Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1990: Leftovers

1990 was the last big blast of 80's style before the slightly more sedate first half of the 90's kicked in.  Tons of style over substance type films but that's not always a bad thing, as we will see.  Let's get started with the stuff that is neither here nor there...

We begin with three of the biggest hits of the year... Because while I am rather easy to please, I can also be finicky as hell.

The massive success of this film is a fine example of how superficial the year was.  A rather mild, lame romantic thriller, this sees Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore as a loving couple torn apart when Swayze is gunned down in a mugging.  He comes back as a ghost and tries to solve the murder with the help of Whoopi Goldberg who won an Oscar for her role.  The film isn't really terrible but it's also not all that great either. There are one or two good performances and some nice moments but overall it's sort of just there.

This is another big hit of the year that didn't really do it for me.  Richard Gere is your standard rich guy and Julia Roberts is probably the cleanest hooker you are ever likely to see.  They go through the usual romantic comedy crap and the end result was a big smash.  Not a great movie or anything, but you can't really argue with success.

Ah, Home Alone.  I sort of have a soft spot for this one, as do most folks from my generation as this one was just a hoot as a young kid left home alone by maybe the most inattentive parents in film history, has to contend with two moronic burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci.  The premise is hilariously dumb and the ways Macaulay Culkin finds to torture the burglars would make Bugs Bunny nod in approval.

Perfectly acceptable middle of the road Van Damme flick with our hero playing a Mountie going undercover to solve some murders in a prison.  Solid but somewhat limited action, not much in the way of plot, more or less your standard beer and pizza night movie.

Steven Seagal's second movie is your standard revenge flick as he plays a cop named Mason Storm (generally it's a good sign when Seagal's character has a cool name... at least in the early days) who gets shot by goons working for a crooked politician and ends up in a coma for seven years.  When he wakes up, he recovers in an impressively short amount of time and goes off to kick the lungs out of the bad guys.  Seagal has some nice fight scenes and there is one priceless moment where h sees the politician on TV, recognizes him by his "You can take that to the bank!" slogan and menacingly intones to the screen "I'm going to take you to the bank, Senator Trent.  The blood bank."  Cue cheesy drum riff on the soundtrack.  It's not great but it's certainly fun.

This would get my vote for most disappointing movie of the year.  Clive Barker put this interesting tale together about a bunch of monsters who live hidden in a cemetery.  A young mental patient who has been manipulated by their shrink falls in with them and eventually becomes one of them as the shrink, who actually a serial killer, pursues him with the police.  Great makeup for the creatures and a nice performance from David Cronenberg as the psycho shrink aren't enough to make up for the heavy handed story which makes the film drag in places.  An extended cut is set to be released pretty soon, hopefully it's an improvement.

Coming soon: Honorable Mentions of 1990


  1. Coulda posted this in another section, but I don't know if you're immediately notified of comments in months/years-old posts, so I'll just put this here for now.

    First, regarding your Best of 1975 list. Yes, you mentioned you hadn't seen Dog Day Afternoon or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (I have...yay me!). But....what about Barry Lyndon? Is that why it's not on your list, or is the movie just not your cup of tea? Asking because it's my favorite Kubrick ever. And Kubrick's my favorite filmmaker ever (or, at the least, tied with Miyazaki).

    Second, I'm making my own list of favorite films from 1975-1994 (I started with just making a best of the 80s, but then included through 1991, then added 1979, then back to 1977, then just said "screw it" and took the whole twenty years). I'm not deliberately copying your Era, but I'm effectively copying it for now, since that's a surefire way to guarantee EVERYTHING 80s gets in there, even if some films that don't really fit the 80s (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Man Who Would Be King, Annie Hall, and, well, Barry Lyndon, and that's just thus far) would be in there as well.

    But, that leaves me with a tiny doubt, and I'm curious to know your opinion on the subject of "The 80s" in movies.

    Can you think of any reason to expand or contract the list any further, since this is still, ultimately, a list of the films of "The Greater 80s"? Was it really Jaws that started the pre-80s transitional era, or do 1975 and 1976 not really fit into "the Greater 80s" AT ALL, even if the arguable ur-80s film came out that year? Would Star Wars be a better starting point for 80s films, or is that still more 70s to you (to me, it's just Star Wars, its own thing)? Or did "the 80s" not truly begin until 1980? Or 1981? Or later?

    Maybe another, better, question would be: when was the 1970s, and its style of film, eclipsed by the 80s? Obviously, every era (not just in film, any subject) tends to start around the height of the previous one, and doesn't usually go away for good until around the height of the following one. The 90s film probably didn't start with Pulp Fiction, but would you say that is the year the 90s surpassed the 80s, or was the Greater 80s pretty much over by 1994 anyway, and thus, was 1994 the last year that felt even remotely 80s? Obviously, cinematic decades don't start and end where the calendar says, but, there's nonetheless a distinct popular definition of 70s film, 80s film, 90s film. What do you feel make for the BEST transitional years between these three decades?

    Ton of questions, I know. Even a (much) shorter answer based on an Impressionistic take on this whole comment would be appreciated. But I'm quite curious about where you would draw these lines, since I'm still trying to work that out myself.

    1. First off, comments do reach me regardless of which post they are in and respectfully, I'd appreciate if you would post comments in the appropriate posts as it drags things off topic.

      As for your idea, do whatever feels right for you.


About Me

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