A tweet recently popped up on my Twitter feed that Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” came out 20 years ago.
Well, it’s actually 20 years and about a month and a half, so you missed the true anniversary.
But, still, I get it. The point attempting to be made here was: “FEEL OLD YET?!”
And, no. I don’t. Telling me that “…Baby One More Time” is almost old enough to legally drink alcohol does not make me feel any older than I am. I remember it with fondness. In 20 years, when someone laser etches “Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” came out 20 years ago” into my frontal lobe, I might start to think I’m getting old.
This phenomenon isn’t rare. It seems every content website needs a filler piece, so they mine Google for images of products from the 90s. The picture are low definition, sometimes a picture of a television commercial.
Did I just leave this blog post for fifteen minutes to play an emulator of Number Munchers? You bet.
These lists don’t make me feel old. Usually, they make me wonder what we were thinking or why some things went away.
Why did Gushers survive, but Dunkaroo’s failed? What was the Mr. Sketch scented black marker supposed to smell like vs. what it actually did smell like? Are all the Tamagotchis dead? Is Tamagotchis the plural of Tamagotchi? Should it be Tamagotchae?
Like the flavor of Fruit Stripe gum, some things are only meant to exist for a fleeting moment.
When “…Baby One More Time” came out, I was a child. I have not been a child for a long time. I don’t eat garbage anymore. If given the chance to have a Surge soda, I would decline. If given the choice between real food and a Lunchable, I would take the real food. Those other things don’t interest me anymore. I don’t hav I have moved on with my life; I have moved on to more mature things.
Maybe this is a secret negative review of nostalgia culture. Every new Star Wars movie seems to inspire a wave of hatred, not because it is bad (sure, @ me, but you’re wrong), but because it is not the thing they grew up with. Just because you had a fondness for something or you are a member of a particular fandom doesn’t mean you own it or have any say in the matter.
Nostalgia culture is the non-drug equivalent of chasing the dragon. It will never be as good as you remember, not because it isn’t good, nor because it never was. YOU are the thing that has changed and that’s a good thing.
You never get anywhere by standing still.
A short post…
If you follow me on social media, you will already know this, but here’s an update.
I have a book deal with Entangled Publishing.
My book will be out on digital in April 2020. Stay tuned here for updates i.e. covers, info, appearances, sage advice.
Follow me on my social sites, where I am much more regular in my posting.
I had a conversation with my cat the other day. It went something like this.
“WHAAT? After all you’ve put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? JUST LIKE THAT?”
For those of you paying attention, yes. I do have a conversational cat. If you ever get a cat, I hope it does the same because it allows to reenact scenes from Lilo & Stitch. But, my sudden urge to reenact a scene from this movie got me thinking.
There is a lot of
rhetoric that surrounds Disney movies from my childhood. There’s this idea that the Disney princess movies were bad for people, portraying scenes of Stockholm syndrome, women thinking they can change a man, the only goal is a man…yada yada had TL:DR (which stands for Too Long: Didn’t Read, by the by).
What still strikes me is that I don’t find those movies to be the ones that followed me into adulthood.
I was probably a weird kid.
To this day, my favorite animated Disney movie was The Sword in the Stone. I wanted to have a talking owl that spoke almost exclusively in back-sass. I loved the music. Another Disney movie that stands out is Bedknobs and Broomsticks. There may have been some attachment to it out of novelty, because we didn’t actually own that one. We had to check it out from the library.
When I reached adulthood, the soccer match and Portobello Road weren’t as interesting as the fact that she’s FIGHTING OFF A NAZI INVASION. Remember that, kids? That’s right. Mrs. Potts is a witch who saved England from Nazis and would have gotten burned at the stake for it.
Another favorite was The Great Mouse Detective. I have found myself quoting things only to question where it was from to discover when I stubbed my toe and started saying, “My foot, my foot, my only foot!” I was quoting the evil bat from that movie.
Lilo & Stitch, The Rescuers, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Rocketeer. The closest I had to a favorite Disney princess movie was Robin Hood. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the princess movies. They just weren’t the running down the VHS player.
I guess my question is: where have all the side movies gone?
