90 Movies in 90 Days: Style Wars (1983)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Style Wars
Release Date: 1983
Director: Tony Silver
Production Company: Public Art Films

A lot of trains, a lot of fun, a lot of art. Art that’s gonna be part of New York City’s history forever. – Iz the Wiz

In the 1970s, the graffiti-covered subway train became a symbol of the “decline of New York City.”  For the young people of the city, though, graffiti writing served as a form of expression in a growing culture that also created rap music and breakdancing.  This documentary made for PBS television has kind of naive and square outsiders feel to it, but it works because the director allows the subjects of the film to do most of the talking. There’s a lot of candid discussion of their methods, their artistry, as well as the beefs among artists (especially the villainous “Cap”).

In addition to graffiti writers talking about their art, other perspectives are offered from MTA employees, police officers, commuters, and Mayor Ed Koch. They all hate the graffiti and what it represents to the people of the City who don’t want to have their names on every line of the subway.  A highlight of the movie is a joint interview with graffiti writer Skeme and his mother, the latter of whom does not approve of her son’s art at all.  The film also documents the start of the decline of graffiti culture as high-end art studios start getting some writers to create works on canvas for sale.  Meanwhile, the MTA erects double fences with razor wire and guard dogs around the subway yards.

This is the New York City I remember visiting as a child and the cool kid culture I could only admire from afar in the suburbs.  It’s hard to believe that 40 years have gone by already, but the City has changed so much that this movie almost feels like it’s from a different world.

Rating: ****1/2

50 Years, 50 Albums (1995): Garbage by Garbage

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for albums from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!


Top Grossing Albums of 1995:

  1. Jagged Little Pill Alanis Morissette
  2. Daydream – Mariah Carey
  3. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory – Oasis
  4. HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I – Michael Jackson
  5. Made in Heaven – Queen

Grammy Award and Nominees for Album of the Year of 1995:

  • Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
  • Daydream – Mariah Carey
  • HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I – Michael Jackson
  • Relish – Joan Osborne
  • Vitalogy – Pearl Jam

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 1995:

Album: Garbage
Artist: Garbage
Release Date: August 15, 1995
Label: Almo
Favorite Tracks:

  • Supervixen
  • Queer
  • Only Happy When It Rains
  • Vow
  • Stupid Girl


I once owned a copy of this album on cassette and remember listening to it quite a bit around 1996-1997, but I seem to have parted ways with it by the time I moved to Boston in 1998.  Revisiting the album now, I can see what I liked about and why I grew tired of it.  The album is front-loaded with the first three tracks – “Supervixen,” “Queer,” and “Only Happy When It Rains” – also being the best songs on the album. There are some other highlights but the album drags in places and might be better with a couple of tracks removed.

1995 was an uncertain time in alternative rock as it was now fully-mainstream and it was hard to find a way to be alternative in the post-grunge period.  Garbage took the approach of throwing a little bit of everything in the mix – catchy power pop hooks, shoegaze guitars, funky bass, U2-style anthems, and dance music beats.  The secret weapon for the otherwise American band is having a the sultry lead vocals of Scotland’s Shirley Manson who adds a sexuality to the songs and lyrics.

Rating: ***1/2