several occasions [+1], payphones [+1], 8 millimeter film [+1], and microfiche [+3]! If you’re under the age of twenty, you probably don’t even know what microfiche is.

- References
Part of Carrey’s improvisational shtick is impersonating and recalling ’70s baby TV figures. At different points he makes allusions to Love Connection, McHale’s Navy, and Star Trek—none of which the average viewer would really get today. [+5]

This is much less common now, but since Tone Loc was a musician being employed as an actor, it was also mandatory for his services to be tapped on the soundtrack. He contributes “Ace Is in the House,” which is as shameful as it sounds, to the end credits. [+5]

There is also an Aerosmith song, “Line Up,” that scores the legitimately funny “checking rings” montage. [+1]

FASHION
Not much to speak of here. Ace is defined by boots tied over his pant-legs and the dress-shirt-opened-with-a-t-shirt-underneath look, but you get the impression he’s supposed to be unfashionable. Cox wears a bigass hat in the Shady Acres insane asylum episode. The only points I’m awarding, however, go to Marino’s tuxedo in the third act, which is all black with a purple squiggle pattern on the tie and vest. [+1]

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Ridiculous Conspiracy [+5]

Sexual Relationship That Comes Out of Absolutely Nowhere [+5]

Henchmen Devoid of Any Development or Personality [+3]

Exaggerated Homosexual Panic [+10]
Central to the comedy of the film is the complete disgust that anyone has for alternative lifestyles. In the “checking rings” montage, Ventura peers over a urinal partition to check out a football player’s fingers, which are of course presently engaged. The football player notices this and, instead of predictably beating Ace up, he smiles and checks out Ace’s package. Which of course gets a “yeeks” face from Jim Carrey.

When Ace finds out that Lt. Einhorn is actually a sex-changed version of suspect Ray Finkle—and that he kissed her—we are treated to a whole sequence of him throwing up/brushing his teeth/chewing gum/scratching at his mouth. When the rest of the police-force finds out about this transsexuality, they violently throw up.

OTHER
Use of Forced Perspective on the Poster [+1]

Exaggerated Head-Banging Behavior at a Metal Concert [+1]

Ace says, “Special play…quarterback sneak,” which Lt. Einhorn follows with, “Penalty: too many men on the field.” [+1]

Lt. Einhorn does the “too slow” handshake-pull-away thing to Ace [+1]

With an impressive final score of 70, Ace Ventura seems solidly ’90s, but only a survey of other movies will tell how ’90s it really is.

*- It could be argued that Marino is more of an ’80s celebrity than a ’90s one. Most of his football records are from the ’80s and so forth. I would argue that he peaked as a quarterback in the ’80s but peaked as a celebrity in the ’90s for stuff like this and his Isotoner commercials, which are featured in the film (meta bonus).

Suggestions for future titles to consider?





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THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Clueless

When I first saw Amy Heckerling’s Clueless at the Belle Promenade 14, there were a lot of jokes that flew over my head. I was an eleven-year-old dude. Over time, however, I enjoyed it a lot more. It was one of those movies that HBO decided to devote a whole summer to, and the constant showings coincided with one of those too-old-for-camp-too-young-for-a-real-job summer vacations that only happen twice in a lifetime.

The movie’s still clever and heartwarming, even within a pretty constrictive form. A lot happens in a relatively short running time, which is always a plus.

Here’s what this project boils down to: It’s often noted that one of the best things about cinema is its ability to stay the same while we all change. And I was reminded of how much I’ve changed while re-watching Clueless. Are those two separate Radiohead songs on the soundtrack? Of course Paul Rudd is reading Nietzsche. And you know that associate of Cher’s dad who blows up at Cher and Josh for marking the wrong depositions and setting him back two days? He was right! Stupid kids playing footsie under the table and messing up his September 2nd files! It’s his ass on the line!Good for him for telling them to go back to the mall. That’ll sting.

In other words, I’m doing God’s work here.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Alicia Silverstone- [+10]
It’s hard to believe now—she’s thirty-four and has made only two movies that I’ve even heard of in the past ten years—but there was a time when Alicia Silverstone was one of the biggest actresses in the world based on her appearances in a series of music videos.
Do you realize how implausible that seems now? She might as well have been discovered doing vaudeville. Anyway, chances are you remember her MTV Movie Award-winning performance as being stronger than it actually was, but she’s cute in it. And cute goes a long way. I wasted a lot of time downloading pictures of her with a 14.4 modem. Like I said, the more things change…

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Dan Hedaya- [+5]
I guess it’s notable that one of Silverstone’s co-stars is forty-four-years old and one of them is dead. (Or, if you prefer, “rollin’ with the homies” in heaven.) But the most significant supporting player is actually Hedaya, one of the all-time “That Guys” with 121 choleric credits to his name. In 1995, Hedaya was in The Usual Suspects, Clueless, Casino, Nixon, and To Die For. What were you doing?*

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
Yes. [-10]

- Hacking/Computers
Cher has a “Clarissa Explains It All”-esque touch-screen computer program that coordinates her clothes. I assume her code-writing skills are in the deleted scenes. [+5]

- Other Technological Notes
Although cell phones are prevalent, many characters also use beepers [+3] Also, while Cher uses a film camera to shoot her pictures of Tai, she prefers Polaroids to compare articles of clothing. [+3] The characters all watch videotapes, including Buns of Steel. [+3] They use maps too. [+1]

- References
Between this and the fashion category, get ready for the scores to shoot up.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are playing Josh’s college party, Salt ‘N Pepa and Coolio get name-checks, and Elton bemoans the loss of his Cranberries CD. That should have been a clue that he was a date rapist, Cher. While we’re on the subject of music, Cher suggests “a trip to Tower” to the other girls. This allusion will be completely impenetrable in five years. [+10]

Characters drive Jeeps [+1], have secret handshakes [+1], and crowd-surf [+1]. But one of the most interesting artifacts is the dialogue that reveals who Cher lusts after. She’s “saving herself for Luke Perry,” wants to skip class to see “the new Christian Slater,” and reluctantly admits that Josh is “kind of a Baldwin.” You mean, he’s an overweight funny-dad-type in his ’50s with a pronounced New York accent? Thanks?* Finally, I think sparks would fly if Cher ever got to meet her dream date of Mel Gibson: Her last name is Horowitz, you guys! In all fairness to Heckerling, she picked famous actors who would still be known fifteen years down the line to keep the movie from feeling dated. She never could have imagined it would have the opposite effect. [+5]

Special mention also has to go to the slang of the movie, which was probably authentic at the time but sounds ridiculously forced now. These include: “give her snaps,” “buggin’,” “whatever,” “it’s the bomb,” “sprung,” “dope,” and “wiggin’.” [+7]

FASHION

If any movie was built to get the maximum [+15] in this category, it was Clueless. Even in 1995, people laughed at these clothes. We have exaggerated pants-sagging, backwards twill caps, baby-doll dresses, nose-rings, t-shirts under flannel, tie-dye shirts, sweaters tied around the waist, mini-skirts, and bare midriffs galore. Also, I forgot that girls used to wear boots like this? Maybe the ’90s weren’t so bad.

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Actors in Their Mid-Twenties Playing High School Kids [+5]

Homosexuality Being Novel [+5]
A full fifteen-minute subplot is spent on the whole “Christian reveal.”

OTHER
Um, this movie is photographed by Bill Pope, the same dude who shot The Matrix? [+1]

The extras are hilarious. Almost every one over-acts and draws attention to himself, particularly in the party scenes. [+1]

If Cher’s dad charges $500 an hour, are we really supposed to believe that he would send her to a public school? I refuse to believe that there aren’t any decent prep schools in Beverly Hills. I guess their property taxes are high enough that the public schools are good, but this is a family pre-occupied with appearances and status. I’m pretty sure he would put her in the most expensive school around just for kicks. [+3]

In conclusion, with a robust score of 75, Clueless beats out Ace Ventura to become the current champ of The Quest for the Most ’90s Movie of All Time.

*Downloading pictures on 14.4 modems?
* I love Baldwin, but he doesn’t even look like the same dude who headlined The Getaway and Heaven’s Prisoners. I might have to review one of those movies for this column because it’s impossible to take him seriously retroactively.