Do you guys remember Blank Check? Why aren’t there anymore Blank Checks? Or Tall Tales? Or Mighty Ducks?
Everyone remembers Cool Runnings, but what’s the Cool Runnings of the 00’s? Where’s the Homeward Bound of 2010? (Don’t tell me it’s the “Dog’s Purpose” movies unless there’s a talking cat named Sassy) Where’s my Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?
Please, please, please do not read this as me wanting a reboot of these things. I don’t want them to come back. I want them to stay safe where they live in my memory. Sure, there’s a place for a live action Dora the Explorer movie, but I feel like there’s a bigger piece of our culture missing here.
The movies I loved may not have been the most popular movies Disney was making, but they were still making them for people like me. The money they made on the princess movies were enough to fund the weird, quirky, emotionally devastating and still-interesting side projects. And, I DO think most people have stronger memories about Lilo & Stitch than they do some of the other Disney products of the time.
Here’s the thing, Disney:
Star Wars and Marvel have basically given you a blank check (brought it back). Maybe start taking some risks on these kinds of projects again. You never know who’s watching. I hope this is an idea that will be carried out on Disney+.
And, while we’re waiting for a new batch of off-color Disney movies, I encourage you to go back and find some of those gems you may have missed. They’re worth a watch.
The Phantom Menace is relevant right now 20 years after it’s original release.
I loved it. I consumed it. I collected it. I was 12 years old. More on that later.
Right now, you get to read a rambling third of my history with Star Wars.
I don’t remember how old I was, but my first memory of Star Wars was watching the sarlacc pit scene of Return of the Jedi on cable on the basement TV (it was a Zenith.) My dad caught me watching and asked, “Do you like this?”
I said yes.
He disappeared in the closet for a few minutes and came back out with the VHS three pack. “Here. Start with the first one.”
Episode I: The Obsession Rises. I was not in control of my own finances, so I didn’t have complete autonomy on how my consumption progressed. My father was supportive, however. Boba Fett was the first action figure I got. The second was a cereal box mail-in stormtrooper with removable helmet to reveal Han Solo underneath. A cascade of toys followed.
Then, the mother lode.
Rebel Assault. Not only did I get to live through the Star Wars universe, I got to blow up the Death Star. I played the game so much, I wore it out. Ask anyone if they remember Commander Ru Murleen and if they don’t have a television-style flashback, they don’t know this game.
My father was an early adapter of Apple products. My first PC was in college. We were only allowed education games, for the most part (your Mathblasters, Super Solvers, Carmen Sandiegos, and Swamp Gas Visits the United States of America.) This was the first game-game I had. He followed it up with Rebel Assault II and TIE Fighter because all other X-Wing franchise games weren’t available for Mac.
There’s so much more. Star Wars introduced me to the adult section of the library, it got me into video-editing. Star Wars launched me to a level of curiosity in media that you can only get once in a lifetime.
Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for:
The Phantom Menace
I was 12.
Blue iMacs in the computer lab.
A grassy hill. The slow roll of the tanks. I memorized that trailer.
“I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war.”
(I’m now informed that this was the second trailer, but it’s the one I remember getting on the school computer.)
It was me and one other kid, before YouTube, breaking through firewalls to get the trailer. So many broken links.
There was so much joy, so much excitement. I collected all the Pepsi cans. I read the book. I knew more about the movie before I saw it. I was young and not jaded.
The movie itself:
The lightsaber fights against the droids. Amazing. Qui-Gon using his lightsaber to melt through the blast shield. A dream come true. The thrill of watching a fast-paced lightsaber battle, the thrill of two Jedi fighting one Sith with a double-bladed saber at the speed and intensity they were going was awesome to behold. What did this mean for lightsaber battles in the future?
R2D2’s origin story. I loved that he was able to complete the job while all the other droids got blasted off. And, the queen recognized him for his (its?) service. Even if it was a decoy at that point, I still thought the gesture was important.
Jedi using the Force like they used the Force in the video games. Force jump, Force speed, holding their breath for extended periods of time. It was thrilling to see Jedi masters finally doing what I knew they could.
