#1234 Ragtime (1981)

My general dislike for period pictures is probably well known for any regular visitor; I often find them either unimaginative projects that rely much too heavily on just the nostalgia, or are annoyingly pretentious.

Ragtime surely has all the warning signs all over it it – starting with its name – and begins as a snore fest, but as soon as the first of the many violent outbursts of the movie take place it soon occurred to me this was not your average period picture. After introducing an interesting array of upper class white characters Ragtime concentrates on telling a story of a black piano player who gets vengeful after denied justice after getting insulted and harassed by racist voluntary firemen, starting a crusade that soon escalates out of hand.

Directed by Miloš Forman and based on E. L. Doctorow’s book of the same name, Ragtime ends up one of the best period picture thrillers in my book

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 91%

#1233 The Big Chill (1983)

A bunch of thirty-something friends drifted apart since their youth spend together gather up for the burial of their friend who committed suicide and consequently spend a weekend together at a vacation house.

The Big Chill is brilliantly written, and wonderfully acted with just the right amount of nostalgia, intellectual jabber, painful tragedies, hidden love, and all things that are life.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 91%

#1232 The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

The long-lasting professional relationship of two lounge pianists develops cracks as beautiful young singer joins them.

A fascinating look into family dynamics gets ever more interesting after realising that the two Briges brothers playing the parts are in fact real life brothers, which effectively makes their embittered clashes feel much more real.

Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer both turn their charism to 11 for The Fabulous Baker Boys, making it easy for the viewer to a little secret movie crush with either one.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 93%

#1231 Nightkill (1980)

Looking like an episode of Dallas (the lead Jaclyn Smith is best known for her role as one of the original Charlie’s Angels) Nightkill defies all the odds by being a very original, and surprisingly interesting take on a woman caught in murderous love triangle and a net of lies that gets more tangled the more she struggles to get out of it.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 64%

#1229 Ragtime (1981)

My general dislike for period pictures is surely well known for anyone who has visited the site often: I often find them either unjustified, needless nostalgia trips, or overly pretentious, especially the ones depicting the pre-WW2 era. Ragtime has all the warning signs all over it it – starting with its name – and begins as a snore fest. But as soon as the violent events start to unravel, I knew this wasn’t going to be your average period picture.

After introducing an interesting array of upper class white characters Ragtime concentrates on telling a story of a black piano player who gets vengeful after denied justice after getting insulted and harassed by racist voluntary firemen, and starts a crusade that very soon escalates out of hand.

The director Miloš Forman released only two Hollywood titles during the 80s, and while Ragtime doesn’t quite reach the grandness of Amadeus, it’s still very much a triumph of a movie.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 91%

#1228 Rocket Gibraltar (1988)

Cinematic debut of young Macaulay Culkin of the Home Alone fame, Rocket Gibraltar manages to hold its interest only due to the acting prowess of Burt Lancaster.

Sadly, the role written for him does not offer much besides being an old person who connects exceptionally well with the youngest generation and I feel there would’ve been much more to explore in the persona of the old man if the manuscript wasn’t so straight forward.

Rocket Gibraltar manages to capture some of the magic it intended at times, especially during the moments where Lancaster as the head of the family shares his stories and the his family as the audience are all ears.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 60%

#1227 Masquerade (1988)

Hit-with-a-handsome-stick Rob Lowe plays a jet set playboy in a role that fits him so well you’d almost think it was originally written with him in mind.

The movie itself plays like a light pulp thriller, a paperback you’d take along for a beach vacation – and as such it works out perfectly and without too many unnecessary plot twists along the way.

I would not probably had enjoyed Masquerade that much in the cinemas, but as a late nite cable TV movie it works out perfectly well.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 81%