o you think you’re a 90s fan? OK, Jar Jar Binks, can you handle this? It’s I Love the 90s, and this is 1999! The flicks, the fashions, the trends, the TV, the tunes—a totally awesome year that brought us these burning questions:
What kind of history lesson was Woodstock ’99 teaching the kids?
Christina Adkison: Message of Woodstock ’69: Let’s fuck everyone. Message of Woodstock ’99: Let’s fuck over everyone by setting shit on fire.
And what exactly was life like before Napster?
Steve Lichtenstein: “So wait wait wait wait…let me get this straight. I can “download” the Malkmus solo album before it comes out and “Buffalo Stance” and put them both on the same CD? Sweet fucking Christ, it’s all over.”
Because you still love the 90s, because you still think that “waaasuuuuuuuup” is the funniest thing ever, admit it—this is 1999!
*** Fight Club*** TLC*** Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?*** Being John Malkovich***
*** Pokemon*** Latin Pop Explosion*** Miss Cleo***
*** Tom Green*** American Beauty*** Kid Rock***
*** Napster*** Eyes Wide Shut*** Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)***
*** The Blair Witch Project*** Moby*** American Pie*** Soft Drink Slogans***
*** You Get What You Give*** Family Guy*** The Girls of Teen Pop***
*** The Matrix*** Woodstock 99***
*** Star Wars*** Pearl Jam's Last Kiss***
Brad Shoup: I want you to hit me as hard as you can.
Adrien Begrand: Fight Club is the ultimate grower--after seeing this in the theater, I didn't know what I just saw. Seeing it on video six months later, I started to get it. After buying the DVD, it hit me just how great this film is.
Brad Shoup: For universities nationwide, Fight Club is to films what Bob Marley's Legend is to music; a lot of fun, a jumping-off point for some deeper issues, and not nearly as good as everyone - and I mean everyone - says it is.
Ken Munson: Sure, Fight Club had an offputting amount of mindless violence and a lot of questionable philosophical notions. But it also had Edward Norton beating the fuck out of himself, and you can’t beat that with a bat.
Brad Shoup: The movie made feints toward some meaningful topics, like the crisis of manhood and the legitimacy of violent methods to achieve change, but in the end, it was enough to say "this world is dirt" and have guys hitting each other.
Ben Woolhead: Fight Club? *holds moistened sponge to split and bloodied eyebrow* Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t talk about it.
Christina Adkison: First rule about Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule about Fight Club: You do NOT talk about Fight Club.
Ken Munson: As a big brother, I know full well the joys of beating someone up. But damn if you’re gonna get me if to give away my stuff to join your stupid little club. I can beat people up on my own time.
Brad Shoup: What single guy lives in an Ikea wet dream? You need outside help to get that far gone.
Ben Woolhead: By the way, selling the fat extracted by liposuction from obese body-conscious individuals back to them as soap – clever. Using that same soap as an explosive in a campaign of terror – genius.
Ian Mathers: Memo to all the idiots starting “fight clubs” or calling the movie fascist, though: No, see, Brad Pitt is the bad guy. I can’t believe some people missed this.
Adrien Begrand: And no, I didn't see the twist coming.
Ian Mathers: I’m horrible at seeing twists coming a lot of the time, and in this case I figured it out about 3 seconds before Edward Norton did.
Brad Shoup: The twist was cool up until Edward Norton shot himself in the mouth and ended up with just a speech impediment, while Pitt folded like an accordion.
Christina Adkison: Edward Norton was Brad Pitt? Yeah, right. Edward Norton WISHES he was Brad Pitt! And if Brad Pitt was your alter ego, why in GOD’S NAME would you SHOOT him?
Ian Mathers: Edward Norton was really good in this movie, and Brad Pitt was pretty decent too. But the best acting in the movie? Helena Bonham Carter. Seriously.
Adrien Begrand: Forget Brad and Ed...Helena Bonham Carter steals the movie. Far and away the skankiest lady to ever grace the screen. She's filthy, crude, and as subtle as sandpaper, but you can't take your eyes off her.
Ian Mathers: “Don’t worry, it’s not a threat to you” = best line about a dildo, ever.
Brad Shoup: Also, this is the movie that broke the Pixies to an even wider audience. God bless thee Pixies, but Fincher made 'em mainstream.
Adrien Begrand: David Fincher used to direct music videos, and the way he uses The Pixies' "Where is My Mind?" as a musical backdrop for the end of the world is impossible to forget. Fincher should get royalties for turning on a new generation to the greatness of The Pixies.
Ian Mathers: Yeah, it’s a bit gimmicky, but I like Fincher, I like Norton, I like Pahalniuk and this has held up to repeated viewing surprisingly well.
Brad Shoup: I mean, the cult around Palahniuk is beyond me. The #1 rule of Fight Club really is "Don't make fun of Fight Club".
Michael Heumann: Frankly, this film does more to explain the logic behind Al Quaeda's actions than book or news program I've encountered.
Ben Woolhead: Not as good as the book – but hey, you already knew that.
Adrien Begrand: A great combination of 1990s culture jamming, social satire, lunkheaded male bonding, and really cool music. This movie worked better than anything Adbusters ever did. It still boggles the mind how such a middling novelist as Chuck Palahniuk was capable of a story so perceptive.
Ken Munson: I liked this movie, but I would severely distrust anyone who told me that this was one of their favorite movies.
Ken Munson: Scrub (n): A guy who thinks he’s fly. See also: buster.
Andrew Unterberger: In ’99, the socially conscious TLC of “Waterfalls” was ditched in favor of T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili getting all Destiny’s Child on our asses. And thus, “No Scrubs”.
Sam Bloch: I tried to act like I was down with the black kids at my school. "No, dude. You know what song’s really awesome?"
Christina Adkison: Scrubs are defined as such: guys who can’t get no love from me.
Brad Shoup: If a scrub really is a man who can't get no love from TLC... what is that... prisoners? Underage boys? People who like real R&B;?
Ian Mathers: If by "scrub" you mean poor then yeah, guilty as charged. What, you think records buy themselves?
Ken Munson: Yeah, I have a feeling that I don’t like this song because this is when I knew for sure I didn’t have a chance with any of them.
Ian Mathers: Part of me thinks it's a little harsh of the TLC girls to just issue the blanket statement that they "don't want no scrubs", but wait! That's a double negative! Us men of modest means do have a chance after all.
Andrew Unterberger: I’m not sure exactly what this all had to do with the bizarre futuristic sets and ass-grabbing going on in the video, though.
Ian Mathers: The video was kind of cool in that it had nothing to do with the song - just lots of "futuristic" clothing and backgrounds and ramping jumping and grabbing. I'm sure we can all get behind that.
Andrew Unterberger: “No Scrubs” does deserve points for inspiring one of the only noteworthy “answer records” of recent years, though, when Sporty Thievez responded with “No Pigeons”.
Brad Shoup: Did someone say "No Pigeons"? Oh man, it's been a while. "Yes, giiiiirl, I'm talking to you..." Blew TLC out of the water.
"I wonder how you get hearts
In dirty Victoria draws with the skidmarks
Uh, ya flat ass gets enough laughs
Take it to the salon, pluck ya mustache."
Ian Mathers: I haven't heard the answer song, but I can say from growing up on a lake that pigeons got nothing on sea gulls.
Ken Munson: I always felt that this was a huge step down from their Crazysexycool days. They were all about sex in ’95, and then all of a sudden they were all about not sex. And I can’t get behind that.
Joe Niemczyk: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? gave me a chance to prove that my trivia skills *were* indeed, just as important as a college education. Who cares about speech class? I know where Lake Baikal is *and* I can put those Michael Jackson albums in the correct order, starting with the most recent.
Ben Woolhead: “Greed is good – again!”. Enough of the 80s revival already!
Joe Niemczyk: You can blame the enduring popularity of reality shows on Survivor, but Millionaire was just as responsible for fostering greed and competition back into prime time. And droning, new age music and shiny ties too.
Andrew Unterberger: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? marked the end of the game show as a mere entertaining trifle and the beginning of the game show as a disturbing, voyeuristic look into the black heart of humanity.
Ben Woolhead: It’s the sign of a debased quiz show when the focus is purely on the magnitude of the prize money rather than on the sheer unquantifiable kudos of flaunting an aptitude for general knowledge on national TV.
Brad Shoup: Up to the first $500 or so (that's £500 in United Kingdom money), the questions were nursery-school easy. Regis should've just handed out $500 in cash if the show was running late.
Ken Munson: It was the simple questions that sucked you in. “What color is a stop sign?” I know that! I could be a millionaire! “What emperor ruled Vietnam between 1558 and 1613?” Uh… poll the audience?
Adrien Begrand: Oh man, was it painful to see so many people stumble through so many ridiculously easy 2,000 dollar questions.
Ian Mathers: Some of the contestants lost on what seemed to me like painfully obvious questions. But who’s to say we wouldn’t all do the same?
Brad Shoup: The beauty of this show was the individual drama. Once you got past the Fastest Finger contest, it was just you and the questions. Regis was a master at giving his contestants time to think, but he also reined them in if they were just stalling.
Ken Munson: Regis Philbin liked fucking with the contestant’s heads a little too much, honestly.
Ian Mathers: “Is that your final answer” treads the fine line between giving the contestant a chance to save their own ass, and outright psychological warfare. Usually closer to the latter, mind you.
Joe Niemczyk: There was a six-month period beginning in late 1999 where you couldn’t respond to a single question without some smart ass asking you “is that your final answer?”
Sam Bloch: Yeah, okay, I used to say it all the time. It’s not like you didn’t, either.
Joe Niemczyk: Unfortunately the only way to deal with this annoyance was to either tell the person to piss off, or to play along. “Hmmmm, I think I’ll ask the audience!” Laughter would ensue. Thousands of miles away, terrorists continued plotting away against us.
Adrien Begrand: This show was the perfect example of American television beating a novel idea to death.
Christina Adkison: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? began as a show that aired once a week. It then increased in weekly showings so much that it became the commercial breaks between the quarters of football games.
Ken Munson: Right, this is the show that taught me that television executives are retarded. People love that millionaire show? Then they’ll love it four hours every single day of the week! I smell Nielsens!
Christina Adkison: I mean seriously, you already had to put up with Regis five times a week because of his morning show…did you really want to see him up to twelve times a week? That’s too much for even his wife to stomach.
Brad Shoup: When audiences got sick of Millionaire (as audiences are wont to do with television shows), they had nothing to fill the time slots. Now I hear they've got a show about menopausal moms that's doing all right.
Ian Mathers: The British version is better, anyway.
Michael Heumann: I think this show was Britain's revenge on the US for all those Will & Grace episodes
Kareem Estefan: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had an irritating host, boring contestants, and wholly uninteresting questions. Give me The Weakest Link any day.
Brad Shoup: Anne Robinson and Regis Philbin. Now that's a buddy comedy that shockingly went unmade.
Ken Munson: I don’t usually like weirdness for weirdness’s sake, but Being John Malkovich was AWESOME.
Brad Shoup: Being John Malkovich and Adaptation were a mindblowing two-fer from Jonze and Kaufman. Who else can put the likes of Nick Cage, Cameron Diaz, Meryl Streep, and John Cusack through their metaphysical paces?
Ben Woolhead: Amazing it got Hollywood’s backing in the first place – unlike the plots of, say, Titanic or Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, the concept of a struggling puppeteer who inadvertently discovers a portal into the head of a famous actor is not the sort which immediately leaps out as having mass box office appeal and huge profit potential.
Adrien Begrand: If the line, "Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economical climate," doesn't make you laugh immediately, then pack it in. You will hate the rest of the movie.
Andrew Unterberger: Even the casting of this movie is all fucked up. Eternally sympathetic nice guy John Cusack plays a pathetic, obsessive loser, the occasionally whiny but always good-spirited Catherine Keener plays a manipulative, conniving bitch of Melrose proportions, and Cameron Diaz plays someone…well, unattractive.
Ian Mathers: Ah, the movie that gave me a crush on Catherine Keener.
Adrien Begrand: How awesome is Catherine Keener? A great indie film actress for years, and she momentarily hit the big time, thanks to a killer, femme fatale performance.
