Friday, August 5, 2011

25 Years Ago This Month: August 1986

Amid all the garbage that opened in August '86, there was one stand out, and also the biggest money-maker of the month, in Stand By Me. Based on one of Stephen King's better stories, it is not incidentally one of the best coming-of-age movies from the period. It's one of Rob Reiner's best films and stars Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and River Phoenix all boosted their careers here.

This month saw Spike Lee's electric film debut She's Gotta Have It. It's not nearly as sharp as some of his later films, but at the time his was an important new voice in independent cinema.

David Cronenberg's remake of the classic The Fly in which Jeff Goldblum memorably vomits some kind of acidic liquid all over a guy and tries to make out with Geena Davis using all 6 legs.

Manhunter, the first film featuring the character of Hannibal Lecter, when he was portrayed by Brian Cox and not Anthony Hopkins.

After that there's a long list of crap. There are the thrillers and slasher flicks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, and Night of the Creeps, which I've actually seen. That one's about these slug things that infest people's brains, turning them into zombies, then leap from one mouth to another to infect other people. Absolutely retarded.

Extremities starring Farrah Fawcett as a victim of attempted rape whose attacker (James Russo) later visits her in her home to finish the job. She manages to subdue him and confine him to the fireplace behind a cage. She tortures him a bit. This was an odd movie that left a lasting impression on me while I watched it on cable as a kid.

In the drama department there was The Boy Who Could Fly, which probably should have been a Lifetime movie, if Lifetime had existed then. What a stupid fantasy film. Also, the completely forgotten Shanghai Surprise with Sean Penn and Madonna.

There were also a couple of bad comedies that have gone nowhere with time. There was One Crazy Summer starring John Cusack and Demi Moore; Armed and Dangerous with John Candy and Eugene Levy as a couple of bumbling security guards. Meg Ryan also stars.

All in all not a particularly memorable month for new releases 25 years ago. August is like that.

Celebrating 25 this month are...
Usain Bolt, the world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
Peyton List, who plays Jane Sterling nee Siegel on AMC's "Mad Men".

Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on 25 June 2006. There is still no evidence that he is dead. He has been denied humane treatment under the Geneva conventions, with Hamas refusing Red Cross access.

Joseph McCarthy's right-hand man, Roy Cohn, died on 2 August 1986 at age 59 of AIDS. He apparently died owing lots of money to the IRS. And this was a guy who went after Communists in America.


  1. Hi,I just happened upon your blog while searching out the expression"two shakes of a lamb's tail" which as it turns out,Uma Thurman emitted during her first meeting with the Travolta character "Vincent".That being said,what I really wanted to comment on is "Stand By Me" which I agree,is an excellent film.More than anything I enjoyed the realistic interaction between the boys characters which really reminded me of my own youth.I'm curious what you think of the movie "The Goonies" which also featured a group of friends taking part in an adventure.My feeling about THAT particular film though is quite different.I always found the relationships between the boys too stilted.Too "buddy buddy" always with their arms around each others shoulders etc.It struck me that the director of the Goonies may have never had any friends as a boy,and this was what he imagined such a scenario to look and feel like.Nauseating really.Anyway-I like your blog.

  2. No matter how you found me, thanks for reading.

    I mentioned The Goonies last year in my "25 Years Ago this Month - June 1985":

    I always loved The Goonies when I was a kid. I haven't watched it since I was a kid, so I can't really comment on my opinion of the film now.

    As to your comment about the relationship between the boys in the two films, keep in mind that Stand By Me is a realist drama while The Goonies is an adventure fantasy. That goes a long way toward explaining the differences in character development and interaction.