Overboard

Weekend Roundtable: Favorite Movie of 1987

You could say that Hollywood has really gone overboard with remakes… Well, you could say that if you wanted to be obnoxious with a pun, as I always do. We’re using the excuse of this week’s soon-to-be-forgotten rom-com remake as a goldie opportunity (I know, groan) to look back at some of our favorite movies from 1987.

Brian Hoss

Having rewatched the original ‘Overboard‘ just last year, this cable mainstay probably shouldn’t work at all. And yet, a lifetime ago, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn helped turn a soap-opera-worthy plot into a charming rom-com. It’s the kind of magic-in-a-bottle mix that you’d never want to try to remake, but I digress. The kids in the movie are surprisingly integral to its charm, and the third act is heck of a lot more fun than most of the rest of the genre. Edward Herrmann, Roddy McDowall, and Mike Hagerty also all put in great supporting performances.

Shannon Nutt

There were a lot of really good movies in 1987, but the one that impressed me the most was Brian De Palma’s ‘The Untouchables‘. It’s now best known as the film that won Sean Connery an Oscar and for the great (albeit over-the-top) performance by Robert De Niro as Al Capone. But for me, it was my introduction to Kevin Costner. Who was this impressive young actor and why had I never seen him before?

Of course, ‘The Untouchables’ was just the start of Costner’s rise to superstardom. He’d follow his turn as Eliot Ness with a trio of hits in ‘No Way Out’, ‘Bull Durham’, and ‘Field of Dreams’, and became a household name. De Palma’s movie also was the first time I saw Andy Garcia in a movie, and while he never quite had the success Costner did, he’s turned in some fine performances over the years. Beyond all this, ‘The Untouchables’ is just a really good movie (with some historical inaccuracies) and it almost always gets a mention when someone asks me to name some of my all-time favorite films.

M. Enois Duarte

From a long list to choose – because seriously, 1987 was a fantastic year for movies – I’m going with the one movie I have watched the most since it hit theaters. That would be Joel Schumacher’s horror-comedy classic ‘The Lost Boys‘. I was at just the perfect age for this spooky teen melodrama, the same as the two Coreys, and being a huge horror fanatic at the same time, I easily gravitated toward the concept of adolescent vampires. The film never struck me as suspenseful or scary, even back then, but seeing creatures of the night be hip, cool and fashionable, like a dark, almost parody-like version of a John Hughes movie, really struck a chord with me during those impressionable years.

Not only is the title is an obvious allusion to J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ stories, but I also took it as a broader reference to adolescence in general with vampires serving as a metaphor for teenage boys’ wanting to belong, be part of group or clique, and simply longing to make friends when being the new kid in town. Sometimes that desire is so strong, and perhaps even desperate, we make poor decisions and friends who peer-pressure us into becoming troublemakers, criminals and society’s undesirables. As much as I also love many other movies from 1987, ‘The Lost Boys’ is definitely the one I’ve watched the most over the past thirty years.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

“Perfect” isn’t exactly a word you hear bandied about often with horror sequels. It’s rarer still with the horror/comedy, a subgenre that more often than not fails to deliver laughs or scares. Even with as stacked as the odds are against it, ‘Evil Dead 2‘ is as close to a perfect film as anything I’ve ever come across.

This sequel screams ahead at a breakneck pace. Not a moment is wasted, to the point that it distills the original ‘Evil Dead’ down to just two characters and a few short minutes. There’s always something astonishing or maniacally inventive around the next corner, whether it’s an eyeball soaring into some poor schlub’s mouth or Ash Williams replacing his severed, demonic hand with a chainsaw. The acrobatic camerawork bowled me over when I first caught ‘Evil Dead 2’ at a revival screening in college, and it continues to impress all these years later. A sizeable chunk of the film charts a solitary descent into madness, and Bruce Campbell proves to be more than capable of shouldering so much of ‘Evil Dead 2’ by himself. When horror fanatics groan about digital effects in modern horror, there’s a good chance that ‘Evil Dead 2’ is their bellwether; its gruesome, deliriously over-the-top splatter puts the “gore” in “gorgeous.” No matter how many times I watch it, I still find myself laughing, jumping at all the right scares, and generally just in awe of a lifelong favorite.

