Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '87 - Cinema Du Meep ""

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Underrated '87 - Cinema Du Meep

My friend Michael runs the wonderful Retro Movie Love Podcast. He is a kindred spirit for me and a dude who knows movies well and loves them dearly like I do. He is currently running a great series of episodes wherein he discusses the theatrical releases of 1987 month by month so that is obviously must-listen podcasting! Check him out!
http://retromovielove.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/retro-movie-love-podcast-tv/id858116084?mt=2

Check out his Underrated '85 and '86 lists from last  couple years too:
http://www.rupertpupkinspeaks.com/2015/04/underrated-cinema-du-meep.html 
http://www.rupertpupkinspeaks.com/2016/05/underrated-cinema-du-meep.html
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1987 was a big year for me. It was a year of big crushes, and big bold gestures toward those crushes. It was also a big year at the Movies. Mainstream Hollywood was churning out some great stuff back then, and the result was gorgeously made fare like ROBOCOP, THE UNTOUCHABLES, THE LOST BOYS, FATAL ATTRACTION, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK and on and on. It was a big time for me because it was the year I decided to see as many things as possible in a Movie Theatre. I had found my true home there already, and I thought I might as well as stay in my new house as much as possible. The bounty of offerings in 1987 made it quite easy to do that. There was so much coming and I was fully prepared to meet every one of them at the door. So my quest to go see as many Movies as possible turned out to be one of the best things I ever did. It cemented my true passion for Film, something I have never let go of, and I’m never planning to. Since we all know CAN’T BUY ME LOVE, DIRTY DANCING, MOONSTRUCK, BROADCAST NEWS, RAISING ARIZONA, PREDATOR, FULL METAL JACKET and ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING came out in ’87, here are a few underrated gems I managed to go see in a Cinema during that magical year...

