When I watch a movie, there are two of me in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs and stuff that explodes, rarely stopping to deeply consider what he’s seeing. We call the kind of movies that guy likes POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s someone else who tags along with him. This guy might like some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA, a fan of foreign movies, and a sucker for cinematography, thematic motifs, and character development. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. Both of these guys are just nuts about everything 1987. Teddy Ruxpin: “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby. You’re gonna diiiiiie!” CINEMA: What the hell are you doing with Teddy? POPCORN: Dude . . . I found him with your scrapbook stuff. Check it out. It’s ’87 and he’s in concert! Hey, why do you have a Teddy Ruxpin anyway? CINEMA: I was, um, keeping him for someone. Besides, Teddy came out a couple years earlier. He was still going strong in 1987, though, with the debut of a cartoon in his name, and . . . oh, dammit, hand him over. POPCORN: Some sweet tunes for Teddy that year, dude. Check this out . . . Anthrax and “Imitation of Life.” Metallica’s $5.98 EP. Dead Kennedys, GIVE ME CONVENIENCE OR GIVE ME DEATH. Sonic Youth had SISTER. NWA dropped their 8-Ball. Guns n’ Roses busted out that first disc. Aerosmith had “Rag Doll.” Salt n’ Pepa, “Push It.” And, for you, George Michael. CINEMA: There was more than that. Classic discs by Depeche Mode, New Order, INXS, The Replacements. Prince had SIGN O’ THE TIMES. The Smiths were wrapping it all up. The Cure released “Just Like Heaven,” and then Dinosaur Jr. did an even better cover version. POPCORN: Steve Albini did that tune about being bored and settin’ himself on fire. Radical, dude. And d’you know that Nirvana had their first public appearance in ’87? They did a Zeppelin cover at a house party somewhere in Aberdeen. CINEMA: I did not know that. But I did know that U2’s JOSHUA TREE was in ’87. That was a landmark album . . . right, Teddy Ruxpin? Teddy Ruxpin: (in Axl Rose voice) “I wanna watch you bleed!” CINEMA: Snap out of it, Teddy! POPCORN: Dude . . . STREET FIGHTER came out, you remember? We were playin’ that shit at every corner 7-11 in the city. CINEMA: Huh, yeah we were. That was also the year Nintendo released THE LEGEND OF ZELDA. It was the debut of FINAL FANTASY . . . and the first MEGA MAN game. POPCORN: None of that, dude. When I wasn’t street-fightin’, I was busy with Mike Tyson’s PUNCH-OUT. Even managed to knock that sucker out a couple times. Then I was gettin’ some action with Leisure Suit Larry. CINEMA: That’s about the only action you got that year. Meanwhile, in TV Land, Dave and Maddie finally did it on MOONLIGHTING – POPCORN: – and everybody stopped watching – CINEMA: – and, after a six-month hiatus, NBC brought back REMINGTON STEELE (mostly because lead actor Pierce Brosnan had won the coveted James Bond role). But the Bond people didn’t want their guy in a lowly television show, so they fired him. Then, because he wasn’t going to be Bond anymore, the show was permanently cancelled. Which left us with that crap James Bond – POPCORN: Dude, Remington Steele made a crap Bond too, except for – CINEMA: – though it wasn’t so much Brosnan as it was the ridiculous stunts – POPCORN: – those awesome stunts. Like, yo, I got a plane to catch! CINEMA: You’re such a koozbane. Other cancellations that year included such 80s staples as HILL STREET BLUES, SILVER SPOONS, GIMME A BREAK, FRAGGLE ROCK, and THE A-TEAM – POPCORN: “I ain’t goin’ on no plane, fool.” CINEMA: – but, to make up for these, we had the debut of STAR TREK: The Next Generation, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, WISEGUY – POPCORN: JAKE AND THE FATMAN. CINEMA: – A DIFFERENT WORLD – POPCORN: DEGRASSI. CINEMA: – THIRTYSOMETHING, FULL HOUSE – POPCORN: Your favorite, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. CINEMA: Whatever, wastoid. POPCORN: Hoser. CINEMA: Then the FOX network made its prime-timeTV