Friday, August 23, 2013

90s nostalgia i can get behind

"The grungy 90s drama  Reality Bites looks set for a revival on the small screen after the  original director, Ben Stiller, approved plans for a new TV series based on the hit film. Starring Winona Ryder
as an aspiring videographer working on a documentary about the disenfranchised existences of her friends and roommates, Reality Bites was often described at the time as a "Generation X" movie, despite efforts by studio Universal and Stiller himself to pitch it as a comedy with a broader appeal. The actor's directing debut, it performed only adequately at the box office in 1994, despite reasonable reviews. Nearly 20 years on, and the movie's achilles heel looks likely to prove its most appealing asset, with 90s nostalgia all the rage."- The Guardian

Now Winona Ryder nostalgia, that is something I can get behind.

 In fact we were watching Heathers only the other night - with slightly bemused 13 year old son. This on the eve of him starting high school (so perhaps not the best thing to watch, maybe).

How long long ago the clothes and overall look of the film seem!  Especially as it's not a very slickly made film. Whereas e.g. The Hunger (also seen recently) which is from 1983 (a half-decade earlier than 1988's Heathers), because it's so much higher budget/deluxe/filmic in its cinematography/ editing/lighting/sets,  doesn't look nearly as dated, as distant from present standards. At least not until Susan Sarandon' s hairstyle crops up on the screen.  

There is a syndrome where the recent past still seems recent enough to feel like nearly-the-present. And then it crosses the line. I noticed this most acutely with Seinfeld re-runs, which have been on continuously since the show ended (probably even before that, with the earliest series re-running while the show chugging through its mid-to-late seasons). Basically it's never been off the air. And at first in the late 90s/early 2000s Seinfeld, if you found yourself idly catching half or whole of an episode you'd watched at the time of its original airing, the show would look more or less like the present -- the clothes, hair, the production quality (studio lighting, film-video texture etc etc). But then all of sudden, what you were rewatching achieved the distinctness of a period. It was suddenly dated. An early-mid Nineties time capsule.  


  1. I had exactly the same experience a couple of times recently: re-watched the [very funny] 'Brady Bunch Movie' on DVD, and it was startling how the 'contemporary' 90s setting looked as dated as the Bradys did...

    And also caught a bit of 'Clueless' when channel-surfing: it looks like a different world.

  2. I thought Seinfeld looked dated when it aired. Particularly Jerry's look, that was so like what a badly dressed person wore in 1986!

  3. Fawlty Towers maybe the opposite of the syndrome. Watching reruns in the mid 80s then in the 90s their clothes and the Hotel's decor were positively ancient, beyond the pale. Having caught a few episodes recently I was struck by how uber-hip it all looks now. Hipsters now dress like Basil, Polly and Cybil. There are cool shops selling that wallpaper etc. Couldn't foresee that happening back in 1987.