Category Archives: 1989

Field of Dreams (1989)

If you build it, he will come.

— The Voice

This is the last movie that I saw before my burnout happened over two months, the guy tear-jerker Field of Dreams. There is an unwritten rule that if you are a man and you don’t cry at the end of, you have no soul. That is true. Every boy wants to have one game of catch with their fathers once in their lifetime. Based on the novel, “Shoeless Joe”, it was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.

A farmer from Iowa named Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is walking through his field when he hears a disembodied saying, “If you built it, he will come.” He hears the same phrase repeatedly, but he is the only one that hears it. He confesses to his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan) about the phrase that he keeps on hearing. She thinks that maybe it was God talking to him or maybe he is going off the deep end.

Ray randomly questions the townspeople about the meaning of the phrase until he realizes that he has to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. He thinks that this action would bring a childhood hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, back so he could play one last game. Ray thinks that he is turning into his father (Dwier Brown), a man who played it safe during his life and never took chances.

Ray decided to plow him field, much to the chagrin of the people in the town who think that Ray is bonkers  and would lose his farm. He spends his life savings building the diamond, waiting for something to happen. Months go by with no response until there is a man walking in the diamond. It is Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta). They play a mini game of baseball. When they are done playing, Ray and Joe realize that Joe cannot step foot outside of the diamond. Joe disappears into the cornfield.

Ray’s brother, Mark (Timothy Busfield) thinks that Ray is crazy to think that he could afford the farm when he wiped out most of his crop. The bank is threatening to take away the home. The NY Yankees team from the 1919 World Series come to play ball in the field. Ray, Annie and their daughter, Karin (Gaby Hoffmann) can see them, but Mark cannot.

Ray has enough to deal with when the voice tells him to “ease his pain”. He thought he meant the radical novelist turned social recluse, Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones). He tries to kidnap him to take him to a ball game where he didn’t have the opportunity to do when his father.

I might have remembered the movie differently, because I didn’t get the same feeling with movie like I did when I was younger. I bawled at the end of the movie, but I had a heartwarming feeling by this last viewing. Hmm… I guess, the magic of the film is gone.

Judgment: It’s still a fun ride, but its lost its luster.

Rating: 7/10

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Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

 People say that if you don’t love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.

— Ron Kovic

Memorial Day was a while ago and I wanted to see the picture that nabbed Tom Cruise his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, Born on the Fourth of July. I saw this a while ago, but I haven’t had the chance to write the review until now. The movie did win Oliver Stone the Best Director Oscar.

Based on the true story of Ron Kovic (Cruise), a man who comes from an extremely religious background, was a wrestler in high school and wanted to be part of something greater than himself. When a Marine Corps recruiter shows up at the school, Ron almost jumps at the chance of signing up and going to fight in Vietnam.

The action cut to Ron’s second tour when his platoon shot up a Vietcong village, but they accidentally killed women and children. They realize that it was ruse for the Vietcong to have the opening salvo on the Americans. During the confusion of sand and bullets, Ron ends up shooting one of his fellow soldiers, PFC Wilson (Michael Compotaro). Ron tries to confess what happened, but his superiors brush the incident under the rug.

In another altercation, Ron is shot in the foot and then in the upper chest, paralyzing him from the mid-chest down. He resides in a VA hospital in the Bronx that looks like a slum then a place for veterans. When he returns to his childhood home, he becomes angry that people are indifferent about the war and what it represents to the country.

The main reason for this review is for the next LAMB Acting School 101, Willem Dafoe. Willem has a small part as a confidant of Ron, Charlie, when Ron lives in Villa Dulce, Mexico. A place where disabled veterans stays, get drunk and have sex with hookers. Charlie questions Ron about what really happened to him in the war and questions everything that Ron believed in.

I was expected to be blown away with Tom Cruise’s performance. I saw glimpses of it, but not that much to keep me interested in it. I have seen a lot of Vietnam movies. It’s like all of them are blurring into one. This particular story is not that intriguing to me and I found myself bored with it. It seems shallow and it doesn’t explore what happens to a person when they come back from the war.

