Tag Archives: 80s

Why I Know “I’ll Be Back” to Watching 90’s Action Movies When I Have Kids

I came to the 90’s action party late.

Sure, I watched a few Arnie movies as a kid, but those were the blatantly child-friendly movies. I’m talking Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All The Way, fun romps to be sure, but nothing to prepare me for the awakening I had last year.

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It all began when John convinced me to watch his favourite films from the 90’s (and a few from the 80’s). I decided to indulge my husband’s nostalgia. How was I to know it would end in an movie obsession that would leave me with a classic-action-movie-sized hole, never to be filled? I’ve had a hard time identifying what it is about these action movies that is still so appealing, so I thought I’d write a post trying to figure it out.

They’re Intensely Optimistic

I recently watched SicarioIt was an intense action (/crime/thriller) flick that follows the story of Kate Macer “an idealistic FBI agent [who] is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico”. While it was certainly a thought-provoking and well-executed film, it was also reeeaaaalllllllllyyy depressing.

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Have you ever noticed that? Some of the “best” films out there also happen to be the ones that leave you feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut. Perhaps it’s the gritty realism of contemporary films that sets them apart from previous action films, but that realism also prevents them from being a true escape from real-world troubles.

If you go back and watch almost any 90’s action movie you can go into it knowing your protagonist won’t come out of his adventure emotionally scarred. Instead, you know he’ll just rampage across your screen, kicking butt and taking names.

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With an endless amount of bullets.

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Straight Outta Compton: A Film Review

It can’t be easy making a biopic.

Err to much on the side of leniency and you get a sappy, self-congratulatory, and ultimately meaningless popcorn flick. Err to much on the side of harsh truth and you’ll often get a vicious hatchet job.

Now try doing that while the main character’s still alive.

Suddenly there’s the additional burden of being honest and fair and avoiding litigation at the hands of the offended and his or her legions of lawyers.

Now try doing that with eleven characters at once.

Against all odds, Straight Outta Compton does just that.

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Steve Taylor (Is Coming Back)

Since joining the blog in June of 2012 (yes, it’s been over a year now and yes, the romance is dead), I’ve often made reference to a mysterious musical figure by the name of “Steve Taylor”.

With the end of Year 2 fast approaching, I figure it’s about time I actually explain who this guy was.

Other than a man with impeccable taste in clothing…

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Growing Old

Just a few seconds ago, I saw a picture of a time capsule embedded in the flooring of a mall in Calgary, listed to be unearthed in the year 2999. I had misread the caption at first as 2099, and thought to myself, “Huh- seems like a waste. I’ll still be alive for that.”

The full implication of that just struck me.

I’m going to be alive in 2099.

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What Happened to Reading?

Now I know that there’s a certain degree of irony attached to this post. Just now you read my question on why people don’t read anymore. I’m not really talking about reading in the the sense of skimming the occasional article online, though. Before anyone tries to point it out- yeah, I’m aware that the medium for communication has shifted a lot since video is now accessible to pretty much everyone.

I’m talking about books, people. When did we stop reading books?

I would go bankrupt buying books with gifs for illustrations…

I can’t count how many times I’ve been reading a book in public and people act as if I’ve started cleaning a black-powder musket.

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Evan and Gordon Talk: The Greatest Flaw of This Generation

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen- this is your captain speaking. After some unavoidable delays we will finally be taking off into our mid-week discussion. Our topic for today is “What’s the greatest flaw of this generation?”(This generation being those born in the late 80s to mid 90s: “The Millennials,” “Generation I”, “Gen Y”- call us what you will).

EVAN: As I mentioned in the news update, we scrapped our conversation last night, largely because it became cyclical. To be more specific, we ended up going back and forth between apathy and cowardice, with one leading back to the other and so on.

GORDON: But let’s widen the picture a bit. While apathy is the go-to criticism many have, also up there for our generation’s flaws is our alleged “sense of entitlement.” Thoughts?

EVAN: If we’re still going with your incredibly broad age range, then yes, I definitely think that a lot of kids these days feel a sense of entitlement. It’s just the norm now to have wireless internet, a phone, the latest iGadget, etc. They’re just expected, the new given.

GORDON: Is that fair, though? I mean- haven’t we assumed that phones, indoor toilets, and electricity are “the norm” since they were first invented?

EVAN: To a point, though, some of what you listed are basic necessities. I’d argue that indoor plumbing is considered much more standard than an iPad.

