Much like a Coen brothers comedy, our Movies of 1987 bracket game got a little crazy in spots. But after an unprecedented three-way vote in the finals, we have a definitive winner. Readers picked Raising Arizona as their favorite movie of the year. Ironically, both Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter starred in movies that were both more popular and more acclaimed thirty years ago. Cage starred opposite Cher in Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck and Hunter was part of the central love triangle in Broadcast News. But three decades later, those movies have faded from relevance while Arizona, which was more or less ignored in theaters, shines bright.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
As we approach the end of round one, it’s time to get silly. We had some laughs in the Steve Martin round yesterday, but today we’re just going to get stupid with two cult comedies that are all about the jokes. Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs gave sci-fi and fantasy movies the spoof treatment. And the Coen brothers followed up their acclaimed crime drama, Blood Simple, with one of the goofiest crime comedies ever made, Raising Arizona.
Steve Martin had a pretty good year in 1987. After making a splash with his first lead role in the 1979 comedy, The Jerk, Martin’s movie career floundered in for a few years. He rebounded in 1984 with the body-switching comedy All of Me and in 1987 he had two solid hits with Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Roxanne (which Martin also wrote).
Today’s match-up features two coming-of-age dramas in which the protagonist finds themselves in an unfamiliar setting and becomes involved with someone from the wrong side of the tracks. One contains more dancing than the other, but they are both essentially stories of young people finding love and learning important life lessons. Either that, or they were two quintessential movies from 1987 that didn’t have a natural pairing in the game, so I just smooshed them together and tried to find some kind of similarities for my intro.
What do Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck and Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride have in common? Not a lot. They are both romantic movies with comedic elements, but I wouldn’t necessarily call The Princess Bride a romantic comedy. It’s such a hard movie to classify that it was difficult to find a movie to pair it with so it ended up getting stuck with Moonstruck by default. It may be a stretch, but you could argue that both movies have fairy-tale qualities about them. I don’t care if you don’t buy that rationalization, I’m sticking to it! 😉
1987 was a good year for action movies. Already in this bracket game we have seen the genre-defining buddy cop movie, Lethal Weapon. But the year also included The Living Daylights, Beverly Hills Cop II, Stakeout, and The Running Man among others. Today’s contestants blended action with science-fiction to become two of the more enduring movies of the year. It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator vs. Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop.