Saturday, March 1, 2014

25 Years Ago This Month: March 1989

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

Three of the great filmmakers of the 70s and 80s (Woody Allen; Francis Ford Coppola; Martin Scorsese) collaborated on the omnibus film New York Stories which encompasses three short vignettes. The first and best is "Life Lessons" (Scorsese) starring Nick Nolte and Rosanna Arquette about an artist living with his former lover, whose sexual escapades with other men fuel jealousy and a spark of creativity. Coppola's segment is "Life Without Zoe," a sort of fantasy about a girl living in a luxury hotel. "Oedipus Wrecks" is Allen's contribution, about a New York lawyer (played by Allen) haunted by his overbearing mother, who appears in the New York skyline to tell the whole city about her son's personal problems.

I reviewed it last year after taking a second look many years removed, but the cult classic Heathers was released a quarter century ago.

Morgan Freeman had been recently Oscar-nominated for an early role in Street Smart and was quickly propelled into starring roles. The first was Lean on Me, a sort of compassion for inner city youth refusal to write them off plot line about a school principal who governs with tough love and understanding, and then goes to jail for breaking fire code by chaining the doors shut to keep out drug dealers. I prefer Jim Belushi in The Principal. Ha!

Later in the year a bigger underwater thriller would be released, directed by a big-time Hollywood director and with A-list stars, but in the Spring came Leviathan with a B-list cast headed by Peter Weller and Richard Crenna about underwater miners who encounter a monster that kills them one-by-one in the same vein as other movies. It's sort of Alien, but in the ocean instead of space.

The two Coreys starred in Dream a Little Dream, a twist on the prevalence in the late 80s of body-switching plot lines. In this case there's a four-way switcheroo involving Jason Robards, Piper Laurie, Corey Haim, and Meredith Salenger (a big boyhood crush).

Because the depths of the franchise were not yet low enough, most of the principal cast members returned once again for Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

In other stuff, which mostly I'm familiar with, but haven't seen...

Terry Gilliam's follow-up to Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Robert Downey, Jr., Cybill Shepherd, and Ryan O'Neal starred in the mystical romantic drama Chances Are.

Jacknife was one of many movies in the 80s to deal with the difficulty of the readjusting Vietnam veteran, again starring Robert De Niro (like The Deer Hunter ten years earlier)

Shelley Long starred in Troop Beverly Hills, a kind of fish-out-of-water comedy about a rich woman who tries to prove her value by getting involved in her daughter's Girl Scout troop.

Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) directed and Brian Helgeland (who later penned L.A. Confidential) co-wrote 976-Evil, a horror film tapping into the ubiquity of 900 numbers that pervaded our lives during that time period.

John Frankenheimer was a big action director, but Don Johnson's movie career just never really took off, even with Dead Bang.

New discovery...

Sometimes in these monthly digs through the archives I uncover something truly special. Robert Wise's (he of West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture fame) last film was a movie called Rooftops about homeless teens in New York who compete in dance-off competitions and also contend against adversarial drug dealers. Wikipedia calls it "a crime and dance drama film." Wow!

Movie News

4th - Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline got married

29th - Rain Man won Best Picture and director Barry Levinson also won at the 61st Academy Awards. Dustin Hoffman also took Best Actor for the same movie while Jodie Foster won Best Actress for The Accused.

Adrien Brody in New York Stories (also Kirsten Dunst uncredited)

Non-movie News

21st - Madonna's "Like a Prayer" was released.

22nd - Buffalo Sabres goalkeeper Clint Malarchuk nearly dies on the ice after his jugular is severed by another player's skate.

24th - The Exxon Valdez runs aground off the coast of Alaska and spills 10 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound.


11th - Anton Yelchin, the new young Chekhov in the Star Trek reboot franchise.

(Sky Sports)
16th - English international and Arsenal soccer player Theo Walcott.


(photo by Robert Mapplethorpe)
9th - Robert Mapplethorpe, controversial photographer who covered the underground BDSM and gay scene in New York in the 80's, died of complications from AIDS.

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