Sunday, August 26, 2012
25 Years Ago This Month: August 1987
The big story of the month is Dirty Dancing celebrating its 25th anniversary. What was it about this movie that made it so wildly popular in its day? What provides its continued popularity today? Is it just Patrick Swayze? It couldn't be, otherwise all of his films would have been big hits. I don't know, but something in that combination of sweaty dance moves, muscly Swayze and the story of a grown man having a sexual affair with a teenager makes this just the kind of films mothers and daughters want to watch together and drool. Go figure!
For a romance I always preferred Can't Buy Me Love which starred pre-McDreamy Patrick Dempsey as a high school nerd who loves the beautiful and popular Amanda Peterson from afar. He makes a deal with her which has her posing as his girlfriend for one month, circumstances he believes will transform him into one of the popular crowd. He's right, of course, setting up a plot that reveals the unfair social mores of the American high school and a resolution that has him realizing that pretending to be something your not is no way to make friends.
Cheech Marin wrote, directed and starred in Born in East L.A. about a Mexican American caught up in a raid on a factory and gets mistakenly deported to Mexico. This was Cheech's first starring role in a non-Cheech and Chong movie.
I used to watch a terrible movie on cable called Back to the Beach which starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as a married couple taking their family on vacation back to the California surfer beach where they grew up and met. It's supposed to be a nostalgic throwback for the Boomers to remember the 60s and all those beach movies of the day. So the film is loaded with cameo appearances by washed up stars and has-beens like Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr. and Don Adams.
Now Masters of the Universe on the other hand is cinematic genius. A live-action He-Man movie? What could be better for a child of 9 or 10? A live-action G.I. Joe movie, I guess, but I had to wait more than two decades for that. Dolph Lundgren as He-Man? Courtney Cox as the damsel in distress? Frank Langella as Skeletor? How could it be better? Well, they could have included the character Orco. I always felt he was missing from this movie.
Another movie I like watching on cable the following year was The Monster Squad about a bunch of kids who turn up an uprising of monsters from the old Universal Pictures horror collection like Dracula, Wolfman (he's got nards!), the monster from Frankenstein, and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Other films released this month include the buddy comedy Stakeout starring Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez; the Madonna vehicle Who's That Girl?; Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman in the thriller No Way Out; John Sayles' fifth film Matewan about a union organizer for West Virginia coal miners; Don Cheadle's first significant film role in the forgotten Vietnam film Hamburger Hill; and the horror sequel House II: The Second Story (clever title, that).
31st - Michael Jackson's Bad released.
8th - Katie Leung, who played Harry Potter's initial love interest Cho Chang in several of the films.
14th - NY Jets quarterback and resident prayer master Tim Tebow. Happy 25!
25th - Actress Blake Lively, star of Oliver Stone's recent Savages.
17th - Five time Oscar-nominated director Clarence Brown.
17th - Nazi Rudolph Hess commits suicide at age 93. He's the last prisoner in Spandau Prison before it's demolished.
28th - Legendary director John Huston, aged 81 due to complications from pneumonia related to lung disease from a lifetime of smoking.
29th - Actor Lee Marvin, aged 63 from a heart attack.