Movies from March 1987
There are some good movies this month. One of my all time favorites hit the silver screen in March 1987. It started a franchise that spawned numerous sequels and a TV series.
Do studios release horror movies in March if they think they will fail? It never makes sense to me, there are two horror movies this month.
There are some comedies in the list too, but they aren’t very funny, or good.
Let’s take a look at the movies hitting the theaters in March 1987.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
The follow-up to 1981’s horror movie, The Evil Dead. The original scared me to death. Evil Dead 2 moved away from strict horror and into the comedy horror genre.
I rented this movie one summer night, I don’t recall it at my local theater. I enjoyed the first movie and gave this one a chance. I’m glad I did. Watching at home on a lonely Friday night I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, maybe more than the first one.
It’s cheesy, campy, doesn’t take itself too seriously and is fantastic. It’s like a bad B-movie, only on purpose. Bruce Campbell is great in his role. Without him I don’t think the movie would work.
The special effects are great, lots of creature make-up and stop motion effects. The amount of blood and gore in this movie is excessive.
In fact, the movie is so gory the studio didn’t want to submit it to the MPAA for a rating fearing it would get an ‘X’ rating. The producers setup a shell company to distribute the movie as unrated.
The movie has an ‘R’ rating today. I don’t remember if the movie was unrated when I rented it or if they gave it the ‘R’ rating for video release.
If you like horror movies or comedy horror or Bruce Campbell, this movie is for you. The popularity of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 spawned a horror franchise. Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3) came out in 1992, a reboot in 2013 and a hugely popular TV series, Ash vs Evil Dead.
You can watch Evil Dead 2 on HBO Max.
Another horror movie this month. And another movie facing the dreaded ‘X’ rating. Director Alan Parker was able to cut ten seconds of the film to secure an ‘R’ rating. The ‘X’ rating wasn’t the only controversy surrounding this movie either.
Angel Heart has a great cast; Robert De Niro, Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet. It’s Lisa Bonet’s part that caused the controversy. She was at the center of the scene that garnered the ‘X’ rating and it caused a stir in the TV industry.
In 1987 The Cosby Show was the highest rated TV show on the air and Lisa Bonet played the part of Denise Huxtable. The Cosby Show was a wholesome family sitcom. Angel Heart was the exact opposite.
In the movie Bonet and Rourke share a sexually explicit scene, the same scene cut to avoid an ‘X’ rating. Bill Cosby and NBC weren’t happy with Bonet and thought the movie would hurt the popularity of The Cosby Show.
The Cosby Show didn’t suffer, interestingly though, Bonet was slowly phased out of The Cosby Show as well as it’s spin-off A Different World. Bonet was officially fired from The Cosby Show in 1991 due to “creative differences.”
In Angel Heart Mickey Rourke stars as Private Investigator Harry Angel. The movie takes place in 1950’s New Orleans. Angel is hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find a missing person. His investigation takes him to New Orleans where he encounters a series of brutal murders.
As Angel investigates the witnesses end up dead. As the movie unfolds the murders point back to Angel. Without giving to much away there is a pact made with Satan, hearts getting torn out of bodies and voodoo sacrifices.
Rourke does an outstanding job in the movie and Lisa Bonet was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award. Saturn Awards are like the Oscars but for science fiction, fantasy and horror movies only.
I didn’t see this one in the theater either. I rented it around Halloween. It’s a great movie to watch during the Halloween season. It can get a little long winded in places but I enjoyed the story and the ending.
Put it on your list to watch this Halloween season.
Whoopi Goldberg was a rising star in the late 80s. Her breakout role was in 1985’s The Color Purple. She would see the most success in the 1990’s with an Oscar winning role in Ghost, and the Sister Act movies. She also played Guinan, the bartender in Ten-Forward on Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Series and two movies.
Burglar wasn’t a good fit for Goldberg. It didn’t fit her comedic style and the movie fell flat. I saw it one time in the theater and that was it. No need to go again or rent it.
Burglar also stars Bobcat Goldthwait doing what he does best, being Bobcat.
Writer Jeph Loeb stated in an interview the movie was written as an action movie for Bruce Willis. When Willis dropped out Goldberg took the lead role and the movie morphed into a comedy.
Jeph Loeb might sound familiar to fans of The Retro Network. He wrote two beloved 80’s movies, Teen Wolf and Commando and he is an award winning comic book writer.
