Saturday, March 29, 2014

1988: Honorable Mentions

Let's kick off 1988 with the honorable mentions.  1988 was a fantastic year for film, so much so that it will be one of my longer retrospective pieces.  Actually, 1985 to 1990 will be extra king sized retrospectives, just because of the sheer volume.  We have a lot of ground to cover so let's not fart around...

Gotta have the Best Picture winner here since it didn't make the cut for my top ten.  What can I say?  It's a case where I enjoyed other films more.  Still, Rain Man is a very entertaining, moving drama with top notch work from Dustin Hoffman and for that matter, Tom Cruise. 

Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins star in this funny, entertaining baseball-centric romantic comedy about an older minor league player (played by Costner) and a young up-and-comer played by Robbins who both fall for groupie Sarandon.  Chock full of great moments and sporting a truly hilarious turn from Costner, this is one of the best baseball movies of all time.

Steven Seagal's debut film is a pretty damn good cop thriller directed by Andrew Davis.  Good action and a nice cast help offset the rather hit or miss storytelling.  Funnily enough, it ends up being one of Seagal's five best simply because he only really has about five or six genuinely good movies to his name to begin with.

Tom Hanks scored his first Oscar nomination for this charming comedy about a kid who makes a wish to be big and wakes up as Tom Hanks.  Hanks does good work in his role and Penny Marshall guides the film with a deft comedic touch.  Robert Loggia is also fun in a supporting role.

From the director of Maniac and writer (though not here) Larry Cohen comes this pretty good horror/action film about an unstoppable former cop who comes back from the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on the city officials who set him up and had him killed in prison.  Good cast of B-movie stalwarts such as Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell and Robert Z'Dar as the killer and some really good action make this an entertaining watch.  The first sequel is even better, though.

One of John Carpenter's better films, this is a sly science fiction flick that has pro wrestler Roddy Piper fighting aliens who have infiltrated society.  Piper is quite good, the action is solid and the film has a rather biting sense of humor it shows through social satire.  The fight scene with Piper and Keith David is also great.

Underrated Wes Craven movie about Bill Pullman looking for a zombie potion in Haiti.  Good acting from Pullman and the late Zakes Mokae as the bad guy make this a fun one to check out.  If you are in the mood for a different sort of zombie movie, this is your best bet.

Wild horror flick from Ken Russell that I reviewed last year for the series.  It's not the most coherent thing on the planet but it's visually imaginative, genuinely entertaining and it's the only movie you will ever see that has Hugh Grant fighting snake monsters with a sword while the new Doctor Who Peter Capaldi kicks ass in a kilt.  It's something you have to see for yourself.

Pretty solid modernization of A Christmas Carol with Bill Murray in the Scrooge part.  A decent blend of horror and sentiment, though the end where the lead finds redemption doesn't quite work as Bill Murray doesn't exactly come off as sincere.  Still, worth a look.

Pretty funny comedy from Keenen Ivory Wayans that spoofs 70's action movies.  Lots of funny gags, though Black Dynamite improved on it 21 years later by simply playing the material straight and getting its laughs that way.

Besides The Thing, this is one of the best remakes of a classic horror movie.  Fun updating of the 1958 story has great, gory f/x and a decent script, aided by a likable cast.  Good stuff.

Solid sequel to the original that has better f/x and a somewhat tighter script.  The thing I really like about it is that it maintains the sort of icky feel the first film had.

I dig this entertaining thriller that features the great Sidney Poitier as an FBI agent after a killer who may be one of several hikers being led by Kirstie Alley through the mountains.  He teams up with her boyfriend, played by Tom Berenger and the end result is a fun meat and potatoes action movie.  It's simple, but sometimes that's best.

Tim Burton;s best film is this wacky ghost comedy that has good work from Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Michael Keaton.  Loads of laughs and some nice f/x, aided by the usual great production design Burton films tend to have make this a winner.

I actually sort of love the wild fourth entry in the Freddy Krueger saga.  It's amazingly over the top, probably too silly for its own good and Freddy by this point isn't even close to being scary but it's still a fun ride with great f/x and a typically amusing turn from Robert Englund.  Renny Harlin does a good job directing as well.

This one sort of flew under the radar but it's actually a very enjoyable comedy that pairs up two comedy greats.  John Candy is taking his nice, normal family on vacation in the woods only to have yuppie brother in-law Aykroyd tag along with his brood.  Tons of great moments and some nice chemistry from the leads help the rather predictable story go down easier.  A forgotten gem from John?Hughes who wrote and executive produced the film.

I've written extensively about this one so let's just say that it is quite simply the best Shaft movie never made.

Gotta love this wacky semi-spoof of 50's horror movies that takes the not at all irrational fear of clowns (They're agents of the man-goat, I tell ya'!) and milks that cow for all it;s worth.  The Chiodo Brothers outdid themselves here with a funny comedy with great f/x and a fun script that never wears out its welcome.  John Vernon is especially funny as the obligatory hardheaded cop.

The tagline on the poster speaks for itself.  This is a fun, gory romp with lots of monsters, a fun sense of humor and some great 80's cheese.  Plus, how many films do you know of where Deborah Foreman goes Rambo on a bunch of monsters and tosses a 2'9 butler into the Little Shop of Horrors plant?  If there is more than one, I wanna see it!  Great fun all around.

To end things, we have the first starring role for Jean-Claude van Damme.  Great martial arts tournament film with some great fights, a terrific villainous turn from Bolo Yeung and a nice display of skill from van Damme.  One of the best from Cannon Films.

Coming Soon: 1988 Leftovers

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.