Category Archives: 1990s

Swingers

Swingers ~ Well over a decade before he revolutionized the superhero movie and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, Jon Favreau wrote and co-produced this dramedy for guys in the spirit of Diner that almost definitely inspired all the fictional parts of HBO’s “Entourage.” Man, Swingers is the flick.

These adventures of a group of neurotic struggling actors are as much classic Woody Allen and prime “Seinfeld” as they are 1960s Rat Pack. And the dated ‘lounge-speak’ that every drunken player/loser spouted back in the 1990s until you wanted to punch them, when done right, by the originals, and in context, is mesmerizing.

Style and substance, great characters and dialogue, and a killer soundtrack – this movie is money, and it knows it. Recommended.

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RIP Chris Kelly

Alyas Batman en Robin

Alyas Batman en Robin ~ This film, made in the Philippines in the early 1990s, is hard to describe. On one hand it is the stuff of legend, like Andy Warhol’s Batman, or the also Filipino Alyas Batman at Robin from 1963, something few people in the United States have even ever seen. On the other it’s just bizarre. Though made in the Philippines it has many of the hallmarks of a Bollywood film – comedy, drama, romance, and people spontaneously breaking into song and dance.

The plot has criminals taking on the identities of their idols – the Penguin, and the Joker, among others – to rob banks. To counteract this, two men, I am unsure if they are brothers or father and son, dress up like Batman and Robin, and have their car souped up to look like the Batmobile. Hilarity, romance, as well as song and dance numbers ensue, as one would expect.

For an unauthorized film using DC Comics characters, some of it looks good, not great, but some is better than that prime time NBC “Challenge of the Superheroes.” The costumes are plays on the 1966 TV series rather than the Tim Burton films of the time. Comedian Rene Requiestas as the Joker reminds me of Prince’s alter-ego Gemini, and not in a good way.

All in all this is probably worth a look for the curious. If you watch it in the wrong mood, you’ll be horrified, but if you watch it with the right attitude, you’ll be satisfactorily entertained.

The Next Six Entries from the Second Eurovision Semi-Final

Ukraine: “Be My Guest” by Gaitana

I’m digging the 1990s power dance diva thing, but how did she get the X-Men as background dancers?

Bulgaria: “Love Unlimited” by Sofi Marinova

More disco, but a decent little dance tune. I like the music video portion, but the stage show is boring. I have to wonder what the real performance will look like.

Slovenia: “Verjamem” by Eva Boto

Another power ballad reminiscent of Serbia’s entry in 2007, boring, but it could win.

Croatia: “Nebo” by Nana Badric

Like Bulgaria, great video, but what will it look like on stage?

Sweden: “Euphoria” by Loreen

Slow build, powerful voice, but turns frequently into house music. Could be a contender.

Georgia: “I’m a Joker” by Anri Jokhadze

Guilty pleasure here, it is sooo Eurovision. Where else in the world could you rhyme ‘joker’ with ‘rocker’ and do your worst Taco imitation at the same time? I love it.

The Second Semi-Final takes place on May 24th in Baku.

First Six from the Second Eurovision Semi-Finals

Serbia: “Nije Ljubav Stvar” by Željko Joksimović

F.Y.R. Macedonia: “Crno I Belo” by Kaliopi

Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

The Netherlands: “You and Me” by Joan Franka

I’m really not sure what American Indian feather headdress symbolizes in The Netherlands, but Joan Franka is certainly a frontrunner in my mind.

Malta: “This Is the Night” by Kurt Calleja

This kinda reminds me of bad 1990s disco, and I kept expecting to get Rick-rolled. It’s catchy though, and very Eurovision.

Belarus: “We Are the Heroes” by Litesound

Ditto. Pretty too, just not sure about the Power Rangers costumes.

Portugal: “Vida Minha” by Filipa Sousa

The Second Semi-Final takes place on May 24th in Baku.

RIP MCA

We are losing far too many folks from the music world of late. News came earlier today of the passing of Adam Yauch A.K.A. MCA of the Beastie Boys. The hip hop pioneer had been fighting cancer for several years. He was 47.

In the early 1980s Yauch formed the Beastie Boys with Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Michael Schwartz (Mixmaster Mike) – and changed the face and style of music for decades afterward. I first encountered them in college with the novelty tune “Cooky Puss,” and a year or so later when I saw the music video for “She’s On It,” I was hooked, a Beastie fan for life.