Ian Mathers: Yes, she was evil. And?
Brad Shoup: Catherine Keener was bad news. The puppet metaphor is pretty obvious here, but man oh man did she make everyone dance. I hated her character more than is recommended for a motion picture.
Nick Southall: First up, Catherine Keener is NOT evil in this film. So she won’t sleep with the dorky puppeteer guy? Only a GEEK would think that made her evil. It makes her SENSIBLE, and it makes Being John Malkovich even better than it already is, because it doesn’t pander to GEEK-pleasing romantic myths by making the sexy girl fall for the GEEK.
Adrien Begrand: Kudos to Cameron Diaz for uglying herself up in a major way. And what a plum line she got to recite: "Don't stand in the way of my actualization as a man."
Brad Shoup: Ah, Cameron Diaz in a cage. Should have been hotter, but she was frizzed beyond all recognition.
Ben Woolhead: Reassuring to know that Cameron Diaz has bad hair days just like everyone else.
Michael Heumann: I didn't realize Cameron Diaz was in the film until I read the credits. Well done, Mr. Spike!
Ken Munson: Cameron Diaz made herself so hideously ugly in that movie, that I’m really surprised that she didn’t get an Oscar out of it. The Academy loves that shit.
Adrien Begrand: What a good sport Malkovich was, too. He lampoons himself brilliantly.
Brad Shoup: In its own way, Malkovich playing himself as a tool was brave.
Ken Munson: I understand John Malkovich had to be strongly persuaded to sign onto that movie. I’m not sure why you’d have to be persuaded to be in a movie about everyone paying money just for the privelege of being you.
Ben Woolhead: The freakiest scene, without a doubt, is the one when Malkovich goes into his own head and finds himself in the room full of Malkovichs
Adrien Begrand: The part where Malkovich goes inside his own head could very well the most demented thing Spike Jonze has ever done.
Ken Munson: Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. Malkovich.
Ian Mathers: The concept of being in Malkovich’s head for fifteen minutes is one that terrifies me, but I don’t know if I could say why.
Brad Shoup: If I had John Malkovich for 15 minutes, I'd pick a fight with someone. It'd be like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
Steve Lichtenstein: It was fascinating and all, but if I find out sometime down the road that they had considered going inside like, Latoya Jackson, or Charles Nelson Reilly, I’ll feel betrayed again by the Hollywood machine.
Ben Woolhead: A stunningly weird and original movie – a complete headfuck, but in a good way.
Adrien Begrand: One of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I adore this film.
Nick Southall: Anyone who dislikes this film is probably evil.
Ken Munson: Oh Jesus, the Pokemon.
Adrien Begrand: There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more annoying than tacky, cheaply-made anime.
Ken Munson: Because of all the little rugrats running around in my family, my house was FLOODED with Pokemon cards. I couldn’t walk into a room without stepping on a pile of Pokemon cards. I was picking Pokemon cards out of my food. Every once in a while even now, the vacuum cleaner will get clogged on a hidden, forgotten pile of Pokemon cards.
Christina Adkison: Pokemon is an abbreviation for Pocket Monster which is Japanese for Total Financial Drain on the American Economy.
Brad Shoup: It was just ruthless the way Pokemon the show and Pokemon the movies existed to push card product.
Adrien Begrand: The shows were nothing more than half hour infomercials to get kids to buy those cards. This was some truly evil marketing genius at work.
Christina Adkison: The creators of Pokemon were brilliant. They only had to think of only like seven original Pokemon characters and then make them evolve into 600 slight differentiations each. Whoa.
Brad Shoup: Pikachu. What is this chittering, angular turd, and how did it invade my cultural consciousness?
Joe Niemczyk: These things were pretty cute. Then they opened their mouth and started *talking*, and suddenly you wanted Tetsuo from Akira to come along and squeeze their insides out. And we wonder why anime is still stuck in the late night ghetto of cable TV.
Brad Shoup: Brad Brad Brad. Brad? Brad Brad Brad Brad!
Joe Niemczyk: Only occasionally would I ever catch the show, and only out of morbid curiosity. I couldn’t get into it, but then again I wasn’t eleven years old or totally strung up on hash. Now Digimon, on the other hand, yeah, that was the shit.
Steve Lichtenstein: This was one of those enormous cultural things I just completely slept through. Did they fight crime?
Brad Shoup: I know that you have to control monsters, and train them to do things. Am I right?
Ian Mathers: No younger sibling to get me into this stuff, and all of us were still playing Magic anyway. Completely passed me by, except for the occasional bored afternoon viewing of the cartoon which was better than Dragonball Z. That’s the best I can say for it.
Ken Munson: Compared with the mindless, absolutely boring violence of Dragonball Z, I didn’t mind my little brother watching Pokemon, which at least knew how cheesy it was and played it up. With this mind, I didn’t have any problems taking my younger bro to the Pokemon movie. I consider this one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life.
Ian Mathers: I remember going to the first movie one night with my friend Josh because it was the only thing showing in town and we were incredibly bored and sans car. The bit at the end where Ash dies? God help us, we laughed. We were laughing so hard we nearly didn’t outrun the mob of eight-year-olds intent on flaying us alive.
Brad Shoup: At least I didn't see many adults getting into this. Finally, the generation gap was reclaimed by Japan.
Michaeul Heumann: I'm grateful for Pokemon simply because it inspired one of the greatest South Park episodes ever: "Chinpokomon."
Matt Chesnut: The South Park spoof was, needless to say, brilliant. The Japanese subliminally train American children to bomb Pearl Harbor using their Chinpokomon toys. Their plan is foiled once the parents of South Park start pretending to like the toys, thus rendering them uncool and saving Pearl Harbor from another attack.
Michael Heumann: "We cannot achieve so much with such small penis, but you American! Wow, penis so big, so big penis."
Joe Niemczyk: Thanks to three years of playing Super Smash Brothers Melee, I now know the names of at least 50 Pokemon. Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Squirtle, Snorlax, Charizard... and I’m still single! Can you believe it?
Ben Woolhead: Who thought the Latin pop explosion was a good idea? Did we learn NOTHING from the 80s experience of Gloria Estefan?
Ken Munson: I was tired of the Latin pop movement before it began. It's not that the music was bad, because it wasn't really awful mostly, but it wasn't much good either, and it got RAMMED down everyone's throats pretty hard.
Christina Adkison: The Latin Pop stars had songs with extremely catchy music and irresistible dance beats. However, their lyrics proved that they don’t have the firmest grasp of the English language. Or if they do, then God help them.
Brad Shoup: The Latin Pop explosion was really only like four songs, and one of those is Latino only because the singer's last name was Lopez.
Adrien Begrand: Blame the rest of the world for the Latin pop craze. Ricky Martin was insanely popular in Europe...he did that World Cup 98 theme song, remember.
Brad Shoup: Sometime in 1998, I found myself watching Univision, as was my wont. I saw a dynamic young man with really good posture singing a stirring little anthem called "La Copa De Vida". "Hm," I thought, "this fellow may be going places." What does this prove? That I discovered Ricky Martin, fools. Me!
Ken Munson: Ricky Martin got the most publicity from the movement. Every mainstream music outlet was going on and on about Ricky's eyes, his hips, his dance moves, blahdeeblah, but honestly, there was just nothing to the guy. He was boring.
Matt Chesnut: “Nuh nuh nuh something something la la livin la vida loca!”
Andrew Unterberger: Martin gets points for having a borderline S&M-themed; video and rhyming “loca” with “mocha” (the color, no less!) but besides that I don’t’ think he was worth the musical breakthrough of Jennifer Lopez.
Adrien Begrand: J Lo's first single was ho horrifically awful, that I thought her musical career would bomb for sure. Unfortunately for us all, the exact opposite happened.
Ian Mathers: I actually liked Jennifer Lopez when I saw her in Out Of Sight. It's really all been downhill from there.
Adrien Begrand: Can you remember when Jennifer Lopez was a pretty good actress, like in Blood & Wine and Out of Sight? Hard to do, isn't it?
Ken Munson: Jennifer Lopez was the worst of the bunch. An actress with no musical experience, no singing range and no business singing, making bland R&B;, and her first video is about a bunch of people admiring her and/or being jealous of her on the Internet and on TV. And the narcissism was only to get worse.
Christina Adkison: Jennifer Lopez cannot sing or act or walk without jiggling so much she causes shock waves. She needs to just die.
Ben Woolhead: Absolutely everything I know and have heard or read about Jennifer Lopez leads me to believe she is a despicable human being.
Christina Adkison: We should relish this time because at least Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were not married yet. Now we have the awful fear that they may make their crappy music together! (shudder)
Ken Munson: Marc Anthony had my respect for saying out loud that the Latin pop explosion wasn't connected with anything really "Latin." He had my disrespect for making shitty music.
Christina Adkison: I think the most memorable person from the Latin Pop explosion was Enrique Iglesias’ mole.
Brad Shoup: Wasn't Enrique hot? Couldn't you just wake up to that lean he-tiger handing you breakfast on a tray in your three-duvet king-sized bed? Ladies, am I right?
Christina Adkison: I guess if I had to pick a favorite Latin pop star it would Enrique….but that’s like picking a favorite Michael Bolton song. No matter which one you pick, it’s just marginally less bad and bland than the others.
Brad Shoup: Even Christina Aguilera, who bows to no trend, released a Spanish-language rehash of her debut. ¡Imaginate!
Adrien Begrand: Ugh, and that Santana album...talk about awful.
Andrew Unterberger: Yeah, this was the year where Santana teamed up with a bunch of relatively uninteresting modern artists and was rewarded with just about every Grammy imaginary for his efforts.
Ken Munson: I remember watching the "Smooth" video over and over again, because there were hot girls dancing for Santana. That's my sum memory of Santana's huge comeback. I did buy Supernatural, which won Carlos all those Grammys; I cannot recall really any of the songs on it besides "Smooth."
Adrien Begrand: It was a good idea, though. Let the kids do most of the work, and then take all the credit.
Ian Mathers: Oh, and Satana isn't "Latin pop". It's rewarmed hippy wankness.
Steve Lichtenstein: What’s surprising is that the makers of delicious hot, medium, and mild salsa didn’t take advantage of this music explosion to peddle their tomato-based condip-ment. Alas, salsa remains relatively scarce and unknown in the United States, where 96% of all tortilla chips are consumed dry.
Ian Mathers: Is pop inherently better or worse when made in a different language? No. These particular artists may not have lasted all that long (and in the cases of Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony, thank God), but this definitely wasn't the only time pop took on a Latin tinge - it'll probably keep happening intermittently, which is good. Pop always does well with as many sources to draw on as possible.
Andrew Unterberger: It still doesn’t hold a candle to Gerardo.
Andrew Unterberger: Towards the end of the 90s, a soothsayer of questionable origin that called herself Miss Cleo positively cornered the market on amused teenagers who were well aware they should’ve stopped watching TV and gone to sleep hours ago.
Steve Lichtenstein: I have a special place in my heart for Miss Cleo because if I somehow lapsed, she always reminded me that I should smoke pot.
Ian Mathers: Either Canada avoided this scourge, or I just don’t watch enough TV.
Andrew Unterberger: With her truly hypnotic voice and friendly looks, Miss Cleo capitalized on a nation filled with anxiety over the future, and become a truly unapproachable cultural icon for about half a year.
Brad Shoup: Miss Cleo is how Aunt Jemima would talk if corporate America got its way.
Ken Munson: My friends called Miss Cleo once. The sound of her going “I luuuUB you!” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, and has become a catchphrase among my group of friends.
Brad Shoup: Cleo didn't even answer the phones; she was a front for a crack team of psychic stallers.
Andrew Unterberger: The sound of her braying “CAAHHHHL ME NOW FOR YOUR FREE TAROT REEEADING!” still echoes in my head to this day. I would never have guessed she was misleading us about her ethnicity.
Brad Shoup: No, she wasn't even Jamaican. She was from LA. Her parents were from California and Texas.
Christina Adkison: I knew Miss Cleo was a fake when I realized that Christopher Walken had a better Jamaican accent than her.
