Thursday, May 3, 2012

TheVern remembers the summer films of 1989.

As much as I would loved to have seen "Jaws" and "Star Wars"(The non edited version) when they were released back in the late 70's for me the best time for summer movies was the year 1989.   I remember reading about all the upcoming movies before they were released and being really excited to watch all of them.  I am also happy to say that I managed to see most of them in theatres that year, some of them I even saw twice.    Here is my list of the top ten summer movies of 1989.

#10.  Sex Lies and Videotape.

I did not get to see this in theatres because I was only twelve years old and there wasn't a lot of places in my town showing these kinds of movies.  This debut film from director Steven Soderberg kicked down a lot of doors in Hollywood and introduced general audiences to the independent feature.  Now a days that line is somewhat blurred because many big named studios have their own indie line, but back than it was quite the game changer.   I wasn't too impressed by the actual movie itself.  But I do recognize it's significant place in the history of motion pictures.

#9.  Do The Right Thing.

This is another movie I was too young to see in theatres, but I wish my parents would have taken me.  This is still one of the most important movies ever made.  One that should be required viewing for every citizen of these United States.  If someone is coming from another country wanting to live here they should watch this movie.  Spike Lee tackles the subject of race relations better than any other movie has done before or since.  The characters are all extremely well written and I even liked that there is no easy explanation to the chaos that happens near the end.  This is a movie that was wrongly robbed at The Oscars by only giving it a best screenplay and best supporting actor nomination.    Even though it's placed low on this list.  I highly recommend seeing this. 

#8.    When Harry Met Sally.

This is one of the first "R" rated romantic comedies I remember being a big hit for all audiences.  The fake orgasm scene that is featured below was so popular it was shown on broadcast TV.  This is still a very well written comedy about a relationship that lasted many many years.  It also doesn't follow conventional rom com movie tropes and still manages to be very original even to this day.

#7.    Lethal Weapon 2

I do remember seeing this one in theatres although I don't remember who actually took me. I guess they thought seeing people swear and get shot would be better for my eyes than seeing naked people. Right from the start this one has me hooked. It had great action and it was funny without being too silly. It also made me a bit cautious to take a shit after seeing a bomb panted to a toilet.   I watched the first "Lethal Weapon" a few years later, but really prefer this sequel to that one or any of the others in the franchise.

# 6.   Honey I Shrunk The Kids

I really had no interest in watching this when it came out in theatres. The only thing that brought me to the cinemas was a Roger Rabbit short that was shown before the actual movie. The short ended up being just o.k., but the movie was actually better than I expected. Many of the effects may seem a bit dated by today's standard, but at least they tried to make it more realistic. If this movie were to be done today they would just shoot everything on a blue screen and add effect later. In this one all of the effect shots were done with real props and sets were actually built to give the impression of a smaller world. It also marked the first time  Stuart Gordon("Re-Animator") did a Disney film  and it was Joe Johnston("Captain America") directorial debut.

#5. The Abyss

James Cameron takes us underwater to give us this sci fi thriller about team who discover another life form. I remember seeing videos about the production of this. The whole crew and cast filmed many scenes underwater in two huge stadium sized tanks. The movie also issued in a new level of computer effects which would change how movies are made in the future. The Abyss still holds up today and I watch it at least once every year.

#4. UHF

Ever since I was a kid I have been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic and I still am in a way. UHF marked the movie debut of the famed song satirist, and it was the funniest movie I have seen that year. Surprisingly a lot of the humor still works today. I loved the fake commercials for "Conan The Librarian" and "Spatula City" and I admired that it wasn't afraid to be absolutely ridiculous and somewhat absurd too. This is the closest thing to the style of something like "Kentucky Fried Movie" or "Airplane" Is it a great movie, no. But it still makes me laugh.

#3. Ghostbusters 2

It was five years since New York was invaded by some pesky poltergeists and at least five years since we seen a sequel to one of the best comedies of all time. When production was announced I could hardly wait to see this. I remember vividly watching the first one in theatres with my family and loving every moment. It was scary, funny and just downright exciting. It's too bad the sequel didn't live up tho the excitement the first one had, but It's kind of hard to duplicate the same magic twice. I just liked seeing these characters up on screen again. The four leads were great and never I never got the notion that they lost their chemistry. It was just the storyline was a complete copy of the first one. If a third Ghostbusters movie is made they will really have to convince me the story is good before I check it out.

#2.    Batman

From today's standard Tim Burton's version of the caped crusader is much lighter in tone compared to Christopher Nolan's recent versions. But back when this was released there was a lot of controversy involving it's darker tone. After all the only other Batman the public knew about was the 6o's television series starring Adam West. That one was very family friendly and had wacky villains who's only motivation was just to steal  money. Jack Nicholson puts in a great performance as "The Joker" and Michael Keaton wowed a lot of nay Sayers with his performance as both Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting alter ego. This movie was huge when it came out and it showed studios that movies with darker images and tones could be a box office hit. I loved this move so much I ended up seeing it at least  four times in the theatres.

#1. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

In my opinion I think this third adventure of the famed archaeologist is the best. I really liked "Raiders of The Lost Ark" a lot but if there was any movie to introduce someone to this franchise. It would be "The Last Crusade" It introduced me to a young Indiana(The late River Pheonix) that was very exciting. It had a lot of great action, and funny moments between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. And unlike most sequels it did not regurgatate any stories from the previous movies. It was it's own complete thing and I really enjoyed that. These are movies you can watch at any time and they are still just as good. It never feels dated, and I bet you could show someone this after 30 years and they will still find it to be just as exciting as it was for me back in 1989.

Do you have a favorite year for movies. Leave me some suggestions in the comment box. Thanks for reading.


  1. Wow, I hadn't realized that Batman, Indy, Abyss and UHF all came out on the same year. I suppose I don't usually think of those movies as a group.

  2. Oh Yeahs it was an awesome time for some really good flicks. Thanks for the comment

  3. I Can't believe you didn't list Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Krissandra is going to be sooooo pissed.

    1. Wasn't part V the weakest of all the "Star Trek" flicks?

    2. Star Trek automatically trumps all other movies. "What does god need with a starship?" is one of the greatest movie quotes of all time.

    3. It's a good quote but of all time. Im not too sure of its staying powers though. Appreciate the comments though

  4. Ghostbusters 2 was the last movie I ever got to see with my family before my dad passed shitty as the movie was, compared to the first, it'll always hold a place in my heart for that.

    I remember seeing The Last Crusade at least 3 times. I too found it to be the best one of the trilogy. It's a shame we never got to see Connery reprise his role in a 4th film.

    Batman was EVERYWHERE that summer...bumper stickers, t-shirts, MTV (Prince video), Topps trading cards (I had the entire set)..and it brought Batman to a new generation. Michael Keaton will always be Batman in my mind.

    Damn, that really was a good year!

  5. Thanks for your comment Joe. I'm glad you got to spend time with your dad at the cinema before he passed away. Movies were a big thing with my family too.

    At least the 4th one did reunite Karen Allen and Harrison Ford, despite it being just too cartoonish.

    I agree with your thoughts on Michael Keaton as Batman. He was also a better Bruce Wayne

  6. The fact that I saw a good deal of these movies in theaters (well the PG ones anyway) makes me feel old.

    I agree that "Do the Right Thing" is one of the best movies about racism. However given Spike Lee's racism against whites (just look at his biased portrayal of Italian-Americans in 'Son of Sam') it weakens the film's message of racial equality since the film is not wholly the social viewpoint of the filmmaker.

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