December 31, 1995

Year-End Wrapup: 1995

My top five films for 1995 would have to be: Babe, Braveheart, Sense & Sensibility, To Die For, and The Usual Suspects. During the summer of 1995, I was working weekend overnights in North Conway, NH as a Top 40 disc jockey. The drive back and forth to Boston on Saturdays would have been impossible due to vacation traffic. As a result, I went to a lot of weekend matinees in Conway and North Conway to kill time. I doubt I'll ever see 75 movies in one year again- at least not until retirement!

December 17, 1995

Heat

Michael Mann's crime epic is fantastic, but it's very very long.

December 1, 1995

Mix Tape No.34

Side A
  1. "Come Back Down", Toad The Wet Sprocket
  2. "Me In Honey", R.E.M. feat/Kate Pierson
  3. "Rosealia", Better Than Ezra
  4. "The Dark of the Sun", Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  5. "Heart of Gold", Neil Young
  6. "Leather & Lace", Stevie Nicks feat/Don Henley
  7. "Biker Like An Icon", Paul McCartney
  8. "Headache", Frank Black
  9. "All The Things She Said", Simple Minds
  10. "Satisfied", Squeeze
  11. "Eminence Front", The Who
  12. "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" U2
Side B
  1. "Free As A Bird", The Beatles
  2. "Delirious", Prince
  3. "All Through The Night", Cyndi Lauper
  4. "Code of Silence", Billy Joel & Cyndi Lauper
  5. "Mountains O'Things", Tracy Chapman
  6. "Opelousas (Sweet Relief)", Maria McKee
  7. "Put The Message In The Box", World Party
  8. "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast", Spin Doctors
  9. "Why Can't I Be You?" The Cure
  10. "Everyday Is Like Sunday", 10,000 Maniacs
  11. "Live To Tell", Madonna
100 minute cassette

November 25, 1995

Casino

A great movie, and a fine Scorsese movie. It is not as good as GoodFellas, which is hardly a fair comparison. After all, GoodFellas is one of my all-time favorite films!

November 24, 1995

Nick of Time

The only reason I went to see Nick of Time was for its gimmick: Like the TV show 24, all the events in the film take place in "real time", over the 90-minute running time of the film. I thought that meant that the whole film would stick with the Johnny Depp character, without cuts to "parallel action", but that wasn't the case.

November 19, 1995

Goldeneye

A smart and sharp renewal of the Bond franchise. Pierce Brosnan had been on the double-0 waiting list since 1987, when he could not escape his Remington Steele contract. I generally believe Bond should be played by a man in his 30s, but in this case, I believe Brosnan is better as Bond at age 42 than he would have been at age 34.
Izabella Scorpuco is a strong and helpful Bond girl, and Famke Janssen is terrific as a crazed hench-woman.
Alan Cumming as an adorable computer "hacker" and his adequate Russian accent work for me- it's tough to ignore the antiquated computer technology. All the tech in Bond movies is ancient now, but maybe I notice the personal computers, and the password guessing games more because they're from my history?
Tina Turner's Goldeneye theme song (written by Bono and The Edge, produced by Nellee Hooper) is one of my favorites.
BOND & BOURNE MOVIES on Stub Hubby

Get Shorty

Barry Sonnenfeld cut together an quick, funny, clever comedy. Lots of world-class character actors (Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, David Paymer, Martin Ferrero, Miguel Sandoval) and one of my wife's favorite movies of the 1990s.

November 15, 1995

Mighty Aphrodite

mighty Playing a dim-bulb hooker with a funny voice didn't help Mira Sorvino's then-rising star much, even though she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. It's too bad this Harvard graduate who speaks three languages hasn't done any work half as good as this since then. (Maine Mall Cinema)

Carrington

The story of the relationship between painter Dora Carrington (Emma Thompson) and author Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce). I don't remember the movie, but I always remember Emma Thompson's sex scenes: All I remember is the sex scene on the sailboat. (Exchange Street, Portland)

October 15, 1995

Strange Days

In the not-too-distant future, a former cop-turned slimy hustler (Ray Fiennes, surprisingly effective) stumbles into a Rodney King-style police murder coverup in the days leading up to The Millenium. In the mid 1990s, a slew of films included "virtual reality" or "cyberspace" elements--The Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, The Thirteenth Floor and The Matrix spring to mind. Strange Days features a skullcap-mounted video/audio recorder which perfectly captures an individual's experiences: When played back with the same skullcap, you see what they saw. A pretty cool concept, well rendered and included in the film. A great cast, including Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Richard Edson, William Fichtner, Josef Sommer, and Nicky Katt. Not a perfect film, but there is lots to recommend it. (Maine Mall Cinema)

October 14, 1995

To Die For

todieforI remember first learning about this movie from a movie poster. It said NICOLE KIDMAN and TO DIE FOR, and the tagline "All she wanted was a little attention." The combination of the title, the tagline, and the photo (Nicole intensely opening her blouse) made me think the movie would be some kind of sexy black widow thriller, or maybe a Fatal Attraction-style sexy stalker movie. There's plenty of sexual manipulation going on in the movie, but it's really about a crackpot in the woods of New Hampshire who believes she's the next Katie Couric. Kidman uses her sexual wiles to convince three teenagers (Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland) to murder her husband (Matt Dillon). An edgy breakout performance from Kidman, who steps out of Tom Cruise's shadow and becomes more than That Australian Actress. Creative (or financial) freedom has allowed her to star in plenty of artistic and critical successes (Portrait of a Lady, Moulin Rouge!, Dogville) and fewer paycheck choices (Batman Forever, Practical Magic, The Peacemaker). There's no explaining her ill-advised attempts at comedy (The Stepford Wives, Bewitched).

