Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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1986: An Additional 10

Ten more flicks from the year '86. Wokka-wokka.

'Round Midnight
dir: Bertrand Tavernier
scr: David Rayfiel/Bertrand Tavernier
Oscar Winner: Best Original Score
Oscar Nominee: Best Actor (Dexter Gordon)
A quiet study of two men: one an alcoholic jazz great knowing his last days are creeping in on him, the other a French fan who offers him a burst of energy. It's great to see this kind of story taking place between friends, instead of the May-December romance this kind of plot usually describes. It's a little long for what it is, but Gordon is magnetic.

[Captain Kirk, Ferris Bueller, and Mark Twain after the jump...]

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
dir/scr: John Hughes

It's fun if you can get past what a shitheel Ferris is, something that the movie itself seems reluctant to acknowledge - why does Hughes have such a boner for assholes? MVPs: Jeffrey Jones, Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey, Edie McClurg. Great soundtrack!

The Karate Kid Part II
dir: John G. Avildsen
scr: Robert Mark Kamen
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Song ("Glory of Love")

Gets the business done and gets out. Surprisingly satisfying!

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
dir: Leonard Nimoy
scr: Harve Bennett/Peter Krikes/Steve Meerson/Nicholas Meyer, story by Bennett/Nimoy, based on the series created by Gene Roddenberry
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing

I laughed longer and louder at this movie than any of the comedies I've watched so far. Light-hearted and eco-conscious, showcasing the Star Trek cast's real knack for hijinks, Nimoy especially. Some unanswered questions about the central conflict don't even bother me, because fuck it, whales.

The Adventures of Mark Twain
dir: Will Vinton
scr: Susan Shadbourne, based on the works of Mark Twain

Eerie and imaginative. The Internet knows this film for its "Mysterious Stranger" segment, but the whole movie is just as confrontational about faith and man being his own undoing. Yet in the end, there's laughter and hope, and a promise of immortality for those who make themselves unforgettable.

Flight of the Navigator
dir: Randal Kleiser
scr: Michael Burton/Matt McManus, from a story by Mark H. Baker

Jesus, what a horrifying premise for a movie, much less a children's one - but it's that very horror that grounds this movie in some real feeling, real stakes. At first. Then it loses itself with disposable side characters, and too much of a "kiddie" adventure vibe. The story's smothered in all the treacle.

Ruthless People
dir: Jim Abrahams/David Zucker/Jerry Zucker
scr: Dale Launer

Bette Midler is both way too much and just perfect in this kidnapping comedy. Everyone's pretty good, with Anita Morris as the standout. Great design work - everything's so garish! Overall, though, not a very memorable experience.

Stand By Me
dir: Rob Reiner
scr: Bruce A. Evans/Raynold Gideon, from the novella "The Body" by Stephen King
Oscar Nominee: Best Adapted Screenplay

Great performances from the kids. But I don't get this movie. I don't get the misty-eyed nostalgia over what looks to me like a pretty awful chapter in someone's life. Am I completely missing the point? The final line is just so irritating.

Sweet Liberty
dir/scr: Alan Alda

Diverting Hollywood satire with a great cast in fine form, particularly Michael Caine and Michelle Pfeiffer as kooky movie stars. The score is surprisingly earworm-y.

The Mission
dir: Roland Joffé
scr: Robert Bolt
Oscar Winner: Best Cinematography
Oscar Nominee: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design

It's a hell of a thing, when the existence of a people depends on whether they prefer be slaves or converts. "Thus have we made the world," intones one character, in this damnation of colonialism that pays tribute to the priests who protect native tribes, even as it acknowledges the hand such priests play in those tribes' subjugation. Passionately told.

The Best of the Ten: The Mission and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

The Worst of the Ten: Stand By Me

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