#1916 Firehouse (1987)

The Police Academy series was upon its release heavily bashed by critics for being crude, low brow humour. But stinkers like Firehouse show how skilfully crafted that humour and a roster of characters really is in comparison with this kind of garbage, put together with absolutely no ambition nor skills.

Basically a Police Academy but with fire brigade, Firehouse shows a badly conducting firemen getting a new roster of female fire fighters, with whom they then compete with. But this is no female power movie, more like a sorry excuse to display an infinite amount of mammaries on the screen.

Pretty much nothing in Firehouse makes one laugh, feel nor think, making it one of the most futile attempts in humour for a long time..

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 6%

#1915 Mysterious Planet (1982)

I take no pride nor joy hitting down on a small underdog, but Mysterious Planet just plain does not have much redeeming qualities to it.

What we have here is a sci-fi adventure where a few earthlings and their extra terrestrial buddy end up stranded on a far away planet. Not only does the movie rely heavily on a special effects the team can’t possibly provide, the pure technical quality of the movie is downright abysmal. The basic camera work is off with very tiring shaky movement throughout, and void of using basic functions like white balance. But where the movie first the most is with its dubbed dialogue, quite impossible to understand due to hissing, extra noises, echo or other layering sounds drowning it all.

An ambitious project, Mysterious Planet unfortunately bit more than it could chew. Purely as a movie experience, it is nearing zero – but I do admire that level of ambition and the fact that they manage to finish it all despite the quite apparent uphill battle they faced.

80s-o-meter: 53%

Total: 12%

#1914 Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989)

In the early 90s someone in the Finnish National Broadcasting company had the good taste to get the Penn & Teller special Don’t Try This at Home to the programming. It was completely new, something fresh, daring and funny. And I was hooked, becoming an instant fan.

So yes, of course I’ve seen Penn & Teller Get Killed. But for some reason I always thought it as an early 90s release.

Written by the Penn & Teller themselves, the movie looks very much like them. There are tricks, pranks, revealing hoaxes, something of a plot and lots of black humour. In fact, the whole premise of the movie is based on the black humour as Penn jokingly states in national television how he wished someone was trying to kill them – something that soon becomes a self granting wish.

The movie might have been better if given to hands of a professional writer, but would not likely have reflected the duo as well as this one. Same goes for the melodramatic ending, filled with that pitch dark dark humour we’ve come to expect from these two magicians.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 80%

#1913 Touched (1983)

A movie you haven’t ever heard of, nor have your friends or family heard of, Touched is a long forgotten little drama on mental patients struggling to become independent.

Boasting only 140 ratings and one review on IMDB, I have no idea how the movie became so obsolete, but I suspect it had either really limited theatrical release, or it was canned altogether. While the movie is no stinker, and would have warranted a somewhat wired release, there’s just something about seeing Robert Hays so many times in Airplane! that I can’t take him easily serious enough to read how good of a drama actor he actually might be.

The movie tells a story of him falling love with another mental patient, played by at least equally gorgeous looking Kathleen Beller, and I was struggling to believe the two as patients going steady and starting a life of their own, instead of actors pretending to do so.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 38%

#1912 Places in the Heart (1984)

With actors, it’s often the first impression that counts. For example, I only knew Sally Field from her work in Mrs. Doubtfire for a long time before I discovered her true acting skills.

The same goes for Danny Glover, who, upon seeing his other work, turns out to be a much more versatile actor than the Lethal Weapon series would have you believe.

Together, these actors make Places in the Heart work, with Field playing a recently widowed mother now struggling to pay the mortgage, and Glover portraying a vagabond. Together, they become an unlikely team, fighting fiercely to keep the family homestead.

80s-o-meter: 8%

Total: 75%

#1911 Grave Secrets aka Secret Screams (1989)

In the era where far too many slashers were made, Grave Secrets is already winning for being a good old possessed spirit horror movie.

It’s a movie that does nothing exceptionally well – but nothing that badly neither. It’s biggest problem is with the writing, with nothing too much of interest and of suspense taking place until the last act. It’s this ending where the movie finally wakes up a little, consequently waking the viewer also.

As much as I dig Paul Le Mat, he seems to be sleepwalking through the movie, and I couldn’t have but thunk that perhaps another choice for a lead would have kept the attention up for a longer.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 62%

#1910 Fast-Walking aka The Rap (1982)

I’m struggling to see the point of Fast-Walking. A prison drama shot in a rascal comedy style, the movie draws a picture of state prison and its corrupt warden looking forward to making a few bucks.

