by Adam Riske
Welcome back to the Mall Movie Time Machine! I’m taking in some solo missions this week, going back in time to three mall movie theaters from the late 1980s and deciding what I’ll see when I’m there. Leave your picks (and rationale) in the comments!
First Trip – Galleria Cinema 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY
When: August 7, 1987
The Living Daylights, Who’s That Girl, Stakeout, Nadine, Back to the Beach, Masters of the Universe, The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland, Happy New Year or Can’t Buy Me Love (sneak preview)
Round 1 (Must cut three)
My first two cuts are easy. I have no vested interest in Happy New Year, a Peter Falk-Charles Durning jewel heist movie that was barely released in theaters, or Nadine, despite it starring Jeff Bridges. My final cut for round one is going to be The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland, which is a movie I maybe saw in theaters in its initial run but I’m sure wouldn’t do much for my 2017 time traveling brain.
Round 2 (Cutting three more)
I think the next two that are easiest to cut are Who’s That Girl, despite me being fond of a couple of songs on that soundtrack. In the end, I know it won’t be a contender for my #1 pick, so I might as well get rid of it. Same goes for Can’t Buy Me Love (sorry Erika) because I remember being actively irritated by that movie on video and cable when my sister used to watch it. I was more of a Loverboy guy (#ExtraAnchovies). That leaves The Living Daylights, Stakeout, Back to the Beach and Masters of the Universe. I guess I’ll cut Bond (sorry Patrick) because it’s not one of my favorite entries in the series.
Ok, I’ve never seen Stakeout. I used to like Back to the Beach a lot as a kid and haven’t seen it since probably 1988 and I adore Masters of the Universe because of nostalgia. It is all three films’ opening nights, so that factors in too. Ok, I’ll remove Back to the Beach because as much as I want to see it again, I can’t imagine the opening night crowd will be all that jazzed for it (it only made $13M in its run and opened #8). I think my final choice has to be Masters of the Universe over Stakeout for a few reasons. 1) If I wanted to see Stakeout so bad, I probably would have done so by 2017; 2) An opening night He-Man crowd? How do you pass that up? 3) If I picked Stakeout I would be thinking about walking over to Masters of the Universe the whole time.
Second Trip – River Valley Mall Cinemas in Lancaster, OH
When: December 8, 1989
Round One (Must cut three)
I have to take out She-Devil for sure. I remember not liking that movie. I’ll also cut The Stepfather 2 because I, unfortunately, haven’t seen the original (though I have seen the remake, oddly enough). Lastly, I’ll remove All Dogs Go to Heaven, which I saw in theaters and remember thinking was not bad but who needs Don Bluth misery porn during their time travel? Not me.
Round Two (Cutting four more)
This is getting tougher. There’s no opening night draw this time and I haven’t seen five of the remaining seven options. Because of that, I will take out Look Who’s Talking, which I love but have seen many times and don’t need to catch it in theaters, and The War of the Roses, though I would like to revisit that movie at some point soon. I remember my parents saw it in theaters on a date night and told 7-year old me what the ending was and I was fascinated how a movie could build to chandelier death being the finale. Not realizing it was a black comedy, I legit was concerned that I could die if I was careless around my family’s chandelier after that. My next cut will be The Bear, although I’m sort of fascinated by that movie. Like, what is it? I recall seeing the poster a bit and (according to the internet) it was pretty successful in its theatrical run but it doesn’t intrigue me enough to keep it. My last cut will be Sex, Lies and Videotape, which I’ve never seen (sorry) but I can’t time travel and be in Laura San Giacomo heat. It’s too dangerous. I would have picked her over Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Just saying. Kit De Luca was a pistol.
I’m cutting Dad because I feel stupid for not choosing Soderbergh’s debut now as a contender for the top spot over Dad. I remember my dad liked Dad and said I should see it, but I’m afraid I’ll get sad in ’87 Lancaster and miss my dad and there’s no consoling time travel sorrow. Got to keep it light! So I’m left with either Black Rain, which I thought looked silly as a kid (Douglas perm) but then thought looked awesome when I saw a trailer as an adult, or Sea of Love, which I have DVR’d and never watched maybe forty seven times in my life. Sea of Love presents the Giacomo Conundrum, because it’s basically 75 percent about Hoowah! With Barkin, right? But Black Rain seems like a drag right now. I don’t know. Ok, fuck it; Sea of Love is my pick. They wouldn’t play it so much on HBO and Cinemax unless it had a good watch and rewatch factor.
Last Trip – Pyramid Mall Cinema in Ithaca, NY
When: April 1, 1988
Biloxi Blues, The Last Emperor, Moonstruck, Good Morning, Vietnam, Bright Lights, Big City, Johnny Be Good, The Seventh Sign, Beetlejuice, The Fox and the Hound
Round One (Must cut three)
The first one to go is The Seventh Sign, which I own on a “Horror Unleashed” DVD 4-pack with The Blob, Fright Night and Christine. I’ll get around to The Seventh Sign during Scary Movie Month, so I’ll cut it. Next, I guess, I’ll cut The Fox and the Hound, which I know I eventually saw in theaters but missed once because it was sold out when I went with my family. They still got me popcorn, though, so I was happy. Have you ever done that before? Had popcorn at the movies but didn’t end up seeing a movie? It’s a neat one-time experience. I remember thinking The Fox and the Hound was decent (Kurt Russell Rule), but I don’t have a huge urge to see it again after all these years. The last one I’ll take out for this round is Biloxi Blues, which I know I saw on video or cable and it freaked me out because I was six and wasn’t ready to handle its adult themes. I think Rob wrote something about this movie recently. Maybe I should rewatch it? Eh, not right now. I need to watch Stakeout (Stowe Heat!) and Sea of Love first.
Round Two (Cutting three more)
I’m taking out all the Oscar movies next – The Last Emperor (which I still haven’t seen and want to see, but not on a time travel trip), Moonstruck (which I like but don’t love) and Good, Morning Vietnam (a movie I love and a soundtrack I love even more….hmm…no, I’m keeping GMV for now). The third cut for this round then is Beetlejuice, opening night. I’m surprised too. I’ve always liked it but, I dunno, I have it on a Tim Burton 4-pack. I can watch it during Scary Movie Month on the same night I watch The Seventh Sign.
I really want to rewatch Johnny Be Good for some reason as I’m writing this. I saw it on video or cable and remember my dad had to close my eyes (nudity, maybe?), but a young Robert Downey Jr. and an even younger Uma seem pretty awesome right about now. So that leaves us with GMV or Bright Lights, Big City. And I’m going to shock the world and pick the Michael J. Fox drug drama even though I don’t really love it and I’ve seen it multiple times. I picked it because I remember really wanting to see it when I was six (I didn’t get drugs yet….I blame the D.A.R.E. program) because Michael J. was in it and I love that guy but my parents saying no because it wasn’t for me. Same thing happened with Casualties of War. So, this is righting a past wrong. I want (just once) to see a
“Michael J. Fox is stretching as a dramatic actor” movie in theaters. Also, even though I don’t do drugs, I for some reason like watching drug addiction dramas. I’ve never been able to figure it out. Like, why am I compelled to watch The Doors every couple of years?
Your turn! Which movies would you choose from these three trips and why?