1984 was not a bad year for Minneapolis: the Twins, Prince, the Coen brothers (OK, and Mondale). Joel and Ethan’s first feature, the ultra-suave thriller Blood Simple, went from raves at the New York Film Festival to SRO at the art houses. Hal Hinson analyzes its textural and textual pleasures and talks with the filmmakers
THE SLEAZE FACTOR
Where do you go for reviews of Sex Family Robinson on the Farm, or rants on the fauna of 42nd Street, or really neat atrocity photos? To the more eccentric fanzines. Jack Barth checks out this criticism on the cheap; and four fanzine editors pick their all-time faves. Olga’s Girls indeed!
THE CLASS OF 1985
Quite a class. A lot of class. All of a sudden the cinema is burgeoning with fine actresses on the rise. Herewith, 20 appreciations by 20 admirers, and an overview from David Thomson. Our apologies to the equally fine Lindsay Crouse, Amy Irving, Meg Tilly, Rebecca de Mornay, . . .
Karen Allen, by Kenneth Turan
Rosanna Arquette, by Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese
Ellen Barkin, by Owen Gleiberman
Sandra Bernhard, by David Thomson
Rae Dawn Chong, by Carrie Rickey
Jamie Lee Curtis, by Dave Kehr
Daryl Hannah, by Harlan Jacobson
Amy Madigan, by Michael Sragow
Lonette McKee, by Elvis Mitchell
Michelle Pfeiffer, by Richard Corliss
Amanda Plummer, by David Chute
Martha Quinn, by Jack Barth
Theresa Russell, by Jack Mathews
Susan Sarandon, by Stephen Kessler
Ally Sheedy, by Richard Gehr
Kathleen Turner, by Richard Schickel
Sigourney Weaver, by Peter Rainer
Dianne Wiest, by Christopher Durang
JoBeth Williams, by Michael Sragow
Debra Winger, by Jonathan Benair
COTTONING TO ‘CLUB’
Any $50-million movie ignored by the Oscar people can’t be all bad. In fact, Richard T. Jameson thinks The Cotton Club has an educated verve. And William Kennedy, prize-winning novelist, had a hell of a good time working with Francis Coppola on the script; he chats with David Thomson.
That’s the affliction that has you rooting for Antonio Salieri over the Brits and Third Worlders who dominate this year’s sweepstakes. Our experts tell you who’ll win. Salieri will be pleased.
Dan Yakir went flying down to Rio: saw much, liked some, tells all.
THE HOLLYWOOD NOVEL
Books like I Should Have Stayed Home, The Last Tycoon, and What Makes Sammy Run were signposts along the road to Hollywood Hatred. Terry Curtis Fox examines a half century of movie-industry fiction. It’s all worth reading.
HOT TO GLOBETROT
By now, moviegoers know every L.A. location blindfolded. So, next stop: Waxahatchie, Texas. By Marc Mancini.
I WITNESS, I CONFESS
From Blowup to The Purple Rose of Cairo, movies have implicated us in the voyeur’s art. Marcia Pally muses.
TENTH ANNUAL GROSSES GLOSS
Prince is king! The moguls counted their blessings to an MTV beat in 1984 while trying to forget that too many movies were flooding a static market. Gregg Kilday reports on the winners and losers.
TELEVISION: ‘MIAMI VICE’
Richard T. Jameson on the TV show that looks like a (good) movie.
INDUSTRY: CHINA VENTURE
Chen Xiaolin buys U.S. films for a billion-person market. First Blood cost her $25,000. By Dan Yakir.
1984 FILM COMMENT INDEX
ORBITS: SAM PECKINPAH
Appraisal from a critic; a tribute from a friend. Both are Kathleen Murphy.
Walter Bannert’s The Inheritors confronts the new face of Nazism, Marcia Pally confronts Walter Bannert.
BACK PAGE: QUIZ #12
Fill in the blanks, from A to Z.