I know the obvious topic for “P” in my alphabet series should be Pokemon, especially with last week’s release of Pokemon Go. But honestly, I’m not that into it, largely due to the fact that apparently my less-than-a-year-old phone is too ancient for the game so maybe I’m just a little salty.
That being said, I have no issue with Pokemon or its latest incarnation. If you like it, go forth! Have fun! Catch ’em all! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play and at the very least, please stop bitching about it on Facebook and trying to make people feel bad for enjoying something.
Pretty in Pink is a John Hughes film released in 1986 and it’s part of the Brat Pack collection. The Brat Pack consisted of a group of actors who appeared in a number of coming of age films in the 1980s, many directed by John Hughes, and the core members of which were Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. There are other secondary members including people like Jon Cryer and James Spader, both of whom appear in Pretty in Pink, but from what I gathered in my research, the one thing everyone agrees on is that they hate being called the Brat Pack so I’ll just get on with discussing the movie.
The film focuses on the economically star-crossed lovers Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) and Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy). Blane is one of the “richies” at the school and hangs out with monster douchebag Steff (James Spader) while Andie is a poor kid who literally lives on the wrong side of the tracks. However, I think Hollywood might have a warped idea of what poverty actually looks like because this is Andie’s house:
But despite the difference in their fathers’ incomes, Andie and Blane like each other anyway, inciting scandal at the school because ew, poor people. Andie is supported by her best friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer), who is painfully in love with Andie but she’s too far up her own ass to notice or care. Steff continually hits on Andie but when she spurns his advances, he goes out of his way to bully her because that’s not red flag behavior and you definitely shouldn’t tell someone about it.
Blane wants to prove to her that he’s not like them so he braves a punk/New Wave club to ask Andie out. Duckie is, predictably, jealous.
The next day, Andie waits for Blane at TRAX, the New Wave record store she works at, owned by her friend, Iona (Annie Potts), because she’s ashamed to let Blane see her poor, destitute house.
While waiting in the record store, Andie and Iona talk about Blane until Duckie arrives and this glorious moment in cinema happens:
Andie might not be impressed, but I am. That is hands down my favorite part of the whole movie.
Anyway, Blane is late picking up Andie so Duckie starts arguing with Andie about how Blane isn’t a good guy, he’ll just hurt her, and so on and so forth. Andie gets mad at Duckie but then Blane arrives so Duckie storms out.
For their very first date ever, Blane thinks it’ll be a good idea to take Andie to a party at his asshole of a best friend’s house. He claims that even if the party is lame, they could still have fun.
They arrive at Steff’s house and, as anticipated by everyone but Blane, they treat Andie like garbage because she doesn’t have her own yacht or something. Andie gets upset so she and Blane leave the party and instead go to a local club. Afterwards, Blane offers to take Andie home but she refuses because she’s embarrassed for him to see where she lives.
Andie finally gives in and lets Blane drive her home. He is, of course, not a douche so he’s not scared off by her house. He asks her to prom and she accepts before they share their first kiss.
Inside the poor people house, Andie’s dad surprises her with a pink dress he found at a thrift store. Andie likes to sew and create hideous outfits, so he figured she could do something with it to make a prom dress. This turns into a big fight during which Andie finds out they’re even poorer than she thought and they also fight about Andie’s mom, who left.
After taking that detour to remind us that Andie is VERY POOR, the movie gets back on track. Steff, still full of Frollo-style jealousy, pressures Blane into distancing himself from Andie because ew, poor people. Blane has no spine so he starts avoiding Andie but she isn’t putting up with his shit and calls him on his bad behavior at school. Rather than own up to it, Blane claims he’d already asked someone to prom and forgotten about it so he can’t take Andie.
Blane tries to tell her that she doesn’t understand, it’s not about her, which I think translates to “You don’t know how hard it is to be rich!” When Andie leaves, Steff decides to get involved and he starts badmouthing Andie to Blane again in the hallway. Duckie overhears this and attacks Steff and the two fight until teachers pull them apart.
Later, Andie visits Iona while Iona is getting ready for a date and, inspired by her friend’s happiness, Andie decides to go to prom after all.
Iona gives her a pretty pink dress which Andie frankensteins with the dress her father bought her to create this awful monster:
Andie gets nervous about attending but is emboldened by Duckie, who meets her there. They walk in together and Steff starts drunkenly making fun of Andie and Duckie. Blane FINALLY realizes that Steff is a douche and after confronting him, Blane approaches Duckie and Andie. He shakes Duckie’s hand and apologizes to Andie before leaving the prom. Duckie concedes that maybe Blane is a nice guy despite the fact that he’s rich so Andie ditches him and runs to catch up with Blane. Duckie, alone at prom after going out of his way to support his friend so she wouldn’t be alone, looks around and sees a pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Kristy Swanson who waves him over.
Andie catches up to Blane in the parking lot and after deciding they can overcome their difference in tax brackets, they make out in front of Blane’s car.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
There was no better day in the computer lab at school when you were allowed to play The Oregon Trail.
As soon as the teacher announced it, there was always a wild stampede for the game disks which were 5 1/2 inches and could store a whole 1.2MB of data.