GORDON: This is true, but I don’t think our generation- barring the handful of people who actually do feel entitled- views the iPad or any specific item as being “standard”- it’s the interconnection that’s the norm, as well as the expectations for new technology.

I mean, back in the day you didn’t need light bulbs. But if they’re mass produced, and safer than gas-lamps, then it just stands to reason that we’d eventually come to expect them.

But of course technology’s only one element. what about the idea that this generation is “entitled” in the sense that they get to “find themselves” or “focus on their art” or whatever hipster euphemism is being used to say “part-time employed”?

EVAN: Do I think that people feel they deserve the right to do more than just hit the ground running after college, get right down to the ol’ nine-to-five? I mean, yeah.

But I think this brings up a point I made yesterday about the “where” of our question. In France the age of retirement is 62 and that’s just expected. There are different standards depending on where you live in the world.

GORDON: This is true. I mean, each and every one of us would be considered spoiled brats if we jumped back a hundred years or so.

EVAN: Oh, no doubt. Especially you with your freakishly smooth hands.

GORDON: So would YOU say that the whole “entitlement” criticism stands?

And I use gloves. I refuse to be put down because I take better care of myself.

EVAN: You say that every time, but they’re still as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

GORDON: That means they’re working, and I’ll further have you know that I have a big ol’ scar in my right hand in the shape of a number “7.” But back to the issue-

It doesn’t seem like the “entitlement” bit sticks. Could we be classified as “lazy,” perhaps? The warped and stunted half-humans resulting from government dependence and the welfare state?

EVAN: Well, we discussed “laziness” last night specifically in the context of wanting to change what is clearly a broken system, but is what we’re talking about a general laziness? People just expecting to be spoon-fed?

GORDON: That’s the question. I recall a Cracked.com article in which the author kicked things off by apologizing for helping perpetuate the myth that a college education was a guarantee for a good job. Are we “lazy” in having had the expectation- as most of us had?

EVAN: Well, depending on who you ask, college is hard. In a way, I guess we expect that the hard work we put into maintaining a good GPA, et cetera, will result in finding employment once we’re out in the real world. Which, as I can attest to, is clearly not the case.

GORDON: So is that laziness then? Entitlement mentality?

EVAN: I don’t think that doing hard work and expecting a reward is laziness. That’s like someone working the fields and then being called a layabout because he expected crops to grow. A shaky comparison, I realize.

GORDON: Works for me. And I agree.

Now you yourself have accused us all of being creatively bankrupt. Could that be our major flaw? That we don’t make- we remix?

EVAN: I guess it depends on how we’re working this whole “greatest flaw of our generation” angle. The trend to rehash, remix, et cetera came about recently, but I’m not sure it’s because of us. Or is the question in regards to this day and age we’re in, and not those growing up in it?

GORDON: No, I mean us as an age-group, and that does pretty much answer the question right there. We are, for the most part, not the ones who are making the films and TV shows and music (give or take) of our time- that’s those who came before us.

EVAN: Exactly. Which is why we’re getting stuff like He-Man and Thundercats reboots, because those who were kids in the 80’s have a crippling nostalgia. Music is different, of course, but TV and movies are definitely controlled by the generation before us.

Okay, how about this. Maybe the flaw is our hellish appetite to be entertained.

GORDON: Ooh- interesting take. Expound, by all means.

EVAN: I mean, you’ve talked about the bilge that’s on television countless times. Do you know what we’ve been reduced to? A musical chairs gameshow called “Oh Sit!”

Are we so bored that we’ll watch people play “extreme musical chairs” for an hour?

GORDON: I had no idea that existed. But surely this isn’t the first time in history that TV’s been crap. Or radio, or books, or music, or anything. Think of the “Penny Dreadfuls” back in the Victorian era- little, cheap trashy pulp-fiction novels made for mass consumption. Is that any worse than what we have today? Seems like the bilge is the same- it’s just the media that’ve changed.

EVAN: It may be the same, but it’s being produced at a frantic pace. That change, at least, has to be important.

GORDON: That speaks less to our appetites and more to our efficiency.

EVAN: I’d say that it has just as much to do with our appetites, judging by the content of what’s put out.

GORDON: We’re almost out of time, so let’s hit up some other key issues:

Apathy. As we said before, apathy tends to be the go-to criticism, at least, one of the major ones when it comes to our generation, and I think this is one of the easiest to put to rest. The Occupy Movement, environmentalism, increasing number of social movements, increasing global awareness- you name it. We’re strides ahead of the past couple generations. Heck, I’d go so far as to say we’re the most involved generation since the 60s and early 70s.

