“[Captain Marvel] spends much of the movie wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt as she navigates computer cafes and CD-ROMs. The soundtrack digs about as deep as a ’90s-themed party playlist, with requisite musical cues from R.E.M., TLC, Nirvana, and No Doubt.”
– “Are We Living in a Golden Age of ’90s Period Films?” – www.esquire.com, March 29, 2019
Scene: Video store that rents VHS tapes. Chuck is behind the counter wearing a Smashing Pumpkins T-shirt and a plaid button-down wrapped around his waist. Enter Steve, a fellow employee. He sports long hair, a backwards ball cap and a soul patch.
CHUCK: Yo, dog, what is up?
STEVE: Hey, bro, I’m just coming to work at this video store, where people drive from their homes to rent VHS cassettes and then bring them back the next day or we punish them.
CHUCK: These crazy tapes. So lame. With the tracking and the lines and the rewinding.
STEVE: Some people are not kind and do not rewind.
CHUCK: Tell me about it. But Pulp Fiction was dope. I was talking about it on my chat room last night using my dial-up modem until my mother complained that I was tying up the phone line.
STEVE: We sure are living in an age of terrible technology that we truly won’t miss or feel one little bit of nostalgia for when something better comes along.
CHUCK: Better than CD-ROMs? That’s crazy. Here, hold still while I take your picture with this disposable camera. (He whips out a camera. Steve mugs, holding up a photo of Bill Clinton playing saxophone on “Arsenio Hall.” Chuck takes the picture, then throws the camera in the garbage.)
STEVE: Monica Lewinsky: babe or no?
CHUCK: I don’t know, Steve. I’m just glad we live in an age where the victim of an inappropriate predatory relationship can still be turned into a late-night punchline.
STEVE: You think that will change in the future?
CHUCK: Oh, absolutely, we’ll be totally enlightened and there’ll be no alleged sexual predators on the U.S. Supreme Court.
STEVE: Phat! But her emails…
CHUCK: Not yet…
A customer enters. She is dressed casually, almost identically to today.
CUSTOMER: I have pleated pants on!
Oh, she has pleated pants on.
CUSTOMER: And don’t forget my feathered bangs!
CHUCK: Can I help you?
CUSTOMER: Do you have any funny Eddie Murphy movies?
CHUCK: Funny movies from the 1990s? Sorry, ma’am.
CUSTOMER: What about Clerks?
CHUCK: You mean the movie we’re kind of ripping off right now?
CUSTOMER: That’s the one.
CHUCK: (Checks comically clunky computer) Sorry, it’s out. But we can call you when it comes back.
CUSTOMER: Yes, please, call me on this comically massive cell phone. (She whips out a comically massive cell phone.)
CHUCK: It’s not that comically massive.
CUSTOMER: True, and I don’t think I’ll feel nostalgia for it in 20 years.
CHUCK: Nor should you.
STEVE: I’m still here, by the way, and I’d just like to add that it’s too bad you didn’t rent a movie because then we could have printed you a receipt on this comically slow dot-matrix printer.
Chuck and Customer stare at him blankly.
STEVE: Because it’s the 90s.
CHUCK: It sure is a time of relative prosperity and no fear of terrorists.
STEVE: An innocent time.
CHUCK: Except for that Gulf War business.
STEVE: Thank goodness that’s settled!
CHUCK: What are you going to do later?
STEVE: I’m going to a concert by Vengaboys and Aqua.
CHUCK: That’s gay.
STEVE: You can use that word because we’re not yet socially advanced enough to be sensitive to LGBTQ issues.
CHUCK: What do those letter mean?
STEVE: I have no idea.
STEVE: I’m not even sure what year this is supposed to be.
CHUCK: Me, I like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and how they’ve completely drained all the fun out of rock and roll.
STEVE: Good thing, because that music will immediately enter heavy rotation on Classic Rock stations for the next 20 years.
CHUCK: It’s going to be hard to feel nostalgic for something that never went away.
STEVE: You know what I won’t miss?
CHUCK: Lame, satirical newspaper columns?
STEVE: Ha-ha-ha! Exactly!
CHUCK: Ha-ha-ha! Dunkaroo?
STEVE: Talk to the hand! Just kidding. Word! (They eat Dunkaroos and look grunge.)
FB shared–with all my 90s friends! Well done!
I am happy to report that Dunkaroos never crossed the Atlantic and that I never encountered them during my travels. For the rest …
I try to write universal truths.
I was born in that decade, so seems like I should take an interest, but every trip to the archives, it’s just horrible hair, intensely annoying racket, gallons of goopy running mascara. I don’t know if it was looking up “grunge” or Dunk-a-roos, but now my teeth hurt. I think Nostalgia is Greek for neurologic disorder. I’ve seen “Be Kind Rewind,” “High Fidelity,” etc. – seems like an alien planet. Michael Bolton is sweating heavily and shouting something stupid, Kenny “G” is whingeing through a soprano sax, Bon Jovi, sweating heavily through Ultimate Suburban New Jersey crap, Madonna, perfecting the Art of Pointless Crass Offensiveness, Def Leppard, Nirvana, Korn, it was a decayed, not a decade.
In fairness, those of us who lived through the 80s derided it. Now the decade seems novel and strange. Maybe the 90s will take on that same foreign hue as we leave it further behind. But I doubt it. It’s just like now, only worse (or maybe better).
Yeah it’ll probably gain fans given enough time. The Black Death (I mean, bubonic plague, not the ’80’s metal band) was originally thought of as uncomfortable, and was surprisingly unpopular. Now, historians love it – the societal disruption & population loss resulted in major advancements in Western Civilization. So I guess if I think about ’90’s pop music as akin to a rat-spread contagion, accompanied by chills, muscle cramps, necrosis, etc. you’re right! seems better.
Resulting in Radiohead “OK Computer.” Happy ending!
OK, bang, you got me. I have a totally unreasonable love for early Radiohead.
Nothing wrong with that.
I think ‘dope’ was still an insult. All else seems accurate. Had to Google Dunkaroos. I thought it was a local Canadian delicacy.
What about “phat”?
lived it and somehow survived it.
Maybe I was too busy working and raising my family to truly appreciate it…… Nah!
Is this the right time to mention that I was drunk throughout the 90’s and don’t remember a moment of it?
As for Monica Lewinsky – I love that woman. You should check out some of her interviews and what she’s doing now. Strong person with a dynamite point about bullying and the media and what happened to her. She’s not a punchline.
I was working and raising kids through the 90s. Oh, and also drunk.
Yes, I love the redemption of Lewinsky.
Drunk through the 90’s rocked. Monica Lewinsky rocks. Saw a few interviews with her… she is just so strong. She’s gone well beyond all that scandal stuff.
You know who else was a bit of a punchline but who is all balls is Kim Campbell.
I haven’t seen her about in ages… will have to look her up. Man, she was quite the punchline… if she’s come through that to do great things, that’d be awesome.