Decades upon decades of hype and Cowboy Bebop just didn’t live up to it for me. But this is what happens when people, for years and years, claim that something is the “best ever”.
In those situations, I think that a lot of people who hear that, repeat it, as they don’t want to be the asshole that disagrees with everyone else. It’s just this effect that happens with things that are grossly overhyped by a passionate few who are able to push something beyond cult status.
Now that’s not to say that Cowboy Bebop isn’t enjoyable, it certainly is. I also wasn’t quite ready for it to be over when it was.
I like that it’s unique, features an incredibly jazzy score and finds itself wrapped up in several genres not really committing to any of them fully. It’s a mix of western, cyberpunk and space opera. But it also features real human drama, comedy and often times plays like a crime thriller.
Essentially, I like it for all the reasons that other people do. I just don’t think it’s the greatest anime I’ve ever seen and just because it was unique and fresh when it came out in 1998, doesn’t mean that its some sort of masterpiece.
The show has some weak, forgettable episodes, some of the characters begin to grate on you like the shrill little kid with the barky dog.
However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not game to check out the animated film that came after or any potential sequel or animated reboot.
In the end, this is still high tier anime and much better than the norm. I’d even call it a classic. However, I can’t look at it as the greatest thing that ever existed in anime. It simply isn’t. But that’s also subjective and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Also known as: Mark of Zorro (working title) Release Date: July 10th, 1998 (Beverly Hills premiere) Directed by: Martin Campbell Written by: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio Based on:Zorro by Johnston McCulley Music by: James Horner Cast: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher, Maury Chaykin
David Foster Productions, Amblin Entertainment, TriStar Pictures, 136 Minutes
“There is a saying, a very old saying: when the pupil is ready the master will appear.” – Don Diego de la Vega
Wow! I forgot how ridiculously fun this movie was. That’s probably because I haven’t seen it since the theater and for whatever reason, I just never got around to seeing it again. Also, I haven’t seen the sequel either but I’m going to rectify that very, very soon.
To start, Antonio Banderas was pretty damn perfect as Zorro. Almost too perfect, honestly. But then, Anthony Hopkins is also pretty close to perfect as an aged Don Diego a.k.a. the most well-known Zorro.
If that’s confusing, it shouldn’t be. You see, this is a movie with two Zorros in it! Yes, two!
Hopkins’ Don Diego is at the end of his swashbuckling career due to his older age but also because he was imprisoned by an evil bastard that stole his daughter and raised her as his own. The villain also carried a grudge because Don Diego had the child with the woman he loved.
Upon escaping prison, Don Diego still has a score to settle and he must bring down the villain. However, he meets a young man with an enemy of his own, who is the right hand of the big villain. So Don Diego takes the younger Alejandro Murrieta and trains him to be the next Zorro.
Over the course of the story, Alejandro falls in love with the villain’s daughter, Elena. Elena, by the end of the story, learns that Don Diego is her true father and shit hits the fan in one epic, incredible finale.
This motion picture truly embodies everything a Zorro story should have: adventure, action, romance, swashbuckling and a lighthearted, playful style of humor. Again, Banderas was perfect as this story’s primary Zorro and it’s as if he was born to play this character. Additionally, his chemistry with Catherine Zeta-Jones and camaraderie with Anthony Hopkins are immensely enjoyable.
Man, I just loved the hell out of this and even though I haven’t seen the sequel, it’s kind of a shame that this didn’t become an ongoing franchise with Banderas as the lead. Although, there have been rumors that Quentin Tarantino wants to bring Banderas back for a Zorro meets Django movie. Tarantino actually wrote a comic book miniseries that featured both characters. I reviewed that here.
Release Date: April 18th, 1998 (Los Angeles Independent Film Festival) Directed by: Richard Schenkman Written by: Jon Cryer, Richard Schenkman Music by: Midge Ure Cast: Jon Cryer, Ione Skye, Rick Stear, Rafael Baez, Frank Whaley, Aesha Waks, Dominic Chianese, Norbert Leo Butz
Evenmore Entertainment, 94 Minutes
The reviews for this film seemed pretty even but I remembered first reading about this movie in one of Leonard Maltin’s books where he gave it some pretty solid praise.
