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Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Fatal Attraction Vs. Wall Street

fatal-attraction-vs-wall-street

In 1987, Michael Douglas was having a very good year.  He had the biggest hit of his career to date (adjusted for inflation, Fatal Attraction remains the highest-grossing movie in Douglas’ filmography) and he would go on to win Best Actor (not Best Supporting Actor) for a supporting role in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.  Douglas’ one-two punch of 1987 pushed him into the A-list and fueled his career as a leading man into the next decade.

Before we get to today’s Micahel Douglas showdown, let’s review the results of yesterday’s battle of the Vietnam comedy-dramas.

1987

This one was close most of the day, but ultimately Robin Williams’ Oscar-nominated performance put Good Morning, Vietnam over the top with 63% of the vote.  That means the biopic will have to face off against the genre-defining buddy cop action movie, Lethal Weapon, in round two.

In the 1970’s, Douglas was best-known for the TV show The Streets of San Francisco.  He appeared in movies like Coma and The China Syndrome, but it wasn’t until Romancing the Stone in 1984 that Douglas proved himself as a leading man.  And even then, Kathleen Turner was the movie’s protagonist.  Douglas’ role was beefed up for the sequel, Jewel of the Nile, which he also produced.  But the success of Fatal Attraction put to rest any doubts that Douglas was a movie star.

Douglas played a philandering husband who has what he thinks is a one-night stand with a stranger played by Glenn Close.  But Close has other ideas and when Douglas tries to push her away, she resorts to extreme measures that include but are not limited to the boiling of family pets.  When test audiences balked at the film’s original ending it was changed to a crowd-pleasing catharsis which disappointed some critics but propelled the movie to the second-highest gross of the year.

Later that year, Douglas delivered the infamous “Greed is good” speech that won him an Academy Award.  Technically, Douglas received top billing in the movie and his performance was certainly the most memorable thing about it which is most likely why the Academy nominated him in the lead category.

Stone pushed Douglas to sharpen his performance.  The actor had a heavy duty smoking habit at the time and had to work with a speech instructor on breath control in order to deliver his dialogue at the required pace.  At one point, Stone approached Douglas in his trailer and asked if he was doing drugs because he looked like he had never acted before.  This fired of Douglas who channeled his anger into more research and practicing his lines.  Apparently rage can also be good.

Wall Street wasn’t quite the box office bonanza that Fatal Attraction was.  It was the 26th highest grossing movie of the year just behind The Last Emperor.  Both movies had mostly positive reviews.

Which Michael Douglas movie do you want to see advance to the next round?

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Posted on January 4, 2017, in bracket game, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Neither of these films are favourites of mine, but I remember liking Wall Street better than Fatal Attraction, so my vote goes to the former.

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  2. The first two were tricky tricky tricky. This one was easy. Since Fatal Attraction has not aged particularly well, at least to me anyway, and Wall Street still holds up, especially in the wake of the white collar larceny of the 2000s, Stone’s film is the winner hands down.

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  3. I was 18 years old the first time I saw Fatal Attraction, so my first thought was mostly “Why would anyone cheat on Anne Archer with Glenn Close?” I was probably kind of missing the point. In retrospect, the bigger problem is that the basic premise of the film is that he chose the exact wrong person to have an affair with, not that he shouldn’t have done it in the first place. The topic of infidelity could have been (and has been) the subject of a really compelling story instead of a jump scare horror movie.

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    • I think a lot of people had the same reaction to Douglas’ character’s choice. On the other hand, Anne Archer is a Scientologist…

      I don’t remember when I first saw Fatal Attraction but your story reminded me of something. I was 16 when it came out and some friends and I went to a sneak preview of Three Men and a Baby (which we thought was hi-larious). As a bonus, we were allowed to stay and watch the Shelly Long comedy, Hello Again. Unfortunately, none of my friends (who were younger than me by a year or so) wanted to see that movie. So they snuck into Fatal Attraction. They were traumatized not by the violence but by the sex scenes.

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      • I heard Ann Archer abandoned Scientology, but ever if she has, I still find your point funny.

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        • Yeah, I think I heard that too. I know her son, who was a high ranking spokesperson for the church a few years ago, has stopped practicing. He disappeared for a while as tends to happen to Scientologists when they disappoint David Miscavige. I suspect he either escaped and went into hiding or was sent to one of the church’s work camps. Fortunately, he resurfaced and is out of the church, but he’s not speaking out against it because there are consequences for that. Kidding aside, I hope Archer and her family are happy and healthy now.

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        • Yeah, I heard that about her son too; definitely hope things are going well for them also.

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  4. I notice douglas plays in a lot of movies that involve adultery Fatal attraction ,a perfect murder ,wonder boys ,it runs in the family ,disclosure. .

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    • Yeah, that was Douglas’ niche for a while there (he did break up the patten a little bit with 1993’s “Falling Down”, which I think is excellent). Even with 1997’s “The Game”, though adultery was off the table, he was still a man in peril. When Michael Douglas went for the film adultery, it was on a grad scale.

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      • Even Falling Down was part of Douglas’ dark oeuvre. He was the guy who could play unsympathetic lead roles. I haven’t seen Falling Down since it was released and I’m not sure what I would think of it today. I might be actively rooting against his character.

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        • That’s what I like about “Falling Down” (other than getting up) though, is that his character really isn’t a guy to pull for. Sure, he makes a decent point about the time when breakfast stops being served at the fast food joint, but otherwise he’s out of hand, and it’s all about seeing where he’s going to go next. It’s like what his character says at the end: “I thought I was the good guy”. No sir, but it was an adventure.

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        • If only he had lived to see the modern utopia we live in today in which the Golden Arches serve breakfast 24-7.

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        • Ha, I could only imagine!

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  5. I went with “Wall Street” because it has a more in-depth plot, but I think “Fatal Attraction” is very good as well (although the ending, yeah, not the time to get ready for Freddy).

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  6. My freind thinks sheen acting was bad in the film. She said when sheen was yelling at his father it was like a kid throwing a hissy fit. My buddy thinks sheen excells better in comedy. While he is no deniro he is a capable dramatic actor. But comedy is more his forette

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    • Oliver Stone once said of Charlie Sheen’s performance in “Wall Street” that he could’ve gave more, but he still did a good job.

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  7. wallstreet shows sheen can truly act. He just got lazy and played carnation of himself

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  8. stone also said sheen stiffness in acting fits the role .

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  9. lol call me crazy b ut i feel michael was more supporting role. I was suprised he was best actor i felt the lead was clearly sheen. Douglas a supporting villain

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