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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1987


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1987 started on a pretty good note with the sinuous suspense film Black Widow, with Debra Winger as an FBI agent obsessed with her current case: that of a murderous woman, played by Teresa Russell, who left many dead husbands in her wake. The whole production benefited from two well-drawn leading performances and strong direction from Bob Rafelson.

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Thios was followed by the candy floss fantasy Mannequin, which nevertheless received an Oscar nomination for the song "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"

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Things perked up again with the deliriously quirky and refreshing Raising Arizona, a comic crime tale that was full of visual innovations and had a super-talented cast, including Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, and Frances McDormand, to play out the Coen Brothers' sharp script.

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next up, Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt were out to save some lab monkeys in Project X.

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Predator was an immensely successful horror film that spawned many sequels and take-offs in the years to follow.

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Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise proved that even after the nerds had their revenge, they still wanted more.

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The Pick-Up Artist was a teen film crossed with crime in the background. It had to make some edits to get a PG-13. This was the final film for longtime character actress Mildred Dunnock, part of the films eclectic supporting cast (Danny Aiello, Dennis Hopper, Vanessa Williams, Harvey Keitel, Victoria Jackson, Lorraine Bracco, Christine Baranski)

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The Princess Bride, a cinematic version of a fractured fairytale, was enough of an audience favorite to win the audience prize at the Toronto Film Festival. Its been charming children ever since. It was the film debut for Robin Wright.

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Big Shots was a teen crime film

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The Sicilian was a Mario Puzo adaptation directed by Michael Cimino.

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Less Than Zero was an example of a polarizing film, but Robert Downey Jr. got fine reviews across the board for his portrayal of a young addict on the downward spiral. The film also featured Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, and James Spader, and introdused a hit cover version of the 60s rock song "A Hazy Shade of Winter"

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Michael Douglas dominated everyone's memories of Wall Street as an amoral banker, but although his convincingly oily performance won the Oscar, more of the film was about Charlie Sheen's character. The supporting cast (most seen very briefly) included Daryl Hannah, Martin Sheen (very good), Sean Young, Sylvia Miles, Hal Holbrook, Terrence Stamp, Millie Perkins, and James Spader. Douglas would return for the 2010 sequel, while Sheen and Miles made cameos in it.

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The year closed with one of 1987's best, Broadcast News, a wonderful comedy drama that positively glistened. Holly Hunter had her second Fox triumph of the year, and William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson, and Lois Chiles also did well under James L. Brooks script and direction.

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A couple more of my all-time favorites top this year's list.

  1. Raising Arizona
  2. Predator
  3. The Princess Bride
  4. Broadcast News
  5. Wall Street

I've also seen Black WidowMannequinProject XRevenge of the Nerds IIThe Pick-Up Artist, and Less Than Zero.

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My favorite is probably BROADCAST NEWS, though I don't think it's held up very well.

WALL STREET premiered in December. It came a short time after Black Monday which had occurred on the 19th of October.

I've never seen RAISING ARIZONA. It doesn't seem like something I'd like.

Films like MANNEQUIN, THE PICK-UP ARTIST and PROJECT X were geared for teens. I was a sophomore in high school that year. Kids my age all went to see these movies. We loved MANNEQUIN. Now looking back at it, the movie seems very cheesy. But this was our cinema...the kind of stuff Hollywood made for Generation X.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE was another popular favorite. Kids in my high school uttered catchphrases from the movie. 

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On 6/16/2019 at 4:55 PM, TopBilled said:

've never seen RAISING ARIZONA. It doesn't seem like something I'd like.

It was so stupid I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. But I have come to believe that I am probably naive with this sort of thing. I obviously don't get it. A revival might be interesting. I would have to gird myself to attention. Okay, I might say to myself, this is supposed to be good.

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6 minutes ago, laffite said:

It was so stupid I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. But I have come to believe that I am probably naive with this sort of thing. I obviously don't get it. A revival might be interesting. I would have to gird myself to attention. Okay, I might say to myself, this is supposed to be good.

