Tuesday, March 29, 2016

1984--The Year in Review

1984 is a rock-flavored year for me. In this, my first year as a published film writer, my number one choice--Jonathan Demme's collaboration with the band Talking Heads--is the first documentary I have ever chosen for the top spot; it's the only movie in which, when I saw it in a theater, the experience was LITERALLY like a dance party. I have still never experienced anything like Stop Making Sense. I went into my first glimpse of it not knowing much about its subjects, and I emerged a new person–one with an instant sense of rhythm, and a desire to play music just like those joyful people up on the screen (I ended up playing percussion with a band in the mid-90s because of it). This film, plus my second choice–cinema's greatest-ever blend of improv comedy and mockumentary, intriguingly deemed This is Spinal Tap–changed my life and, as a result, for my following two decades, I was as big a fan of music as I had previously been of movies. On top of all this, we have among the most explosive and competitive Best Song selections of all time, with tunes from This is Spinal Tap, Purple Rain, Footloose, Streets of Fire, The Woman in Red, Beverly Hills Cop, Swing Shift, 1984, Give My Regards to Broad Street, and Ghostbusters. It's also a massively documentary-themed year, with Robert Epstein's remarkable The Times of Harvey Milk, the continuation of Michael Apted's landmark series 28 Up (perhaps the most important of its installments), and Streetwise, Martin Bell's astounding account of Seattle homelessness. As for narratives, I was breathlessly impressed with newcomer Roland Joffe who, along with screenwriter Bruce Robinson, transformed my view of the Asian-based conflict that had so recently choked the world; The Killing Fields was THE movie that made me understand the breadth of that bizarre war. We were served a regal final effort from the film master David Lean, an adaptation of E.M. Forster's mysterious A Passage to India. And, on another front, there was Broadway Danny Rose, a very different kind of Woody Allen film, with the director/writer/actor’s most idiosyncratic performance (featured alongside a stunning show from his newest leading lady Mia Farrow). Allen's film joined This Is Spinal Tap as a leader in an another amazing year for comedy that included Ghostbusters, Stranger Than Paradise, Comfort and Joy, Splash, Beverly Hills Cop, Repo Man, Sixteen Candles, Moscow on the Hudson, Top Secret!, Romancing the Stone, The Lonely Guy, and Police Academy. There was the arrival of a new brand of indie film with Jim Jarmusch, Neil Jordan, Alex Cox, Lars Von Trier, and Joel and Ethan Coen (whose Blood Simple star M. Emmet Walsh came close to  besting Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Haing S. Ngor, who was so wonderful in The Killing Fields--I was this close to deeming it a tie), and the further outputs from John Sayles, Wim Wenders, Bill Forsyth, and Alan Rudolph. For the Academy's part, the year was controlled by Milos Forman's lush and very entertaining adaptation of Peter Schaffer's stage play Amadeus, which really popped onscreen (I wish I could love it as much as the Academy did, but it's slightly too dull for me). At any rate, 1984 is a bear, and newly 80s-flavored. We’re in a much different era now, folks, and it's a good one. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE: STOP MAKING SENSE (US, Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads) (2nd: This is Spinal Tap (US, Rob Reiner), followed by: The Killing Fields (UK, Roland Joffé); Broadway Danny Rose (US, Woody Allen); The Times of Harvey Milk (US, Robert Epstein); A Passage to India (UK, David Lean); Streetwise (US, Martin Bell); Blood Simple (US, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen); Stranger Than Paradise (US, Jim Jarmusch); Amadeus (US, Milos Forman); 28 Up (UK, Michael Apted); Threads (UK, Mick Jackson); Paris, Texas (West Germany/France/US, Wim Wenders); Love Streams (US, John Cassavetes); Once Upon a Time in America (US, Sergio Leone); The Terminator (US, James Cameron); Places in the Heart (US, Robert Benton); A Sunday in the Country (France, Bertrand Tavernier); Comfort and Joy (UK, Bill Forsyth); Antonio Gaudi (Japan, Hiroshi Teshigahara); Under the Volcano (US/UK, John Huston); Choose Me (US, Alan Rudolph); The Natural (US, Barry Levinson); The Brother from Another Planet (US, John Sayles); George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (US, George Stevens Jr.); Mike's Murder (US, James Bridges); The Bounty (US/UK, Roger Donaldson); The Bostonians (UK, James Ivory); The Company of Wolves (UK, Neil Jordan); Ghostbusters (US, Ivan Reitman); Splash (US, Ron Howard); Iceman (US, Fred Schepisi); Beverly Hills Cop (US, Martin Brest); Repo Man (US, Alex Cox); Birdy (US, Alan Parker); The Hit (UK, Stephen Frears); A Soldier’s Story (US, Norman Jewison); The Cotton Club (US, Francis Ford Coppola); 1984 (UK, Michael Radford); After the Rehearsal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Starman (US, John Carpenter); The Element of Crime (Denmark, Lars von Trier); Secret Honor (US, Robert Altman); The Pope of Greenwich Village (US, Stuart Rosenberg); The Burning Bed (US, Robert Greenwald); Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (US, Leonard Nimoy); Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (US, Steven Spielberg); Country (US, Richard Pearce); Carmen (Italy/Spain, Francesco Rosi); Swann in Love (France, Volker Schlöndorff); Swing Shift (US, Jonathan Demme); Sixteen Candles (US, John Hughes); Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Moscow on the Hudson (US, Paul Mazursky); Body Double (US, Brian de Palma); Dune (US, David Lynch); Streets of Fire (US, Walter Hill); Old Enough (US, Marisa Silver); Top Secret! (US, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker); Tightrope (US, Richard Tuggle); Romancing the Stone (US, Robert Zemeckis); The Karate Kid (US, John G. Avildsen); Greystoke: The Legend of Tazan, Lord of the Apes (UK, Hugh Hudson); Night of the Comet (US, Thom Eberhardt); The Lonely Guy (US, Arthur Hiller); Suburbia (US, Penelope Spheeris); Razorback (Australia, Russell Mulcahy); The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (US, W.D. Richter); 2010 (US, Peter Hyams); The Last Starfighter (US, Nick Castle); Dreamscape (US, Joseph Reuben); The River (US, Mark Rydell); The Razor's Edge (US, John Byrum); Purple Rain (US, Albert Magnoli); Footloose (US, Herbert Ross); A Nightmare on Elm Street (US, Wes Craven); Crimes of Passion (UK, Ken Russell); The Toxic Avenger (US, Michael Herz); Red Dawn (US, John Milius); Police Academy (US, Hugh Wilson); The NeverEnding Story (US/West Germany, Wolfgang Petersen))