October 8, 1995

How To Make An American Quilt

I remember NOTHING about this movie. (Maine Mall Cinema)

Winona Ryder's Wilderness Twenties

Ryder made thirteen movies in her twenties, when, to be blunt, she struggled to find an identity in Hollywood. Much of the time she seemed determined to make movies of all her favorite books (Age of Innocence, House of the Spirits, Little Women, How To Make An American Quilt, The Crucible, Girl, Interrupted). She made two movies which barely got released due to studio problems (Boys, Lost Souls). She was horribly miscast in Alien: Resurrection. She was 22 years younger than Richard Gere in a movie nobody wanted to see, Autumn In New York. That leaves her appearance in an unremarkable Woody Allen film (Celebrity), and her two unqualified successes: Reality Bites and Bram Stoker's Dracula. So where does this tattered trail of movies lead us? Ryder clearly would have been content to make period movies for the rest of her life. She made a series of good comedies in her teens, but totally gave up on comedy in her twenties (except for Reality Bites). All of her other choices are almost non-choices. I get the feeling that she made whatever movies came her way, agreeing to make movies not because she liked the material, or she was well-suited for the role, or it would advance her career. She never really made a "paycheck movie" in that span. Based on what we know about her personal life, she seems to be a profoundly sad woman who doesn't like this business at all.

October 3, 1995

October 2, 1995

32: Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit, Volume 2

"All songs under 3 minutes or less.. guaranteed!" 120 minutes

September 22, 1995

Se7en

I only saw this movie once. It was very good, but I am unlikely to see it ever again. Ugh. (Hoyt's Cinemas South Portland)

September 15, 1995

Mix #31 (Thirty-one)

"mostly from the CD library of 103-7 'Peak' FM"

September 14, 1995

30: The Fast Driving Mix Volume II

"The 30th Anniversary Mix. Recorded at Peak FM, of course."
There are plenty of disadvantages to working the overnight shift. One of the advantages of working all alone in the office is that no one is around if you want to do two things at once, and risk possibly not doing your paid job as well as your boss would like. That is the exact scenario I often found myself in at "Portland's Best Music!" 103.7 "Peak" FM. I would play Ace of Base and Seal in the master control studio, while recording cassettes of my personal music in the second production studio across the hall. I would simply 'chock' both doors open, and leave the monitor speakers on high enough to warn me when the Madonna record was running out. I'm not saying I never missed my cue, but there's no need for me to sit there listening to that same Hootie & The Blowfish record all the way through. This is one of the reasons why so many DJs have been replaced with computers in the last 15 years.
  1. "Been Caught Stealing" (12 inch remix) Jane's Addiction: My 1993-1994 internship at WFNX was my trial by fire into the world of alternative rock. I did odd jobs for Neal Robert in the afternoons, and he used to play this version of this song off the CD single.
  2. "Jumpin Jack Flash" The Rolling Stones
  3. "Runnin Down A Dream" Tom Petty, featuring Mike Campbell tearing off one of my all-time favorite guitar solos.
  4. "Animal" Pearl Jam: I can't overstate the impact Vs. had on the world in 1993. Pearl Jam were already one of the biggest bands on Earth when Vs. was released in September. The album set a record for copies sold in one week (unbroken for 5 years!) and it's gone 7x platinum since. This is for a band which didn't grant interviews and released no promotional videos. They succeeded on merit. We'll never see a physical album or CD fly off the shelves like that again. I would guess WFNX regularly played seven tracks off the record. "Animal" still sounds great in 2011. The snare drum sounds a little "1990s", but the rest of the recording and performance are full-tilt amozzing. I still have a vinyl LP copy !mint!sealed! if anyone wants to make me an offer? Serendipitously, Pearl Jam recorded and released the Orpheum Theater show I saw on the tour, April 12, 1994. Unfortunately, a single CD can't hold the entire concert, so their performance of "Animal" didn't make the cut.
  5. "Few and Far Between" 10,000 Maniacs: Man I love the arrangement on this song. The drums sound amazing, the horn section is terrific too.
  6. "Closer to Fine" Indigo Girls
  7. "If I Can't Change Your Mind" Sugar
  8. "Gee Angel" Sugar
  9. "Rockin Stroll" The Lemonheads
  10. "Sold Me Down The River" The Alarm
  11. "Stop!" Jane's Addiction
  12. "Cannonball" The Breeders
  13. "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" Lenny Kravitz
  14. "Divine Thing" Soup Dragons
  15. "Interstate Love Song" Stone Temple Pilots
  16. "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" Van Morrison
  17. "Jump In Line (Shake Shake Senora)" I first heard this Harry Belafonte song at the end of the movie Beetlejuice. This is why I bought Danny Elfman's soundtrack CD (featuring this song and "Day-O" too). I could not wait 15 years for iTunes to be invented.
  18. "Werewolves of London" Warren Zevon
  19. "No Surrender" Bruce Springsteen wanted this song as the leadoff single from Born In The U.S.A. Jon Landau convinced him that he needed to broaden his audience with "Dancing In The Dark" instead. It's a testament to the LP's depth that the album spawn SEVEN top 10 singles, and in the end, "No Surrender" wasn't ever a single.
  20. "After Midnight" (alternate mix) Eric Clapton, from the Crossroads box set.
  21. "Cult of Personality" Living Colour
  22. "Monkey On My Back" Aerosmith
  23. "Hazy Shade of Winter" The Bangles, sounding their best thanks to killer production quality from Rick Rubin.
  24. "Demolition Man" The Police
90 minute cassette

