Re-Watch: Big Business (1988)

Big Business
Director: Jim Abrahams
Writer: Dori Pierson, Marc Reid Rubel
Cast: Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Fred Ward, Edward Herrmann, Michele Placido, Daniel Gerroll, Barry Primus, Michael Gross
Seen on: 24.4.2020

Plot:
One night in a small town hospital in Jupiter Hollow, two very different pairs of parents each have a set of twin girls. In the confusion, two babies get switched. 40 years later, Rose (Lily Tomlin) and Sadie Shelton (Bette Midler) have taken over the family company in New York that still owns a company in Jupiter Hollow. But they want to sell it. Rose (Lily Tomlin) and Sadie Ratcliff (Bette Midler) who grew up in a poor family in Jupiter Hollow and know that the entire town depends on the local company not being sold, decide to go to New York to confront the Sheltons and stop the sale. But given the circumstances around their birth, things are bound to get very confusing.

Big Business is one of my total-flashback-to-my-childhood movies. I think we had a VHS tape with Big Business and Ruthless People (for the Bette Midler double whammy) and it feels like we watched it once a week. We probably didn’t because TV time was very limited, but I’m sure I’ve seen the film a lot, although I haven’t seen it in 20 years, if not more. I definitely never saw it as an adult or in English. So, even though everything was very familiar about the film, it was also a very different experience. I might not love it as much anymore as I did as a child, but it is still very entertaining.

The film poster showing Rose (Lily Tomlin) and Sadie Shelton (Bette Midler) on one side and Rose (Lily Tomlin) and Sadie Ratcliff (Bette Midler) on the other side.
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Child’s Play (1988)

Child’s Play
Director: Tom Holland
Writer: Don ManciniJohn Lafia, Tom Holland
Cast: Catherine HicksChris SarandonAlex VincentBrad DourifDinah ManoffTommy Swerdlow
Seen on: 3.9.2017
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Plot:
Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) is being chased by the police, particularly Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). He flees into a toystore where he’s shot. But Charles is versed in voodoo – and manages to transfer his soul into one of the Good Guy dolls on sale. Through some twists of fate, the doll ends up with Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) who got the doll for her son Andy (Alex Vincent). Just because he lives in a doll, though, Charles hasn’t left behind his murderous ways – and he needs an actual human body soon, before he turns into the doll he possesses.

When it was announced that they would show the latest “Chucky” film at the /slash Filmfestival this year, I knew I had to get started on closing that particular gap in my horror movie knowledge. Child’s Play, then, wasn’t bad, though the reason for the cult status of the series didn’t become apparent to me.

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Nachsaison [Off Season] (1988)

Nachsaison
Director: Wolfram Paulus
Writer: Wolfram Paulus, Ulrike Dickmann
Cast: Albert Paulus, Günther Maria Halmer, Mercedes Echerer, Daniela Obermeir, Michael Reiter, Claus Homschak
Seen on: 23.10.2016

Plot:
Lenz (Albert Paulus) works as a massage therapist in a town that lives off the sanatorium / spa business. But the town has seen its heyday and the few rich guests that make their way there anymore only barely keep Lenz and his family afloat. Therefore he’s looking for other possibilities to earn a little money and make a better living. Or at least drown his sorrows in alcohol. As he’s just about to get laid off, young dancer Nurit (Mercedes Echerer) comes to town to get well and Lenz is appointed as her therapist. But their relationship may not stay entirely professional.

Nachsaison has a few strengths, but ultimately it didn’t work for me. Neither Lenz nor the story itself managed to keep my interest.

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Re-Watch: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: his play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi
Seen on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (John Malkovich) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (MIchelle Pfeiffer) who is staying at his aunt’s (Mildred Natwick) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Uma Thurman) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

After having so recently seen the play that was the starting point for the film, I must say that I was very much disappointed by the movie. I thought John Malkovich was miscast and the film never really finds its step. Michelle Pfeiffer is a sparkling star in it, though.

DangerousLiaisons

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Poltergeist III (1988)

Poltergeist III
Director: Gary Sherman
Writer: Gary Sherman, Brian Taggert, Steve Feke
Sequel to: Poltergeist, Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Cast: Heather O’Rourke, Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen, Zelda Rubinstein, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kipley Wentz, Richard Fire, Nathan Davis
Seen on: 2.6.2015

Plot:
Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O’Rourke) is sent to stay with her aunt Pat (Nancy Allen), her husband Bruce (Tom Skerritt) and their daughter Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) in the city, in a new skyscraper Bruce is currently overseeing the finishing touches on. But Reverend Kane (Nathan Davis) has followed Carol Anne even there. The strange phenomena surrouding Carol Anne are chalked up to psychosis by her school psychologist (Richard Fire) – and in the meantime, Kane grows ever nearer.