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THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIMEHackersThe mid-’90s trotted out an entire film subgenre in which amoral characters use technology to thwart squares in slick but contrived productions. I’m thinking of The Saint, The Jackal, this movie. And while I ate it up at the age of twelve, I’m slowly learning that I might have just had problems with authority. Hackers is in no way a good film. It set itself up to make some interesting points about whether or not we should be rooting for these criminals in the first place, but it doesn’t deliver on anything interesting that it could have done.STARS/PERFORMANCES- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- None really [-5]She’s not tied to the ’90s, but it was interesting to see how captivating Angelina Jolie was, even at such a young age. You can’t teach charisma I guess. The reason this movie was popular on video, of course, was that you briefly get a glimpse of Jolie’s nipple, even though this is a PG-13 movie. No one seems to really push that barrier anymore: these days movies are either dirty as hell or made for children. But I remember that being a huge factor in what I watched in my more awkward years. I think Titanic in particular secretly benefited from the fact that it’s got some quality nudity for its rating. Perhaps that’s not important anymore though. I’m sure any thirteen-year-old in the country has come across more perverse shit than I could even imagine.- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Matthew Lillard [+5], Lorraine Bracco [+5], and Wendell Pierce [+5] This begins Lillard’s run of high-wire wacky supporting roles in flicks like Scream, Senseless, and She’s All That. He wears pigtails and disarmingly small clothing here, and you get the impression that at a certain point director Iain Softley just stopped correcting him and let him go wild.As for Lorraine Bracco, I think she’s beyond correction. Because she has been in GoodFellas and The Sopranos, people forget how horrifyingly inept her individual performances always are. In Hackers she gets the coveted “…and Lorraine Bracco as Officer Margo” slot in the opening credits, which means that thankfully she isn’t around much. She always looks as if she’s reading off cue cards but can’t read very well. She’s like a more aloof, retarded version of Christopher Walken.Wendell Pierce, a/k/a Bunk from The Wire, shows up as a luddite FBI agent who is responsible for lots of cliched exchanges like this:Marc Anthony, as another agent: “The hard drive was uncorrupted.”Bunk: “In English please.”TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology? No. I’m not convinced that it could have occurred back then. Someone didn’t do research on how actual viruses work. [+10]- Hacking/ComputersIt seems unfair to give the movie a [+6,000], so I’m awarding it the max of [+15]. There are lots of dated lines, such as, “A 28.8 bps modem!,” and everyone uses floppy disks. But what really makes the movie ridiculous is how unspecific and unrealistic it is about how things actually work.A real movie about hacking would be a dude typing in command prompts. I’ll grant them some poetic justice to make things exciting. But I’m not exaggerating when I attempt to describe this scene: As the Joey character hacks into the government mainframe, Softley takes us inside the computer and presents animations of green lines speeding through circuitboards and across buildings made of text. We eventually come to a big 1984ish screen guarded by a dude. Like, this is the security of a password. Okay, whatever. It’s a metaphor. But those guards are characters in the film who exist outside of this computer setpiece. And instead of the hacker being in DOS or something, these same animations are flashing on his screen. So it’s metaphorical and literal? These sequences are bafflingly misguided.At some point, I’m sure a studio exec mandated things like this because a guy sitting at a computer does not make for interesting visuals, but you still have to have some semblance of reality. Hackers is like if the producers of The Fast and the Furious said, “We like the cars, but can they teleport instead of racing on the ground?” You’re kind of missing the point there, dudes.Before moving on, I also loved the line—instructions over a payphone by the way: “Turn on your laptop. Set it to receive a file.” Um, just, like, from the Internet in general? There’s a switch you flip to have your computer receive a specific file from a specific person instantly? I don’t think they were in AIM.Finally, a huge general assumption that Hackers makes is that all of the things the characters manipulate were on networks in the first place. For instance, there’s a scene in which protagonist Dade hacks into his schedule at school and puts himself into Honors English to be in the same class as Kate. (Their hacker names are Crash Override and Acid Burn.) He then sets the sprinklers in the school to go off. I guarantee that neither one of those things were regulated by computer at my school in 1995. They must go to high school at that progressive California place Steve Jobs donates all of his money to. At the very least that would explain why all of these computer aficianados are using fucking Macs.- Other Technological NotesEarly on, the hackers record the chimes a payphone makes when you add lots of money. They get free phone calls by playing that recording into the mouthpiece. It’s supposed to seem clever and subversive, but now they just look poor. [+3]Characters also play virtual reality video games [+3], use beepers [+1], and a tape a conversation on a reel-to-reel recorder [+1].- ReferencesThis is our third straight movie to feature crowd-surfing [+1], which was apparently an epidemic. I should just rename this column The Quest for the Best Depiction of Crowd-Surfing. Unfortunately, Hackers doesn’t do the classic thing in which the cool character successfully crowd-surfs, then the uncool character makes a leap only to fall flat on his face because no one caught him. Wah-wah. Maybe that’s in Hackers: Redux.Jolt Cola [+1] and Nirvana posters [+1] are prominently featured, and the underrated soundtrack is wall-to-wall techno [+5]. It even has that awesome Stereophonic MCs song. In an unfortunate development, the final shot of the film is an extended World Trade Center gag. [+10,000,000] Wah-wah.FASHIONA strong showing in this category. Half-shirts, vests, overalls, weird parachute pants, Doc Martens, and Rollerblades. Lots and lots of Rollerblades. [+10]
’90s FILM CONVENTIONSActors in Their Mid-Twenties Playing High School Kids [+5]Exaggerated, Overly Flashy Visual Style and Editing [+5]Setup in Which Police Are Going on and on about a Hardened Criminal, Only to Have the Camera Tilt Down to Reveal a Kid [+5]Single Mom Moves Petulant Suburban Kid to New York [+5]This is a personal favorite. The single mom has to hustle for waitressing jobs that apparently don’t exist in the suburbs, so she moves her kid to the most expensive city in the country. At some point in the movie, that kid will invariably complain about there not being any grass anywhere.OTHER
This movie was bankrolled by United Artists, a studio that no longer exists. [+3One time and one time only, a character refers to his “‘puter,” as if even the screenwriter thought: “Yeah, that sounds gay. I better lay off the slang.” [+1]The director of photography on this bad boy? None other than Andrzej Sekula, who was just coming off shooting Pulp Fiction. I know, right? If only that movie had animated computer sequences. It really would have been a classic. [+1]With a mammoth score of 87, Hackers is the most ’90s film reviewed so far.

THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Hackers

The mid-’90s trotted out an entire film subgenre in which amoral characters use technology to thwart squares in slick but contrived productions. I’m thinking of The Saint, The Jackal, this movie. And while I ate it up at the age of twelve, I’m slowly learning that I might have just had problems with authority. Hackers is in no way a good film. It set itself up to make some interesting points about whether or not we should be rooting for these criminals in the first place, but it doesn’t deliver on anything interesting that it could have done.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- None really [-5]
She’s not tied to the ’90s, but it was interesting to see how captivating Angelina Jolie was, even at such a young age. You can’t teach charisma I guess.

The reason this movie was popular on video, of course, was that you briefly get a glimpse of Jolie’s nipple, even though this is a PG-13 movie. No one seems to really push that barrier anymore: these days movies are either dirty as hell or made for children. But I remember that being a huge factor in what I watched in my more awkward years. I think Titanic in particular secretly benefited from the fact that it’s got some quality nudity for its rating. Perhaps that’s not important anymore though. I’m sure any thirteen-year-old in the country has come across more perverse shit than I could even imagine.

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Matthew Lillard [+5], Lorraine Bracco [+5], and Wendell Pierce [+5]

This begins Lillard’s run of high-wire wacky supporting roles in flicks like Scream, Senseless, and She’s All That. He wears pigtails and disarmingly small clothing here, and you get the impression that at a certain point director Iain Softley just stopped correcting him and let him go wild.

As for Lorraine Bracco, I think she’s beyond correction. Because she has been in GoodFellas and The Sopranos, people forget how horrifyingly inept her individual performances always are. In Hackers she gets the coveted “…and Lorraine Bracco as Officer Margo” slot in the opening credits, which means that thankfully she isn’t around much. She always looks as if she’s reading off cue cards but can’t read very well. She’s like a more aloof, retarded version of Christopher Walken.

Wendell Pierce, a/k/a Bunk from The Wire, shows up as a luddite FBI agent who is responsible for lots of cliched exchanges like this:
Marc Anthony, as another agent: “The hard drive was uncorrupted.”
Bunk: “In English please.”

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
No. I’m not convinced that it could have occurred back then. Someone didn’t do research on how actual viruses work. [+10]


- Hacking/Computers
It seems unfair to give the movie a [+6,000], so I’m awarding it the max of [+15]. There are lots of dated lines, such as, “A 28.8 bps modem!,” and everyone uses floppy disks. But what really makes the movie ridiculous is how unspecific and unrealistic it is about how things actually work.

A real movie about hacking would be a dude typing in command prompts. I’ll grant them some poetic justice to make things exciting. But I’m not exaggerating when I attempt to describe this scene: As the Joey character hacks into the government mainframe, Softley takes us inside the computer and presents animations of green lines speeding through circuitboards and across buildings made of text. We eventually come to a big 1984ish screen guarded by a dude. Like, this is the security of a password. Okay, whatever. It’s a metaphor. But those guards are characters in the film who exist outside of this computer setpiece. And instead of the hacker being in DOS or something, these same animations are flashing on his screen. So it’s metaphorical and literal? These sequences are bafflingly misguided.

At some point, I’m sure a studio exec mandated things like this because a guy sitting at a computer does not make for interesting visuals, but you still have to have some semblance of reality. Hackers is like if the producers of The Fast and the Furious said, “We like the cars, but can they teleport instead of racing on the ground?” You’re kind of missing the point there, dudes.

