Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Dante's Inferno01/02/01: Could Somebody Tell Me Exactly Where This Year Went?

Some how, some way, I awoke on my friend's couch Monday morning and discovered that 2000 was over. Does anybody have a clue where the hell it went, 'cause I sure don't.

Regular visitors to this site know that I was a bit lax in updating this column over the last twelve months. And believe me, I've got plenty of excuses. The first and worst is that old tried and true burn-out. I spent the first five months of 2000 working for a totally insane company run by a totally insane person. Luckily, I saw the writing on the wall, started scoping out a job before my paychecks started bouncing, and was able to walk out when I'd had enough of being screwed, shafted, and lied to.

Unfortunately, it's taken a good six to seven more months to shake off the experience, settle into my new (close to home) gig, and feel like a human being again. And by the time that happened, I was waking up in 2001! Whew.

As far as junk culture goes, 2000 was a banner year. We had SURVIVOR- and MILLIONAIRE-mania, culminating with watching the new John Cleese-like Richard Hatch co-hosting tv shows and getting his ass kicked by the WWF's Chyna on the least funny 'MTV Video Music Awards' of all-time. Question...whose idea was it to let the untalented Wayans brothers host?

Then there was the election, the jokes, Internet cartoons, and more references to the word "chad" than I ever want to hear again. In the end, the guy who won the popular vote went home, and the guy who squeked by in the state governed by his brother ascended to the role of most powerful man in the free world. His first job? Name as many of his dad's cronies to key positions – starting with veep – as possible, sit back and figure out how not to become the next Dan Quayle!

Trust me. The next four years are gonna be one wild ride. And after the abuse Clinton took from the Republicans for eight years, I hope they come out blasting and let W have with both barrels! It'll make for good TV.

Critics have been trashing 2000 as the worst year for movies since the invention of talkies, but I'm not in much of a position to argue with them. Few of the flicks I actually ventured out to see would make my Top 10 any other year, although Cameron Crowe's rock and roll love letter ALMOST FAMOUS had its share of standout moments, breakthrough performances, and Kate Hudson. Can't complain there. Other than that, what was there?

THE CELL was certainly a visual stunner, but its attempts at juggling the wildly at-odds storylines was a bit more than the director could handle. X-MEN was easily the best superhero adaptation since the original SUPERMAN, but is that all that difficult? MEET THE PARENTS was dark and funny, proving that Jay Roach could make us laugh without resorting to...oh no, wait, one of the big gags did involve people being soaked by feces. SHAFT was so-so, AMERICAN PSYCHO was muddled. Did I see anything else? I guess catching THUNDERBALL at the County Theater doesn't count, eh?

Well, I can't think of much else to say about the year that just passed. I did buy a DVD player, though, and I've purchased about a dozen titles in the last two weeks. And while I sit there getting ready to put my laser discs up on eBay, I only have one wish for the coming year: "Don't let this become a dead format. I don't think my wallet can take it!"

That's it for this week...stop back next week for more plugs, rants, and shameless self-promotion.

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