September 8, 1995

The Prophecy

Yesterday (2-10-08), I watched this movie on IFC (thank you TiVo) for the first time since is saw it in the theater. Twelve years and five months later, all I remembered about it was that it took place in the desert, that Christopher Walken was a supernatural bad guy and Adam Goldberg was a human who had killed himself, but was in limbo servitude to Walken until Walken let him die in peace. The entire rest of the cast, the plot, was a complete blank. Yesterday I discovered why: Christopher Walken's scenes with Adam Goldberg are the only watchable parts of this bad bad movie.
prophecyChristopher Walken and Eric Stoltz are Gabriel and Simon, rival angels visiting Earth, on either side of a war over the fate of humanity. Gabriel and Simon are on Earth to recover the soul of the most evil warrior in all humanity, a recently-deceased Army colonel who was responsible for war crimes in Korea. His soul will tip the balance of power and overthrow God, or something like that.
Elias Koteas (Zodiac, The Thin Red Line) is a divinity student who lost his faith and became a detective instead. He stumbles across a dead angel at a crime scene (Kenny Bania from Seinfeld is the coroner) and reads the angel's hand-written, centuries-old Bible, with an extra chapter in the back. He's soon on the trail of the angels to a decaying mining town in the desert. Simon has recovered the soul from the dead colonel, but before he can skip town, Simon has to stash the soul where Gabriel won't find it, kind of like True Romance or any of those "thieves stealing from thieves" movies where there's a briefcase of drugs/cash/whatever. Stoltz gives the Big Kiss to an eleven-year-old Indian girl who attends Virginia Madsen's school. Walken then pursues the girl, while Koteas and Madsen try to come to grips with the divine.
Essentially an overlong X-Files episode, The Prophecy drags badly when Koteas and Madsen are onscreen. By halfway through the movie, my "FF" finger was itching to move the story along. Finally, during the third act showdown, Viggo Mortensen appears as Lucifer. Looking a bit like Aragorn, but with a hairbrush and some eyeliner, Lucifer doesn't want any competition in the eternal damnation department, so he's rooting for good over evil, so he remains relatively evil and maintains his monopoly on lost faith.
I just realized that this movie features three veterans from Pulp Fiction the year before: Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, and Amamda Plummer don't share any scenes in Pulp Fiction, but they're all reunited here. Walken has claimed a spot on Entertainment Weekly's list of Biggest Sellout Performances In Hollywood History for movies just like this. EW called him The Least Selective Actor in Hollywood. (North Conway Cinema)


August 22, 1995

A Walk In The Clouds

Keanu Reeves is so bad in so many movies! This "love amongst the grapevines" movie feels like a transplant from the 1940s.

August 21, 1995

The Usual Suspects

This film blew me away. Like everyone else, Director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie carefully structured Verbal Kint's story, to make everyone think "Dean Keaton is Keyser Soze but Kint doesn't know it", so the audience thinks they've sussed out the "twist" ending, but wow! I remember walking down the stairs from the balcony at Church Street, feeling like a trapdoor had been opened under my feet, thinking "wow. wow. wow." (August 21st and September 15th, 1995)

Update: I watched The Usual Suspects again in 2014, and while it's still great, I noticed some very 1990s touches, including the excessive Tarantino-style swearing - I know they're criminals, but the cursing becomes grating - and the moment at the very beginning when Keyser Soze is about to shoot Dean Keaton...he turns his gun sideways! Holding your Glock sideways was SO COOL in 1995, but now it's a joke. Having the supreme mysterious badass hold his gun sideways is now hilarious, I almost laughed out loud.

August 16, 1995

Hugo Weaving: Typecast as a Xenophobe?

Has anyone else noticed that Australian actor Hugo Weaving's three most well-known parts are non-humans who do not tolerate other species?
  • In Babe and it's sequel, Babe: A Pig In The City, Weaving voices a sheepdog who refuses to accept a pig as a sheep herder, and believes strongly that each species has its role in the world and should not try and be something else.
  • In The Matrix and its two sequels, Weaving plays a computer program who hates all humanity and looks forward to destroying all humans not living in slavery.
  • In three The Lord of the Rings films, Weaving plays the elf leader Elrond who believes "men are weak" and (fairly) blames a Man (Ilsidur) for not destroying the One True Ring when he had a chance.

Babe

Wonderful. Costarring Hugo Weaving as the alpha sheepdog Rex

July 30, 1995

Waterworld

An entertaining mess. (July 30th and August 16th, 1995)

July 28, 1995

Species

I saw this sexy blonde alien movie at Fresh Pond on an incredibly hot day. Several women in the theater were shouting at Forest Whitaker onscreen.

July 24, 1995

Living In Oblivion

Very wacky look at a "indie" movie set. James LeGros in the 'Brad Pitt' role is wonderful. I love Dermot Mulroney's cinematographer character, wearing an eyepatch! (Nickelodeon theater, Comm. Ave, Boston)

July 22, 1995

29: Acquaintances

"Exclusively collected from the WZPK "Peak" FM Music Library." However, the collection is not full of Top 40 songs which I played on the air. The mix contains mostly AAA and alt-rock. 100 minutes.