Ken Munson: Miss Cleo’s not around anymore. You know why? Because she was SUED for FRAUD. My perception of reality was shattered.
Brad Shoup: She didn't disappear so much as the company that paid her to be their spokeswoman started getting investigated. I wonder... how come "Miss Cleo" didn't "predict" that "pickle"?
Pat Brereton: The "Why didn't Miss Cleo predict she was going to go out of business?" joke is the "MacGyver could make a bomb out of a paper clip" of the late 1990s.
Brad Shoup: HAHAHAHA OH GOOD LORD I'M FUNNY
Andrew Unterberger: I still miss dear old Cleo whenever I’m watching M2 at 3:00 on a Sunday Night. I do believe that infomercials will never again see her equal.
Ken Munson: Tom Green taught us that you can never, ever overestimate the intelligence of an MTV viewer.
Ian Mathers: Ahh, Tom Green. When he was on (and up in Canada, he’d been “on” for a few years), he could be incredibly fucking funny and riveting and even sometimes thought-provoking in a Oh my God, I can’t believe he’s doing this shit, let alone on TV!” sort of way. When he was off; there’s no sugarcoating it: He sucked.
Adrien Begrand: Green ruined Canada's great run of funny Canadian comedians.
Christina Adkison: All my male friends thoroughly enjoyed Tom Green when he debuted…of course; I was finishing middle school at the time.
Ken Munson: Tom Green was comedy at its most basic. Few comedians could have made people laugh at things they hadn’t thought were funny since first grade, but somehow he did it. There was something honestly entertaining with watching a skinny Canadian babble nonsense at pedestrians through a megaphone.
Pat Brereton: There was something immensely enjoyable in watching him do mean things to other people like his parents, his grandma, and his sidekick Glenn Humplick. And then there was that guy whose only reason for being on the show was to sit behind a hole in the set, drink water out of a mug, and laugh.
Ken Munson: I believe that people should be able to like what they like without calling them “guilty pleasures,” but Tom Green really did make you feel like an idiot.
Pat Brereton: I got a kick out of that show because it was basically a hyperactive, ADD-afflicted kid and his high school buddies screwing around in a basement.
Brad Shoup: Tom Green vexed me. I never knew when the fun ended and the gravity began. For all I knew, his cancer was a hoax, he played everything so straight.
Ken Munson: Of course, this kind of humor will only work for so long, and it doesn’t translate well to any other medium.
Adrien Begrand: How lame was Canadian hip hop in the early 90s? Tom Green was in one of the country's more popular groups. I'm not lying. "Check the O.R.! You like it so far?" My fellow Canadian writers will know what I'm talking about.
Andrew Unterberger: Even in middle school, I thought “The Bum Bum Song” was fucking awful.
Sam Bloch: I hope they don’t shoot cannon into my bum. I’ll shoot poo all over the place. Poo-poo, poo-poo. Oh who the fuck am I kidding. This song was awesome
Ian Mathers: Unfortunately, at this point he’s been off for years. It’s a shame to see him in Hollywood movies, because his own show is where he really shines. I’d still like to see Freddy Got Fingered, but that’s because I love bad movies, and I hear this one is near the top of that list.
Pat Brereton: Why Drew Barrymore married him we'll never find out, but then again she is currently being seen in public with a Stroke, so who the hell knows. Some people are just not that smart.
Ken Munson: I would be happy to never ever see Tom Green ever again, and it doesn’t look like there’s a huge fan base demanding a comeback
Adrien Begrand: Tom Green is not funny. End of story. I've said this before in previous I Love the 1990s segments, but on behalf of all Canadians, I'm really, really sorry. –Adrien Begrand
Brad Shoup: Somewhere, Andy Kaufman is looking down on Tom and smiling. And to the rest of us, he's giving the finger.
Kareem Estefan : American Beauty is probably the most moralistic, ambitious movie of the 90s. As good a movie as it is, it takes itself WAY too seriously.
Ben Woolhead: Look closer… and beneath the American white-picket-fence suburban dream you will see a whole world of dysfunction.
Brad Shoup: Was this movie made to sway the last few Academy holdouts into realizing that sometimes the suburbs have a dark underbelly to go with their cheery, empty facade? I mean, I thought we got this stuff after Catcher in the Rye.
Kareem Estefan: Director Samuel Mendes covers everything from loveless marriages to corrupt capitalists to repressed homosexuals to traumatized wives to teenage angst to neglectful parenthood to lust to self-image to marijuana use to murder to blackmail to…err, can I stop now?
Christina Adkison: This movie was a disgrace to the Oscars. This film, like so many others, is interpreted as an art film because it is just plain weird. This is not an art film. This is a BAD film.
Ken Munson: I hate this movie SO MUCH. I didn’t like Kevin Spacey any more as a self-righteous narcissist than as a spineless wimp.
Adrien Begrand: Kevin Spacey is dead-on perfect in this movie.
Pat Brereton: Kevin Spacey in the role he was born to play: a vague variation on the same smug character he's played in every single movie he's been in.
Christina Adkison: Kevin Spacey was awesome as a serial killer, but it just seems to lose it when he’s an average guy with marital problems. I was bored out of my mind.
Ian Mathers: I know people who swear this is the best American movie of the past decade, and I know people who swear it’s the worst. I’m not sure if either saw the same movie I did.
Andrew Unterberger: The first ten times I saw American Beauty, I would’ve sworn to you it was hands down the greatest movie ever made. My friends and I would watch it late at night and we would analyze every little detail for its astounding brilliance. Then things went sour, and I’m not even sure if I like it anymore.
Ian Mathers: The good: Kevin Spacey, Chris Cooper, Wes Bentley (whatever happened to him?), Annette Bening, Peter Gallagher The bad: Mena Suvari (so note-perfect as a high school bitch I just wished she’d go away), Thora Birch (cute, but honey, acting lessons!), some of the dialogue, the plot (the second time you watch it).
Andrew Unterberger: The main problem with American Beauty is that the moral code of the movie is more than a little fucked up. Every time I see it, Kevin Spacey seems less like a hero for the common man and more like an elitist, lazy asshole. Albeit an elitist, lazy asshole with a great sense of humor.
Brad Shoup: Risky decision to have Lester open the movie as a dead guy. I guess it wasn't that bad, since by the end of the film, I didn't really care about the guy anyway
Ben Woolhead: He hates his job. He feels “sedated”, like he’s lost or been drained of all his youthful enthusiasm. He regards jerking off in the shower as the high point of his day. Lester Burham is no “twisted fuck” but someone we can all empathize with.
Brad Shoup: You want to be a seeker? Divorce your wife and chase tail in Daytona. The kid's dead weight, man! I'll even let you bring the weight set.
Michael Heumann: Sorry, folks, but this is a pretentious, boring, annoying, pathetic excuse for a movie. This is not a deep film or a meaningful film or a particularly well acted or well directed film
Brad Shoup: My major problem with this movie is that everyone in it is a cartoon. Midlife-crisis husband. Upwardly-mobile prissy WASP wife. Stuck-up cheerleader. The comically uptight homophobic military dad? SECRETLY HOMOSEXUAL! WTFLOL.
Ken Munson: The “dad thinks his son is gay” subplot is so horribly written, I suspect they swiped it from an episode of Fresh Prince, except the Fresh Prince version would have more emotional impact.
Steve Lichtenstein: At last, a movie in which married, ex-military, gay-curious husbands are portrayed as what they really are: murderers.
Ken Munson: And what was with the rose petal fetish thing? God knows I have no problem with middle-aged pervert lust, but rose petals, flying out an open blouse? That's just bizarre.
Christina Adkison: People need to realize that nakedness and roses do not mix well…THORNS, PEOPLE! THORNS!
Ben Woolhead: The movie is stuffed full with scenes which leave a indelible imprint on the mind – Lester’s asparagus-chucking temper tantrum; Caroline and Buddy Kane’s sex scene – “You like being nailed by The King?” “Fuck me your Majesty!”; a rain-drenched Col Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) attempting to kiss Lester; Brad reading out Lester’s job description; and, of course, Ricky Fitts’s film of the plastic bag being blown by the wind.
Ken Munson: The guy with the video camera couldn’t stop spouting bullshit in every scene. I kept rooting for his dad to smack the shit out of him. The floating bag thing, though, honestly, I can see someone seeing beauty in that. Like, the fact that the bag was apparently caught in a tornado that kept it swirling in the same spot.
Brad Shoup: Mendes sold the bag. I bought the bag, and I will defend the inherent beauty in the bag. I don't know if it's the way the camera tracked it, or the reverence that Ricky and Jane bring to the viewing.
Kareem Estefan: If I saw a plastic bag blowing in the wind just before it started snowing, I’d first think it was really beautiful, then remember this movie and feel very, very embarrassed.
Nick Southall: A paper bag blowing in the wind is only even interesting, let alone beautiful or profound, if you are OUT OF YOUR MIND ON PSYCHOTROPICS. And Yes, I have played at being all deep and meaningful and poetic in order to get big-breasted girls to sleep with me. It works. It doesn’t mean I FEEL IT, maaaaaaaaaaaaan…
Todd Burns: My friend dressed as the bag for Halloween this year.
Kareem Estefan: American Beauty made me afraid that someday I’ll play one of my favorite CDs for a girl I like and unwittingly deliver Ricky Fitts’ speech about how “there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.” I guess he got the girl, anyway.
Ken Munson: And then at the end, when Spacey has his “redemption” and suddenly he’s all holy and wonderful, I wanted to scream out, “But he didn’t do anything!” He didn’t deserve redemption!
Ian Mathers: It’s a good movie, and honestly I’m glad it won the Oscar. I even liked the whole plastic bag thing, and I’ll admit Kevin Spacey’s closing narration gets me a little teary every time.
Adrien Begrand: One of few Oscar winners for Best Picture that truly deserves all the accolades. At last, a satire that mainstream audiences understood and embraced.
Ben Woolhead: Everything about this movie is simply superb, from the acting and the script to the music and the cinematography. The camera seems to soak up the scenes, lingering and lavishing its attention upon them.
Michael Heumann: Why everyone creams over this thing is beyond me. If you want to see a good film about the soulless alienation of modern life, then rent Office Space.
Ken Munson: And then there was Kid Rock. Only God knows why.
Ben Woolhead: Kid Rock combined the alpha male riff bluster of Limp Bizkit with the trailer trash white boy rap of Eminem. Of course he became massive.
Pat Brereton: "Kid" was part of the inexplicable Detroit Explosion of the late '90s, which also included Eminem, Jack White, and probably some new-and-improved type of car-jacking.
Brad Shoup: You just don't have enough ugly men on the pop charts these days.
Ian Mathers: Stupid, ugly, loud, obnoxious - does America really want this guy to be the "American badass"?
Christina Adkison: Kid Rock always reminded me of the creepy trailer park guy that wore a wife beater, socks, and sandals that you tried to avoid at the mall.
Kareem Estefan: Kid Rock serves as one of many disturbing reminders that what America wants in a popular figure is nonsense English and gritty chauvinism.
Ken Munson: Kid Rock should have done better with what he was given. He had this great set of influences; he could have been really groundbreaking. Instead, he was a skinny piece of white trash who made one great jock-rock anthem with “Bawitdaba” and an entire catalogue of nothing else but crap.
Pat Brereton: It's people like Kid Rock who give bare-chested, fedora-wearing, midget-exploiting rap-metallists a bad name. I'm reasonably certain that "Bawitdaba" was a low point in the 20th century, but "Cowboy" makes it a great race.
Brad Shoup: Hey, Mr. Ritchie was aces at selling himself, and he wasn't a pop canker like the ubiquitous Freddie Durst. Plus, you don't drop a better calling card than "Bawitdaba". Give the man what he's earned.
Ian Mathers: "Bawitdaba" and "Cowboy" are still the two finest songs that seem purpose-built for stripping to come out in the last decade or so. I mean, when I get in the pit I'm generally not trying to love someone (it's a bit cramped, you know?) but it works as a refrain, for whatever reason. And more songs need shoutouts to the methadone clinics, you know?
