Movies We Still Care About – 1989 – Part 2 of 2

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

Movies We Still Care About

  •  Batman
  • Field of Dreams
  • Heathers
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Say Anything
  • When Harry Met Sally

Other Fond Memories

  • Dead Poets Society
  • Steel Magnolias

Other Notable Movies

  • The Abyss
  • UHF

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Driving Miss Daisy (Winner)
  • Born on the Fourth of July
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Field of Dreams
  • My Left Foot

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Batman
  2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  3. Lethal Weapon 2
  4. Look Who’s Talking
  5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  6. Back to the Future 2
  7. Ghostbusters 2
  8. Driving Miss Daisy
  9. Parenthood
  10. Dead Poets Society

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (98%)
  2. Say Anything (98%)
  3. Do the Right Thing (96%)
  4. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (94%)
  5. The Little Mermaid (92%)
  6. Parenthood (92%)
  7. Glory (93%)
  8. Crimes and Misdemeanors (93%)

Movies We Still Care About

The Little Mermaid

This started Disney’s string of brilliant animation that continued into the early-mid 90s, which in my opinion was far superior in quality to the classic Disney animation like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.  It combines a rich visual style with engaging story, humor, and amazingly catchy songs.  I bet to this day you can still hear in your mind Under the Sea, Part of Their World, and Kiss the Girl.

And just in case you can’t, here they are.

As a more modern audience, we can look down on this film for its anti-feminist message of the heroine giving up her identity in pursuit of a man.  It is a product of its time in that respect, and I can certainly see why parents might want to exercise caution before showing this to children of an impressionable age.

But on the other hand, that crab is hilarious.

Side note: Once when I was in college, I went with a friend to see the movie Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.  But it was sold out, so instead we saw the re-release of Little Mermaid.  True story.

Say Anything

There’s this scene:

 

When Harry Met Sally

Widely considered one of the best romantic comedies of all time.  It redefined the genre and was innovative for the way that it told a story spanning decades.  And as someone who also fell in love with and married my best friend, I can certainly appreciate this.

But I know you’re all just waiting for me to embed the orgasm scene.

Other Notable Films

The Abyss

I had a professor in film school that argued that the best big movies were those that were really a small movie in disguise.  (And this professor knew what he was talking about, seeing as he wrote a small movie called Top Gun.)  The Abyss is a perfect example of this.  It’s a simple story of a man reconnecting with his ex-wife whom he still loves, set in the backdrop of trying to protect aliens from a nuclear bomb at the bottom of the ocean.

It largely gets overshadowed by James Cameron’s other work, but it’s an excellent movie in its own right and well worth revisiting.  (Make sure you watch the extended edition.  The theatrical version hacked out a bunch of important story elements and ended up not making much sense, which is part of the reason why this movie isn’t as remembered as it should be.)

It also had some ground-breaking special effects for the time, which Cameron would re-use to great effect two years later in Terminator 2.


UHF

As I write this Weird Al is more relevant than ever, having the number one album in America.  (The first comedy album to reach #1 since JFK was President.)  Twenty-five years ago he released this bizarre but hilarious movie.  It bombed at the box office, but has continued to hold a cult status among nerds.  And its theme of an imaginative outcast who sees the world differently achieving greatness through his unique vision continues to resonate.  Plus it manages to spoof deep cable reality shows long before those shows even existed.  (And check out a pre-Seinfeld, pre-racist rant Michael Richards playing a delightfully weird character.)

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

Movies We Still Care About – 1989 – Part 1 of 2

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

Movies We Still Care About

  •  Batman
  • Field of Dreams
  • Heathers
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Say Anything
  • When Harry Met Sally

Other Fond Memories

  • Dead Poets Society
  • Steel Magnolias

Other Notable Movies

  • The Abyss
  • UHF

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Driving Miss Daisy (Winner)
  • Born on the Fourth of July
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Field of Dreams
  • My Left Foot

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Batman
  2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  3. Lethal Weapon 2
  4. Look Who’s Talking
  5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  6. Back to the Future 2
  7. Ghostbusters 2
  8. Driving Miss Daisy
  9. Parenthood
  10. Dead Poets Society

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (98%)
  2. Say Anything (98%)
  3. Do the Right Thing (96%)
  4. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (94%)
  5. The Little Mermaid (92%)
  6. Parenthood (92%)
  7. Glory (93%)
  8. Crimes and Misdemeanors (93%)

Movies We Still Care About

Batman

In my 1978 entry I discussed how Superman created the comic book tentpole movie that would come to dominate the 2000s.  But that genre more or less disappeared for 11 years, until being revived by Tim Burton’s Batman.

It also greatly improved on the genre.  While Superman was purely a spectacle movie, Batman had a real plot, character development, and one of the all-time most memorable movie villains.

Its design for the dark and crime-ridden gotham has been copied by pretty much every Batman adaptation since.  Purists may point to earlier comic book incarnations of Batman, but the Tim Burton version is the world of Batman that most people know.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams is a movie about baseball, faith, country life, and a man’s relationship to his father.  I’m a non-religious Angelino who doesn’t care the slightest bit about baseball and was raised by a single mother.  So this movie really doesn’t speak to me personally the way it does to others.

To those who do care about it, it’s a wish fulfillment fantasy about reconnecting to a lost father, combined with a redemption movie where those who have sinned can find peace.

 

Heathers

This movie speaks to teenagers who feel like they are outsiders, which in reality is most teenagers.  It’s a revenge fantasy against the popular kids, combined with a rejection of the trendy and a celebration of the abnormal.

