What happens when us younger end of Generation X to older Millennials turn middle-aged? The pop culture of our adolescence becomes popular once again. Yes, we’ve reached that point along the space-time continuum where all things 1990s is new and fresh again.
‘90s nostalgia has been “a thing” for a few years now and it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, given how just about everything that was mainstream during the cyberspace decade is being rebooted again these days. Embrace all things ‘90s next week with the Cinepocalypse Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N Southport Ave).
The festival, (full line-up and ticket info here) which runs from June 13th-20th, centers mostly around films of the macabre, but it also has a specific theme this year- heavy metal music. Interwoven within these two themes you’ll find both ‘90s movies and current films that feature stars who peaked relevance during the ‘90s.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger lead futuristic film “Total Recall” (1990), an extraterrestrial action flick famous for its astronomically high body count, plays on Saturday, June 15th at 6:45.
“Flatliners” (1990), which screens on Friday June 14th at 7, is a thriller with a very creative concept, extremely ambitious plot and an all-star cast (Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt).
Set locally and filmed at Loyola, it’s about a group of University of Chicago medical students inducing death and subsequent resuscitation, discovering what’s on the other side in the name of science…and self-interest.
It’s worth noting that both of these films have already been remade.
Downers Grove born Denise Richards headlines 1994’s “Tammy and the T-Rex,” this festival’s token “fun bad” film.
It screens on Monday June 17th at 7pm and reminds us of what Richards was like before she existentially morphed into a living parody of Hollywood archetypes. (Credit her for being arguably the most miscast person in cinema history though when she played Nuclear Physicist Dr. Christmas Jones in the 1999 James Bond film “The World is Not Enough.”
Last summer’s festival featured “Howard the Duck” in the fun bad (by that we mean so overwhelmingly egregiously awful that it’s FUN, and certainly so if you have had enough adult beverages by start time) slot. It’s safe to say that Tammy and the T. Rex won’t be remade. Jurassic Park it definitely is not.
1994’s “Airheads” ends the festival (Thursday June 20th, 8pm) and it’s the one movie in the festival that fits into both the heavy metal and ‘90s throwback themes.
A star studded cast (Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Brendan Fraser) supported by a host of additional big names in smaller roles and cameos (Chris Farley, Michael McKean, local product Joe Mantegna, Judd Nelson) is by far the best aspect of this rock ‘n’ roll comedy.
Cinepocalypse also have current films that feature individuals who saw their star power peak in the ‘90s.
Hard rocker Glenn Danzig saw some of his songs chart well in the ‘90s, and now he’s directed his first film, “Verotika,” which opens the festival Thursday June 13th at 7. He’ll be on hand for a post show Q&A.
Alicia Silverstone first burst onto the scene in mid-90s Aerosmith videos, before becoming “Clueless” about vaccinations and infectious diseases. You can see her latest work, The Lodge, Saturday June 15th at 945.
It’s a horror film, but it would be hard for this endeavor to be scarier than the thought of people actually following the advice she gave in her awful book on parenting.
Additionally, two ‘90s B+ listers, Rebecca Romjin and Jerry O’Connell star in the 2019 film “Satanic Panic,” which screens on Sunday June 16th at 9:15.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.
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