Saturday, February 1, 2014

25 Years Ago This Month: February 1989

I always start with what I've seen...

Director Stephen Herek's second feature, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was released in February 1989. Herek started with Critters and went on to a career of directing second tier Hollywood movies. He has never made a major film. Even when I was in fifth grade, even at the tender, inexperienced age of ten or eleven, when most people have absolutely no discerning critical taste, I knew that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure looked stupid. I had no interest then, no interest through the following years of middle school when friends talked about it and quoted it, no interest when the sequel arrived in 1991. And I certainly have no interest now in watching Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter play a couple of illiterate and retarded teenagers who time travel through history to help themselves write a school essay.

I actually have seen The 'burbs and, although it is much admired by others of my generation as a great and memorable comedy, I thought it was pretty damn awful and totally unfunny. Tom Hanks must have signed on before his Oscar nomination for Big sealed him in as a serious actor.

I have also regrettably seen Who's Harry Crumb? which stars John Candy as a bumbling private detective hired to investigate the disappearance of a young heiress. The twist is that he's hired specifically because of his ineptitude by the man responsible for the crime so that it can't be solved.

Then I move on to what I'm sort of familiar with, but haven't seen...

Eric Stoltz, I suppose not satisfied with the transformative makeup he had to don in Mask, starred in The Fly II in which he plays the partially human son of the fly from the first film. Daphne Zuniga co-starred.

The same year that his Oscar-winning (though he didn't get a Best Director nomination) Driving Miss Daisy was released, Bruce Beresford also had the Tom Selleck vehicle Her Alibi, a romantic mystery crime comedy about a writer of detective novels who falls in love with a Romanian murder suspect he's using for research.

Joel Schumacher directed Cousins, an American remake of the French film Cousin, cousine about two couples at a wedding swapping partners.

Gregory Hines starred alongside Sammy Davis, Jr., in Tap as a man just released from prison for burglary who has to decide whether to make a living by returning to crime or by pursuing his talent for tap dancing. Sounds like a vehicle just to put two famous black tap dancers together in a movie.

And I finish with what I really know little to nothing about...

Roger Ebert called The Mighty Quinn one of the best films of 1989. Well, history can't always be on our side I guess, even when Denzel Washington stars.

True Believer starred James Woods and Robert Downey, Jr. in a crime film about idealistic lawyers.

February 1989 also saw the release of the Charles Bronson film Kinjite: Forbidden Secrets and American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt, with David Bradley taking over the title role for Michael Dudikoff.

Non-movie news

2nd - Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan ended as the final armored division left.

14th - Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for publishing his novel The Satanic Verses.

17th - Whitesnake front man David Coverdale and actress/model Tawny Kitaen got married.

Deaths

3rd - Actor and indie film director John Cassavetes, 59, from cirrhosis.

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