With the current Coronavirus pandemic and resulting Quarantine keeping us at home, one of our Fandom Crew and Community friend share is favorite nerdy ideas on how to make best use of this time at home.
#1. Empire Records (1995) Available to Rent on Amazon Price for $3.99
"Damn The Man, Save The Empire!" During my college years (A long long time ago in a country far far away), I sat with my best friend Amanda and binge watched movies on possibly the worst couch known to man (The cushions sat directly on the floor, your butt went numb after a while etc.). Empire Records is set over 2 days in a fictional independent record store in 1990s Delaware and is a coming of age comedy-drama about the employees lives and everthing it can throw at them (Love, depression, The band Gwar, corporate buy outs and a failed 80's pop star to name a few). At the box office, Empire Records was a commercial failure, but later transformed to become a cult hit that helped launch the careers of the 3 female leads.
With fresh eyes this movie has dated, with it's simplistic character design, and it was never going to win an academy award for story telling, but what you're really here for is 90's nostalgia, early performances from what became Hollywood A listers, an awesome alt rock soundtrack and some very quotable lines: Joe: Where's the money Lucas? Lucas: Atlantic City.
Joe: What's it doing in Atlantic City?
Coincidentally I met one of the cast members (Coyote Shivers) last year in an 80's themed bar in LA , we had a chat and he was nice to this fan-boi.
Also worthy of note is there's a Fox Studio's cut which adds several minutes to the original move and helps fill out the character development.
When this movie came out, I was in college for computers and I remember thinking I have to see this movie. Me and 3 college buddies watched it at the local fleapit in my home town of Norwich, England and we became an instant fans! Hacker's features a pumping 90's dance sound track with songs like Voodoo People by Prodigy and Good Grief by Urban Dance Squad (An early influence of Rage Again The Machine).
Set in 90's New York, British actor Jonny Lee Miller stars as High-school Senior Dade "Zero Cool" Murphy, a former child hacker who's finally allowed to use computers again after being put on probation for hacking as a child. The movie initially focuses on the rivalry between Dade and Acid Burn (Angelia Jolie), then moves on to a third act of preventing an eco-disaster caused by a rival hacker who's trying to cover up a white collar crime. Matthew Lillard steals the show with his genius / slacker performance as "Cereal Killer". Hackers is silly, some of the tech is ridiculous (3D operating systems which take forever to navigate) but the movie is fun, the cast is awesome and for me it captures simpler times at college before growing up.
On to my softer romantic side, my sister Tracey did a big part of my raising when I was growing up and we used to watch up to 20 VHS movies a week that we rented from our local rental store imaginatively titled Hollywood Video if my memory serves. I must of been around 10 years old when we sat down to watch this romantic comedy. 80's Brat Pack member Andrew McCarthy plays the nerdy, artistic Johnathan Switcher, a 20 something jumping from job to job in 1980's Philadelphia. After spending a week creating Emmy (A retail store Mannequin and played by Kim Cattral of Sex and The City fame), Jonathan is fired from his job and soon afterwards dumped by his girlfriend Roxy. Broken and beaten down (It's pouring with rain in the scene) he see's his masterpiece Emmy in the front window of department store Prince and Company. The next day while trying to see Emmy again he saves the owner of the store's life and gains a job at Prince and Company in exchange. The movie could of taken a very uncomfortable obsession with an inanimate object at this point but worry not, Emmy comes to life but only when she's alone with Jonathan. Emmy it turns out is an Egyptian Princess on a journey through time to find true love (Courtesy of a generous Egyptian deity). What ensues is a extremely enjoyable romantic comedy where Jonathan and Emmy revitalize the struggling Prince and Company business through their creative window displays and some stunning comedic performances from the cast (James Spader, G. W. Bailey of Police Academy Fame as security guard Felix and Meshach Taylor as Jonathan's Prince and Company cohort Hollywood) and some awesome 80's pop songs including the classic Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship.
#4 Cabin In The Woods (2012) Available to Buy and Rent on Amazon
Written and Directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by Josh Whedon (Avengers, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse and more), Cabin In The Wood's is a contemporary deconstruction on the Horror genre. Ever wondered how so many teenagers in movies get killed in middle America without the government rolling in the military to save us from some mysterious ancient evil? Well... The world's governments are behind it all in an attempt to appease the H.P Lovecraft's inspired Ancient Ones (Long forgotten gods who once ruled the earth) that sleep beneath the earth's crust. Cabin In The Wood's covers tropes and horror cliques with a knowing nod and I personally loved it's refreshing take on the genre, where I put it in a similar category to Wes Craven's Scream (1996) and horror comedy Dale and Tucker vs Evil (2010). Given Goddard and Whedon's involvement you can expect snappy dialog, pop culture references, some of Whedon's usual contributors and an enjoyable movie with some great twists.
#5 Mallrats (1995) Available to Rent or Buy on Amazon
Back to my time at college and Amanda's couch for this one, Kevin Smith brings his signature immature nerd humor to this slacker movie set in a mid 90s shopping mall. Watch Jason Lee as recently dumped slacker/gamer Brodie and his more straight laced friend T.S played by Jeremy London hang out at a local mall, grow as young adults and win back Brodie's ex girlfriend. The cast also includes standout comedy performances by Michael Rooker (Disapproving father of T.S's relationship with his daughter Claire) , Ethan Suplee (A man obsessed with seeing a sailboat within a magic eye gallery), Ben Affleck as a snooty suit sales man and of course "dirt merchants" Kevin Smith and Jason Mews as Jay and Silent Bob.
Mallrats is highly quotable "I can't believe that kid is on the escalator AGAIN!" <As a child gets caught in an escalator> and full of irrelevant humor and call backs to comics (There's a cameo from Stan Lee and if you check Lee's Captain Marvel cameo you'll notice he's reading a Mallrats script) The significance of Smith's movies should not be ignored either, this movie fits in a shared universe with Chasing Amy, Clerks, Clerks 2, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Something that was a rare concept at time of filming.
That about does it for today, hope you check out some of the above movies and feel free to join us on the Fandom's Facebook Community or comment to this post below.
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