#1512 Flowers in the Attic (1987)

When ran into Flowers in the Attic I already knew it by its name. Based on the 1979 novel of the same name, this was the first movie adaptation of the book.

But I did not know the grim gothic tale it was. A story of a grandmother locking the children to wither away in a north wing of the family mansion, and their mother betraying them the movie is not an easy thing to watch – especially considering this kind of abuse in the world is not fictive.

I haven’t read the book or seen the 2014 made for TV version, but based on what I’ve read the director Jeffrey Bloom has made the right call downplaying the incest relationship between the children that would’ve made the movie even harder for me to stomach, and toned it down to normal teen curiosity and a strong comradeship between the two elder siblings.

80s-o-meter: 28%

Total: 85%

#1511 Mindfield aka Mind Field (1989)

Canada – or USA lite as some pundits like to call it – felt in the 80s somewhere in between Great Britain and the States (a bit like Australia did as well) performing at times pretty convincing imitation of the Hollywood cinema, but more than often not really finding a tone of its own, and ending up sort of a poor man’s version of its US counterpart.

Mindfield is 100% Canadian product that got into this list for featuring one Michael Ironside who had already achieved a sizeable career in the US that would ultimately culminate in Total Recall (1990) that made him a household name and one of the definite baddies in the cinema history.

In Mindfield he also performs well, but anything else in the movie falls so far behind the expectations that it’s clear his talent is wasted here. Don’t let the nice poster or the scifi mind altering thriller blurb fool you – Total Recall this totally ain’t.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 38%

#1510 Pink Cadillac (1989)

Pink Cadillac is one of those movies I watched at the very beginning of starting out this project, but it turns out I never got around reviewing it.

Turns out I remember at the beginning with Clint Eastwood as a skip tracer going after the trailer park beauty queen Lou Ann (Bernadette Peters) who has fled to Reno with a briefcase full of her husbands counterfeit money – but the second half with them battling together against a camp full of white supremists I’d totally forgotten about. Probably due to it being more forgettable and less impactful than the plot twists that preceded it.

So, Pink Cadillac is a totally enjoyable movie – but not quite as iconic as I remembered it to be.

Still, you can never go much wrong with Eastwood.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 81%

#1507 Robot Ninja (1989)

If many of the main stream movies gained in quality from being released towards the end of the 80s, the same goes for the indie movies as well. Had Robot Ninja been released in 1982 it would’ve probably been unwatchable mess, but now the overall production quality (for a low budget movie) and the 80s style of it makes it more enjoyable and definitely closer to something that one could consider as a cult movie.

Mind you, this is still not a good movie. It is totally stupid and silly, and mostly relying on totally overboard gory special effects, but it does have that guilty pleasure aspect to it that I can relate to some people enjoying. That being said, the movie wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

There is a definite star in this show as well, though: A Commodore Amiga 500 home computer is present in many of the scenes, which alone makes the movie worth checking out for the fans of Amiga. I know you’re out there!

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 40%

#1504 The Good Mother (1988)

The world is full of great stories so it’s at times astounding what sometimes gets greenlighted and funded.

In Leonard Nimoy’s The Good Mother Diane Keaton plays a divorced mother dating Liam Neeson who then lets her daughter that’s his genitals for educational purposes – so they both get sued.

All this nonsense is padded with a story of her family and the difficult relationship with her father that is all totally disconnected from the main story line (albeit, much more interesting).

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 8%

#1503 The House on Carroll Street (1987)

A movie about woman in FBI’s is blacklist uncovering a plot in 1950s America to smuggle Nazi war criminals to the states under false identities, The House on Carroll Street plays out like a good mystery novel.

For a thriller the movie plays it quite safe, but establishes well the feeling of being a totally expendable chess piece in the international theatre of power. The House on Carroll Street is also exemplary in the way it portrays the period in a totally natural way and not even once feels underlined nor forced.

I loved Kelly McGillis’ portrayal of Emily that she plays with ethereal coolness but with a humane touch – she is sort of an enigma herself, after all. Jeff Daniels also go out to prove once again that you can’t go much wrong with him aboard.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 80%

#1501 The Trip to Bountiful (1985)

A movie that thematically reminded me quite a lot of The Whales of August, The Trip to Bountiful is one of those slow-paced movies where not too much happens.

Similarly to The Whales of August, this movie is about home, roots and inevitable change and passing of the time.

Geraldine Page – who was only 60 at the time – does a great role as the old, rough around the edges mother, and despite our age and gender difference, it was easy to empathise with the her throughout the movie.

