November 19, 2021
I watched “An Officer and a Gentleman” way late at night on Cinemax or HBO in 1983. My calendar journal from that year has a little side note on the August page. It says “Paul’s mom looks like the Officer Gentleman woman.” I don’t recall who exactly Paul (or his mom) is.
I had no idea what was going on in that movie, or what I was watching. Most 8-year-old kids wouldn’t. But something about it, particularly the soundtrack, stuck with me. I still love it today.
“Up Where We Belong” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 1982. That’s my big sister, Michelle’s, 12th birthday. “Up Where We Belong” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Louis Gossett, Jr. won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film. Debra Winger was nominated for Best Actress. Richard Gere is the only one who got no love from the Academy.
I loved Debra Winger as an 8-year-old boy, after seeing that movie. Today, a lot of people dislike Winger for whatever reason.
I honestly didn’t know the name Richard Gere until “Pretty Woman” in 1990. When I saw “American Gigolo” for the first time in the early 80s, I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the movie, thus don’t really remember the name Richard Gere.
I always wanted to carry my woman away into the sunset like Zack Mayo did at the end of “An Officer and a Gentleman.” And my cheesy hopeless romantic crap has endured to this day.
“Up Where We Belong” spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Truly” by Lionel Richie took over the top spot on November 27, 1982. “Mickey” by Toni Basil took the #1 spot on December 11, 1982. Of course that is now an iconic 1980s classic. “Oh Mickey, what a pity…”
Unfortunately for 80s sweetie Laura Branigan, “Gloria” never reached #1 in 1982 because of “Mickey” and Hall and Oates’ “Maneater.” “Gloria” stayed at #2 during those weeks.
But I digress. Debra Winger was probably my first “older woman” crush. My mom also liked the song “Up Where We Belong” so that gives it more nostalgic appeal. But I didn’t truly appreciate “An Officer and a Gentleman” until 6-7 years ago when I saw it as an adult for the first time.
Debra Winger openly dissed Madonna a few months ago. Winger explained that she turned down a role in the 1992 film “A League Of Their Own” because she didn’t want to work with Madonna.
“Up Where We Belong” is far more memorable for me than “An Officer and a Gentleman.” But that’s just me.