Usually, I go ahead and put the winner of the bracket game in the title. But this time, I am going to keep you guys in suspense just a little while longer because this one was close! I spent a lot of time working on the Sequels of 1988 article that I posted today, so I didn’t check the votes very often yesterday, but every time I did check, it was a dead heat. This morning, the victor was decided by one vote and I think the end result will come as a surprise to a lot of readers (approximately half of you based on the votes). Which comedy was the readers’ favorite movie from thirty years ago?
Well if you were hanging on the edge of your seat to find out if I was going to decide to hit Animal Kingdom next, the title card for today’s video serves as a bit of a spoiler, doesn’t it? Join me as I take a half-assed swipe at visiting Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park, enjoying a couple of dark rides and taking in a little liquid sustenance at the Nomad Lounge. Cracks begin to show in my armor this time around, as I name the thing that has been bugging me for most of the day. Will I deal with the problem or just push on through? What would you do?
Filmmaker John Carpenter celebrates his 70th birthday. He began making 8 mm films when still in middle school, and attended USC’s film school for a while before dropping out to start working in the industry. He was a writer and editor on the Oscar-winning short The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, and then made his feature, the low-budget sci-fi comedy Dark Star. He then made the thriller Assault on Precinct 13 on an only slightly larger budget. In 1978, he wrote the screenplay for the thriller Eyes of Laura Mars, and had his first commercial success as a director with a horror film that helped kick off what is sometimes called “the Golden Age of slasher films.”
For the last couple of weeks, we have talking about some of the best movies 1988 had to offer. But before you find yourself waxing nostalgic about how they don’t make ’em like they used to, here’s a little reminder that Hollywood made just as much crap thirty years ago as they do today. If you’re looking for bad movies, sequels are usually a pretty good bet. As it turns out, 1988 was one of the worst years for sequels I have ever seen.
Happy MLK Day, everyone! It so happens that the final round of our Movies of 1988 bracket game falls on a holiday, so hopefully everyone has plenty of time to consider and cast their vote! There are usually some surprises in these annual games, but I found this year’s contest to be pretty unpredictable. When I put this together late last year, I fully expected it to come down to Die Hard vs. Beetlejuice. Turns out I was completely wrong in my predictions. Instead, we have two very funny movies either one of which would be deserving of being crowned champion. Which movie will get that honor is entirely up to you guys.
Dove Cameron celebrates her 22nd birthday today. She made her acting debut at the age of 11 in a regional theater production of Les Miserables, as the young Cosette. She has starred in the Disney TV movie The Descendants and its sequel as Mal, and also performed on the soundtrack albums for both. She made her feature film debut costarring with Hailee Steinfeld in Barely Lethal, and will also costar in the upcoming musical film Dumplin’, and she will be joining the season 5 cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a recurring role. Her best known role at this point in time, however, is surely her dual starring role as Liv and Maddie Rooney on Disney’s Liv and Maddie.
It may seem like a lifetime ago, but in the mid-nineties Neil Patrick Harris was still Doogie Howser to a lot of people. If you would have bet against the actor making the successful transition to adult roles, you wouldn’t have been alone. There was no reason to suspect that Harris would have the career he has today. In this profile from the January 1998 issue of Movieline magazine, Harris discussed his plans to distance himself from his squeaky clean TV image.
Detective John McClane has been in some tough spots before. But in this week’s Movies of 1988 bracket game, he finally found a situation he couldn’t yippee-kai-yay his way out of. Proving once again that I am lousy at predicting reader preferences, A Fish Called Wanda knocked Die Hard out of the game in the semi-final round. I frankly expected Die Hard to go all the way, but the readers have spoken. With Die Hard down for the count, the path is clear for one of three comedies to claim the crown. Between the bracket game, birthdays, videos and everything else going on here at the blog, it’s been a busy week. Let’s see what you missed.
It’s time to pick our last finalist for the Movies of 1988 bracket game. We have two offbeat comedies with cartoonish sensibilities. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? blended actual animated footage of iconic cartoon characters with a live-action spoof of film noir. While Beetlejuice basically introduced American audiences to the full glory of the Tim Burton aesthetic for the first time. Which one will get a shot at the crown? That’s up to you.
Steven Soderbergh celebrates his 55th birthday today. As the son of a university administrator, he had a somewhat nomadic youth, ending up in Louisiana for his high school years, when he began making Super 8 films. After graduating, he moved to Hollywood, supporting himself as a cue card holder on game shows for a while before finding work as a freelance editor. At just 21, he was asked to direct a concert video for Yes which was released under the title 9012Live. A few years later, he burst on the scene with his first feature, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for 1989 and also brought Soderbergh an Oscar nomination for screenwriting.
Soderbergh had a few dry years after his initial breakthrough. Films like Kafka, a quasi-biopic of the Bohemian author, and The Underneath, a remake of the noir classic Criss Cross, were unsuccessful. But in 1998 he came back strong with a critically successful adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Out of Sight.
We are entering the final stretch of the Movies of 1988 bracket game! It’s down to action hero Bruce Willis against of trio of very different comedies. Can any of them stop John McClane on his march to victory? Just like in Die Hard, the “fly in the ointment” finds himself opposed by a motley band of criminals led by a suave European. But the gang from A Fish Called Wanda is a whole lot sillier than the terrorists who invaded Nakatomi Plaza. Still, if Detective McClane isn’t careful, he is in imminent danger of having chips shoved up his nose.
Simon Russell Beale, acclaimed as one of the finest stage actors of his time, celebrated his 57th yesterday. Born in present-day Malaysia, he studied literature at Cambridge, and began working in British theater in the 1980s. He has, as you’d expect, had a noted career as a Shakespearean. He has played the title roles in Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Richard III, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Iago in Othello, and both Prospero and Ariel in The Tempest. He is a three-time Olivier Award winner—for Best Performance in a Supporting role in a revival of Ben Jonson’s Volpone, Best Actor in a Musical in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and Best Actor in the title role of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
Beale has appeared in supporting roles in films such as The Deep Blue Sea, My Week with Marilyn, Into the Woods, and The Legend of Tarzan. Recently he gave an acclaimed performance as Lavrentiy Beria in The Death of Stalin. He has worked regularly on television since the late 1980s. He has had regular roles on series such as the BBC’s Spooks and Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. He has won two BAFTA Television Awards, one for playing Kenneth Widmerpool in an adaptation of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, and the second as Falstaff in the Henry IV segments of the BBC’s The Hollow Crown.
We are rounding out the second round of the Movies of 1988 bracket game. After today’s match, we will have our final four. Today’s contest is between two popular comedies both of which had some cross-generational appeal. Roger Rabbit‘s blend of animation and live action appealed to both kids and adults. To sweeten the deal, the movie includes a heavy dose of nostalgia and some risqué gags that will go over the heads of most youngsters. Big created a fantasy that plays out differently depending on your age. Kids could fantasize what adult life and the freedom that comes with it might be like whereas adults could imagine what it might be like to recapture some of their childhood wonder.
One of these ostensibly family friendly comedies will advance to the final four and the other will be eliminated from the game.