Since I noticed it streaming on one of my many services, I decided to finally check it out. Plus, I’ve always liked Jon Cryer, since first seeing him in Superman IV when I was just a kid. So I wanted to see this because it was a more serious role and because he wrote the story.
I’ve got to say, this is pretty good and it really hit me in the feels, as I have had close friends that have gone off the rails, so to speak, since my youth. So I didn’t find this hard to relate to and in a lot of ways it sort of mirrored many of the emotions and sentiments I’ve felt over the years trying to help people that didn’t really want it.
The story is about three childhood friends but it’s primarily about two of them, on a search for the third, who kind of lost his marbles after the death of his little sister. As the film rolls on, the two friends are really challenged by each other and how they’ve grown apart. However, ultimately, they do come together in an effort to help their friend in need.
As the movie progresses, we see the third friend reluctantly try to accept their help and with that, we learn more about the events that led to him disappearing from their lives and the lives of his family.
This is a very human and really emotional movie. But within its story, which is really just the framework, it explores the human soul and our relationships with one another while searching for the meaning and the purpose to it all.
This picture is a much deeper journey that it might appear to be on the surface and maybe that’s why it wasn’t as critically well received as it probably should’ve been.
Jon Cryer and Richard Schenkman, who also directed, wrote a meaningful story. So much so, I kind of assume that this was based off of something in their own lives.
I love indie movies like this. There’s just something genuine and real about the very personal indie films of the ’90s. This one is no different and it may have barely been a blip on some people’s radar but it’s definitely worth experiencing.
Also known as: Nick Fury (Argentina, France, Italy, Poland) Release Date: May 26th, 1998 (TV) Directed by: Rod Hardy Written by: David Goyer Based on: Nick Fury by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Music by: Kevin Kiner Cast: David Hasselhoff, Lisa Rinna, Sandra Hess, Neil Roberts, Garry Chalk, Tracy Waterhouse, Tom McBeath, Ron Canada
Fury Productions Limited Partnership, National Studios Inc., 20th Century Fox Television, 90 Minutes
“Contessa Valentina de Allegro Fontaine. Quite a mouthful when you try and wrap your tongue around it. Don’t let the blue blood fool ya, Pierce. Val’s an old hand at the sexpionage game, aren’t ya?” – Nick Fury
I remember seeing the ads for this on television back in 1998 and thinking, “Yeeeeeeeesh…” Because of that, I never watched this but I have seen some scenes and clips over the years.
If I’m being completely honest, though, there probably wasn’t better casting at the time than David Hasselhoff to play the classic Nick Fury in a low budget, TV movie that was, more or less, a failed pilot for a series.
Watching this now, I really like Hasselhoff and I think that he nails the look and chutzpah of the comic book Nick Fury pretty well. It just sucks that the rest of the production around him is really terrible and it actually brings down his performance.
If someone came up to six year-old me in 1985, handed me a Jim Steranko Nick Fury comic and said that the dude from Knight Rider would play him one day, I probably would’ve been beyond ecstatic. But alas, we got a picture that failed from top-to-bottom.
The plot is fucking terrible and makes little to no sense. For most of the movie, Fury has been exposed to a deadly toxin but it doesn’t even start to effect him till like the end of the movie, when he’s hunting down the chick that poisoned him but can also cure him. I guess the toxin isn’t all that bad if this dude can fight like nothing is wrong with him for half the movie. And if anyone knows the character Viper, once she poisons you, you’re pretty much immediately fucked.
This could’ve been pretty damn great and led to a decent Marvel Comics television show in an era where people would’ve really ate it up. Instead, we got a poorly written, awfully directed piece of crap, starring a guy that could’ve brought great things to the table if someone behind the scenes gave half a shit.
Rating: 3/10 Pairs well with: other Marvel films before the 2000s changed everything.