80s-o-meter: 20%

Total: 60%

#1500 Predator (1987)

By 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger had already starred in the multiple movies that defined the action genre (Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, Commando), but it was Predator that really established him as the action star of the 80s.

Presenting us with a story of an alien humanoid life from travelling over to earth for recreational sports hunting (targeting humans), Predator is a mere B-movie ramped up to an A-level blockbuster hit by utilising all the top shelve talent Hollywood had to its avail at the time.

Similarly to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, with Predator Schwarzenegger reached a pinnacle where his character became immortal, and something that transcends human age and passing of time.

This is how we forever remember Schwarzenegger: as a 40-year old still very much in his top form, with a flat top haircut and boasting a magnetic screen presence the few extra years under this his belt and the confidence gained by finally silencing all the naysayers who said he could not cut it as a movie star.

Predator is an action movie that defined its genre so well that its formula still works to date, 35 years after Predator’s theatrical debut.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 98%

#1499 Chattahoochee (1989)

Chattahoochee is based on the life of Chris Calhoun, a Korean war veteran who in 1955 suffered a violent mental breakdown resulting him to be incarcerated in a high security mental health prison in Chattahoochee State Hospital, Florida.

From thereon his problems get worse as the patients of the asylum are subjected to various sorts of abuse. The systematic cruelty was eventually exposed by The Tampa Tribune, aided by the letters that Calhoun wrote while committed.

Chattahoochee features a wonderful story coupled with the strong performance by the wonderful Gary Oldman, but is ultimately held back by a poor screenplay that often fails to portray cause and consequence of various events; we see the violent breakdown, suicide attempt and eventual recovery but never quite understand the catalysts behind them.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 67%

#1498 The Stone Boy (1984)

Joe Hillerman has a grave problem. His 17-year old has just been killed in a morbid firearm accident and his younger brother who is the sole witness refuses to talk about the incident in detail. Furthermore, he seems mostly inconvenienced about the death rather than showing any other emotions.

Watching The Stone Boy I often got to reminiscence Square Dance, but only in the way how the former underlines how it totally failed to make us feel for any of its characters. With The Stone Boy the absolute opposite is true – and even if we don’t agree with some of the characters, they are written well enough for us to always sympathise with them.

While I don’t feel quite right criticising the work of a child actor, I was admittedly expecting something of an Oscar worthy performance during the movie’s culmination point, but that never came to be. Luckily it’s the more seasoned actors that still make the ending work in a totally satisfactory way.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 86%

#1497 The Beat (1987)

An eccentric boy moves into neighbourhood to find himself an outsider with the local gangs and clicks – until one of the students finds himself gravitating towards the strange world and poetry inside the boys mind. And soon the others follow.

The title of the movie is something they all then begin to chant together.

The Beat is a totally ridiculous depiction of the youth – high school musical ridiculous – but somehow escapes total cringeworthiness, probably due to its somewhat charming, naïvely honest approach.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 65%

#1496 The Devonsville Terror (1983)

A movie about 16th century witch hunt that has unexpected consequences to the present day, it takes ages for The Devonsville Terror to get to the most interesting parts of the story.

The movie has a strong late 70s British cinema vibe to it, and despite the quite dark themes a scary movie this ain’t.

At the end there is an unexpected surprise that the fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark might be able to appreciate.

80s-o-meter: 31%

Total: 34%

#1495 Suburbia (1983)

Writing about teens, especially the troubled ones it’s not an easy feat, and can easily turn condescending and cringeworthy. Suburbia get this totally right and its portrayal of the era, including young punk kids is exactly how I remember it to be.

The movie manages to capture both the dark tones as well as the moments of happiness, and the sense of belonging beautifully, true to its characters, without any excessive sappiness.

The array of amateur punk rocker kids cast to the movie (including young Flea of the RHCP fame in his first credited performance) perform their parts admirably. And in case you wonder: yes, Pet Shop Boys were inspired by this movie when composing their hit song of the same name.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 86%

#1494 Sole Survivor (1984)

The deceased won’t let a Sole Survivor of a devastating airplane crash be.

Preceding Final Destination by 16 years, both share the similar premise of coming back to claim those ear marked for underworld.

Sole Survivor doesn’t quite live up to interesting setup, very unfortunately presenting the impending death as reanimated corpses and never actually taking the idea one notch further. It does play for the benefit for the ending, but events before that are much more tame than they deserve to be.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 62%