Before moving on, I also loved the line—instructions over a payphone by the way: “Turn on your laptop. Set it to receive a file.” Um, just, like, from the Internet in general? There’s a switch you flip to have your computer receive a specific file from a specific person instantly? I don’t think they were in AIM.

Finally, a huge general assumption that Hackers makes is that all of the things the characters manipulate were on networks in the first place. For instance, there’s a scene in which protagonist Dade hacks into his schedule at school and puts himself into Honors English to be in the same class as Kate. (Their hacker names are Crash Override and Acid Burn.) He then sets the sprinklers in the school to go off. I guarantee that neither one of those things were regulated by computer at my school in 1995. They must go to high school at that progressive California place Steve Jobs donates all of his money to. At the very least that would explain why all of these computer aficianados are using fucking Macs.

- Other Technological Notes
Early on, the hackers record the chimes a payphone makes when you add lots of money. They get free phone calls by playing that recording into the mouthpiece. It’s supposed to seem clever and subversive, but now they just look poor. [+3]

Characters also play virtual reality video games [+3], use beepers [+1], and a tape a conversation on a reel-to-reel recorder [+1].

- References
This is our third straight movie to feature crowd-surfing [+1], which was apparently an epidemic. I should just rename this column The Quest for the Best Depiction of Crowd-Surfing.
Unfortunately, Hackers doesn’t do the classic thing in which the cool character successfully crowd-surfs, then the uncool character makes a leap only to fall flat on his face because no one caught him. Wah-wah. Maybe that’s in Hackers: Redux.

Jolt Cola [+1] and Nirvana posters [+1] are prominently featured, and the underrated soundtrack is wall-to-wall techno [+5]. It even has that awesome Stereophonic MCs song. In an unfortunate development, the final shot of the film is an extended World Trade Center gag. [+10,000,000] Wah-wah.

FASHION
A strong showing in this category. Half-shirts, vests, overalls, weird parachute pants, Doc Martens, and Rollerblades. Lots and lots of Rollerblades. [+10]


’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Actors in Their Mid-Twenties Playing High School Kids [+5]


Exaggerated, Overly Flashy Visual Style and Editing [+5]

Setup in Which Police Are Going on and on about a Hardened Criminal, Only to Have the Camera Tilt Down to Reveal a Kid [+5]

Single Mom Moves Petulant Suburban Kid to New York [+5]
This is a personal favorite. The single mom has to hustle for waitressing jobs that apparently don’t exist in the suburbs, so she moves her kid to the most expensive city in the country. At some point in the movie, that kid will invariably complain about there not being any grass anywhere.

OTHER

This movie was bankrolled by United Artists, a studio that no longer exists. [+3

One time and one time only, a character refers to his “‘puter,” as if even the screenwriter thought: “Yeah, that sounds gay. I better lay off the slang.” [+1]

The director of photography on this bad boy? None other than Andrzej Sekula, who was just coming off shooting Pulp Fiction. I know, right? If only that movie had animated computer sequences. It really would have been a classic. [+1]

With a mammoth score of 87, Hackers is the most ’90s film reviewed so far.





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Comments


THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Kindergarten Cop

Encino Man won last week’s poll, so I’ll get to that one later in the week, but I had an Arnold itch that I needed to scratch. Kindergarten Cop was terrifying back in the day because I was afraid of getting kidnapped by someone with a ponytail. Now I’m just afraid of getting kidnapped.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Arnold Schwarzenegger [+5]
Arnold is as much of an ’80s celebrity as he is a ’90s celebrity, but it was in the ’90s that he did his worst work and turned into a self-aware, power-hungry caricature of himself. That development, from Commando and Predator to Last Action Hero and Batman & Robin, screams ’90s to me.

This movie was made in 1990, so he was still ridiculously swoll, which is worth mentioning. He sports a lot of polo shirts that look as if their sleeves are about to tear apart. In the early ’90s, when Arnold first started to pretend he was a normal dude, rather than, say a cyborg or barbarian, screenwriters had to take care of two things early on: 1) Why does this dude talk so funny?, and 2) Establish that Arnold is just an average joe, a guy next door. Here, there’s an early line in which he says, “Originally, I’m from Austria.”* Oh. Thank God. It’s not a tumor. And on the other front, all of the women in this movie act as if he’s some suave, eligible bachelor. Whatever you say, Murray Salem, Herschel Weingrod, and Timothy Harris.

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- Richard Portnow [+5]
A member of the That Guy hall-of-fame, Portnow has been typecast as a crooked lawyer across 146 credits, most notably as Tony Soprano’s attorney.

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
Yes, although I think it would be much easier to track people down. [-10]

- Hacking/Computers
None. Not a single computer in the universe of this film. That should almost get you points—pretending that computers don’t exist and that people can’t use them to, say, check whether or not a teacher working at your school has certification or the proper security clearances. Nobody would have had the Internet in 1990 though, so computers only existed for typing stuff no one else would read or playing The Oregon Trail.

- Other Technological Notes
Basically, Kindergarten Cop is a timeless film. Aside from a few payphone sightings, this could have been made last year or in 1930.

While there aren’t any beepers or anything, let me describe how ’90s the over-long prologue to this movie is. (By the way, Kindergarten Cop drags. Ivan Reitman must have been watching a lot of Tarkovsky. I felt this two hours.)

As Detective John Kimble, Arnold, wearing a trenchcoat for no reason [+1], is tracking a suspect in a mall [+1]. This suspect is his arch-nemesis, Cullen Crisp, who looks like a retarded Kurt Russell. He has a ponytail [+1]. This Bad Guy ends up shooting another dude, but no one in the mall hears it because his gun has a silencer? [+1] There’s a witness that Crisp didn’t kill, but she splits from the police office without agreeing to a lineup. Cut to the next scene, at a sketchy L.A. club, where Kimble “persuades” her with his shotgun and one-liners to come back to the police office. He’s assaulted by two bouncers, and he has a chance to do that thing where you hold two guys’ heads and bash them together, but he just kind of pushes them instead [-1].

Here’s the thing: I think that, kind of like how Paramount will rent out their western saloon set, there was one L.A. club set all of the studios used in the early ’90s. There’s graffiti on the walls, since people apparently get their tag on at clubs. And there’s stuff going on with chain-links. Everything’s concrete, and there are couches sitting in the middle of the place. This same setup was used a million times. Just picture Shredder’s Neverland-type playground in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It looks like that. It’s dark and unglamorous.

Do you know what I’m talking about? In the Ninja Turtles movie, April knows that dude from the station, and his son breaks bad when he steals someone’s Walkman. He’s our eyes and ears as he gives the Walkman to a Foot Clan member and goes inside this little club Shredder has for all of the bad boys. It’s got the graffiti and chain-links, but it also has a basketball court, a half-pipe, and lots of arcade games. All kinds of stuff. How and why he paid for all of that entertainment for his soldiers I have no idea. He couldn’t have off-set all of the costs with stolen Walkmans. Anyway, you’re supposed to be hoping that our heroes in a half-shell find the place and shut it down, but I just remember thinking, “I would definitely steal a Walkman to hang out at that awesome lair.”

What was I talking about?

(Look, I know this isn’t going well. It turns out that Kindergarten Cop was not a good selection for this column. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the two hours I spent watching it go to waste. Just know, a writer is aware when his shit is not working.)

FASHION
All of the men wear Danny Tanner-esque blazers. In fact, on Arnold’s first day of work, he has on boots, tight jeans, a white silk shirt buttoned all the way up, and a gray blazer. [+3]

Everyone says that fashion is cyclical, but I’m not kidding when I say that any outfit one of these 1990 kindergarteners has on easily could be sold at Urban Outfitters today. These kids’ flannel shirts and sweaters make them look like extras for a Wavves video. There’s this one alt-/hip checkered cardigan that is green on one sleeve, red on the left side, blue on the right side, and yellow on the other sleeve. It’s like a Piet Mondrian painting if Piet Mondrian dug Noah Baumbach and Sleigh Bells. I would pay $80 for it on eBay. [+3]

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Arnold Schwarzenegger as a LOOSE CANNON WHO DOESN’T PLAY BY THE RULES BUT GETS THE JOB DONE. [+5]

Sequence in Which the Female Cop Gets Sick and Has to Keep Stopping on a Road Trip to “Barf.” Hilarious. [+3]

Exaggerated Gay Panic [+5]
Specifically, a parent “is worried” that her son “is funny” because he plays with dolls and his dad isn’t around.

A Character Gives Someone Else the Finger. [+1]

OTHER
According to the tagline, Arnold is “an undercover cop in a class by himself,” but he uses his real name while he’s under deep cover? Not exactly Donnie Brasco. Also, there are at least three times when either he or the principal leaves a public school class unattended, which is illegal.

