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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1989


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These were the films that closed the 80s for Fox. Just again going to remark that I'm planning on taking this series to 2019, if possible, so after this, just 30 more years....

the skateboarding film Gleaming the Cube opened 1989.

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The Fly II was a sequel to the 1989 horror hit, but without any cast members from the original. It disappeared quickly.

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Skin Deep, a risque Blake Edwards comedy, followed starring John Ritter. As for that publicity tagline for this.. yes, it is accurate, and no i can't say why on a family-friendly website.

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Say Anything... was another of the decade's best teen films with an actuely observed script, and fine refreshing work from John Cusack, Io!ne Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, and Joan Cusack. And everybody remembers the scene with the boombox and Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes"

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How I Got in to College was not a story, it seems, that ticketbuyers were willing to hear.

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A corpse kept going places in Weekend at Bernie's.

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Intimate power was some Mideast seduction story briefly picked up by Fox on 1989 before dropping it again

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The Abyss was a major financial headache at the time, not as successful as executives had hoped, but 30 years on, it stands up as an original, good-hearted sci-fi adventure with  wonderful performances from Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ed Harris, and a colorful supporting cast.

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Sci-Fi continued on in the little-seen Millennium with Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd.

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A distinguished film arrived with The Fabulous Baker Boys, a moody chamer piece with fine work from both Bridges brothers and a memorable turn from Michelle Pfeiffer, who has that memorable scene atop the piano singing "Makin' Whoopee" that had such an effect on me at age 20.....

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Paul Scofield appeared as a deaf hermit in the children's film When the Whales Came also featuring Helen Mirren and David Suchet (who started playing Poirot on TV in this year)

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Mark Harmon went after three women, including Lesley Ann Warren and Madeline Stowe, in Worth Winning.

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The decade was closed out by a duo of decidedly cynical, dark films that were fine showcases for acting and writing. The first of these was the big hit The War of the Roses, a cautionary tale of an extremely bitter divorce and the evils of excessive greed. it's also one of those rare films where the publicity tagline is right on the money.

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Enemies: A Love Story, based on the tragicomic story by Issac Bashevis Singer, closed the decade on a powerful note with a cautionary tale of a polygamist and his three wives. The wives all shown immensely, and the film had a good 1940s period detail.

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This was a pretty terrible year for my tastes. The only ones I'd rank highly enough to list wouldn't even make my list in most other years. Some of my "also seens" weren't bad, really, just mild and generic.

  1. The Abyss
  2. How I Got Into College

I've also seen Skin DeepSay AnythingWeekend at Bernie'sMillenniumThe Fabulous Baker BoysThe War of the Roses, and Enemies a Love Story.

The Fly II had a one-note story, but it contained some of the more memorable practical special effects of the era.

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Definitely have to put THE WAR OF THE ROSES at the top of the list. In fact it is my favorite comedy from the 80s. And of the three Douglas/Turner/DeVito flicks, I prefer this one over ROMANCING THE STONE and its sequel. DeVito directed it, which I find rather interesting. 

I remember when the film came out, Kathleen Turner did an interview and said she and Michael Douglas were the 80s version of Hepburn and Tracy. 

SAY ANYTHING... is a winner. I've always enjoyed this one.

THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS is too much. Too fabulous for its own good. I was glad Jessica Tandy took home the Oscar and not Michelle Pfeiffer. If I recall they had both won Golden Globes (Tandy for drama and Pfeiffer for comedy/musical). But they were competing against each other for an Oscar, and it was hard to predict which one was going to get the award.

I think THE ABYSS is a fine film. In the canon of James Cameron works, I prefer it over TITANIC to be honest.

SKIN DEEP does have that memorable glow in the dark scene. But the rest of the movie is a borefest. John Ritter never quite became a movie star, despite his enormous success on television.

WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S is like a Billy Wilder comedy. Where one good gag is stretched out for 97 minutes. And they even managed to drag it out more for a sequel!

WHEN THE WALES CAME looks like something I'd enjoy seeing.

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The Fabulous Baker Boys and Enemies, A Love Story are easily the top movies this year for me. They're both well written, well directed, and well acted. Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin are the standouts in Enemies. Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges are great in Fabulous, but Michelle Pfeiffer is smashing.

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