Well we’re out of time, and still of plenty of ground to cover- so rather than sloppily close up, we’ll be continuing our discussion next week with a question about hipster morality: “Do we want to be good, or do we just want to look good?” If you have any suggestions or recommendations for topics, don’t hesitate to shoot us a comment.

EVAN: Thanks for reading, and remember that CWR now updates every single weekday. I’ll see you tomorrow in our first ever “Fame Day” post!

In Defense of This Generation

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot- a lot– to criticize about the millennial generation. There’s creative bankruptcy (see Evan’s post), “slacktivism” and general laziness, ever-shortening attention spans, and of course, loud, obnoxious repetitive music without any discernible beginning, end, or climax.

I cannot state enough how much I hate techno…

Now with all that stated, I do want to address some of the criticisms thrown at Generation Y by our elders and (as they see it, anyways) betters.

Late last year, I came across this article, titled “5 Ways We Ruined the Occupy Wall Street Generation“. In his defense, the author emphatically states at the beginning of the piece that “This is not a sarcastic apology, I’m not a big enough dick to write all of this as a backhanded insult about how lazy and entitled you are. Because you’re not…”. Even so, it’s tough to read the article and not feel frustrated at some of the more glaring errors, or condescended to by false conclusions drawn from them. Despite the author’s best intentions, you can’t really walk away from the piece without imagining him to look something like this:

I’ll get right into things here with his first point “#5. Making You Ashamed to Take Manual Labor Jobs“. The author opens by offering the example of a piece of dialogue that went viral about a year ago.

It’s a great little bit, but I still have to stop things right there. We’re not ashamed to take manual labor jobs. We never have been. In this economy more than ever, there are college graduates willing, ready, and even eager to take jobs sweeping floors, unloading crates, answering phones, or stocking shelves. We’re not ashamed of flipping burgers, we just can’t afford to flip burgers. See, we have this funky little thing called “debt”, and not just any debt, the one kind of debt we, by law, cannot have discharged. To clarify- if I went bankrupt, if fire burned down my house and destroyed each and every last earthly possession I had, the only thing I would have left would be tens of thousands of dollars of debt I still need to pay.

The appropriate reaction…

All that’s to say we can’t take jobs flipping burgers because the $7.25 an hour you get for being abused by the customers and/or inhaling carcinogenic fumes just isn’t enough us to live independently and pay off our various mountains of inescapable debt.  Even if we move back in with our parents (more on that in a minute) things will still be tight- and God forbid we should even think about getting married or having kids until we’re in our mid-30’s. Which brings us to our next point- “extension of adolescence”.

This is a psychologically documented phenomena, and something that’s rather throwing the combined worlds of sociology and psychology. Ever since the line between childhood and manhood ceased to be set at bringing down an elk and bathing in its blood, figuring out exactly when a person ceases to become a kid and becomes an adult is tough. It’s certainly not something new, but it is currently far more pronounced than with previous generations. Take that picture up there for example. Two guys, looking to be in their mid or even late twenties, playing X-Box. There’s the clincher there- the X-Box. The older generations, having had really nothing quite on the level of video games (pac-man doesn’t really count), labeled them as “kids’ stuff” from their inception, and the fact that we still play video games well into our twenties is seen as us extending our teen years, rather than shifting over to being an adult. The author of the article has this as his third point “Adding Seven More Years to Being a Teenager”.

Of course, it’s absolute nonsense once you think about it. What did our grandparents or even our parents do for fun when they were kids? They played cards, board games, hunted, fished, went to the movies, and beat up minorities.

KKK Rally, or as they called it in the 30s, “Wednesday”…

And what do our grandparents and parents do today when they want to have fun? They play cards, board games, go hunting, fishing, and go to the movies (hopefully they’ll have dropped “Harassing Pollacks” from the daily planner by this point). You never hear anyone accuse them of extending their teen years. My grandfather and his friend have been playing cribbage together for over half a century, does anyone tell them that they need to start acting like adults? Let’s face it, when it comes to what this generation does for fun, we really don’t differ from anyone in a previous generation, it’s just that what we do is so radically different, we have the appearance of being immature.

