Tuesday, April 26, 2016

1988--The Year in Review

Krzysztof Kieslowski's ten-film series Dekalog is often cited as among the finest film achievements of 1988, but I have to confess, I still haven't seen all of it, so I conspicuously left it out of the running (though I have to say, the three installments I have seen are impeccable). In its stead, I've awarded Best Picture to another Eastern European-flavored tale of morality, Philip Kaufman's heartrending adaptation of Milan Kundera's classic novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, with Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin each excelling as two radically different muses to Daniel Day Lewis' philandering brain surgeon, all against the backdrop of the 1968 Prague Spring revolution in Czechlosovakia (the only way the movie could have been any better is if one of the many great Czech filmmakers who actually lived through the event had directed it). Still, with Sven Nykvist's superb photography, Walter Murch's inventive editing, and Kaufman's terrific script (penned with the legendary Jean-Claude Carriere), it nonetheless hits the requisite heights. But for Best Director, I had to go another way: given how effectively its low budget was used, and how highly wrought the needless controversy was surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ (especially given its ultimate spiritual power), I just had to find for Martin Scorsese once again (his third win in the category thus far). It was a great year for world cinema--maybe the best of the 1980s--with Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso walking away with the prize (and it was a superb period for Japanese animation with three of the genre's finest offerings ever). I was going to go with Philippe Noiret for Supporting Actor for his moving work in Cinema Paradiso, but at the last minute, I came to the realization that Alan Rickman's slithery villain in Die Hard was the supporting performance that really captured the audience's fascination. As for the Academy's choices, they largely fell on the side of Barry Levinson's Rain Man, an entertaining movie to which I rarely return (I still think Tom Cruise is better in the film than Dustin Hoffman, even if Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar that year). Hoffman doesn't even come into play in my final Best Actor race, which is commanded by Jeremy Irons' creepily devastating twin-lead performance in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. With the impressive documentary category, Errol Morris easily triumphs with his true breakthrough effort The Thin Blue Line (which ended up freeing its downtrodden subject, Randall Adams, from prison). In the short film category, the UK's emerging auteur Mike Leigh wins for one of his excellent short films made for the BBC, while Canadian animator Richard Condie comes out on top with his adaptation of a traditional folk tune about a pesky cat. All in all, a strange but rewarding year of cinema. 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: THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (US, Philip Kaufman) (2nd: The Last Temptation of Christ (US, Martin Scorsese), followed by: Cinema Paradiso (Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore); The Thin Blue Line (US, Errol Morris); Distant Voices, Still Lives (UK, Terence Davies); Tucker: The Man and His Dream (US, Francis Ford Coppola); Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls); The Vanishing (Netherlands/France, George Sluizer); Die Hard (US, John McTiernan); The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (US/UK, Terry Gilliam); Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (US, Robert Zemeckis); Dead Ringers (Canada, David Cronenberg); High Hopes (UK, Mike Leigh); Hairspray (US, John Waters); Dangerous Liaisons (US, Stephen Frears); They Live (US, John Carpenter); A Fish Called Wanda (UK, Charles Crichton); Things Change (US, David Mamet); Clean and Sober (US, Glenn Gordon Caron); Rain Man (US, Barry Levinson); Let’s Get Lost (US, Bruce Weber); Salaam Bombay! (India, Mira Nair); Drowning by Numbers (UK, Peter Greenaway); Another Woman (US, Woody Allen); A World Apart (UK, Chris Menges); Story of Women (France, Claude Chabrol); Grave of the Fireflies (Japan, Isao Takahata); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); Bird (US, Clint Eastwood); Alice (UK/Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer); Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otomo); Bull Durham (US, Ron Shelton); Beetlejuice (US, Tim Burton); Paperhouse (UK, Bernard Rose); My Neighbour Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Little Dorrit (UK, Christine Edzard); Landscape in the Mist (Greece, Theo Angelopoulos); Frantic (US, Roman Polanski); The Navigator (New Zealand, Vincent Ward); The Beast (US, Kevin Reynolds); Miracle Mile (US, Steve De Jarrnatt); Running on Empty (US, Sidney Lumet); In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders (US, Dick Lowry); Candy Mountain (US, Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer); The Accidental Tourist (US, Lawrence Kasdan); The Accused (US, Jonathan Kaplan); Crossing Delancey (US, Joan Micklin Silver); The Bear (France/US, Jean-Jacques Annaud); Midnight Run (US, Martin Brest); School Daze (US, Spike Lee); Tales of the Gimli Hospital (Canada, Guy Maddin); Camille Claudel (France, Bruno Nuytten); Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Finland, Aki Kaurismaki); Dominick and Eugene (US, Robert M. Young); Eight Men Out (US, John Sayles); Vampire’s Kiss (US, Robert Bierman); Talk Radio (US, Oliver Stone); Mystic Pizza (US, Donald Petrie); Working Girl (US, Mike Nichols); Stand and Deliver (US, Ramon Menendez); The Chocolate War (US, Keith Gordon); Little Vera (USSR, Vasili Pichul); Lady in White (US, Frank LaLoggia); Colors (US, Dennis Hopper); The Good Mother (US, Leonard Nimoy); The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II (US, Penelope Spheeris); The Time of the Gypsies (Yugoslavia, Emir Kusturica); Coming to America (US, John Landis); Married to the Mob (US, Jonathan Demme); Mississippi Burning (US, Alan Parker); Big (US, Penny Marshall); Biloxi Blues (US, Mike Nichols); A Cry in the Dark (Australia, Fred Schepisi); The Milagro Beanfield War (US, Robert Redford); The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (US, David Zucker); The Moderns (US, Alan Rudolph); The Passion of Beatrice (France, Bertrand Tavernier))



