Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Predator Vs. Wall Street
John McTiernan’s Predator was a manly movie. Most 80’s action movies would be satisfied with having a bunch of commandos shooting up a gang of insurgents in the jungle. But that’s Predator‘s starting point. From there, the military guys find themselves hunted by an alien creature. By comparison, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is a lot more grounded. In his still-topical drama, greedy men do whatever it takes to make themselves just a little bit richer.
But before we get to today’s match, let’s look at yesterday’s results.
This one was pretty lopsided with readers showing a clear preference for Lethal Weapon over Good Morning, Vietnam. The buddy cop movie claimed over 70% of the vote. That means Murtaugh and Riggs will face the winner of today’s match in our final four.
We already talked quite a bit about stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Douglas in the round one write-ups. So for today’s article, I thought I’d shift the focus to the directors. Predator was John McTiernan’s second feature after the critically reviled thriller, Nomads. But Schwarzenegger was impressed with what the director was able to achieve on a limited budget. So he wanted McTiernan to direct his own mid-budget B-movie.
Predator wasn’t a massive box office smash. But it did very well in relation to its costs. That moved Schwarzenegger up a rung on Hollywood’s action movie totem pole and it also kick started a winning streak that would propel McTiernan to the A-list. McTiernan followed up Predator with Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October, but from there his career cooled off.
I don’t want to rehash his entire WTHH entry, but by the time McTiernan and Schwarzenegger reunited in 1993 for Last Action Hero, his career was showing signs of weakness. That movie didn’t do its star or director any favors. McTiernan rebounded briefly with the third Die Hard movie, but from there his career followed a downward trajectory and he eventually ended up serving a 12-month prison term and filing for bankruptcy. Ouch!
Oliver Stone, on the other hand, was coming off a win. He started off in the business as a screenwriter having written the scripts for Conan the Barbarian and Scarface. In 1986, Stone directed Salvador and Platoon. The latter took home Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars. Stone was also nominated for his screenplay. In fact, his Salvador script was also nominated that year but both of Stone’s screenplays lost to Woody Allen for Hannah and Her Sisters. Still, that’s a tough year to top.
Not surprisingly, Stone couldn’t top it. Wall Street was a modest hit with mostly positive reviews and it nabbed Michael Douglas an Oscar for Best Actor. While all of that is impressive, it’s a step down from the Oscar domination of Platoon.
Stone has had a few well-regarded hits since his peak. Stone won a second Best Director trophy in 1989 for Born on the Fourth of July and was nominated in 1991 for JFK. That’s impressive, but Stone would have trouble maintaining that momentum. He followed up JFK with the bomb Heaven and Earth and has fluctuated between modest hits and massive misses ever since. For every Any Given Sunday or World Trade Center, there’s an Alexander or a Snowden.
In 2010, Stone returned to Wall Street with a sequel no one asked for, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. There were no Oscars for the sequel and while it actually outgrossed the original, twenty-three years had passed and a $50 million dollar gross was no longer impressive. Today, Stone is neither as powerful nor as relevant as he was thirty years ago. But at least he’s managed to stay out of prison!
Which movie is your pick to advance to the next round?
Posted on January 11, 2017, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged 1987, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah, John McTiernan, Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone, predator, wall street. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.