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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
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MMYIF: What About Bob?

My Misspent Youth In Films... What About Bob? Directed by: Frank Oz Starring: Billy Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty Released: August 17, 1991 A successful psychotherapist loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients, an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, tracks him down during his family vacation. What I Thought Then Peak Bill Murray. This was one the whole family rewatched, and we loved it. "I'll be peace" was referenced often in our house. What I Think Now There are a lot of different lenses through which you can appreciate this movie, and my level of appreciation fluctuates over the course of the film as these various lenses become apparent. On the one hand, it has a lot of its DNA in the "slobs vs snobs" genre of comedy that Murray cut his teeth on, a genre that's pretty passé these days and not one that I particularly enjoy. On the other hand, it's kind of "the odd couple, but with therapy" and that's fun. On yet another

The Wheel of Time is not Game of Thrones... Nor Should It Be

The long-anticipated live-action adaptation of Robert Jordan's epic fantasy cycle The Wheel of Time  landed on Amazon Prime last weekend. I've watched the first three episodes and I have opinions! I'm a fan of the books, but I had a decidedly mixed reaction to the show. There are things I really like about it. I like the diverse casting. If there were ever a property that could be diversified while still holding to its medieval sword-and-sorcery roots, it's this one. This is the series that asks the question: "What if desert bedouins were Celts, but also ninjas?" I like the location shots. They're beautiful and unique, and very clearly not shot in New Zealand. I loved the design of Shadar Logoth. And I'm mostly fine with the changes from the books so far, with one big Perrin-shaped exception that I'll get into later. What I'm less thrilled about is the mostly unlikable characters, the grim-and-gritty vibe, and the need to shock and depress audi

MMYIF: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

My Misspent Youth In Films... Terminator 2: Judgment Day Directed by: James Cameron Starring: Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong Released: July 3, 1991 A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten-year-old son John from a more advanced and powerful cyborg. What I Thought Then An epic action adventure, much better than the original, and it was great to see a different side of Leonardo DiCaprio and Chase from The Mickey Mouse Club. (Yes, I thought both of those actors were in this movie... neither of them are.) What I Think Now This is the best film in the entire Terminator  franchise, full-stop, no qualifiers. Every other movie is bad except the first one, which is only fine (it has a good story and compelling action, but it's marred by clunky effects, saggy pacing, melodrama, and James Cameron's weird insistence on casting Bill Paxton as a "tough"). This one takes all the groundwork from the original movie

MMYIF: The Rocketeer

 My Misspent Youth In Films... The Rocketeer Directed by: Joe Johnston Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin Released: June 21, 1991 A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high-flying masked hero. What I Thought Then The first time I watched it I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I knew Jennifer Connelly from. I liked this one a lot, although I don't remember watching it all that often. It may be the first time I ever read a tie-in novelization. Also, I couldn't understand why Elton John's Rocket Man  wasn't featured in the movie at all--that seemed like a gimme. What I Think Now Was this Disney's first foray into comic book superhero movies? It might be. The film stars Bill Campbell as Cliff, a pilot who finds a jetpack in an old plane that was left there by mobsters running away from the FBI. Along with his coworker and roommate (I guess?) Peevy, played by Alan Arkin, Cliff ends up strapping the t

MMYIF: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

My Misspent Youth In Films... Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Directed by: Kevin Reynolds Starring: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Released: June 14, 1991 When Robin and his Moorish companion come to England and the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham, he decides to fight back as an outlaw. What I Thought Then I thought it was one of the best interpretations of Robin Hood  that I'd ever seen. Way better than that one with the animals. And much more serious. What I Think Now This is Kevin Costner at the peak of his career. Field of Dreams  and The Untouchables  were behind him. The apocalyptic miscalculations of Waterworld  and The Postman  were still in the future. He'd just come off directing and starring in the awards darling Dances with Wolves , and here he was teaming up with his old friend/director Kevin Reynolds to make a reinterpretation of Robin Hood  that focused on a "poor little rich kid discovers social justice" angle instead of

MMYIF: Kindergarten Cop

My Misspent Youth In Films... Kindergarten Cop Directed by: Ivan Reitman Starring: Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed Released: December 21, 1990 A tough cop must pose as a kindergarten teacher in order to locate a dangerous criminal's ex-wife, who may hold the key to putting him behind bars. What I Thought Then I knew Arnold primarily from Predator,   The Running Man , and Twins , and I remember this being an amusing fish-out-of-water comedy with some fun action beats and some memorable lines. What I Think Now Can we just take a moment to marvel at how weird Arnold Schwarzeneggar's career was? I mean, there was a stretch where this Austrian behemoth was routinely cast as an all-American everyman because he was the world's biggest action star and after Die Hard  came out every action film had to be about an everyman facing impossible odds in order to save his family or some such. Over the course of the 80s and 90s, we are led to believe that Arnold was