Wednesday, October 31, 2012

25 Years Ago This Month: October 1987

David Mamet's first film as director was House of Games, one of the great films about confidence men.


Before Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to the Oscar for Best Director, she once directed a cult vampire film called Near Dark starring Bill Paxton.

The late 80s saw a string of films similar to Like Father, Like Son, in which two people change bodies for a while. In this one medical doctor Dudley Moore and his son, a high school track runner played by Kirk Cameron, accidentally exchange minds after ingesting an Indian potion of some sort.

How's this for an ultra-conservative movie premise disguised as women's lib? Baby Boom stars Diane Keaton as a high-powered New York business woman who inherits a baby, leaves her job and moves to the country. Ultimately she decides that being a mom is more fulfilling than her career.

How did three of the biggest stars of the 80s (Michael Caine, Sally Field, Steve Guttenberg) make a movie that virtually no one has heard of? Surrender is about a wealthy writer twice divorced who tries to get a woman to fall in love with him under the guise that he's poor. I vaguely recall Michael Caine being tied nude to Sally Field, but that's all.

Who can forget Casey Siemaszko in Three O'Clock High where he plays a high school kid with a date after school to fight the most feared student in school, played by Richard Tyson. That's right, the bad guy from Kindergarten Cop.

It's almost hard to believe that between Blade Runner and Gladiator, director Ridley Scott had a string of mostly forgettable movies including Someone to Watch Over Me starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers.

John Boorman's Hope and Glory is based on his own childhood experiences of living through the Blitz in WWII London. The result is a WWII film divorced from the sentimentalization of the era that has always been the hallmark of films and television set during that time. It's funny, humanistic, and simply astounding.

Mickey Rourke starred in Barfly, the semi-autobiographical account of Charles Bukowski's drinking days in a Los Angeles bar.

In what might be the most ambitious low-budget horror movie ever conceived, John Carpenter made Prince of Darkness which combines theoretical physics, metaphysics and atomic theory with the monster movie. And it's got Donald Pleasence in something other than Halloween!

The Sicilian is a long forgotten film I feel like I have to seek out now that I've read what it is. It's based on a Mario Puzo (The Godfather) novel and is directed by Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter). It stars Christopher Lambert as a Sicilian gangster trying to liberate the country from wealthy landowners, among them a prince played by Terence Stamp. Could you find two actors less Sicilian than either of those guys?

Cher had a string of surprisingly complex roles in the 1980s, even winning an Oscar for Moonstruck. I've never seen Suspect, her other 1987 role, but she was obviously continuing to go for Serious Actress as a public defender representing a homeless man played by Liam Neeson in a murder case.

Debut

An uncredited role in No Man's Land marks Brad Pitt's film debut.

Non Movie News

14th - 16th - The 18 month old Jessica McClure falls down a well in her back yard in Texas and two days later she is successfully rescued in a news story that dominated television across the country for 58 hours.
23rd - Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork is rejected by the Senate 52-48, an embarrassment to the Reagan administration and starting a partisan war over SC nominees that continues to this day.

Births

18th - Dreamy Zac Efron celebrates 25 years.

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