ACTOR: Woody Allen, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (2nd: F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus, followed by: Steve Martin, All of Me; Albert Finney, Under the Volcano; Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop; Tom Hulce, Amadeus; Victor Banerjee, A Passage to India; Philip Baker Hall, Secret Honor; Bill Paterson, Comfort and Joy)

ACTRESS: Mia Farrow, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (2nd: Judy Davis, A Passage to India, followed by: Sally Field, Places in the Heart; Debra Winger, Mike‘s Murder; Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians; Genevieve Bujold, Choose Me; Katherine Turner, Romancing the Stone; Karen Allen, Starman; Frances McDormand, Blood Simple)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Haing S. Ngor, THE KILLING FIELDS (2nd: M. Emmet Walsh, Blood Simple, followed by: Nick Apollo Forte, Broadway Danny Rose; John Lone, Iceman; Christopher Guest, This is Spinal Tap; Adolph Caesar, A Soldier’s Story; Jeffery Jones, Amadeus; John Candy, Splash; John Malkovich, Places in the Heart)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Peggy Ashcroft, A PASSAGE TO INDIA (2nd: Melanie Griffith, Body Double, followed by: Theresa Russell, The Razor’s Edge; Glenn Close, The Natural; Christine Lahti, Swing Shift; Eszter Balint, Stranger Than Paradise; Geraldine Page, The Pope of Greenwich Village; Lindsey Crouse, Places in the Heart; Elizabeth Berridge, Amadeus)

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads, STOP MAKING SENSE (2nd: Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose, followed by: Roland Joffe, The Killing Fields; Rob Reiner, This is Spinal Tap; Milos Forman, Amadeus; David Lean, A Passage to India; Mick Jackson, Threads; Jim Jarmusch, Stranger Than Paradise; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY (France, Bertrand Tavernier) (2nd: After the Rehearsal (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman), followed by: The Element of Crime (Denmark, Lars von Trier); Carmen (Italy/Spain, Francesco Rosi); Swann in Love (France, Volker Schlöndorff); Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: STOP MAKING SENSE (US, Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads) (2nd: The Times of Harvey Milk (US, Robert Epstein), followed by: Streetwise (US, Martin Bell); 28 Up (UK, Michael Apted); Antonio Gaudi (Japan, Hiroshi Teshigahara); George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey (US, George Stevens Jr.))