Judgment: I wish I had some glowing words to say about this movie, but I don’t.

Rating: 6.5/10

Heathers (1989)

What is your damage, Heather?

— Veronica Sawyer

Heathers is the kind of movie that you would know a couple of lines of dialogue without watching a single frame of the movie. This was that time. I knew what the premise was all about. This movie makes Mean Girls seem like child’s play. It was so dark and twisted than I was expecting.

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is desperate to be part of the popular crowd that she aligns herself with the most powerful clique in Westerburg High School, the Heathers. Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) is the queen bee with her lackeys Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) and Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty).

The problem is that Veronica despises the girls that she is associating with. She vents her frustrations against the Heathers in her diary. Her affluent life seems insignicant in comparsions to the other students in school when she meets a rebel named Jason Dean (Christian Slater) shows her the way to live life on the edge.

Heather Chandler invites Veronica to a college party at Remington University where things spiral out of control. Veronica drinks, vomits and wants to leave the party early. Heather C. is pissed at Veronica for embarrassing her that she vows to destroy her reputation at school.

Veronica doesn’t want that to happen. She confides in Jason about trying to get rid of Heather C. While Heather C. is sleeping off her alcohol induced stupor at her house, the toxic duo decides to mix drain cleaner with milk to give to her. When Heather C dies, she becomes even more popular than ever. Veronica realizes that who you associate with would change you forever.

I kinda knew that the movie was going to be dark in nature, but I didn’t know how dark it was going to get. It was jarring for me. I thought that I would end up hating it, but I didn’t. It was kind of a reminder that popularity is fleeting. People could be so consumed with it that they would kill for it. It’s really sad.

Judgment: If you don’t like this movie, what is your damage?

Rating: ****

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Listen. Since I’ve met you I’ve nearly been incinerated, drowned, shot at, and chopped into fish bait. We’re caught in the middle of something sinister here, my guess is dad found out more than he was looking for and until I’m sure, I’m going to continue to do things the way I think they should be done.

— Indiana Jones

I have no excuse for waiting twenty years to watch the #101 Movie of All Time on IMDb, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After I enjoyed the first outing of America’s favorite archeologist, I wanted to visit the third film of the now quadrilology. This movie was a fitting end to series, but George Lucas wanted to bring Indy back.

At his college where he has become a celebrity is his own right, men of Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) approach Indie (Harrison Ford). Upon arriving at his place, Walter shows him a broken tablet from the 12th century. While translating the inscription, he learns about the location of the Holy Grail, the chalice that holds the blood of Jesus Christ and whoever drinks from it is issued eternal life.

Learning the lore about the Grail’s whereabouts, Dr. Jones learns that Donovan’s project manager of the expedition to find the missing piece of the tablet has gone missing. It’s his father, Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery), scholar of medieval literature who tried to get a missing piece in Venice, Italy.

He remembers receiving a package from Venice containing his dad’s notes about all the evidence that he collected from his quest of the Holy Grail. Accompanying Indiana on his journey is Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody). They soon realize that other forces are preventing them to seek the Grail like The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword or the Nazis.

In the greater scheme of things, this movie is better than my all time favorite installment, Temple of Doom. This is not as good as the first movie. This movie’s action felt limp. Wasn’t enough pizzazz in it. The dialogue was tepid at best. The trademark humor was still there.

Judgment: It makes you wonder why would there be a fourth movie.

Rating: ****

Kickboxer (1989)

kickboxer

I tell them you say they no good fighters… and that their mothers have sex with mules.

–Xian

Being familiar with the Jean Claude Van Damme oeuvre, Kickboxer is not breaking the mold of the typical revenge story martial arts movie. Seeing him doing his signature splits and aerial roundhouse kicks is still quite enjoyable.

