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Pretend you are a high powered Hollywood producer. The year is 1992 – a time when movie stars mattered. If you wanted to open a hit movie, you needed an A-list leading man. In order to attract top-tier talent, deals were being struck that included ever-increasing pay days for a select group of movie stars. In the July 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, they looked at who was earning six million dollars or more per picture and asked, are they worth it? Some of these guys may have been. Some, in retrospect, definitely weren’t . With the benefit of a quarter century of hindsight, let’s sort out who belongs in which group.
Superhero movies are dominant at the box office. But that wasn’t always the case. In the 90’s, Batman was the only successful superhero franchise. Just two years prior to the release of the fourth film in the series, Warner Brothers was so confident of the caped crusader, they released a movie titled Batman Forever. It’s true that the studio will probably continue making Batman movies long after you and I are gone, but the next Batman movie they released derailed not just the series but the entire superhero genre for years to come.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to theme park attractions, 3-D movies don’t tend to be headliners. They are a staple of Orlando theme parks because of their high capacity and the fact that they allow guests to sit down and enjoy some A/C in the hot Florida sun. This year, one such attraction celebrates 20 years at Universal Studios Orlando. Many would argue that for the past two decades, T2 3-D has been the best 3-D movie to be found in central Florida. That’s probably because James Cameron oversaw the development of the attraction himself and the result was far more ambitious than any 3-D movie before or since. The cast from the second Terminator movie reunited for this theme park-only sequel which continues to entertain hot, tired guests.
The September 1996 issue of Starlog magazine included an incredibly detailed account of the attraction when it was new.
One of our birthday headliners is a two-time Oscar winner and the other was crowned Mr. Universe. You can probably figure out which is which. Despite vastly different career trajectories, Hilary Swank and Arnold Schwarzenegger have a couple things in common. They both came from humble beginnings to conquer Hollywood in vastly different ways. But ultimately, they both ended up as subjects in the “What the Hell Happened?” series.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was a self-made movie star. A hulking body builder from Austria makes for an unlikely leading man, but for a time Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest stars in the world. In the July 1990 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello tried to break through the actor’s public facade. At this point in his career, Schwarzenegger was riding high on the surprise smash comedy, Twins. But had not yet become the undisputed king of action he would be post Terminator 2.
Terminator 2 was the highest-grossing movie of 1991. In retrospect, it seemed like a safe bet. But at the time of its release, it was anything but. The first Terminator wasn’t that big of a hit. Most people saw it on home video. And seven years had passed. Would audiences still care? On top of that, James Cameron’s perfectionism and insistence on developing state-of-the art special effects for the movie put T2 over budget. We know it all worked out for Cameron, but in the cover story from the June issue of Starlog, the famously confident auteur was nervous.
The Golden Raspberries started off as an informal joke. Something for a publicist and his friends to do after the Oscars had ended. Over time, it has become and enduring and irreverent tradition. In theory, The Razzies poke fun at the worst movies of the year. But like any awards ceremony, the Razzies frequently make the wrong call. We’re going back and looking at the history of the Golden Raspberry Awards one year at a time.
As part of the twenty-fifth annual ceremony, the Razzies got retrospective. Despite the fact that they had just done a 20-year recap five years prior, they decided to issue another set of special awards covering the first 25 years of their rich cinematic history. They also took the chance to give an award to a frequent nominee who had never won before.
I recently ranked the Terminator movies from worst to first and asked you readers to pitch in with your own opinions on the matter. For the most part, we were all in agreement. But readers disagreed with my top pick. Let’s see how the readers ranked the Terminator movies.
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In 1982, John Milius wrote and directed a very pulpy movie about Robert E. Howard’s fantasy character, Conan the Barbarian. Knowing that physicality was more important to his movie than actual acting ability, Milius cast athletes in the lead roles rather than actors. Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the time an ex-body builder who was struggling with English. The success of the first Conan didn’t exactly make Schwarzenegger a star, but it did crack open the door for more acting roles. Schwarzenegger was under contract to make three pictures for producer Dino De Laurentiis, so it makes sense that a sequel would follow. What’s the one role you know audiences will accept the Austrian body builder in? Conan.