But I guess that doesn’t matter because the school is completely aware that Det. Kimble has no experience or qualifications to teach the class. They threaten him by saying that they’ll blow his cover if he doesn’t do a good job, but in what world would they do that? I’m sure that would go over great at a town hall meeting: “This dude we had wasting a year of your child’s education with made-up ‘cop school’ and ‘pet-the-ferret’ activities? You know, the violent, loose cannon cop who is in sole custody of your five-year-old for eight hours a day? You should know that we…let him do that.” It really got me thinking: how often does a police department commit outright fraud? If I were a detective, would it just be weeks on end of pretending to do random jobs I had no business doing? That sounds sweet. I’m here to protect and serve your stock portfolio, sir. [+10]

This movie was not good and not very ’90s, as it ends up with a paltry score of 33.

*- Sometimes Arnold will mess up a line, and no one has the heart to tell him and reshoot the take. Like, he’s at a fair with Penelope Ann Miller, who is wondering where her son is, and he goes: “He’s in a pony. He’s fine.” Wait, dude. What? He’s inside the pony? Sexually? Did the pony eat him? Best case scenario he killed one and climbed inside of it for warmth. He’s not okay.





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THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIMEEncino Man Culturally, it’s going to be hard to avoid being an elitist snob when I have a kid, but it’s something I’ll be conscious of for his own development. Growing up, I watched a lot of bad TV and film, and it helped to shape my tastes and independently figure out what was good or bad and why. If my parents had known any better and told me not to watch cliched sitcoms and any bullshit movie that was on HBO, I might not be the holier-than-thou prick I am today. Because of my age, the star of “whatever bullshit movie was on HBO” was usually Pauly Shore.*Here, he plays Stoney, who stumbles upon a caveman at the bottom of the hole his best friend Dave is digging to make a pool to have girls over to his house to be popular. Rather than depend on the pool-in-a-dirt-hole thing, they decide to gain popularity by convincing everyone that this caveman, who they call Link, is a foreign exchange student from Estonia (Get it?). Instead of savagely raping and killing everyone he encounters, Link will probably learn catch-phrases and do backflips at prom. What I have just described to you is an actual movie.STARS/PERFORMANCES- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Pauly Shore [+10] Shore had a weird run of stardom in the early ’90s, fusing ’70s revivalism, self-awareness, and nepotism (his mom owns The Comedy Store in Los Angeles) to sort of become a movie star, only to fall hard. He headlined five big studio movies, and now no one under the age of twenty would recognize his name. Shore was out there—chances were his style wouldn’t last—but he swung for the fences. For better or worse, he hijacks this movie with his schtick, and he’s the only thing that’s memorable about it. I shudder to think about how drab the page was before he completely winged all of his dialogue. I could write for days about the bizarre hippie-come-surfer dialect he comes up with, but here are my three favorite lines:3. “High school is all about greasing the doobak (?), buddy, and weezing on the buffets (?), man.”2. [add homoeroticism to spice] “Buff spikes chillin’ on his melon obviously…he’s got the serious beak, his own personal holding company full of fundage, bro, that he weezes off of May (?) …eighteen-inch bi’s…”1. If you’re edge ‘cuz I’m weezin’ on your grindage, just chill, ‘cuz if I had the whole Brady Bunch thing happenin’ at my crib, I’d go grind over there. So don’t tax my gig so hard-core, cruster.” The first time the screenwriters heard number one, they must have screamed. Or they got unwittingly frozen, experienced an earthquake in someone’s back yard millions of years later, got excavated by those people on a lark, and went to high school with them. Then screamed. - Other Notable Actors/Characters- [+10]I’ll give ten points to this grab-bag of Richard Masur, future president of the Screen Actors’ Guild; Sean Astin a year before Rudy; Megan Ward, the cute chick from PCU; and a young Robin Tunney. Not to mention Brendan Fraser, who, believe it or not, is the only one of this group still working.TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS- Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?Um…the whole part about a Cro-Magnon man unfreezing in modern California, then going to high school without anyone being the wiser? I don’t see why not. [-10]- Hacking/ComputersThere are zero computers in the film. In fact, when the villain—he of the “buff spikes”—tries to get dirt on Link, the caveman, to figure out why he’s so weird, he actually breaks into the school’s physical office and rummages through file cabinets.Some dudes invite Link to be in the Computer Club, but it’s done with that early ’90s condescension, with this air that knowing anything about computers will never be useful. Which is so dumb, because the earthquake/unfreezing effects would have been so much better with computers.- Other Technological NotesUses of a payphone [+1], Polaroid camera [+1], and VCR [+1], as well as arcade games [+1], which don’t seem to exist anymore, almost overnight. The boys also use space heaters to UNFREEZE A CAVEMAN.At the emotional climax of the film, Dave, without best friend Stoney’s knowledge, decides it would be best for Link to venture out on his own, because it is now inconvenient to take care of a caveman he’s afraid that people are getting close to figuring out that Link is not a foreign exchange student. He gives Link a handful of quarters tearily and explains, “…for Rad Mobile,” which is an arcade game Link likes. Even this Cro-Magnon man, with no knowledge of modern conventions or emotional nuance, gives him this look like: “Really, Samwise Gamgee? You’re giving me a skateboard and quarters? Rather than even turning me in for scientific research, which you’ve neglected to do for months, you’re going to release me to the wild like this? Is this the false note the screenplay is going for? Did me driving a car on two wheels and a rainy night staring out of the window really take you to this dangerous precipice of emotion?” Luckily Stoney appears and shows us all that we can’t turn our backs on our friends.As far as other artifacts, there are skateboards [+1], a “cleaning up Link” montage set to “I’m Too Sexy” (half of the movie’s 90 minutes are montage sequences) [+3], PM Dawn and Tone Loc songs [+2], roller coasters [I don’t know, seems ’90s to me—+1], and an ice-rink teen hangout called Blades. (Astin intones, “Blades…finally part of the elite. How cool are we?”) [+1]I won’t hesitate to give it a [+10] for slang, not only for anything that escapes Pauly’s mouth, but also for Robin Tunney complimenting Link as “totally rude” and using “jive” as an adjective. Lastly, there are a few times when the villain gets in people’s faces and yells, “Shush!” as if it’s a catch-phrase, like he’s making it a thing. “Shush!” is not going to happen, Michael DeLuise. It’s just not. See you in an episode of Stargate: SG1 nine years from now.FASHIONOh boy. It must be my birthday. I won’t include Pauly Shore’s wardrobe here, since he’s going for a more ’70s thing with bellbottoms and scarves, but I will give Encino Man props for: white sneakers with jeans [+1], Colours brand gear [+1], tucked-in t-shirts [+1], a dress shirt that is open to a t-shirt [+1], vests [+1], blazers with shoulderpads [+1], calculator watches [+1], bicycle caps [+1], flannel [+1], acid-washed jeans [+1], all denim everything [+1], and featured extra Rose McGowan in a shirt whose front tail is tied into a knot [+3].’90s FILM CONVENTIONSExaggerated Sibling Rivalry- [+5]I know that brothers and sisters sometimes don’t get along, but by high school, they don’t try to get each other into trouble. The sister character here exists solely to yell out things like, “Busted!” and “As if, mom!”Super-Obvious Exposition- [+5]The teacher in one of the early scenes happens to be talking to us about pre-history and how potentially dangerous a caveman would be in our world. Pretty fancy elective for a California public school, this Natural History/Anthropology interdisciplinary. I guess the bell rang before he explained how to unfreeze a caveman if one happened to become unearthed in your dirt-pool following an earthquake. (Space heaters.)Caricatures of Hispanic Gang Members [+5]"Yo, ese! Check out my flannel shirt with only the top button buttoned, and my sideways cap on top of a bandana, as well as my insistence that you shoot tequila to be a real vato!" Political correctness didn’t come fast enough.High School as One Giant Popularity Contest [+5]Don’t get me wrong, I know high school students are conscious of and influenced by popularity, but Encino Man takes it to absurd levels. Is popularity important enough for Rudy to be on some sick Daniel Plainview shit digging a swimming pool one shovel-full at a time? Is it enough to endanger the welfare of a less-evolved human being? It doesn’t help that Sean Astin is incapable of delivering a line without his Earnestness meter turned up to 400. Discussing Link to Stoney, he says: “Don’t you see? This is my one chance to make something of myself.” In a way, Encino Man is a really sad movie, and not just because they never turn Link over to scientists who can actually, you know, make giant leaps in our understanding of evolution by having a living sample of the missing link.And, like Teen Wolf and other teen comedies, it tries to have its cake and eat it too. Dave and Stoney are unpopular because they are different from everyone else, but their reasoning for introducing a caveman into the student body is that they’ll get residual popularity because this guy is so weird that he’ll become popular? You’re teaching him how to speak and act. He’s literally wearing your clothes. If you’re not cool, why would he be cool?I’m not above reading this as satire, that people read Link’s confusion, violence, and terse vocabulary as cool. But I think it’s just clumsy logic. If you have set up a hyper-specific standard for popularity in your universe, you can’t then immediately show us this exception to it. It would be one thing if Link became captain of the football team, but he just kind of acts like Pauly Shore, and you’ve already established that that guy doesn’t have any friends. Then again, Pauly Shore never does any back flips.Prom Being the Single Most Important Thing That Will Ever Happen in Your Life [+3]Secret Handshakes [+1]Pratfalls [+1]A Pratfall in Which a Character Lands Face-First into a Cake [+1]Characters Screaming in Tandem, Looking at Each Other, and Continuing to Scream [+1]Released by a Studio That No Longer Exists [+1]Freeze Frame on the Last Shot [+1]In the end I’m most disappointed in you, Eric Scott, Paleontology Consultant for the film. Encino Man leaves us with a respectable final score of 75, tying it with Clueless near the top of the leaderboard, but still hanging behind Hackers.*- Except I never saw Son-in-Law. I rented it, mostly because it had Tiffani Amber Theissen in it (a goddess among boos), but my mom made me turn it off when two girls made out with each other at the beginning. “I have to draw the line somewhere,” Mom protested. Considering the crazy stuff I had seen by that age, it seemed like a weird place to draw the line. I’m telling you, homophobia: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone. I think Pauly Shore said that.

THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Encino Man 

Culturally, it’s going to be hard to avoid being an elitist snob when I have a kid, but it’s something I’ll be conscious of for his own development. Growing up, I watched a lot of bad TV and film, and it helped to shape my tastes and independently figure out what was good or bad and why. If my parents had known any better and told me not to watch cliched sitcoms and any bullshit movie that was on HBO, I might not be the holier-than-thou prick I am today. Because of my age, the star of “whatever bullshit movie was on HBO” was usually Pauly Shore.*

Here, he plays Stoney, who stumbles upon a caveman at the bottom of the hole his best friend Dave is digging to make a pool to have girls over to his house to be popular. Rather than depend on the pool-in-a-dirt-hole thing, they decide to gain popularity by convincing everyone that this caveman, who they call Link, is a foreign exchange student from Estonia (Get it?). Instead of savagely raping and killing everyone he encounters, Link will probably learn catch-phrases and do backflips at prom. What I have just described to you is an actual movie.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Pauly Shore [+10]
 
Shore had a weird run of stardom in the early ’90s, fusing ’70s revivalism, self-awareness, and nepotism (his mom owns The Comedy Store in Los Angeles) to sort of become a movie star, only to fall hard. He headlined five big studio movies, and now no one under the age of twenty would recognize his name. Shore was out there—chances were his style wouldn’t last—but he swung for the fences. For better or worse, he hijacks this movie with his schtick, and he’s the only thing that’s memorable about it. I shudder to think about how drab the page was before he completely winged all of his dialogue. I could write for days about the bizarre hippie-come-surfer dialect he comes up with, but here are my three favorite lines:

3. “High school is all about greasing the doobak (?), buddy, and weezing on the buffets (?), man.”
2. [add homoeroticism to spice] “Buff spikes chillin’ on his melon obviously…he’s got the serious beak, his own personal holding company full of fundage, bro, that he weezes off of May (?) …eighteen-inch bi’s…”
1. If you’re edge ‘cuz I’m weezin’ on your grindage, just chill, ‘cuz if I had the whole Brady Bunch thing happenin’ at my crib, I’d go grind over there. So don’t tax my gig so hard-core, cruster.” 

The first time the screenwriters heard number one, they must have screamed. Or they got unwittingly frozen, experienced an earthquake in someone’s back yard millions of years later, got excavated by those people on a lark, and went to high school with them. Then screamed. 

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- [+10]
I’ll give ten points to this grab-bag of Richard Masur, future president of the Screen Actors’ Guild; Sean Astin a year before Rudy; Megan Ward, the cute chick from PCU; and a young Robin Tunney. Not to mention Brendan Fraser, who, believe it or not, is the only one of this group still working.

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
Um…the whole part about a Cro-Magnon man unfreezing in modern California, then going to high school without anyone being the wiser? I don’t see why not. [-10]

Hacking/Computers
There are zero computers in the film. In fact, when the villain—he of the “buff spikes”—tries to get dirt on Link, the caveman, to figure out why he’s so weird, he actually breaks into the school’s physical office and rummages through file cabinets.

Some dudes invite Link to be in the Computer Club, but it’s done with that early ’90s condescension, with this air that knowing anything about computers will never be useful. Which is so dumb, because the earthquake/unfreezing effects would have been so much better with computers.

Other Technological Notes

Uses of a payphone [+1], Polaroid camera [+1], and VCR [+1], as well as arcade games [+1], which don’t seem to exist anymore, almost overnight. The boys also use space heaters to UNFREEZE A CAVEMAN.

At the emotional climax of the film, Dave, without best friend Stoney’s knowledge, decides it would be best for Link to venture out on his own, because it is now inconvenient to take care of a caveman he’s afraid that people are getting close to figuring out that Link is not a foreign exchange student. He gives Link a handful of quarters tearily and explains, “…for Rad Mobile,” which is an arcade game Link likes. Even this Cro-Magnon man, with no knowledge of modern conventions or emotional nuance, gives him this look like: “Really, Samwise Gamgee? You’re giving me a skateboard and quarters? Rather than even turning me in for scientific research, which you’ve neglected to do for months, you’re going to release me to the wild like this? Is this the false note the screenplay is going for? Did me driving a car on two wheels and a rainy night staring out of the window really take you to this dangerous precipice of emotion?” Luckily Stoney appears and shows us all that we can’t turn our backs on our friends.

As far as other artifacts, there are skateboards [+1], a “cleaning up Link” montage set to “I’m Too Sexy” (half of the movie’s 90 minutes are montage sequences) [+3], PM Dawn and Tone Loc songs [+2], roller coasters [I don’t know, seems ’90s to me—+1], and an ice-rink teen hangout called Blades. (Astin intones, “Blades…finally part of the elite. How cool are we?”) [+1]

I won’t hesitate to give it a [+10] for slang, not only for anything that escapes Pauly’s mouth, but also for Robin Tunney complimenting Link as “totally rude” and using “jive” as an adjective. Lastly, there are a few times when the villain gets in people’s faces and yells, “Shush!” as if it’s a catch-phrase, like he’s making it a thing. “Shush!” is not going to happen, Michael DeLuise. It’s just not. See you in an episode of Stargate: SG1 nine years from now.

FASHION
Oh boy. It must be my birthday. I won’t include Pauly Shore’s wardrobe here, since he’s going for a more ’70s thing with bellbottoms and scarves, but I will give Encino Man props for: white sneakers with jeans [+1], Colours brand gear [+1], tucked-in t-shirts [+1], a dress shirt that is open to a t-shirt [+1], vests [+1], blazers with shoulderpads [+1], calculator watches [+1], bicycle caps [+1], flannel [+1], acid-washed jeans [+1], all denim everything [+1], and featured extra Rose McGowan in a shirt whose front tail is tied into a knot [+3].

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Exaggerated Sibling Rivalry- [+5]
I know that brothers and sisters sometimes don’t get along, but by high school, they don’t try to get each other into trouble. The sister character here exists solely to yell out things like, “Busted!” and “As if, mom!”

Super-Obvious Exposition- [+5]
The teacher in one of the early scenes happens to be talking to us about pre-history and how potentially dangerous a caveman would be in our world. Pretty fancy elective for a California public school, this Natural History/Anthropology interdisciplinary. I guess the bell rang before he explained how to unfreeze a caveman if one happened to become unearthed in your dirt-pool following an earthquake. (Space heaters.)

Caricatures of Hispanic Gang Members [+5]
"Yo, ese! Check out my flannel shirt with only the top button buttoned, and my sideways cap on top of a bandana, as well as my insistence that you shoot tequila to be a real vato!" Political correctness didn’t come fast enough.

High School as One Giant Popularity Contest [+5]
Don’t get me wrong, I know high school students are conscious of and influenced by popularity, but Encino Man takes it to absurd levels. Is popularity important enough for Rudy to be on some sick Daniel Plainview shit digging a swimming pool one shovel-full at a time? Is it enough to endanger the welfare of a less-evolved human being? It doesn’t help that Sean Astin is incapable of delivering a line without his Earnestness meter turned up to 400. Discussing Link to Stoney, he says: “Don’t you see? This is my one chance to make something of myself.” In a way, Encino Man is a really sad movie, and not just because they never turn Link over to scientists who can actually, you know, make giant leaps in our understanding of evolution by having a living sample of the missing link.

And, like Teen Wolf and other teen comedies, it tries to have its cake and eat it too. Dave and Stoney are unpopular because they are different from everyone else, but their reasoning for introducing a caveman into the student body is that they’ll get residual popularity because this guy is so weird that he’ll become popular? You’re teaching him how to speak and act. He’s literally wearing your clothes. If you’re not cool, why would he be cool?

I’m not above reading this as satire, that people read Link’s confusion, violence, and terse vocabulary as cool. But I think it’s just clumsy logic. If you have set up a hyper-specific standard for popularity in your universe, you can’t then immediately show us this exception to it. It would be one thing if Link became captain of the football team, but he just kind of acts like Pauly Shore, and you’ve already established that that guy doesn’t have any friends. Then again, Pauly Shore never does any back flips.