I didn’t mind Jar Jar. I’m sure on some level he was annoying. I didn’t want his toy. He was essentially a useless character, a Forrest Gump who bumbled his way through much more important events.
The podrace was thrilling. Seeing Jabba’s stranglehold on Tatooine seemed to clear something up in my mind. Tatooine was basically immune from the influence of both Republic and Empire both. Having read the book, I knew that humans could not race pods. The only reason Anakin could was because of his connection to the Force. He used the Force to survive. I liked that Watto could resist the Jedi mind trick, because Jabba could, too. Scum and villainy, remember.
Seeing so many Jedi was amazing.
For me, Qui-Gon’s and Obi-Wan’s battle with Darth Maul and Amidala re-taking the castle were the best parts.
I think I got a lot of the toys before the movie came out, but that’s more hazy. I had the oversized Gillette razor communicator that played the soundbite chips that came with each action figure. I loved the Battle Droids. I loved the “roger, roger” soundbite the best. I loved my droid on his Stap the best. I loved Star Wars. And, my love for Star Wars extended to The Phantom Menace. It was finally a new entry into the world that wasn’t a computer game, wasn’t a book, it was finally something that everyone would share with me. They would get back into the universe. It would be relevant to everyone, not just me, and that’s what mattered.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed The Phantom Menace. I ignored the things I didn’t like, but, to this day, I still vividly remember the things I liked about it. Maybe it was made for kids, maybe it wasn’t. Nothing can take away my joy and excitement I got from it.
An elegant emotion for a more civilized age.
Also, if my aunt is reading this, I don’t apologize for making you do Darth Maul make-up on my face more times than I remember. I do, however, want you to realize that I remember and it still means a lot to me.
You guys know there’s a Robin Hood movie coming out this year, right? Because there was a Robin Hood movie out almost 16 minutes ago and God help us if we go 15 minutes without rehashing the same old, same old.
Every time we get a new version of a beloved property, there’s some twist. Like, Sherlock, but modern! Sherlock, but steampunk! Sherlock, but Watson’s a girl! Sherlock, but Sherlock’s a girl…STOP! Bridge too far!
From what I can tell, this new Robin Hood is like Ocean’s 11, but with arrows, I guess? I mean, there’s a big casino scene in the trailer and extended training sequences and Jamie Foxx dodging arrows like it’s The Matrix and…I’m tired. I’m just going to make popcorn at home and take a nap.
Hey! You guys know there are 6 Joker movies in development? We’re rehashing fresh hash! How many times are we going to see Bruce Wayne’s parents die in movies that are supposed to be about tangential characters? Putting my bet in for at least 3.
The Mummy, but the mummy’s a girl!
Superman, but he’s dark and brooding!
King Arthur, but he’s in a biker gang!
Instead of whining about the nonsense, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. It’s time to make MY remakes, Hollywood.
Here are my pitches:
- Sherlock IS Watson
For this one, Sherlock is just a normal, crazy opioid addict. But, being on drugs has given him a dissociative identity disorder. When he’s on morphine, he’s the crime solving Sherlock we all know and love. When he’s sober, he’s the more sound-of-mind, but less brilliant Watson, a disgraced doctor who got addicted to opioids when he was a practicing physician. When he’s on meth, he’s Moriarty, setting up puzzles for his morphined self. He’s also the police commissioner, his own housekeeper, the lead violin virtuoso of the London Philharmonic, his own love interest, somehow, and Nexton Wingnut, that new character in Star Wars. We’ll figure that out later.
2. Robin Hood in a modern setting
I know what you’re thinking:
“Kate, if we put Robin Hood in a modern setting, isn’t that just Green Arrow?”
No, it’s not.
“Yes, put a lot of the vigilantism performed by Green Arrow has parallels to Robin Hood. And, the main thing about Robin Hood is that he wears a hood and shoots arrows. That’s Green Arrow.”
No, it’s not.
“But, the show Arrow has gone to great lengths to build up Arrow’s support team as a modern version of the Merry Men, so you wouldn’t be able to differentiate between Arrow and a modern retelling of Robin Hood.”
Yes, we would.
“Fine. How is is different?”
Ours will be called Robin Hood.
