The 1988 Movie Draft
You know how I know I have great friends? Because they didn't mind being conned into doing another one of these movie drafts.
Last time, we drafted movies from 2009. This time, in honour of my birthday, we drafted movies from my birth year, 1988.
A refresher of the rules:
- The movie's year of released had to be listed as 1988 on IMDb
- At the end of the draft, each player must have one movie from each of these seven categories
- Blockbuster (for this one, movies with >$100m adjusted domestic gross were eligible for this category)
- Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror
- Animated/Foreign Language
- Wild Card (any film can be a Wild Card)
As is tradition, the draft order was set randomly and picks were made serpentine-style. At the end of the night, here's what our six teams looked like.
- Person A: Die Hard, The Last Temptation of Christ, Grave of the Fireflies, Bull Durham, Vampire's Kiss, The Thin Blue Line, The Blob
- Person B: Rain Man, Police Story 2, They Live, The Accused, Willow, Dragons Forever, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
- Person C: My Neighbor Totoro, A Fish Called Wanda, Coming to America, Dead Ringers, Dangerous Liaisons, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, The Vanishing
- Person D: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Land Before Time, Bloodsport, Stand and Deliver, Midnight Run, Dead Heat, The Dead Pool
- Person E: Beetlejuice, The Naked Gun, Cinema Paradiso, Beaches, Child's Play, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Crocodile Dundee II
- Person F: Mississippi Burning, Akira, Big, Young Guns, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Red Heat
First things first: everyone brought their A game. This was a much closer draft than the last one. People learned from their biffs in the first one, developed boards and strategies, and the result was a killer performance overall.
I had Die Hard as the first movie off the board, so Person A was 100% justified in taking it first. The rest of their draft is very good; The Thin Blue Line was a great wild card pick, and The Blob is a criminally underrated film and also a great last-round pick. There were rumblings among the Committee that Vampire's Kiss was ineligible because it was only released wide in 1989, but the rules clearly state that the year used to determine the validity of a pick the the year listed on IMDb, which in the case of Vampire's Kiss is, in fact, 1988, since it premiered at Cannes that year. Nice try, anonymous GM!
Could B have gotten Rain Man later? Probably. But, as with Avatar in the 2009 draft, it's hard to argue with the reasoning: this movie was an Oscar juggernaut (four wins, including Best Picture) and the highest-grossing film of 1988. Could they have gotten Police Story 2 later? Again, probably, but I see the reasoning. Sequel/Prequel/Reboot/Remake is always going to be thin, so getting in early is a good move. It also allowed B to score mad style points by having a Jackie Chan double feature on their roster when they picked Sammo Hung's Dragons Forever, which wasn't even on my radar.
C came in hot out of the gate, capitalizing on My Neighbor Totoro, which was 2nd overall in my mock draft, falling to third. C picked crowdpleasers with surgical precision in the first five rounds. But dear reader, I have never been as floored or flabbergasted by a pick than when C took a fucking Gundam movie in the sixth round. It was the right place to have a complete and total curveball, and it just knocked me square on my ass. Char's Counterattack wasn't even in the same galaxy as my board, and I have no choice but to respect the move. Getting the Dutch thriller The Vanishing in the last round as a wild card is quite the coup, too.
D's board has strong “weekend at Dad's” vibes. Dad really likes action movies with manly men committing grievous acts of bodily harm against one another, using their guns, their fists, or both. But there are a couple of tapes there for the kids, too. As far as draft strategy goes, getting Midnight Run in the fifth round is fucking highway robbery. How did stay on the table that long. I can't be sure, but I have a theory: most of the GMs in the draft are under 30, no one has cable, and Midnight Run isn't streaming anywhere. A perfect storm for generating a high-value pick.
I think E had a solid draft right up until the end. As I mentioned before, Sequel/Prequel/Reboot/Remake is always going to be a thin category, but surely even horror programmers like Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers or Phantasm II were higher value than the second Crocodile Dundee movie. By their own admission, Crocodile Dundee II was “smooth-brain viewing,” but so's some of that horror schlock I just mentioned. Beaches I get, but Crocodile Dundee II I don't. My suspicion is they wanted to keep it real and only pick movies they've seen, but by their own admission, they've seen “like 100 movies,” so maybe hatedrafting a shitty sequel is a viable way of doing things.
F fooled me. I though they biffed it completely when they drafted Hellraiser II as their SF/F/Horror pick. I even asked them if they were sure. They assured me they knew what they were doing. They did: F went completely off-board and picked the gleefully crass Return of the Killer Tomatoes as their sequel, which while not the steal of the evening (that would be Midnight Run at #28), it was the pick that caused the most hootin' and hollerin'. I don't think F had the best draft, but on the strength of that move and picking Red Heat because like hell we were going to draft an 80s movie year and have no Arnold Schwarzenegger films, they may have had the most fun one.
After the secret ballots were tallied, A and D were declared joint winners. But what do you think? Who won? Who lost?
Here are ten we left on the table:
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space
- Married to the Mob
- Mystic Pizza
- Oliver and Company
- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
- Working Girl