Sunday, March 5, 2017

Best of the Best: 1997

Karting perfection? Close enough.
Year: 1997
Movie: Conspiracy Theory
Game: Mario Kart 64
Album: ReLoad by Metallica (or The Black Album, by Metallica*)
Song: Good Riddance by Green Day (or The Unforgiven by Metallica*)

Now, by 1997, shit had started to change. I was slowly growing up, one of my new best friends, Brandon, had moved away in December '96, my high school experience was getting gradually worse, and relations with the mother I "had" to live with, were also getting worse. But thankfully, while shit was genuinely getting pretty rough (and would only get worse in the following years) for young Jesse, there was still some pretty great entertainment of various kinds to help distract me somewhat from the pain and crap that real life can (and will) often dole out on you. 1997 was honestly a better year for movies, all around, than 1996 had been, and there were many that I really loved. Some of those were Beverly Hills Ninja starring the late, great Chris Farley, Liar Liar, Austin Powers, The Lost World (Jurassic Park 2), Con Air, the original Men in Black, Contact, Kull the Conqueror, etc.

But when it came down to what I thought the BEST movie of that year was, it was a battle between The Fifth Element, and Conspiracy Theory. While Element was a bizarre, fun ride with some cool mystical (even spiritual) undertones, and I REALLY loved it at the time, looking back now I have to give it to Conspiracy. I mean it's directed by Richard Donner (one of my fav. directors), stars Mel Gibson before he went a little nutso, as well as the gorgeous and classy Julia Roberts. And it was just a really really great film, fantastic story, amazing turn as a sinister as fuck bad guy by Patrick Stewart, you name it.

Now gaming, as you can plainly see by the pic above, 1997 had it's share of really good games too, across many consoles, like SNES, N64, Playstation, and of course arcade. And my friend Harold and I specifically rented a LOT of games on Nintendo 64, some we really wanted to try, and others just because why not. But out of all of them, the two that stood tall above anything else that released that year, to us anyway, were both because of the great N64 4 player multiplayer action. And those were Mario Kart 64, and Goldeneye. But while we played the SHIT out of both on many many nights with our friends, or just against each other, and while the 007 multiplayer was and is still arguably the best multiplayer first person shooter ever made, I had to ultimately give it to Mario Kart. That game is just a blast, whether it's single OR multiplayer. The tracks were awesome, the battle arenas were awesome, it was fully 3D, yet it still had cool looking 2D prerendered sprites for the racers. And it still to this day remains my favorite Mario Kart of all time, arguably my favorite racing game of all time.

So controversial to some, but SUCH a good album.

Now I have to speak about Metallica. When I first moved to my new town in '95, and for probably the next year+ afterwards, my favorite band, so I said, was Green Day. But the truth is, I didn't really HAVE any one band yet that I absolutely loved, and had a huge passion for. Well, that all changed in 1997. I borrowed a copy of "The Black Album" from a friend in high school, and that album in a very real way "changed my life". It sounds hokey sometimes when people say that, but it's the truth. I finally got around to discovering that album at a time in my life when shit was getting worse, and I really needed it. I half-jokingly referred to it as my "Bible", and most of the songs on the album are very deep, and some spoke to me in some very personal ways, that really helped me cope with a lot of the hard shit I was progressively having to deal with. Well, THE song out of the entire album that really really spoke to me, was "The Unforgiven", and I succinctly said then (and I must say, in some respects it's still true), that that song was the "story of my life". I listened to that song on repeat more times than I can tell you. But it really did speak to me, and it really did help me.

So I don't clearly remember whether or not I got "Load" in 1996 when it came out, because I had heard the song "Hero of the Day" on the radio/MTV and really liked it, or if I got it in 1997, but either way, while many people really shit all over that album, I on the other hand REALLY loved it. A lot of old hipsters and metal fans shit all over Metallica in general in the late 90s, which was hard for a young me to deal with as well. It felt somehow shitty and "unfair" that a band I was JUST getting into, and loved SO much, both their old 80s thrash music AND their mellower (but still heavy) 90s output, was getting so much hate from so many people. Like, it literally became the popular opinion to have to say "Metallica sucks", even for people who probably had never really even heard them, old or new. Regardless, fuck everyone else, I loved them, and when ReLoad came out in November of '97, I loved that album too. In fact, I was staying briefly with Harold's family at the time, and it's funny how certain songs or albums you'll associate with other things you experienced while first listening to them sometimes, and for me, that was Duke Nukem 64. Harold had just gotten the game around the same time I got the album. So we would sit in his room, and he would play while I would blast ReLoad, and those were some pretty good times.

BUT, in the midst of all that Metallica love, another great album by my PREVIOUS "favorite" band (and honestly they still are in my like Top 10 or 20), Green Day, also released in '97, the album "Nimrod". And off of that album, one song in particular also spoke to me, and I listened to it countless times on repeat, and that was the song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)". Now I picked that as the initial pick for Song of 1997, because it actually came out that year. If we're talking songs that mean more to me overall, all time, I'd probably pick "The Unforgiven". But "Good Riddance" would also be very high on that list, so I'll just say fuck it and pick both.

No comments:

Post a Comment