He might be best known for Batman: The Long Halloween. He won several awards for the comic, as well as other comics.
Bruce Willis wasn’t John McClane yet, but Kim Basinger was Kim Basinger. That’s all I needed to go see this movie.
Willis was a successful TV star with the hit show Moonlighting and Basinger was a successful movie star.
Willis was known as a comedic actor thanks to Moonlighting and this role fit the mold. However, nothing could save this movie.
It’s just OK, nothing great, nothing bad. There are some funny parts in the movie but they are few and far between.
Willis is setup on a blind date with Basinger with the warning that she shouldn’t drink. (Is she a Gremlin?). They have one glass of champagne and the night spirals out of control.
Both Willis and Basinger would go on to do better movies and leave this one behind.
Blind Date is directed by Blake Edwards. We saw another of his movies in March 1982.
I wonder if Willis turned down Burglar to make this movie. He’d go on to be a big time action star but he may have started sooner if he’d accepted the original script for Burglar.
Here it is, the first blockbuster of 1987… Lethal Weapon!
This is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s my second favorite Christmas movie, right behind Die Hard.
This movie was destined for greatness. Director Richard Donner, Producer Joel Silver, Writer Shane Black, Actors Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey. The only unknown in the whole lot is first time writer Shane Black.
Black wasn’t a one hit wonder, he’d go on to write several successful movies; Lethal Weapon 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3 and more.
Richard Donner was an established director with Superman, The Omen, Ladyhawke and The Goonies to his credit. Joel Silver produced hits like The Warriors, 48 Hrs., Weird Science and Commando.
Gary Busey was an Academy Award nominated actor for his role in The Buddy Holly Story. Busey admits at the time of Lethal Weapon his career was slowing down. He asked to audition for the role of Jacob, the first time he auditioned for a movie in over ten years.
The two main characters, Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs are played by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. Glover was coming off his acclaimed role as Mister in The Color Purple. At the time Gibson was best known for his Mad Max movies. He was in several other movies too. If you haven’t seen some of his early work I’d recommend Attack Force Z, Gallipoli or The River, all great movies.
Lethal Weapon is a fantastic movie. The writing is top notch, the action is explosive and the characters are believable. GIbson ans Glover play their roles to perfection and it seems like they’ve been friends for years.
Glover is the grounding rod to Gibson’s lightning. Glover plays the older, wiser cop to perfection and Gisbon plays the psychotic and suicidal outcast superbly. In the scene in his trailer, where he misses his wife and contemplates suicide, you can feel his agony. He is deeply scarred, fighting his inner demons and Gibson embodies those emotions.
The buddy cop movie isn’t a new concept but Glover and Gibson make it believable. They are thrown together and aren’t happy about. Throughout the movie you can watch their friendship grow, it’s not forced upon us. They know each other, the good, the bad and the ugly and they accept each other for it. It’s what true friendship is all about.
The action is well choreographed, not the normal stale shootouts. Shooting at helicopters, snipers in the desert, torture and an epic final fight. Lethal Weapon is must watch for any movie fan.
I saw Lethal Weapon three times in the theater, rented it countless times and finally owned it on VHS. I currently own it on DVD and Blu-Ray. If they ever release it on 4K I’ll own that too.
The sequels are good to varying degrees. Part 2 is great, part 3 seemed a little forced but was good. Part 4 introduced America to Jet Li and is worth watching for that alone.
In 2016 a TV series of the same name debuted based on the characters. It ran for three seasons. I watched the first season but it was missing the magic of the movie.
You can watch Lethal Weapon on HBO Max.
Other movies released in March 1987
Here are the rest of the movies released in March 1987. I’ve heard lots of good things about Raising Arizona. It’s a film by the Coen Brothers, who have made some great movies over the years.
I remember watching the TV spots and trailers for Tin Men but it didn’t appeal to me back then. Maybe I’ll give it and Raising Arizona a chance this year.
Lethal Weapon is the easy winner of the month. It’s a movie I’ve seen countless times and never get tired of it. There were some good horror movies too. I like Evil Dead 2 better than Angel Heart but both are worth watching at least once.
The comedies missed the mark. Maybe April will have us laughing.
What are your favorites from March 1987?
Next week we’ll look at March 1992.