Monday, July 4, 2011

25 Years Ago This Month: July 1986

The major:

James Cameron's Aliens, the highly successful sequel to Ridley Scott's masterpiece of terror from 7 years earlier, featured great effects that still look great today, some terrifying scenes to rival the original and a tone and approach that took the series in a whole new direction. It's a sequel, but also in many ways an original work

Heartburn was a Mike Nichols (director) and Nora Ephron (writer) collaboration which was a mostly autobiographical account of the end of Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein. Stars Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep were not enough to rescue this film.

Edward Zwick's About Last Night... featured a lot of naked Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. Zwick also directed the more recent Love and Other Drugs, featuring a lot of naked Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

Disney Animation Studios were still trying to rescue themselves from the doldrums with The Great Mouse Detective. It took a measly $23M at the domestic box office. Hardly substantial for the Mouse.

The minor:

Roman Polanski's major flop Pirates, starring Walter Matthau in a "what was he thinking" role opened ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. The prop pirate ship that was built for the film is one of the main tourist attractions in Genoa, Italy. I've seen it.

John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China, bad as it is, has a pretty strong cult following. I don't really understand why. Sorry.

With the $32M it did respectable box office, but who really remembers the Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason father-son comedy/drama Nothing in Common? Isn't that a theme of all of Garry Marshall's films with the exception of Pretty Woman?

A Stephen King short story supplied the basis for Maximum Overdrive (directed by King!) about trucks that come to life and turn homicidal. Wait, wasn't that called Christine? Oh, right! That was a car. Trivia note: one of the earliest films of Yeardley (voice of Lisa Simpson) Smith.

The (nearly) forgotten:

Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner were f-ing hilarious in their heyday. The married couple starred in Haunted Honeymoon, which turned out to be a total disaster. Tragically, it was also Radner's last film. She became ill and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after filming and died 3 years later.

Flight of the Navigator was a brazen attempt to capitalize on Spielberg's success. It didn't really pay off.

Writer-director Harold Ramis, stars Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole and Rick Moranis. What could go wrong? Everything it seems. Club Paradise scraped up $12M at the box office, but today rates a 4.4/10 on IMDb.

Kristin Scott Thomas's film debut in Prince's Under the Cherry Moon.

Psycho III. Enough said.

Non movie news:

5th - After a huge refurbishment project, the Statue of Liberty was reopened.

27th - Greg LeMond became the first American (and first non-European) to win the Tour de France. He does have a French name, though. He was later shot in a hunting accident, but came back to win the tour in '89 and '90. Of course he was then bested by Lance "Superman American Hero" Armstrong, who came back from cancer to win the Tour a record 7 times!

2nd - Lindsay Lohan. I wonder if she got that ankle bracelet removed for her birthday.

25th - Vincente Minnelli, director of such films as Gigi and An American in Paris and father to Liza Minnelli.

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