#1623 The Baltimore Bullet (1980)

It would seem that most of the pool hustler movies have also a strong scoundrel theme to them. So is the case also with The Baltimore Bullet.

The movie is pretty much unknown and does not hold a candle to the iconic hustler movies, but it’s a nice little exercise made better by the inclusion of a strong female protagonist, and Omar Sharif as the heinous pool shark.

A plus for the movie for actually depicting solid pool tricks, mostly performed by the actors themselves.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 61%

#1622 Truckin’ Buddy McCoy (1982)

There was apparently something alluring about the name, the premise and the VHS cover art of Truckin’ Buddy McCoy as it apparently turned out as one of the enduring favourites in the home video stalls for many years.

And admittedly there was a promise of a easy, mindless entertainment in the name as I saw it for the first time. But really, there’s nothing much going on here. There’s a truck driver who turns his new truck into bachelor hideout, drives around picking people up (in reality he just runs through outskirts of Los Angeles throughout the movie) pondering if he should get back with his girlfriend.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 21%

#1621 Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars (1989)

An indie scifi comedy of aliens made out of silly putty who cross breed humans and a vacuum cleaner and then urinate to a bottle, making a hobo fall in love with the vacuum.

Well, there you pretty much have it.

These kind of lame film school exercises were never my cup of tea, and the same goes for Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars. There’s some attempt to humour that felt fresh and imaginative, but really – a movie should not be the form for delivering a few one-off jokes buried inside 80 minutes of uninteresting fill material.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 8%

#1620 Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986)

If 80s movies in the vein of Police Academy are your thing, Hamburger: The Motion Picture might be your ticket.

No, it’s nowhere near funny or potent comedy, but the style is pretty much the same. The movie pokes fun out of fictive fast food chain and their education facility that takes things a bit too seriously, and too far.

And yes, of course there is a quite flawed but loud authority running the show. Or rather, trying and failing.

80s-o-meter: 79%

Total: 73%

#1619 Foxfire Light (1983)

Romantic drama does not invoke my interest, especially if it looks like a made for TV movie. But Foxfire Light did feel a bit more interesting to me after I learned that Leslie Nielsen – mostly known for me from his comedy roles – stars in it.

Contrary to all the expectations Foxfire Light actually works as a movie, and all the complex relationships shown here do have that soap opera setup for them, but with much more depth added. It’s easy entertainment, but something that still manages to have an actual heart.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 70%

#1618 Popeye Doyle (1986)

Popeye Doyle is not actually a movie, but a movie length pilot for a TV series based on early 70s The French Connection starring Gene Hackman.

Like most people, I watched Popeye Doyle due to Ed O’Neill playing the lead part, but O’Neill really does not bring anything of himself into the role, like he famously did with Married With Kids, and multiple other comedies that followed. There’s nothing really that bad about the pilot, but it’s just so uninspired and average that it never manages to capture the attention.

The series was never picked up by broadcasting companies, which in hindsight was a blessing in disguise, especially for O’Neill himself.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 30%

#1617 Lianna (1983)

Look, I don’t know about the history of movies about homosexuality to say how much Lianna was ahead of its time upon its 1983 release – if any – but at least to me the movie felt quite genuine and earnest in its depiction of a housewife suffering from codependency, who then finds consolation and a love interested in the opposite sex.

Earnest in the sense of how the movie depicts the getting out of the closet and the relationship in a quite realistic manner, and as well how Lianna’s codependency is not fixed with getting out of the closet – it just finds a new object, and it’s only when Lianna starts to learn being alone and being comfortable with herself that the growing as a human begins.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 79%

#1616 The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980)

Politically incorrect in multiple ways these days, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu depicts a quirky asian mastermind criminal, played by Peter Sellers, chased after a quirky inspector, also played by Sellers.

Movie feels visually and thematically old beyond its years – like something made in the 60s – and there’s only little value in viewing it these days. The Fu Manchu character has its moments, but anything that you see here is better made in for example the later Austin Power movies. Clearly made for a showcase for Sellers’ versatile character actor skills, neither of the character he plays here are amongst his best, and in many ways feel like a mix of some of his other roles.

The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu is probably the most remembered for being Sellers’ last movie, before his untimely death at the age of 54.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 47%

#1615 Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. (1981)

Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. manages to encompass pretty much everything I loathe about a movie: it takes all the lowest common denominators (swamp people are yokels but honest, city slickers are posh but deceptive), and does it all in as predictable and condescending way a Hollywood movie can.

Not only that, but the movie also manages to waste the time of actors like Anthony James and Brion James that could have been more useful in pretty much any other film imaginable.

Despite all this I was going to give the movie a fair trial, but in the end did not have any other options than to deduct ten points for every time the movie tries to pass a rotten fart of a dog as an actual humour.

I counted two occasions.

80s-o-meter: 25%

Total: 2%

#1614 The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988)

I love a good underdog, and The Wizard of Speed and Time definitely counts as one.

A brainchild of an animator Mike Jittlow, the movie is a testament to what a creative mind can accomplish; the movie takes great cues from mainstream media and movies, but takes them in a quirky direction that the big companies can not follow. Jittlow also adds to the mix a lot of his elbow grease, artwork and effects that he very obviously put together with a lot of dedication and love, instead of just hastily putting something together as quickly as possible in order to fill the minimum required length for a movie.

And this is why The Wizard of Speed and Time ends up more of a triumph than incompetent mess that indie movies – especially the comedies – more than often are.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 83%

#1613 Think Big (1989)

The second movie featuring The Barbarian Brothers isn’t bad one either.

In fact, it is pretty enjoyable one – flawed no doubt, but easy to watch and something I would consider a near-perfect rental for a late 80s stay at home Friday night.