At first I thought the film was about how he would start to feel the net tightening around him, but this is actually the lovable scoundrel the movie hopes us to root for.

I found very little to like about him, and the the events inside or outside the prison. Nor did I like the way the movie was constructed, and how it looks and feels very outdated much beyond its years.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 31%

#1909 Enemies, A Love Story (1989)

Enemies, A Love Story is a rollercoaster of emotions in the life of Herman (Ron Silver), a holocaust survivor in the 1949 New York.

You see, Herman has tangled himself between women. And to make things worse, the third woman from the past is just around ther corner.

Silver does well in the role, portraying the low-key Herman with tons of mixed emotions storming below his calm facade. He never sells the character as heroic or likeable, but manages to make him relatable enough so that the audience finds themselves rooting for him, despite his morally questionable choices and actions.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 67%

#1908 Criminal Act aka Tunnels (1989)

Criminal Act – or Tunnels, as it’s much more apt name for it – promises a horror story inside old, long forgotten tunnels crossing under a newspaper, whose two female reporters go out wandering around there, just for the heck of it.

So it’s a bit far fetched to begin with, but what follows requires even more overlooking the probable. The movie turns into bit of a cartoon for adults, with film’s baddies sketched with heavy strokes of caricature making it even harder for one to buy the plot. It’s like watching a comedy without the humour part.

Horror is promised on the movie cover, but that’s an element that is not be found here.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 22%

#1907 Lobster Man from Mars (1989)

A spoof of 1950s monster scifi movies, Lobster Man from Mars was to my surprise a positive little comedy.

The movie successfully picks a few archetypes of the genre and parodises them with either expected or unexpected twist so almost everything you’d expect to find in the movie is there. The amateurish look and feel naturally goes with the picture, and the movie is often much more cheap and TV-series like than it needs to be to convey the message, but for once this did not take too much away from the overall experience.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 70%

#1906 Beach Balls (1988)

When you see a movie cover like this with a silly stupid name, it’s going to be one painful experience or a positive surprise. Either way, the expectations can’t be sky high.

Luckily Beach Balls happens to fall into the latter category. It keeps the annoyances of the genre – like being just a stupid sex comedy only revolving around gratuitous nudity – to the minimum, but still manages to being a showcase of all the possible comedy elements and characters of the genre and era stuffed into one movie: beach, jocks, baddies, heavy metal bands, house parties, side kick of a best friend, clashes with the police and conservative religious parents – it’s all here! The archetype characters also mostly work, one of the best ones being Raf Mauro as the neurotic and problematic parole officer Mr. Sugarman, at the very brink of a complete meltdown.

The humour might be hit and miss but overall Beach Balls is an enjoyable and recommendable time capsule to the silly, fluffy beach comedies of the era.

80s-o-meter: 95%

Total: 83%

#1905 Lady Street Fighter (1981)

This one landed on my table in the form of Blu-Ray release restored from the last remaining copy of the film. So it’s one of those ”lost movies” nobody has heard of. And to be honest, it should have stayed that way.

Apparently shot sometime in the mid 70’s and released during 80s (different sites list different dates ranging from 1980 to 1989), Lady Street Fighter is an awful piece of trash, and a reminder that sometimes bad movie is just bad movie. Not only is there no plot, but the movie manages to mix in every worst aspect of the 70s and sprinkle on top with some really stomach turning imagery of repulsive characters licking telephones, sucking on celery and showcasing some really unnecessary nudity I was not expecting or hoping to see.

This does not happen too often, but I absolutely hated the movie. Glad it’s over.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 0%

#1904 Deadly Embrace (1989)

A soft porn movie disguised as erotic thriller mostly likely to just make it to the rental VHS space outside the adult corner, Deadly Embrace is a totally brain dead movie shot probably over just a few days.

Most of the running time is spend on endless dreamy erotic sequences and lingering stares.

If anything, the movie remains a testament to Jan-Michael Vincent’s at the time downhill spiralling life and career, of which Deadly Embrace is just another example of bad choices that were made.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 1%

#1903 That Championship Season (1982)

A different kind of sports movie, That Championship Season depicts four of the former college Basketball players now in their 50s gathering together to remember state championship 25 years earlier.

As with the likes of 12 Angry Men, the action in That Championship Season – which is based on a play of the same name – takes place in one location, and concentrates on interpersonal relationship and drama. We get to be the flies on the wall witnessing long time secrets revealed, personas clashing and well built facades toppling over.

