#892 Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Based on the 50s TV series of the same name, Twilight Zone is an anthology of 4 short stories with a fantasy / horror / supernatural twist to them.

After a simple but rather nice prelude with Dan Aykroid we are presented with a story of a racist bigot getting a taste of his own medicine. This first episode ’Time Out’, directed by John Landis, is technically and acting wise an applaudable effort, but never evolves beyond the simple idea and soon gets old and predictable. The following Spielberg’s ’Kick the Can’ tells a tale of the habitants of a retirement getting a chance to be children again, a story which continues in the same vein of quality, slow pacing and predictability.

In ’It’s a Good Life’, a segment directed by Joe Dante is where the movie really takes off as mystery of people trapped in a cartoony house is unrevealed layer by layer, and it’s the following ’Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ that finally redeems the anthology as one of the best of the 80s. It’s a segment perfectly suited for the short story format and the director George Miller hilariously captures the claustrophobic hysteria of the situation while John Lithgow does a wonderful portrayal of a phobic airline passenger on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Like numerous other anthologies, Twilight Zone is an uneven show, but its two stronger story segments along with its above average production quality lift it above the competition.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 81%

#891 Tough Guys (1986)

Tough Guys is an action comedy of a two yesteryear bank robbers getting released from a jail after serving their 30 year sentence.

After the interesting premise along with the main characters are introduced, the movie grinds to an absolute halt, presenting a stream of rather uninteresting events that only serve to rub in that modern day isn’t too kind for these old men. Watching the movie is a long and some times tedious waiting game for that inevitable heist in the end, but luckily the movie manages to redeem itself in the last 25 minutes of its running time.

Tough Guys is a relatively unknown movie that has gathered favourable reviews no doubt thanks to its veteran actors Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, and they manage to make the movie worth your while.

A word of warning though; replace them with some 30 years younger bulk actors and you really wouldn’t have that much of a movie going on here.

80s-o-meter: 64%

Total: 61%

#890 Ms .45 (1981)

A revenge exploitation movie that makes Death Wish look like a serious drama, Ms .45 tells a story of a young woman who goes on a psychotic rampage against the mankind after getting raped.

It a dull ride with an exceptionally unpleasant cast and that stuffy 70s scent hovering all over it. The movie gets less and less interesting as the bodies pile up until I really couldn’t care any less what happens next in the movie. It replaces the violence or the prolonged rape scenes of its paragon I Spit on Your Grave with some finesse and style, but otherwise it has dropped down from the very same trash tree.

There is some kind of a cult status associated with the movie, but really there isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done much better since — or before.

80s-o-meter: 48%

Total: 8%

#889 Vicious Lips (1986)

Vicious Lips is what happens when you gather a bunch of young models and promise them they’ll get to star in the talking pictures — and them at some point you have no choice but to have that movie made, with ideas on not.

Very little in this movie makes any sense, and it all feels like it’s been made up as they go along. There’s something about a crashed spaceship, topless women running around in a desert and an intergalactic girls band trying to find some venue while being harassed by something kind of resembling a monster.

If any of that managed to sound funny, I can assure you it’s not.

The only somewhat passable thing here are the musical numbers scattered around the movie, but honestly I really couldn’t be bothered by them either.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 12%

#888 Hiding Out (1987)

Hiding Out follows a Boston stock broker escaping to a small town and disguising himself as a teen punk to lead off the hired killers trying to bump him off. Instead of staying put in a safe house he then rolls himself into a high school in a baffling plot twist sure there only to make the movie more interesting. And yes; all sorts of unnecessary mishaps do start unraveling as a result.

Equally utilitarian is the approach with his cousin who’s there only to provide comedic whirl to the mix. Unfortunately these recurring mishaps – like the driving school bit – never actually drive the plot ahead, and thus feel plastered on.

If you can overlook its ridiculous premise, Hiding Out does offer an above average 80s drama comedy that’s still a good fun to spend 90 minutes with, despite its shortcomings.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 71%

#887 Hopscotch (1980)

Hopscotch, for those unfamiliar with the activity, is that grid hopping game children play during the summer. Here the term refers to a wild-goose chase between CIA officials and a retired agent writing his whistle blower memoirs.

In terms of being a thriller – even if it’s a comedic one – the movie is pretty lame deal by today’s standards: The baddies are unduly goofy and mostly just end up tumbling against each other instead of ever posing an actual threat. Hopscotch visits various European locations to give it that international agent feeling; something I never really cared for in American movies.

Seeing Walter Matthau in action is always a treat, and I’ve really grown to admire his talent of effortlessly wearing whatever material is thrown his way. If anything here, it’s Matthau’s performance that remains the only reason why Hopscotch might be worth your time.

80s-o-meter: 56%

Total: 59%