Sunday, April 6, 2014

25 Years Ago This Month: April 1989

We begin with what I've seen...

The biggest release of the month was Field of Dreams, still considered a sports movie classic starring Kevin Costner as a man compelled by voices to build a baseball diamond in his mid-west cornfield. He believes he was being guided in order to bring back the disgraced Chicago Black Sox - the eight players banned for life after taking money to throw the World Series in 1919. But the end has quite a different surprise in store. Ray Liotta plays "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and James Earl Jones has some wonderfully well-spoken lines and one classic speech about the timelessness of baseball.

There was another baseball movie. Major League was a comedy about a ragtag ramshackle poor excuse for a baseball team comprised of Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, and Dennis Haysbert (long before he was the spokesperson for AllState Insurance). It's also got superbly racist Asian caricatures in the form of two groundskeepers.

Say Anything was one of those seminal movies for me. A great romantic character played by John Cusack in one of the great 80s romances.

Stephen King adaptations just kept cropping up year after year in the form of both TV movies and theatrical releases. Pet Sematary was truly one of the creepiest and most frightening of them all, but I'm not sure it really stands the test of time and maturity very well.

Before he was McDreamy on "Grey's Anatomy" Patrick Dempsey often played awkward geeks. One of those was in Loverboy, a geek's fantasy film in which the awkward boy gets to bed gorgeous older women. This one trucks not only in Asian stereotyping, but gay stereotyping as well!!

Stuff I'm half familiar with but haven't seen...

Somewhat surprisingly, I've never really seen Dead Calm, a still fairly well-known suspense thriller starring Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman about a criminal who kidnaps a woman aboard her sailboat while her husband is investigating something on another boat nearby. I used to catch bits and pieces of it on TV, but never watched it all.

K-9 was the first two (2!) dog-human buddy cop movies to be released in 1989. This one was with James Belushi. Never saw. It looked stupid when I was eleven.

Why did filmmakers in the 80s get a kick out of exploiting mental illness for laughs? The Dream Team is one of a few examples, starring Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd as sanitarium patients who get stranded in New York during a trip to a baseball game.

Hot off Bloodsport, Jean-Claude Van Damme returned in Cyborg.

And then there's a slew of stuff that isn't really worth mentioning.

Rene Russo in Major League

Non-movie related

15th - the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, England, in which 96 football fans were killed in a human crush later determined to be caused by failure of the police to control the crowd outside the match - an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.


19th - Author Daphne du Maurier, whose work was adapted three times by Hitchcock (Jamaica Inn; Rebecca; The Birds)
26th - Actress Lucille Ball at 77
30th - Director Sergio Leone, famous for spaghetti westerns, at 60 from a heart attack

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