Brad Shoup: "Cowboy". You can't hate on "Cowboy". The last verse is probably the only decent rap-rock science ever dropped.
Ian Mathers: All of the Kid's ballads (and by extension Uncle Kracker's entire career) suck, though.
Ken Munson: But it’s hard for me to disrespect anyone with a midget sidekick.
Sam Bloch: And he always brought his son on stage with him! He even let him sing on a few songs. Kinda like that Will Smith song.
Brad Shoup: In Joe C., Kid Rock was trying to kick start a new trend: midget as fashion accessory. Cher had Sonny, Garfunkel had Simon, and Andre has Big Boi. Joe was just another link in that epochal chain.
Adrien Begrand: Good to see Joe C. immortalized on The Simpsons. "Please sir, don't tell my mama."
Matt Chesnut: Midgets make everything better.
Ben Woolhead: It says a lot about the guy’s musical output that he’s mostly famous for his late sidekick, Joe C, and his relationship with Pamela Anderson.
Christina Adkison: There is not a thing I like about Kid Rock, except for the paradox of his relationship with Pamela Lee. Is it possible that both of them are dating below themselves?
Pat Brereton: Was he an American bad-ass? I don't know, I'm not really sure you can be a bad-ass if you have another man's name tattooed on your arm. Who is "Paul" anyway?
Adrien Begrand: If Kid Rock did one positive thing, it was that he brought back the fun to hard rock. Everybody: "Bawitdaba da bang da dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogie said up jump the boogie!!!"
Ken Munson: The revolution wasn’t televised after all. It was downloaded.
Joe Niemczyk: One day I was poking around the school computer lab, trying to figure out how to download mp3s to my Zipdisc through some complicated file-sharing program. I came across some program that promised to make it easier, something called Napster, so I downloaded it and took it back to my dormroom. A few weeks later, I realized that just about everyone with a computer on campus was running it.
Adrien Begrand: I'll never forget how mesmerized I was when I first tried out Napster. After a lifetime of working hard to hear new music (listening to the radio, getting records from the library, exchanging tapes with friends, traveling long distances to buy albums), here was everything, there for the taking.
Pat Brereton: Me talking to roommate, second day of college: "Wait – hold on – go over that again. You mean I can download whole songs? Onto my computer?
Steve Lichtenstein: “So wait wait wait wait…let me get this straight. I can “download” the Malkmus solo album before it comes out and “Buffalo Stance” and put them both on the same CD? Sweet fucking Christ, it’s all over.”
Pat Brereton: Shit, I don't know – what would Lars Ulrich think?"
Brad Shoup: I had a 56k, and I couldn't believe that 1) people were patiently letting me download, and 2) I could find the craziest stuff online. I remember profusely and gratefully texting someone for sharing a demo of the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money". What a spazz.
Matt Chesnut: Do you know how agonizing it is to watch the download progress of a Nirvana bootleg on a 28.8?
Brad Shoup: The first song I ever downloaded was Nick Drake's "Pink Moon". Someone texted me and wanted to talk about the beauty of Nick's music. I felt like a kid chatting with a pedophile.
Ian Mathers: I wouldn’t actually use Napster until a few years later, but just the idea was cool. I hadn’t quite wrapped my head around what it meant until I went away to school and discovered I could test out albums before buying them, now that I lived in a town with a record store.
Pat Brereton: There wasn't one moment of hesitation. That was the beauty of Napster: that "really rare" Pumpkins song magically appeared on my screen in under a minute. Instant freakin' gratification.
Brad Shoup: Every file was colorcoded red yellow or green, so you knew what was the fastest connection. You could specify by bitrate, filesize, even ping, even though I still don't know what 'ping' means.
Ian Mathers: The interface was a little clunky, but only in retrospect.
Pat Brereton: Of course, it's all completely illegal, but seeing Lars Ulrich's ugly, over-enunciating mug testifying on Capitol Hill has probably been the rationalization for an entire generation of kids to use Napster and its file-sharing progeny with a conscience as pure as the driven snow.
Andrew Unterberger: Lars Ulrich’s crusade against Napster was quite possibly the peak of the band’s decade-long campaign to totally isolate every single one of their old fans. Not even “it’s just about the music, maaaaan” could excuse this one.
Matt Chesnut: When they said Napster was being shut down, it was like hearing your best friend was going to jail.
Ken Munson: I didn’t have Napster, but I did have Audiogalaxy, a truly wonderful program that I miss deeply.
Brad Shoup: Napster was a gateway drug, taking me to Audiogalaxy, then WinMX and SoulSeek. My fix of choice was Audiogalaxy, which found users with the same files and combine downloads into something ridiculously fast.
Adrien Begrand: Napster was excellent, but in subsequent years, Audiogalaxy and Soulseek perfected it.
Brad Shoup: Also, Will Robinson Sheff of Okkervil River was a staff writer at Audiogalaxy.com. Anything he recommended, I stole, something I neglected to mention when hanging with him before a Shearwater show.
Ian Mathers: I should probably get into this whole BitTorrent thing at some point.
Andrew Unterberger: Napster was recently resurrected as a pay-for-songs service, but it’s just not the same. For one thing...you have to pay for songs.
Ian Mathers: Pay? Dude, when I want to pay for music I walk down the street and walk back home again with a CD or an LP in my hand.
Joe Niemczyk: How’d it work? Well, that’s easy. You see--oh hell, I’m not Shawn Fanning. Go ask him. Wait a minute. You mean you can pay for mp3s now? Why hasn’t the RIAA tried to tell us?
Pat Brereton: In the end, Napster probably had more influence on music in terms of sales and distribution than anything ever before or since.
Joe Niemczyk: You can credit Napster with changing the way that people consume and choose music. I can credit it with allowing every guy in my dorm to compile a vast library of sitcom theme songs ready to play at full volume at any time of day.
Adrien Begrand: It's amazing how a kid can become an expert on any artist overnight now.
Ken Munson: How many of us would not be half the music geeks we are today without the mp3 revolution? Today, I can talk in depth about the latest Ted Leo release. Before mp3s, I couldn’t even name a single U2 song.
Adrien Begrand: It's kind of bittersweet, because since everything has been so readily available for the past five years, those special attachments we used to form with albums we coveted in the 90s become fewer and more further between. Now, we get a leaked album, play it until we're sick of it, and by the time it's actually in stores, it's passe, and we're on to the next leaked album.
Andrew Unterberger: I do miss the thrill of buying a new CD that simply wasn’t available anywhere else, but it’s a small price to pay for the world of music at my fingertips.
Brad Shoup: When I got to my dorm room, with its T1 connection, I knew that human interaction would have to wait. I didn't have a girlfriend until age 20, and file-sharing has to bear part of the blame.
Andrew Unterberger: Eyes Wide Shut--a fucked up end to a fucked-up career.
Joe Niemczyk: I was a total Kubrick geek in high school, and I’d been reading about this movie for years. It seemed like it was never going to actually be made, but then they started production, and viola! Almost two years later they were done.
Ian Mathers: I love Stanley Kubrick, and so I enjoyed watching Eyes Wide Shut just to luxuriate in his style for a while, but once you’ve got over that? Boooooring.
Ben Woolhead: Far too long, far too slow and far too convinced of its own meaningfulness, Kubrick’s final movie was still streets ahead of the standard multiplex fare.
Adrien Begrand: This movie was hypnotic.
Andrew Unterberger: Everyone in the movie talks very INTENSELY and very slowly. It’s fucking impossible to get through some of some scenes.
Ian Mathers: Thanks to a German Literature course at university, I actually read the book first. As always, better than the movie, mostly due to a lack of Tom Cruise.
Ben Woolhead: Part of the film’s appeal was its inspired casting – Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, whose marriage was very much on the rocks, were cast as the dysfunctional sex-obsessed couple at the centre of the action.
Andrew Unterberger: Kidman takes about five minutes to complete a sentence in this movie, and Tom Cruise just repeats everything everyone says back to them. “This is my house.” “This is…your house?” “Take off your clothes!” “Take off…my clothes?”
Joe Niemczyk: I really wish that Kubrick had picked Steve Martin instead of Cruise like he’d originally planned. Picking Cruise and Kidman turned the film into juicy meat for airhead celebrity columnists who thought they were finally gonna see an A-List Hollywood couple do it.
Christina Adkison: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are two of the sexiest people in the world and the movie is about them having sex….yet, this movie is SO uninteresting.
Nick Southall: What sex was actually present was digital! All those people in ponce masks in the stately home shagging on tables in the distance? They’re sprites! It’s like watching The Sims have sex! With masks!
Andrew Unterberger: Stanely Kubrick can’t shoot a sex scene. Just can’t do it. It’s like asking Woody Allen to shoot an action scene.
Adrien Begrand: Remember those CGI silhouettes Kubrick was forced to put in, to protect the innocent, God-fearin' eyes of American audiences?
Joe Niemczyk: You just know that (company) executives smiled when they found out Kubrick had died. Now they had a final cut to reedit and no one to stand in their way. And to think that this is one of the only celebrity deaths of the past decade that *hasn’t* been linked to foul play.
Ben Woolhead: Where was my invite to that orgy? Must have been lost in the post.
Adrien Begrand: We didn't get the fake silhouettes in Canada. You guys weren't missing much.
Ian Mathers: Also, of course, Leelee Sobieski’s creepiest role ever.
Adrien Begrand: That repeated piano note from Ligeti's "Musica Ricercata No. 2" is one of the most unnerving soundtrack pieces I have ever heard, right up there with the themes from Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, and Susperia. I loved it
Andrew Unterberger: duh-na-da-nuh-du-na….dah-nuh-duh-na-da-nuh-du-na…..
BING!!! BING!!!!! BING!!!!.
Ian Mathers: Pet peeve: Cruise walks into a bar and orders a newspaper and a “beer”. And instead of asking “what kind”, the waiter just gets him a random beer. And Cruise is happy with this. This is a bar he’s never been to before. As a beer drinker, I have to say: What the fuck?
Nick Southall: Also you can tell how much Tom and Nicole FUCKING HATED each other by this point.
Ian Mathers: Yeah, after watching this I never would have guessed Tom and Nicole would split up. Snerk.
Joe Niemczyk: No surprise when people trashed Eyes Wide Shut for being too highbrow and not smutty enough. Big surprise when they trashed the Bennifer event movie Gigli five years later for exactly the opposite reasons.
Andrew Unterberger: Say what you will about the movie, but I still think it’s great if only for the reason that it allows the word “fuck” to be the last word ever spoken in a Stanley Kubrick movie (and as a complete sentence, no less). An appropriate epitaph.
Adrien Begrand: Creepy. Very creepy. In a good way.
Andrew Unterberger: Lady and gentlemen readers of Stylusmagazine.com’s I Love 1999…if I could name one song to be without a doubt the strangest hit of the decade, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” would be…it.
Kareem Estefan: In 1999, Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo & Juliet and later Moulin Rouge) made a song out of a column by Chicago Tribune journalist Mary Schmich which had been previously misidentified as a graduation speech given by Kurt Vonnegut to the MIT Class of 1997 and cracked the Billboard charts. WTF?!?
Ben Woolhead: Surely the most unlikely hit of the year, or any year for that matter.
Adrien Begrand: How on earth did this become popular? Does anyone even remember how this thing went? Does anyone still care?
Andrew Unterberger: “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Suncreen)” found that all-too-rare middle ground between Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Primtiive Radio Gods’ “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hands”. Baz found his niche all right, and exploited the hell out of it.
Ken Munson: You know, I’ve never heard this song. Not once. Everyone talks about it, but I’ve never seen the video or heard it on the radio or anything. But I got sick of it anyway, because I’ve gotten the original speech sent to me over and over again in my email.
Steve Lichtenstein: You know what was irreverent and unexpected was when NBC’s Andrea Mitchell revamped this nonsense to reel off her own uninspiring soundbites at my college graduation. There was no infectious beat, but still, how clever and obnoxious! Thanks, precedent!
Ken Munson: The whole thing was full of advice that looked sensible, didn’t feel cliché, and yet afterward, didn’t have one bit of impact.