It didn’t do well in theaters, but found an audience on home video as a cult classic beloved by those who feel marginalized.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I consider this to be one of the greatest action movies of all time.  While the original was a pure spectacle movie, entertaining us with amazingly fun action, Last Crusade maintains that sense of fun action while adding in a complete story and character development.

River Phoenix as young Indiana Jones and Sean Connery as Indy’s father provide much more depth to a character that we had previously only seen traveling around the world kicking ass.  For example, here we see his father using wits rather than strength/athleticism to defeat an enemy:

And by the end, we see Indy using the lessons he learned from his father to pass the three trials:

And finally he sacrifices the object of his quest for what’s truly important.  (Sorry, I couldn’t find that scene on YouTube.)

To be continued tomorrow (Thursday, July 31)

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

Movies We Still Care About – 1988 – Part 2 of 2

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

Movies We Still Care About

  • Beetlejuice
  • Big
  • Bull Durham
  • Die Hard
  • Rain Man
  • The Naked Gun
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Other Notable Movies

  • They Live
  • A Fish Called Wanda

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Rain Man (Winner)
  • The Accidental Tourist
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Working Girl

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Rain Man
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Coming to America
  4. Big
  5. Twins
  6. Crocodile Dundee II
  7. Die Hard
  8. The Naked Gun
  9. Cocktail
  10. Beetlejuice

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (98%)
  2. Big (97%)
  3. Bull Durham (97%)
  4. Midnight Run (95%)
  5. Heathers (95%) – Note: Rotten Tomatoes lists this as a 1988 movie, even though it was released in 1989.
  6. A Fish Called Wanda (93%)
  7. Die Hard (92%)
  8. Rain Man (90%)
  9. Cinema Paradiso (90%) (This was released in the US in 1990.)

Movies We Still Care About

The Naked Gun

I was ten when Naked Gun came out, and to a ten-year-old, it was the funniest movie ever.  I’d still say it’s one of the best spoof films.  Even though most of the jokes were recycled from the short-lived series Police Squad that Naked Gun is based on.  But one original bit was the national anthem scene:

It does have the unfortunate cringe factor of co-starring a pre-murdery OJ Simpson.  But at least you get to see him get brutally maimed.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

One of the rare films that creates a pioneering visual effect and uses it to create an innovative story.  Though animation and live action had been combined before in films like Mary Poppins and Song of the South, this was the first movie to fully integrate them into a cohesive and complete world.  Also notable for working out the legal issues involved in combining classic Disney and Warner Bros. animation:

My personal favorite is the weasels dying laughing scene:

Other Fond Memories

(These are movies that fit the category of “Movies We Still Care About,” but for which I personally can’t think of anything interesting to say. Please don’t take a movie’s inclusion in this category as any sort of criticism.  You are encouraged to voice your thoughts on these films in the comments section.)

  • Rain Man

Other Notable Films

A Fish Called Wanda

Still popular as a cult movie.  It somehow finds a tone that is halfway between Monty Python and Wes Anderson.  You wouldn’t think that would work or make any sense, but somehow the film pulls it off.

They Live

I’m just including this because it contains what I believe to be the all-time cheesiest action movie line that wasn’t uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

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

Movies We Still Care About – 1988 – Part 1 of 2

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

Movies We Still Care About

  • Beetlejuice
  • Big
  • Bull Durham
  • Die Hard
  • Rain Man
  • The Naked Gun
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Other Notable Movies

  • They Live
  • A Fish Called Wanda

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Rain Man (Winner)
  • The Accidental Tourist
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Working Girl

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Rain Man
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. Coming to America
  4. Big
  5. Twins
  6. Crocodile Dundee II
  7. Die Hard
  8. The Naked Gun
  9. Cocktail
  10. Beetlejuice

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (98%)
  2. Big (97%)
  3. Bull Durham (97%)
  4. Midnight Run (95%)
  5. Heathers (95%) – Note: Rotten Tomatoes lists this as a 1988 movie, even though it was released in 1989.
  6. A Fish Called Wanda (93%)
  7. Die Hard (92%)
  8. Rain Man (90%)
  9. Cinema Paradiso (90%) (This was released in the US in 1990.)

Movies We Still Care About

Beetlejuice

The most Tim Burtony Tim Burton movie.  It established all of the Tim Burton tropes that we know and love.

Here’s the Banana Boat Song scene:

Big

A coming of age story in the literal sense.  It works on a wish-fulfillment level for children who think that being an adult would be awesome.  At the same time, it appeals to adults that wish they could regain a childlike enthusiasm.

Bull Durham

To be honest, I just don’t care about baseball, which means that I never cared about this movie.  But I acknowledge that a lot of people consider to be one of the best ever sports movies, and I would be remiss in leaving it off this list.  Those of you who love it are welcome to discuss your reasons in the comments.

Die Hard

One of the best action movies of all time.  It didn’t invent the concept of an ordinary man in the wrong place at the wrong time having to battle an overwhelming force, but it executed it so well that ever since every other film like that has been described as “Die Hard in [context].”

Fun fact: Due to contractual obligations, the role of John McClane was initially offered to a then 72-year-old Frank Sinatra.  Thankfully he turned it down.  Otherwise, it would have been known as either an embarrassing joke, or as the film that killed Old Blue Eyes.  The lead was then offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the idea that Die Hard would be a sequel to Commando.  When that didn’t work, they eventually chose Bruce Willis, who was known as a sit-com actor from Moonlighting.  And Di Hard instantly turned him into one of the biggest action stars around.

Anyway, here’s one of the best action sequences ever put on film:

And one of the best action movie lines of all time:

And because it’s okay to affectionately mock something you love, here’s the CinemaSins episode on Die Hard:

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