Wayne’s World (1992)

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We’re not worthy! Sleazy advertising guy Benjamin Oliver (Rob Lowe) wants to take the public access show Wayne’s World to the world of commercial television. Slackers Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) battle to save the show and Wayne’s hot girlfriend, band singer Cassandra (Tia Carrere) from Oliver …  That’s just the start. This spin-off from a Saturday Night Live skit was dumped on Valentine’s Day 1992 – to a very appreciative audience as it happens. It went from here to cult fasterthanthis. Mike Myers’ McJobber Wayne Campbell became a spokesman for disenfranchised yet optimistic youth – even if we didn’t all put on a cable access show in our parents’ basement. Dana Carvey’s disciple Garth became a doer and not just a dweeb with an unfortunate overbite. These metalhead guys are lovable and full of heart and this perfectly postmodern comedy is a screamingly funny outing that has a host of sayings that still pepper my conversation while ordering Chinese food, singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody in the mirthmobile and eating Grey Poupon. Not! Directed by Penelope Spheeris. Party on! A sphincter says what?! Excellent! And monkeys might fly out of my butt! As if!

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High Fidelity (2000)

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Nick Hornby’s book had a zeitgeist quality for thirtysomethings reluctantly on the verge of Gen X adulthood, settling down and letting go of childish things – like humongous vinyl collections. It struck a chord everywhere which is why relocating it from North London to Wicker Park Chicago wasn’t such a stretch. Touchstone optioned it and figured the team behind Grosse Pointe Blank had the right sensibility for it. When director Stephen Frears came on board he restored the 4th wall aspect to the screenplay that star/producer John Cusack thought wouldn’t work – it does, beautifully. They had worked together  very well on The Grifters years earlier. Cusack is a kind of talisman for that age – The Sure Thing, Say Anything, Grosse Pointe Blank and now this – a collection of films from an actor who meant a lot to a lot of people but has never really burnished his career since then with the kinds of roles we might have expected. And if this doesn’t soar to the romantic heights, well, hey, that’s real life, isn’t it?! Settling for what you can get.