Andrew Unterberger: “Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.”
Ken Munson: “Sing.”
Brad Shoup: "Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft."
Andrew Unterberger: “Maybe you’ll get married, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40. Maybe you’ll dance the Funky Chicken at your 75th wedding anniversary.”
Brad Shoup: "Floss."
Ben Woolhead: Favourite bit of advice? “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And do I? No, not really, not if you don’t count getting out of bed in the morning.
Ken Munson: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” “Don’t worry about the future.” Not unreasonable, but who the hell’s life was changed by this?
Andrew Unterberger: “DO NOT READ BEAUTY MAGAZINES THEY WILL ONLY MAKE YOU FEEL UGLY.”
Brad Shoup: If Baz had actually written the song, it'd probably just say "Dance in frilly clothing" ad nauseum.
Ken Munson: The best thing we got out of this song is Chris Rock’s parody “No Sex in the Champagne Room.” Now there’s some profound advice. “Take off that silly-ass hat!”
Andrew Unterberger: “Scorpio: You’re gonna die. Capricorn: You’re gonna die. Libra: You’re gonna die twice.”
Sam Bloch: Cornbread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Andrew Unterberger: Ultimately, Baz didn’t really pave the way for the haunting-indie-dance-spoken-word-advice musical movement as some may have hoped. Still, as far as graduation themes go, it still beats “I Believe I Can Fly,” don’t’ it?
Ian Mathers: I hate sunscreen. Guess I'll get melanoma.
Andrew Unterberger: The Blair Witch Project--the little indie horror movie that could.
Sam Bloch: Blah blah cost three thousand dollars blah blah made more money than Moby blah blah how bout that Blair Witch 2 flick
Adrian Begrand: The internet marketing was genius, pure genius. In January, they had clips of the movie available online. After hearing the Sundance buzz, I downloaded them, and every single person I showed them to in the following months went, "Holy crap, I have to see this!"
Brad Shoup: I guess the movie was helped by a cool website. But the 13th Floor website had a mailing list, and no one talks about The 13th Floor any more. Except for my Usenet group alt.movies.13thfloor.donofrio.fanfic.adult.
Ian Mathers: So by the time this movie reached my home town, the buzz was in full swing. We all saw it one night, thought it was very well done but not particularly scary. We all walked home laughing and joking about it (although we all liked it and thought it was creepy). And that was that, until later that week when I had to walk home through the forest at night.
Adrien Begrand: And yes, it was scary, but not in the way many had expected.
Sam Bloch: Now, this movie actually gave me motion sickness. I threw up halfway through the movie, and to this day, whenever people mention this movie, I smell pukey popcorn. I felt like such a loser—that is, until I saw this thing on the news about the same thing happening to lots of forty-eight-year-olds
Christina Adkison: Being raised off such classics as The Exorcist, I thought that the idea of the Blair Witch was so boring. I grew up in cities, so the forest is not terrifying to me. If they had done a movie about walking the streets of Baltimore at 3 am to try to get a sandwich at 7-11, THAT would be a truly scary movie.
Ian Mathers: Like a lot of people, I think, the scariest bit was the beginning because I’d heard so much about it and kept expecting it to terrify me at any moment. Once it finally sunk in it was just a movie, it was much less scary.
Andrew Unterberger: I get scared so easily by any movie that it’s pathetic. I couldn’t go to sleep after watching the first half of Hollow Man,, for God’s sake. Yet I wasn’t disturbed in the slightest by The Blair Witch Project. Guess there’s something to be said for obviousness after all.
Ken Munson: I don’t care what anyone says, I LIKE this movie. I think there might be less hate towards it if it was better-known as a thriller film, rather than a horror film.
Joe Niemczyk: Maybe it wasn’t the scariest movie ever, but that’s because it’s not really a horror movie as much as it is a suspense movie. There’s this feeling of dread that builds up throughout the whole thing that’s a hundred times worse that watching characters sneak around houses and being scared by cats jumping out.
Adrien Begrand: The movie follows the grand tradition in horror film that says, what you don't see is much scarier than what you do. Let the audience's imaginations run wild.
Sam Bloch:But come on. You really can’t fuck with that last shot. That’s really the only scary part in the whole movie.
Ian Mathers: The ending still creeps me out. Can we not talk about it?
Nick Southall: Sadly I got to this late, and hence the hype just made it seem like a letdown. Also the reputedly scariest bit appears to be a man taking a piss against a wall. Had I seen it unannounced late at night on my own I would have probably shat myself with pure terror.
Ken Munson: No, there wasn’t any gore or special effects of anything, but it felt genuine, you know? Like, if something like this could happen, this is how it would happen, not with a crazed madman picking off people one by one, but with a creepy unknown character doing crazy shit to fuck with your mind and abducting people in the middle of the night.
Joe Niemczyk: In hindsight, a lot of people said this movie was boring. They also thought that I Know What You Did Last Summer 2 was, like, totally freaky, and She’s All That was the best movie ever.
Ian Mathers: All the hype could never be fully justified, but this was a very well done movie, with decent acting considering the circumstances and of course it returned to the principle that what you can’t see is scarier than what you can. Good job all around, shame about your careers since.
Christina Adkison: Moby was the techno-god, a.k.a. Car Commercial Music Man, of the late nineties.
Nick Southall: He’s like the ultimate affirmation of the legend of the bald, anonymous techno dude. Also, he’s a shit frontman – can’t sing, can’t dance, far too nervous (he spends all his time running off nervous energy, just look at the hyperactive bastard). How the hell did he become famous?
Adrien Begrand: Remember that brief, split second when hipsters were actually excited that the new Moby album was coming out?
Ian Mathers: Dude, I remember when Moby was uncool. The first time. Then the little Melville-descendin' muppet put out Play, which had some decent songs before they all got overexposed.
Adrien Begrand: After the dud that Animal Rights was, Play sounded like a proper follow-up to the great, timeless Everything is Wrong
Ben Woolhead: The last time I’d been exposed to Moby was at the Reading Festival in 1996, when he was touring the Animal Rights LP with the word “Fuck” emblazoned on his torso and covering rock classics like “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver” and “Paranoid”. And now here he was again, the same person, with an album awash with placid and allegedly soulful chill-out tunes. How could someone go from being so aggressive and in-your-face to being so whimpering and simpering in the space of just three years?
Sam Bloch: Play was a little boring. My dad really liked it.
Joe Niemczyk: Play might be the most inclusive album of the past 20 years. Everyone from the the TRL brats to alternative rock fans and ex-candy ravers bought it. Hell, even your mom was playing it in the car.
Brad Shoup: If Coldplay is the favorite band of people who don't care about music, then Moby's Play is their all-time album. Synth choirs: go! Field chants: go! NPR approval: that's a go, people!
Joe Niemczyk: And I swear I’m not making this up: Play was even played in my church between Sunday services. Funny how the Christians never came around to him until he included an essay denouncing fundamentalism in his liner notes.
Ken Munson: I don’t like Moby very much, but my ex-military dad has a hysterically violent reaction to him, and it’s easy to see why. He’s just such a spineless, arrogant dweeb who thinks he’s being insightful when he isn’t. Even dorks like me want to stuff him in a locker. Moby brings out the nerd-stomping bully in all of us.
Christina Adkison: It’s hard to groove to the music of a man who looks exactly like my forty-five year old English professor.
Joe Niemczyk: It was one thing to have The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy on MTV. But I don’t think anyone could have envisioned any alternate universe bizarre enough where Moby would suddenly take over radio, TV, and release a double-platinum album.
Ben Woolhead: The songs were perfectly – and, some might say, cynically – tailored to soundtracking innumerable commercials, but even if you had the good fortune or sense to evade the televisual bombardment, you still found yourself Moby’s unwitting victim every time you stepped in an elevator. The feeling I get when hearing these songs is something akin to that of being systematically and slowly drained of all my blood.
Adrien Begrand: Selling his music to commercials was a double-edged sword. It propelled Moby into the mainstream after years of being a cult fave, but it didn't take long before we all got sick of the overexposure.
Sam Bloch: There was some interview with his manager or whatever in Spin, I think, where she giddily described the sound of selling out. "We had sold all but one song off the album, and then one day, Bailey’s Irish Cream called ..."
Ken Munson: Everyone’s heard Moby’s music from all those advertisements, even if they don’t recognize it. I don’t blame him for licensing his music, but he did it like a bazillion times. It's rare that a musician can get that annoying with that little airplay.
Sam Bloch: In that same interview, it was confirmed that Moby got more ass than a toilet bowl.
Brad Shoup: As long as he was singing, I was fine with it; he has a fine untechnical monotone. When he started doing spoken word about standing on a beach and wishing your tears away, then I had a problem with Mr. Moby.
Ian Mathers: I used to like "Porcelin" and "Southside" (without Gwen Stefani) just fine, really. And he was cool! He was mainstream! Why did this never happen back when he was covering Mission Of Burma and putting out "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die"?
Brad Shoup: "Porcelain" is a great tune; it's on my all-time top 900. Even better, it doesn't make me think about buying Hyundais.
Ken Munson: The only real enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of Moby is when he was on an episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, and Space Ghost ate him. (“Crunchy!”)
Joe Niemczyk: It’s easy to forget that Play was actually a really good album. Actually, it was easy to forget that Play was even an album. Those songs were public domain, weren’t they?
Nick Southall: At the end of the day all anyone can say about Play is that it’s “quite good”. If you profess to hate it, you’re over-reacting. If you profess to love it, BUY MORE RECORDS. It may have been on a million commercials between 1999 and 2000, but where is it now?
Adrein Begrand: I still listen to Everything is Wrong; I do not listen to Play.
Ian Mathers: In all seriousness, though, Moby has been responsible for an album's worth of really great tracks. They've just never been on the same album.
Brad Shoup: Moby's all right with me. Unassuming, self-deprecating, bad teeth. I got no problems with the man. Let him do his Pure Moods III-type thing.
Ben Woolhead: Four American high school kids set out to lose their virginity before graduating. With hilarious consequences.
Brad Shoup: Titanic and Braveheart and American Pie. The trilogy of blockbusters I'm trying to avoid my entire life.
Ben Woolhead: It’s a teen movie, ergo it’s shit. It’s one which revolves around knob gags and frat-boy humour, ergo it’s really shit. And it gave the world Seann William Scott, ergo…
Ian Mathers: Full disclosure: I have seen and enjoyed all three American Pie movies. There. I admitted it.
Adrien Begrand: Not only was this brilliantly raunchy, but the characters were much more likeable than any similar movie from the 1980s.
Ian Mathers: And I even like Jason Biggs!
Ben Woolhead: This is the movie where Jason Biggs sticks his dick in a freshly-baked fruit pie. How droll.
Ken Munson: Why the hell doesn’t anyone LOCK THEIR DOORS in this movie? Three instances of people getting caught masturbating? Who the fuck doesn’t lock their door doing that shit? And for that matter, who the fuck starts molesting baked goods right in front of the kitchen window? Lord almighty, he deserved to get caught.
Michael Heumann: "You're the guy who fucked that pie!" Retire now, Jason Biggs. You'll never live that one down.
Ken Munson: One of the only funny things about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was Jason Biggs’ cameo, where he shouts “I’m the pie-fucker! I’m the pie-fucker!” And so shall you be for eternity, o fucker of pies.
Ken Munson: And how do you have sex with a pie, actually? I mean… how do you get any friction out of that? That… that just doesn’t work.
Ian Mathers: Yes, these movies were fluffy, but they were a welcome throwback to the light comedy of my halcyon days. You know, the Ernest movies and stuff. Only with boobs. And Eugene Levy!
Brad Shoup: Eugene Levy, you deserved far better than this.
Andrew Unterberger: Levy would play the most awkward and uncomfortable father figure of the whole decade had Happiness not happened first. It’s still disturbing enough to make watching his scenes virtually impossible.
Ian Mathers: Seriously though, Levy is a fucking genius and anything that gives him another fat paycheck gets points from me.
Ken Munson: I would watch a TV series based around the comic exploits of Stifler and Finch. They were all the comedy in this movie.