The cast is strong, with the coast portrayed by Robert Mitchum being the father figure still keeping his team together no matter what. With all of this good out of the way, That Championship Season gives a portrayal of a late 70s Pennsylvania team of middle aged men, and while realistic, this portrayal is at times not socially apt in 2024.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 65%

#1902 The Delta Force (1986)

One of the definite action movies of the 80s The Delta Force inspired by hijacking and resulting two-week hostage drama of TWA Flight 847 taking place only year earlier, in 1985

Directed, co-written and co-produced by Menahem Golan, the movie itself is heavily connected with Israel and Israeli officials with the filming taking place there and backing the movie up with airplanes and other gear needed for the movie.

The first half of the movie is actually quite well done with the events inside the airplane, and the building up tension, where the second part of the movie with liberating the hostages gets as ridiculous as a Chuck Norris movie can get, with him riding a rocket shooting motorcycle and being basically immune to any kind of projectiles or bullets. The fans of Norris and these kind of over the top action movies who know what they are looking for will find tons of guilty pleasure to enjoy here.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 78%

#1901 Brenda Starr (1989)

I should have loved Brenda Starr a lot more: a fantasy adventure based on a comic strip taking place in distant, exotic places. But I didn’t.

Reason is, the movie makes a bad case of telling its story, all the way from the comic book artist getting sucked into the world of comics he created, as well as most of the events that follow. There’s baddies and chases and piranhas and all that but nothing that really grasps the viewer. There are a few funny moments of poking fun of the artificial cartoon world, so maybe they should’ve doubled down on this in the first place. To my understanding Brenda Starr not also not a known figure in Europe and is definitely not one in 2024, so this might have hindered my experience also.

Visually the movie is just about perfect, and grasps the sense of adventure well, and the period picture like South American scenes took me back to adventure games like Flight of the Amazon Queen. Brooke Shields and her clothing and mannerisms and stunning dreamy looks fit the role perfectly.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 42%

#1900 Thrashin’ (1986)

Now I’m puzzled. If Gleaming the Cube was a definite rad California 80s skating movie, so is Thrashin’, both totally cool for partly the same, and partly different reasons.

Like Gleaming the Cube, the movie has just about everything one would love from the era; warm Californian landscapes, beach, boys from The Valley, skating baddies, famous skaters like Tony AlvaTony HawkChristian Hosoi and Steve Caballero, music and a live performance from nobody else than Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a totally bitchin’ title song of the same name from Meat Loaf.

After saving this one for later on for quite some time, I’m glad to say that Thrashin’ did definitely not disappoint. Comparing the two, Gleaming the Cube might edge it out slightly, but my suggestion? Watch them both and enjoy the ride!

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 91%

#1899 Cage (1989)

The Vietnam war hero Billy (Lou Ferrigno) gets shot in head, and survives with severe brain damage, reducing him to a child like state. Taken care by his friend Scott (Reb Brown) they open a bar together, but quickly get drawn into the world of illegal cage fights where they are forced to compete – or face death.

Before the introduction of UFC, Cage fights had notorious clang to them during the 80s known by name by every boy and man, and the movie successfully taps into this world, plus the crime related to it. Ferrigno himself is the strongest (literally) part of the movie, as well as weakest, not quite having the acting chops to portray the mentally disabled role in a believable fashion. But he gets the job done, no problem there.

The movie itself as as stylish as they came in 1989. The camerawork and cinematography is solid, and the movie is generally entertaining and thrilling to watch.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 80%

#1898 Wild Thing (1987)

Wild Thing is basically a modern day Tarzan in a concrete jungle. After seeing his hippie parents get killed and being risen in a slums with a philosophy of never being seen and helping the oppressed, Wild Thing has become something of a urban myth on the streets.

The concept has potential for a different kind of a superhero (cartoon) franchise, by really making the main character a cool and mystical creature. But, Wild Thing ultimately fails to pull this off.

It is all in all quite tame ride that – while mildly entertaining – does not really live up to its full potential.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 61%

#1897 What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon aka Revenge of the Sun Demon (1989)

What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon is a 1989 redubbed spoof of the 1958 horror/scifi B-movie Hideous Sun Demon. The idea to even produce something like this and then sell it is downright ridiculous, and something you could barely pass in Youtube these days, but surprisingly What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon does has its moments, and some of the lines are actually quite funny.

And some are not.

Despite the stupidity the movie was easy to watch through, and whet my appetite to see the original one in an unspoiled form some time in the future.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 31%