by Anthony King
Behold! The 69th edition of Notes on Film! Twitter was all a'buzz last week with the announcement of this year's F This Movie Fest. While the fest may only last half a day, we're celebrating all month long here at FTM. Aside from discs that need to be reviewed, my plan is to watch at least one feature-length film and one short film from 1994 for every day this month. Bonus: it's a leap year, so I get to watch a 29th movie from '94! I write this column that comes out on Friday the Sunday afternoon before, so up to this the minute I began typing, I've watched four features and three shorts. While I was hoping my cinematic February would come in like a ferocious lion, it began more like a diseased, feral alley cat with three legs and one eye. It's early, though, and I have yet to give up hope.
This month I’m also listening to at least one album released in 1994 per day. Here are the first six:
Dinosaur Jr., Without a Sound – Very good
Digable Planets, Blowout Comb – Good
Sonic Youth, Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star – Bad
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dulcinea – Great
Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – Good
Lagwagon, Trashed – Very goodNatural Born Killers and Stephen Hopkins' Blown Away came out when I was 12 years old. I understand why Mom and Dad wouldn't let me see NBK, but Blown Away? That shit would have been pre-teen Anthony's favorite movie! Unfortunately, neither film captured me like I hoped they would. Granted, I've had 30 years to build both films up to impossibly unattainable heights, which is neither fair to the film or me, yet here we are. NBK is terrible. It's a product of its time, which isn't to say that's always a bad thing. I described it on Twitter as a self-bukkake of a film. While every single performance varies from good to great, Tommy Lee Jones absolutely stole the movie as the warden. The man is old now. Has been this entire millennium. So we don't get these types of unhinged performances any more. TLJ in NBK makes Juliette Lewis in NBK look like a mute nun. He's the only reason I never shut it off. It was a terrible way to officially kick off 1994 month.Ed Wood. This was my friend Brent's favorite movie. He quoted it endlessly. We even sat down to watch it one day after school but then his sister walked in and she became my girlfriend. Airheads. I remember seeing a TV spot and my parents saying how stupid it looked. Encino Man (1992) was one of my favorite movies, and I loved that SNL cast, yet I still don't know if The Lone Rangers get signed or not. I don't know why but I wanted to see Spike Lee's Crooklyn that summer. I'd never seen any Joint, but I knew who Spike was from Knicks games (they were my team) and the Jordan commercials. Still, it was the big N.O. From my parents. The funny thing is I remember begging them every time we went to the video store to rent Bebe's Kids (1992) and them saying it was too inappropriate. For god's sake, I saw Lethal Weapon (1987), Robocop (1987), and Die Hard (1988) as new releases on VHS! Bebe's Kids and Crooklyn were inappropriate for an 11- and 12-year-old, but shooting some guy in the dick was totally fine for a six-year-old.Wolf. I was 12, I was into horror, I loved Jack Nicholson. But Mom and Dad said no. I'll let this one slide because I can't imagine 12-year-old me enjoying it. Finally, The River Wild. Like Blown Away, this seemed like it could've easily become my favorite movie. This wasn't a case of the parents denying me pleasure. This was just one of those things where I didn't see it. At the time I really only knew Kevin Bacon, and really only just from the trailers for She's Having a Baby on our VHS of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and He Said, She Said from our VHS of The Last Crusade. Now I look at The River Wild and think, “Gosh I really enjoy Bacon and Streep, but HOLY SHIT DAVID STRATHAIRN!”
This month I’m going to watch tons of movies from the year I was in sixth and seventh grade. My best friends were Matt Harmon and Ricky Jones. We played with pogs, collected baseball and basketball cards, and watched tons of movies. But not these six. This 1994 month, though, these six will be mine.