If you had the privilege of living in 1989, then you experienced the very first massive Block Buster summer. Being a kid, it was geek overload. And it was a historic event that should be talked about more often.
First, this was the summer of sequels: Ghostbusters II, Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, Back to the Future II, Star Trek V, Lethal Weapon II, License to Kill (Bond 16), Karate Kid III, Friday the 13th VIII, and Nightmare on Elm Street 5! That’s a lot of sequels for any year.
Not to mention, we got great movies like: Batman, Dead Poets Society, When Harry Met Sally, The Abyss, and yes, Weekend at Bernies! That’s not even the entire list. Just my favorites.
There was no internet. No social media. The only way to get a heads up on things was to read Starlog magazine or Variety. Sometimes you could watch TV and catch an episode of Entertainment Tonight. Lastly, word of mouth – maybe you had a friend that had a cousin who’s roommate was working as a grip on the film production. Sometimes, when I think back to that time, I’m surprised I found out about anything.
It was Starlog magazine and comic fanzine called Comic Scene where I first heard of the film Batman. Seeing that first image of Michael Keaton in the batsuit in front of the Batmobile, I was mesmerized. I remember just staring at it for hours (literally). I was just so happy and excited at the same time. This definitely was not the old TV series. I just wanted to talk about it so I drove to the local comic book store. (And in a small town, I don’t remember too many folks that were geeks like me).
I remember that the casting was not accepted by fans. Many really were worried that although it looked dark, it was going to be another campy version of Batman (the casting of Michael Keaton – who was considered a comedic actor). Now that I think about it. It wasn’t that much different than today. We still voiced opinions. We still griped. We still complained. Yet, the only difference was: it was you and 4 of your friends not a sea of millions of digital voices. I do recall that I was quite positive the movie was going to be everything we could want. It was going to be just as good as Superman (1978) – which was my favorite super-hero film of all time – then and now. (I understand that up till 1989, there wasn’t many of them. But still…)
That was a summer of sounds too. It felt like no matter where you went you heard the song On Our Own by Bobby Brown or Batdance by Prince. I know it sounds odd when I say, when I hear those songs even today, I’m transported back to 1989. My body is connected to that year. Even crazier, I feel like I can perceive the year, smell it, touch it. It’s hard to explain. Yet, I see specific moments – as if part of me is still there.
If the 1980s had to end on a bang, I would say it did. Technically, it was more like an explosion – a death start-like explosion!
(More 80s to come….)