Crushin on All Things 1998

It’s hard not to have a soft spot in your memory for the year you graduated high school. This may just be why returning guest, host of ‘The Fandemic,’ and co-host of ‘Pre-venge of the Nerds’ Bradley Butin was drawn to 1998. We talked about what he did after getting out of his cap and gown, and how Tom Hanks’ ‘Saving Private Ryan’ likely played a part in all of that as it was one of his favorite things about that year. You can hear more about that right here on this week’s episode. Bradley and I covered a healthy amount from the year that brought us Next’s “Too Close,” ‘Dawson’s Creek’ drama’ and the cult classic ‘Halloweentown,’ but like with every year there’s so much! With that, join me as I break down some other favorites from the year, some we talked about and some that we missed that I felt couldn’t go unnoticed when crushin on 1998. 

Will & Grace

This show highlighted and proved that at the end of the day when a show is well-written and has impeccable talent – it’s going to be a hit no matter who it’s about. ‘Will & Grace’ was wildly popular, so much so that it managed to come back in 2017 for a few years just to give fans one last hoorah. Plus, it gave way to one of the greatest characters ever, Karen Walker.

Korn ‘Follow the Leader’ 

One cannot talk about the late ‘90s without talking about the nu-metal bands that were often seen as the antithesis, the sort of rejection of the bubblegum pop wave that had flooded mainstream music. Korn was around before this but it was ‘Follow the Leader’ that took them to new heights. While I was one of many boy band fangirls out there, I couldn’t help but fall for the metal-like skatting ways of Jonathan Davis. Not to mention the visuals. Oh man, you’re reading the words of a girl who lived for music videos and Korn really delivered one of the best of the ‘90s with “Freak on a Leash.”

The Odd Couple II

If you checked out ‘Crushin on All Things 1996’ then you know I love a movie about older people. That is why I rented the hell out of this one as a kid. I’m not sure how many other 11-year-olds at the time were invested in the comedic stylings of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, but I sure was!

Brandy and Monica “The Boy is Mine” 

Brandy and Monica were often pitted against one another because that’s what Americans do. We like a two-party system…and oftentimes we don’t see that working together can be magical instead of a big ol mess. I mean, look at the pure goodness that came when these two giants of R&B combined forces. We got one of the most recognizable and beloved songs of the decade with “The Boy is Mine.”

Spice World

Not a lot of movies I love would be considered great by cinephiles who spend their days pouring over Oscar-nominated films. I’m just not that girl, which is why ‘Spice World’ was right up my alley then and is still up my alley today. 

That ‘70s Show 

Granted this show went off the rails once core cast members started to head towards the exit, when it started it was everything. Right out the gate, we got half a dozen characters to identify with and more importantly, crush on. I mean, Eric Forman…swoon! It was hard not to fall for at least three of them, right? It was the perfect mix of comedy and teen shenanigans all intertwined in a package sent from 1970-something that was hard to deny. 


Technically we were introduced to Usher in 1997 but he was so ever-present the following year that it just made sense to place him with this group. Now why was he everywhere in 1998? It’s because “Nice & Slow” was that song. You could not get away from it, and frankly – you didn’t want to. That is until radio had to make room for “My Way.” Those, along with ‘97’s “You Make Me Wanna” could’ve been it and I still would be singing his praises. Luckily for us though, Usher remained a constant force in music. 

Ever After

Brandy has the most beloved version of Cinderella. No one is arguing that. It came out a year before Drew Barrymore gave way to a darker version. Not dark in a way that it verged on horror. It just didn’t have that Disney-like magical sparkle to it. ‘Ever After’ came with a bit of grit and that may just be why I loved it. See, I never liked any of the princess movies before ‘The Little Mermaid.’ I found them incredibly dull, but there was something understatedly beautiful about the way Barrymore gave way to Danielle de Barbarac that I found mesmerizing as a kid, and still today.

Movie Soundtracks

Three huge movies in 1998 had songs on their soundtracks that, if I’m being honest, were better than the movies they came from. For example, Aaliyah and Timberland did not have to walk into the studio and go that hard on “Are You that Somebody” for Dr. Doolitte, a movie in which Chris Rock voices a guinea pig. As hard as they went for that though, Aerosmith went just as hard on “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” That’s probably because Steven Tyler’s daughter was in it and he couldn’t not go big for his girl. Then there was “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls from the ‘City of Angels’ soundtrack. What is that movie about? No clue, but could I perform “Iris” right where I stand word for word as good as John Rzeznik? I’m going to delusionally say, yes.

Can’t Hardly Wait

I’d like to say ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ broke some sort of seal off in the movie industry because the year after it dropped, came a giant teen movie tidal wave. We’ll talk more about that next week and just focus on this movie that, when you look back, was one of the most stacked casts, ever. On top of that, this movie perfectly captured not only the various high school tropes but also a perfect goodbye to high school. While every other teen movie stays within the school year (or maybe summer), ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ paints a picture of what it means to be with your classmates one last time before the real world sets in. 


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