The Best Game of the 1990s, The Best Animated Movie of the 1980s, and the Best Youth Lit Adaptation of the 2000s

Rugrats get their first movie, Gordon Freeman gets his first game, Powerpuff Girls get their first show, Twilight gets its first movie, TRL is no more, The Offspring release their most embarrassing song, Stephen Spielberg makes his first dinosaur movie, Whitney Houston is alright, but not OK. All that and more this week on Thirty Twenty Ten, your weekly look back on the week that was 30, 20, and 10 years ago.


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18 thoughts on “The Best Game of the 1990s, The Best Animated Movie of the 1980s, and the Best Youth Lit Adaptation of the 2000s

  1. Listening to you talking about “High spirits” makes me want a “slumming thespian” themed podcast covering Peter O’Toole’s lessor known filmography.

  2. Great memories concerning Twilight:

    I experienced the movie by going with my older brother and all his friends when it finally hit the dollar theater. Half of them were already drunk (and it was like 2 pm). We took up a whole row in a packed theater and whispered to each other so obnoxiously that by the halfway point the whole row in front of us and the whole row behind us had left. Good times.

    To speak to the point about whether Bella is an interesting character and the movie being better than the book (which it absolutely is), the biggest change is that movie-Bella actually appears to be a plausible human being, whereas book-Bella is basically a piece of blank cardboard.

    In my junior year of college, my poetry/creative writing prof invited the whole poetry class over for a Christmas party at the end of the semester, where she revealed one of her greatest shames (her words): she had read the entire Twilight saga twice but had never opened a Harry Potter book. She gave probably the best description of the Twilight series I’ve ever heard: Twilight is so massively popular because it is “abstinence porn”.

  3. Y’all no-selling Chocolate Wae is a shame. The movie isn’t great, but the book is incredibly important in the origins of what we now call young-adult lit. It also has way more masturbation references than one would expect and is one of the most frequently banned books of all time.

  4. I’m surprised on the dislike for Enemy of the State. This is probably one of Will’s best “non-Will” roles/roles in general…that is, he doesn’t act like he typically does in films around the time, he’s not as the supporting cast is crazy! As you mentioned, Jack Black, plus Seth Green, the guy from Mallrats, Regina King, and more. It’s still sadly topical, even moreso now than it was back then..some of the tech was

  5. Duck soup is a phenomenal, phenomenal film and has aged not a goddamn day. It’s one of the first movies I remember having meta humor, where they deliberately do the opposite of the style of other Marx Bros. Movies, including Zeppo just kindave hanging about instead of being the romance sup-plot, and Harpo having the piano lid dropped on his hands when he tries to do one of his traditional solos.

  6. With The Land Before Time, O made the horrible mistake as a kid watching the second film first before watching the first film. But The Land Before Time is a classic, theme music gets me to feel like crying as does the song in the end credits. But this was a contribution to my dinosaur phase. Even had a Cera plush toy.

    I did see Oliver and Company as well on VHS. It even had the most brutal Disney villain death given he gets hit by a train while on a car. Given the film was co written by the future director of Logan, James Mangold, that explains a lot. I like it!

    High Spirits, in that movie’s defense, Neil Jordan said that was never supposed to be the final cut of the movie. Dude was locked out of the editing room so no doubt it was a studio job.

    But oh man, the Rugrats Movie. Yeah, saw that the weekend it came out. It was sold at a theater and went to another one to see it (wasn’t interested in a re release of The Wizard of Oz that came out the same weekend). Early seasons were great based on the satire of bad parenting and whatever they could get past the censors. I do recall one episode that took place at the post office where Tommy almost landed in a dark chute with a dead body inside! I’m not kidding, that was there. But while the movie was entertaining, it kind of did went downhill-starting at least.

    Enemy of the State I actually did see thanks to my sister after a trip to Miami Seaquarium. My sister liked Will Smith so I was along for the ride. I did see the trailer to Star Wars Episode 1 there so that was worth it for my 7 year old mind.

    The Powerpuff Girls I always watched every week it was on. Pizza nights on Friday, whichever, whenever. I was just enthralled by the action and whatever humorous moments were there. I even saw the What a Cartoon shorts before they became a series. Of course as always, many jokes flew over my head as a kid.

