Announcing My 2018 Movie Retrospective: Baby Paul’s First Weekend

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 28, 1987

Today is my thirtieth birthday. I consider myself something of a late bloomer when it comes to dedicated movie-watching; I’ve always liked cinema, but only in the past eight or nine years (and especially since graduating from college) have I truly expanded my palate. My previous six annual long-term viewing projects covered a wide variety of important and entertaining pockets of film history. But each of them had the whiff of a film class syllabus. I thought I’d open my fourth decade of life with a different approach, an act of personal excavation. I was born on a Tuesday afternoon in a suburb of St. Louis, and I thought it would be fun to explore all the movies that my very young eyes might have seen during the following weekend.

Excluding porn (hi, Mom!), a total of forty-six movies played in the forty-four cinemas of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1987; Friday, November 27; Saturday, November 28; and Sunday, November 29. The combined running time of these films is a little more than seventy-six hours, so, without accounting for geography or other physical necessities, it would have been possible to watch all of them during those four days. However, I suspect the thought never crossed my parents’ minds, and I wasn’t quite ready at the time to make such a lavish suggestion. In any case, there’s no need to rush now either. I’ll be taking a month and a half to get through them all.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 28, 1987

Here’s what the movie selection looked like for a sizable population center in Middle America at this random slice of time: thirteen of the Top 40 box office hits of the year and two of the eventual five Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. One movie, Fatal Attraction, is in both of those categories, so that’s fourteen out of forty-six. The rest are an odd assortment of several well-remembered films and a whole bunch that most people have probably forgotten — movies that I could easily go my whole life without seeing. There’s one non-English-language film, as well as one apiece from Canada, England and Australia. Tastes and economic realities were different three decades ago, naturally, and one thing that stands out is the preponderance of comedies. The proximity to Halloween likely accounts for the presence of several horror-comedies, and there’s a great deal of fun and frivolity to be found throughout the selection. But these theaters did have at least one decent option for almost everyone: action movies, romances, fantasies, thrillers, prestige dramas.

In addition to the new releases and those international films that were finally making their way to my neighborhood, there were a few older movies playing in theaters at the time. Disney’s animated Cinderella made another return to theaters, one of many Disney classics to get that treatment before home video made the practice obsolete (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had padded its box office stats earlier that summer). Therefore, this is the first time I’ve double-dipped with a movie retrospective, but Cinderella is always a pleasure to revisit. Also, that weekend, like so many others, boasted a couple midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a tradition that stretched back more than a decade by that point. Although the theater at which it played, the Varsity in St. Louis, would be out of business by the beginning of the next year, another theater down the street, the Tivoli, would eventually pick up the slack. Finally and confusingly, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (1986) played for this weekend and this weekend only (lucky me!) at the Plaza Twin Cinema in Cahokia, Illinois. The third Care Bears movie had come out in August of 1987, but after it left theaters, apparently there was some (but not much) demand for a replay of its predecessor. I carefully checked all the relevant listings to make sure this wasn’t a typo, because these things matter to me.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 26, 1987

The second Care Bears movie is one of four sequels that played that weekend. I did my due diligence and caught up with all the preceding movies during these last few months. All told, I’ll be watching forty movies that I’ve never seen before. As with previous movie retrospectives, I’ll begin this project in January. This of course means that I’ve allowed a great number of thirtieth anniversaries to pass me by (The Running Man, a science-fiction story that begins in the year 2017, has been the most difficult one to wait for), but that was always the way my schedule was going to work. As it happens, I will catch one movie pretty close to its own thirtieth birthday: Patti Rocks, which showed as a “sneak preview” before its official release in January 1988. The whole list of films, which I will be watching alphabetically, is below.

L’année des méduses (Year of the Jellyfish) — Christopher Frank

Baby Boom — Charles Shyer

La Bamba — Luis Valdez

Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation — Dale Schott

Cinderella — Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske

Date with an Angel — Tom McLoughlin

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown — J. Lee Thompson

Dirty Dancing — Emile Ardolino

Disorderlies — Michael Schultz

Dogs in Space — Richard Lowenstein

Fatal Attraction — Adrian Lyne

Fatal Beauty — Tom Holland

Flowers in the Attic — Jeffrey Bloom

Hello Again — Frank Perry

The Hidden — Jack Sholder

Hiding Out — Bob Giraldi

Hope and Glory — John Boorman

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing — Patricia Rozema

Less Than Zero — Marek Kanievska

Like Father Like Son — Rod Daniel

The Lost Boys — Joel Schumacher

Made in Heaven — Alan Rudolph

Maid to Order — Amy Holden Jones

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 27, 1987 (click to enlarge)

Masters of the Universe — Gary Goddard

Near Dark — Kathryn Bigelow

No Way Out — Roger Donaldson

Nuts — Martin Ritt

Patti Rocks — David Burton Morris

The Pick-up Artist — James Toback

Planes, Trains and Automobiles — John Huston

Prince of Darkness — John Carpenter

The Princess Bride — Rob Reiner

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise — Joe Roth

RoboCop — Paul Verhoeven

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — Jim Sharman

The Running Man — Paul Michael Glaser

Russkies — Rick Rosenthal

Sign ‘O’ the Times — Prince

Someone to Watch Over Me — Ridley Scott

Stakeout — John Badham

Street Trash — James M. Muro

Surrender — Jerry Belson

Suspect — Peter Yates

Teen Wolf Too — Christopher Leitch

Three Men and a Baby — Leonard Nimoy

Zombie High — Ron Link

3 responses to “Announcing My 2018 Movie Retrospective: Baby Paul’s First Weekend

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