3. King Arthur
But, he’s a time traveler. The once and future king. Get it? Also, maybe he’s a woman. Or has dissociative identity disorder and is also Lancelot.
4. Beauty and the Beast
A CGI remake of the live action remake of the animated film where we try to fix the problems in the live action movie that arose when we tried to fix what we thought were problems in the animated movie, but weren’t so much plot holes as nitpicking people with blogs and YouTube channels (she said unironically).
5. Romeo and Juliet
In most of the movie adaptations for Romeo & Juliet, they sort of gloss over the part where Romeo is being all broody about Rosaline. Who’s Rosaline, you may ask, because she’s never in any of the movies.
Rosaline is the teenage chick that Romeo is desperately in love with at the beginning of the play. Yes. That’s right. Romeo is all love sick puppy because he’s got the hots for Roz, but she doesn’t love him back. He is a horny teenager.
My belief is that Romeo & Juliet is not just the first (recorded?) melodramatic young adult romance, it is also the first (recorded?) farce of a melodramatic young adult romance. It’s not just the first Twilight, it’s the first Twilight parody.
Do a modern language retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but have Mercutio be much more obvious with his commentary about how dumb it is for Romeo to think he’s going to marry the first girl he meets in high school, especially after he just got over his summer camp romance.
Wait, did I just write Grease? Is Grease secretly Romeo & Juliet?
Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows I make a lot of jokes about dating apps and the things I encounter there. I am single. Were I to get into a relationship that ended with me deactivating my dating app subscriptions, I would have significantly less comedic material for social media.
That being said, here are some trends on dating apps that I would like someone to explain to me. I have added my own explanations from deep within my own mind, but feel free to comment with your own interpretation.
1. The tiger picture
Guys like to take picture with tigers. They probably think it makes them look dangerous.
My assumption: you are at some zoo event where they let you have a close encounter.
Better option: Take a picture of yourself holding a Starbucks cup without the sleeve. Caution: contents may be hot? I don’t care. I like to live on the edge.
2. The mirror shot
These poor souls don’t have any friends who can hold their cameras for them to take a picture. But, there are so many mirror shots on dating apps, I’m starting to think it’s something else entirely.
My assumption: Mirror seeks like-minded individual to reflect with. Why are so many mirrors lonely? What do they see in themselves?
Better option: Clean your mirror and bathroom before you take a picture of it. Just saying…
3. All your pictures are of you outdoors
My assumption: I assume you’re homeless.
Better option: Take a few pictures inside. Pretend you have a couch that you sit on every once in awhile. I’m an indoor cat. We’re not going to have a good time if all you want to do is hike. Prove your human and have a roof over your head.
4. Same shirt
My assumption: you only have one shirt
Better option: have more than one shirt
5. Same hat
My assumption: you only have one hat or you are bald
Better option: prove you have more than one hat or hair
6. Headless torso looking for love
There’s this tendency (and usually it’s a mirror picture) to hold the phone in front of your face while you take a picture in the mirror, thus making the face invisible.
My assumption: you have no face. You’re just a headless torso looking for love. And, unless you’re trying to make a matching in Sleepy Hollow, it’s a little weird.
Better option: have some pictures with your face in them
And, last, but not least:
7. The Entrepreneur
Most dating apps want you to list your job. Sometimes, especially in Hollywood, you can’t say what you do because you signed a non-disclosure or your an agent who will only get unsolicited material if you tell people that on any kind of social platform.
Then, there’s the guy that puts entrepreneur.
My assumption: You are unemployed.
Better option: Look. For five years, I worked for a COMPANY that helped entrepreneurs and small businesses. After 5 years, I realized that, while entrepreneur might be a state of mind, it’s not a job. If you are a founder of a company, that’s a job. If you’re a CEO, CFO, COO of a company you helped create, that’s a job. Entrepreneur…you aren’t allowed to get away with that. So, dig deep in your brain and come up with something that is an actual occupation or just leave that part blank.
Life is hard. Dating is difficult. We are all just groping in the void trying to make some kind of connection in a world that cares nothing for our happiness.
Don’t make it harder on yourself.
But, I guess if being a headless torso looking for love works for you, don’t fix what ain’t broke.