ACTOR: Jeremy Irons, DEAD RINGERS (2nd: Michael Keaton, Clean and Sober, followed by: Forrest Whitaker, Bird; Tom Hanks, Big; Tom Hulce, Dominick and Eugene; Don Ameche, Things Change; Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Edward James Olmos, Stand and Deliver)


ACTRESS: Juliette Binoche, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Glenn Close, Dangerous Liasons, followed by: Jodie Foster, The Accused; Carmen Maura, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel; Gena Rowlands, Another Woman; Ruth Sheen, High Hopes; Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark)


SUPPORTING ACTOR: Alan Rickman, DIE HARD (2nd: Philippe Noiret, Cinema Paradiso, followed by: Martin Landau, Tucker: The Man and His Dream; Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice; River Phoenix, Running on Empty; Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda; Charles Grodin, Midnight Run; Dean Stockwell, Married to the Mob)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lena Olin, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Johanna Ter Steege, The Vanishing, followed by: Diane Venora, Bird; Edna Dore, High Hopes; Kathy Baker, Clean and Sober; Michelle Pfieffer, Dangerous Liasons; Leslie Manville, High Hopes; Geena Davis, The Accidental Tourist)



DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (2nd: Philip Kaufman, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, followed by: Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso; Errol Morris, The Thin Blue Line; Terrence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives; Francis Ford Coppola, Tucker: The Man and His Dream; John McTiernan, Die Hard; George Sluzier, The Vanishing)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: CINEMA PARADISO (Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore) (won in 1989) (2nd:  Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: The Vanishing (Netherlands/France, George Sluizer); Salaam Bombay! (India, Mira Nair); Story of Women (France, Claude Chabrol); Grave of the Fireflies (Japan, Isao Takahata); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); Alice (UK/Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer); Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otomo); My Neighbour Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Landscape in the Mist (Greece, Theo Angelopoulos); Camille Claudel (France, Bruno Nuytten); Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Finland, Aki Kaurismaki); Little Vera (USSR, Vasili Pichul); The Time of the Gypsies (Yugoslavia, Emir Kusturica))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: THE THIN BLUE LINE (US, Errol Morris) (2nd: Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (France, Marcel Ophuls), followed by: Let’s Get Lost (US, Bruce Weber); The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II (US, Penelope Spheeris))



