Archive for 1987

The Princess Bride

Posted in Adventure, Comedy, Family, Romance with tags on January 15, 2014 by Mark Hobin

The Princess Bride photo starrating-5stars.jpgCinemark theaters’ Classic Series has become an easy way for people to see older films on the big screen. I recently watched 1987’s The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner’s glorious comedy adventure is a delightful tribute to vintage fairy tales of old. Almost 30 years later and the picture has lost none of its luster.

The production captures lightning in a bottle with each actor arguably giving the most memorable performance of their film careers. Mandy Patinkin deserves a lot of credit for his noble Spaniard out to avenge the death of his father. His famous oath: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” is the stuff of movie legend. Wallace Shawn is particularly funny as a delusional criminal genius. Joining the two is André the Giant perfectly cast as, what else, their giant friend Fezzik. The three of them form a wandering outlaw trio with camaraderie to spare. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright perfectly embody the quintessential romantic duo. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane are amusing as a forest dwelling troll doctor and his wife. “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”  Even Peter Falk as Grandpa who narrates and Fred Savage as his grandson provide a wonderful framing device through which the story is told. In this way, developments are halted at opportune times where jokes can be inserted for comic effect.

What makes The Princess Bride so enjoyable is Rob Reiner’s ability to send-up traditional fables without descending into acerbity. Novelist and screenwriter William Goldman brilliantly adapts his own 1973 novel of the same name. It gently pokes fun at the sentimentality of fairy tales while still genuinely capitalizing on their innocence. There’s a modern sensibility but it never threatens to contaminate the sincerity of the proceedings. Mandy Patinkin’s declaration is the most well known, but iconic dialogue abounds. “Inconceivable!” The Cliffs of Insanity, the Pit of Despair, the Fire Swamp where the Rodents of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S.) dwell – each location highlights another hilarious set piece. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer, you’ll thrill to every recognizable line and action spectacle. Its one lone Oscar nomination for Best Original Song is a complete headscratcher today. Although it wasn’t a huge hit in its day ($61.9 million in today’s dollars), the film has since gone on to achieve classic status. I’ll choose long term longevity to instant gratification any day. “As you wish.”

Wall Street

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on October 16, 2010 by Mark Hobin

Junior stockbroker is obsessed with forming a partnership with a ruthless Wall Street player, and learns a thing or two in the process.  Classic urban drama perfectly captures the zeitgeist of 1980s excess.  Director Oliver Stone’s intelligent script wisely simplifies stock market lingo in a way anyone can understand and highlights a fascinating relationship between Bud Fox and his business idol, Gordon Gekko .  Michael Douglas’ portrayal of the corporate raider is so charismatic, something unexpected happens.  He becomes a villain you admire as well as despise.  It’s a masterful performance and one that rightly earned him the Oscar for Best Actor.  He’s ably supported by star Charlie Sheen, a naïve go getter who gets caught up in the dizzying frenzy of buying and selling corporations to make a profit.  His scenes with his father, Carl, fittingly played by his real-life father Martin Sheen, are also particularly affecting.

Near Dark

Posted in Horror, Romance, Thriller with tags on August 1, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketHorror story is equal parts vampire film and western. While these vampires behave like a violent biker gang, they’re also prone to falling in love. Second teen vampire story to be released in 1987 after The Lost Boys, is perhaps less well known, but still, a wholly original, entertaining film. Director Kathryn Bigelow’s eerie and stylized film is memorably atmospheric. Dangerously-in-love couple, Caleb and Mae make Edward and Bella irrelevant.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Posted in Adventure, Comedy, Drama with tags on March 16, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketClassic 80s odd couple comedy. Steve Martin and John Candy, who had worked together the year before in Little Shop of Horrors , are comedic gold as a mismatched pair who together make their way back to Chicago by any means necessary. Of course, nothing goes right. One classic scene after another: Steve Martin has a memorable tirade against a car rental agent. And remember, “Those aren’t pillows!”