Cinema 88, Disney+ edition

Streaming services are not the best way to dig into pre-2000 cinema but Disney+ offers some good discoveries. You can find films I already listed in my first post: Die Hard, Working Girl, Who Framed Roger Rabbit but also Oliver & Company that I’m keeping for a special list about animated films.
Then comes the ones I watched for the first time:

Disney+ edition


directed by Roger Donaldson

screenshot of Cocktail

Tom Cruise has a great career so I never hesitate to explore a new entry in his filmography, especially if Gina Gershon is in. She is killing it even if she has a short screen time.

Cocktail is an interesting story but lacks depth, you can feel a, surprising, dark side on how Doug and Brian treat girls but it all ends up quickly with a happy end. It could be Disney that water down the script.

Difficult to believe the two characters got famous from flipping bottles behind a bar but the rest of their arcs are fun to follow.

Ultimately, the best contribution of this film to the world is, without any doubt, the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys.


directed by Penny Marshal

screenshot of Big

Big is a perfect example of a High Concept film: what if Tom Hanks plays a young boy in an adult body.
The film skyrocketed Tom Hank’s career and is a rare example of huge box office success directed by a woman, Penny Marshal (1943-2018), in this period.

Super entertaining, the film encapsulates more the American 80s than it tells a universal coming to age story.
The romance, because the kid has, of course, a romantic relationship during his adventure, is handled with care to avoid cringe.
Sweet, funny and touching.


directed by Ron Howard

screenshot of Willow

I can understand why it's a cult film for many, but seeing it for the first time today, after Lord of the Rings, sounds redundant.
I’m not a fan of the medieval fantastic genre, it always struck me as quite opposite to sci-fi, somehow, so LOTR is one of the few references I have and the comparison with Willow is overwhelming. It’s practically the same story, less epic.
It’s still a solid film but, for me, it was just a good moment.

Big Business

directed by Jim Abrahams

screenshot of Big Business

I love the absurd humour of the ZAZ (Airplane!, Police Squad!, etc.). They have heavily influenced the very funny French group Les Nuls (La Cité de la peur, 1994).
After Ruthless People (1986), the trio starts to part away: while David Zucker is making The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Jim Abrahams is filming Big Business.

The film is based on one overused idea, mixed up babies (except this time, it’s two twin babies), but it uses the concept to its full extent and that’s very enjoyable.
Some physical jokes are nicely made and recall other ZAZ productions, but they are very rare.

Hard to bear the two main actresses, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, who play eccentrically; it was fashionable at the time, I guess. Fred Ward’s character is way more sympathetic.
Fun fact: you can quickly see a young Seth Green (Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

It’s also a colourful portrait of the 1988 New York, even if I have doubts about the realism, with a cool soundtrack.


directed by Garry Marshall

Bette Midler is back, at my expense. And even more obnoxious. But, basically, all the characters are unlikeable, at a point that I stopped watching halfway and never found the motivation to continue.
I’m trying to watch as many feature films from 1988 as possible, to have fun and enlarge my culture, not to cringe in front of my screen.

While the movie is bad, in my eyes, its director, Garry Marshall, has been very productive and is best known for Pretty Woman and a ton of other romantic comedies. And what a coincidence, he was also the brother of Penny Marshall, mentioned above.

No crazy good films this time, but I’m glad I watched Willow, Big and Cocktail, which left their marks on the 80s.
No need to give Disney a dime, though.