Josh Zyber

1987 launched a lot of important movie franchises, including ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘Predator’, and ‘Hellraiser’. Even considering the fact that all of its sequels, spinoffs and the remake were pretty terrible, Paul Verhoeven’s ‘RoboCop‘ is both kick-ass, rousing entertainment and a hilarious satirical critique of Capitalism run amok and the commercialization of public institutions like the police. It works brilliantly as both a slam-bang macho action movie and at the same time a parody of slam-bang macho action movies.

In addition to the titles already mentioned above, some of my other Honorable Mentions would include ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘Raising Arizona’, ‘Spaceballs’, ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘The Hidden’, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘Throw Momma from the Train’, ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Broadcast News’. 1987 was a pretty great year for movies.

Your Turn

What’s your favorite movie from 1987? Wikipedia has a page to remind you of what was released that year.

23 comments

  1. Slayer117x

    Just looked up a list of 1987 movies and I’d still go with Running Man, but there are a dozen or so more that would have made the top in almost any other year. Studios should concentrate on this year for their next several 4k re-releases.

  2. Erik Walsh

    Adventures in Babysitting and The Monster Squad were great fun when they released and are still watchable today.

  3. Chris B

    Man, 1987 was an awesome year! I gotta go Lethal Weapon, but there’s 10 or so that could easily take the top spot…

  4. Paul J Anderson

    Any year involving Kubrick is probably going to have that film win out, and this year is no exception. Full Metal Jacket is my winner. However, there are a lot of hidden gems in ’87. Opera, Near Dark, Wings of Desire, Extreme Prejudice, House of Games and Matewan are some good ones. I’m also a huge fan of both Adventures in Babysitting and Can’t Buy Me Love.

  5. Bolo

    As far as ones that haven’t been mentioned yet, I was going down that list and ‘Over The Top’ jumped out at me. If there’s such a genre as “80’s Movie”, this film is an obvious entry. It’s otherwise impossible to classify. It’s a film that really only could’ve come from the head of Sylvester Stallone and only been expected to be successful in the 80’s. It’s sort of a sports drama, but also seems like it’s going to turn into a full-on action movie at any moment. The title is fitting seeing as everything in this film is so cartoonish. It takes place in some alternate universe in which every competitive arm wrestler is also a lorry driver (or “trucker” as they call them in America). So the prize for winning the arm wrestling tournament is a new lorry. Stallone has his lorry rigged with weight lifting equipment so that he can pump iron while he drives. One of his competitors even guzzles gasoline before matches. It’s absolutely ludicrous.

  6. I’ve rewatched these in recent years. All are worth a look.

    Angel Heart (1987)
    Aria (1987)
    Babette’s Feast (1987)
    Believers, The (1987)
    Black Widow (1987)
    Dead, The (1987)
    Extreme Prejudice (1987)
    Fourth Protocol, The (1987)
    Hope and Glory (1987)
    Living Daylights, The (1987)
    Moonstruck (1987)
    Princess Bride, The (1987)
    Raising Arizona (1987)
    Siesta (1987)
    Tin Men (1987)
    Withnail and I (1987)

  7. NJScorpio

    Some of my favorites were already mentioned (Robocop, Lethal Weapon)….but in additon to those…

    – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    – Raising Arizona

    – Predator

    • NJScorpio

      Ah, now I see Predator and Raising Arizona mentioned prior…but I’m suprised the best ‘Elm Street’ wasn’t mentioned.

