Friday, February 1, 2013

25 Years Ago This Month: January 1988


Acclaimed director John Avildsen, of Rocky fame in the 70s, went on to direct all three Karate Kid films in the 80s and then followed that up by returning for Rocky V. But in between he made a little known and nearly forgotten film called For Keeps? which starred Molly Ringwald in a role that was supposed to help her break out of her typecast goody two shoes teenagers into more mature fare. She's a high school senior who gets pregnant and then gets married in a shotgun wedding to her boyfriend, who clearly is not ready for fatherhood at 18. Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars, saying:
And yet there is a certain bottom line of honesty in this movie, and if it is about the joy of young love, it is also about the pressures of young responsibility.
Janet Maslin's review in the New York Times mostly praised Molly Ringwald's performance. Jonathan Rosenbaum was not very kind at all in the Chicago Reader. I have not seen it since I was a kid. I felt grown up watching it, but I don't really remember how well it deals with important teen issues.
The Couch Trip - Dan Aykroyd plays an insane man posing as a psychiatrist on a radio talk show. Michael Ritchie, director of other middling 80s comedies such as Fletch and The Golden Child, directs. Walter Matthau and Charles Grodin also starred. From the mostly postive New York Times review:
The lines and situations in "The Couch Trip" aren't consistently first-rate, but the point of view is so engaging, and the performers so enthusiatically committed, that the movie makes willing co-conspirators of the members of the audience. Like Mr. Matthau, "The Couch Trip" can be good fun even when it's slouching around with nothing much to say.
 Then there was this mixed review from Roger Ebert:
The humor comes from the behavior, not the details of the plot - out of the moment, out of the carefully observed quirks of human nature. The best moments in "The Couch Trip" do exactly that, but there are not enough of them, and the ending is a mindless and meaningless action sequence, with Aykroyd dangling from a helicopter to talk Matthau out of jumping off the top of the Hollywood sign.
Other films released this month included Kiefer Sutherland in Promised Land; Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli in Rent-a-Cop; Return of the Living Dead Part II; Chuck Norris in Braddock: Missing in Action 3 which closed out the epic trilogy; early roles for Tim Robbins and John Turturro in Five Corners also starring Jodie Foster.

Film Debut: Pauly Shore in For Keeps?

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