Monday, November 23, 2009

And then there was 1987...and cinemas rejoiced!

Last night, the wife and I decided to watch Stakeout. She'd never seen it, and it had been a while for me. I knew it had been a big hit when it came out, and a little research unearthed that it was the 8th highest grossing movie at the box office in 1987. Looking at the Top 50, it was astounding to us just how many beloved films came out that year--a ridiculous amount of comedy classics, acclaimed dramas and noteworthy thrillers. So let's take a look back at those films, and their box office winnings (these are 1987 numbers!) with some thoughts on the films that standout to me.

1. THREE MEN AND A BABY--$167.8 Million
Who woulda thunk this would be the top grossing film of 1987? The Gutt, Sam Malone and Mustache P.I. teamed up with director Spock for this remake of the French comedy Trois Hommes et un Couffin. Who can forget the "Goodnight, Sweetheart" lullaby?

2. FATAL ATTRACTION--$156.6 Million
Boiled Bunny = Box Office Bonanza.

3. BEVERLY HILLS COP II--$153.7 Million
Axel Foley returns in this super charged action comedy, thanks to the directing reigns being handed to Tony Scott. Now if we can just get the taste of the third one out of our mouths...

4. GOOD MORNING VIETNAM--$123.9 Million
Barry Levinson's wartime dramedy features a great performance by Williams, who saves his schtick for on-air time. For me, though, the movie belongs to both Bruno Kirby (as the military official with conflicting comedy viewpoints) and Forest Whitaker (as the gentle, car ignition-ruining private who escorts Williams around).

5. MOONSTRUCK--$80.6 Million
Norman Jewison's insanely popular Italian comedy didn't do much for me when it came out, so it might be worth viewing again. At that time I also couldn't stand Nic Cage, whom I've grown to really like, depending on the project. Plus, I do love Vincent Gardenia.

6. THE UNTOUCHABLES--$76.3 Million
Anything with a baseball bat-wielding Robert DeNiro and scenery-chewing Sean Connery is ok in my book (though Connery should not have beaten Albert Brooks for the Oscar...more on that later). Plus, it's got that great homage to the Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence.

7. THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS--$66.9 Million
I've said it once, I'll say it again--Michael J. Fox loves champagne rides! At least that's what the poster would have you believe. Fox is charming in this goofy little comedy as a young entrepreneur working his way up the corporate ladder quickly, a la How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

8. STAKEOUT--$65.6 Million
Comedy meets action in John Badham's fun buddy cop/inadvisable romance picture. Dreyfuss and Estevez are an oddly effective team, and the romance between Dreyfuss and Madeline Stowe is surprisingly believable. Add psychotic Aidan Quinn and a pair of rival cops (Dan Lauria and Forest Whitaker) and you've got yourself a hit, evidently.

9. LETHAL WEAPON--$65.2 Million
Shane Black scripted Richard Donner's buddy cop movie that set the standard for many to come and launched a franchise that lasted long enough to involve Jet Li. Gibson's nutso Riggs plays great off of Glover's no-nonsense "I'm getting too old for this shit" Murtaugh. If this didn't exist, I wouldn't get to hear Joss Ackland say "DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY!" in the sequel, so thank you, first movie.

10. THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK--$63.8 Million
Take three of the hottest actresses in Hollywood and throw in Jack as the Devil, and you've got a surefire hit.

11. DIRTY DANCING--$63.4 Million
"No one puts Baby in the corner!"
Probably THE surprise hit of the year, this celebration of dancing and watermelon carrying is one of those movies we love to make fun of while we secretly (or openly) adore it. Heck, it was the first title Janet Varney and I did as a RiffTrax Presents (which, btw, you should check out, cuz we're very proud of it!) Click here to check it out!
Plus, Swayze SINGS on the soundtrack, but you already knew that.

12. PREDATOR--$59.7 Million
"Ain't got time to bleed!"

"You don't have a Cousin Patty!"
"You lied to me!" *CLANG*

14. DRAGNET--$57.4 Million
"Live a little, it's the pedal on the right."

15. LA BAMBA--$54.2
My brother and I used to watch this over and over again once it came out on VHS (back in the days when it took over a year for studios to release things, instead of the now 3-month waiting period), and wore the soundtrack out. Lou Diamond Phillips is great as Richie Valens, but the real standout is Esai Morales as his impulsive brother. I played softball with him once...kinda surreal.

16. ROBOCOP--$53.4 Million
It's the future of law enforcement! The film was a little too over the top violent for me when it came out, but I've since grown to appreciate it. The sequels...not so much.

17. OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE--$52.8 Million
I heart Shelley Long! ok with Bette Midler.

18. BROADCAST NEWS--$51.2 Million
One of my all-time favorite films, James L. Brooks' look at television journalism is at once dramatic, hilarious and heart-breaking. William Hurt and Holly Hunter are great, but the film belongs to Albert Brooks as ace reporter Aaron Altman. "I am reading while I'm singing...I'm reading...and singing BOTH!" The scene where he finally gets a crack at anchoring the news is comedy gold. He should have won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but lost out to Sean Connery in The Untouchables (a good performance, but Brooks was unreal). I also read someplace that Brooks was going to use his Oscar speech to ask if anyone had seen a tan sportscoat he left at the Dallas Airport.

19. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS--$51.2 Million
This is actually one of my favorite Bond movies--I thought Dalton filled the shoes of 007 nicely, and the pace and action sequences really click in this one. The cello-case toboggan run is a fun set piece.