    As for Twilight, I saw the trailer when I went to see Saw V. Didn’t think of it but I was caught off guard by the phenomena. I did join the hate train even pretending I read the book but nowadays, not only am I over it, I’m now aware of the sexism that entailed so I apologize to every woman who liked the series. I will give flack to Stephanie Meyer however for telling the director not to go for a diverse cast. Yeah, the film was supposed to get non white people in the main roles but because Meyer had complete control, she put the kibosh on that. So, shame on her for that at least.

  7. One more thing, I saw the 100th episode of Star Trek Voyager thanks to a recommendation by Brianna Wu who follows me on Twitter. I didn’t realize it was the 100th episode but hey, I enjoyed it.

  8. High Spirits -I vaguely recall really wanting to like this. I loved Ghostbusters and I think the HBO previews (those were a thing right?) made me think it was going to be like that that. It was not and my ten-year-old self needed far more wackiness than the amount of wackiness that was delivered. Like, at least 350% more wackiness.

    Oliver and Company. Have I watched this? I _think_ I have just as a natural result of having young kids but I have very little to no memory of it, and this is the ONLY Disney animated film I can say. I know I’ve seen The Three Caballeros and Make Mine Music and I know I haven’t seen Brother Bear, but this one is a maybe. That feels odd and is probably more damning to it than if I could remember hating it.

    Land Before Time. I’m happy to announce that my kids like this, a fair amount. It holds up really well, but not well enough that I’m ever going to give the sequels a go.

    Full House Beach Boy Bingo: This was my first exposure to the Beach Boys, along with the song Kokomo. I liked it as it was like a Caribbean version of Wacko’s world and ten year old me liked that it helped him memorize some Caribbean islands.

    Your Love Is Like Bad Medicine – Damn do I love 80’s rock. It just had a power and a confidence that I don’t see today. Not trying to say music from the time when I was most emotionally inclined to bond with music is better (Music peaked the year I graduated college, that’s just a scientific fact) but what is the 2018 equivalent of “Your Love Is Like Bad Medicine”?

    Pretty Fly For a White Guy – I’ve probably Karaoke’s this. (hangs head)

    Power Puff Girls premiered in 1998??? Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? That does not match my memories, at all. Hm… I guess that makes sense as if I had to pick a year I was most disconnected from the carton world, the year I was 20 was probably that year.

    Friendsters – go with that name!

    Dance Dance Revolution is also 20 years old? Wow, one of the many reasons I love 302010 is that it gives me a good check on my time scales which has a naturally tendency to think that everything in the 90’s happened “probably around 10 years ago.”

    Half-Life – Oddly enough, I only know the game from a web comic that made fun of it.

    “Are we human or are we dancers?” I think this song is saying that to be human means you have free will, while to be a dancer is just to be a puppet on string.

    Twilight. *sigh* I can’t believe I’m going to “Well Actually”-Twilight but going back to school is explained well enough. The Vampires don’t stay in one place forever because people notice that they never grow old. So when they move they make all the “kids” start as young as they can possibly portray (High School) so that they can stay longer in one play before people start getting suspicious of them. Also, though a serious of unfortunate events my friend saw this in theaters THREE TIMES! The first time he saw it with me as a joke, the second time he was visiting a family (they already bought the tickets so he could not get out of it) and the third time he saw it with his girlfriend because she really wanted to see it and when he resisted she said he never went to movies she wanted, only the ones he wanted so… THREE TIMES! In the theater!

    “Featuring the stars of Space Jam” I like trying to figure out the lifespan of popular entertainment. Why stuff stays around, why other stuff doesn’t, and … how pop culture dies. (“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?’… no one under the age of 80, that’s for sure.) And the Looney Tunes now being marketed as “The Stars of Space Jam” is a big sign that they are on their last legs in terms of “being a reference that you can expect a reasonable percentage of your audience to understand.” And, Chris I’m sorry to say, I can see it. I’ve tried to get my kids interested in Looney Tunes and it’s just not happening. Think of it from the mind of someone born in 2010 – Looney Tunes do not have a huge streaming hit; they don’t appear on that much merch, and …. (Hate to say it but it’s true) it’s easy to find cartoons made today that are better than the cartoons made 75 years ago. The craft of cartooning has improved in THREE GENERATIONS, it just has and honestly, 75 years isn’t a bad run for any piece of media, let alone one that was primarily designed to appeal to children born in the 1930’s by being a brief bit of throwaway entertainment for them before the real movie came on for their parent. (And I’m saying this a guy who can still laugh at Road Runner cartoons)