ANIMATED SHORT: ANNA AND BELLA (Netherlands, Borge Ring) (won in 1985) (2nd: Jumping (Japan, Osamu Tezuka); Charade (Canada, John Minnis); You Might Think (US, Charlie Levi, Jeff Stein and Alex Weil); The Pit, the Pendulum, and Hope (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: A GIRL'S OWN STORY (New Zealand, Jane Campion) (2nd: Frankenweenie (US, Tim Burton), followed by: Barres (France, Luc Moullet); Making a Splash (UK, Peter Greenaway); Quest (US, Elaine Bass and Saul Bass))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (2nd: Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose, followed by: Joel and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple; Robert Benton, Places in the Heart; Barry Hines, Threads; Jim Jarmusch, Stranger Than Paradise)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Bruce Robinson, THE KILLING FIELDS (2nd: David Lean, A Passage to India, followed by: Peter Schaffer, Amadeus; Henry Olek and Phil Alden Robinson, All of Me; Bertrand and Colo Tavernier, A Sunday in the Country; Guy Gallo, Under the Volcano)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Caleb Deschanel, THE NATURAL (2nd: Chris Menges, The Killing Fields, followed by: Miroslav Ondricek, Amadeus; Jordan Cronenweth, Stop Making Sense; Gordon Willis, Broadway Danny Rose) 

ART DIRECTION: AMADEUS, Dune, The Natural, A Passage to India, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

COSTUME DESIGN: AMADEUS, Dune, The Cotton Club, A Passage to India, The Natural

FILM EDITING: STOP MAKING SENSE, The Killing Fields, This is Spinal Tap, The Terminator, A Passage to India

SOUND: STOP MAKING SENSE, Amadeus, Dune, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

SOUND EFFECTS: DUNE, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

ORIGINAL SCORE: Maurice Jarre, A PASSAGE TO INDIA (2nd: Randy Newman, The Natural, followed by: Mark Knopfler, Comfort and Joy; Harold Faltermeyer, Beverly Hills Cop; Bruce Smeaton, Iceman)

ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (2nd: Prince, Purple Rain, followed by: Neville Mariner, Amadeus; Dick Hyman, Broadway Danny Rose)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Purple Rain“ from PURPLE RAIN (Music and lyrics by Prince) (2nd: "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner), followed by: "When Doves Cry" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); “Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)” from Against All Odds (Music and lyrics by Phil Collins); "I Can Dream About You" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Dan Hartman); ”Big Bottom” from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); "Nowhere Fast" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Jim Steinman); "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red (Music and lyrics by Stevie Wonder); "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "The Heat is On" from Beverly Hills Cop (Music and lyrics by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey); “Sex Farm” from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); “Someone Waits for You” from Swing Shift (Music by Peter Allen, lyrics by Will Jennings); “Julia” from 1984 (Music and lyrics by Annie Lennox and David Stewart); "I Would Die 4 U" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "No More Lonely Nights" from Give My Regards to Broad Street (Music and lyrics by Paul McCartney); "Almost Paradise" from Footloose (Music by Eric Carmen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford); "Ghostbusters" from Ghostbusters (Music and lyrics by Ray Parker, Jr.); "Take Me With U" from Purple Rain (Music and lyrics by Prince); "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" from Streets of Fire (Music and lyrics by Jim Steinman); "Gimme Some Money" from This is Spinal Tap (Music and lyrics by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner); "Let's Hear It for the Boy" from Footloose (Music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Dean Pitchford))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: GHOSTBUSTERS, 2010, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom 

MAKEUP: AMADEUS, Iceman, The Terminator 

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