The Movies of 1989

It was a good year.
November 23, 2010

A recent chat about favorite movies made me realize something I never had before: Several of my personal favorites, and fan favorites came out in 1989. I guess it was just that kind of year. I was thus inspired to share some thoughts on a few of said 1989 films...

The top hit of the year, Batman had a profound impact on me as a fan. Not only was it the first live action superhero movie I saw, it may have been the first live action movie of any kind I ever watched from start to finish. As many of you can probably testify, most of my movie watching as a kid was animated features.

The top notch cast of Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight, Kim Basinger as screaming Vicki Vale and Jack Nicholson's frighteningly fabulous portrayal as the Joker, paired with the Oscar-winning art and sets, great costumes and the all time best Batmobile awakened me to start seeing what good movie making was all about. Particularly in regard to Keaton, because when later I saw his other roles like Mr. Mom and Night Shift, they made me see that he is quite a versatile actor.

It is now 21 years later, and even after the mega hits of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, this one still stands strong as one of my all time favorites.

Ghostbusters II wasn't exactly the hit the original was, but I liked it pretty well. It's release date is often cited as the main reason it wasn't a bigger hit than it was.

It opened on June 16, 1989.

Batman opened the very next week. The heroes of the hereafter were doomed
from the word go.

Anyhow, the guys have basically gone out of business after the destruction of Gozer, but now it seems a massive river of slime is brewing beneath the streets of New York. Plus, the spirit of a Carpathian sorcerer residing in a painting of himself is targeting Dana Barrett's baby son Oscar, in an attempt to live again and conquer the world.
Now if your friend's infant was in danger of being inhabited by a ghostly tyrant, and your hometown was about to be sucked down to the tenth level of Hell, who else
would you call?

The essential Christmas hit! Clark Griswold has high hopes for a fun old fashioned family Christmas.

He's persistent, I must say. From grouchy in-laws, boorish cousin Eddie, and a squirrel attack, it's just another chaotic day for the Griswolds. I'll watch this one over and over during the Yuletide season.

For some reason, it seems to be the popular idea to not like Timothy Dalton's work as 007. I don't know why, honestly. I guess it's that he did 2 movies that didn't slaughter the box office like others did, or maybe some read the opinion that Dalton sucks and don't even bother watching his works.

Dalton's performance is by most accounts the most accurate of Ian Fleming's original novels, and I for one think he did a great job. Licence To Kill was his second go round as James Bond, following The Living Daylights. It is one of the more unique Bond films, since James is not out for Her Majesty or the world, but for revenge.
Timothy Dalton brings pure grit to Bond after being revoked of his 00 status, and begins an endeavor to bring down fiendish drug lord Sanchez, after an assault on
Felix Leiter.

As I say, the movie is unique because of it's dark story line, a ton of violence, and having practically none of the trademark wit seen in most other Bond films.
The heck with the so called "popular view", I liked both of Dalton's Bond films, especially this one.

Part of my favorite trilogy EVER. The DeLorean can fly! Uh oh, the old home year doesn't look right.
This is a sequel that is called having "Empire Strikes Back syndrome", meaning it has a darker tone than the first, and the bad guy gets the upper hand. Several other sequels are the same way.

Doc and Marty head to the year 2015 to correct Marty's future family trouble, but upon returning home find that someone has tampered with the timeline, and created a nightmarish Hill Valley where Biff rules all.

So begins the chase back to 1955 to recover the sporting almanac that is the cause of all the trouble.

Like the original, Back To The Future Part II is chock full of witty dialogue, pop culture references and fun suspense during Marty's chase for the book, while avoiding his parents and other self that is already in 1955. An excellent follow up, and a fun romp.

The Little Mermaid was one of my earliest movie theater experiences. It also got me to appreciate the world of voice acting.

It really needs no introduction. Ariel wants to be "Part of that world" above the sea, and the evil Ursula plots to use Ariel's desire as part of her own plan to rule the ocean.

But what The Little Mermaid really did for me, is introduce me to Pat Carroll. Her voice work as Ursula was very scary to my young self, but I later saw this was a testament to her great work. She also had voice roles on Garfield, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, Pound Puppies, as well as numerous live action appearances on TV.

With charming songs, perfect animation and a top notch voice cast including Rene Auberjonois, Kenneth Mars, and Buddy Hackett, it remains one of Disney's best.

Sticking with Disney, what an interesting film this was. Rick Moranis is experimenting with a shrink ray, but unknown to him it ends up shrinking his 2 kids, and the neighbor kids too! They then end up in the backyard, and must find away back home and to normal size.

The effects of shrunken kids in the grass, with a "giant" ant, bee and scorpion, Lego blocks and oatmeal pie were very well done. In fact, I think Disney World at one time had a kids play area modeled after these scenes. A well acted, well made family film from this year.

2 dim high school buddies with a time traveling phone booth? Righteous!

Bill and Ted are in serious trouble. They need to ace an upcoming history exam, or the distant future is in big trouble. Even worse, Ted's father would ship him off to a military academy, causing Bill and Ted's band to fall apart!
Aided by Rufus (George Carlin), Bill and Ted begin a time hopping quest to bring in various historical figures to help them with the upcoming test.

They meet the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Billy The Kid, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sigmund Freud, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, and Ludwig van Beethoven. What a crowd!

The film has a great cast and a certain charm to it, and perhaps it can help kids then and now find an appreciation for history.

Ever wonder what's down there? My science book always told me of some scary stuff that lives in the ocean. The Abyss takes it a notch higher. This cold war themed tale is of a US nuclear sub that sinks under mysterious circumstances. With a hurricane moving in, a team of oil drillers is brought in to help investigate.

The find the sunken sub perched on a ledge above the Cayman Trough. During their exploration, they find something else is at work there, and even farther down in...


Family can be a complicated thing. But when Sean Connery and Harrison Ford team up as father and son, it's all adventure. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was quite a change from Temple of Doom. While still pumping with action, this film showed a lighter side to Indy's travels.

Henry Jones (Connery) is captured by Nazis, who want his diary of clues that can lead them to the Holy Grail. Indiana (Ford) sets out to rescue his feisty pop, and prevent the Nazis' latest world-ruling scheme.

With tons of action, smart dialogue, an excellent cast, and one of my favorite end credit scenes, The Last Crusade is not one to miss.


Driving Miss Daisy
Field Of Dreams
Look Who's Talking
Major League
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Lock Up
The Fabulous Baker Boys

Thanks for reading!

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