Prom Being the Single Most Important Thing That Will Ever Happen in Your Life [+3]
Secret Handshakes [+1]
Pratfalls [+1]
A Pratfall in Which a Character Lands Face-First into a Cake [+1]
Characters Screaming in Tandem, Looking at Each Other, and Continuing to Scream [+1]
Released by a Studio That No Longer Exists [+1]
Freeze Frame on the Last Shot [+1]

In the end I’m most disappointed in you, Eric Scott, Paleontology Consultant for the film. Encino Man leaves us with a respectable final score of 75, tying it with Clueless near the top of the leaderboard, but still hanging behind Hackers.

*- Except I never saw Son-in-Law. I rented it, mostly because it had Tiffani Amber Theissen in it (a goddess among boos), but my mom made me turn it off when two girls made out with each other at the beginning. “I have to draw the line somewhere,” Mom protested. Considering the crazy stuff I had seen by that age, it seemed like a weird place to draw the line. I’m telling you, homophobia: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone. I think Pauly Shore said that.





Comments


THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

1990’s Home Alone, written and produced by John Hughes, directed by Chris Columbus, was a charming piece of wish-fulfillment that got a lot of mileage from its supporting cast, as well as the way it shows how intimidating the world can be for a kid. 1992’s Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, also known as Joe Pesci’s retirement fund, reunited the whole creative team (except for John Candy and Scary Old Guy with a Shovel), but it’s garbage. And one of the more socially irresponsible films ever made. My brother and I still watched it about forty times on VHS though, so viewing it with new eyes should be interesting.

STARS/PERFORMANCES
Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Macaulay Culkin [+10]

It’s hard to imagine now, but Mac Culkin (as he insisted upon being called in a Disney Adventures interview I coveted) was once one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Before he was even a teenager, he was headlining movies, hosting Saturday Night Live, chillin’ with Michael Jackson, and making millions of dollars. All of this despite the fact that he’s a terrible actor. How did I block this out when I originally saw this movie?

It legitimately feels as if he italicized a random word in each line of dialogue and just focused on selling that word without worrying about anything else. The problem is that he was twelve by the time this movie was filmed, and the same bag of cute tricks doesn’t work once you’re past a certain age—not that there are any excuses for 1994’s Richie Rich. It doesn’t help that Hughes’ script calls for Culkin to spend 80% of the movie talking to himself, which is never a good sign.*

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- [+10]
Everybody lined up to the gravy train for this, from Pesci to Rob Schneider to the older brother from Pete & Pete to Mac’s brother Kieran as Fuller, the prince of enuresis.

Also, I kind of found Catherine O’Hara hot in a way I definitely didn’t in 1992? I don’t know what to say about it, but I was kind of feeling her.

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
[+10]
Actually, no. It would be so much easier for the McCallisters to get in touch with each other now. Even if Kevin didn’t have a cell phone, he certainly would have his parents’ number. Or, within a few hours, the McCallisters could have just looked up the recent purchases on their credit card and gone, “Oh. Kevin’s apparently at the Plaza Hotel in New York.”

Plus, there’s no way Kevin gets on the wrong plane post-9/11, with or without charming paper boarding passes.

Hacking/Computers
The Plaza staff uses a few computers to check people in, but they’re those one-color monitors they use at Dillard’s. [+1]

Other Technological Notes (The Part Wherein We Talk about The Talkboy)
So Kevin has this Talkboy toy, which is an audio recorder that uses blank, full-sized cassettes. He uses it to trick all kinds of adults because adults are retarded within the universe of this movie, which might be part of its appeal to kids.

For instance, to check in at the Plaza, he records himself saying: “Hi, this is Peter McCallister. The father. I’d like an extra-large room with a giant bed and one of those little fridges that you need a key to open. Credit card? You got it.” Then he replays the message over the phone in slow motion so that he sounds like a grown-up. And the clerk, rather than saying, “Sir, you sound like a slowed-down tape recording” and hanging up, is all like, “Sure thing, DJ Screw.”

That’s nothing compared to the part when Kevin holds a stand-off with hotel brass by replaying part of a violent movie he watched the previous night. The staff stays at the door because an audio tape of gunshots sounds the exact same as real gunshots. If you were bourgeois like me and actually owned a Talkboy, you would know that the sound was so bad you were forced to use headphones. Harumph. [+5]

The Plaza also uses a Rolodex [+1] and an old school credit card swiper, the kind where you physically drag that piece of metal over the card’s surface to make a carbon copy. [+3] Payphones [+1], hotel landlines [+1], and Polaroid cameras [+2] also figure prominently, as well as the aforementioned physical plane tickets [+1].

- References
Besides an extended World Trade Center shot, Times Square and Central Park are still portrayed as scary areas. Kevin also tells Freaky Pigeon Lady an anecdote about beloved Rollerblades. Speaking of Freaky Pigeon Lady, this film really gets bogged down in trying to develop Kevin through supporting characters we don’t give a shit about. I really don’t need ten minutes with the dude who owns the toy store. [+5]

FASHION
Culkin is dressed like Paddington Bear the whole movie, but there isn’t much you can put your finger on besides huge glasses, Coogi-esque patterned sweaters, and denim shirts buttoned all the way up. [+1]

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Ridiculous Coincidences- The coincidences that have to happen for Kevin to get on the wrong plane in the first place are really stretching our suspension of disbelief. For instance, he asks, “Are you excited about going to Miami?” to the guy seated next to him, but the guy only speaks French and can’t tell him they’re actually going to New York! AHHHHHHHH indeed.

I don’t want to nitpick on the setup, but once we’re in New York, the constellation of weird shit that has to happen for Kevin to run into Harry and Marv, known in some circles as the Wet Bandits, is bizarre. First off, Harry and Marv just show up in New York on a fish truck. No mention of how they escaped jail in Illinois or how/why they relocated to New York. (A.L. Singer’s novelization was much better in this regard.) Then, in a city of 8.3 million people, Kevin runs into them on three separate occasions. It’s almost like God wanted Kevin McCallister dead. [+5]

Villains Explaining Their Entire Plan to the Hero but Not Killing Him When They Have the Chance
This movie is to this convention as Citizen Kane is to deep-focus photography. Harry, you have a gun. Shoot him. I know Marv is a lost cause, but you have a gun in your pocket. At any point in time you could shoot him. Look, he’s talking to you from the roof. Just shoot him. Please.
[+5]

Let’s Zoom In on This So That You Know It’s Important and Comes Up Later
[+1]
Characters Screaming in Tandem, Looking at Each Other, and Continuing to Scream [+1]
Sped-Up Frame Rate for Comedic Purposes [+1]
Spurious Physics [+1]
A Kid Pumping His Fist and Exclaiming “YES!” [+1]
A Character Almost Cursing, Then Changing the Word to a Less Offensive Word with the Same First Syllable [+1] (Buzz: “Enough with all this sh—show of emotion.”)
A Mother and Son across the Country but Looking Up at the Same Moon [+1]
Celebrity Cameos [+1]

OTHER
I mentioned flippantly in the introduction that this is a socially irresponsible film. Let me go one step further: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is torture porn. John Hughes fathered Eli Roth’s style.

Besides being the real villain of this movie, Kevin McCallister is clearly a sociopath. For one thing, he shows no remorse. The reason he’s angry with his family at the beginning is because he overreacted and refused to apologize for ruining the Christmas pageant. Obviously, he persistently lies to authority figures and shows a disregard for his own safety.

Most of all, however, he does not empathize with others’ pain. In fact, he seems to take pleasure in it. At the time, the violence of the film—pretty strong for a PG—was likened to Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. But Roadrunner was just trying to get away from his nemesis. Kevin enjoys Harry and Marv’s excessive suffering and becomes the one in control.

For example, in the renovated house in which the final act of carnage takes place, Kevin hooks a sink up to a generator or car battery of some kind. When Marv reaches for the handles, Kevin shocks him. Then he turns the dial up to three or four and watches Marv shake. Then he turns it up to six and—only when sparks are literally coming out of Marv—finally turns it off. Even a garden variety sadist would have simply turned it all the way up and killed his victim. Kevin wants the pain to continue. He pushes the crooks to their limits and leaves himself wanting more. At any point after the Wet Bandits have entered the booby-trapped house, he could have just called the cops and run to safety. But no, Kevin has to supervise this torture. He sees himself as more of an arbiter of justice than the police, which is exactly the distorted view of reality that defines a sociopath.

More troubling is the fact that the film is shot in a way that makes us complicit in Kevin’s behavior; we are supposed to be enjoying it as well. There’s a “Kevin’s getting ready” montage, set to as rousing a John Williams score as possible, in which we watch this ten-year-old expertly handle a nail gun, tar, kerosene, saw, and blowtorch. (No uranium?) And this one-upsmanship applies to the entire third act. It’s not enough for Harry and Marv to fall twenty feet from a rope. They have to: fall through fire, then fall through wooden planks, then fall onto concrete, then have paint cans fall on top of them.

