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The Quest Continues: 1987 AKA The Year of Selleck, Douglas, Murphy, Gibson, and Ahnold

Okay I have finally decided how far back into the 80s I'm going go with this Quest for the Single Finest Film of Our Generation nonsense. I have settled on 1984 to be the last year to be explored and examined, but if at that point I still feel up to continuing this feature (might as well beat a dead horse until it's even more dead, right?) I will go on with my original plan, which was to go back to previously featured years and cover another set of five blockbuster films (still following the no less than the 30th highest grossing film of the year rule, in honor of 1989's Road House, which started this whole thang) from each of them. Also, to make things a little more exciting around here, I am officially making this whole 80s Quest official. So, to recap, the finalist competition for The Quest of TSFFOOG: The 80s Edition include Who Framed Roger Rabbit? of 1988 and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade of 1989 (just barely edging out my beloved Honey I Shrunk The Kids). So after we pick four more finalists (including this month's) we will do another showdown with the final six films of 1984-1989. Why stop in 84? Quite simple actually; there aren't enough films from 1980-83 that I consider part of my youth. I do hope to rectify that because there is some good cheese from these years that I've never officially seen (Risky Business, Porky's) so that could beget a new feature unto itself. For now though, your blockbusters of 1987...

Three Men And A Baby: How can you beat Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck in your cast plus Leonard Freaking Nimoy behind the camera? You just can't. And now, during my research, I'm also finding out for the first time that its title was a pun! Apparently "three men and a baby grand" was the term used for when the Rat Pack performed back in the olden days, and when the idea for this film came along, apparently the screenwriter (or producers, maybe) just could help himself. And I applaud him from the future. In all seriousness though, this movie wasn't that entertaining. My mom thought it was hysterical, as she did the sequel Three Men And A Little Lady, but at the end of the day, it was just a movie about three dudes trying to figure out what to do with a baby. It's The Hangover with only the baby plot. That said, I'd take any of these guys over Bradley Cooper any day, but unfortunately it just doesn't play a big role in my movie past. I would like to watch it again though. You know, because why not?

Fatal Attraction: Now this is a damn good movie. In fact, even though I didn't see it in full until college, I just might vote for it. I know, that's completely against my rules, but if you haven't noticed by now, the rules are kinda arbitrary and broken a lot. The fact is that this Michael Douglas cautionary tale on adultery is just straight up one of the most entertaining movies of all time. It wrote the book on sex thrillers (and Lifetime movies, in a way) for years to come and features one of the craziest characters of all time, Glenn Close's Alex Forrest. She's not even that attractive in this movie and yet she just oozes hilarious sex. We watch Michael Douglas get wrapped into having a hot night with her and just watch like we watch a train wreck as his life just falls to pieces in the worst ways possible because, well, that's what happens when you cheat on your wife (with a crazy person). The best part? I watched this movie in a Film Studies class. Can't remember why, but had something to do with the male gaze. Oh and I do technically qualify it for voting because it was always one of those movies that, even when it was obviously edited for basic cable, I would watch a couple minutes of on TV and then turn the channel because I thought I'd see something I shouldn't.

Beverly Hills Cop II: Now the first two Beverly Hills Cop movies are hard to differentiate for me sometimes. Obviously the third one is the one at the amusement park, which was a good marker to make it stand out from the other entries in the trilogy, but the first two have such generic plots about revenge and/or gun smuggling that I really can't remember which is which. That said, I absolutely loved the Axel Foley series when I was a kid. And while many think Lethal Weapon (see below) set the standard for the buddy cop action comedy, the first BHC came first, and I shit you not, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. So while I'll leave my rambling about the brilliant duo of Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold for a future, more deserved Quest entry, I will say this about the second one: there was a lot more action, possibly more explosions than jokes, and I think that was as ballsy as it was stupid, and I think is partly responsible for my later love of the action flick, as I was originally brought to these movies for their comedy. Also, a fourth movie was greenlit in 2006 by none other than Jerry Bruckheimer, but seeing Murphy decline in the 00s, let's hope it doesn't get resurrected and actually made.

Lethal Weapon: Riggs and Murtaugh always struck me as more emotionally damaged and complicated characters than your average buddy cop flick, Beverly Hills Cop included. For that reason, I think the first Lethal Weapon film, and to a lesser extent its sequels, except the fourth one, which just straight up stanked, is a fairly layered piece of cinema, almost bordering on genuinely great. I mean think about it: Mel plays a suicidal widower who drinks himself to the brink of unconsciousness day in and day out with quite the dramatic aplomb and the eternally underrated Danny Glover plays his gruff aging partner, dealing with his any-day-now handshake from the grim reaper in a quiet and reserved yet angsty and explosive manner. These characters are DARK, and yet of course the jokes ensue and the two are very capable comedic performers as well (Glover arguably more than the abrasiveness of Gibson), taking us through yes, a formulaic forgettable plot, but these two characters became archetypes for years to come, becoming less and less memorable and effective as time went on, no one ever matching the beauty that was Shane Black's (often called Hollywood's fuck up genius) perfect creation.

Predator: But then again, if you liked action movies, but couldn't appreciate the deft comedy of an in-his-prime Eddie Murphy or the tenderhearted protagonists of Lethal Weapon, then Predator was probably your big jawn of 1987. That's okay, because honestly, out of all the films listed here, with Fatal Attraction as a minor spoiler, it's probably the number one flick to watch with friends and laugh uproariously at. Especially for us Minnesotans, who get to revel in the wretchedness of former governor Jesse Ventura's acting "talents", this cast, not to mention the titular monster itself, is unbelievable. For Arrested Development fans, you can now get all the meta-jokes if you endure the scenes featuring the overacting ferocity of Carl Weathers. There's also the awesome but short-lived appearance of one of my favorite character actors, Bill Duke, who plays Mac, and whose death in the flick is noted as one of the best on-screen death scenes of all time. I don't want to give it away for those who haven't seen the movie (get on that before Predators starring Adrien Brody comes out this summer!) but let's just say it involves the words "brain" and "splatter" to an extreme effect. Oh, and of course there's Ahnold!

So...which do you vote for?

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  1. Blogger Unspar! | 8:23 AM |  

    While none of these are meaningful to me in any way, I have to vote for Three Men and a Baby. I haven't seen it since I was like 6, but it doesn't matter. This cast is solid gold no matter what script they had. Put Guttenberg, Selleck, Danson and baby in Star Wars and you'd still have a classic generation-transcending comedy.

  2. Blogger soxy32 | 3:26 PM |  

    What happened to the Teen Angst movies. How can anyone snub Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. The Donger was the best comic relief: Oh Sexy Girlfriend!!! with an Asian accent of coarse.

  3. Blogger chris | 5:06 PM |  


    Thx for the comment! I'm going through the 80s one year at a time and I'm just on 1987. The teen movies mostly came before that, including the ones you mention, so I will definitely get to at least Breakfast Club, as that has been a longtime fave.

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