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?