Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I HEART the 90's: DITMTLOD Part 2

We're back for another round of: The League loses a small part of his soul.

This will wrap up the Top 10 DITMTLOD of the 1990's. As with the last post, I've included a "special mention" of someone I identify with the 90's, but who can't be confined to the 1990's for whatever reason.

As this list covers The League from age 14-24ish, it is nowhere near definitive, and we may have a follow up list on this.

I hope you continue to enjoy my walk down memory lane with DITMTLOD, 90's Super Post Numero Dos.

6. Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne on Twin Peaks

David Lynch, known mostly for his eccentric films with unusual plots, oddball characters and dreamlike imagery also has excellent taste in the ladies. His 1990 TV series, Twin Peaks, was littered with DITMTLOD, including a pre-creepy Laura Flynn Boyle and Madchen Amick (whose IMDB record reads like a who's who of films and TV shows I've never seen).

Audrey Horne was not very much like the girls at Klein Oak from 1990-1993.

As Audrey Horne, the trouble-making teen-age daughter of millionaire hotelier Benjamin Horne, Sherilyn Fenn gave Agent Dale Cooper a foil within the Great Northern Hotel. She was clearly not a teenager, but I forgave her. As the series progressed, her storylines were a bit hinky as the character seemed to be popular, but too often occurred on the periphery of the main story-arc (she simply wasn't involved with the death of Laura Palmer). Her attempt at romance with Agent Cooper never really seemed terribly believable, but, again... whatever.

Ahhh... that unmistakable mood of Twin Peaks, where you kind of don't know what to make of it, and it might be something horrific, or it might just be something... weird.

7. Laura Dern in Jurassic Park and Wild at Heart

The daughter of character actor Bruce Dern and actress/ pin-up Diane Ladd, Laura Dern popped up in two very different movies in the 1990's, 1990's "Wild at Heart" and 1993's "Jurassic Park".

I actually own this movie, and I'm still not sure what its about.

Wild at Heart may have been director David Lynch working out some of the stuff he couldn't work into TV. It's an absolutely fascinating film, and Dern is even more fun to watch, paired with a Nic Cage who had not yet quite bought into his own hype.

As the girlfriend of Sailor Ripley and daughter of Marietta Fortune, Lula is caught between white hot love/ lust and her overbearing/ insane mother. It's... interesting, but not something I'd recommend for The Karebear and Admiral.

However, as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park, Dern managed to play an action hero with brains and a conscience. Unlike her roles in "Wild at Heart" or "Blue Velvet", Dern played Ellie Sattler as the face of the joy of scientific discovery in Jurassic Park, and, uhm... that scene where she runs as fast as she can to the bunker to turn the power back on? For my dollar, one of the most Spielbergian of Spielbergian moments of mounting tension.

Dern considers throwing children at the dinosaurs as bait.

She would later appear in Jurassic Park III, saving the day for all involved thanks to her ability to use a telephone. I have not seen, I don't think, anything else Dern put to screen. However, her IMDB page says there's a Jurassic Park IV in the offing. And while JP3 was nowhere close to Jurassic Park or even JP2, I'm still likely to go see it. Cause I like a good dinosaur movie. And Laura Dern.

8. Kim Deal, bass & vocals for The Pixies, guitar & vocals for The Breeders

Around 1989, I began listening to The Pixies. I really liked the tune "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven" off Doolittle. The Pixies would follow up with the album Bossanova only a year later. Then Trompe Le Monde in 1991.

Black Francis/ Frank Black would spin off to do his own projects, and bassist Kim Deal would find pop/rock stardom as the frontman for The Breeders. The Breeders were most famous for the songs "Cannonball" and "One Divine Hammer" from the album Last Splash. Despite my curmudgeonly ways, I was a fan of radio-friendly tunes and had the pleasure of seeing The Breeders perform at Lollapalooza in 1994 or so.

Rock music makes Kim Deal happy

Deal's bass playing isn't necessarily the craziest, and her vocals didn't carry the strength of the power-belters of R&B that saturated the airwaves in the 1990's. But her voice was distinct, and the basslines catchy. She was able to translate that talent into catchy tunes for The Breeders and ride the wave of the introduction of "alternative" music to mainstream radio from the gutter of 120 Minutes' Sunday at midnight broadcasting slot.

Plus, she was cute in a punk-rock-girl-next-door sort of manner.

This monkey's gone to heaven

Here's a kick in the crotch: I had tickets to see the Pixies during their reunion tour about four years ago and didn't end up going for one reason or another.

And I am not just saying this: she and Tina Weymouth are probably the two people most responsible for me wanting to pick up the bass.

9. Patricia Arquette as Alabama in "True Romance" and Kathy O'Hara in "Ed Wood"

I've never been someone to actually seek out a movie because it features a particular actor, and thus I've dodged watching much of Ms. Arquette's considerable portfolio of work.

And, uh... yeah.

"True Romance" was a film of the 1990's, and of my 20's, and I have a hard time believing that I'd get a 1/3rd of the enjoyment now from the movie which I got back then. Alabama is a bit of a miracle for Clarence Worley, comic shop manager and trash film enthusiast. In short, he's a stand-in for screen-writer Quentin Tarantino,a nd as such, one must assume Alabama was some fantasy character Tarantino wished would stumble into him at the Grindhouse theater, whisking him away from his video clerk job.

Alabama might not have been written to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at the time I appreciated the weirdo-toughness of Alabama's character as she sort of bounces through the film like a pinball, managing to come out on top despite some pretty tough moments.

And I think Jamie puts up with a lot...

Arquette would bring that same ease of going-with-the-flow to her role as Kathy O'Hara in "Ed Wood", as the woman who stands by her man despite (perhaps because of) his oddities. Perhaps it was still some of Ms. Alabama Worley I had in the back of my mind, as subsequent viewings of "Ed Wood" don't particularly feature Arquette jumping off the screen.