July 12, 1995

Nine Months

Hugh Grant rides his post Weddings success with this mediocre Chris Columbus comedy. I don't even think this was a romantic comedy?

July 9, 1995

First Knight

Sean Connery as King Arthur makes sense. Julia Ormond is actually English, but Richard Gere as Lancelot? Why?!? I have only seen two Richard Gere films in the theater, First Knight, and Chicago.

July 4, 1995

Smoke

I barely remember this movie, but I think it was good?

July 2, 1995

Apollo 13

Quality Ron Howard Entertainment. (July 2nd and 14th, 1995)

June 25, 1995

Pocahontas

My girlfriend dragged me to this one. Disney's hand-drawn, excessively old school movies are winding down...(June 25th and July 23rd, 1995)

June 10, 1995

Congo

Yes, that's Dylan Walsh and Laura Linney, both slumming in this economy-budgeted Michael Crichton thriller. But it's got Joe Don Baker (Mitchell), Tim Curry, and Ernie Hudson too! (June 10th and June 11th, 1995, North Conway Theater)

June 5, 1995

The Bridges of Madison County

Clint Eastwood directed a real weeper.
(June 5th, Janus Cinema, Harvard Sq; and September 28th, Conway, NH)

June 4, 1995

The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain

A cute English comedy, brought to you by Hugh Grant's newfound success. (Nickelodeon theater, Comm. Ave, Boston)

May 24, 1995

Braveheart

Blew me away. The drawn-and-quartered ending is so sad and gruesome, that I don't have the stomach to watch it a second time. Back in 1995, I was still young and naive enough to hope that someone would save Wallace in the end! Many great things about this movie, at the moment I remember that wonderfully evil speech the feudal magistrate gives right before he executes William Wallace's wife Murron (Catherine McCormack). Murron has been arrested for defending herself against an attempted rape by a soldier:
"All of you know full well, the great pains I've always taken never to be too strict, too rigid with the application of our laws, and as a consequence, have we not learned to live together in relative peace and harmony? And this day's lawlessness is how you repay my leniency. Well you leave me with little choice. An assault on the king's soldiers is the same as an assault on the king himself.
And what makes this worse is, the magistrate then quietly admits he executed her in an attempt to flush out Wallace...(Church Street, Harvard Square)

Also On Memorial Day, Through The Years

I have been to the movies on Memorial Day Monday 13 times in 24 years, but it's not a great track record. 

May 21, 1995

Forget Paris

Billy Crystal goes to Paris with Debra Winger; do they run into Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline?

May 19, 1995

Die Hard with a Vengeance

Muddled, frantic, and confusing. But it moves so fast you don't notice. Jeremy Irons does his fake German accent no better than Alan Rickman did. (First viewing at the Cheri; also saw it on June 6 and June 10.)

May 18, 1995

Crimson Tide

A overly muscular and manly submarine thriller, directed by Tony Scott.

May 7, 1995

French Kiss

A romantic comedy road trip in France. Meg Ryan stars, but her When Harry Met Sally co-star Billy Crystal was too musy making his own French rom-com (Forget Paris), so Kevin Kline plays her French love interest instead.

May 1, 1995

28: Revisited!

My notes on the cassette insert say "Side 2 originally recorded May 1995, both sides re-recorded March 23, 1996. The collection is chock-full of contemporary music, including plenty of alt-rock, and music I was then playing on the Top 40 radio station 103.7 "Peak" FM. 90 minutes.

Destiny Turns on the Radio

It was not a good year for bad movies. What I'm trying to say is: this sucked.

April 29, 1995

The Basketball Diaries

I remember how good it was, but that's about it.

April 24, 1995

While You Were Sleeping

I have no memory of this movie. Every time it comes on cable TV I watch for 30 seconds and cannot recall it.

April 20, 1995

Vanya on 42nd Street

I had no expectations for this movie- I had never seen the play before, but I enjoyed this film anyways. NOTE: This would be my last visit to the Capitol Theater for over ten years. I lived in Maine from late 1995 to early 2001, and I didn't return to the Capitol until I saw Mad Hot Ballroom in 2005.

April 8, 1995

Don Juan DeMarco

Don't recall much of this one.

April 3, 1995

Tank Girl

Silly, weird comic-book movie.

March 30, 1995

Circle of Friends

Quality Irish chick flick (I saw it again on August 9).

March 29, 1995

25, 26, 27: The History of My Compact Discs

Like a band who releases a "Greatest Hits" collection with only two albums' wirth of music, perhaps this was an idea whose time had not come yet. I created a three-cassette series collecting music from CDs over the previous 9 years. By focusing so closely on such short time periods, I ended up capturing particular memories well.

Mix 25 - Compact Discs: The Early Years 1987-1989; 90 minutes

Mix 26 - Compact Discs: The Emerson College Years 1990-1992; 60 minutes

Mix 27 - Compact Discs: The WFNX Years 1993-1994; 90 minutes

March 27, 1995

Lawrence of Arabia

I took my Mom with me to the Wang Center, as she always told me how much she loved this film as a kid. Breathtaking on the big screen. Seeing it projected on an enormous screen made me realize this movie would be unwatchable on TV. I appreciated that the film opens with the 1935 motorcycle crash which killed Lawrence: This allows the moviegoer to watch the movie assured that nothing they see in the following three hours will kill Lawrence.