The second Poltergeist film already couldn’t hold a candle to the first, but the third is a big step down from even that. Nothing about it worked for me.

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Re-Watch: Scrooged (1988)

Scrooged
Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue
Based on: Charles Dickens‘ novella A Christmas Carol
Cast: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Alfre Woodard, Michael J. Pollard

Plot:
Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a TV producer. Rich, successful and cynical, he always strives to find the lowest common denominator to make most people watch his station. The current project is a live version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which Frank has spiced up, among other things with show girls. But just before the show starts, Frank is visited by his dead mentor Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) who warns him that he will be visited by three (other) ghosts to try to redeem him.

Scrooged was one of the films I used to watch regularly as a child, but I didn’t see it as an adult until now (or actually December, when it was screened at a local cinema). And as usual it is fascinating how different you see a childhood film as an adult. I enjoyed it then, I enjoy it now, but apart from my interestingly selective recollection, there were just so many things I never saw before.

Scrooged

[Spoilers, I guess]

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Ödipussi (1988)

Ödipussi
Director: Vicco von Bülow aka Loriot
Writer: Vicco von Bülow
Cast: Vicco von Bülow, Katharina Brauren, Evelyn Hamann

Plot:
Paul (Vicco von Bülow) is rather middle-aged but still spends most of his time when he isn’t working as a furniture salesman with his mother (Evelyn Hamann) who cooks for him, does his laundry and expects him to play scrabble with her and her friends. But when Paul, affectionately called Pussi, meets psychologist Margarete (Katharina Brauren) he starts to show an actual interest in a woman who isn’t his mother.

Ödipussi – a pun, as you probably gathered, on the Oedipus complex – is a classic of German comedy (contrary to Austrian popular belief, Germans do have a sense of humor) and it’s wonderfully absurd. It does end weirdly but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

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Nuovo Cinema Paradiso [Cinema Paradiso] (1988)

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Writer: Giuseppe Tornatore, Vanna Paoli
Cast: Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Antonella Attili, Leopoldo Trieste, Agnese Nano

Plot:
When Toto was a little boy (Salvatore Cascio), he fell in love with the cinema. Supported, if roughly, by projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) he learns about film by becoming a projectionist himself, continuing on as a teenager (Marco Leonardi). But in a small Sicilian town, there aren’t many options and Toto will have to decide what he wants from life.

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is, for the most part, really funny and sweet. I did not appreciate the romantic subplot, but other than that I really enjoyed it.

cinema_paradiso

[SPOILERS]

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Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard
Director: John McTiernan
Writer: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza
Based on: Roderick Thorp‘s novel Nothing Lasts Forever
Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton

Plot:
Police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels from New York to LA for Christmas, where his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) and children have been living for the past months. But shortly after he arrives at Holly’s office Christmas party, terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) take the entire party hostage. Everybody but John, that is. With no way of contacting anybody on the outside, it’s up to John to get rid of the terrorists one by one.

I’m a little late to the party with this movie, I know. And maybe because I’m late to the party, I don’t really get what all the fuss about this film is about? I mean, yes, it’s a good action movie. There are some nice jokes. But I just didn’t think it was all that great.

die-hard

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Beaches (1988)

Beaches
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Based on: Iris Rainer‘s novel
Starring: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Mayim Bialik, Marcie Leeds, James Read, Grace Johnston

Plot:
CC (Mayim Bialik) and Hillary (Marcie Leeds) meet when they’re 12 years old and despite the fact that their lives couldn’t be any more different, they strike up an immediate and lifelong friendship. While CC dreams of becoming a singer and star to escape her life in the Bronx, Hillary follows her family’s money to an ivy league university. 10 years of pen palness after their first meeting, CC (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey) move in together and continue to face life together, with all highs and lows.

My sister was appalled when she recently found out that I had never seen this film. She immediately gave me her DVD and told me to watch it because it’s one of her favorite films. Despite that I didn’t think I would like it much (prejudices getting in the way). But it turns out that it really is a beautiful film about a wonderful friendship.

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