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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY – John Williams

December 26, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the late 1970s and 1980s a number of prominent American filmmakers took it upon themselves to take a long, hard look at the political and social ramifications of the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. American involvement in the conflict began in the early 1960s, and lasted until the fall of Saigon in 1975, resulting in the deaths of more than 50,000 American military personnel, and hundreds of thousands more wounded. Chief among those filmmakers was Oliver Stone, who was himself a Vietnam vet. His 1986 film Platoon took a harrowing look at the war from the point of view of the men serving on the front lines, and he won Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards for his trouble. Born on the Fourth of July, which was released in December 1989, took an equally harrowing look at what happened to those men when they finally came home. Read more…

DRIVING MISS DAISY – Hans Zimmer

December 19, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Driving Miss Daisy is a story of the unlikely friendship that develops between Daisy Wertham, a retired white Jewish schoolteacher, and Hoke Colburn, an African American driver and handyman, set against the backdrop of racism and prejudice in the American South in the 1950s. When Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy) crashes her car into her neighbor’s house, her son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) hires Hoke (Morgan Freeman) to be her driver; despite initial misgivings from both parties, as time passes the unlikely pair grow to become friends and confidants, as both suffer slights and prejudices against them – Hoke for his skin color, and Daisy for her religion. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, and written by Alfred Uhry, who adapted his own Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play for the big screen. It was a significant critical and commercial success too, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Makeup, and Best Actress for Tandy, who in doing so became the oldest winner in the history of the category at the age of 81. Read more…

BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART II – Alan Silvestri

December 5, 2019 3 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The enormous critical, cultural, and financial success of Back to the Future in 1985 meant that a sequel was inevitable. In the fall of 1989 director Robert Zemeckis returned with the first of not one but two further installments, shot back-to-back and ready to continue the time traveling exploits of Marty McFly, the suburban kid from 1980s California, and his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown, who built a time machine out of a DeLorean. The ending of the original movie saw Doc picking up Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer literally the following morning after their adventure ended, and whisking them away in his now-upgraded flying automobile, promising them that “where they’re going they don’t need roads.” Where they end up going is the year 2015, to fix a problem with Marty and Jennifer’s future children – however, while they are there, Marty’s now-elderly arch-rival Biff Tannen contrives to steal the time machine himself, resulting in the creation of an alternate-timeline 1985 where Biff is a sleazy multi-billionaire and Marty’s stepfather. To fix things, Marty and Doc must travel even further back in time, once again to 1955, where they must re-restore the original timeline without screwing up the courtship between Marty’s parents Lorraine and George, which is happening at the same time! Read more…

TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT – Cliff Eidelman

November 14, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Triumph of the Spirit is a 1989 Holocaust-themed drama, directed by Robert M. Young, based on a screenplay by Shimon Arama, Zion Haen, Andrzej Krakowski, and Laurence Heath. It stars Willem Dafoe and is based on the true life story of Salamo Arouch, a Jewish former Olympic boxer who is taken as a prisoner during World War II and sent to he Auschwitz concentration camp. While there, Salamo is literally forced to fight for his life, taking part in brutal boxing matches for the amusement of the guards, who threaten to murder his family if he refuses to fight. With only the love of his girlfriend Allegra (Wendy Gazelle) to sustain him, Salamo fights over 200 matches while in captivity – knowing that every person he defeats will be killed – all the while dreaming of the day that he and his loved ones would again be free. The film co-stars Edward James Olmos and Robert Loggia, and was heralded at the time for the fact that it was the first major film to actually be shot on location at the real Auschwitz. The other aspect of the film – and the most pertinent one to me – is the fact that its score was written by the then 24-year-old Cliff Eidelman. Read more…

MUSIC BOX – Philippe Sarde

November 7, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Music Box was a political thriller directed by the great Franco-Greek filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras, based on a semi-autobiographical screenplay by Joe Eszterhas. Although Eszterhas soon became better known for writing rather more sordid murder mysteries – Basic Instinct, Jade, and Showgirls, for example – Music Box is a very different, much more serious film. It stars Jessica Lange as Ann Talbot, a Chicago defense attorney, who learns that her father, Hungarian immigrant Michael Laszlo (Armin Mueller-Stahl), is in danger of having his U.S. citizenship revoked. As Ann digs deeper into her father’s past she discovers a shocking truth – that he may have been involved in atrocities during World War II while collaborating with Nazis. It was a moving, emotional film, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1989, and earned Lange an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Read more…

THE LITTLE MERMAID – Alan Menken

October 24, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Walt Disney Corporation is, for better or worse, probably the world’s biggest and most influential media and entertainment company. Not only does it own its own catalogue of classic live action and animated films, including those made by Pixar, it of course also owns Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars universe, Marvel and the Avengers universe, and has recently bought Twentieth Century Fox and it’s entire cache of intellectual property. As I write this five of the six highest grossing films of 2019 are Disney features, and we haven’t even seen Frozen II or Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yet, which could lock out seven of 2019’s Top 10. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way, and even easier to forget that the film that turned it all around was an animated feature based on a classic story by a children’s author from Denmark. Read more…

STEEL MAGNOLIAS – Georges Delerue

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A classic Hollywood emotional melodrama based on the play of the same name by Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias is a close look at the lives of a group of women in a small town in Louisiana. It is a detailed examination of all aspects of life – weddings and funerals, children, husbands, and boyfriends, love and infidelity, loneliness, sickness, and death – and is mostly set around the town’s local beauty parlor, where the women often congregate to gossip, congratulate, commiserate, and mourn. The film is anchored by an astonishing ensemble cast of female acting brilliance, including Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and most notably Julia Roberts in the role that made her a star. It’s one of those three-handkerchief movies that is entirely intended to wring every drop of emotion out of its audience, and it is considered somewhat manipulative and mawkish today, but in 1989 it was a huge hit, earning Roberts her first Academy Award nomination. The film was also the biggest box office success of director Herbert Ross’s career – despite him having previously made such acclaimed films as The Sunshine Boys, The Turning Point, The Goodbye Girl, California Suite, and Footloose – and it had a score by the great Georges Delerue. Read more…