I always feel like I am going out on a limb disparaging a film that is a critical fave. But in this case, I really felt RAISING ARIZONA was overhyped. I have never understood why people latch on to films that are "strange" because they feel that by championing them they are pushing forward a new art form. This happens with a lot of Tim Burton's works too. But if you step back and put the films into perspective, you can see they are often more contrived than they are effective. And after the hype dies down, you are left with a mostly unconvincing piece of cinema.

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And this is why I am reticent to say what movies I actually like a lot, because invariably they get torn apart. And it's never worded in terms that express "I didn't like this movie", but rather "this is a bad movie, and only fools, idiots or poseurs enjoy it".

Then again, not sharing the same taste as some people can be taken as a compliment.

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37 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

And this is why I am reticent to say what movies I actually like a lot, because invariably they get torn apart. And it's never worded in terms that express "I didn't like this movie", but rather "this is a bad movie, and only fools, idiots or poseurs enjoy it".

Then again, not sharing the same taste as some people can be taken as a compliment.

There are plenty of films, directors and stars I like that other people disparage. In one of these threads, it might have been this thread, I admitted to liking MANNEQUIN despite its cheesiness.

It's part of the process of comparing notes. And not to sermonize, but one's security cannot rest on whether others share the same tastes or predilections towards movies. Or anything, really.

I'd be lying if I said I'm a fan of Tim Burton or the Coen brothers. I keep waiting for these directors to turn out something I can somewhat enjoy. But that hasn't happened yet. I am okay with not being their target audience. But I do feel as if some of their films are incredibly overhyped. I also feel that way about some of John Ford's pictures, and I'm a Ford enthusiast.

I think the problem comes in being afraid to voice a strong dislike of something, in fear that others may be afraid to voice their like of it if it's trendy or cool to "bash" something. (Notice I said something and not someone.) However, it's really quite easy for the lovers and the haters to exist side by side and say you know what, this work elicits a variety of strong responses in both directions.

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I have a low tolerance for the type of person who can't simply state they dislike a movie, and why, but then go on to say why those who do like a movie are wrong or misguided or only saying they like a movie because it's a critical hit or a commercial one.

It's like these people can't conceive of the notion that others can enjoy something they don't, or can see something in a film that they do not, or maybe even are not capable of seeing. And then there are those who react negatively to something largely because it's a critical hit or a commercial hit, and so they try to promote minor works as masterpieces in some sort of misguided effort at appearing to be a taste maker themselves. These types usually use terms like "overrated" frequently, with the implication that their estimation holds more merit than that of others, either professionals or simply other film fans. 

But you're right on another point, TopBilled. I really shouldn't give any credence or thought to what you have to say about anything that I like.

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12 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I have a low tolerance for the type of person who can't simply state they dislike a movie, and why, but then go on to say why those who do like a movie are wrong or misguided or only saying they like a movie because it's a critical hit or a commercial one.

It's like these people can't conceive of the notion that others can enjoy something they don't, or can see something in a film that they do not, or maybe even are not capable of seeing. And then there are those who react negatively to something largely because it's a critical hit or a commercial hit, and so they try to promote minor works as masterpieces in some sort of misguided effort at appearing to be a taste maker themselves. These types usually use terms like "overrated" frequently, with the implication that their estimation holds more merit than that of others, either professionals or simply other film fans. 

But you're right on another point, TopBilled. I really shouldn't give any credence or thought to what you have to say about anything that I like.

We've been down this road before, you and I. You seem to have a problem separating a strong dislike I might have about a film, taking it personally, thinking that I am slamming you for liking it. The truth is I have no idea how much you might like something. Though you might like Tim Burton's work for example, I sincerely doubt you hold every single one one of his films up as a masterpiece.

And I see that with the text I quoted above, you went from being a bit general, to applying your angst directly to me which I find highly unfair. I don't ever do this to you. I think you can start being more courteous.