Part of the reason a similar setup works in the first movie is that Kevin is protecting his own house. The Wet Bandits are invading his property, so he has to take advantage of his familiarity with the environment and become the man of the house, which would kind of make sense to a kid. Here, he leads the criminals to his own perverted playground to destroy them. Since he apparently is an expert on New York geography, couldn’t he have led them to a police station instead? He becomes the aggressor and takes on the same qualities that made us hate and fear Harry and Marv in the first film.

Plus, there’s a huge difference between leaving nails in a doorway for someone to step on and a) thinking back to a previous trap you set that involved swinging paint cans down a stair case, b) anticipating that your victims will also remember that trap and sidestep it only to find, c) a third, unexpected component to the trap, a metal bar that will hit them in the head, catapult them off the stairs, hit their heads onto the paint cans you have already swung, through the hole in the floor, and onto the ground of the floor below you. Kevin’s planning is far too sophisticated and calculating for a ten-year-old, which makes this whole affair creepy. You don’t sympathize with him for long, yet the movie carries out these traps in ruthless, agonizing detail.

And what’s the first thing any kid did when he got home from the movie? Tried to make some of these traps. I’m surprised I turned out okay, because there’s no doubt Kevin McCallister is making a suit out of dead hookers’ skin right now.

ANYWAY, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, troubling protagonist and all, notched a 69, which puts it right in the middle of our standings.

*See: Meet Joe Black. As soon as Anthony Hopkins started talking to himself in that movie, I knew I was in trouble.





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THE  QUEST  FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIMEThe FanWhen  I first saw this in 1996, I was still at a stage where I was excited to  see R-rated movies in general, whether or not they were actually good.  Aw, man. Robert De Niro just told that dude to fuck off? Sweet, I should  rent this movie and put my video camera on a tripod to tape it from the  TV. It’ll sound awesome. Don’t worry about it. Sadly, The Fan does not have much to offer to the modern  filmgoer. It’s directed by Tony Scott, who sandwiched it between two  much better pictures, Crimson Tide and Enemy of the State.  Since it’s directed by him, it’s very slick and expensive-looking. It  has his characteristic break-neck editing, and all of the day scenes are  really contrasty and smokey, as if filmed through a sauna. There’s a  scene early on in which De Niro’s knife salesman Gil Renard is being  fired, and Scott shadows the shit out of the blinds in front of him.  See, Gil is divided. Light and darkness. Parts he shows and  parts he hides away. Complicated. Also, Tony Scott has apparently never  seen a baseball game. To the numbers!STARS/PERFORMANCES- Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the  Decade- Wesley Snipes [+10]Snipes had a huge decade  in the ’90s, becoming one of the more bankable action stars around.  That being said, he also had legitimate acting chops that brought  credibility and gravity to shoot-em-up parts that would have been frothy  in other hands. Because of attitude problems and a tax evasion scandal  that made him difficult to insure, he was mostly absent from the screen  for the past decade. He still has ability though. I just watched him in Brooklyn’s  Finest, in which he has a palpable intensity and weary presence.  Best of luck to him.- Other  Notable Actors/Characters- [+5]The reason Tony Scott’s movies are so  expensive is that he puts a name actor in every single part. Here, even  though nondescript extras could have filled out the Giants team, he  hires real baseball players like John Kruk to fill the background. Why  not have Aaron Neville sing “The National Anthem” for no reason? Write a  check. In The Fan we’re also treated to an early performance  from Benicio Del Toro, who plays Generic Latin American Player X, the  player who upstages Snipes’ Barry Bonds clone Bobby Rayburn (and gets  killed laughably by De Niro in the team’s sauna, which De Niro was able  to sneak into because the San Francisco Giants have no security.) Sometimes this works to Scott’s advantage. For example, the mayor in The  Taking of Pelham 123 would have been a drab, stock character, but  he put James Gandolfini in that role to beef it up and surely had the  script rewritten to bolster the role. The mayor instantly becomes an  important piece to the story. Christopher Walken similarly injected some  life into the beginning of Man on Fire. On the other hand, this can be distracting. Ellen Barkin has absolutely  nothing to do in The Fan besides squint and say ball-busting  things. Is there any actress more in denial of her own lack of sexiness?  (Yes. Kirstie Alley.)TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL  RELICS- Could the Plot  Reasonably Occur with Current Technology? [+5] It’s difficult to say, so I’m going halfway here. The movie really got  me thinking about how much the sports media landscape has changed in the  past fifteen years. Gil first gets in touch with Rayburn because he’s a  caller on the radio show that Rayburn, the biggest player in baseball,  participates in on three separate occasions. Can you imagine one of  today’s manicured, insulated, media-savvy star athletes on a local radio  show fielding real-time calls from fans? Why would they? What would  they have to gain? Gil has an access to Rayburn that would be impossible  today. Also, halfway through the movie, Gil murders Del Toro’s Generic Latin  American Player X because he thinks that player is responsible for  Rayburn’s slump, partly because he is hogging the spotlight, partly  because he won’t hand over the number 11 jersey. So Gil sneaks into the  Giants’ practice facility and stabs him to death in the sauna. Cut to a  few days later, when the Giants have a two-minute Jumbotron tribute and  then play ball. Can you imagine if a star player got killed on team  premises and another player seemed to benefit from it? And the guy who  did it was never caught? Can you imagine ESPN sinking its teeth into  this? If we have a month devoted to Brett Favre every year, how big of a  story would this be?- Hacking/ComputersNo computers, but they  did showcase one of my favorite movie cliches. At the end of the  movie—spoilers for a terrible thriller—Gil kidnaps Rayburn’s kid to  force him to hit a home run, and Rayburn has police holed up in his  house to trace the call if Gil decides to contact him. This happens, and  he has to keep Gil on the line long enough for the experts to home in  on the call’s location. This can’t still be an issue, right? I challenge you to find a new  telephone without a caller ID display, but we still have these slapdick  feds with headphones on going: “Keep him talking. He’s somewhere on the  western hemisphere. I hear rain in the background.” Even in 1994, I’m  pretty sure the police could figure out your location, especially when  the caller is nearby, as De Niro is here. FBI agents must hate the *69  function. [+5]-  References Snipes’ Bobby Rayburn is obviously supposed to be Barry Bonds, what with  his earrings, Hummer, sunglasses, referring to people as “homies,” and  chilly relationship with the media. Over and over, people in the movie  marvel at his $40 million contract, which would be a really low salary  today. He is also the league’s reigning “RBI champ,” which is a stat  that real baseball people don’t even care about anymore. [+3] There are three different musical interludes featuring Nine Inch Nails  and four different Rolling Stones songs. [Write them a check- +3] On a  few occasions, Gil refers to Mick Jagger as “a good friend of mine.” The  more we learn about him, we’re supposed to take this as delusion, that  he thinks he’s closer to celebrities than he actually is. As I got more  bored with the movie, I started to imagine Mick backstage going, “No,  let him backstage. It’s cool. That’s my knife salesman.”FASHION Gil’s tie collection is pretty impressive—“Can I have the one with the  close-ups of the cartoon baseballs?”—and, of course, all of the  baseball teams have old logos and uniforms. I forgot how much I liked  the mid-’90s Padres’ look. I would make fun of Rayburn/Bonds’ suits with  stretchy tees underneath, but baseball players still dress like that.  [+3]’90s FILM CONVENTIONSExaggerated,  Overly Flashy Visual Style and Editing [+5] Professional Acquaintance Doubling as a Character’s Best Friend [+5] Floating Faces Poster [+1] Training Sequences [+5]20% of this movie is De Niro training or preparing to do crazy dude  stuff. When he’s doing research and gearing up to get close to Rayburn,  he sees a cockroach on his wall. Rather than smash it with a shoe or  something, he hurls a knife across the room and nails it between the  eyes. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention “the part where he  kills the cockroach with a bowie knife.” [Extra +5 for this scene.]OTHERAllow me to describe the third act: After making it look as if  he has saved Rayburn’s son from drowning, Gil is invited into the  Rayburn house, where he kidnaps the son. He takes Bobby, Jr. to find  Coop, his catcher that he keeps saying he “could have gone to the majors  with.” This Coop guy breaks it to us: “It was Little League. We were  twelve years old.” Ruh-roh. Gil really is crazy, which we knew all  along. Over the phone, Gil tells Rayburn he can have his son back if he  hits a home run to thank Gil for killing the other star player who was  stealing his shine. Rayburn tries to do this and fails. Time’s running  out and rain is starting to fall, but the umpire doesn’t call the game  because—ZOMG!—Gil is the umpire. There’s a standoff between  Gil, Rayburn, and the cops. The cops shoot Gil, and they find Bobby, Jr.  when inspecting Gil’s Crazy Dude Apartment. And that’s it. The biggest problem with the film is that we’re never really with De  Niro. He’s nuts from the beginning. Proving how sharp his knives are to  customers by shaving his legs with them or getting into unnecessary  fights with people at the ballpark. Rather than something that is  revealed slowly and builds with intensity, we know this dude is a  lunatic from the beginning, and that something bad is bound to happen. The ending is destined to be anti-climactic because this is a thriller  with no suspense. In the last scene, the police inspect Gil’s Crazy Dude  Apartment and find all of these Bobby Rayburn clippings, along with all  of Gil’s pictures from Little League. None of this is revealing or  surprising. We knew he had done his research. But Scott scores it with  some uplifting song whose lyrics are “there’s healing in letting go.”  Are we supposed to go, “Awww, this homicidal maniac really did care  about baseball after all”? Then the movie just ends. Thanks for playing.The Fan's final score is 60. Poor  showing for a poor film. We'll make up for it next week, gang.

