Monday, February 4, 2013

25 Years Ago This Month: February 1988

This was not a particularly interesting month of movie releases. There are new films from John Hughes, Wes Craven, and Roman Polanski, and Spike Lee's sophomore effort, but nothing that really awed critics or audiences. And not a single thing that has really survived a quarter century later beyond the odd pick-up off a rental shelf (or queue in today's parlance).

*movies I've seen

Apprentice to Murder starring Donald Sutherland and Chad Lowe doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. I can't track down any reviews other than Kevin Thomas's in the L.A. Times (he gives it a mixed to positive review), it has only 221 votes on the IMDb, and it's not in the Netflix database. Talk about movies that time forgot!

The Serpent and the Rainbow is a zombie chiller from director Wes Craven and starring Bill Pullman. It's got a rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but only just. The blurbs are mixed with some critics calling it Craven's best film to date and others calling it pedestrian or too trumped up with effects.

*She's Having a Baby is one of John Hughes' lesser efforts with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern as a young married couple and the trials and tribulations of trying to conceive.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being was not quite Daniel Day-Lewis's first film, but the first film that sent him on the way to stardom. He stars alongside Juliette Binoche in Philip Kaufman's adaptation of the classic novel.

Sister, Sister was Bill Condon's (Gods and Monsters; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) first film. It's a thriller starring Eric Stoltz and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Long forgotten.

Action Jackson was rather unsurprisingly produced by Joel Silver, he of the "less is never enough" school of action filmmaking. Carl Weathers stars as a tough Detroit cop.

Satisfaction was Julia Roberts' film debut in an Aaron Spelling production about a group of girls who try to make it as a rock group. Also with Justine Bateman and Liam Neeson.

School Daze was Spike Lee's second feature film and a musical drama. It has not really stood the test of time the way some of Lee's other films have.

*Shoot to Kill starred Kirstie Alley as a kidnapping victim, whose assailant is pursued through the mountainous wilderness by survivalist Tom Berenger and fish-out-of-water FBI agent Sidney Poitier.

*Bloodsport was always great fun to watch when I was kid. Who could resist Jean-Claude Van Damme's oil-slicked muscular torso doling out brutal punishment to competitors in a no-holds-barred martial arts contest?

Before there was The Fugitive, Harrison Ford starred in Frantic, another movie about a doctor who tries to solve the mystery of what happened to his wife. Roman Polanski directed.

Before there was John Travolta in the musical Hairspray, there was John Waters' trash cult classic with Divine, Ricki Lake, and Sonny Bono.

*At a time when many movies about teenagers starred actual teenagers, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon starred River Phoenix and Meredith Salenger (both 16 or 17 at time of filming). Most notable for Matthew Perry's film debut.

Taffin was a Pierce Brosnan film I've never even heard of, starring a bunch of other people I've never heard of.

Film Debuts
Matthew Perry in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon
Director Bill Condon - Sister, Sister

Non-movie news

11th - President Reagan appointed Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. He was sworn in on the 18th, starting 25 years as the "swing vote."
13th - 28th - XV Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Canada. These were the games that featured the Jamaican bobsled team later made famous by the Disney film Cool Runnings. The Soviet Union and East Germany led the medals table with 29 and 25, respectively. The United States was ninth in overall medals with 2 gold, a silver and 3 bronze medals.

20th - Singer Rihanna

1st - Heather O'Rourke (12), star of the three Poltergeist movies, died from a misdiagnosed bowel obstruction.

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