A couple of weekends ago, Universal Pictures released Jurassic Park, and it earned a healthy $18 million in its opening weekend. Rather, Universal rereleased Jurassic Park; the picture originally landed in theaters 20 years ago this June.
I remember it vividly. On a weekend afternoon, my girlfriend and I drove out to a suburban Rochester multiplex with the express intention of seeing the new Spielberg, the dinosaur movie. Our 1987 Subaru Justy had a cassette player that still worked, so on the drive out from the city, we slapped in the Replacements’ Let It Be, which—besides being the best Replacements album ever—contains the track “Unsatisfied.” It was a warm day, and we had cranked the windows down. As we pulled into the parking spot, “Unsatisfied” was starting, its 12-string intro ringing out. A couple bars in, the siren belonging to Webster Volunteer Fire Department, off to the west, began to wail. It sounded like it was part of the song, or at least an improvement. We stopped, mid-sentence, and stared at each other, hair standing on the backs of our necks. She had introduced me to that perfect gem of unrelenting bleakness, and thank God I never heard it until after high school.
The siren faded out, and Paul Westerberg spat out the “TCHUH!” that kicks the song off proper. We went to see the movie.
After the screening, walking back to the Justy, I realized that Jurassic Park was a good flick. Yet I was very unsatisfied—because it had managed to murder imagination.
In 1895, the Lumière brothers held one of the first public exhibitions of the moving picture in Paris. Included in the short films programme was L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de la Ciota. A train’s arrival was filmed from an in-station point-of-view, making the train look as if it was approaching the camera. [...]