March 26, 1995

Bye Bye Love

A boring, pointless divorced-dad comedy. It's entries like this that make me wonder about my low standards? Maybe at age 23 I did not yet understand that I did not have to do everything my television told me to do. Notice that the next day I went to see one of the best movies ever made...

March 25, 1995

Dolores Claiborne

Incredibly depressing, but Kathy Bates is always good. Based on a Stephen King novel which I did not read.

March 22, 1995

Heavenly Creatures

Two teenage girls and their surreal Kiwi adventures. From director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings).

March 20, 1995

Jaws

One of my all-time favorite movies, on the biggest screen in New England, at the Wang Center, with Laurie Michaelson.
Quint: Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycocks. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, Chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.



March 19, 1995

Little Women

I have not read the book, but the movie was OK.

March 15, 1995

Hideaway

Terrible movie, based on a Dean Koontz novel. Check out this outline: Hatch Harrison (Jeff Goldblum) has a terrible car accident. He dies for more than two hours, but Dr. Nyebern (Alfred Molina) successfully brings him back to life. Harrison has some weird premonitions and becomes able to see through the eyes of a psychopath serial killer: Vassago (the squirrely Jeremy Sisto), killed his own mother and sister, and committed suicide, but was also brought back from death. When Harrison foresees that Vassago is trying to capture his daughter (Alicia Silverstone), Hatch tries to find the criminal first. (Fresh Pond)

March 5, 1995

Billy Madison

I was dragged to see this, at the Capitol in Arlington.

March 1, 1995

Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02138

The theater where Bruce Springsteen once performed (which inspired the quote "I have seen rock 'n roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen") was long ago chopped up into 5 movie screens:
  • Auditorium 1 is the original "orchestra" section of the theater. The screen is big and the seating average.
  • Screens 2 and 3 is the steeply raked "balcony" of the original theater, split into two adequate screens. The seating is completely unsatisfactory for a 6'2" gentleman theatergoer such as myself, especially at a sold-out screening, like the Hugo debacle in January 2012.
  • Screens 4 and 5 are the stage and flyloft of the original theater. These "theaters" are shaped like saltines boxes. They're only suitable for children, sadists, and the criminally insane.
There's the gamble: Harvard Square was very convenient, and the clientele was much more reliable than West Newton, for example. But there was a 40% chance of a completely unacceptable moviegoing experience, and only a 20% chance of satisfaction...and that's not even factoring the quality of the movie into the equation.

AMC Theaters closed the Church Street Theater in the summer of 2012, and I believe the space is still vacant in 2015?

Starting in the late 80s/early 90s, I saw dozens of movies at this theater, which operated under several names, including Sony, Loews, and AMC.

Church Street Trivia:

  • First Movie: A midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, circa 1990
  • Last Movie: The Hunger Games, March 2012
  • Best Movie: Master & Commander, but Braveheart and The Usual Suspects are tied for second.
  • Worst Movie: The Producers (musical remake, 2005) was bad; Full Frontal was just forgettable
  • Oscars: Around 8 or 9 Best Picture nominees
  • Musicals: Surprisingly a lot of musicals and nearly-musicals: Two very different musical biopics- Backbeat and Immortal BelovedThe Producers, Team America: World Police (fuck yeah!), The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Down With Love (sort of), The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (vampire puppets only). My wife saw Dreamgirls here while I saw The Good German in another theater- after my movie was over, I snuck into her screening just in time to watch the Dreamgirls closing credits.
  • No Spoilers: I memorably saw The Crying Game and The Usual Suspects here without knowing the twist surprises in advance.
  • A Martin Scorsese Movie: The Aviator and Hugo
  • Directed by Steven Soderbergh: The Good German and Full Frontal
  • Starring Harvard Square As Itself: I saw The Social Network here; uncanny to watch this movie with Mark Zuckerberg's character practically walking past the very theater we were sitting in.

Mostly Complete List
BalconyOrchestraStage or Fly LoftI've Forgotten Which
Backbeat, Gosford Park, Love Actually, The Crying Game, The Producers (2005), The Usual Suspects, Hugo, Team America: World Police Braveheart, Good Night and Good Luck, Master & Commander, Natural Born Killers, Sleepless In Seattle, The Aviator, It's Complicated, The Rum Diary, No Strings Attached, The Hunger Games, The Social Network, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show Down With Love, The Good German, Lost In Translation, and The Wild Bunch A History Of Violence, Full Frontal, Immortal Beloved, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sexy Beast, Sex Drugs Rock & Roll, The Golden Bowl, The Thin Red Line, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The Wild Bunch: Restored Version

I don't know exactly when I saw this restored edition of The Wild Bunch. This edition debuted in the US in March 2005, so that's the date I included. I don't recall a lot about the movie, except for its violence, and the use of the "paint" blood, that especially phony blood substitute which was used by special effects artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other famous movies to use this phony-looking blood include The Godfather (when Don Corleone is shot) and The French Connection (when Popeye shoots the Frenchie on the subway stairs).

Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs

Pulp Fiction (for the sixth time), double - featured with Reservoir Dogs, with my friend Mike, at the Brattle Theater.

February 26, 1995

The Shawshank Redemption

Wonderful. I loved the Stephen King novella and I love the movie.

February 25, 1995

24: Really Zany Mix

Featuring music, stand-up comedy, sketches from comedy CDs, and TV theme music.
100 minutes

Just Cause

A terrible serial killer movie, set amongst the sweat and alligators of Florida. Great talent (Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Capshaw, Blair Underwood, Ruby Dee, Scarlett Johansson, Ned Beatty, Lynne Thigpen), all wasted. Ed Harris plays the Hannibal Lecter role, with a crazy haircut.

