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Author Archives: lebeau
Happy MLK Day everyone! Let’s celebrate by picking our favorite movie from thirty years ago.
We’re making Le Blog history today with a three-way finale. Readers were deadlocked yesterday on whether they preferred Raising Arizona or The Princess Bride. So we’re just going to let all three of our top picks battle it out and see who comes out on top.
In the late eighties, Tim Burton became one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. The former Disney animator brought a unique visual style to his movies which included hits like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice and Batman. Burton rode that momentum into the 90’s with his most personal movie to date, Edward Scissorhands and a dark Batman sequel. In 1994, Ed Wood was praised by critics but flopped at the box office. By 1996, Burton’s career path was staring to look murky.
Just in time for the holiday season, Burton directed a B-movie based on kitschy trading cards from his youth. The cards depicted scenes of malevolent aliens conquering the earth. There was very little narrative to adapt, just bizarre and often gruesome imagery. To make the movie more commercial, Burton packed his cast with familiar faces including Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Michael J. Fox and Jack Nicholson.
The gamble did not pay off. Mars Attacks! was a box office flop. Afterwards, Burton took a three year hiatus before directing his next movie. In this cover story from the January 1997 issue of Starlog, Burton talks about his new B-movie.
I hope everyone is enjoying their three-day weekend (for those of you who are off work tomorrow anyway). Last week was another busy one here at Le Blog. Just in case you missed any of the fun and excitement, here’s your weekly recap.
Today in the Movies of 1987 Bracket Game, we will reveal the first of our two finalists and vote on which of two classic comedies will face off against it in the final round. Today’s match pits Rob Reiner’s off kilter fairy tale against the Coen brother’s screwy kidnapping comedy.
Our final four is split into two genres; action and comedy. Today, we’re tackling the former with two of the more memorable action movies not just of the year, but of the decade. Lethal Weapon didn’t invent buddy cop movies. But it sure did shape them. Predator didn’t define a genre, per se. But it mashed up two existing genres in a way that was uncommon at the time. Both movies launched franchises which remain on-going with the help of recent reboots; Lethal Weapon in the form of a TV show and Predator with an upcoming movie. Today, we decide which movie will represent the action genre in the final round.
Director Michael Ritchie had a career that could be described as scattershot. If there’s a through-line, it’s that most of Ritchie’s movies were comedic. In the seventies, he made a name for himself with movies like The Candidate and The Bad News Bears. After a cold streak in the early eighties, Ritchie rebounded with Fletch and to a lesser extent the Goldie Hawn comedy Wildcats. Then he drew the short straw and had to direct Eddie Murphy in the limp action-comedy, The Golden Child.
While The Golden Child was a hit, it performed poorly when compared to Murphy’s recent releases at the time. Critical reaction could be summed up with a shrug. While The Golden Child won’t be remembered as anybody’s best work, it was a big movie at the time. Starlog talked to Ritchie in their January 1987 issue about what it was like to make a special-effects-heavy fantasy film with one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
1987 is just flying by. Or at least the Movies of 1987 Bracket Game is. Today, we’re bringing Round Two to a close with two movies that will leave you laughing. Planes, Trains and Automobiles took audiences on a road trip home with Steve Martin and John Candy. And Raising Arizona showed what happened when an ex-con and an ex-cop resort to kidnapping to start a family. Which movie will reign as the top comedy of the year? That’s up to you guys. I just work here.
Today’s fun packs include some heavy hitters from the DC Universe. All three of these characters come equipped with some pretty useful skills. What do you expect from a bunch of superheroes? They aren’t necessarily going to open up any new gameplay since everyone has access to the DC Comics adventure world through the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack, but you’ll probably find yourself reaching for these guys as one-stop shopping for a lot of skills. Plus, who doesn’t want the Justice League as part of their collection?
Our last couple of matches have been heavy on the testosterone. Lots of men doing manly things. But today, we’re getting in touch with our softer side with two movies with a romantic bent. Today’s match-up features two of the greatest screen couples of the year. It’s Wesley and Buttercup vs. Johnny Castle and Baby. Who’s going to end up in a corner?
Three decades later, you will be forgiven for forgetting that John Carpenter’s cult sci-fi drama, Starman, spawned a syndicated TV series. Robert Hays, best known from Airplane!, stepped into the role created by Jeff Bridges in the movie. Future Brady kid, C. B. Barnes costarred as Hays’ son. During the first and only season, Starman and son avoided government capture while looking for the boy’s missing mom. That part was originated by Karen Allen but taken over by Erin Grey on the TV show.
In this interview from the January 1987 issue of Starlog magazine, Hays discusses Starman, Airplane! and the dangers he faced making the Stephen King movie, Cat’s Eye.
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.
Today’s match pairs two rising stars against each other at the moments when their careers took shape. Robin Williams and Mel Gibson were among Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men. And they can both trace their A-list status back to the movies they headlined in 1987. Gibson costarred opposite Danny Glover in the buddy-cop movie that defined the genre. And Williams received his first-ever Oscar nomination for playing a zany army DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service during the Vietnam Conflict.