Also known as: The Party (working title) Release Date: June 12th, 1998 Directed by: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont Written by: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont Music by: David Kitay Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Seth Green, Robert Jayne, Michelle Brookhurst, Chris Owen, Jason Segel, Clea Duvall, Jaime Pressly, Sean Patrick Thomas, Freddy Rodriguez, Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, Selma Blair, Sara Rue, Marisol Nichols, Jenna Elfman (uncredited), Jerry O’Connell (uncredited), Melissa Joan Hart (uncredited), Breckin Meyer (uncredited), Jennifer Elise Cox (uncredited)
Tall Trees Productions, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing, 100 Minutes
“I don’t know about you, but I really believe that there’s one person out there, and for me it’s gotta be Amanda.” – Preston
I didn’t see this right when it came out, as it was a year after I had graduated high school and also because there were already dozens of similar movies that I had watched from the ’80s and ’90s, growing up.
I first saw this when it hit regular television but once I did, I thought it had a lot of heart while also having that heart in the right place. Sure, this is nothing new for the coming-of-age teen comedy subgenre but it’s hard not to like the main characters and their multiple story arcs.
Honestly, it also doesn’t hurt that this movie has a pretty stacked cast and even if most of these kids weren’t stars when this came out, they started to become them by the time I saw this.
The vast majority of the movie takes place in one location, a big ass house party. There are some school scenes early on but the bulk of the story takes place over one night.
To sum up the primary plot, the male lead has been in love with the female lead since his freshman year. But now that they’re graduating and the girl and her boyfriend split, this guy has one last chance to try and win her over.
Beyond that plot, the rest of the kids are dealing with the fact that high school is over and they have no idea what’s going to happen now that their lives are starting. The party is there as a way to blow off steam and distract them from the inevitable future but they all learn a lot about themselves over the course of the night.
There’s too many characters to feature for any great length and the two leads take up the bulk of the running time but each story is pretty enjoyable and endearing. I think there’s actually things that people can relate to with all of them, as they all share their own versions of doubt, insecurity and fear over what’s next.
Can’t Hardly Wait also feels a lot more like an ’80s teen movie than a ’90s one despite the music and fashion in the film. It just has that ’80s vibe to it and it’s easy to tell that the filmmakers were inspired by those movies and drawing from them.
That being said, this kind of feels like the last film of that subgenre of comedy. Sure, there were others after this but none of them are all that memorable, except for Not Another Teen Movie, which was a parody of this subgenre and kind of exposed all the tropes, making it hard to follow with another picture of this type.
In the end, the boy gets the girl and we leave these characters in a pretty positive way. Granted, the jock’s future isn’t all that promising but he went from dick to nice guy back to dick and well… karma is a bitch.
Rating: 6.25/10 Pairs well with: other teen comedies, specifically of the ’80s and ’90s.
Release Date: February 6th, 1998 Directed by: John Landis Written by: Dan Aykroyd, John Landis Music by: Paul Shaffer, various Cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, B.B. King, The Blues Brothers Band, Erykah Badu, Blues Traveler, Eric Clapton, Clarence Clemons, Bo Diddley, Issac Hayes, Dr. John, Lou Rawls, Paul Shaffer, Travis Tritt, Jimmie Vaughan, Steve Winwood, Kathleen Freeman, Frank Oz, Steve Lawrence, Jeff Morris, Nia Peeples, Darrell Hammond, Max Landis
Universal Pictures, 123 Minutes
“Listen, Willie, you gotta understand. Those goons are orphan remnants of the post-perestroika Soviet secret police apparatus, which, until 1991, carried out its twisted interpretation of the original well-intentioned Marxist-Leninist doctrine vis-a-vis state security, which was massively corrupted by Lavrentiy Beria in the ’30s. Of course, once a mass populace is coerced into such behavior as a permanent condition, a radical didactic, dialectic shift, such as glasnost, produces guys like these:…” – Elwood Blues
I never wanted to see this movie.
For one, the first one was perfect and should have been left alone. Especially, after the death of John Belushi. Had he not passed away at a young age and then wanted to do a sequel, I probably would’ve been fine with that. Something just seemed grossly inappropriate about this film even being made but Hollywood has no morals, shame or respect for anything so I can’t say that this movie’s existence didn’t surprise me.