When the game started, you could choose varying levels of difficulty by selecting different occupations for yourself. If you chose to be a banker from Boston, you had the most money and could buy your way across the country while keeping your group mostly alive. If you were a carpenter from Ohio, you had a moderate chance of making it across the country but you had to reduce everyone’s food rations and someone almost always died of dysentery.
The third option had the closest stating point, a farmer from Illinois, but you had the least amount of money and had to hope you were really good at hunting for food . . . basically not all that different from today’s economy.
Hunting was sort of a mini game within the game but there was only minimal skill involved. You were randomly assigned a position in the wilderness, you couldn’t walk, you could only shoot in certain directions, and if you were anything like me, you ended up shooting trees more often than game.
It was also complete bullshit because if you did manage to kill several large animals, you could only bring back a fraction of the food to your wagon.
There were several stops along the way, like various military forts where you could buy or trade for supplies, and there were rivers to cross. The rivers were always tricky–if you wanted to pay for the expensive ferry, you were guaranteed safe passage across. You could float your wagon across the river, which gave you a moderately good chance of getting across but you might lose a few supplies in the river. Or, if you were broke or just felt like living dangerously, you could try to ford the river and risk everyone drowning.
Along the way, you risked random events like wagon fires, blizzards, snakebites, and everyone getting sick and dying from communicable diseases like cholera, typhoid, and the measles because this was before those handy little preventative shots called “vaccines” were invented.
If you managed to drag yourself across the finish line into Oregon, you were rewarded with this:
And that was pretty much it. The game was intended to be educational but mostly, we all just learned how easy it was to die of dysentery.
If reading this post has awoken your elementary school desire to play this game, guess what? YOU CAN! Click here and spend the rest of your day killing your friends in an old-timey fashion.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
In the very few years he had on this planet, Christopher Wallace a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls not only acquired a ton of nicknames but he became one of the most influential figures in rap of all time.
In the mid-90s, West Coast rap dominated the field with artists like Tupac, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube to name a few. Biggie hailed from Brooklyn and the release of his debut album, Ready to Die, in 1994, he put New York City on the map in regards to rap music. Ready to Die went platinum four times and included hits like “Juicy”, “One More Chance”, and “Big Poppa”:
In 1995, Biggie helped his protégé group Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Junior Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes) release their first album, Conspiracy. Despite the stupid acronym, the group included artists like Lil’ Cease and Lil’ Kim who, if I can state the glaringly obvious, went on to have successful solo careers. During this same year, Biggie helped a couple other groups release their albums and racked up awards including Rap Artist of the Year and Rap Single of the Year (“One More Chance”) at the Billboard Music Awards.
However 1995, wasn’t a completely good year for Biggie. That same year, he became embroiled in a East Coast vs. West Coast rap feud against his former friend, Tupac Shakur.
The feud continued through 1996 and in September of that year, Tupac was killed. A few months later, Biggie and Lil’ Cease were in a car accident that shattered Biggie’s left leg and temporarily confined him to a wheelchair. With physical therapy, he was able to walk again but he needed the assistance of a cane.
Throughout all of this, Biggie continued to record his sophomore album tentatively called Life After Death . . . ‘Til Death Do Us Part, a title that would later prove to be sadly prophetic. On March 9, 1997, Biggie was shot in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles and died within the hour at age 24, just six months after Tupac. The two deaths were immediately linked but both murders remain officially unsolved.
Sixteen days after Biggie’s death, his second album was released with the shortened title Life After Death. This two disc album featured mega hits like “Going Back to Cali”, “Mo Money Mo Problems”, and, of course, “Hypnotize” which was also Biggie’s last music video:
No joke, the intro to this song is my ringtone. Also, I think my favorite part of this video is Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/whatever the fuck we’re calling him this week, hopping around behind Biggie like the bully’s sidekick in A Christmas Story.
Life After Death hit #1 on the Billboard Chart, was certified diamond, and continues to maintain popularity 20 years later. A second posthumous album, Born Again, was released two years later in 1999. It consisted mainly of previously recorded verses from Biggie heavily cut with new beats and guest rappers. This, too, hit #1 on the charts and went double platinum but despite it’s strong commercial showing, the critics were none too impressed. One reviewer in Rolling Stone said that “the album won’t damage his legacy. But Born Again won’t improve that legacy much, either.”
It’s hard not to wonder what Biggie might have done had he not been killed so early on in his life and his career. Conversely, it’s easy to romanticize what might’ve been–maybe he wouldn’t have done anything and he would’ve just flamed out. I doubt it, but we’ll never know. So instead, we’ll just have to be content with the music we do have.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
If you love crossing your eyes and giving yourself a headache, then you probably loved Magic Eye books.
First released in 1991, the books are collections of austereograms (which is nerd for “migraine”) which allow people to see a 3D image in a 2D picture.
Although austereograms have become synonymous with the Magic Eye books, the first ones were black and white and were created in 1979 by a psychophysicist named Christopher Tyler. This technique was later colorized by computer programmer Tom Baccei and compiled into one, brightly colored collection. The books were first released in Japan in 1991 and were so insanely popular that they, of course, had to be released in the U.S.
The original Magic Eye book and two sequels were released in 1993 and spent 73 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Since then, the Magic Eye photos were put on everything from postcards to mouse pads so that you had a variety of ways to assault your eyes.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to go take some Tylenol. Happy Throwback Thursday!