February 23, 1995

23: Join Together

This mix contains songs I liked to play on the guitar.
90 minutes

February 22, 1995

The Brady Bunch Movie

As the theme song began, I thought "I cannot believe I am watching this!". This film is definitely on my "Most Embarassed That I Paid To See This" List, along with Shanghai Surprise, Jetsons: The Movie, and Coneheads. I saw it again on March 11.

February 18, 1995

Pulp Fiction in Chronological Order?

If you've ever been unemployed, you know the kinds of meaningless projects you'll undertake just to make the day go by. When I was vocationally challenged in 2001, I borrowed my friend's Criterion Collection laserdisc copy of Pulp Fiction and decided to copy it to VHS, but in chronological order. One of the devices Quentin uses to make Pulp Fiction interesting is to take the linear action out of sequence. After watching my VHS tape, you can make the argument that the non-linear storytelling is the whole reason for the movie's existence.
Jules & Vincent Whack A Couple Guys
Royale with Cheese • We open on Jules and Vincent, two black-suited hitmen, cruising through L.A. on their way to an early-morning hit, chatting about life in Amsterdam. They arrive at the apartment building, discuss Tony "Rocky Horror", foot massages, and "taking out" Mia Wallace.
Ezekiel 25:17 • Jules and Vincent confront Brett and "Flock of Seagulls". For some reason, Brett (Frank Whaley) is eating a Big Kahuna burger at 7:22 in the morning. The scene ends when Brett is shot...
Divine Intervention • We rejoin the Jules/Brett conversation ("You ever read the Bible, Brett?"), this time, from the perspective of the cannon-wielding, bathroom-using Fourth Man. The Fourth Man is in the bathroom (when in doubt, QT puts a character in the W.C.), pants unzipped, overhearing Jules' scripture monologue from behind the closed door. After Brett is shot, this fella runs out, then shoots and misses Jules and Vincent six times. Jules and Vincent shoot The Fourth Man, discuss divine intervention, then leave with Marvin in tow.
“I just shot Marvin in the face.” • This is why you put the hammer down and put your gun away- poor Marvin gets shot in the face.
The Bonnie Situation • Jimmie explains why they need to get the "Dead N***** Storage" sign off the front lawn so quickly.
Winston Wolf • He takes his coffee with extra cream and extra sugar, and he drives really f*ckin' fast. Sounds just like me!
Monster Joe’s Truck & Tow • Marvin and Jules' wheels get crushed, Winston advises the guys to "move out of the sticks, fellas"; Jules and Vincent call a cab and go for breakfast.
“Personality goes a long way.” • Jules and Vincent discuss pork products and Jules' resemblance to David Carradine.
Pumpkin & Honey Bunny • Meanwhile, at another table, this sequence from the beginning of the film gets spliced in: Pumpkin and Honey Bunny spontaneously decide to rob the restaurant they're in; Pumpkin (aka Ringo) learns some French.
“trying to be the shepherd.” • All hell breaks loose at the coffee shop. Vincent is taking a crap while this is happening. Thankully, Jules is in a "transitional period" and no one get shot.
Jules & Vincent at Strip Club/Butch Payoff • In the movie, this scene comes in right after Brett is shot. At one of Marcellus's strip clubs, Butch gets paid off to take a fall. Jules & Vincent show up in their t-shirts and flip-flops, with the Mystery Briefcase. Vincent taunts Butch at the bar.
Vincent & Mia Go On A Date
I was never clear whether this was the same day or the next day- I gotta watch it more closely next time.
Piercing: Vincent buys heroin • Vincent, back in his work clothes plus overcoat, learns more about Jody's (Rosanna Arquette) piercings than anyone needs to know. He also tries some of Lance's best skag. He is doped to the gills when he shows up at Mia's front door.
Vincent meets Mia • Vincent picks up Mia at her house. Mia takes a toot of coke for the road.
Jackrabbit Slim’s • Mia and Vincent go to Jack Rabbit Slim's, and John Travolta does the "I'm On Drugs" walk all the way around the restaurant.
Twist Contest • The funniest thing about this scene is the totally straight face on Vincent while he's doing all those silly dance moves.
Mia OD’s • Mia and Vincent arrive at her house, trophy in hand. Just when you think some shenanigans might ensue (QT has certainly led you to believe this), Mia (wearing Vincent's coat) mistakes his heroin for coke and snorts it. And where is Vincent while Mia is snorting the heroin? In the bathroom again, of course!
Adrenaline • The only thing worse than screwing Marcellus Wallace's wife (see Tony "Rocky Horror" Rockamora) is killing her with your dope. Vincent panicks and takes her to Lance, who luckily has a shot of adrenalin on hand.
Butch, Fabienne, and The Gold Watch
This story must take place at least one day after Vincent and Mia's date.
Captain Koons • Christopher Walken, in Butch's dream, explains where you wear a gold watch while in a POW camp (it's not on yor wrist, that's for sure). Butch wakes up and goes out to fight, and win, despite the payoff.
Esmerelda Villa Lobos • After the fight, Butch has one of those enigmatic and mysterious cab rides which only happens in the movies. We learn that Butch spent the payoff money betting on himself to win- the odds were against him winning because Marcellus laid down a lot of cash on (what he thought was) a sure thing. Marcellus, standing over the dead boxer's body, declares they will kill Butch no matter what. English Bob says he'll take care of it. We learn later what a half-assed job English Bob does.
“Donde esta la zapateria?” • At the motel, Butch and Fabienne make love, and then shower.
“Where’s my watch?” • The next morning. Fabienne is fantasizing about blueberry pancakes and pie, when Butch discovers she forgot to get the watch. Butch shows admirable restraint in not beating up Fabienne.
Pop Tarts: Vincent dies • Marcellus' crack team of assassins consists of Vincent, who is in Butch's bathroom (another potty break?) when Butch shows up. Butch shoots Vincent with Vincent's own machine gun. Vincent is unlikely to make it into the Hitman Hall Of Fame after this embarassing incident.
Crash at the Teriaki Donut • Just when you think Butch is free and clear, Marcellus crosses the street in front of him, a dozen Teriaki Donuts in hand. Butch runs him over, cracks up Fabienne's Honda. Marcellus is helped off the ground- bystander Kathy Griffin points out Butch. A chase ensues, and they end up in the basement of a couple sexual predators, and The Gimp.
“Bring out the gimp.” • Zed and Maynard have no idea who they've got tied up in their basement. In the movies, the hero is never tied to a chair properly. Being tied to a chair is the automatic signal that that person will be escaping soon.
Getting medieval • Butch escapes. The only thing worse than betraying Marcellus Wallace on a fixed boxing match, then running him over with your car, then punching him in the face a couple times, is doing all that then leaving him to be sodomized by a pair of maniacs.
“Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.” • Butch steals Zed's chopper and picks up Fabienne, who never got her blueberry pancakes.