Ian Mathers: Also, like most of the guys I know who have ever seen Buffy, I’ll admit Alyson Hannigan might have been a small part of why I watched this. Just a little though.
Adrien Begrand: The way Alyson Hannigan inflects the ends of her sentences ("This one time? At band camp?") is exactly how every single Canadian speaks. But seriously, Tara Reid cannot act.
Ken Munson: Tara Reid is the most horrible person in this entire movie. I’m going to hold out sex with you until you can sincerely say you love me, and then I’m going to DUMP YOU a ha ha ha ha. Evil bitch.
Ben Woolhead: In 1999 Mena Suvari starred in one brilliant film. This wasn’t it.
Ian Mathers: Look, it comes to this: About as substantial as a Big Mac, but if you’re able to shut your brain off and remember high school, pretty entertaining.
Nick Southall: Yes it’s puerile. Yes it’s gross. Yes almost all the characters are hideous and punchable. Yes it appeals to a certain subsect of humanity that I’d quite happily see napalmed out of existence. Yes it’s stupid. Yes it’s really funny.
Andrew Unterberger: 1999. Good year for beverage commercials.
Christina Adkison: The entire 7-Up executive board crowded in a room to discover how to combat the deliciousness and athletic star power of Sprite. After months of starvation and brutal fist fights they come up with their one brilliant idea to save their product: offensive, yet clever, T-shirts! My god!
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours, baby.
Brad Shoup: The slogan wasn't funny. Orlando Jones was, being all cheerfully oblivious. He would've made a good British comedian.
Ian Mathers: I’ve been a huge fan of Orlando Jones since early MadTV and his great turn in Office Space. Doing his wide-eyed idiot shtick was enough to make these ads awesome. Actually, I did find the concept slightly amusing, but it was really all in the delivery.
Ken Munson: Right before 7-Up started using these commercials, they were using commercials trying to promote 7-Up as a drink for rebels against the forces who would try to get you to drink the drinks of the popular. As you can guess, they were beyond bad. I think Orlando Jones is a funny guy, but he looked like a genius of marketing after that mess.
Andrew Unterberger: “Make seven up yours, man!” “SAME TO YOU!” “SAME TO ME--you see, it’s catching on!”
Christina Adkison: If you didn’t know about the campaign, the shirts were really confusing. I mean the back that said “Up Yours” was understandable, but the front was confusing as all hell. “Make Seven”? Make Seven what? Pies? Babies??
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours was a fairly clever slogan, and I thought it was funnier than Tom Green at the time, but I’m really not sure how effective a campaign it was. If you asked me a month ago what the commercial was actually for, it’d probably take me about half a minute to reason it out.
Brad Shoup: No one drinks 7-Up. I see more Make Seven Up Yours t-shirts in a day than I drink 7-ups in a year.
Ken Munson: I had this great idea for a T-shirt once. It would be all green, and on the front in white letters it would say “Make Seven” and on the back it would say “Fuck You.”
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours sold more t-shirts, but it definitely lacked the quotable factor of the Waaasuuuuuup commercials. Which is probably a good thing.
Ben Woolhead: Wasssuuuuup? No, my friend, the word you’re looking for but clearly unable to remember is “Hello”.
Ken Munosn: All catchphrases will eventually become annoying, but “Wassup?” is the only one I can think of that was annoying by design.
Ian Mathers: I’m assuming Budweiser keeps a bunch of my friends from high school in a cage somewhere, because all of their ad campaigns back then were exactly the sort of shit we’d do. Only less dirty.
Steve Lichtenstein: If I ever needed a reason to respect the “Where’s the Beef?” lady, this commercial gave me a perfect framework: her uncanny ability with complete sentences.
Ian Mathers: This was funny the first 631 times. After that, though, it got old real quick.
Brad Shoup: The first 'Waaassuuuuuup' commercial was a watershed in beer-sponsored entertainment. The 'waaassaaabi' commercial was a travesty, a cashing-in on a noble work of pure entertainment. I would turn the labels of my Bud Light away from the TV in shame.
Christina Adkison: I will never eat wasabi again after watching these awful beer commercials.
Adrien Begrand: Those of us who still act like idiots whenever we see wasabi, raise your hands. "Wa-zaaaaaaah-beee..."
Brad Shoup: Well, it was funny when - when the guy... You know what? I hated this commercial from the get-go. I hope all the actors involved develop cirrhosis of the vocal cords.
Ian Mathers: Waaassuuuuuuup officially went too far when I started getting emails from my friends with links to old episodes of “Spider Man” cut up so it would go with the sound from the ads.
Brad Shoup: On the plus side, think of how many kids made Budweiser their illicit beer of choice. Warms the cockles.
Ken Munson: Budweiser has a superior advertising agency, but this is the one thing I’ve ever done that I simply cannot stand for. That and promoting pisswater beer, of course. Let’s see more Louie the Lizard!
Ken Munson: The New Radicals: No longer new, never once radical, but for one song, so so awesome.
Andrew Unterberger: First time I heard “You Get What You Give,” I seriously couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know songs like it still existed. I’m not sure if they ever did. “Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you!” What the fuck is this Journey shit? Do I love it or hate it? Do I care?
Ian Mathers: There is no in between: This is either what its supporters claim, one of the best pop songs ever, or what it actually is, a piece of turgid crap.
Ken Munson: This song is so great!
Nick Southall: This is actually really, really good.
Adrien Begrand: I hated that song, and I can't believe how many people still like it today. An annoying blend of Live, Happy Mondays, and Hall & Oates.
Ben Woolhead: Whatever we gave, it must have been fucking bad to have got this piece of shit in return.
Brad Shoup: If ever a song was designed to escort you through that escalator ride between Banana Republic and Wicks 'n' Sticks, it was this one.
Christina Adkison: I actually never really listened to this song….it just sort of blended into the background of the landscape as I drove with the radio on.
Steve Lichtenstein: The most exhausting use of a hook ever. More painful than six simultaneous root canals at the dentist’s office.
Ben Woolhead: Horribly, horribly chirpy – the sort of breezily upbeat pop song that makes you want to be locked in a darkened room with Godspeed! You Black Emperor or to bathe in molten Leonard Cohen LPs.
Ian Mathers: Written and performed by (based on the video and interviews at least) a massive jackass.
Nick Southall: I was convinced for months that it was a new single by The Rolling Stones, and not only that, that it was their best single in about 30 years. That it was actually some skinny indie boy with a bad hat and an inferiority complex made it even better, somehow.
Adrien Begrand: See, this is one song that might have benefited from someone like Mandy Moore singing it. Gregg Alexander was too grating.
Ken Munson: No, seriously, I love this song. The “one two three OW!!” intro. The disses to better artists. The way he tosses off his stupid hat in the video.
Andrew Unterberger: And the video—gah! It’s mind-boggling!
Ian Mathers: The video sucked - it was so corny, and of course if someone works as a mall security guard or, heaven forbid, wears a suit, we should clearly put them in cages. How progressive of Gregg Alexander.
Brad Shoup: Such a disrespect for the basic economic and law enforcement forces that govern our nation's shopping centers. As go the malls, so goes America. So goes America.
Christina Adkison: I actually have never heard the line about Beck, Courtney Love, et al. because I usually stopped listening to the song by that point.
Ian Mathers: You could kick the asses of Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Hanson or Beck, but why all together? What do they have in common? Is Gregg Alexander just randomly rhyming names while pretending he has a legitimate beef? Do bears shit in the woods?
Ken Munson: Gregg Alexander isn’t a tough looking guy, but I’m willing to bet he could take out Beck, the smallest Hanson brother, and Marilyn Manson easily. Not Courtney Love though, Courtney would tear him to pieces.
Brad Shoup: “"Come around, we’ll kick your asses"? The guy can't even bring the fight to Hanson's doorstep. Lame.
Ian Matherse: Oh, and Andy Capp wants his hat back.
Nick Southall: Wasn’t everyone going on about how he was the saviour of pop or something? Wasn’t he secretly writing every pop hit ever? Or was he a ONE HIT WONDER.
Brad Shoup: Supposedly this was the work of a young pop genius who retired rather than sully his singular musical vision. Dude, I knew Kevin Rowland, and you are no Kevin Rowland.
Andrew Unterberger: Maybe that’s why we never heard from him again—he was too busy hiding out of fear of retaliation.
Brad Shoup: If you chug soft-serve, it really really hurts your teeth. If you learn nothing from I Love the 90s, remember this.
Andrew Unterberger: We miss you, Gregg. Send a postcard or something, just let us know you’re OK.
Ian Mathers: Now, see, there are two sides to the humour of The Simpsons. There’s the warm-hearted character driven family stuff, and there’s the cold, almost nihilistic random absurdity “by the way, Middle America, we HATE YOU” stuff. These two approaches were taken up by two shows: The intermittently okay King Of The Hill got the former, while the scabrously funny and justly cancelled Family Guy got the latter.
Adrien Begrand: Family Guy: little more than a low-rent Simpsons, but when it was at its best, which is almost always, it is absolutely, deliciously vile.
Brad Shoup: The premise of Family Guy was, "Let's take recognizable characters from The Simpsons and copy their wacky adventures. While we're at it, let's take those lightning-fast non-sequitur asides and stretch them five minutes past the breaking point. All ironically, of course."
Ken Munson: All of the big adult cartoons that came after the Simpsons owed it a debt, in some way. Futurama got the animation style, South Park inherited its dangerousness, King of the Hill took the concepts of well-developed characters and heart. But Family Guy took its sense of anarchy, and they ran with it, and they turned from a ripoff show to one of the best things on television.
Joe Niemczyk: Matt Groening and all the writers for The Simpsons must be kicking themselves for all the time they’ve wasted over the years trying to write smart and relevant stories. Seems that crass humor and annoying characters seem to be all you need for a prime time animated series.
Matt Chesnut: I used to hate this show. Not that I had ever seen it, I merely pounced on it for walking on the Simpsons’ turf. Peter was clearly Homer, the fat, loveable oaf. Lois was Marge, the overworked, under-appreciated housewife, and Stewie was some welding of Mr. Burns and Maggie’s characters.
Christina Adkison: Although Family Guy doesn’t have the breadth of characters that The Simpson has, the few core characters are enough to make the show. Stewie is arguably enough alone to keep the show running. In one episode he kills Mister Rogers and destroys all of Make Believe Land….awww, the fulfillment of wishes.
Joe Niemczyk: This show lives and dies with Stewie. Take him away and no one, not even Brian, the cognac swilling, *Times*-reading family dog, can save the show.
Brad Shoup: Stewie is a great character. Bile-spewing genius babies will be Family Guy's contribution to comedy.
Ken Munson: Stewie’s so great. “Dammit Machiavelli! You’ve taught me nothing I don’t already know!”
Adrien Begrand: The show did have its moments of brilliance, like when Peter Griffin finds the last contest-winning beer bottle, runs all the way home, trips on the sidewalk in front of his house, and spends 30 seconds writhing on the ground, wincing in pain.
Joe Niemczyk: I can still remember watching the very first episode with a group of friends after the Super Bowl. The scene near the end where the Kool Aid Man bursts through the wall and shouts “Oh Yeah!” sent us into a collective hysteria that lasted several minutes *after* the show had ended.
Christina Adkison: The debut of Family Guy has brought us too many priceless memories. Like “Math is the lesbian sister of biology.”
Ken Munson: “People look at me and see a loser. Except that guy with the lazy eye... He sees a loser and a snack machine.”
Christina Adkison: “Look Brian! My Alphabets cereal is giving me a message! Its says, ��ooooo’”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.”
Ian Mathers: “Diamonds: She’ll pretty much have to.”
Adrien Begrand: Auctioneer: Our first item is a pair of panties confiscated from a prostitute.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
Auctioneer: She had nine STDs.
Quagmire: Forty-five bucks.
Auctioneer: And when we caught her she wet herself.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
Christina Adkison: “Take a drink…and you’ll sink….into a world of pure inebriation.”
Ken Munson: “Tom, I’m getting late word that you’re a petty, jealous closet case.”
“A bit of breaking news, we now go live to Diane being a bitch. Diane?”
