November 1987 is a great month for movies. Action, comedy, more action and more comedy. There’s even a horror movie if you still need a Halloween fix.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner but before we dig into the turkey and pie we should take a moment and give thanks for the great movies of the 80s. This month is full of greatness, including the highest grossing movie of the year and one of the best Thanksgiving movie ever made.
Grab a pumpkin spice something and we’ll jump into the movies released in November 1987.
Movies from November 1987
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown
Death Wish was a fantastic movie. When Cannon Films purchased the rights to the movie it became a successful franchise all starring Charles Bronson.
In Death Wish 4: The Crackdown Paul Kersey (Bronson) returns to his vigilante roots when his girlfriend’s daughter Erica, dies from a drug overdose of crack cocaine. HA, I see what they did there.
Erica is played by Dana Barron, perhaps best know for playing Audrey Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Death Wish 4 isn’t the best of the bunch, but it’s not the worst either. Death Wish II was a decent sequel, once the third installment came out the franchise was off the rails. I own them all on Blu-ray but rarely watch anything beyond the second movie.
In 1987 Cannon Films was in serious financial trouble and the failure of Death Wish 4 at the box office didn’t help. Cannon Films would get taken over in 1988 after the failure of Superman IV.
If you haven’t seen Death Wish 4 you’re not missing much. There are better movies to watch this month. If you like Bronson or Cannon Films then this movie is for you.
You can watch Death Wish 4: The Crackdown on Tubi TV
Steel Dawn is one of Patrick Swayze’s underrated movies. It certainly wasn’t the blockbuster like his other movie in 1987, Dirty Dancing.
Swayze plays Nomad, a swordsman who wonders the endless desert looking for the man, Sho, who killed his mentor. While wondering the desert he finds Kasha, played by Swayze’s wife Lisa Niemi and her son. He also discovers Sho is working for a evil land baron who is trying to take Kasha’s land.
Nomad stays with Kasha, helping her deal with and defeat the land baron and get his revenge.
Steel Dawn was a box office bust. It barely cleared $500,000 on a $3.5 million budget. Most critics dismiss it but it’s a good movie. I’m a big Patrick Swayze fan, if you are too, you should watch this one.
Can you believe Swayze’s been gone for over 10 years. He died in 2009 at the age of 57 after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer. His TV series The Beast, which he was filming when he died is great. I can only imagine how many seasons it would have ran. And how many more great movies he would have made in the last decade.
You can watch Steel Dawn on Tubi TV.
The Running Man
Now this is the movie for me! What more could a teenage boy want; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Jim Brown and lots of action and explosions.
The Running Man is based on a Stephen King novel and adapted to the big screen by Steven E. de Souza. He also wrote the screenplay for Commando, Die Hard and Street Fighter as well as writing TV episodes for The Six Million Dollar Man and Knight Rider.
The movie was directed by Paul Michael Glaser, who played Starsky on Starsky & Hutch. He also directed Band of the Hand (which is a great movie), The Cutting Edge and many more. The music was composed by Harold Faltermeyer best known for composing “Axel F” for Beverly Hills Cop, the “Top Gun Anthem” and the music for both Fletch movies.
With a star studded cast and the big names behind the scenes how could this be anything but a blockbuster?
Captain Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is framed for massacring a group of people during a food riot. He’s sent to a prison camp and then he is sent to ‘star’ in the popular reality TV show called The Running Man.
Richards must battle his way through bombed out landscape while avoiding the stalkers, armed gladiators who are trying to kill him. If he makes it to the end and wins he received a pardon and is whisked away to a tropical paradise retreat.
The Running Man takes place in the scary, totalitarian future of 2017. Back in 1987 it seemed like a good bet that 2017 would look like the movie portrayed. Now, looking back five years it isn’t as bad as the movie envisioned, but maybe not far off, economic collapse, food shortages and crazy reality shows. It seems like the logical next step is to get The Running Man on the air.
The Running Man opened at #1, knocking Fatal Attraction out of the top spot after an 8 week run.
This movie is too great to rely on a streaming service to watch it. I own it on Blu-ray and the newly released 4k. The 4k Steelbox edition is fantastic and should be a part of any movie fans collection. If you don’t own it and don’t want to buy it (why not!!) you can stream it.
You can watch The Running Man on Fubo TV
Teen Wolf Too
There’s really only one thing to say about Teen Wolf Too, it’s the film debut of Jason Bateman. He was on TV for years starring in Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons but Teen Wolf Too is his first movie. Gotta start somewhere I guess.
