Tuesday, June 3, 2014
25 Years Ago This Month: June 1989
So in 1988, I believe I saw only two films in the cinema. I quadrupled that number in 1989, two of them arriving to theaters in June of that year. I can't say for sure I saw them right away, but most likely pretty quickly after my school year ended. Remember when superhero movie franchises began once a decade? Superman in 1978, followed by Batman eleven years later, and then Spider Man thirteen years after that? Then after that it just didn't stop. Now there's a new one about every month.
The biggest release of the year, and box office king of 1989, was the Tim Burton-directed Batman starring the unlikely Michael Keaton as the caped crusader and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Kim Basinger, being a big star at the time, was cast as reporter Vicki Vale, the journalist with the alliterative name who is not Lois Lane. Nicholson was perfectly cast as the maniacal villain and no one could have imagined a better performance of the part until Heath Ledger. Everyone was suspicious, and rightly so, of Keaton as the hero. He was known for his comic roles and he had recently been great in the title role in Burton's Beetlejuice, but I always liked him in the part. I like his aloofness, his ability to deliver the comic lines without coming down on them too hard, and then be serious behind the mask.
Ghostbusters II was the other big tent pole of the month, arriving five years after the first film - an eternity by today's standards when sequels go into production before opening night of the first. I specifically remember one of my less bright 5th grade classmates commenting that he thought it was stupid when the Statue of Liberty came to life. That was reason enough for me to stay away that summer.
Peter Weir's Dead Poets' Society was the counter-programming, the prestige picture of the early summer that went on to receive several Oscar nominations including Best Picture.
I did see Honey, I Shrunk the Kids that summer. It was fun and adventurous and I enjoyed it back then. The special effects impressed me, although now they look more like theme park attractions, which I guess was sort of the point.
I didn't see Do the Right Thing until much later. I've already reviewed it on this site.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is widely regarded as possibly the worst of the entire franchise. And that's a list that includes Star Trek: Insurrection. Spock's half-brother takes control of the enterprise and forces them to the edge of the galaxy where they encounter God? Ugh!
But was it worse than The Karate Kid Part III? I don't think so.
The stuff I haven't seen...
Hulk Hogan got his first starring role with No Holds Barred.
Nicolas Cage at a cockroach in Vampire's Kiss.
Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire didn't really go anywhere.
4th - 5th - Protests in China came to a head with the Tiananmen Square massacre in which soldiers fired on protesters and strafed buildings with machine gun fire. Dozens were killed and on the 5th, the world saw the now-iconic photo of the man standing in front of a column of tanks, blocking their path.
21st - The Supreme Court ruled it was okay to burn the American flag as political expression. Can you imagine that happening with today's court? Maybe it would. The notoriously conservative Justice Scalia sided with the majority while the more liberal leaning Justice Stevens dissented in a 5-4 decision.
30th - Omar al-Bashir became Prime Minister of Sudan through a military coup. He remains there today in spite of atrocities committed over the last decade.
2nd - Freddy Adu, American soccer player and former future promise for the US National Team who hasn't been called up since 2011. He's been a US soccer presence for a decade and he's only 25.
20th - Actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad, Role Models, and Kick-Ass.
3rd - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at 86
26th - Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson wed for the second time