Posted in Other Media

80s in August: 1988

Scrooged

Year: 1988
Runtime: 1h 41m
Rated: PG-13

Director: Richard Donner

Writers: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue, Charles Dickens

Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe

Streaming on: Hulu (my subscription has lapsed, so no links)

Initial: I’m not sure I’ve seen Scrooged since around the time it came out, though I generally mean to, often around Christmas time.

What Did I Think:
One of the things I liked about Scrooged the first time I saw it was that it treated the ghosts in A Christmas Carol like ghosts. They’re creepy and, when they’re not, they’re somewhat generally unsettling. With an updated setting, so too were the effects updated. Lew Hayward (the Marley character) isn’t just dead with his jaw tied shut. He’s a vaguely rotting corpse. I guess my point is, if you’re doing a ghost story, even one with a redemption theme, let the ghosts be ghosts.

I didn’t at all remember that Frank Cross (Murray) was a TV executive or that the meta aspect of the plot was that he was producing this live-on-Christmas spectacle version of A Christmas Carol. Therefore, the ending has to be different. It has to go beyond just changing Frank’s heart. I’m not sure the movie really pulls off the Christmas miracle of everyone being nicer to each other (especially, since Frank was really the only guy being particularly ba-humbug). Or, maybe I’m just particularly cynical at the moment.


Akira

Year: 1988
Runtime: 2h 4m
Rated: R

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writers: Katsuhiro Ôtomo, Izô Hashimoto

Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama

Streaming on: Hulu

Initial: Figured I should probably watch Akira since it’s such an influential anime film.

What Did I Think:
Remember how I said that Fire and Ice (1983) probably would have been better as an R-rated animated film? Yeah, Akira needed to be R and was, to its credit. It’s gory; it’s violent. There’s even some nudity.

From the outset I will admit, I don’t care for anime. My experience of it has been limited, but it all has been too loud and too much for me. That said, I can appreciate how excellent the animation of Akira is and how its story and style have impacted science fiction and animation. I did really enjoy the soundtrack which often gave a calm contrast to the frenetic action.


Child’s Play

Year: 1988
Runtime: 1h 27m
Rated: R

Director: Tom Holland

Writers: Don Mancini, John Lafia, Tom Holland

Stars: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif

Streaming on: Tubi

Initial: I’d never watched Child’s Play because I figured it was just a campy horror parody.

What Did I Think:
I was happy to find that my initial thoughts were incorrect—at least in regards to the first Child’s Play. I was surprised that this movie takes itself mostly seriously and is therefore actually pretty creepy.

When I watched Child’s Play, I listened through headphones (as I usually do) and the sound design adds a lot, keeping Chucky’s doings off-screen, but heard, for much of the movie. The effects are good enough and it dodges being silly because everyone is selling it serious. Alex Vincent, the kid playing the terrorized Andy, is pretty darn good. Btw, if you are bothered by a child in peril, this isn’t the movie for you.

Will I watch any of the sequels? Maybe, but I will expect them to be less serious. Will I watch the reboot (because of course they’ve rebooted Child’s Play)? Probably not.


Other Movies from 1988: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Beetlejuice, Willow, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Alien Nation, Earth Girls Are Easy, They Live, The Blob, Dead Ringers, Lady in White, Pumpkinhead, The Serpent and the Rainbow.