I figured that I’d give it a fair shot, though. Mainly, I wanted to review it and because maybe I was initially too harsh on this and it’s possible that it might be a nice tribute to Belushi.
Well, I wouldn’t call it nice or even good, really. Now it’s not as terrible as other people have led me to believe, over the years, but it’s kind of a pointless movie.
The reason why it’s pointless is that it takes all of the famous beats of the original film and just reuses them… poorly. It’s like Dan Aykroyd and John Landis dusted off the script to the original, changed some character and location names, moved some scenes out of sequence and then tried to do some clever modifications. Unfortunately, these tricks were really transparent and what we’re left with is a lame, terribly derivative picture that doesn’t have a reason to exist. Well, except for maybe one reason.
That reason is the music itself. I know that Aykroyd and Landis love the blues and they, at the very least, were able to create some solid musical sequences that I enjoyed. Now none of them are as iconic as the ones from the original movie but these sequences are where you can see that the creatives involved in the movie were really trying their damnedest to make this something special.
So, I can’t knock the musical parts but if the threads holding these sequences together is made of shit material, well, the semi-attractive tapestry is just going to fall apart. And sadly, that’s what happens with this movie.
In the end, I don’t hate this but I doubt I’ll ever watch it again.
Rating: 5/10 Pairs well with: its far superior predecessor and other John Landis comedies.
Original Run: February 7th, 1998 – May 16th, 1998 Created by: Larry Brody Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Silver Surfer by Jack Kirby Music by: Shuki Levy Cast: Paul Essiembre, Camilla Scott, Colin Fox
This show came out in a time when I was way more interested in chasing girls than watching Saturday morning cartoons. Also, I was probably really hung over on Saturday mornings in 1998. Plus, this series was really short-lived that I didn’t even know it existed until years later.
I binged watched it online in an afternoon, though, as I wanted to see if it was as good as some of the other ’90s Marvel cartoons that were on Fox and existed as part of that X-Men ’92 animated Marvel canon.
I think that this is pretty decent but it didn’t pull me in like the X-Men or Spider-Man cartoons of the same era. Also, it relied heavily on CGI and with that, gave us a weird mix of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation with 3D CGI graphics. It’s not terrible, visually, but it’s a bit jarring at times and the two styles have never really worked together for me. Also, the CGI stuff looks really cheap, which is probably just because of the time when this was made, as CGI animation wasn’t as refined as it would become.
This is similar to the other shows it shares a universe with, as it adapts the comic book stories but takes tremendous liberties with the material due to the length of the episodes and trying to get the franchise off of the ground with lots of characters as quickly as possible. Considering that everything is condensed down to just 13 episodes, I’m okay with it.
I really liked the three-part origin episodes more than the rest of the series but it was cool seeing what characters they started to sprinkle in and a second season, had it been made, could’ve been an improvement with a much larger universe to explore and a richer mythos.
All in all, this was a fun way to waste a Sunday afternoon. It’s hard to tell what this could’ve been due to it not surviving a short, first season.
Rating: 6.25/10 Pairs well with: other Marvel animated shows from the ’90s.
Release Date: October 23rd, 1998 Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson Written by: David Webb Peoples Music by: Joel McNeely Cast: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Sean Pertwee, Connie Nielsen, Michael Chiklis, Gary Busey, Jason Issacs, Paul Dillon, Wyatt Russell
Jerry Weintraub Productions, Morgan Creek Entertainment, Warner Bros., 99 Minutes, 91 Minutes (edited)
“Brave. It means that even when you’re scared you control your emotions. You make the fear be really small and tiny.” – Sandra
I have to thank this film’s existence and Kurt Russell’s part in it for giving us Event Horizon, a far superior film and one of the greatest sci-fi/horror movies ever made. The reason being, this was supposed to be made earlier but Russell requested and extra year to get super diesel. To kill that time, Paul W.S. Anderson went off and directed the best film he’s ever made.
