5 best movies made in 1988
Friday, March 4, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Take Me Home Tonight,” about a group of friends on a wild, all-night adventure, wallows in ’80s nostalgia, from big hair and acid-washed jeans to one-hit wonders like “Safety Dance” and “Come on Eileen.”
So we thought we’d go back and revisit that magical time of wretched excess and choose the five best movies that came out the year “Take Me Home Tonight” is set: 1988. It’ll be rad, I promise.
— “Big”: Tom Hanks could not be more winning as a little boy trapped in a man’s body in this high-concept delight from director Penny Marshall. Hanks already had proven his comic chops on the TV series “Bosom Buddies” at this point, and in movies like “Bachelor Party” and “Splash,” but “Big” allowed him to show the full range of his charm, and it earned him his first Oscar nomination. He’s goofy and sweet, vulnerable and unabashed. “Big” feels a little dated aesthetically and in its music choices, but its themes of friendship, loyalty and the thrill of innocent youth hold up beautifully today.
— “Beetlejuice”: A quintessential early Tim Burton movie, with its cheeky humor, wild visuals and gleefully subversive vibe. Michael Keaton does some of the best work of his career as the title character, a horny, foul-mouthed zombie who helps a couple of recent ghosts scare away the obnoxious new owners of their idyllic Connecticut home. The great supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Catherine O’Hara, and the score from Burton’s frequent collaborator, Danny Elfman, perfectly complements the film’s playful energy. Here’s how influential “Beetlejuice” remains today: My hairdresser changed her name to Lydia because she identified so strongly with Winona Ryder’s character.
— “Dangerous Liaisons”: John Malkovich is freakishly sexy and seductive, and Glenn Close is every bit his intellectual equal, in director Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ novel about bored aristocrats deceiving and manipulating each other in 18th century France. The strong supporting cast features Michelle Pfeiffer as well as a young Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves. Nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture, it won three: for its sumptuous costumes and art direction, as well as for Christopher Hampton’s screenplay. This is a refined guilty pleasure you can feel good about giving into.
— “Die Hard”: Just a big, booming action flick, an unapologetic blockbuster, and very much a product of its time. Bruce Willis is front and center, at the height of his ’80s-era popularity, in one of the main roles that would define his varied career. As New York cop John McClane, he’s quick-witted and ready for anything — and he delivers a line that would become his signature. (Sorry, we can’t repeat it here. We are a family-friendly news service.) Still, director John McTiernan’s film remains funny, tense and gripping, with Willis and an excellent Alan Rickman going toe-to-toe during a hostage crisis in an L.A. skyscraper.
— “A Fish Called Wanda”: Delightfully silly and so very, very British. A screwball comedy that’s precise in its sloppiness, with proper humor that couldn’t be more profane. Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin and Tom Georgeson set out to steal $20 million in diamonds, but naturally ending up double-crossing each other. Palin’s “Monty Python” cohort John Cleese, who co-wrote the script, is at his deadpan best as the unwitting lawyer who gets dragged into their scheme, and Kline earned a supporting-actor Oscar for his hilariously volatile performance. There are heavy-duty laughs to be had here, but the tone always remains light.
Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.