Movies We Still Care About – 1987 – Part 1 (A-H)

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Evil Dead 2
  • (First half of) Full Metal Jacket
  • Hellraiser
  • Lethal Weapon
  • The Lost Boys
  • Moonstruck
  • Predator
  • The Princess Bride
  • Raising Arizona
  • Robocop
  • Spaceballs
  • The Untouchables
  • Wall Street

Other Notable Movies

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • The Running Man

Best Picture Nominees:

  • The Last Emperor (Winner)
  • Broadcast News
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Hope and Glory
  • Moonstruck

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Three Men and a Baby
  2. Fatal Attraction
  3. Beverly Hills Cop II
  4. Good Morning, Vietnam
  5. Moonstruck
  6. The Untouchables
  7. The Secret of My Success
  8. Stakeout
  9. Lethal Weapon
  10. The Witches of Eastwick

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. The Princess Bride (97%)
  2. Evil Dead 2 (98%)
  3. Wings of Desire (98%)
  4. Broadcast News (98%)
  5. Full Metal Jacket (94%)
  6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (94%)
  7. Moonstruck (92%)
  8. The Last Emperor (91%)
  9. Raising Arizona (90%)

Movies We Still Care About

Adventures in Babysitting

This was a fun wish-fulfillment adventure that appealed to both children, and teenagers/young adults, who could each put themselves in the place of the characters.

Dirty Dancing

In previous years, I’ve discussed several films that worked as a wish fulfillment fantasy for boys.  Dirty Dancing is just about the purest wish-fulfillment fantasy for girls.  It’s the story of a girl who’s misunderstood by her parents and maybe isn’t the most attractive.  But then she meets a sexy dream guy who sees her inner beauty.  Not only does the hunk fall for her, but he helps her find and embrace her inner sexiness.  Then she gets validation from everyone else, including her parents.

 

Evil Dead 2

In my opinion, this is the best silly horror movie ever made.  Director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell combine for some of the physical comedy to ever be put on film.

Watch Bruce Campbell get beaten up by his own possessed hand.

I think that what really makes these films endure is that Campbell is brilliant at playing a cocky jerk who you can’t help but like.  And then he retains that cockiness even as he gets continually beaten down by mystical forces that he cannot possibly handle.

We cheer his small victories, but since he’s a jerk, we also enjoy his humiliating defeats.

(First half of) Full Metal Jacket

This is an odd movie, because it’s not based on one story.  It’s an adaptation of a collection of three novellas, which leads to a disjointed film that is two entirely separate stories which happen to share a couple characters.  The second half is a forgettable generic Vietnam movie, but the first half is amazing.  It gets the audience inside the process of boot camp, and shows how the training breaks down an individual’s psychology, and then rebuilds them as a killer.

Interesting note: R. Lee Ermey, who plays Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, was initially hired as an adviser to share his experience of what boot camp is really like.  He lobbied Stanley Kubrick for his starring role in the movie by making a lengthy video of him yelling abuse at extras, calling on his real experience as a drill instructor.  Which lead us to this piece of cinematic brilliance: (Warning: Foul language including racial slurs.)

I should note that some veterans have complained that the portrayal of boot camp isn’t realistic, and that any vaguely competent instructor would have recognized the signs of severe psychosis in Private Pyle, and kicked him out of the Marines.  (Even during Vietnam, the Marines were all-volunteer, and instructors wouldn’t hesitate to remove a recruit that was unfit to serve.)

This brings up the concept of verisimilitude, which is something that seems truthful.  Sometimes what seems truthful isn’t what actually is truthful.  The shorthand we used in film school was “real vs. reel.”  (Which is a terrible shorthand when spoken aloud, but that’s beside the point.)  If you want actual realism, you can look out a window.  At their best, films are stories that can highlight human experience, and sometimes telling the best story means deviating from how things work in reality.

Hellraiser

Notable for creating a new horror franchise and monster.  Pinhead more of a second-tier monster, not as well-known as Freddy or Jason.  But these films still are quite popular among horror fans.

– – – – –

Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.

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One thought on “Movies We Still Care About – 1987 – Part 1 (A-H)”

  1. That first Hellraiser movie is vastly different than any of the sequels. It’s more about infidelity and obsession, and Pinhead is barely featured. Worth another watch if you haven’t checked it out, if for no other reason than to see the early development of Clive Barker as a director. The themes of obsession and body mutilation that start in that film really carry through his entire career.

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