In celebration of the seminal sketch comedy series' 20th anniversary, along with the impending premiere of Netflix's With Bob & David, it's about time we at Optimism Vaccine gave the universe yet another list of great sketches from Mr. Show with Bob & David. Jus don't expect to find most of these sketches on Buzzfeed...Read More
Until its last fifteen minutes, Bloodsport is just another bargain bin DVD purchase from your local Big Lots. The martial arting is quite good, and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s physique is certainly something to be marveled, but the movie as a whole is only decently mediocre. The script was likely written by an undergrad in a freshman seminar, and the acting was clearly not the top priority. The movie only exists to as a vehicle for sweet fighting action, but the story’s premise is completely wasted.Read More
The CBGB Music and Film Festival is currently underway in New York City and... nobody really cares. It is, arguably, the least essential cultural event in NYC. This is because CBGB currently exists merely as a brand—a business venture that sells t-shirts at Hot Topic to aging hipsters and curious teenagers. CBGB’s relevancy in the cultural canon was already over long before the actual building was closed and transformed into a John Varvatos clothing store in 2006. All of this is not take away from the important influence Hilly Kristal’s club had on basically every important rock record that has been released since 1977, but CBGB’s contemporary existence is a prime example of how our culture is rapidly de-evolving. So, perhaps it’s highly appropriate that Devo will be headlining the festival on Sunday, with a free concert in, of all places, Times Square. It’s as if the band is performing at the Ground Zero of where they told us we were all heading. I doubt Billy Idol’s set will be met with the same irony.Read More
So, it’s the 20th anniversary of James Cameron’s True Lies, which…I guess is a thing people are talking about. After revisiting the film last week, I was planning on inducting it into the academy and by a strike of fortune, True Lies happens to be turning 20 this week. The very fact that people are recognizing its anniversary may question the necessity to call it underrated. The film is certainly recalled fondly, it seems to be remembered for some quality action and humorous asides – generally, a good time at the movies. Which it certainly is! However, I believe True Lies is still important to viewers because it’s an anomaly of successful genre hybridity that marks the film fresh two decades later.Read More
On April 26th, 2014 a group of corporate-backed excavators and a horde of journalists gathered in the town of Almogordo, New Mexico to dig up a landfill which reportedly contained thousands of unsold copies of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. After several hours of digging through trash and dirt, Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb announced that E.T. had been found and resurrected from its desert grave. Not long after, the internet was abuzz with news that the “myth” and/or “legend” of E.T. was true.
The discovery of the E.T. cartridges is neither surprising nor remarkable. The game’s burial was well-documented by reputable news sources in 1983, and copies of E.T. remain widely available at flea markets and used game stores across the country. Instead of unearthing a lost treasure, excavators uncovered common trash; the plastic corpses of a game so bad that its company-mandated mass-burial stoked a cultural fire for decades and nestled its way into popular game folklore. Is E.T. really a game so historically awful that it deserved to be destroyed, blamed for an industry-wide crash and labeled the worst video game of all time? As absurd as that may sound, E.T.’s story becomes even more complicated once you realize it’s not a terrible game, but instead simply misguided, misunderstood and doomed to fail.Read More
In the mid-‘80s, the popular music landscape experienced a sudden takeover by aging yuppie hipsters who looked more like your parents' bosses than they did teen idols. In spite of the '80s being such an image-conscious decade, guys who looked like Huey Lewis, Phil Collins, Eddie Money, and Steve Winwood were able to convince a predominantly teenaged record buying public to purchase records by the millions, with their “Dirty Uncle Berty-mugs” on the album covers. From roughly 1985-1988, images of middle-aged white men with conservative coifs and four-in-hand knotted ties were dominating the MTV airwaves, while their songs dominated the Billboard charts. Considering this bizarre phenomenon, Robert Palmer had a lot in common with his contemporaries in this troupe. The one thing that DID set Robert Palmer apart from his '80s peers was a semblance of sex appeal, aided by the everlasting image of him crooning in front of a band of pasty, mute women in the “Addicted to Love” music video. Ultimately, Palmer became a victim of his mid-'80s success. His legacy lies more in an image frozen in a brief period of time, rather than in the surprisingly diverse and interesting music he recorded before 1985. In particular, his mostly forgotten 1980 album Clues showed a side of Palmer that had not been seen before, nor would it ever be seen again.Read More
Welcome to the first edition of what I hope will become a regular feature on Optimism Vaccine: "Academy for the Underrated." Each post will act as part media review and part historical examination of a certain media text that yours truly feels has been ostracized from popular culture. Reasons for these texts being mostly ignored by the masses, and even by those on the fringes, vary from questions of taste to just generally bad timing. Whatever the case, my hope is that this feature will turn you on to things that you either never knew existed or ignored out of spite. The first entry in this series will discuss the legacy of Tears For Fears and their 2004 "reunion" album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. I hope you enjoy it. Or hate it. Just have a reaction, please?Read More