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1986, Universal, 110 min, USA, Dir: Willard Huyck

The titular sarcastic, cigar-chomping, 27-year-old hero of this ahead-of-its-time fan favorite hails from the planet Duckworld, from which he’s suddenly beamed away via an Earth-based scientific experiment gone awry. Landing in Cleveland, Howard must contend with this new and strange place, and, of course, prevent the very destruction of the universe by a villain who also gets accidentally beamed down to Earth. Visually inventive and engaging, HOWARD THE DUCK is an amazing oddity: a comic book film squarely aimed at adults with humor way above the heads of the young audience it drew.

1983, 20th Century Fox, 91 min, USA, Dir: Michael Chapman

Legendary cinematographer Michael Chapman (TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL) made his directorial debut with this working-class coming-of-age film. Tom Cruise plays a high school athlete who hopes that football can save him from a dead-end life in the mill town where he lives. Craig T. Nelson is the coach with an agenda of his own who comes into conflict with his star player. Chapman places the compelling human drama against a naturalistic, richly detailed backdrop, and Lea Thompson is excellent opposite Cruise in the film’s tender and thoughtful love story.

1987, Paramount, 95 min, USA, Dir: Howard Deutch

Director Howard Deutch and screenwriter John Hughes followed up PRETTY IN PINK with a similar story that reverses the genders: This time Eric Stoltz is the have-not, Lea Thompson is the rich girl he has a crush on, and Mary Stuart Masterson is the best friend he doesn’t realize really loves him.

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