  9. So glad you included Waking Ned Devine. It’s really one of my favorite films. Every time I watch it, I laugh and cry.

  10. Oliver and Company was the very first movie I had the pleasure of seeing in a movie theater. At the humble age of 4, I sat through it and really enjoyed it because what four year old wouldn’t? I then spent years questioning my memory of the movie when it never came to video (juxtaposed with other big animated release, The Land Before Time, which I must have rented a dozen times) so I never got to revisit it until a few years ago when Disney released it on Blu-ray. My best friend and his wife are expecting twins and they live down in NYC (I’m in Boston) and I made a clock for his kids and it’s got a Winnie the Pooh theme and I immediately kicked myself for not going with Oliver. They have an orange cat, love Disney, and live in NYC – I should have thought of it! Anyway, it’s not a great movie but it has its charms and I love how grimey and dirty NYC looks in it. My own three year-old just discovered it and he likes to get down to “Why Should I Worry?” which I contend is the most underrated song from a Disney animated feature. The movie also doesn’t really get the credit it deserves for being the first of the Disney movies to really go for that Broadway approach. The Little Mermaid typically does, but it wasn’t first, just better.

  11. In the 30 section, Chris made mention of Jessie and the Rippers covering the Beach Boys song “Forever”.

    Well 8 years ago when my wife and I got married, what did we pick for our first dance? Thats rightn Jessie and the Rippers version of Forever

  12. Oh man, I was five and those land before time puppets didn’t fit my hands.

    Designing Women is on Logo still, I believe. And I forgot Mesacsh Taylor died, and now I’m sad. Loved him on Dave’s World. When you guys talk about the late 80s show it gives me life at work.

    Diana’s can opener was a swing-a-way, apparently they advertised that they were on Skylab for a good long time.

    I had creepy tapes of Ed Helms from 2002-2004, pre affordable dvr’s, pre streaming. Every Ed Helms appearance.

    Shout out to Christmas Story in Classic Corner <3

  13. Woooo to the hooooo! I’ve got nothing in particular to add about this episode, I’m just excited that I started listening in April and this morning I finally caught up on every episode! The only downside to that is I have to wait for the next one. What am I going to do tomorrow?

  14. I have to second Chris’ seeing the Oliver and Company trailer a million times as a kid. I haven’t heard that in decades but I totally remembered the beats of the music clips and jokes.
    — — –
    The music of Land Before Time totally hit me as well. But I gotta disagree about American Tail not having good music. I’ve always loved Somewhere Out There and No Cats in America is a fun song. I used to joke with my Ukrainian friend that that was why his family came to the US.
    — — –
    In a super nerd voice… Actually, Seal’s Kiss From a Rose was first released on his second self titled album released in 1994 a year before it appeared on the Batman Forever soundtrack.

  15. I would’ve been four when The Land Before Time came out. I remember that being some of the first media I was aware of being advertised in the media, and it was the first movie I got to go see with a friend rather than going with a family. We were supposed to see Oliver and Company, but something happened and we ended up seeing The Land Before Time instead. I didn’t get to see Oliver and Company until I was an adult in my thirties because of their policy of not putting it out on video, but after seeing it I think I definitely saw the better, if more traumatizing, movie that day so long ago.

    I can also speak to the enduring power of the Powerpuff girls. I randomly turned the Powerpuff Girls Movie on a few months back for my son and nephews to watch because I was sick and tired of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and all that stuff. My son sat entranced the entire time, and then demanded more of it. I’m so glad Hulu has the whole series available, and I’ve been rediscovering it myself these past couple of months. I remember liking the show when I was a kid, but watching it with adult eyes I’ve come to appreciate just how ingenious the show is with all its cultural references and nods. Plus my kid loves it because superhero girls beat up bad guys. There’s something there for everyone!

  16. Twilight is so weird for me. I am Indigenous Canadian and despite its piss poor attempt at the portrayal of Indigenous mythology, the trilogy really went out of its way to get Native actors (the dude playing Jacob excluded). There were loads of casting calls across Indian Country, not just for background roles but for major roles and I was really touched to see the effort. Plus the fact that they showed restraint and did not cast frequent Native guy in things Graham Greene until the second movie was *chef kiss*

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