Arquette was married for a time to Nic Cage, and is now starring in the successful sci-fi drama, "Medium". I haven't really checked it out.

10. Lynne Russell- Headline News

I've taken some flack for this one, but I used to dig the talking head on CNN's Headline News, Lynne Russell. Say what you will, but it got me watching the news on a regular basis. You can have your Katie Couric or whatever, but for my TV-news-viewing-dollar in the 1990's, there was no voice more trusted nor anyone I tolerated more speaking in 30 minute loops than Ms. Russell's evening broadcast.

Russell pre-dated the dawn of the news-bunny, and was an anchor you could actually take seriously, despite the fact that her job seemed to entail sitting at a desk and not freaking out in the third hour of her shift repeating the same headlines. She was occasionally a little snarky with the stories, but also managed to pull off gravitas when the need arose.

Ah, the glory days of cable news...

Russell is also a black belt in a Choi Kwang Do, has a website of questionable design, was a private investigator and I read somewhere that she occasionally performed police work in some capacity. I think she also carries a concealed handgun.

Today's Headline News is, in fact, awful. Once Time Warner got their hands on Turner's news empire, they ransacked the place and replaced the actual news with Glenn Beck, Showbiz Tonight, and (shudder) Nancy Grace. Good luck getting any actual news.

Lynne was not the bubbly air-head CNN began experimenting with in the late-90's (see the abysmal morning show on Headline News), and so was shown the door.

Upon departing the CNN studios, Lynne wrote her memoirs, which were entitled "How to Win Friends, Kick Ass, and Influence People". Ms. Russell, I salute thee.

She's now living in Canada. And I guess involved in a Canadian news service of some sort. Which has got to be a better gig than the embarrassment Headline News has gladly become.

We miss you Lynne.

Special Mention: Siouxsie Sioux

The UK must have been an interesting place in the 1970's. While the US was jamming to Disco Duck, they were coming up with nifty ideas like The Sex Pistols, The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

When Jason saw what i was doing with the Special Mention section of these posts, his first words were "You didn't post about Siouxsie Sioux". Apparently, I am far more transparent than even I realize.

In high school I kept pictures of Siouxsie Sioux on my wall. I really remember The Admiral just staring at a poster from "Israel", starting to ask a question, and then deciding it was best to just drop it.

While Siouxsie's unique look helped get the band some attention, I'm actually a fan of the music. Unfortunately, as time has worn on, when a Siouxsie tune pops up on my iPod, I no longer can tell you exactly which song it is like I once could.

The heyday of the band was probably, really, the 80's as the popularity of the band took off. I, of course, failed to know much about them until a year after Peek-a-Boo had been released. I'd liked the single, but didn't pick up the album (Peepshow)until later.

The band continued to play well into the 1990's. I saw them at the first Lollapalooza in Dallas, but would not catch them on any subsequent tours. I believe they officially broke up around 1996/97, with Siouxsie and husband/ bandmate Budgie moving on to play with their splinter effort, The Creatures. They cited the abysmal conditions of the music industry and their desire to no longer work within that framework. They had not, of course, seen what the music industry would become.

Stylistically, the band dwelled in the land of what my former co-worker liked to call "raincoat rock". Moody, atmospheric, and defined largely by Siouxsie's unmistakable voice, for which the band was probably named. Like so many bands of the time, image was a huge part of the persona, and its tough to really gauge the effect Sioux may have had on many-a-mopey teen with her Egyptian-themed make-up and varying degrees of spikiness to her hair.

Mostly, whether accurate or not, she just seemed a heck of a lot more interesting than anything that was going on in Spring, Texas in 1992.

Siouxsie never got a huge amount of coverage in the American music press, at least while I was reading, and I never really knew a whole heck of a lot about her or the band. I'd hear bits and pieces here and there, but I suppose if I'd known much, it would have ruined the mystery, and that was half the fun.

Siouxsie performs in 2007

Siouxsie released a new album in 2007, a solo effort which I just found out about while doing some Googling. She toured the UK and the West Coast. No Austin dates as far as I can tell. It is a shame that she's not hooked up with the upcoming (June) arrival of The Cure in Austin. That would certainly be a double-bill worth checking out for a walk down high-school memory lane.

That's it for the Top 10

Please feel free to comment, reminisce, reflect, etc...

Plus, you got the bonus coverage by way of Special Mention.


J.S. said...

So I guess you were watching Saved by the Bell for the plotlines?

The League said...

You leave Jessie Spano out of this.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you mentioned Siouxsie. She's amazing. If you happen to ever notice her anywhere in the vicinity of Texas (i.e. driving distance), please let me know in case I miss it. I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time and never had an opportunity to see her.

The League said...

I so will. Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope you're well.

Michael Corley said...

Sherilyn Fenn always reminded me of a girl (pick one) who I would crush on in Highschool, and would deign to speak to me long enough to crush my little soul, and I'd thank her for it.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know I wasn't the only one watching Lynee Russell nonstop for hours in college. My roomate always thought me a bit weird for that.

And you should totally buy one of her lampshades.

JAL said...

Those sweaters, those plaid dresses, those shoe's...what's not to like?

Lynch's ladies are something else.

I actually own a Shelly the waitress poster. Oddly, she's in some sort of slinky little dress. I was always bewildered that it was not the ultra-cute RR Diner outfit, but it was a gift and who was I to complain.

Michael Corley said...

All that's needed now is some apple pie.

The League said...

Cherry pie. And coffee. Damn good coffee.

JAL said...

But first, let me tell you about Tibet.

The League said...

I miss Twin Peaks. Maybe one day I will pick up the super-DVD set that came out last year.