Sunday, June 01, 2014

Movies by year: 1987

(Telling the truth can be dangerous business - look out for spoilers!)

The pickings were a little slimmer in 1987, but there were a few standouts. Let's be clear though, Overboard was not one of them - I just love it anyway, it's goofy and stupid. But there were better movies that year - The Hidden, for example, was a cop movie with an interstellar twist. Less Than Zero was a lesson in the dangers of excess. The Princess Bride taught us that not even death can stand in the way of true love. The Untouchables was a fantastic star-studded gangster flick of epic proportions. And Withnail And I told the simple story of two out-of-work actors going on holiday by mistake - and introduced me to both Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann, the latter of whom set up shop in my heart and has never left.

I was pretty sure I was going to write about W&I actually, but then I realized I had to make sure one very important one was not forgotten:

Ishtar


What's that you say? Wasn't that a piece of crap? Well tell me this - have you ever actually seen it? Don't pay attention to the shit you've heard about this movie. The critics made up their mind about it before even seeing it, based solely on the budget.

I will admit, it's probably not a movie for everyone, but think about it: you've got Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty as the stars - but Hoffman is the chick magnet and Beatty is the dud. They're musicians, at least they think they're musicians, and they write the WORST music ever. The only gig their agent can get them is in Morocco, where they are surprisingly well-received (maybe not so surprising, considering they are only doing contemporary songs for troops and foreign diplomats).

Just next door is the country of Ishtar and there is a movement afoot to overthrow the cruel Emir - and Chuck and Lyle end up caught in the middle between the CIA (Charles Grodin is always hilarious and there's no disappointment here) and the freedom fighters (Isabelle Adjani is gorgeous and, of course, the boys fight over her). They finally realize they're expendable to both sides and have to save themselves.

Seriously, it's so much fun. Especially if you've ever personally known someone who thinks they're a really amazing songwriter. Paul Williams was actually responsible for most of the music, which had to sound good but bad at the same time - hard to do on purpose, I have to imagine. "Wardrobe Of Love," "Love In My Will," "Software," "Portable Picnic," "That A Lawnmower Can Do All That" and, of course, their eventual 'hit' "Dangerous Business" - I dare you NOT to sing them to yourself after seeing the movie.

Have you seen Ishtar? What did you think - never again, or encore?

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