debut, with such shows as 21 JUMP STREET, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, and the first appearance of The Simpsons on THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW – POPCORN: Dude, you ever see that werewolf show? CINEMA: On FOX? POPCORN: Yeah, it was called WEREWOLF. CINEMA: Oh, catchy. POPCORN: It was in their original lineup. This college dude’s roommate, like, hands him a gun with silver bullets in it. Tells the college dude that he’s a werewolf and he’s gonna have to kill him. But ol’ boy gets bit before he blows the roommate away. Ends up roamin’ the country like David Banner in THE INCREDIBLE HULK, trying to find the way-back original wolf-dude before he completely loses his shit. CINEMA: No way. How did I miss this? POPCORN: Dunno, dude. It was pretty sweet. Effects were good. Ninety minute pilot, then, like, 28 half-hour episodes. Chuck Connors was in that first one, and then it had the bad guy from COBRA. You know, he was in BUFFY and CHARMED. The alien bounty hunter dude from THE X-FILES – CINEMA: Brian Thompson? Wow. I’m going to have to find that. POPCORN: Good luck, man. FOX put a silver bullet in that bitch after one season. Can’t even get it on video, somethin’ about music rights. CINEMA: That’s bunk. POPCORN: Damn skippy, pal. CINEMA: Meanwhile . . . and I suppose this could still be considered television . . . Pennsylvania Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer had been convicted of accepting bribes. He was scheduled to be sentenced the following day – POPCORN: Is this the dude? CINEMA: He set up a press conference, attended by numerous local officials and members of the press. Nervous and agitated, he once again professed his innocence and read from a thirty-minute prepared statement. He informed the crowd that they would need to get copies of his speech, passed out a few notes to his staff – POPCORN: This is the dude. CINEMA: – and then produced a large manila envelope. From the envelope he pulled out a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, said, “Please, please leave the room if this will affect you” – POPCORN: Thanks for the warning, bub. CINEMA: – and he put the gun in his mouth, fired. Right there in front of everyone. POPCORN: Dude, I’ve seen that video, like, way too many times. Like, friends were getting worried. You can hear everybody screamin’ and cussin’. The dude falls down, big-ass hole in his head. It was messed-up. Pretty sure that’s where that song comes from – CINEMA: Hey man, nice shot? The Filter song, yeah. Richard Patrick, the lead singer, said that the lyrics were more-or-less referencing this incident. Not Kurt Cobain, as everyone liked to claim. The press conference hadn’t been broadcast live, but the footage quickly hit almost every news channel. Many of them were even tasteless enough to show the whole thing . . . POPCORN: Damn, man. It’s like that kissy-face dude in THE RUNNING MAN . . . “This is television, that’s all it is. It has nothing to do with people, it’s to do with ratings! . . . don’t you understand? Americans love television. They wean their kids on it. They love game shows, they love wrestling, they love sports and violence. So what do we do? We give ’em what they want!” CINEMA: That’s essentially 1987 right there. POPCORN: Dude, that’s now. CINEMA: Pretty much. So, was that your favorite movie of ’87? POPCORN: RUNNING MAN? Naw, dude. That was the same year as PREDATOR. Too much classic Arnold all in one place. Kinda cancels himself out. CINEMA: “Get to the choppa!” POPCORN: “He had to split.” CINEMA: Wait, don’t tell me. Your favorite was . . . BEVERLY HILLS COP II? POPCORN: Nope. CINEMA: THE BIG EASY. POPCORN: That was your mom’s favorite. CINEMA: DEATH WISH 4. POLICE ACADEMY 4. REVENGE OF THE NERDS II. JAWS: The Revenge. Whatever Ernest movie happened to be out that year . . . ERNEST GETS A FUCKING CLUE? POPCORN: He goes to camp, dude. And you aren’t even trying. CINEMA: Alright, alright. No Oscar-winning films for you, so THE LAST EMPEROR is out. Not even you could have enjoyed LEONARD PART 6 . . . and LESS THAN ZERO is a bit too glossy. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE? POPCORN: Dude, what, did we just meet or somethin’? CINEMA: Well, this is stupid. There were so many movies that year . . . HOOSIERS? POPCORN: Nope. CINEMA: LETHAL WEAPON? POPCORN: No. CINEMA: THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS? POPCORN: No. CINEMA: PRICK UP MY EARS? POPCORN: Not right now. CINEMA: NUTS? POPCORN: Heh-heh . . . um, no. CINEMA: NEAR DARK had some memorable moments – POPCORN: – like Bill Paxton goin’ all bat-shit crazy on those dudes in the bar – CINEMA: Yeah. POPCORN: Not it, dude. CINEMA: (sighs heavily) POPCORN: You know, Jim Belushi was pretty cool in that one flick, THE PRINCIPAL. He busts up a car with a baseball bat, so they ship his ass off to that shitty school in the big city. Kids are all smokin’ reefer and tryin’ to rape Ray Dong Chong or whatever. Then here he comes with his bad attitude and a Louisville Slugger. He’s all, like, “I wanna make a school outta this place!” CINEMA: Like LEAN ON ME, but without the good acting or anything inspirational. POPCORN: Yeah. That wasn’t it either. CINEMA: You suck. POPCORN: Alright, man. Here’s a hint . . . “Bitches, leave.” CINEMA: ROBOCOP, really? POPCORN: Hey man, that was a solid movie. CINEMA: Obviously. I’m just a bit surprised that – POPCORN: That I would pick a decent movie, right? Well, what I most appreciate about it is the aggressively satirical content, buried within the guise of crowd-pleasing populist entertainment. The film manages to mock the American thirst for violence that was running rampant at the tail-end of the decade, lampooning war-hungry Reagan-era politics, without sacrificing a fairly simple, straightforward story that viewers can still recommend to their friends. In effect, this is a movie that points its finger at the audience while simultaneously inviting them in on the joke. CINEMA: Uh . . . yeah. POPCORN: And it’s violent as hell, dude. CINEMA: Well, yeah . . . um, there’s some satire here. For sure. And the whole Christ thing. POPCORN: Yep, I can read too. But what Christ thing? CINEMA: The . . . uh, ahem! The scene where the gang of thugs execute Murphy . . . the violence in that particular scene is – POPCORN: – is really damn violent, dude. I get it. All extra, over-the-top violent . . . CINEMA: – it is, it’s been likened to a crucifixion, even so far as the way the officer is lain out on the ground, his arms stretched wide. The gang members are laughing like hyenas, literally, and when they blast Murphy’s hand – POPCORN: Hamburger. CINEMA: – totally, and it, more or less, represents the nails in the palms. They slaughter this poor guy, when all he really wanted to do was to protect and serve. But then he comes back – POPCORN: – and beats the holy shit out of them. CINEMA: He becomes as much an avenger as a protector, which ultimately reveals his humanity even more strongly. He’s become a robot – POPCORN: – but you know he’s got soul. CINEMA: You got it. In many ways, he was one of the most human heroes of 1987 . . . both Arnold and Sly seemed more robotic in most of their 80s movies than this guy did. Director Paul Verhoeven’s inspirations for the RoboCop design were Gort from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL . . . and a male version of the robot from METROPOLIS. Both of these are very humanistic expressions of a supposed inhuman form. POPCORN: Dude looks like a Cadillac wearing an old Cylon helmet. I just figured it was cuz he’s from the Motor City. So what’s your favorite ’87, dude? CINEMA: Well . . . there is one . . . that I know you would really like. You remember the movie GRIZZLY, right? From 1976 . . . POPCORN: Dude, you know I loved GRIZZLY. It was, like, JAWS-in-the-woods. Scared the shit outta me when I was a kid. We watched that movie right before we went camping. I kept waiting for that big-ass monster to come rippin’ through the tent – CINEMA: Not a dry pair of pants to be found. Yeah, I remember. POPCORN: A sequel, for real? Damn, dude. Never