Bateman plays Todd Howard, the cousin of Michael J. Fox’s character Scott from the original movie. Todd is off to college and joins the boxing team. The plot revolves around Todd not knowing he can transform and then helping the boxing team win a championship.
It sounds a lot like the first movie, only somehow they make it worse. How the screenwriters knocked out an entire movie without ever saying, ‘Man, this sounds awful’ is beyond me.
Siskel and Ebert gave it a two thumbs down and Ebert piled on the insult by saying “they had picked the two worst films possible to be released on the same day.” The other movie was Date with an Angel.
You can watch Teen Wolf Too on Tubi TV.
Three Men and a Baby
This is the movie your mom loved and for good reason. It starred the hugely popular and hunky Tom Selleck and Ted Danson with Steve Guttenberg rounding out the three men. I’m sure he was just as popular but Tom Selleck was the soccer mom heartthrob in the 80s. Were soccer mom’s invented yet? Anyhow.
The movie revolves around three bachelors loving the single life and then they get a package delivered to their doorstep. The package is a little baby girl, only there is another package which is a kilo of heroin. The baby adds the comedy to the movie while the heroin adds the tension and drama.
Throughout the movie the jokes are all about three men trying to figure out how to care for a baby. How to change a diaper, how to feed the baby, giving her a bath all the things that can be funny. The drugs subplot was strange and not really needed.
There is a cool urban legend surrounding this movie. In one of the scenes there appears to be the ghost of a young boy standing by the window. Legend has it a young boy died in the house and it’s his ghost that appears in the movie. The film makers claim it’s a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson. Right…
Three Men and a Baby was a blockbuster from the start. It opened at #1 pushing The Running Man down to #2. The movie grossed over $168 million in North America and over $240 million worldwide. It checked in as the highest grossing movie in 1987.
You can watch Three Men and a Baby on Disney+
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
What can you say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? It’s one of the best movies in the 80s, one of John Candy’s best roles and my favorite Steve Martin role.
It’s a simply story about two strangers thrust together in awkward situations while trying to get home for Thanksgiving. Along the way they learn to trust each and form a life long friendship.
My dad was a big fan of Laurel & Hardy and I grew up watching their movies. The comedy duo of Candy and Martin remind me of the old Laurel & Hardy movies. Candy and Martin have great chemistry on screen and their comedic timing is superb.
We could talk all day about favorite scenes, the hotel (those aren’t pillows!), the car rental counter (you’re f**ked), the highway (you’re going the wrong way!) or any of the other scenes. They are all fun, well written comedy. The comedy in this movie is timeless, which is one of the reasons this movie is a classic.
Someone leaving dirty underwear in the sink or airing out their feet on the plane is as funny today as it was 35 years ago and needs no explanation. When my kids watched the movie they laughed at all the jokes and didn’t need to ask “What does that mean?”
Here on The Retro Network, Planes, Trains and Automobiles has been talked about extensively. It was a featured movie on the TRN Drive-In and Jason compared the script to the movie. It’s always a topic of conversion on the TRN Slack channel this time of year too. What’s that? You don’t have access to the Slack channel? Check out the TRN VIP Membership for Slack access and tons of exclusive content! It makes a great gift too.
I watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles at least once a year, sometimes more. But always during the Thanksgiving season and never the edited-for-television version. I hope you’ve seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles. If you haven’t you need to drop everything and watch it immediately!
There are rumors a remake/reboot is in the works. I hope it never sees the light of day.
There is a brand new 4K version available on 22 November for Planes, Trains and Automobiles with over an hour of deleted/unused footage. I’ve already placed my order!
You can watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles on Paramount+ and Pluto TV.
Other movies released in November 1987
Here are the other movies released in November 1987.
Less Than Zero has a great 80s cast with Robert Downey Jr., James Spader and Jamie Gertz. I’ve heard good things about the movie but haven’t seen it.
Sign o’ the Times is a concert movie following Prince on his “Sign o’ the Times” tour in 1987.
You’ll have to tell me about the rest in the comments, I know nothing about them.
Not a bad month for movies. You get the highest grossing movie, Three Men and a Baby, from 1987 and one the best movies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles from 1987.
The Running Man is a fantastic action movie and a must-watch for any action fan. Steel Dawn and Death Wish are decent movies, Teen Wolf Too is a dog and should be put down.
What are your favorites from November 1987?
Next time we’ll look at November 1992.