We’ve lost one of the fun, funky and forceful voices of my generation, MCA will be missed.

The Avengers at Biff Bam Pop!

With the film Marvel’s The Avengers coming up just a few short days away on May 4th, the Avengers are very hot, and at Biff Bam Pop! it’s no different. Here are three recent articles I wrote for the website you can check out, all relating to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

First there’s Inside Kang the Conqueror, a look at arguably the Avengers’ most dangerous foe. Where, or when, did he come from? Who is he? What makes him hate the Avengers so much? The answers are here!

They come to the big screen very soon, but did you know the Avengers have been on the small screen for decades? In Avengers Animate!, you can find out about their animated adventures in the 1960s through the 1990s to today, it’s all here!

In the world of Marvel Comics, the Avengers is a big organization, so big that sometimes they have split off into side teams, inspired others, and been inspired themselves by others. In Gone But Not Forgotten Teams of the Marvel Universe you can learn about the All-Winners Squad, the Champions, Nextwave, and the Squadron Supreme. Check it out here!

And keep your eye on the Biff Bam Pop! website for more Avengers news, reviews, and articles as the movie gets closer!

Beats, Rhyme & Life

Beats, Rhyme & Life ~ One of the misnomers I hate most is the term ‘one hit wonder,’ mostly because it’s rarely true. It’s one of the reasons I started the sub-blog here called “Lost Hits of the New Wave,” because things were not as we are currently told they were. For instance if I was to mention to you A Tribe Called Quest, most folks, and a great majority who were not around when they were happening will use that term ‘one hit wonder’ and say they love “Can I Kick It.” Just not true.

The truth is however that I came to the Tribe later than most folks. I loved “Can I Kick It” but I also began to notice that every time I heard a song by the group, I dug it. When I realized this, I got into them. As I said, later than most folks, but I love them, and let me assure you, A Tribe Called Quest is no ‘one hit wonder.’ The documentary Beats, Rhyme & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest directed by actor Michael Rapaport is a testament to that legacy.

Through interviews and of course music the film documents the group’s beginnings in Queens and we get to know Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White as they came up and became stars in the hip hop music world. Like a cool extended episode of “Behind the Music,” we get the lowdown on why they looked like they did and especially how Q-Tip was sampling before samplers and melded jazz into hip hop. It also takes the group to the end of the road as well.

This documentary is the real thing, it’s about friendship, music, culture, and passion – and the evolution that all of it goes through over the years. Check it out, recommended.

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Just a reminder, The Virtual Book Tour for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES by Fran Metzman is featured today at Marie Gilbert’s blog with an interview with the author, and continues tomorrow on Mieke Zamora-Mackay’s blog. Don’t miss it! For a full list of Blog Tour stops, go here.

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Lost Hits of the New Wave #7

“Stop This Game” by Cheap Trick

The above video is from an old Italian music TV show. The song, from the 1980 album All Shook Up. Like with Alice Cooper and “Clones (We’re All),” this represented a marked change in the traditional Cheap Trick sound, aping the now more popular New Wave sound.

The song and the album were enough to put off the fans who had made Cheap Trick rock gods with their Live at Budokan album. Personnel changes kept the band from putting out a complete album for too long, and the Budokan heat had cooled. The fans were divided, rockers thought they were pop, and poppers thought they were rock, and in the end, they were screwed.

That wasn’t all that led to Cheap Trick’s downfall. Some say it was the Beatles curse, after Budokan they were dubbed the new Beatles, especially in Japan. That usually kills a band. It didn’t help that Cheap Trick themselves were huge Beatles fans, doing various covers like “Daytripper,” “Magical Mystery Tour” and even a mash-up with John Lennon of his “I’m Losing You.”

And then there were the plagiarism claims. Listen to their early 1980s pop ballad “The Flame” next to Spirit’s “Nature’s Way” if you don’t believe me. Even the above tune, “Stop This Game,” borrows a few rifts from KISS’ foray into disco and new wave, “I Was Born for Lovin’ You.”

Now, I don’t mean to bag on Cheap Trick. I still have a place in my heart for them. This song, as well as “Reach Out” from the Heavy Metal soundtrack, and “On Top of the World” from the classic 1978 album Heaven Tonight are among my favorite guilty pleasures.

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Heavy D Dead at 44

Heavy D, influential rapper in the 1980s and 90s, was pronounced dead this afternoon in Los Angeles. He was 44 years old.

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