in order of release:
DEAD OF WINTER (February 6; Dir. Arthur Penn)
Mary Steenbergen should have been a big star after playing three roles (!) in this underrated thriller from legendary Filmmaker Arthur Penn. The Film’s marketing kind of sold it as a tense horror Film, which might have been a mistake as it’s definitely more of a classy thriller, with gothic horror undertones. Sadly it did very poorly at the Box Office, but has recently been released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory. Check out the interview with Ms. Steenbergen on the disc. She’s great.
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MORGAN STEWART’S COMING HOME (February 20; Dir. Alan Smithee)
This is one of those Alan Smithee Movies where the Director was unhappy with the end product so he took his name off of it, but, I’m not exactly clear why. It’s in no way offensive. It’s a fun little teen flick about about a Horror Movie nerd (can totally relate) who just wants to get attention from his parents, who behave as if they could care less about him except when there's a photo op. Bonus points for the Mall meet cute scene with another Horror Movie nerd. MORGAN STEWART was made before PRETTY IN PINK but released after it to capitalize on Jon Cryer’s success in that one. I go back to this Movie pretty often.
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BURGLAR (March 20; Dir. Hugh Wilson)
Whoopi Goldberg in a role originally written for a white dude. She encountered that a lot in her early career but always seemed to make the roles her own and even more interesting than on the page. BURGLAR was panned by critics on it’s release but I find it highly enjoyable. Bobcat Goldwait and the supporting cast do a great job as well - Lesley Ann Warren as an unhinged dentist!! I love the San Francisco locales and I feel it’s aged really well. 30 years later I still laugh a lot during this one. Never released on widescreen DVD. Could definitely use an upgrade.
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CAMPUS MAN (April 10; Dir. Ron Casden)
I love a good frivilous teen or college comedy, and Campus Man totally fills the bill. This is also one of the most 80’s looking and feeling Movies there is. Plus it has tons of montages, fun songs and Kathleen Wilhoite. Morgan Fairchild is in this Movie for god’s sake. I don’t need to say anymore. Watch it!
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MAKING MR. RIGHT (April 10; Dir. Susan Seidelman)
Filmmaker Susan Seidelman is one of the most underrated directors there is. We really need her voice in Films today. MAKING MR. RIGHT is a feminist take on the romantic comedy subgenre mixed with some sci-fi shenangigans. Plus you get Ann Magnuson, John Malkovich, Glenne Headley, Laurie Metcalf, Polly Bergen and Hart Bochner doing top notch work. The HBO/Orion VHS tape was in heavy rotation in my house growing up. Now on Blu-ray from Olive Films.
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THE BELIEVERS (June 12; Dir. John Schlesinger)
One of the scariest Movies of the my adolescence. Knowing that the culture of voodoo was steps away in New York City where I grew up, I couldn’t help but get chills up my spine when watching this Film. Director John Schlesinger paints a realistic potrayal of a family who unfortunately gets caught up in this horror. I miss the gritty atmosphere of New York captured on Film in the 70’s and 80’s like this one. Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
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INNERSPACE (July 3; Dir. Joe Dante)
Joe Dante’s big studio Sci-fi/Adventure/Comedy Film seems to be getting much more love these days then it did when it came out 30 years ago. FINALLY. What took them so long? This Movie has it’s all. Available on Warner Brothers Blu-ray.
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MAID TO ORDER (July 31; Dir. Amy Holden Jones)
I love a good fairy tale about a coked up rich girl who magically become a maid so that she can learn some hard lessons thanks to a chain smoking fairy godmother. MAID TO ORDER stars Ally Sheedy, Beverly D’Angelo, a mulleted Michael Ontkean, Tom Skerritt, Merry Clayton, Rain Phoenix and Kimberly Beck but it’s Valerie Perrine and Dick Shawn as the rich jerks she has to work for that steal the show. THEY ARE SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD. I love this Movie and can watch it over and over. I want it on blu-ray. NOW.
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WHO’S THAT GIRL (August 7; Dir. James Foley)
Madonna ruled us all in the 80’s. I thought she was hilarious and fun to watch in this 1987 update of BRINGING UP BABY. I don’t know why the Film gets any flack. It’s pure screwball comedy. Tons of fun from the beginning animated credits sequence set against the super catchy Madonna song “Causing a Commotion” to it’s zany conclusion.
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THREE O’CLOCK HIGH (October 9; Dir. Phil Joanou)
Many years ago I called this the “most over-directed teen Movie ever”. That is still true. And praise the Movie gods it is! I can’t even look away for a moment with this one because it’s so jam packed with goodness. It’s aged really well, too. Desperately needs to find a new audience on Blu-ray. Come on, Universal!
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PRINCE OF DARKNESS (October 23; Dir. John Carpenter)
John Carpenter’s brainiest Movie. But it’s also super creepy and filmed to the brim with atmosphere. Definitely his most underrated Film of the 1980’s. John Carpenter, a lot like Joe Dante, always seemed to be ahead of the curve. LOVE THOSE GUYS!. Available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
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HELLO AGAIN (November 6; Dir. Frank Perry)
Another romantic Film. But also a great New York story with some magic thrown in. It’s sumptuously shot, well performed and a total comfort Movie for me. We need Movies like this these days. Always have a Movie or two on standby to lift your spirits like HELLO AGAIN. You’ll be able to get through the rough stuff a bit easier. Also, stay away from South Korean chicken balls. As the Trailer memorably puts it, “the chicken ball that ended it all”. The final feature by one of my favorite Filmmakers, Frank Perry. Lastly: We love you Shelley Long!
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Eight more:
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (February 27; Dir. Howard Deutch) - My favorite John Hughes Teen Film!
NICE GIRLS DON’T EXPLODE (April 3; Dir. Chuck Martinez) - Underseen New World Teen Film starring Michelle Meyrink (Valley Girl, Revenge of the Nerds & Real Genius)
FOREVER, LULU (April 24; Dir. Amos Kollek) - Because Debbie Harry is everything.
BIG SHOTS (October 2; Dir. Robert Mandel) - Two kids steal a car with a body in the trunk. 80’s kid Movie fun with some heart.
SLAMDANCE (October 2; Dir. Wayne Wang) - Noir + Virginia Madsen = me drooling.
HELLO MARY LOU, PROM NIGHT II (October 16; Dir. Bruce Pittman) - In name only sequel that’s a supernatural slasher. Flat out bonkers. Plus very Canadian.
HIDING OUT (November 6; Dir. Bob Giraldi) - Jon Cryer escapes from bad dudes and falls for high school student Annabeth Gish. I’m totally with you, Duckie.
TEEN WOLF TOO (November 20, Dir. Christopher Leitch) - Jason Bateman + Montages galore set against fun music. Don’t knock this wolf until you’ve tried it!

2 comments:

beamish13 said...

Nice choices. THREE O'CLOCK HIGH is a masterpiece. Barry Sonnenfeld's photography, the Tangerine Dream/Sylvester LeVay score and Phil Joanou's direction (I love his later films STATE OF GRACE and ENTROPY, too) created an incredible cocktail. Joanou wanted to make AFTER HOURS in a high school, and he succeeded.

HIDING OUT is wonderful. What other film has snipers in a high school gymnasium? Jon Cryer really was on fire that year with that, DUDES and O.C. & STIGGS.

Glad to see the Frank Perry love.

John said...

"We did one of your things. We killed the fat man and the pimp." Also, Havilland Morris. (Who's That Girl?)