What annoys me most is that not only do you seem to get insecure, you resort to snarky posts to try and get the person who has a strong dislike to re-code their statements to appease your sensitivity. I'm sorry, but I don't feel compelled to do that for you or anyone. It's not my being rude. It's my stating an opinion strongly as I see fit, without violating the code of conduct for this message board community, because I am not attacking anyone or making it personal. You see to be the one who's making it personal.

I have to be honest. If I really-really dislike a director, I need to say it. If I really-really love a director, I say that too. If you agree or disagree, that is your business. I am not here to validate myself by your standards. And surely you are not validating yourself by my standards.

I won't let another person make me feel like I can't communicate a strong dislike of something. I've seen occasions in these threads where you have not liked films I happen to like, but I don't make a big deal of it. So Larry, I really think you need to dial it down in this regard, stop making such a fuss and be a bit more tolerant. Your first sentence in the text I quoted says you have low tolerance, and I think that is the main problem here to be honest.

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43 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

We've been down this road before, you and I. You seem to have a problem separating a strong dislike I might have about a film, taking it personally, thinking that I am slamming you for liking it. The truth is I have no idea how much you might like something.

The only way the above is true is if you haven't read the previous posts. I posted this earlier:

On 6/16/2019 at 7:49 PM, LawrenceA said:

A couple more of my all-time favorites top this year's list.

  1. Raising Arizona

And then you posted this:

2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

 But in this case, I really felt RAISING ARIZONA was overhyped. I have never understood why people latch on to films that are "strange" because they feel that by championing them they are pushing forward a new art form. 

Of course you also posted this:

On 6/16/2019 at 7:55 PM, TopBilled said:

I've never seen RAISING ARIZONA.  

which actually reveals your later post to be rather ridiculous.

But don't worry, I promise not to respond to you, or in one your threads, again. In fact, I think I'm just done with it all.

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57 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The only way the above is true is if you haven't read the previous posts. I posted this earlier:

And then you posted this:

Of course you also posted this:

which actually reveals your later post to be rather ridiculous.

But don't worry, I promise not to respond to you, or in one your threads, again. In fact, I think I'm just done with it all.

This is what you do...you go overboard, fuss and fuss, refuse to dial it down and basically seem to browbeat the other person into giving up, while acting like you're the one who's giving up. I wish you would not engage in these kinds of conversations with me as I find this sort of approach very unproductive. And as I had asked you in my previous response, it would be nice for you to be a bit more courteous when I have been completely courteous with you.

As far as I am concerned you should be done with it; and I should be done with having to deal with this kind of tirade when all I was doing was stating strong opinions that in no way shape or form had any direct comment on what you like or dislike. Our views about these films are separate, and also as I said before, I have no way of knowing how much you like something. All I know is how much I like or don't like something. Anyway, I felt like I had to stand up to you today, because you've pulled this routine with me before and I do find it VERY discourteous and unwarranted. Thanks. And now for the part of the show where we all move on...

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On 6/18/2019 at 12:19 PM, TopBilled said:

I always feel like I am going out on a limb disparaging a film that is a critical fave. But in this case, I really felt RAISING ARIZONA was overhyped. I have never understood why people latch on to films that are "strange" because they feel that by championing them they are pushing forward a new art form. This happens with a lot of Tim Burton's works too. But if you step back and put the films into perspective, you can see they are often more contrived than they are effective. And after the hype dies down, you are left with a mostly unconvincing piece of cinema.

I am with Lawrence on this. I loved Raising Arizona, not because I am "pushing toward a new art form" (whatever that means), but because I thought it was flat hilarious. Definitely not for blue-noses, however.

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5 minutes ago, Thenryb said:

I am with Lawrence on this. I loved Raising Arizona, not because I am "pushing toward a new art form" (whatever that means), but because I thought it was flat hilarious. Definitely not for blue-noses, however.

Raising Arizona is hilarious. But it is definitely a litmus test film. I've known some who have loved it, and some who definitely did not.

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