Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pin It


1986: The Next 10

Last week, we started our journey through the films of 1986. This week, we continue with another group of 10 flicks, in order of viewing.

Big Trouble in Little China
dir: John Carpenter
scr: Gary Goldman/David Z. Weinstein, adaptation by W.D. Richter

Fun spin on the traditional White Male Action Star, with Kurt Russell bumbling along while his "sidekick" Dennis Dun kicks ass and gets the girl. A blast to watch, very quotable, and a great showcase for Asian-American actors like Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, and more.

[the remaining nine after the jump]
Crimes of the Heart
dir: Bruce Beresford
scr: Beth Henley, based on her play
Oscar Nominee: Best Actress (Sissy Spacek), Best Supporting Actress (Tess Harper), Best Adapted Screenplay

Real chemistry between the leads, even if Diane Keaton is miscast. The material's begging to be handled with more color than Beresford provides, though. It feels like everyone's bursting at the seams to do more, but those stately bookends - and the saccharine score - are just murdering it.

Club Paradise
dir: Harold Ramis
scr: Brian Doyle-Murray/Harold Ramis, story by Tom Leopold/Chris Miller/Harry Shearer/David Standish

It's a favorite of my dad's, one I grew up with, so maybe I'm a little biased in its favor. Who can resist a movie that so wonderfully showcases Andrea Martin, Adolph Caesar, Jimmy Cliff, Robin Williams? Some of my favorite lines are within this movie, from "This is not a hiking crowd" to the great exchange:
-"If you'll excuse me, I feel a headache coming on"
-"I feel one about to leave."
dir: Dick Clement
scr: Dick Clement/Ian La Frenais/Bill Persky, story by Persky

A sleepwalking Michael Caine, a horrendous Brenda Vaccaro, and a plot involving the politics of a Caribbean island - without showcasing any actors of color in significant roles. Billy Connolly is the face of the resistance, for Christ's sake! Some amusing moments, but oy vey.

Shanghai Surprise
dir: Jim Goddard
scr: Robert Bentley/John Kohn, from the novel Faraday's Flowers by Tony Kenrick

Not the worst movie - but Lord, it's not the best. I'd say skip the film and buy the soundtrack, but they never released one - a shame, as George Harrison's original songs are the highlight. Well, and the costumes. It'd be a fine caper flick if it weren't so, you know, boring. Very boring.

Little Shop of Horrors
dir: Frank Oz
scr: Howard Ashman, based upon his book for the 1982 musical play and the 1960 film written by Charles B. Griffith
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Song ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space"), Best Visual Effects

Incredible puppetry, great musical numbers, game performances from Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin. Frank Oz isn't always the most visually exciting director, but he stretches himself in subtle and rewarding ways here.

dir: Steve Miner
scr: Ethan Wiley, story by Fred Dekker

A goofy tone, nightmarish monsters, and serious scars running deep. As one character sums up: "You've been in Vietnam, you lost your only child, your wife divorced you - you got a few marbles running around." And House plays with those marbles perversely, never losing the comic tone, but not sanding its edges either.

A Great Wall
dir: Peter Wang
scr: Shirley Sun/Peter Wang

Wang's gentle touch allows the ensemble (of which he is a member) to comfortably inhabit the story; the screenplay is observational, highlighting the good and bad of American, Chinese, and Chinese-American culture - without overstating its stance. A quiet marvel.

Peggy Sue Got Married
dir: Francis Coppola
scr: Jerry Leichtling / Arlene Sarner
Oscar Nominee: Best Actress (Kathleen Turner), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design

Perfection. It seems to ask, if you could go back in time, what would you change - yet in reality, it hinges on what wouldn't you change? Kathleen Turner is great - the tone is light, but she's not making a comedy, anchoring Peggy Sue's dilemma with real stakes, real feeling. I laughed, I wept, I bought the soundtrack.

Hannah and Her Sisters
dir/scr: Woody Allen
Oscar Wins: Best Supporting Actor (Michael Caine), Best Supporting Actress (Dianne Wiest), Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominee: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing

One of Woody's best. Wiest truly is exquisite, but the whole ensemble is crackerjack: insecure Barbara Hershey, angry Max von Sydow, cautious Joanna Gleason, realistic Julie Kavner. And at the center: Mia Farrow as Hannah, strong yet imperceptibly vulnerable, kind yet shadier than she admits. Human.

The Best of the Ten: Hannah and Her Sisters and A Great Wall and Peggy Sue Got Married

The Worst of the Ten: Water

You May Also Enjoy:

Like us on Facebook

No comments: