Tuesday, March 1, 2011

25 Years Ago This Month: March 1986

As usual, let's start with the movies that opened this month.

The first in a series of very well made and popular Merchant-Ivory productions, A Room With a View, starring young Daniel Day-Lewis and young Helena Bonham Carter.

Although it wasn't his film debut, Lucas launched the late Corey Haim's career as a young Hollywood star. Haim plays the title character, a geeky and lovesick high school student. The film also stars Charlie Sheen (post Red Dawn but pre Platoon), Kerri Green (The Goonies), pre "Melrose Place" Courtney Thorne-Smith, pre "Entourage" Jeremy Piven (his film debut) and Winona Ryder (her film debut).

"There can be only one." Highlander, that cult classic starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.

Of course who can forget Police Academy 3: Back in Training?

Or the terrible Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn comedy The Money Pit?

Then there was the topical comedy Gung Ho, starring Michael Keaton and George Wendt, an East meets West tale of capitalism and how those kooky Japanese are so much more efficient than beer-swilling Americans.

Finally there was April Fool's Day, a little known and long forgotten (though not by me) slasher flick about a group of friends staying in an old mansion on a secluded island who get picked off one-by-one. I'll give you a hint, the title suggests a twist ending. It stars no one you've ever heard of.

The 58th Academy Awards were held. Out of Africa won the Best Picture award as well as Best Director for Sydney Pollack, Original Screenplay, Original Score for John Barry, Art Direction, Cinematographer, and Sound Mixing.

Witness took home Original Screeplay and Film Editing.

The acting awards went to William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Geraldine Page (The Trip to Bountiful), Don Ameche (Cocoon), and Anjelica Huston (Prizzi's Honor). Huston's win completed a trifecta of awards for three different generations in her family. Her father John and grandfather Walter were both former Oscar winners. Since then, the Coppolas have also accomplished the same feat when Sofia won a screenplay Oscar.

Paul Newman, aged 60, received an Honorary Oscar after failing to win on 6 nominations. He would win a competitive Oscar the following year for The Color of Money.

Composer Alex North also received an Honorary Oscar after missing out on the award 15 times, including for Spartacus. He was 74 at the time and died 6 years later.

I imagine the best moment in the show was when Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds (the three stars of Singin' in the Rain) all presented the awards for Original Score and Song. Kind of like getting to see Kirk Douglas present Best Supporting Actress the other night.

Outside of movie news:

2nd - Australia was granted legal independence from Britain by Queen Elizabeth II.
9th - the US Navy located the intact crew compartment along with all seven bodies of the space shuttle Challenger.
11th - the Instant Replay rule was adopted by the NFL.
13th - Microsoft's IPO.
26th - Geffen Records signs Guns 'N' Roses.
26th - The New York Times accuses Austrian president and ex-Nazi of war crimes.

Turning 25 years old this month:

1st - United States World Cup squad member Jonathan Spector
14th - Actor Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott)
28th - Lady GaGa
30th - Spanish World Cup winner and Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos


6th - Georgia O'Keefe
10th - Oscar winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend)
30th - James Cagney
31st - Actor and director Jerry Paris, who played next door neighbor to Rob and Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Also directed Police Academy 3 (see above) which had opened earlier in the month.

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