Adrien Begrand: Lois: What's going on down here?
Stewie: Oh, we're playing house.
Lois: That boy's all tied up.
Stewie: Roman Polanski's house.
Ken Munson: I’ve seen every single Family Guy episode about a billion times now. I can recite them if I want to. I don’t.
Matt Chesnut: It wasn’t until Adult Swim picked up the cancelled episodes did it skyrocket into popularity.
Ian Mathers: Of course, once it got onto the internet and then DVDs where you didn’t have to sit around and wait for it, we all discovered its brilliance. Those of us who loved it but could never find it on TV could finally watch all the episodes. And now it’s back. I’m quite sure Seth McFarlane will use this mandate to be even more out there and crude.
Joe Niemczyk: Why is Family Guy coming back after years of cancellation and cable reruns? Hell if I know. Ask your Hot Topic-shopping little brother.
Brad Shoup: Sure, "The Simpsons" sucks now, but if you insist on standing there, telling me how Family Guy tops any of its first five seasons, then you have ADHD, you feel no human emotions, and I feel very sorry for you.
Ken Munson: Interchangeable young blonde girls catering to middle-aged pervert lust: hooray.
Brad Shoup: This being pop music in the 90s, some specific demographic had to "explode" every six months. In 1999, we got splattered with the gonorrheic goo of female teen-pop. I'll say this much: it was a good year to be 40, male, and sexually frustrated.
Adrien Begrand: One was an awful singer, one didn't want any of us to forget she was a good singer, one looked like she couldn't walk and carry a tune at the same time, and the youngest and seemingly phoniest of the lot turned out to be the one with actual talent...as an actor.
Ian Mathers: I can honestly say I never ogled these girls. Well, maybe Christina and Mandy Moore a little. Just a little. In a strictly platonic way, you understand.
Nick Southall: Britney is not pretty, except from certain angles in good light. But MY GOD she is sexy – a female pop star with an actual figure, with actual sex appeal rather than desiccated anorexia chic.
Ian Mathers: Britney, always seemed a bit too focused on conquering the world to be attractive.
Ken Munson: I hate the Britney Spears/Max Martin sound, I really do. Max Martin songs are hideous monstrosities.
Christina Adkison: I totally understand little girls’ worship of Britney Spears. I mean, song titles like “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and “I’m a Slave 4 U” really empower women. Totally.
Ben Woolhead: Britney’s song titles made for interesting reading. “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. “Born To Make You Happy”. “I’m A Slave 4 U”. It was like Girl Power had never happened.
Brad Shoup: Every time Britney released an album, it seemed like every newsmagazine heralded the final shedding of her good-girl image, as if the Catholic dress code involves ripping three inches off your oxford shirt.
Ben Woolhead: Britney didn’t get dirty. She was dirty to start with. C’mon, school uniform and pigtails?!
Ken Munson: I think I might actually prefer the constant dirrty nudity of these pop-stars nowadays; at least they're not playing up the child porn angle anymore. There was a photo in Rolling Stone of Britney Spears wearing skimpy teen clothing standing next to a pink girl's bike, which might be the creepiest photo I've ever looked at.
Nick Southall: So yeah, Britney wins hands down. Jessica? Mandy? Far too boring. I can’t remember what either on looks like, and they look the same anyway. Though I must admit that Christina has a certain… allure…
Christina Adkison: What was most frustrating about this “movement” in music was that talent did not equal success. Christina Aguilera is the best singer, but her career is not as lucrative as Britney’s. Hmmm, could it be her awful, boring songs with god-awful lyrics? I guess she didn’t get rubbed the right way.
Andrew Unterberger: At least back then, Christina still looked like a human being of some sort. Then she got all dirty.
Ian Mathers: Christina turning dirrty was not big, clever, or particularly surprising.
Nick Southall: At least Britney and Xtina have songs that hold up. The others… Less so. Notice how neither Britney nor Xtina have resorted to fly-on-the-wall TV programmes to maintain their profiles yet.
Ian Mathers: And Jessica Simpson? Let's just say I've never understood her appeal (those teeth! those hideous teeth!).
Christina Adkison: We really should appreciate Jessica Simpson’s music because at least it’s not her sister’s.
Ken Munson: If anyone needs to convince me that Max Martin’s any good, all they have to do is point me at a Jessica Simpson song. Britney Spears is horrible, but at least she isn't LAME.
Christina Adkison: I guess I personally tolerate Jessica and Mandy the most, but not because of their music. Britney and Christina just disgust me, whereas I can at least laugh at the stupidity of Jessica on television and be (somewhat) entertained through Mandy’s movies (I’m talking about Saved, not the crap that is A Walk to Remember a.k.a. Let’s Be Sad Forever, Yeah!).
Ken Munson: And then there was Mandy Moore's "Candy" video; that also made me feel gross, and I was actually younger than Mandy Moore.
Ian Mathers: Mandy Moore is actually the only one who never really skanked up.
Sam Bloch: Mandy was sick of being pigeonholed. She’s no ordinary pop star. She wanted respect. She dyed her hair.
Adrien Begrand: At least Mandy Moore covered XTC. I don't like her music, but good on her for doing that.
Matt Chesnut: If you had told me all four of these teen queens would not only still have careers, but PROSPEROUS careers, I’d probably tell you to lay off the Surge. Britney is still the biggest star, Christina has had a bit of plastic surgery, Jessica made a big resurgance as a ditzy housewife, and Mandy made the smartest career move by switching to acting.
Adrien Begrand: None of those songs hold up well at all. Okay, maybe "Genie in a Bottle", but we have Freelance Hellraiser to thank for that.
Christina Adkison: According to my gay friend, who has crappy taste in music, “Britney can’t sing, Christina has no self-respect, Jessica is a dumbass, so Mandy the only decent one.” I agree whole-heartedly except for the last part.
Brad Shoup: A pox on Britney and her ilk, on their smug entitled gazes, their calculated coyness, their Swedish pop jackhammers, their dubious promotion of virginity, and especially on Mandy Moore for not marrying me.
Nick Southall: I am glad they are dirrty now. Very glad.
Christina Adkison: Okay kids, here’s the truth. Everything you know is reality is only a virtual universe created by super computers to keep you at bay while they use your bodies as fuel cells. Whoa.
Joe Niemczyk: Out of all the movies made in the 90’s, the Matrix was the only one that had a helicopter attack scene that *wasn’t* made by Jerry Bruckheimer, Roland Emmerich, or Michael Bay. That right there makes it by smarter than almost every action movie in that decade just by default.
Ken Munson: It’s a funny thing: You keep expecting for Keanu Reeves to disappear and be completely and forever uncool, but he keeps just getting cool again.
Christina Adkison: Who would have ever thought that Keanu Reeves would go from the guy on Speed to Kung Fu Jesus? Whoa.
Joe Niemczyk: Did people really write Keanu Reeves off after Speed? Did they really think Hollywood was done writing characters that look confused and say “whoa” a lot?
Brad Shoup: This movie slew me when it came out. From the soon-to-be-screensaver opening credits to the klassic Rage kut, it had me firmly in its clutches. Now I think it's pretty garbage.
Ian Mathers: As a philosophy major, I’d just like to say: The Matrix sucked. I mean, at least Johnny Mnemonic had Henry Rollins, dolphins and RoboChrist.
Brad Shoup: Seriously, that dialogue was never noteworthy. I got sick of my classmates holding up their cutlery at Taco Bell and saying "There is no spoon". I mean, we're talking about four months of this deny-everything bullcrap.
Ian Mathers: The “thought” behind it was basic first-year stoner rambling, the acting was horrible, the dialogue worse. But yes, the action scenes were pretty cool.
Ken Munson: I don’t really care about the philosophy of the machines taking over and all that. I know there’s a bunch of nerds gonna go “They totally ripped the idea off from yadda yadda whatever.” That’s not what matters. What does matter is Keanu Reeves opens his jacket and pulls out like a bazillion guns and shoots the fuck out of the entire building and it’s like BLADOW BLADOW DUHNUHNUHNUH and EVERYONE’S DEAD. That’s the philosophy of this movie.
Joe Niemczyk: For years we’d been hearing about how amazing CGI effects were going to change movies forever, and all that we’d really gotten out of it was a cute movie about talking toys, an awful Godzilla remake, and Jar Jar Binks. This was the movie that actually stepped up and blew people’s minds.
Christina Adkison: Before the bullet-dodging scene was overdone by everyone from Madonna to Bugs Bunny, the special effects were truly breathtaking. Whoa.
Brad Shoup: Bullet time! Wow. Right up there with Starbucks jokes and stopping the bomb with three seconds to go.
Christina Adkison: The Matrix was the movie that made the strange Goth kids at school seem cool all of a sudden. Long, black trench coats were sexy!
Ben Woolhead: Wearing long leather trenchcoats and looking moody was suddenly in vogue. Goths might have spent most of their energy carefully avoiding fashion, but now, to their horror, it had come to them.
Ian Mathers: Credit where credit is due; the Wachowski brothers knew exactly where to cast Keanu Reeves. He’s not great or anything, but he’s in his milieu, whereas Laurence Fishburne just looks vaguely embarrassed throughout.
Adrien Begrand: Lawrence Fishburne's Morpheus was a rip-off of Obi-Wan Kenobi, sans the charm.
Christina Adkison: Morpheus: “Neo, you have a choice. If you take the red pill, you wake up and the dream ends. If you take the blue pill, you wake up with an erection and you’ll see how far the rabbit hole goes.”
Brad Shoup: Respect goes to the Wachowskis for casting Gloria Foster as the non-stereotyped Black mother figure. The Oracle grounded that film.
Adrien Begrand: I'll bet none of the actors had no idea what the hell they were saying. They just recited the lines with conviction and the movie held up, just enough.
Kareem Estefan: The most improbable aspect of The Matrix is that Keanu Reeves could ever be “The One.”
Ben Woolhead: Neo, how come it took you THAT long to figure it out? Jesus, you’re not very good at anagrams, are you? It’s three fucking letters, for fuck’s sake.
Christina Adkison: My boyfriend is a master of anagrams so he ruined the movie for me by telling me that “Neo” was the “One”. Thanks a lot Kenny.
Ian Mathers: It still hurt my brain to watch it a second time.
Kareem Estefan: I remember buying The Matrix to test out my family’s first DVD player, figuring it would be the ideal movie to demonstrate whether DVDs really did sound and look much better than VHS. But by the time we got the DVD player, I no longer had any interest in seeing The Matrix. Alas, this movie is only impressive the first time you watch it.
Ian Mathers: And just think--this was the best of the three!
Joe Niemczyk: The Matrix made cyberpunk mainstream, immortalized the Rob Zombie and the Propellerheads for a whole generation, and made sure that every car commercial that would follow for the next five years would look like a music video. If they’d only stopped there.
Ken Munson: One of the best scifi action movies of all time. I could watch sequels to that movie forever, except of course that I TOTALLY CAN’T, because of them sucking so hard.
Brad Shoup: In the end, we all got nifty screen savers, and Larry toted home enough money to get that gender-reassignment surgery he'd been eyeing for some time. Kind of chokes me up a little.
Steve Lichtenstein: Better than Jaws III, but not as good as Jaws, and substantially more involved than Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
Adrien Begrand: Pretentious, pseudophilosophical claptrap. But highly entertaining claptrap.
Christina Adkison: Message of Woodstock ’69: Let’s fuck everyone. Message of Woodstock ’99: Let’s fuck over everyone by setting shit on fire.
Brad Shoup: Damn kids.
Ben Woolhead: Woodstock ’69 was all about peace, love and understanding. Woodstock ’99 was all about fighting, rape and confusion. “Break Stuff” and breaking stuff.
Brad Shoup: Somehow, young white males had gotten noticeably pissier in five years' time. Where Woodstock '94 had taken mud and made mud pies, the boys of '99 got all Caligula over four dollar water.
Matt Chesnut: Woodstock really was a sign o’ the times. The $4 bottles of water, the riots, the mud, and um, Dave Matthews Band?
