Why was “Shanghai Surprise” fascinating and what was the longest film in 1985? Retro film diary, 1986/1987 #1. Written January 1st, 2023.
“The Secret of My Success” was one of the films of its day, for teenagers mostly but also for adults. In the transition from teenager to adult one has hopes and dreams but not realize them yet, the film shows. That was in 1987, but still sums up the universal human experience. One has youthful dreams but has yet to get there, or one had youthful dreams and never did get there.
“Shanghai Surprise” in 1986 was a curiosity film because pop queen Madonna played a missionary and young people in the day were fascinated. How could a missionary be like Madonna? This was indeed the stereotype of the unattractive religious person being flipped on its head.
A ten-hour movie on the holocaust, “Shoah” (1985), tested the patience of the most patient audiences, but was so long that it would put off many. The film was aimed at a specialized audience with a meaningful message to bring.
“Sid and Nancy” on the one hand put the punk scene into question but then speculated life did not happen the way it did to real life punks Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. A sad testimony, but not a formal accusation. Gary Oldman as Sid played Winston Churchill thirty years later.