Movies of 1988 Bracket Game: Working Girl Vs. The Accused
By and large, the movies of 1988 were pretty heavy on the testosterone. The bracket game reflects the male-centric cinema of thirty years ago. (Let’s not kid ourselves, things haven’t changed all that much.) A few of the movies in our bracket game feature strong female characters, but there weren’t a lot of female protagonists to choose from. Some movies I considered for inclusion were Mystic Pizza, Hairspray, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Gorillas in the Mist and Married to the Mob. I ended up choosing Working Girl and The Accused because I felt they better represented what was going on in movies in 1988.
But first, let’s take a look at the results of yesterday’s action-movie showdown.
It will come as no surprise that the original Die Hard triumphed over Midnight Run. Facing stiff odds, De Niro and Grodin walked away with just over 25% of the votes which I think is a respectable showing. While I don’t think the outcome was ever in question, plenty of people expressed that this was a difficult choice for them which is of course exactly what I am shooting for. John McClane will advance to round two where he will face off against the winner of today’s match-up.
Working Girl was essentially a Cinderella story for the 80’s. In this fairy tale, Cinderella aspires to be a corporate executive with sensible business attire and her own office. The idea that a lowly secretary could climb the corporate ladder was seen as a message of empowerment at the time despite the fact that her primary adversary was a female rival. Director Mike Nichols gave the movie an air or respectability it probably didn’t deserve. The resulted in several Oscar nominations including Best Actress for Melanie Griffith who was suffering with major substance abuse issues the entire time she was making the movie.
Prior to Working Girl, Griffith’s career was in trouble. She had been typecast for playing strippers and hookers and had a bad reputation for her drug and alcohol problems. Post WG, Griffith went into rehab and cleaned herself up. Although she never really capitalized on the movie’s success, Working Girl (with the help of an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win) set Griffith up as an A-list actress going into the next decade.
The movie was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, twice for Best Supporting Actress (Joan Cusack and Sigourney Weaver) and Best Original Song. Ultimately, Carly Simon took home a statue for “Let the River Run.” Working Girl fared better at the Golden Globes where it could compete in the comedy categories. But its biggest success was at the box office where it grossed over $60 million dollars making it the 11th highest grossing movie of the year.
The Accused was also a comeback story. Jodie Foster had spent much of the decade attempting to transition from a child actor into adult roles. She landed the lead role in The Accused because pretty much everyone else in Hollywood including costar Kelly McGillis had passed on it. McGillis took the part of the Assistant District Attorney instead because she was worried that playing a victim of rape would bring back painful memories of her own personal experiences. Ultimately Foster took the part no one else wanted and ended up winning her first Best Actress Oscar for it.
Reviews were mostly positive with many critics touting The Accused as “important”. Despite the difficult subject matter, the movie was a box office hit. It grossed $32 million dollars on a $6 million dollar budget making The Accused the 36th highest grossing movie of the year.
Which of these Oscar-winning movies holds up better for you thirty years later?
Posted on January 4, 2018, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Melanie Griffith, Mike Nichols, Sigourney Weaver, The Accused, Working Girl. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.