20. EDDIE MURPHY RAW--$50.5 Million
It's amazing that a stand-up concert film can rake in that kind of dough at the Box Office. With this and BHC2 in theaters, 87 was a banner year for Murphy.

The very first R-Rated film I saw in the movie theaters, and subsequently my mom's least favorite film of all time, due to the very adult language and embarrassment humor. I think she felt terrible subjecting me to it, but I dug it and still do. We were actually trying to see a sneak screening of Good Morning Vietnam but it was sold out, so that's what we decided on.

Disney goes to the well yet again!

23. FULL METAL JACKET--$46.4 Million
I'll admit it--I'm not a big Kubrick fan. I do like this warmtime chiller, but I'm not in love with it like most people seem to be. Vincent D'Onofrio is at his creepiest, most psychotic here.

Didn't see it. Won't ever.

25. THE LAST EMPEROR--$44.0 Million
Winner of every Academy Award, ever!

26. WALL STREET--$43.9 Million
Greed is good.

27. MANNEQUIN--$42.7 Million
Andrew McCarthy. Kim Cattrall. James Spader. HOLLYWOOD! A Starship song. This movie had me at hello. Plus, it had animated opening titles and pre-title Ancient Egypt sequence. WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT? A sequel that's "On the Move?" You got it!

28. ROXANNE--$40.1 Million
Steve Martin's modern take on Cyrano is simply brilliant. The script crackles, the performances are top-notch, and it's infinitely quotable: "I thought you said earn more sessions by sleeving!"

29. BLIND DATE--$39.3 Million
I saw this at the Drive-In (say hey, remember those?) as part of a double feature with Howard the Duck or something of the like. I thought it was really funny, but my parents WERE NOT digging it.

30. THE RUNNING MAN--$38.1 Million
Richard Dawson!

31. SPACEBALLS--$38.1 Million
I was so excited about this movie, I used my allowance to take my entire family just so we could go. "What's the matter, Colonel Sanders...chicken?"

32. SUMMER SCHOOL--$35.7 Million
I adore this Carl Reiner helmed comedy following Mark Harmon's Mr. Shoop, put in charge of a bunch of screw-ups during summer sessions. Dean Cameron was so kick-ass in this--what happened to that guy?

33. NO WAY OUT--$35.5 Million
FINALLY--Costner and Iman in the same movie!

34. LIKE FATHER LIKE SON--$34.3 Million
Before Kirk Cameron was worried about the rapture, he was concerned with switching bodies with pop Dudley Moore. I prefer Vice Versa.

One of my favorite teen flicks ever and maybe Chris Columbus' finest work. "You take that back! You take back what you said about Thor!" (Nice casting touch with Vincent D'Onofrio as a car mechanic/Norse God). Oh, and it has the ever enjoyable Anthony "Ya think?" Rapp.

36. CINDERELLA (RE-RELEASE)--$34.1 Million
Piles and piles of money.

37. *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED--$32.9 Million
A film that combines my two favorite things--miniature spacecraft and old people.

38. THE LOST BOYS--$32.2 Million
"Maggots, Michael. You're eating maggots." Oh man, do I love me some Schumacher teen vamps. AND they don't sparkle! I watched the shit out of this. Santa Cruz was a lovely double for fictional Santa Carla. The cast is phenomenal--gotta love Alex "Bill S. Preston Esquire" Winter as a long-locked vamp and Bernard Hughes as a horny old grampa.

39. CAN'T BUY ME LOVE--$31.6 Million
There was a time when I could do the entire African Anteater Ritual/Dance craze from the film. Starring teenage McDreamy and lil' Seth Green!

40. NUTS--$40.0 Million
CRAAAAAZY Streisand!

41. THE PRINCESS BRIDE--$30.9 Million
Talk about a timeless classic--Rob Reiner's star-studded family fantasy film has a little of everything--comedy, romance, adventure, you name it. Who doesn't love running around and exclaiming, "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" My wife Jenny's all-time favorite movie.

Note to Hollywood: If you put Curtis Armstrong in it, I will come see it. Please keep this in mind for all future movies. Thank you.

The movie I'm famous for watching pathetically when I'm home alone and bored, the film stars John Lithgow and a slightly biggerfoot, Bigfoot.

I actually have a lot of affection for the Police Academy movies--and this fourth edition adds Sharon Stone and David Spade to the mix. It's also the last to feature Steve Guttenberg.

45. OVERBOARD--$26.7 Million
I feel like this movie is ALWAYS running on cable, and rightfully so, 'cuz it's delightful. According to Jenny (who just walked in), it's THE most watched movie on cable. So there.

46. BABY BOOM--$26.7 Million
Diane Keaton and babies! Hooray!

47. INNERSPACE--$25.9 Million
This really should have been a bigger hit than it was, 'cuz it's incredibly fun and creative. Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan are a great trio, and Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo are delightful villains.

48. TIN MEN--$25.4 Million
Barry Levinson suuuuure loves Baltimore. Was Richard Dreyfuss in every movie in 1987?

49. BLACK WIDOW--$25.2 Million
Not a documentary about my garage.

50. ERNEST GOES TO CAMP--$23.5 Million
I miss Jim Varney. The Ernest films all have such a playful energy to them, and his character is truly iconic.

Thanks for treating us sooooo right, 1987!