A road trip comedy, Think Big is ultimately a spitting image of its two leads: often childish and silly, at times annoying and stupid – but always with a heart.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 79%

#1612 To Kill A Priest (1988)

Based on the events that took place in Poland in early 80s, To Kill A Priest retells the story of a Polish priest who gets mixed up with the politics, publicly speaking out against the communist regime, and gets tormented by the state security service.

It’s an interesting and valuable piece of history documented, but falls behind purely as a movie. It has everything it would need to really struck a chord in the viewer, but somehow seems to miss that something scene after scene.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 52%

#1611 Shogun Assassin (1980)

A Japanese movie – or rather a mix of two – there’s a good reason why Shogun Assassin should be a part of this blog. The movie is combined from two Japanese movies of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series originally shot in the early 1970s.

The project to cut the two movies together for Northern American release was a brainchild of Robert Houston and David Weisman who were the fans of the original movies. The movie got more attention a few years later as the home video release that got almost banned due to its graphic depictions of violence, gained a solid cult status and has been since featured in pop culture and movies.

The movie itself? Loved it. It’s stylish and moody without any camp factor often associated with ninja movies to it. The unlikely sword hero is a total badass and the fighting scenes are choreographed in a beautiful way, and I can totally understand why so many people often re-visit this movie.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 87%

#1610 Pray For Death (1985)

Ah .. Shô Kosugi, my not favourite martial artist star of the 80s is back with Pray For Death.

Most of Kosugi’s movies seem to fall into unfortunate slot of not being guilty pleasure like the cheap and over the top ninja movies of the era, nor are they exceptionally well choreographed and orchestrated like what Jackie Chan was already producing at the time.

While the movie doesn’t seem to do anything particularly well, it’s still for sure Kosugi’s better movies of the era – if not the best. The thriller and revenge plot line works, and the movie (and its poster) have that 80s home movie & computer game vibe to it that I actually enjoyed quite a bit.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 70%

#1609 Midnight Crossing (1988)

I don’t know if such sub genre exists, but Midnight Crossing falls into one of those movies where the plot line resembles a cheap paperback thriller you’ve picked up for the tropical vacation from a discount bin. It does its job in entertaining you as you lay beneath a palm tree, but upon completing it gets forgotten before you finish your next piña colada.

The movie delivers much of the same: some thrills, erotic scenes, highly implausible plotline and the main character with an impaired vision with no other motivation than to drive the plot.

Now, after a few weeks seeing the movie I can’t say whether it was good or bad as nothing of it has sticked with me – I guess it did do its job, delivered the lighthearted entertainment producers had aimed for. I recall that Midnight Crossing was not that awful to watch, but that’s pretty much all I can say about it.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 60%

#1608 Amazons (1986)

I had always hard time telling Amazons and Barbarian Queen apart. Both are made in the mid 80s, are shot in Argentina with Argentinian crew, have a very similar posters (and logos!) drawn by Boris Vallejo and have basically the same premise of beautiful and strong female crew of fighters battling in iron bikinis.

Here’s the bad news: after seeing them both now, I still won’t be able to remember which one is which. There are certainly other similar movies like Deathstalker that will probably make it even harder for me to tell each movie apart, but these two are just too darn close for me to ever remember.

Notes to the future self: Amazons is the one with the balding antagonist with black and white beard who looks like the dude in the background of C64 game Barbarian. It also has the strong blond female lead leading the fight by herself, battling against the magic effects of the evil that are quite cheaply just drawn on the film.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 70%

#1607 The Invisible Kid (1988)

If there was a parody made of a typical 80s comedy, it would likely feature a teen boy turning himself invisible and sneaking into girls’ locker room. But the truth is, there aren’t actually too many movies done in 80s built around this premise, and so I was quite excited to find a The Invisible Kid, a small comedy that seems to deliver all the above.

But did it deliver? Well, kind of. The whole story unravels in a satisfactory manner, but it seems the movie lost its faith in its strongest suit – fulfilling the fantasy of being able to experience what would it feel like getting to be invisible – quite early, and turning into more of a sports movie.

So, this wasn’t that invisibility movie I was looking for, so the search goes on. I’ll keep you updated if this holy grail of a movie actually exists.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 68%

#1606 Snowballing (1984)

There’s a special place i my heart for comedies taking place in ski resorts, even thought most of them stink to high heavens.

Out of all of these films, Snowballing is the least known, but actually not the worst. In fact, it’s totally average in all of its aspects.

In other words, not much to recommend here, not much to complain either. If you know what to except from these kind of comedies, Snowballing will likely provide all of that, but the friends of gratuitous mammaries have to look elsewhere (despite the very apparent promise in the VHS cover).

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 60%

#1605 Honkytonk Man (1982)

Moving from 70s to the 80s Clint Eastwood’s career was stuck (and built upon) repeating permutations of this lone ranger character, and it was only in City Heat and Heartbreak Ridge where he was able to break somewhat free from this mold. Well, arguably he still kind of played first and foremost Clint Eastwood in all of his movies, and this is what the audience (me included) were looking forward to seeing.

Then, there are movies like Bronco Billy and Honkytonk Man here where Eastwood gets to play a flawed anti-hero that needs others to save him from himself. Here Eastwood plays a worn-out alcoholic travelling musician playing in honky-tonk bars, and who recruits his 15-year old nephew (played by as his son, Kyle Eastwood) as the chauffeur and road manager.

The movie plays its hand straight away, and while the show is somewhat entertaining to watch, there’s very little progression or growth going on here, and I can’t help but to think that without Clint himself in the lead role the movie would’ve been completely forgettable.

80s-o-meter: 7%

Total: 57%