Saturday, January 25, 2014

25 Years Ago This Month: January 1989

The deep doldrums of January brought only a handful of major releases. That's been typical for a long time as the theaters continue to be tied up with movies vying for big awards. So the studios tend to dump their garbage in the first month of the year so no one will notice.

January of 1989 brought some real stinkers.

First up is The Experts, starring Arye Gross and John Travolta (with mullets!!) in a late Cold War era comedy about two nightclub entrepreneurs who are drugged and kidnapped to the Soviet Union. They're placed in a town made to look and feel like a middle American town. It's populated by Soviet agents schooled in speaking with American accents and behaving "American." Travolta and Gross believe they are actually in Nebraska. America wins when the two begin indoctrinating these phony "Americans" with rock music and dancing which turns the would-be spies into America lovers.

Sean S. Cunningham, responsible for starting Friday the 13th, released DeepStar Six, one of a number of movies from that time about underwater exploration stations under attack by some unknown creature of the deep. The Abyss and Leviathan are the much more well-known entries in that sub-genre.

In Gleaming the Cube, Christian Slater plays a teenage skateboarder who investigates the murder of his brother. Steven Bauer, whom I used to refer to as "B-movie guy" is the police detective.

The last movie Michael Crichton actually directed was Physical Evidence, a crime thriller starring Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty, about a police detective accused of murder.

John Patrick Shanley followed up his Oscar-winning screenplay for Moonstruck with The January Man, a comedy thriller starring Kevin Kline as an ex-police detective brought back on the job by Harvey Keitel to help track a serial killer.

Writer Francis Veber, who has been responsible for some classic French comedies, brought America Three Fugitives with Nick Nolte and Martin Short as a comedy duo of bank robbers with a little girl in tow. A classic it did not become.

Non-movie Events

20th - George H.W. Bush sworn in as 41st President of the United States

7th - Japanese Emperor Hirohito after a 62 year reign (b. 1901)
23rd - Artist Salvador Dalí (b. 1904)

24th - Serial killer Ted Bundy executed (b. 1946)

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