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.
By and large, the movies of 1988 were pretty heavy on the testosterone. The bracket game reflects the male-centric cinema of thirty years ago. (Let’s not kid ourselves, things haven’t changed all that much.) A few of the movies in our bracket game feature strong female characters, but there weren’t a lot of female protagonists to choose from. Some movies I considered for inclusion were Mystic Pizza, Hairspray, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Gorillas in the Mist and Married to the Mob. I ended up choosing Working Girl and The Accused because I felt they better represented what was going on in movies in 1988.
Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field celebrates her 70th birthday today. She began acting over 50 years ago, starring as the title character in the short-lived but well-remembered (by some, at least) ABC series Gidget. A second ABC comedy followed, with Field playing Sister Bertrille in The Flying Nun.
By the late 1970s Field was moving into feature films, starring in the #2 film of 1977, Smokey and the Bandit. At the same time she was working hard to break away from being typecast as a plucky ingenue. A first step was her Emmy-winning role in the 1976 miniseries Sybil, but she really made a break with her past when she starred in a 1979 film based on the experiences of a textile worker and union activist named Crystal Lee Sutton:
Due to the nature of this bracket game, the round two match-ups can feel a little random. Perhaps none more so than today’s. What do Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Birdcage have in common? They are both based on French source material. Hunchback obviously is based on Victor Hugo’s famous novel and Birdcage is a remake of the French farce, La Cage aux Folles. And while it may not be immediately apparent, both movies have similar themes. In The Birdcage a gay couple pretends to be straight to help their son fit into his fiancée’s family. In Hunchback, an outsider sings of his desire to be “Out there” which many have interpreted as having a homosexual subtext.
Admittedly a stretch, but you try finding commonalities between these two movies!