Pulp Fiction

I was dragged to Fresh Pond to see Legends Of The Fall again, which I didn't really want to see anyways. When I discovered they were showing Legends on their tiniest shoebox screen, a screen so small it should be illegal, I snuck into Pulp Fiction instead for a fifth viewing. Pulp was also playing on a tiny screen, but at least I really liked the movie.

February 16, 1995

The Lion King

Quality entertainment.

February 14, 1995

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Good despite not being what anyone expected. Tom defeated everyone's expectations because he is the most determined movie star ever. He works harder to make a movie successful than anyone!
Fun Casting Note: I just discovered that the actress who plays the New Orleans whore whom Lestat stuffs into a coffin for a joke (Indra Ové) also played the VIP Stewardess whom Ruby Rhod goes down on in The Fifth Element! Two memorable roles...

February 12, 1995

The Quick and The Dead

Inventive cinematography and fun casting, but the story was plain and ordinary. Director Sam Raimi would not find his groove until Spider-Man and 2.

February 11, 1995

Boys on the Side

My girlfriend dragged me to this chick flick.

February 9, 1995

22: Name That Tune

All the song titles are people's names (Linus & Lucy, Jools & Jim, Jack & Diane...)
90 minutes

February 8, 1995

Nobody's Fool

Delightful movie. Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith should thank their agents-- they both ought to make more movies as good as this...(Janus theater, Harvard Square)

February 5, 1995

21: Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit

"Presenting 32 songs under 3 minutes long" 90 minutes

January 31, 1995

Bullets Over Broadway

Last Woody film I truly enjoyed.
David: You thought my first draft was cerebral and tepid?
Helen: Only the plot and the dialogue. But this...
David: Was there nothing in the original draft that you feel was worth saving?
Helen: The stage directions were lucid. Best I've ever seen... and the color of the binder. Good choice.
David: Thank you. I've always had a flair for stage directions.
(Capitol Theater, Arlington)

Pulp Fiction

Screening #4. Just a reminder that Quentin Tarantino would direct two feature films in the next decade: Jackie Brown (1997), and Kill Bill (2003). In that same timespan, Mister Prolific Woody Allen, for example, has produced eleven features: Bullets Over Broadway, Don't Drink the Water (for TV), Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Celebrity, Sweet and Lowdown, Small Time Crooks, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending, and Anything Else.

January 30, 1995

20th Anniversary Mix

This mix is a bit of a misbegotten patchwork. I received my first big batch of free CDs from the BMG Music Service, and I assembled this mix over the space of six months. Conceived 1/30/1995; Recorded 4/7/95  5/25/95  10/6/95
SIDE A
  1. Polly: Nirvana
  2. "Sexual Healing" A cover of the Marvin Gaye song from Soul Asylum, on the No Alternative benefit CD.
  3. We Belong: Pat Benatar
  4. "Sometimes" I met the members of the band James when interning at WFNX in 1993-1994.
  5. Good Thing: Fine Young Cannibals
  6. Nice Work If You Can Get It: Sting covering the George Gershwin classic. 
  7. Is She Really Going Out With Him? Joe Jackson [live]
  8. Harvest Moon: Neil Young
  9. Blues Before Sunrise: Eric Clapton
  10. So Whatcha Want? Beastie Boys
SIDE B
  1. Take Me To The River: The Commitments
  2. Angels: David Byrne
  3. I Alone: Live
  4. A Good Idea: Sugar
  5. Two Hearts Beat as One: U2
  6. Gee Angel: Sugar
  7. Plush: Stone Temple Pilots
  8. When I Come Around: Green Day
  9. Rise: Public Image, Ltd.
  10. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence: A song by Pavement, the lyrics are mostly about their favorite R.E.M. songs, on the No Alternative benefit CD.
  11. Can't Fight It: Bob Mould, on the No Alternative benefit CD.

El Mix 19

The original 90 minute Maxell cassette tape playlist is below. In the 21st century, I adapted this playlist for a CD-R.

SIDE A
  1. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody): Talking Heads
  2. Pop Song '89: R.E.M. [live and acoustic]
  3. Euro-Trash Girl: Cracker
  4. Almost Hear You Sigh: The Rolling Stones
  5. Fell On Black Days: Soundgarden
  6. One on One: Hall & Oates
  7. Strong Enough: Sheryl Crow
  8. You Made Me The Thief of Your Heart: Sinead O'Connor
  9. Here Comes The Rain Again: Eurythmics
SIDE B
  1. What Time Is It? I swear this will be the last Spin Doctors song in one of my mixes!
  2. The Stake: Steve Miller Band
  3. Heat of the Night: Bryan Adams
  4. Lawyers, Guns & Money: Warren Zevon
  5. Authority Song: John Cougar Mellencamp
  6. Crime in the City (60 to 0 part 1): Neil Young
  7. Up All Night: Boomtown Rats
  8. Demolition Man: The Police
  9. All You Zombies: The Hooters

January 22, 1995

N's 14th Music Mix

I liked this 90 minute cassette mix so much, I made a CD-R version of it once I upgraded to a CD recorder in 2001.
Side A: "Mostly Sedate"
  1. Angie: The Rolling Stones
  2. Mary: The 4 Of Us
  3. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm: Crash Test Dummies
  4. Love Song: The Cure
  5. Series of Dreams: Bob Dylan
  6. Leave a Tender Moment Alone: Billy Joel
  7. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror: Elvis Costello
  8. Evan Dando covers the Victoria Williams song "Frying Pan" for the tribute CD Sweet Relief.
  9. "How Could You Want Him When You Could Have Me?" I think this may be the last appearance of Spin Doctors on one of my mixes.
  10. Ordinary World: Duran Duran
Side B: "Heaven & Earth"
  1. Country Road: James Taylor
  2. Find The River: R.E.M.
  3. All That Heaven Will Allow: Bruce Springsteen
  4. Bright Side of the Road: Van Morrison
  5. Wildflowers: Tom Petty
  6. Save Me Now: Jeff Lynne
  7. Cloud Nine: George Harrison
  8. Here Comes The Sun: Nina Simone
  9. Seasons Of Wither: Aerosmith
  10. "Look Up To The Sky" is a one hit wonder from The Indians, who sound very much like The Cranberries.
  11. "Can't Rain All The Time" by Jane Siberry can be found on The Crow movie soundtrack.
(90 minute TDK cassette)

January 18, 1995

The Last Seduction

Dark, sexy, great noir. I went to the Copley shoebox expecting to see an entirely different movie. I must have gotten the title mixed up with another movie which I did want to see. Thankfully, I enjoyed the movie despite having no clue what I was getting.

January 15, 1995

Legends of the Fall

Hopkins and Pitt chew the scenery in this Western/chuck flick. I was really turned off by the World War I trench battle sequence where Samuel (Henry Thomas) gets tangled up in barbed wire, chokes on mustard gas, and is riddled with bullets by Nazi soldiers. You can't torture and murder Elliott from E.T. and expect the audience to love you for it.

January 14, 1995

Immortal Beloved

Gary Oldman is always a good reason to go to the movies. I don't recall much about this movie- I have not seen it again since then. I suppose I would have enjoyed it more if I knew more about Beethoven, although I really enjoy Amadeus without knowing anything but the basics about Mozart.
ALSO by Gary Oldman on STUB HUBBY:

January 13, 1995

Pulp Fiction

With Paris & friends, at the Cabot theater in Beverly. Paris has an aversion to the exact kind of visceral violence which pervades this movie- Paris's ability to empathize so closely with the characters onscreen is part of what makes her such a talented actress. However, it means she spent half this movie with her head between her knees, trying not to pass out during the adrenalin shot scene, the "shot Marvin in the face" scene, the rape scene, etc, etc...(my third viewing)

January 4, 1995

18: Sampler - Christmas Gifts of 1994

Back in the mid-1990s, I used to receive tons of CDs for Christmas presents. Almost all of these songs came from CDs I got for Christmas in 1994.

SIDE A

  1. Jungle Boogie: Kool & The Gang (from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack)
  2. All She Wants to Do Is Dance: Don Henley
  3. Superstition: Stevie Wonder
  4. And Your Bird Can Sing: The Beatles
  5. Hourglass: Squeeze [live]
  6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love: Queen
  7. Tears of a Clown: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  8. I Wanna Be Your Man: Paul McCartney [live]
  9. I Need Love: Sam Phillips
  10. Bang & Blame: R.E.M.
  11. Zombie: The Cranberries
SIDE B
  1. Like A Rolling Stone [rehearsal]: Bob Dylan, from The Bootleg Series box set
  2. You Belong To Me: Bob Dylan, from the Natural Born Killers soundtrack
  3. Stuck in the Middle With You: Stealer's Wheel, from the Reservoir Dogs movie soundtrack
  4. You Don't Know How It Feels: Tom Petty
  5. Hazy Shade of Winter: The Bangles
  6. Big Empty: Stone Temple Pilots, from The Crow movie soundtrack
  7. Not For You: Pearl Jam
  8. From Us To You/You Really Got A Hold On Me: The Beatles [live on the BBC]
  9. Come As You Are: Nirvana [unplugged]
  10. Time Baby III: Medicine, from The Crow movie soundtrack
  11. Lucas with the Lid Off, Lucas
(90 minute TDK cassette)