even heard about it. CINEMA: Well, they pulled in what ultimately ended up being an amazing cast. Just insane, really. They had George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern . . . all of them were basically unknown at the time. Louise Fletcher – she was in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – POPCORN: Ratchet. CINEMA: Ratched, actually, but yeah. She’s a supervisor for a national park, planning some kind of huge, Woodstock-like event in the woods. The park ranger is doing his Chief Brody act with her, trying to convince her to cancel the concert, explaining that such a noisy show will undoubtedly attract the local grizzly bear population. But she’s not having it – POPCORN: – until this particular problem walks up and bites her on the ass – CINEMA: Yeah, yeah. So one of these bears attacks the three teenagers – POPCORN: Clooney, Sheen and Dern? CINEMA: You got it. Kills them all . . . but not before Clooney and Dern share a hot-and-heavy love scene in the woods – something which apparently infuriated Dern’s father, Bruce Dern, to no end, considering that she was still only sixteen. She had been asked to do the nude scene herself, but refused. They told her that they’d get a body double instead – POPCORN: So there’s even some nudity in this one? CINEMA: Apparently. This particular bear is monstrous, eighteen-feet tall, with huge, glistening claws. The park ranger starts to track it with the help of an activist, played by Deborah Raffin – she was in all kinds of stuff (THE SENTINEL, GOD TOLD ME TO, MANIAC) – and a local bear hunter that was played by John Rhys-Davies – POPCORN: Gimli from LORD OF THE RINGS, right? CINEMA: – and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Plus, get this – the park ranger’s daughter is a young Deborah Foreman . . . VALLEY GIRL, APRIL FOOL’S DAY, WAXWORK – POPCORN: Dude, no way. CINEMA: Way. Now . . . the footage is pretty rough, and the soundtrack isn’t much better. There’s definitely some filler in the concert scenes, which are performed here by Nazareth – POPCORN: Now you’re messin’ with a son-of-a-bitch? CINEMA: The same. But one of the biggest obstacles for the producers was to stage this concert, which was why they moved the entire thing overseas to Hungary. Leaving behind the guy they had hired to direct, I might add. They picked up another director over there, then paid some Hungarian promoter to arrange an actual for-real concert. They even charged these poor extras – 50,000 of them! – for the concert. POPCORN: Skeevy bastards. CINEMA: But there was one major problem . . . well, two, really. The producer took off with most of the movie’s funding, leaving much of it unfinished. And the bears didn’t work. POPCORN: The bears – CINEMA: Oh yeah. They weren’t using real bears, but had hired an effects guy to manufacture fake bears. Animatronic bears, with someone in a bear suit for all of the close-ups. But the bears didn’t work. The bear suit looked like shit. And most of the money was gone now anyway. So, probably within weeks of completion, everything crashed to a halt. POPCORN: Wait a minute, dude. So this movie isn’t even a real thing? CINEMA: Oh, it’s real. As in, they cast it and, more or less, filmed it. I think some of the actors might even have gotten paid. Charlie Sheen turned down an opportunity to be in THE KARATE KID in order to not act opposite a fake bear that wasn’t working. George Clooney did some more television for a while, then no one ever heard from him again. Laura Dern got naked for David Lynch instead. And whatever exists of this movie is collecting dust in a vault somewhere. POPCORN: Dude . . . sometimes you’re a dick. CINEMA: And, by the way, this wasn’t my favorite movie from 1987. Nothing in the world could beat THE UNTOUCHABLES. Come on now. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response POPCORN CINEMA 34: Well, That Was Shocking - Psycho Drive-In November 12, 2016 […] wanna do any time. Hey, we did something about him already, didn’t we? 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