1988: The Year in Pictures

November 5, 2007

With Nate’s visit to scenic Somerville now one for the books, another year of Academy Award reviews can be added to the YS’ archives. In fact, 2 years can now be added, but given the bizarre absence of a record for 1990 (contra 1991 and 1989), I’ll hold off hyping the 1987 list until it has somehow made its way from my computer screen to yours. And, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, as I promised in the 1991 post, I’ll one day get around to adding grades for the other years.

But let us now praise famous films and take a look into the not-too-recent-or-useable past.


A Fish Called Wanda: Rather unlike today, the academy of wanda_200_200.jpgyesteryear used to regularly nominate two, or even three comedies, for the major awards. Perhaps things were just simpler in a world with history, without great conflicts that necessitated drama after drama. Either way, A Fish Called Wanda is really funny. Not just lighthearted or charming (adjectives that will come to dominate the 1987 list), but legitimately funny. John Cleese and Kevin Kline standout in a cast of standouts, and Charles Crichton was justly nominated for managing the cast and coaxing the best out of his actors. But what’s truly interesting about Fish is the timelessness of its humour. The best jokes and set-ups would be funny in any generation; almost nothing is dependent on immediate cultural references, and, if it is, the joke is immediately transparent. Justly on everyone’s mothers list of top comedies. Grade: A

The Last Temptation of Christ…has not aged well. Willem Dafoe is still excellent, and David Bowie’s Pilate is far superior to Jeff Ament’s. But Harvey Keitel is horribly miscast as Judas and the movie at times feels as if it’s going through the motions, portraying one biblical scene after another solely for the sake of having them in the movie (this predictability is really the problem encountered by all Jesus movies). Still, it’s hard not to appreciate Peter Gabriel’s score, and Scorsese’s gusto is evident. B/B+

Best Picture Nominees:

Working Girl: The second comedy on the list, 000980_13.jpgWorking Girl tells the story of a plucky secretary’s (invented) rise to dealmaker. Think The Secret of My Success with the girl-power of Veronica Mars. Actually, I’m not sure what WG (no Robinson) is trying to say about the place of women in the workplace. Tess’ boss (the excellent Sigourney Weaver) is the only female executive in sight and she tries to steal Melanie Griffith’s idea, lest she too succeed. Though the movie would seem to be acclaiming equality there is still the bizarre suggestion that only one woman can succeed at a time, or that the only way for a woman to succeed in business is to be conniving and manipulative. Perhaps I’m reading into the movie, but perhaps not. Then again, the movie may be a mirror and not a lamp, reflecting commonly held ideas while arguing against the culture that would pit two obviously qualified women against one another. Also, Harrison Ford makes even Mr. Hammerskjold’s heart go a flutter–quite a feat considering his alleged Asian fetish. A- Read the rest of this entry »

There aren’t many things in this world that I’d rather bite than eyes, but Oreo cookies (dipped in milk) is one of them. But I guess I’m going to have to rethink this whole Oreo and milk situation. After so many years of benevolent cookie dominance, it looks like the Oreo has grown too powerful (and too arrogant!) for its own good. Worse, I think that the Oreo cookie may have corrupted good old Milk on its way to the top.

I’m still reeling from the discovery that Kellog’s now has a line of products that can make milk more fun. “Chocolate syrup be damned,” they said. “The dip-sip-munch is the most exciting way to drink milk since the breast.” And maybe that’s when it started, this crazy idea that Milk – after thousands of years, needed to, or should…change.

But let us take a step back. Just what has the Oreo cookie done?

Watch (or I’ll milk your eyes):

Classic Oreo slogan: America’s Favorite Cookie

New Oreo slogan: Milk’s Favorite Cookie

That’s right. The Oreo cookie has supplanted America. Worse, in order to accomplish this, it has taken something that used to be wonderful and pure (poor Milk!) and turned it into…this…

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