1987 was quite the year for cinefiles. Films that left indellible cultural impact on American pop culture included Predator, The Princess Bride, Lethal Weapon, The Lost Boys, RoboCop, Near Dark, Spaceballs, Hellraiser, The Untouchables, The Running Man, and many more.
In a fun fast-faced panel assembled with a rowdy crop of notables, the panel went over some of the more lasting films of 1987. Panelists included Mark A. Altman (St. Martin’s The Fifty-Year Mission, Tor’s Slayers & Vampires), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Charles de Lauzirika (Alien Anthology, The Martian: Extended Edition), Steve Melching (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Jose Molina (The Tick, Agent Carter), Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), Robert Meyer Burnett (Agent Cody Banks, The Hills Run Red), and Steve Kriozere (V.I.P., NCIS, Castle).
Lots of strong opinions during the panel but a few notable thoughts and details shared included…
ROBOCOP was quite the sleeper hit. Everyone that year was excited for Superman 4 which obviously didn’t quite make the cut as 1987’s most iconic film. The concept sounded so silly and yet it worked so well. Sure, by today the film is a bit cheeseball but it certainly left its mark!
PRINCESS BRIDE brought us all that geektastic quote “As You Wish” which is truthfully loaded with so much extra emotion to the point that it really comes to mean “I Love You.” The film is epic in its simplicity with a fantastical feel that makes this an undeniable hit of the 1980s. The conceit of the grandfather telling his grandson the story from a book he red begged the question, how would this film be told today? Would grandfather be recapping a videogame he played as a kid, instead? We’ve already started to see this form of storytelling with the upcoming JUMANJII.
UNTOUCHABLES was fun to hear from the panel about Bob Hoskins famously having a Pay-for-Play deal on this film and ultimately being passed over for the iconic Robert Deniro who made this film so much of what it was. Hoskins was reportedly paid 20,000 pounds. They also mused Hoskins famous quote of the incident, “I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in son, you just give me a call!'”
HELLRAISER is another classic of the 1980s with its iconic baddie and truly gruesome content based on the rising popularity of splatterpunk. It truly helped pave the way for more and more gruesome on-screen carnage. The panelists talked about how the film treated horror as beauty, they mused the quote that to make a good omelette if you have to break a few eggs but to make a good horror film you have to break a few heads.
LETHAL WEAPON had ending that was entirely… well… stupid. It just kinda ends and yet as a testament to the previous 120 minutes, it ultimately didn’t matter. The film did its job of tying off the storylines. It was enough to pave the way for a full-fledged franchise. The panelists marveled at the phenomenal screen writing and top notch score.
OVER THE TOP was another funny bit of discussion when they mentioned that Don Johnson first choice Sylvester Stallone ultimately got the part. They joked that on the poster it said “he’s fighting for the love of his son” but that perhaps Stallone was really just fighting for the love of another easy paycheck. The film is humorously absurd but gets kudos for helping establish that turning your baseball cap around is all sorts of cool.
There was tons and tons more to discuss but the time was filled quickly with all the banter and laughs from the wacky panel. Other shot-outs to 1987 classics included The Living Daylights, Lost Boys, Empire of the Sun, Innerspace, Spaceballs, Predator, Evil Dead 2, and No Way Out. Also, these weren’t discussed in the panel but if you’re a Disney fan, 1987 also brought us Three Men and a Baby, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Adventures in Babysitting… and also STAR TOURS at Disneyland!
So 1987 was probably not the BEST YEAR ever but it sure had a lot of OOMPH!
More to See!
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