And what about responsibility? Is this generation really lazy and wussy compared to the generation who worked in the mill, took a break to fight Hitler, and went back to working in the mill and raising a family? Last time I checked, we’re in the worst depression since the 1930s (a crisis which we, incidentally, had nothing to do with but still have to pay for) and on top of this we’ve been locked in the longest war in American history- nearly twice as long as the entirety of WWII, just for some perspective. You can say a lot of things about this generation, but you can’t try to claim that we’re somehow just a bunch of young adults still trying to drag out our years as kids.

“Just look at that entitled, lazy kid. No concept of hard work or adult responsibility.”

Of course, we do tend to party, and while I could point to this being true of pretty much every young generation since a Cro-Magnon named Thruk invented partying roughly 43,000 years ago, I’m going to take a different approach.

This might come as a shock to some, but young people don’t want to spend their twenties partying because they’re afraid of turning into soulless corporate drones- it’s because we’re enjoying, often for the first time, full independence. Believe it or not, we don’t want to move back in with our parents and spend our youth still under their watchful gaze. We want our own place, our own job, our own car. We want responsibility, and as strange as it sounds, the partying is simply an extension of our attempts to explore our new found freedom.

As for us being entitled, there is something to be said for that. I recall once riding the subway with this blog’s regular contributor Evan and overhearing two youths snivel that the computer they were getting wasn’t quite as advanced as it could be. That said, there’s plenty of so-called “entitlement” that get’s unfairly pinned on us. The Occupy Movement, for example, was criticized by some as being a bunch of lazy kids that expected everything to be handed to them. I mentioned above that the current economic crises responsible for so many of our problems was- and this is key here- not started by us. What was I doing when the economy started to tank? Nothing. I was consuming the food put before me, buying as much stuff as could be expected from a teenager, and working summer jobs when I could. What did I do wrong? Why am I getting stuck with the economic crises I had nothing to do with? If you want to talk about entitlement, let’s talk about the generation who gambled with our collective futures and expects us to clean up the mess. Same goes for the wars we’re currently locked into.

As for our “armchair-activism”, again, there’s plenty wrong with this, and you could spend plenty of time going through what makes it such a pointless endeavor. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel irked when someone from an older generation- specifically my parent’s generation (who would’ve been my age in the 80s and early 90s). Say what you will about people who mass-forward e-mails about signing petitions or demanding you like a cause on Facebook, there’s at least a level of interest. Barring the grossly simplistic anti-drug movement of the 80s, I can’t exactly recall the major moral movements of that generation. In short, the whole that this generation might be shallow isn’t without merit, but the people who point the finger ought to be awful careful that they pick the log out of their own eye first.

“What do we want?”
“Fluffy hair!”
“When do we want it?”
“After we’re done snorting crack!”

I’m going to finish up here with this last point- addressing the author of the article’s claim that the number one reason “We’ve ruined the occupy wall street generation” is that “we’ve taken away every reason to go outside”.
Am I the only one here who sees a staggering paradox? Am I the only one struggling to resolve how the “Occupy Wall Street People” need to “Get Outside More”? Last time I checked, the protestors at Occupy Wall Street were literally occupying Wall Street.

“Look at how pale you are! When’s the last time you went outside? Besides yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and…”

Now do we get outside as much as previous generations. Not really no. But then again, I don’t really see masses of the elderly roaming the streets either. Look, the reason we don’t “go out” is because many of us (who would, by the way, love to go out) are living in cities or urbanized areas. Short of just “walking around”, any major outdoor activity costs us money, which in case you haven’t picked up on by now, isn’t something we have just lying around. Between gas, food, entry fees, and other costs, I’d have to spend nearly a monthly payment to my college debt getting forty-eight hours in the great outdoors. That’s the reason we don’t like paying for entertainment (the author’s fourth point), only it’s not because we expect our entertainment to be free (just ask anyone who’s paid upwards of 60 bucks for a new X-Box game), it’s because we’re trying to be thrifty. If we want to get our own car and our own house to avoid the sneers of our elders, we have to pinch every penny until it slaps us with a sexual harassment lawsuit- entertainment is simply a major way we can save money and not go postal.

Look at those people trying to get food for free instead of paying for it! Lazy, entitled bunch of bums expecting everything to be handed to ’em, that’s what they are!

So in sum total, that’s my defense of my generation. It’s not a great generation- certainly not yet, anyways. It’s not the worst generation either, though, and before anyone- anyone– wants to label us as lazy or entitled or juvenile; please, look at us in the bigger scheme of things, and better still, look at yourselves. Would you want the standards you place on us applied to you?