Adrien Begrand: I watched the madness unfold on satellite TV that summer weekend. What a disaster. A scorching hot weekend, overpriced bottles of water, a blazing concrete air force base, a lineup of artists that catered to angry young white suburban males…I mean, what the hell were organizers thinking?
Brad Shoup: The promoters were pinching themselves. Woodstock every five years! Update the line-up, call up Pepsi... the business plan writes itself! They had the Tragically Hip on the main stage. You can't blame them for booking the boardroom afterparties. They had as sure a thing as things can be sure. Surely.
Adrien Begrand: The whole weekend got off on the wrong foot when Rage Against the Machine burned an American flag onstage. It was all negative sentiment and energy from then on.
Ian Mathers: Say what you will about hippies, but avoiding the brown acid and getting baked beats the hell out of setting fires and sexually assaulting people in my books.
Adrien Begrand: Those kids tearing apart the towers, throwing sheets of plywood, and that idiot Durst atop a piece of debris held up by the crowd. Sad. Though I have to admit, seeing a kazillion water bottles go in the air during Kid Rock's set was pretty cool.
Brad Shoup: I remember watching the initial news reports about the fires and the rapes and the looting and thinking, "Yep, that sounds about right." At least - and this doesn't justify the human toll - but at least we got to see Kurt Loder scared witless.
Adrien Begrand: I remember Fred Durst saying in interviews prior to that weekend that he'd do something that would make people remember him. Well, we certainly remember him, but with disdain more than anything else.
Ian Mathers: I don't know if the ending of the festival really was Fred Durst's fault, but I'll pretend it was if you will.
Ben Woolhead: I doubt whether what happened was all Fred Durst’s fault, but c’mon, get real – who’s seriously going to pass up the opportunity to place the steaming dog turd of blame at the doorstep of that knuckleheaded, overweight, strategically shaven ape?
Adrien Begrand: The lesson we all learned: never, ever perform a song called "Break Stuff" in front of half a million angry idiots.
Ken Munson: The failings of Woodstock ’99 go back to the failings of the original Woodstock. Sure, it was great, wonderful, era-defining cultural experience, whatever. It also left the organizers in massive, crushing debt. It’s gotta dig at the mind that your only reward for organizing the greatest concert ever are piles and piles of bills, and I’d make sure that I got every buck I could wring out of a follow-up concert.
Brad Shoup: I had these fantasies about Bruce Hornsby taking the stage and talking reason into the mob. Then the Range would play an enlightened pop-jazz rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and all would be well.
Adrien Begrand: Say what you will, but I think Woodstock ’99 was totally necessary. If not for this catastrophe, we could’ve been looking forward to Woodstock ’04, ’09, etc. It would become the Olympics of rock ��n’ roll. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be the Carl Lewis of it all.
Brad Shoup: Maybe they should have ordered more mud.
Adrien Begrand: Sitting in the packed theater, as the lights dimmed, the crowd around me gasped in giddy anticipation. The Lucasfilm logo appeared onscreen, everyone cheered, and two seconds later, the place went deathly silent. The caption appeared: "A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." Right then, a guy in the back groaned, "Aw, I've seen this one." Greatest. Heckle. Ever.
Kareem Estefan: The Phantom Menace makes me very glad I’m not a bigger Star Wars fan. I don’t know how the truly devoted ever recovered from this letdown.
Ken Munson: Oh, the hatred for this movie from the hardcore Wars fans. It was incredible. Personally I consider it a just reward for camping out on the fucking sidewalk for a week.
Ben Woolhead: A crushing disappointment even to us non-hardcore fans who’d been stupid enough to swallow some of the hype, so how much worst must it have been for those who had been waiting for this moment for 15 years?
Ian Mathers: Didn’t wait in line, didn’t see it in theatres, didn’t regret a thing. George Lucas needs to learn: He is not a writer. Or a director, really.
Ben Woolhead: Coming from George Lucas, a man hailed in many quarters as a genius, this was an undeniably terrible film. Not only was the script appalling, but the actors, already condemned to try to breathe life into ungainly and flat dialogue, were uniformly awful too. Even the normally reliable Ewan McGregor couldn’t have been much more wooden if he’d been sprouting leaves.
Brad Shoup: Was this the movie where Obi-Wan uses Jedi Mind Tricks to get some guy off drugs? Man, that was hilarious.
Ken Munson: The podracing scene was the cheapest excuses to wring an easy video game out of a movie I’ve ever seen.
Adrien Begrand: It wouldn't have been so bad if the little kid didn't have to yell, "Whoopee!" Lucas was obviously holed up in his own little world for way too long, because eight year-old boys do not say, "Whoopee!"
Ben Woolhead: Perhaps it was the cynicism into which I had been prompted from the very first minute, but the inclusion of the intensely irritating Jar Jar Binks (like ET if he’d come from Jamaica rather than outer space) appeared to be aimed at appeasing the pre-teen movie goers’ demand for desirable toy figures.
Brad Shoup: Lucas shoehorned Jar Jar Binks into the film so he could garner that all-important three-to-three-and-a-half-year-old demographic. Oh, and the people who demand more CGI blackface.
Adrien Begrand: Kudos to Rolling Stone's Jar Jar cover photo, and Jancee Dunn's fawning story about the next big Star Wars star. Talk about foresight on the grandest scale! (uh, I'm being sarcastic)
Brad Shoup: The very existence of Jar Jar proves that Lucas doesn't trust his original creation to still attract an audience. Evidently the ridiculous gross of the re-releases of the original films didn't make much of an impression on him.
Ken Munson: For me, the biggest disappointment of the movie wasn’t Jar Jar, Anakin, midichlorians, or whatever; it was Darth Maul. Yes, Darth Maul, the mega-hyped badass of the movie with the horns and the face paint and the double-lightsaber and everything, and he gets dispatched easier than Wile E. Coyote. Lamest villian EVER.
Ben Woolhead: The only good thing about the movie was the brilliant promotional poster featuring the young Anakin Skywalker casting the ominous shadow of Darth Vader onto a wall. That says it all, really.
Brad Shoup: I know most people are just gonna trash this thing, and bully for them, but look at it this way: if Lucas had released this movie first and saved "A New Hope" for 1999, there would only be this movie because it sucked so bad.
Christina Adkison: I’m probably going to be tied to a stake for saying this…but…this is the only Star Wars movie I ever seen. Let’s say I wasn’t enthralled.
Ian Mathers: This started the process that so soured me on Star Wars in general I can now no longer watch the first three with pleasure. As a result, George Lucas is never seeing a red cent out of me again if I can possibly help it. And just think--the next one was even worse!
Nick Southall: This movie SUCKS. I watched a bootleg of it at the flat of a girl I fancied at 2am and smoked a hash pipe with her and talked all kinds of philosophical bullshit and she STILL didn’t sleep with me. SUCKERED.
Brad Shoup: Just when you thought that Twisted Sister would forever retain the crown of Best Teen-Death Pop Cover.
Adrien Begrand: If there ever was a moment that made me realize just how lame Pearl Jam could be, it was "Last Kiss".
Andrew Unterberger: Pearl Jam released a fan club-only cover of an old 60s tragic ballad, and somehow it became their biggest hit ever. Grunge was now officially officially over.
Brad Shoup: J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. Lest we forget.
Ian Mathers: I can't even tell if this is supposed to be ironic or what.
Christina Adkison: “Oh, man. That Jewel song that was just on the radio was so sad, I’m really bummed out now. What’s this song? Oh God, know I just want to DIE!”
Brad Shoup: If it wasn't a cover, I doubt I'd have given it much of a chance. The lyrics are corny and Eddie doesn't really sound that into the song.
Ken Munson: Poor Pearl Jam didn’t mean this song to be a single, and they didn’t deserve to have this be their biggest hit. On the other hand, they should have known better not to cover it in the first place. The cheesy 60’s original was a moaning, maudlin, melodramatic dirge: exactly the kind of song that Pearl Jam should avoid AT ALL COSTS.
Andrew Unterberger: I really don’t get why people liked this at all. It’s an okay cover of an okay ballad with okay performances all around. It doesn’t exactly scream “biggest hit ever” to me.
Ian Mathers: The thing about "Last Kiss" is, it sounds exactly like what it is: Eddie Vedder singing some obscure 50s song. I leave it up to you as to whether that's a good thing.
Brad Shoup: The original made it to number two, and so did the rehash. Which is pretty cool.
Adrien Begrand: They've always been bland classic rockers down deep, and rock radio's ridiculous embracing of this mediocre song proved it.
Ian Mathers: Moral of the story: Don't bother joining fan clubs, because if the song is that good, it'll become a big hit and get re-released anyway, right?
Brad Shoup: For a fan club throwaway, it's a gem. For a single...I don't really know what converged to make it that popular.
Andrew Unterberger: I’m not even sure if I like this song or not. I’d need something else to compare it to for that, and the field of grunge covers of obscure decade-old death ballads is rather slim.
Ian Mathers: But hey, it's better than Puddle Of Creedd.
Adrien Begrand: At 11:59 on New Year's Eve, 1999, those who had purchased generators and jugs of water were feeling mighty proud of themselves. At 12:01, the same people felt like the biggest dupes in history.
Christina Adkison: Even at the tender age of fourteen, when I was still naïve enough to believe that Britney was a virgin, I didn’t buy into the whole Y2K scare. I was one of the lucky smug bastards that was able to say, “I told you so” on New Year’s Eve.
Brad Shoup: I didn't know technology well enough to rule anything out; I didn't really think anything was going to happen, but I figured, who knew?
Christina Adkison: I think we all gave computers way too much credit. Oh no! The computers will think that they are back in 1900! Yes, because computers can THINK so sophisticatedly.
Brad Shoup: I secretly hoped for lightless chaos in the streets of New York, ATMs spitting out twenties, cars instantly reverting to Model Ts, that sort of thing.
Christina Adkison: I was always told that computers only did what you told them to do. If I told my computer not to melt down, that bitch wasn’t going to melt down.
Sam Bloch: I was at a beachside hotel in Longboat Key, Florida for New Years, 1999. My aunt made sure that nobody had a laptop on. She also bought lots of bottled water a few days before.
Ian Mathers: What did we do that New Year’s Eve? Same thing we did every year: Got high on sugar and played lots of video games. We halted them to hear the countdown, then went outside and played around in the snow for an hour. Then we went back to video games.
Ken Munson: I did not party like it was 1999. I partied like it was a Sunday night in the dead of winter, by which I mean I sat around at home with my family.
Ian Mathers: I don’t think any of us took it even slightly seriously. It just seemed so unreal.
Ken Munson: My parents made a half-hearted attempt to stock up for supplies in case of any millenial disasters. We had enough canned food and bottled water to last us, oh, a day, maybe two. Always prepared, my family.
Ian Mathers: The provisions my family took is that my Dad bought a generator, but he made sure it was returnable within 30 days and he bought it ten days before Y2K. So he got all the money back, which was nice.
Brad Shoup: In hindsight, it seems a little silly to purchase four mail-order brides and lock them in a titanium bomb shelter in case I needed to repopulate the earth. BUT THE ZEROES WERE COMING FOR MY WAY OF LIFE, AND I GOTS TO WORK FOR MINE.
Ken Munson: I remember, in the millenium’s final moments, thinking oh god oh god what’s gonna happen, before my dad pointed out that it was midnight in Paris five hours ago and the Louvre was still standing.
Sam Bloch: Slowly, the news reports began to trickle in. Tokyo had fallen prey to Gamera.
Christina Adkison: The only Y2K problem I heard of was with some movie rental places. The computers said that the clients had their movies overdue for a hundred years and owed like five million dollars. Now that’s sinister.
Andrew Unterberger: The upside was that the world didn’t end. The downside was that I had to go back to our New Years’ party and try to socialize again. Talk about a lose-lose situation.
Brad Shoup: Just remember: there are still red-staters eating corn meal and Twinkies for dinner as we speak. Give thanks, kids.
Pat Brereton: Y2K. Did this shit really need to be abbreviated? It's only one less syllable. How lazy are we?
Sam Bloch: Everyone knows Y2K stands for Yes 2 Kia anyway.
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-11-30