Is there a more important year for a girl than when she turns 16? It's the first time we start to decide what kind of woman we want to be. Now there is no shortage of examples coming at us from every side, and any girl worth her salt starts to work her way through the categories pretty quickly, right? I want to be the smart girl, the pretty girl, the popular girl; every option is open. For some of us, sweet 16 meant tiaras and coming out parties, but for me, 1991 was the year I learned that I wanted to be a bad girl.
In the summer of 1991, I was stranded in small town Florida for 3 months with little to do except hang out at the mall - you can only wander through Spencer Gifts so many times before catatonia sets in. Instead, I spent my nights at the movies. Now obviously I didn't have time to see everything, but for me; 1991 boiled down to three films: T2, Madonna's Truth or Dare, and Thelma and Louise. So what makes them so special? These were the films that opened up a world of possibilities to my sixteen year old psyche; suddenly I realized I could be a foul-mouthed Fashionista, a feminist rebel, or even a bad-ass savior of humanity.
5/3 -- One Good Cop // Rich Girl
The first week of the summer season was a particularly uneventful one. I mean, did anyone go to the movies this weekend? I will admit to watching Michael Keaton's One Good Cop on VHS, but I'm afraid I stayed home that week.
5/10 -- Madonna: Truth or Dare // Switch
Truth or Dare was responsible for teaching me some pretty important life-lessons: One, that documentaries can be a lot more entertaining than the National Film Board selections I was forced to watch at school; two, I didn't have to be nice as long as I was fabulous, and three, that it was alright to treat Kevin Costner like dirt just as long as you didn't simulate masturbation on stage.
5/17 -- Stone Cold // What About Bob?
So between a therapy-inspired comedy starring Bill Murray and an action flick starring a football star, which film do you think I saw that week? If you guessed Stone Cold then you would be right (nobody guessed Stone Cold, did they?) But in my defense, I was on a date.
5/24 -- Hudson Hawk // Thelma & Louise // Only the Lonely
Maybe this week was the one that could best sum up my movie sensibilities to this day: Silly big-budget action, cool chicks, and a touch of sweetness. Only the Lonely was a great flick, but this week was all about Thelma & Louise. When I watched Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis blow up that skeevy truck driver's rig, it was the best revenge high I'd ever gotten watching a movie...and from then on, I knew I wanted to be Susan Sarandon when I grew up.
5/31 -- Soapdish // Crooked Hearts
How many of you out there ever saw Soapdish? OK, now how many of you out there actually liked it? Are your hands still raised? Maybe it's just me, because I loved the tale of an out of control soap-opera. I don't know why, and I certainly can't defend it but no amount of public shaming can make it otherwise.
6/7 -- City Slickers // Jungle Fever
Now here we come to another slow week for me. What can I tell you? I was a sixteen year old girl; just what exactly about a bunch of men having a midlife crisis out on a ranch with Jack Palance was supposed to draw me in?
6/14 -- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves // Kickboxer 2
Prince of Thieves is best summed up with the following: Bad accents, hammy acting, that horrible Bryan Adams song -- maybe Madonna was on to something after all.
6/21 -- Dying Young // The Rocketeer
The third week of June was a great example of when you have all the pieces working together for a great film, but it still somehow falls apart. As it turned out, audiences weren't all that jazzed about watching a Depression-era rocket man, or Julia Roberts nurse a dying Campbell Scott -- frankly neither was I.
6/28 -- The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
I never claimed to have the most sophisticated tastes, and my love of The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear is the proof.
7/3 -- Slacker // Terminator 2: Judgment Day
So here we go; now T2 is probably what most people remember about 1991..and with good reason. James Cameron's Judgment Day blew my 16 year old mind in that overly air-conditioned theater. T2 had it all; Nukes, GNR, giant action set-pieces, but more importantly one of the most kick-a** heroines of all time: Sarah Connor. So how could you get further from the blockbusting T2? Well how about a movie where people just wander around talking about nothing for 2hrs? Slacker might have been the film of choice for Gen-X burnouts, but at 16, Skynet seemed a lot more interesting than grad-student ennui.
7/12 -- Boyz 'N the Hood // Point Break
I had to sneak into the theater to see John Singleton's gang masterpiece, but man, it was worth it. Unfortunately, Cuba Gooding Jr. was never this good again; luckily, Ice Cube was just going to get better. Now I didn't see Point Break in the theaters, but there have been multiple viewings on VHS, DVD, and the millions of times that it is shown on television. Boy, it is an awfully stupid movie, but that doesn't mean that I still won't watch the entire thing every single time I catch it on late night TV.
7/19 -- Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey // Dutch
I'm going to earn some heat for this, but here goes; I never really dug Bill and Ted all that much. Sure there were moments that gave me a chuckle, but the 'whoah' thing got pretty old, pretty fast. Despite my feelings about good old Bill and Ted, I will say this: William Sadler's turn as a Bergman-inspired Grim Reaper is possibly the best thing about that franchise.
7/26 -- Mobsters // Another You
Man, did I love Mobsters. It was like Young Guns but with a Tommy Gun instead of a six shooter and starred Christian Slater as Lucky Luciano and Patrick Dempsey as Meyer Lansky. For a 16-year old girl, Mobsters had it all: cute boys and nice suits - it was like The Godfather for 'tweens -- and yes, in retrospect, it was as awful as it sounds.
8/2 -- Hot Shots! // Doc Hollywood // Return to the Blue Lagoon
Well, here we are at the beginning of the end. The summer is almost over; I was already shopping for school clothes, and it was yet another slow week at the movies. Other than introducing the world to Milla Jovovich, there isn't much to recommend Return to the Blue Lagoon. Even to my romance saturated teen brain, I knew it was a bad movie. Of course, if only my sister had wanted to see Hot Shots instead that night, we could have saved ourselves the trouble.
8/9 -- Double Impact // Delirious (1991) // Paris is Burning
Who knew that it would take almost 17 years before Jean Claude Van Damme could overcome a failed career and reputation? But in 1991, things were still on the upswing, and there he was playing twins with identical French accents and matching spandex.
8/16 -- Mystery Date // The Commitments
So, who won out this week? Was it the stupid teen romance or the charming indie? Well, I'm sorry to say that I was much more fixated on Ethan Hawke than an Irish soul tribute band; so I plunked down money to see Mystery Date -- a choice that in hindsight was definitely not the right one.
8/23 -- Dead Again // Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man // Barton Fink
One of the many benefits of being a know-it-all teenager is that we are positive that we are right in any given situation. In August of 1991, I was convinced that Dead Again was an awesome movie (there were some good times with F-F-F-Freddy), and that Barton Fink was a waste of my 2hrs. Of course, in the light of history I have been proven wrong; but you have to love the ignorance of youth sometimes.
8/30 -- Child's Play 3 // The Pope Must Die(t) // Beastmaster 2
Well, for such a great summer for movies, it certainly ended on a low note didn't it? Despite the talents of Robbie Coltrane and a possessed doll named Chucky, that last week in August didn't have much to offer other than a reminder that pointless sequels and censored comedy don't usually make for box-office magic.