Plus, we still got this, which I also like quite a bit and it shares a couple of actors with 1997’s Event Horizon, the always awesome and underappreciated Sean Pertwee and Jason Issacs, who has a hell of a presence in every film he finds himself in.
In this, we also get Gary f’n Busey and Jason Scott Lee, who is the other super soldier that Kurt Russell ultimately has to face off with. Lee was also jacked as fuck in this and their big battle at the film’s climax is like swimming in Niagara Falls if the water was liquid testosterone.
Strangely, and something I didn’t know until reading up on this film before revisiting it, Soldier is an unofficial, spiritual sequel to Blade Runner. In fact, there are some Easter eggs sprinkled throughout that I didn’t catch the first time I saw this in the theater back in ’98.
The reason for this is that this film’s writer, David Webb Peoples, was one of the writers on Blade Runner, so he sprinkled some things in to tie it back to that legendary movie (and the original Philip K. Dick story). I guess I’ll always think of it as Blade Runner 1.5 from now on.
Anyway, the story sees an old super soldier get dumped like trash on a trash planet. He soon discovers a discarded civilization there and has to fight to protect them, as the government that threw him away brings war to their doorstep. With that, they bring their updated, newer super soldier model, which Kurt Russell has to face, testing his mettle and proving that sometimes newer isn’t better.
While this film has some apparent budgetary limitations, everything still looks pretty damn good for the time. I also really like the story and think it’s something that’s relatable to most people. Especially those of us that have lived a little while and may feel like changing times and younger blood may try and push us out of our spots, specifically in a professional setting.
Soldier is just a good, balls to the wall, popcorn movie. It’s the type of great manly man film that we’re not allowed to have anymore. Sure, it’s far from perfect and there are many movies that hit similar notes and do it better but this is still an awesome way to spend ninety-nine minutes.
Rating: 6.75/10 Pairs well with: other sci-fi action films of the ’80s and ’90s like Enemy Mine, Stargate, Escape From L.A., Event Horizon, etc.
Release Date: December 4th, 1998 Directed by: Gus Van Sant Written by: Joseph Stefano Based on:Psycho by Robert Bloch Music by: Bernard Herrman, Danny Elfman (adapting), Steve Bartek (adapting) Cast: Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Anne Heche, Robert Forster, Philip Baker Hall, Anne Haney, Rance Howard, Chad Everett, Rita Wilson, James Remar, James LeGros, Mike “Flea” Balzary, Gus Van Sant (cameo)
“A boy’s best friend is his mother.” – Norman Bates
If you ever thought that a shot-for-shot remake of a masterpiece with added gore and vibrant color was a good idea, you’re in luck because this motion picture exists!
If you’d rather see someone take old material and give it new life and a fresh perspective, well… don’t watch this motion picture.
It’s baffling to me that the director, Gus Van Sant, came right off of the critically acclaimed and multiple award winning Good Will Hunting and churned out this pointless, vapid turd.
I’ll be honest, I never wanted to see this film because the original Alfred Hitchcock classic is damn near perfect. However, it’s the only Psycho-related thing that I haven’t watched and reviewed. Sadly, it makes the worst of the sequels and re-imaginings look like classics by comparison. Hell, even the strange Bates Motel TV movie from the ’80s is much better than this.
What’s weird is that the acting actually isn’t bad, it’s just that this uses the same script and only really alters it to feature some extra violence and to update it due to technology changing from 1960 to 1998. The problem with that, is that this feels more like the actors trying to emulate what came before with just a little bit of their own flourish added to it. But I can’t really say that it’s their fault, as how can one not be influenced by the great performances that already turned this same script into a real cinematic classic?
As a film, this is embarrassing. I feel bad for everyone involved in it and I just don’t understand why this was made and who thought it’d be a good idea. Some of the sequels and other takes on the material were good. It would’ve been a lot cooler to see a new take on the story, as opposed to just making it in color, more violent and more modern.
Eh, whatever… fuck this movie.
But I guess it’s worth checking out if you’ve ever wanted to see Vince Vaughn fap.