  8. DarthGilman

    “Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn helped turn a soap-opera-worthy plot into a charming rom-com”. It is… as long as you can ignore the whole kidnapping and probably-rape aspect of the movie. I realize that IRL Russell and Hawn were a couple (not married), BUT his character does use Hawn’s character’s amnesia to claim her as his wife, take her home to be his slave, and then has sex with her on the false pretense that they’re married with kids. It’s not modern “PC” talk- “No means no” was already a reality in 1987. The fact that the modern remake flips the genders doesn’t make the premise any less wrong. I kind of hoped that they would remake it as a horror film but given that Hollywood took “Passengers” which WAS written as a horror film because of what Pratt’s character did and turned it into a rom-com says Hollywood still thinks that being good-looking overrides doing illegal/immoral things.

    • Timcharger

      Not a ’87 film, 1 year later in ’88, the Tom Hanks’ film Big must be remade, too. Let’s reverse the gender roles, too. It would still be set in New York, but sadly the toy stores, FAO Schwarz and Toysrus are gone. So let’s have the female lead go to work for a New York real estate firm. Her young, snazzy ideas propel her quickly up the ranks. A greasy-haired male executive (the founder’s son) takes an interest and leaves his wife to pursue this new “it” girl. “As long as I’m on top,” the inner 13-year old girl says. (She was talking about a bunk bed!) Ha, ha! The hilarity ensues…

  9. Erik in Wisconsin

    As others have said, there are many excellent movies from that year, and I own many of them. If I were holding all the ones I like and had to start giving them up, I think the last one in my hand would be The Princess Bride. It’s timeless and entertaining at many levels.

  10. Timcharger

    (Horribly-wrong) Favorite Movie of 1987:
    Some Kind of Wonderful
    F*ck u John Hughes. I didn’t listen to my parents. I listened to the movies. So the protagonist blows away thousands of hard earned dollars, just to take a hot girl (Lea Thompson was so hot) out for 1 night. To make a point, that a schmuck from the wrong side of the tracks can waste away all his future college funds, just to compete with the convertible Corvette driving douchebag for the attention of a girl. Who wasn’t even the right girl! At least, I learned great taste in music. Wisdom in dating and spending money in my teens, not so much.

    • I have never seen ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ (I had never even heard of it), but I just looked it up, and apparently, it features Eric Stoltz and Lea Thompson. So that’s Marty McFly and Lorraine Baines, finally together in a movie. Cool.

  11. Csm101

    Without looking at the list from 1987
    Predator and Robocop, those are sacred to me
    Angel Heart
    Can’t Buy Me Love
    Evil Dead II
    Full Metal Jacket R.I.P. R.Lee Ermey
    The Hidden
    Mannequin
    Near Dark
    The Principal
    Near Dark
    The Running Man
    Street Trash and so many more!!
    1987 was a hell of a year!

  12. Movie Watcher

    1987 was a damned good year for movies judging by the lists and comments! I have many of these films and it’s Friday…so I think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

  13. EM

    1987 was no 1982…or 1939, for that matter. I don’t have any favorites per se from 1987, but there are a number of ’87 films I enjoyed. Some that I think haven’t been mentioned so far include The Secret of My Success, Yeelen, Roxanne, Au revoir les enfants, and Cherry 2000. But the best release of 1987 was the 50th-anniversary re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

  14. Aero

    Wow 1987 does have alot of great movies, its not a monumental year classics wise like 1939. But so many of these are re-watchable for pure entertainment, similar to 1999. Being a child of the 80’s, its really hard to pick a favorite but for me it would probably be a tie between Lost Boys, Monster Squad and Spaceballs. To me, they are still as good as the first time I saw them as a little kid.

  15. John M Burton Jr.

    Got to say The Untouchables. I will say, I worked in a theater, and it was the first time I heard a collective groan during a movie from an audience was during the movie, Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. What an awful movie!

  16. William Henley

    I turned 8 in 1987, so my taste in movies is probably skewed by that. So here it goes

    Chipmunk Adventures
    *batteries not included
    Three Men and a Baby
    Spaceballs
    Back To The Beach

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