This movie starts with a kickboxing match with Eric “The Eliminator” Sloane (Dennis Alexio) defeating another opponent. He has defeated all of the best fighters in America. After the match, a reporter tells him and his manager brother, Kurt (Van Damme) about going to the birthplace of kickboxing, Thailand.

Once in Bangkok, Eric is set up in a match with the barbaric Muay Thai warrior, Tong Po (Michel Qissi). Eric is over-estimates his opponent and he becomes paralyzed from the waist down.

Blinded by the desire for revenge, he seeks out the tutelage of a master Muay Thai teacher, Xian (Dennis Chan) in a straw hut in the middle of the jungle. Xian doesn’t think that Kurt has the chops to defeat.

As in any film of this elk, he falls in love with a girl. In this case, she is Xian’s niece, Mylee (Rochelle Ashana). The local crime boss, Freddy Li (Steve Lee) wants to destroy everything in their lives.

What can I say? The acting is not very good. It was a stretch that Kurt was American. Okay. The fight scenes were too rehearsed to taken seriously.

The only good things about the movie is the skimpy costumes, Haskell Anderson and Dennis Chan.

Judgment: The only way you could enjoy this movie is that you love S&M.

Rating: ***1/2

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Romantic Comedy

Possibly my favorite quote from any movie, PERIOD!

This is the time when you are all supposed to be in a romantic mood, since I’m about to talk about a real romance type of film. I must say, guys, don’t stray, there’s plenty for you as well!

The script writing and witty execution by Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) is what movies are missing these days. I was exploring IMDB.com for a grabbing quote, and folks, this whole movie is freakin quotable, its a roar,especially when watching with your significant other and you realize your relationship is just like HArry and Sally’s! Take note, there will never be a movie like this made again!

By the fate of friends and connections, Harry and Sally take a drive from Chicago to New York City where they are off to begin their own lives out of college. On the long trip, Sally is invited into Harry’s twisted and sometimes cynical personality. “You never think of death do you?” he asks. Quickly followed by “I read the last page of a book just incase I die before I’m able to finish, that way, I know how the story ends. That’s sick!”

Sally begins to hate Harry, the womanizer and prodder into her life. They soon part however into the city of 8 million, never expecting to mysteriously meet again in an airport boarding the same flight. Sally’s anger and frustration with the quick talking and clever Harry is renewed as they renew their “never to be” friendship. But soon, like the time before, they part into their lives.

Another five years have passed, and again they run into each other, now after bitter separations from their significant others. But they kindle a friendship that neither of them believed would ever happen. Over the next months, they grew closer and closer together, sharing their lives and stories of dates they had been through.

The times were great, but their trust and relationship takes a huge hit when a night of passion turns into feuding, when Harry treats Sally like “every other woman” he had been with.

But talk about romance, on the night of the big New Year’s Eve party, Harry chases down Sally and makes her believe that he has fallen in love. “Harry Burns, this is what I hate about you! You make it impossible for me to hate you!” And she falls in his arms and lives happily ever after, 10 years and 4 months after they first met.

Okay, so sappiness aside, this is a hilarious movie that will keep you laughing from end to end. I remember hearing about the “orgasm scene” long before ever seeing the movie, and if nothing else, you need to watch the movie just for that!

But in all seriousness, this movie is a classic romance for men and women. Its fun, clever, loving, heart breaking (only shortly) and then the puzzle is assembled. It shows destiny is on our side, and when a person finds their one true love, fate has a way of twisting life so you spend the rest of your lives together. This is an older movie with a certain class that movie makers can not replicate these days. Movies like “When Harry Met Sally” make me wonder where the state of love is these days and how crushed it really is.

Please, for those of you unfortunate enough not to have seen this movie, take it from me, it’s worth it. And even if you have seen it dozens of times, watch it again, especially if you’re married with a story of your own. I laughed from beginning to end and was amazed in one of my classes recently to see how many of my peers have not seen this film. People, IT IS A MUST SEE!

 

Rating: 4 stars (because I can’t give more)!

 

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