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Memory Leaks: Contra

🎖️Running with the devil... Contra was the original run-and-gun shooter on the platform that made home video game systems ubiquitous. Originally an arcade game, the 1988 NES port is almost certainly the most famous entry in the entire franchise and one of the most popular third-party titles on the system. It was known for its punishing difficulty. It was also one of the first Nintendo games to employ 2-player simultaneous co-op, which sounds like it should make the game easier, but in practice meant you and your schoolmate would mess up each others' flow and cause each other to die. When you ran out of lives, you could steal one from the other player's reserve. Fortunately, there was widely known "secret" code that gave you an extra twenty-seven lives, and this code no doubt preserved countless friendships. How I Remember It... I had a friend named Bryan, and he and I would play it together a lot. He owned a copy first, and playing his is what got me to beg my paren
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Final Thoughts About "My Misspent Youth In Films"

Thanks for reading, those of you who have done so. This was a weird project to put together. Ideally, a list of things to blog about should consists of fifty or one hundred items because those fill out a year pretty nicely, but my movie list kept landing in the 60s or 70s. I tried to come up with some guidelines that might narrow things down... and mostly failed. I came up with the "Double Feature" conceit and that helped, but those posts got pretty cumbersome, so I found myself doing a lot of culling around June. Things got dropped for any number of reasons. Some just can't be found for a rewatch. Some were dropped because they were breaking up double-feature groupings. There was at least one that I didn't remember until we were past its release date in the sequence. So here are a handful of movies that I wanted to write about but didn't. Purple People Eater - based loosely on the song by Sheb Wooley, and I have to imagine it's Mac and Me  levels of bad. It s

MMYIF: Aladdin

My Misspent Youth In Films... Aladdin Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker Starring: Scott Weingar, Robing Williams, Linda Larkin Released: November 25, 1992 A kindhearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true. What I Thought Then Up there with Beauty and the Beast  for my favorite of this era of Disney. Beauty and the Beast  is the better movie, but I think I liked this one more. Because Robin freaking Williams! What I Think Now Aladdin  was the last film that featured songs by Howard Ashman, the musical half of the duo that spearheaded the Disney animation renaissance of the early 90s. The next 2D animated film, The Lion King , would still be a quality movie thanks in no small part to songwriting from Elton John, but after that the Disney tide would ebb. Their next tentpole movie would be the disappointing  Pocahontas , and a few months later Pixar would release Toy Story  and at that point the p

MMYIF: The Mighty Ducks

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Mighty Ducks Directed by: Stephen Hereck Starring: Emilio Estevez, Joss Ackland, Lane Smith Released: October 2, 1992 A self-centered Minnesota lawyer is sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team. What I Thought Then This was our sports movie. We didn't do Rudy or  The Sandlot or The Bad News Bears or Little Giants . We did The Mighty Ducks and its sequels. Also, when this movie came out people told me that Averman was basically my twin, which caused me to do a little soul-searching. What I Think Now Some of these re-watches are a surprisingly rewarding, and some are so awkward that you have to pause halfway through and take a break. This was one of the latter. Let's start by saying something nice. The kids are good actors. (Oh, hey, Elden Hensen is in this! And so is... Jussie Smollet...) The hockey is well-shot. I can't tell if it's a  good hockey portrayal, but it's at least recognizable as the sport

MMYIF: Sister Act

My Misspent Youth In Films... Sister Act Directed by: Emile Ardolina Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy Released: May 29, 1992 When a nightclub singer is forced to take refuge from the mob in a convent, she ends up turning the convent choir into a soulful chorus complete with a Motown repertoire, until the sudden celebrity of the choir jeopardizes her identity. What I Thought Then Not only did we love this movie, we listened to the soundtrack a lot. I loved the music and had some very confusing feelings about Sister Mary Robert. What I Think Now Whoopi Goldberg is Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who walks in on her mobster boyfriend bloodlessly murdering someone. She runs to the cops and is placed in witness protection, hiding in a small, struggling convent. While there, she does some unfunny fish-out-of-water comedy and locks horns with Maggie Smith's Mother Superior before settling in as choir-mistress. In this role, she reinvents their music program with

MMYIF: Hook

My Misspent Youth In Films... Hook Directed by: Steven Spielberg Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts Released: December 11, 1991 When Captain James Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy. What I Thought Then A big fantasy adventure starring Mork. It was whimsical and visually inventive. We came back to it a lot. Also, the boo box was kind of scary to think about. What I Think Now Robin Williams is Peter Banning, a doughy workaholic absent father who goes with his family to visit his wife's grandmother and childhood home in London, which happens to be the same home where Peter Pan visited Wendy Darling in the stories that would later be fictionalized into the stories by J. M. Barrie. While there, his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook because, it turns out, Peter Banning is in fact Peter Pan, now all grown up and having entirely forgotten his childhood. Now he

MMYIF: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Beauty and the Beast (1991) Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise Starring: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Jessi Corti Released: November 22, 1991 A prince cursed to spend his days as a hideous monster sets out to regain his humanity by earning a young woman's love. What I Thought Then It was my favorite of the Disney Renaissance era when it came out. I loved the music, the joyfulness of the finale, and felt like it was just an incredibly well-told story with some genuinely impressive technical accomplishments behind it. Also, Lumière was a great character. What I Think Now Boy, Disney's animation department was on a hot streak! They could do no wrong. The vibe was similar to what we felt in the early days of Pixar. And Beauty and the Beast  is arguably the best to come out of that entire era, and yet it does so while still sitting firmly in the Disney-animated-musical mold. This is still the era of villains who revel in their villainy, musicals