TROUBLE CITY

Summer Movie Smackdown: 2008 vs. 1994 (Part 2)

BlogsBrian ThompsonComment

Last week I began a look back at the summer movie season of 1994 in an attempt to contextualize this year’s excellent, though potentially overblown, crop of blockbusters, blockdenters, and blockdodgers.  Why 1994?  Because of randomization.  And because it was the summer I fingered that one girl.  Here now is the exciting conclusion.

July 15: True Lies.  Look, there’s no question Jamie Lee Curtis has a hot body.  Just like there’s no question Arnold Schwarzenegger can be disguised by a little bit of shadow and his hand on his chin.  But every time I tried to masturbate to the JLC pole dancing scene in this movie (which was a lot), I couldn’t help but wonder about those rumors that Ms. Curtis was born with a penis.  I mean, she does have kind of a long neck, and her facial features are kind of chiseled.  And even if she was born with one, that doesn’t mean she has one now.  And even if she does, so what?  I can’t help the chemical reactions stirring in my loins.  But these are complicated feelings for a young man to deal with, and Bill Paxton’s “ass like a ten-year-old boy” line didn’t help.  Mostly because I had an ass kind of like a ten-year-old boy’s at the time, and I stared at it in the mirror while masturbating.  My spine’s never stopped aching.  Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that I like this movie a lot more than that abortion called Forrest Gump.

July 22: North.  I hated this movie.  Hated hated hated hated hated this movie.  Hated it.  Hated ever simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it.  Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it.  Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.  But unlike Roger Ebert, I gave it at least one star.  After all, Elijah Wood had an ass like a ten-year-old boy.

July 29: Barcelona.  Wait a second, this was a summer movie?  This thing is like Barbershop for wealthy, white expatriates.  Though I suppose I kind of liked it.  Whit Stillman needs to make more movies.  I mean, if Hal Hartley can get off his ass every couple of years to Dutch some angles and stilt some dialog, Whit could at least turn on a camera sometime this century.  I hear he’s working on a new movie, but I won’t believe it until I see it.  And even then, I won’t believe it until it stars Chris Eigeman.

July 29: The Mask.  Ah, so this is why no one saw Barcelona.  (Probably not, but I’m going with it.)  I’ve just realized some interesting things thinking about this movie with 20/20 hindsight.  Cameron Diaz sure looked like she might do something interesting with her dead-eyed stare for a few years.  Guess that ship has sailed.  Also, it’s odd how Jim Carrey’s rubberfaced period ended by actually putting him in a rubber face.  And?  Nothing that happens in The Mask is any more implausible than Jim Carrey’s belief that vaccines cause autism.

August 3: Clear and Present Danger.  I haven’t seen this movie since it came out, and I really don’t remember anything about it other than a rooftop RPG and something to do with Harrison Ford grimacing.  Or was that The Devil’s Own?  Hollywood Homicide?  Did Ford’s career nuke the fridge over a decade before the fridge was actually nuked?  Too many questions, not enough answers.

August 12: The Next Karate Kid and In the Army Now.  Imagine how history would have changed if these roles were reversed.  Making Pauly Shore the next Karate Kid wouldn’t have affected anyone’s interest or disappointed in the finished film.  But Hillary Swank in the army now?  Oscar gold.

August 19: Color of Night.  Speaking of masturbation, no film should make an NC-17 stink if the skintraction is less French hottie Jane March and more Bruce Willis’ zero-g underwater dong.  But I guess I have to admit that Mr. Willis’ johnson was probably the most adorable animated character to grace the silver screen this year.  Too bad no kids were allowed in the theater.  And by “too bad”, I mean “thank God.”

August 26: Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow.  Oh fuck yes, this happened.  And worse?  Gutenberg regrets passing it up.

August 26: Natural Born Killers.  Thanks to Oliver Stone, I spent a good bit of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in a grainy, blown-out, cameo-strewn fever-mare with only unidentifiable chuckles and Juliette Lewis’ sex-strangled moans filling my ears.  Those were good times, but that doesn’t mean this movie works as anything other than Stone’s mental toilet paper.  Of course, given the choice between this and Nicholas Cage buried weeping in the rubble of a national tragedy, I think the best bet is obvious.  True story: I live only an hour and a half from the set of W., and I will always regret not being there the night Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright got into a bar brawl.  In my fantasy, I’m preparing to sucker punch the cop on top of Wright, yelling my battle cry: “Basquiat!”

September 1:  Labor day weekend.  The summer officially over, I finally get to finger that one girl I’d had my eye on all last year.  Her parents barely notice from the front seat.

So, there you have it.  I think this randomly chosen summer of 1994 did surprisingly well against this year’s crop of entertainments, if only in the variety category.  Fourteen years ago, there wasn’t a superhero in sight, and do you think anyone complained?  Not with Austrians clinging to Harrier jets, Oscar winners acting like fake retarded people, and the long awaited opening of It’s Pat!, they didn’t.  They couldn’t.  Mostly because they were all at home watching O.J. drive to his house.