Since no studio executive can see into the future, it is impossible to to know if the right date has been selected to launch a film. Sure, 4th of July weekend was a pretty savvy time to release Independence Day back in 1996, and you can consider that a safe bet, but there are moments when news headlines trump Hollywood offerings that no one sees coming. The high school-set dark comedy Election had the misfortune of being released days after the Columbine massacre shocked the nation; just this year, The Birth Of A Nation was sunk by bad press surrounding Nate Parker’s rape allegations. (Because if there’s one thing Americans won’t stand for, it’s letting influential men get away with sexual assault… right?) The Birth Of A Nation might have been a massive hit if released last winter, on the heels of its Sundance breakout buzz, or maybe even this weekend, when a story of black Americans rioting against cruel and bigoted white oppressors might resonate. But that’s not how it happened.
“I didn’t know she had a pony! How was I to know she had a pony? Who figures an immigrant’s going to have a pony? Do you know what the odds are on that? I mean, in all the pictures I saw of immigrants on boats coming into New York Harbor, I never saw one of them sitting on a pony! Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn’t make sense! Am I wrong?”
The “coming out” film has been the cornerstone of queer cinema for at least a couple of decades. For all the progress the LGB… (sorry, I’ve lost track of how many letters are supposed to be attached to that alphabet soup) movement has made in shifting from the niche to the mainstream in that time, movies about these people haven’t changed much.
It’s impossible to ignore the year 2016 when talking about Loving, a film that takes place between 1958 and 1967 and depicts the lives of the titular couple at the center of one of the Supreme Court’s landmark cases of the 20th century. So let’s talk about 2016.
A competent, ambitious, and some-might-say-chilly blonde who thinks she’s got this election in the bag goes up against unlikely opponents who are unqualified and uninformed, but hold an anarchic appeal to a certain deplorable fan base that’s fed up with the establishment. When the rubble is cleared, some careers will be ruined, some hearts will be broken, and one very controversial woman will rise to power, sweeping aside a few questionable tactics along the way.
Oh, and did we forget to mention the myriad sex scandals?
In our third episode, the When We Were Young podcast tackles Alexander Payne’s 1999 film Election, a high school satire that has absolutely zero relevance to anything going on in the American political system today. Listen here or subscribe here.
We’ve now aired multiple episodes of the When We Were Young podcast, which means it’s officially time to start uselessly ranking things.
That’s right — because I am a millennial (barely), I am obsessed with ranking things that are not terribly similar in any way, and chances are, you are obsessed with it, too. (Thanks, Buzzfeed!) So I am keeping a running tally of which of the movies, TV shows, albums, and other pop culture artifacts from the 80s and 90s hold up best.
Is it completely arbitrary to compare, say, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. to the 90s catalogue of Britney Spears to the entire run of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air? Of course it is! That’s what makes it such a meaningless waste of time!