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Movies of 1988 Bracket Game: Die Hard Vs. Working Girl

Today’s match-up features two movies which slyly sent-up corporate culture in the 1980’s.  In Working Girl, Melanie Griffith played a put-upon secretary who finds that her hair style and tacky clothes have impaired her ability to break through the glass ceiling.  Bonnie Bedelia’s character in Die Hard experiences similar career frustration.  She has to go so far as to move across the country and revert to her maiden name in order to advance.  And then she ends up working with some coked-up jackass who gets himself killed by terrorists.  Come to think of it, if there was one thing Working Girl could have used more of, it was terrorists.  Imagine Han Solo and Ellen Ripley teaming up to take on some intergalactic mercenaries.  That sure would have pepped up Mike Nichols’ rom com.  Where was I again?  Oh yeah, today’s match features to movies with almost nothing in common.

Before we get down to business, let’s review the results of yesterday’s contest.

Readers favored A Fish Called Wanda in our European caper comedy bracket.  John Cleese and company made off with almost 70% of the votes over Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  That means Wanda will face the winner of today’s match in the final four.

In 1988, Working Girl got a lot of attention during awards season.  It received six Oscar nominations including major categories like Best Picture and Best Director.  Melanie Griffith, who was dealing with substance abuse issues the entire time she was making the movie, was even nominated for Best Actress.  Why did Working Girl get so much love from the Academy?  It probably has a lot to do with director Mike Nichols.  Nichols was a legend not just in Hollywood but also in theater.   Books could be written about his career, but we don’t have that kind of time.

Nichols’ first movie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is one of only two movies ever to be nominated for an Oscar in every category for which it was eligible.  (The other is Cimarron.)  The following year, Nichols won best director for his second-movie, The Graduate.  After an incredible start, Nichols had his ups and downs, but he remained one of the most respected directors in Hollywood.  In 1983, Nichols was nominated for Best Director a third time for Silkwood.  Working Girl was his fourth and final nomination.

Die Hard director John McTiernan was not quite as highly regarded as Nichols.  McTiernan’s previous movie, Predator, was basically a B-movie that exceeded expectations.  It started a pretty impressive run for the director which included Die Hard and The Hunt For Red October.  But then came Medicine Man and Last Action Hero, two massive speed bumps in McTiernan’s career.  This has all been documented in the WTHH article dedicated to McTiernan’s career.  Check it out if you want to know how he landed in jail.

Call me crazy, but I strongly suspect I will be writing about Die Hard again before this game is over.  So I’m going to save some material for the next round.  Let’s just get to voting.

Which of these very different movies do you prefer?

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Posted on January 10, 2018, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. One quote comes to mind about this round:

    It’s clobberin time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This could be the day we get our first-ever unanimous decision. Then again, I have thought that before and it has yet to happen.

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      • And Working Girl is on the boards!

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        • Lebeau, I very much want you to have your first-ever unanimous decision. And a part of me thought this might be it. Who out there would ever think Working Girl – by any means a solid film, I mean it no disrespect whatsoever – could ever compete against Die Hard, universally regarded as one of the greatest action films of all time? But, no.

          I am starting to think, in order to achieve your first ever unanimous decision, maybe you need to create a random “Best Vs. Worst Sequels Ever” topic. For example, The Empire Strikes Back Vs. Police Academy 7: Mission To Moscow. I cannot imagine a single existing human being would vote for Mission To Moscow in that competition. But keep in mind, I have been proven wrong before. lol

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        • One thing the Internet has taught me is that there is ALWAYS a dissenting opinion. No matter how worthless I might think something is, it will be someone’s favorite. Which is not to saw WG is worthless. If you don’t enjoy action movies (is RB back?) it’s a valid vote.

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  2. Someone voted for WORKING GIRL? Seriously, or ironically?

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  3. These are both terrific movies. I just threw “Working Girl” a bone. I was in college when both came out, and “Working Girl” was a really, really good date. But kudos to “Die Hard”, which is truly among the greats of Movie Movie Cinema.

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