ANIMATED FEATURE: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (Japan, Isao Takahata) (2nd: Akira (Japan, Katsuhiro Otoma), followed by: My Neighbor Totoro (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Alice (UK/Czechosovakia, Jan Svenkmeyer))



ANIMATED SHORT: THE CAT CAME BACK (Canada, Cordell Barker) (2nd: Feelings of Mountains and Waters (China, Wei Te); Family Portrait: The Simpsons (US, Matt Groening); The Public Voice (Denmark, Lejf Marcussen); Another Kind of Love (Czechoslovakia, Jan Svankmajer))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE SHORT AND CURLIES (UK, Mike Leigh) (2nd: The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (US, Dean Parisot and Steven Wright, US), followed by: The Last Theft (Czechoslovakia, Jiri Barta); Gullah Tales (US, Gary Moss and George De Golian); I…Dreaming (US, Stan Brakhage))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Giuseppe Tornatore, CINEMA PARADISO (2nd: John Cleese and Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda, followed by: Mike Leigh, High Hopes; Ron Shelton, Bull Durham; Terrence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives)


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Philip Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Christopher Hampton, Dangerous Liasons, followed by: George Sluzier and Tim Crabbe, The Vanishing; John Carpenter, They Live; Paul Schrader, The Last Temptation of Christ)


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sven Nykvist, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (2nd: Vittorio Storaro; Tucker: The Man and His Dream, followed by: Giuseppe Rotunno, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; Jan De Bont, Die Hard; Phillippe Rousselot, The Bear)


ART DIRECTION: THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Dangerous Liasons, Beetlejuice, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?


COSTUME DESIGN: THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, Dangerous Liasons, The Last Temptation of Christ, Coming to America, Beetlejuice



FILM EDITING: DIE HARD, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Last Temptation of Christ; The Thin Blue Line, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 

SOUND: DIE HARD, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Bird, Beetlejuice, The Bear

SOUND EFFECTS: DIE HARD, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Bear  



ORIGINAL SCORE: Peter Gabriel, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (2nd: Ennio Morricone, Cinema Paradiso, followed by: Alan Silvestri, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Philip Glass, The Thin Blue Line; Dave Grusin, The Milagro Beanfield War)



ADAPTATION SCORE/SCORING OF A MUSICAL: Lennie Niehaus, BIRD (2nd: Bill Lee, School Daze)



ORIGINAL SONG: “Hairspray“ from HAIRSPRAY (Music and lyrics by Rachel Sweet, Willa Bassen and Anthony Battaglia) (2nd: “Let The Rivers Run” from Working Girl (Music and lyrics by Carly Simon), followed by: “Da Butt” from School Daze (Music and lyrics by Marcus Miller and Mark Stevens); “Colors” from Colors (Music and lyrics by Ice-T and Afrika Islam); “Straight and Nappy“ from School Daze (Music and lyrics by Bill Lee); "Two Hearts" from Buster (Music by Lamont Dozier, lyrics by Phil Collins))


VISUAL EFFECTS: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, Die Hard, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dead Ringers, Beetlejuice


MAKEUP: BEETLEJUICE, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dangerous Liasons, Coming to America, They Live

4 comments:

Must Love Movies said...

Are you no longer doing current reviews?

Dean Treadway said...

This is more of a film history site, though I do occasional reviews of current films, though I won't be doing any until this series reaches its end. However every week, you can hear my reviews of current films on the podcast MOVIE GEEKS UNITED! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/moviegeeksunited
Take some time and listen in---it's a really good show!

MattM said...

Hey Dean,one from this year I quite liked and am a bit surprised you didn't mention is Luc Besson's The Big Blue (Le grand bleu). I know it had a pretty mixed reception though so I'm guessing you're one of the ones who fall on the negative side,anyway I'm enjoying the years in review so far and am looking forward to the rest of the years to come...

Dean Treadway said...

You know, that's a title that's fallen through the cracks for me. All the films I list are films I've seen, so if I haven't seen it, I leave it off the list. I gotta get around to seeing that one, for sure.