Rating: 2/10 Pairs well with: spoiled milk and stale Zebra Cakes.
Release Date: May 18th, 1998 (New York City premiere) Directed by: Roland Emmerich Written by: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio Based on:Godzilla by Toho Music by: David Arnold Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer, Doug Savant, Vicki Lewis, Richard Gant, Nancy Cartwright, Frank Welker (voice)
Centropolis Film Productions, Fried Films, Independent Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Toho Co. Ltd., 139 Minutes
“What the hell’s the matter with you people? You’ve caused more damage than that goddamn thing did!” – Mayor Ebert
Yes, Mayor Ebert… you’ve got a fucking point, as most of the actual destruction in this movie is committed by the moronic military and not the giant monster.
I’m not sure if that’s because Roland Emmerich wanted to paint the military and the government as incompetent assholes or because he’s just a shitty director that didn’t have the talent to replicate the success of Independence Day. But his first big mistake was making this story’s heroes the absolute antithesis of those from that much better movie.
Whatever the reason though, this movie is so fucking stupid that it’s painful to watch, which is why I have never actually sat down and watched this in its entirety in one sitting. Sure, I’ve seen the whole film in increments thanks to cable television but as a lifelong Godzilla fan, I had no urge to see this in the theater when it came out and all the footage and sequences I’ve seen over the years has only solidified my disdain for this big budget kaiju-sized abortion.
Many people have claimed that this isn’t a true Godzilla film and that it is the worst one ever made. Those people aren’t wrong, as I’d rather be stuck in a room for 24 hours being forced to watch Godzilla’s Revenge, over and over, than have to watch this film ever again.
It’s completely incompetent from top-to-bottom with brainless characters, impressively bad dialogue and a story that feels like it was freestyled from the mind of a child playing with kaiju toys in the bathtub.
There is no traditional three act structure and this is just a string of sequences where some of them feel like they don’t even fit within the same movie. It also gets so far away from the core of what Godzilla is that it truly isn’t a Godzilla movie, it’s some sort of generic kaiju flick trying to borrow more from Jurassic Park than its own namesake.
Had this not been given the Godzilla name and branding, it may have been more palatable but there is nothing about this that can win over the fans they assumed they’d lure in just by using the name of the world’s most famous giant monster. While that may have been a run-on sentence, 1998’s Godzilla was a run-on movie.
About two-thirds of the way into the film they “kill” Godzilla, after destroying half of Manhattan. Then suddenly we’re sucked into a different movie where baby Godzillas are chasing the heroes idiots through Madison Square Garden like an army of velociraptors in a cheap attempt at trying to one-up the far superior Jurassic Park movies. Once the babies are killed, Godzilla miraculously rises from the ashes like, “Fuck you, hoes! Ain’t dead!” It’s a clusterfuck that shows that Roland Emmerich doesn’t have time for any sort of traditional narrative structure. And no, that’s not an artistic choice it’s just the incompetence of a moron that cares more about mass destruction than actually making cinematic art.
I haven’t even talked about the special effects yet, which are a mixed bag but mostly shit. Where practical effects are used, things actually look quite good but where the film employs CGI, it looks terrible even for 1998. Hell, this movie came out two years after Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day and it looks significantly cheaper than that film. This is really where big studios started to rely on CGI too much and it killed the immersion into the cinematic world onscreen. I never feel that way when watching Independence Day or Jurassic Park but here, it’s fucking distracting.
The action sequences with dozens of Apache helicopters flying through the canyon-like streets of New York City like swarms of insects just look cartoonish and buffonish. In fact, all these big action sequences between the military and Godzilla look more like a video game than a motion picture. Maybe modern HD makes it look worse than it did in 1998 but the digital flaws are really apparent and it looks like the studio cut corners in post-production or just rushed this out too soon.
Based off of the final product, Roland Emmerich could’ve just invented his own kaiju creature. But I guess less people would’ve gone to see that, so bastardizing something beloved was the easiest route to go when you can’t actually rely on talent.
Rating: 3/10 Pairs well with: other Roland Emmerich schlock that cost way too much to make.
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