by JB and Jan B.
Scene: Jan walks into JB’s office, where he is gently French-kissing his life-sized bust of Nosferatu.
Jan: Hey, Pumpkin! I’ve been thinking…
JB: Don’t you ever knock?
Jan: …about a really special day that’s coming up. Kind of a 30-year celebration – a special day marking 1987, and the specialness of what happened in 1987.
JB: Me too, Honey Bunny! I’ve been thinking about it. And I’m so happy I get to be with you to celebrate….
Jan: …our 30th Anniver….
JB: ….F This Movie Fest!
JB: Featuring 1987!
Jan: Yes. That is what I was going to say.
JB: 1987 was such a cool year! Do you remember? When we were dating, I used to throw all of our ticket stubs into a giant brandy snifter and then made a list of all the stubs I saved. I know the original dates we saw most of the movies Patrick is showing at F This Movie Fest! Those were the special days of 1987. We spent them together, at the movies.
Jan: Hey, that really is cool! Let’s see that list… We saw Raising Arizona on April 7, Predator on June 29, RoboCop on July 2, and The Princess Bride on November 1. Wow! Wait… I don’t remember seeing Predator in a movie theatre.
JB: No, you didn’t. I went with Terry and the guys.
Jan: Terry is a good man. You could say that, in 1987, Terry was the BEST MAN. You know, the best man at…
JB: …that screening of Predator! I agree. You and I saw a shit ton of movies that year, remember? Mostly at the Plitt Woodfield theatres, which is now a discount shoe store. Hey, I know that look you’re giving me—it means you agree that so much has changed in 30 years!
Jan: Sure, that’s what it means.
Jan: Me too, actually. There’s one terrific scene—the videotape scene—but in a way, that’s also the most disappointing scene, because you spend the rest of the movie wondering why every other scene isn’t funnier.
JB: And the art direction doesn’t do Brooks any favors. Young Frankenstein really looks like a 1930s horror film—they even used some of Kenneth Strickfaden’s original lab equipment from Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein! Spaceballs looks a sitcom, a sitcom from 1987, our special year for movies.
Jan: Right. Pumpkin, don’t you remember WHY we were in New York? Together? Seeing Spaceballs?
JB: We were taking a special kind of romantic trip. That was the first time I ever visited New York – the first time I saw Spaceballs – the first time I’d ever flown on a plane!
Jan: It was the first time you did a lot of things.
JB: I’ve written a lot of columns about movies we love from 1987 – including The Hidden, Near Dark, and Tough Guys Don’t Dance. “Oh man, oh God! Oh man, oh God!”
Jan: Hahaha! Since 1987, I always get your movie references. Hey, do you know what 1987 movie is FULL of great lines? Broadcast News, directed by James L. Brooks (no relation) and starring Albert Brooks (no relation.) You and I still love to quote this one. The characters are so great! For 1987, Holly Hunter’s Jane was really different—smart, determined, but kind of a mess. And the triangle they set up between her, Aaron (Brooks) and Tom (William Hurt) ends up in a different place than the 1987 moviegoer would expect.
Jan: Yeah, I know the one. But speaking of relationships… are you sure you don’t remember something ELSE from 1987? Relationship-wise? Think back… we bought a little house… does that remind you of anything?
JB: Yes – our crippling mortgage payment. And also…
Jan: …also our wedd…
JB: …. House of Games!
Jan: Damn. That’s a good one. I love me some David Mamet. He wrote and directed, right?
JB: Yep. For a first directorial effort, it’s remarkably accomplished. The script is twisty (#twiscript) but manages to continually upend our expectations without cheating. And House of Games features the actor that is best at delivering Mamet’s stylized dialogue: Joe Mantegna.
Jan: Agreed. We’re never 100% sure of the characters’ motivations; as the movie goes on, the level of tension becomes unsettling, almost like watching a horror film. It’s got a sexy-dangerous vibe. Mamet’s style—the rapid back-and-forths; the syncopated, contractionless rhythms; the noir-ish poetry of his diction—almost gives the sense of an alternate reality.
Jan: Look, Pumpkin. I love you. And I love 1987! But it’s not ONLY for the movies… it’s because that was the year I wore a beautiful white dress and stood beside you before our family and friends, in the church our son would later be christened in, and I pledged that I’d stick with you through thick and thin, sickness and health, blockbuster hits and miserable flops, as your friend, your helpmate, your movie buddy… and your WIFE, you fucking lunkhead! We’ve been legally sharing a bed, a home, and large popcorns for 30 years because another special day in 1987… was our WEDDING DAY.
JB: Wait, we’re married?