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MMYIF: Home Alone

My Misspent Youth In Films... Home Alone Directed by: Chris Columbus Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern Released: November 10, 1990 An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. What I Thought Then This was an unexpected hit that people just couldn't stop talking about. It was a wish-fulfillment fantasy that spoke to every elementary-school boy's desire to beat up dumb criminals while protecting their home. I guess. What I Think Now The biggest difference for me watching this movie now is that I relate a whole lot more to the plight of the parents. Catherine O'Hara's near-maniacal drive to get home to her son feels 100% authentic, whereas it seemed like background plot business that ate up time between set-pieces when I watched it as a kid. To be sure, this is a film largely framed around one big set-piece at the finale, in which Kevin McAlist
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MMYIF: Ducktales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp

My Misspent Youth In Films... Ducktales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp Directed by: Bob Hathcock Starring: Alan Burnett, Christopher Lloyd, Terence McGovern Released: August 3, 1990 Scrooge McDuck takes Huey, Dewey, and Louie to Egypt to find a pyramid and magic lamp. What I Thought Then A feature-length version of one of my favorite "Disney Afternoon" television shows. Behind Darkwing Duck , obviously. What I Think Now For good or for ill, it really is just a feature-length version of the television show. Barely. At seventy-five minutes, it's technically a movie, though it features roughly the same level of animation that you'd expect from a television show. It makes zero attempt to catch new viewers up on the characters or the world. Are Huey, Dewey, and Louie even named in this? The story is functional--the plot is cohesive and there's a whiff of a narrative arc underpinning it all--but it still feels pretty derivative. You'd swear it was nothing but

MMYIF: Arachnophobia

My Misspent Youth In Films... Arachnophobia Directed by: Frank Marshall Starring: Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, John Goodman Released: July 18, 1990 A species of South American killer spider hitches a lift to the U.S. in a coffin and starts to breed and kill. What I Thought Then This was one of the first thrillers that I really glommed onto. It was on TV a fair amount and had some excellent humor. And besides, it's not like it was going to make me more  afraid of spiders than I already was. (True story: I once bug-bombed my entire apartment because I found a wolf spider in my laundry.) What I Think Now Jeff Daniels stars as Ross Jennings, a arachnophobic family practitioner who has relocated his family to the small town of Canaima to get away from the hustle and bustle (and earthquakes) of the San Francisco. However, two big problems meet him when he gets there: the doctor whose practice Jennings was supposed to take over has decided at the last minute that he's not ready to reti

MMYIF Grown-up Movie Double Feature: Bird on a Wire / Ghost

My Misspent Youth In Films... Bird on a Wire Directed by: John Badham Starring: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine Released: May 18, 1990 An old flame discovers her ex-boyfriend from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys. Ghost Directed by: Jerry Zucker (yes, that  Jerry Zucker) Starring: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg Released: July 13, 1990 After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic. What I Thought Then These are two of the adultier movies in our collection that I was probably too young to watch but watched anyway and the rule in our house seemed to be "well if they've seen it once there's no harm in them seeing it again." I only understood the stories in the broadest senses, but I really enjoyed the set-pieces and tone, as well as the bits of humor. What I Think Now Both of these movies feel like throw-backs, in a way. They're mid-

MMYIF: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

 My Misspent Youth In Films... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Directed by: Steve Barron Starring: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Josh Bais Released: March 30, 1990 Four teenage mutant ninja turtles emerge from the shadows to protect New York City from a gang of criminal ninjas. What I Thought Then This movie was huge. It was the second big cultural touchstone for my generation to transition to the big screen (the first being The Transformers-- we don't talk about Masters of the Universe ), but this one made the further jump from animation to live action. It was ruthlessly entertaining to my nine year old brain, and yet it still felt like a big, serious story with higher stakes and harsher consequences than we'd gotten from the television show. I was hooked. What I Think Now For many years into my adulthood I unabashedly loved this movie. Now... I somewhat abashedly love it. Parts of it have aged poorly, and parts of it I've aged out of. But it's still a high-intensity dose of

MMYIF: Joe Versus the Volcano

 My Misspent Youth In Films... Joe Versus the Volcano Directed by: John Patrick Shanley Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges Released: March 9, 1990 When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live. What I Thought Then I remember there was a lot of slapstick humor in this, as well as the second-most-famous set of luggage in all of nerd-dom. What I Think Now Well, if this isn't some biting social satire dressed up as a romantic comedy draped loosely across a fairy-tale framework. It's kind of funny how having a soul-sucking job in a depressing office just doesn't seem all that relatable at 10, but feels much more personal now, as does Joe's lonely, vacuous home-life. (23 was a dark time for me, okay?) There's a theatricality to this movie that feels like a less-nihilistic version of Terry Gilliam's Brazil . During the opening credits , we see

MMYIF: Back to the Future Part II

 My Misspent Youth In Films... Back to the Future Part II Directed by: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson Released: November 22, 1989 After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985...without interfering with his first trip. What I Thought Then Weirdly, this was on the only movie out of the BttF trilogy that we owned a copy of, having--ahem--time-shifted it off of a rental. And at some point someone (probably me) accidentally taped over like ten seconds from the middle of the Cafe 80s sequence. I remember it being fun and kinda scary in the middle What I Think Now Everything about this movie is an over-the-top romp and I absolutely love it. The characters are big and boisterous, the plot is bonkers, and the film's depiction of the future is just a big, fun, wacky mess. Even when things go dark and dystopian in Act II, it's hilariously so, with cop cars randomly crashed in front of house