Monday, March 11, 2013

25 Years Ago This Month: March 1988

We'll start with the movies I've seen:

At the time Switching Channels was on repeat on cable TV, I was still too young to care about these kind of adult comedies, though I did see most of it, albeit in bits and pieces. It is at least the fourth iteration of Ben Hecht's play The Front Page, which was also the source material for the far superior and classic His Girl Friday. This 80s version is an updating which takes the story awy from print media and into the TV broadcast news station. Unfortunately, Broadcast News came out the previous year and was a much better movie on similar subject matter. How long before we get another updating focusing on Internet news?

I guess I liked Vice Versa for some reason back when I was a kid. It was one of several switcheroo films, in which two minds change places, around that time. With Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage playing father and son whose minds change bodies through some kind of voodoo magic, it's not much different from Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron in Like Father, Like Son the previous year.

The series just kept on pushing the limits of stupidity with Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, which saw the continued presence of the same actors in the familiar roles of Hooks, Tackleberry, Jones, Hightower, Lt. Callahan, Commandant Lassard, and Capt. Harris. Steve Guttenberg left behind his Mahoney to pursue bigger and better things, I suppose. Though I still don't know where he went.

Biloxi Blues is the film adaptation of the Neil Simon play that is itself a sequel to his beloved Brighton Beach Memoirs. Matthew Broderick reprised his Broadway role as Eugene Jerome, a young army recruit in basic training preparation for WWII. Penelope Ann Miller also reprised her Broadway role. Christopher Walken was added to the cast probably to give it more star power for a feature film.

Johnny Be Good is just one of those terrible teen comedies about high school kids and sex. Anthony Michael Hall is a star quarterback receiving big offers from all the big colleges and universities. Robert Downey, Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman, in her film debut, is his girlfriend.

Tim Burton's second feature film was the quirky macabre comedy Beetlejuice, which launched his career into the world of odd stories and bizarre production design. Remember when Alec Baldwin was young and thin?

Then there's the stuff I never saw, but could at least have told you something about before writing this:

The Milagro Beanfield War was Robert Redford's second film as director, 8 years after his debut. It concerns a small Hispanic village in the mountains of New Mexico that becomes victimized by big agribusiness.

How come three of Sidney Poitier's last four feature film roles were FBI agents? Two of them were released within a month of each other. Little Nikita had him tracking Soviet sleeper agents and befriending their teenage son played by River Phoenix.

D.O.A. was the film where Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan first worked together. They were married three years later.

Then there's everything I've never even heard of:

Tom Hulce and Ray Liotta played twin brothers in Dominick and Eugene. Hulce has a mental disability from an accident. Liotta helps him along in life while studying to become a doctor. The crossroads and source of the drama is that Liotta can't complete his education without leaving for another city.

The House on Carroll Street is a long forgotten thriller of political intrigue starring Kelly McGillis and Jeff Daniels.

A New Life was a comedy written and directed by Alan Alda and starring himself along with Hal Linden and Ann-Margret.

Masquerade was a mystery thriller starring Rob Lowe, Kim Cattrall, Meg Tilly, along with the young Doug Savant and Dana Delany, both of whom would go on to starring roles on the series "Desperate Housewives."

The 1980s saw lots of buddy cop movies, usually pairing a black guy with a white guy (Lethal Weapon; 48 Hrs.) or an old guy with a young guy (Colors). Off Limits put Willem Defoe and Gregory Hines in Saigon, a new spin on a familiar genre that would later be copied by Black Rain.

James Woods played a renegade homicide detective in Cop.

Moving is a not particularly memorable Richard Pryor comedy.

Prison was Viggo Mortensen's first starring role, in which he plays the spirit of a long dead executed criminal out for revenge.

Film Debuts
Uma Thurman in Johnny Be Good
David Schwimmer in an uncredited role in Biloxi Blues

Non-movie news

16th - Saddam Hussein carried out poison gas attacks on the Kurdish town of Halabja killing thousands.
20th - David Henry Wang's M. Butterfly premiered on Broadway.
31st - Toni Morrisson won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved.

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