Daily Archives: October 1, 1988

Coverup: Behind The Iran Contra Affair

If this country’s electorate cared more about truth and honesty, this 1988 film, which was released just before the election, would have gotten more media attention than the Bush-Dukakis debates. Unfortunately, stylish cover-up is the name of the game, and this straightforward account of how our country and Constitution were sold down the river was virtually ignored. Of course this is nothing new: enough of the Watergate story was already apparent before Nixon was reelected to have affected that election if the public had wanted to hear about it. Considerably more of the Iran-contra affair is apparent (including our government’s involvement in the hard-drugs trade) in this first-rate, compulsively watchable documentary. Directed by Barbara Trent, scripted by Eve Goldberg, and narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, with music by Ruben Blades, Richard Elliott, Pink Floyd, and Lou Reed. 76 min. (JR)… Read more »

Clara’s Heart

Whoopi Goldberg stars as a Jamaican housekeeper who looks after a 12-year-old boy (Neil Patrick Harris) whose parents (Kathleen Quinlan and Michael Ontkean) are about to be divorced. Robert Mulligan directed Mark Medoff’s screenplay, based on Joseph Olshan’s novel; Spalding Gray, Beverly Todd, and Hattie Winston are among the costars. My memories of this 1988 feature are dim, but Fred Camper makes a strong case for it and for Mulligan’s mise en scene in general. 108 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Blob

The original 1958 version of the campy teen SF comedy, directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. and featuring Steve McQueen in his first starring role. A mass of cherry Jell-O from outer space threatens to destroy a small town; Burt Bacharach composed the title song. 86 min. (JR)… Read more »

Bat 21

Well-acted but otherwise conventional war hokum about a rescue mission during the Vietnam war, based on William C. Anderson’s novel of the same title (which is based in turn on a true incident), and scripted by Anderson and George Gordon. Gene Hackman plays a veteran pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Iceal E. Hambleton, who travels by ground while spotter pilot Captain Dennis Clark (Danny Glover) communicates overhead by radio; the friendship between the two men, who meet face-to-face only at the end, is a major part of the story. War film buffs may find this watchable; I was reminded of Hackman’s comment in Night Moves that watching a Rohmer film was like watching paint dryalthough in this case, it’s more like watching blood coagulate. Peter Markle directed. (JR)… Read more »

The Accused

Something of a first, this is a serious movie about rape, and as such might be said to represent penance of a sort for the crude milking of antifeminist sentiments in the previous film of producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe, Fatal Attraction. Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) is gang-raped in a bar, and deputy district attorney Katheryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) agrees to take her case. A courtroom drama with certain faint echoes of Anatomy of a Murder and the more recent Nuts (the latter of which had the same screenwriter, Tom Topor), this attention holder explores such issues as the public’s received ideas about rape and the question of ultimate responsibility without ever stacking the deck or being unduly preachy; and director Jonathan Kaplan, who previously gave an edge to Over the Edge, guides things along capably. Not a brilliant film, but an intelligent and thoughtful one that builds to an effective climax, with an exceptional performance by Foster. (JR)… Read more »