THE QUEST FOR THE MOST ’90s FILM OF ALL TIME
The Fan

When I first saw this in 1996, I was still at a stage where I was excited to see R-rated movies in general, whether or not they were actually good. Aw, man. Robert De Niro just told that dude to fuck off? Sweet, I should rent this movie and put my video camera on a tripod to tape it from the TV. It’ll sound awesome. Don’t worry about it.

Sadly, The Fan does not have much to offer to the modern filmgoer. It’s directed by Tony Scott, who sandwiched it between two much better pictures, Crimson Tide and Enemy of the State. Since it’s directed by him, it’s very slick and expensive-looking. It has his characteristic break-neck editing, and all of the day scenes are really contrasty and smokey, as if filmed through a sauna. There’s a scene early on in which De Niro’s knife salesman Gil Renard is being fired, and Scott shadows the shit out of the blinds in front of him. See, Gil is divided. Light and darkness. Parts he shows and parts he hides away. Complicated. Also, Tony Scott has apparently never seen a baseball game. To the numbers!

STARS/PERFORMANCES
Actors Who Are Unquestionably Tied to the Decade- Wesley Snipes [+10]
Snipes had a huge decade in the ’90s, becoming one of the more bankable action stars around. That being said, he also had legitimate acting chops that brought credibility and gravity to shoot-em-up parts that would have been frothy in other hands. Because of attitude problems and a tax evasion scandal that made him difficult to insure, he was mostly absent from the screen for the past decade. He still has ability though. I just watched him in Brooklyn’s Finest, in which he has a palpable intensity and weary presence. Best of luck to him.

- Other Notable Actors/Characters- [+5]
The reason Tony Scott’s movies are so expensive is that he puts a name actor in every single part. Here, even though nondescript extras could have filled out the Giants team, he hires real baseball players like John Kruk to fill the background. Why not have Aaron Neville sing “The National Anthem” for no reason? Write a check. In The Fan we’re also treated to an early performance from Benicio Del Toro, who plays Generic Latin American Player X, the player who upstages Snipes’ Barry Bonds clone Bobby Rayburn (and gets killed laughably by De Niro in the team’s sauna, which De Niro was able to sneak into because the San Francisco Giants have no security.)

Sometimes this works to Scott’s advantage. For example, the mayor in The Taking of Pelham 123 would have been a drab, stock character, but he put James Gandolfini in that role to beef it up and surely had the script rewritten to bolster the role. The mayor instantly becomes an important piece to the story. Christopher Walken similarly injected some life into the beginning of Man on Fire.

On the other hand, this can be distracting. Ellen Barkin has absolutely nothing to do in The Fan besides squint and say ball-busting things. Is there any actress more in denial of her own lack of sexiness? (Yes. Kirstie Alley.)

TECHNOLOGY/CULTURAL RELICS
Could the Plot Reasonably Occur with Current Technology?
[+5]
It’s difficult to say, so I’m going halfway here. The movie really got me thinking about how much the sports media landscape has changed in the past fifteen years. Gil first gets in touch with Rayburn because he’s a caller on the radio show that Rayburn, the biggest player in baseball, participates in on three separate occasions. Can you imagine one of today’s manicured, insulated, media-savvy star athletes on a local radio show fielding real-time calls from fans? Why would they? What would they have to gain? Gil has an access to Rayburn that would be impossible today.

Also, halfway through the movie, Gil murders Del Toro’s Generic Latin American Player X because he thinks that player is responsible for Rayburn’s slump, partly because he is hogging the spotlight, partly because he won’t hand over the number 11 jersey. So Gil sneaks into the Giants’ practice facility and stabs him to death in the sauna. Cut to a few days later, when the Giants have a two-minute Jumbotron tribute and then play ball. Can you imagine if a star player got killed on team premises and another player seemed to benefit from it? And the guy who did it was never caught? Can you imagine ESPN sinking its teeth into this? If we have a month devoted to Brett Favre every year, how big of a story would this be?

Hacking/Computers
No computers, but they did showcase one of my favorite movie cliches. At the end of the movie—spoilers for a terrible thriller—Gil kidnaps Rayburn’s kid to force him to hit a home run, and Rayburn has police holed up in his house to trace the call if Gil decides to contact him. This happens, and he has to keep Gil on the line long enough for the experts to home in on the call’s location.

This can’t still be an issue, right? I challenge you to find a new telephone without a caller ID display, but we still have these slapdick feds with headphones on going: “Keep him talking. He’s somewhere on the western hemisphere. I hear rain in the background.” Even in 1994, I’m pretty sure the police could figure out your location, especially when the caller is nearby, as De Niro is here. FBI agents must hate the *69 function. [+5]

- References
Snipes’ Bobby Rayburn is obviously supposed to be Barry Bonds, what with his earrings, Hummer, sunglasses, referring to people as “homies,” and chilly relationship with the media. Over and over, people in the movie marvel at his $40 million contract, which would be a really low salary today. He is also the league’s reigning “RBI champ,” which is a stat that real baseball people don’t even care about anymore. [+3]

There are three different musical interludes featuring Nine Inch Nails and four different Rolling Stones songs. [Write them a check- +3] On a few occasions, Gil refers to Mick Jagger as “a good friend of mine.” The more we learn about him, we’re supposed to take this as delusion, that he thinks he’s closer to celebrities than he actually is. As I got more bored with the movie, I started to imagine Mick backstage going, “No, let him backstage. It’s cool. That’s my knife salesman.”

FASHION
Gil’s tie collection is pretty impressive—“Can I have the one with the close-ups of the cartoon baseballs?”—and, of course, all of the baseball teams have old logos and uniforms. I forgot how much I liked the mid-’90s Padres’ look. I would make fun of Rayburn/Bonds’ suits with stretchy tees underneath, but baseball players still dress like that. [+3]

’90s FILM CONVENTIONS
Exaggerated, Overly Flashy Visual Style and Editing [+5]

Professional Acquaintance Doubling as a Character’s Best Friend [+5]

Floating Faces Poster [+1]

Training Sequences [+5]
20% of this movie is De Niro training or preparing to do crazy dude stuff. When he’s doing research and gearing up to get close to Rayburn, he sees a cockroach on his wall. Rather than smash it with a shoe or something, he hurls a knife across the room and nails it between the eyes. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention “the part where he kills the cockroach with a bowie knife.” [Extra +5 for this scene.]

OTHER
Allow me to describe the third act: After making it look as if he has saved Rayburn’s son from drowning, Gil is invited into the Rayburn house, where he kidnaps the son. He takes Bobby, Jr. to find Coop, his catcher that he keeps saying he “could have gone to the majors with.” This Coop guy breaks it to us: “It was Little League. We were twelve years old.” Ruh-roh. Gil really is crazy, which we knew all along. Over the phone, Gil tells Rayburn he can have his son back if he hits a home run to thank Gil for killing the other star player who was stealing his shine. Rayburn tries to do this and fails. Time’s running out and rain is starting to fall, but the umpire doesn’t call the game because—ZOMG!—Gil is the umpire. There’s a standoff between Gil, Rayburn, and the cops. The cops shoot Gil, and they find Bobby, Jr. when inspecting Gil’s Crazy Dude Apartment. And that’s it.

The biggest problem with the film is that we’re never really with De Niro. He’s nuts from the beginning. Proving how sharp his knives are to customers by shaving his legs with them or getting into unnecessary fights with people at the ballpark. Rather than something that is revealed slowly and builds with intensity, we know this dude is a lunatic from the beginning, and that something bad is bound to happen.

The ending is destined to be anti-climactic because this is a thriller with no suspense. In the last scene, the police inspect Gil’s Crazy Dude Apartment and find all of these Bobby Rayburn clippings, along with all of Gil’s pictures from Little League. None of this is revealing or surprising. We knew he had done his research. But Scott scores it with some uplifting song whose lyrics are “there’s healing in letting go.” Are we supposed to go, “Awww, this homicidal maniac really did care about baseball after all”? Then the movie just ends. Thanks for playing.

The Fan's final score is 60. Poor showing for a poor film. We'll make up for it next week, gang.





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My notes for the next entry in The Quest. I am not fucking around.





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