#1745 Heart of Dixie (1989)

In 1957 Alabama was going through a change that hit the southern Dixie states in a big way, as segregation was coming to its end and integration took its first clumsy steps – often with the contempt of the white community.

It’s at this time when young university student Maggie (Ally Sheedy) finds herself awakening to a new social consciousness, after meeting with a photo journalist (Treat Williams) who’s documenting the ongoing change.

Heart of Dixie has been called a lightweight take on a big event and the cultural shift – which it is – but for me this approach feels much more believable purely from the point of view of a single youngster of that place and era.

80s-o-meter: 52%

Total: 70%

#1744 Fool for Love (1985)

Fool for Love is classic Robert Altman, whose work has always been bit of a mixed bag for me. In the scale of horrible misfire of Popeye, and the brilliance of Streamers, Fool for Love fall somewhere in between.

Written and starring Sam Shepard, the movie takes place a remote, run down motel somewhere in the desert. I’ve always found the movies taking place during one single night magical, and Fool for Love is no exception here, and the mood and cinematography here are worth watching the movie alone.

The plot is built by adding more and more tension, and then defusing it which itself works well. But the plot is just too weak to carry the movie through and the dullness unfortunately starts to wear the viewer down well before the third act.

80s-o-meter: 22%

Total: 62%

#1743 Far North (1988)

For North is one of those exercises whose purpose remains unknown for me even after rewinding the movie back and forth to make heads or tails of what I just saw.

Taking place in rural Minnesota, there a large family with Finnish heritage whose head of the family gets thrown off a horse, and he then assigns the women of the house to go after the horse and shoot it. Aaaand that’s pretty much it. Almost sounds like a Finnish movie, lol.

There’s nothing much interesting happening in the following events, and the movie is frankly quite a drab to look at. For us Finns the only interesting aspect of the movie is its depiction of the Finnish heritage shown here, with the family singing Finnish songs I’ve never heard with broken, but surprisingly understandable Finnish.

80s-o-meter: 20%

Total: 11%

#1742 What Comes Around (1985)

1970s road action comedy films in the tradition of Smokey and the Bandit still lived strong in the VHS rentals in 1985 – and while there are no car chases per say here, the whole idiotic way of wearing a stetson and handling all situations either with your fists or messing up a shop by driving a car in it is what you can expect from What Comes Around.

The overall theme is an alcoholic country singer exploited by his manager, and his brother doing an intervention. Something you could probably do a nice profound drama off. But What Comes Around tries to mix some yippee-ki-yay action comedy into the mix to lighten things up, and the end result is just plain unenjoyable, incoherent mess.

I suspect the movie had quite limited entertainment factor in 1985, but in 2023 it’s pretty much non-existent.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 11%

#1741 I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can (1982)

I don’t know where to even start with this one.

Apparently there was some documentarian who started to eat too much valium in the 70s and upon quitting it cold turkey got derailed and had to spend a few months in a mental institute.

I don”t know how exciting her story had been in real life or in the novel this movie was based on, but if it was, nothing of that has transferred into this movie. I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can is one drab movie to follow from the start to the ending and I could not say I could get emotionally involved with any of the characters here. The topic of people getting addicted to description medicine is interesting though, but I’ve seen multiple documentaries about the subject done in much more interesting fashion.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 16%

#1740 Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)

Directed by Uli Edel and based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Hubert Selby Jr., Last Exit to Brooklyn is a raw and unflinching depiction of life in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn during the 1950s.

Not knowing at all what to expect, I was puzzled by the many interweaving storylines with no apparent lead character in the movie, but as these multiple stories evolved, I got drawn in by all of them and ultimately found the characters and their events interesting and touching.

Through its uncompromising portrayal of the more sinister facets of human conduct drawing strong resemblance to Hurbert Selby Jr’s other acclaimed book Requiem for a Dream, Last Exit to Brooklyn also resembles a distant relative of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with its characters being driven by a relentless pursuit for fulfilment, ultimately leading in a spiralling descent into madness and disillusionment.

80s-o-meter: 33%

Total: 86%

#1739 Wild Style (1983)

Ok, so there isn’t much of a story going on with Wild Style, but what it has going for is an amazing time capsule look into the early 80s graffiti and hip hop culture.

Starting from the beautifully lettered opening titles to the equally stylistic end credits, Wild Style is not something artificial put together by Hollywood film moguls, but 100% street credible from start to finish.

Recommended even if you aren’t in to hip hop culture, and a definite must-see if you are a fan.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 90%

#1738 Born in Flames (1983)

I guess a point that Born in Flames tries to make is that even with a socialist revolution the women and ethnic minorities would continue to be repressed.

Because that’s the premise of the movie; a socialist revolution has taken place in the USA in the past, but now the women are displeased and want to make another revolution by forming a militant Women’s Army.

I feel there’s a message here that is important, but as a movie the end result shot in this pseudo-documentary style is just not very watchable. Especially the ending with the World Trade Center exploding has not aged very well in the 911 world.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 38%

#1737 Wicked Stepmother (1989)

I must shamefully admit that the actress Bette Davis was previously only for me from Kim Carnes’ song, and I did not recognise her at all before seeing the movie’s poster. Here in Wicked Stepmother she plays the alternate form of a witch that has married a neat and tidy couple, and it’s especially her younger form (played by the fabulous Barbara Carrera) that she occasionally takes that has a way of wrapping people around her fingers.

The movie is harmless fun, and most of the events don’t really make sense at all – like her having to swap bodies with an older and younger version of the witch using a cat, and especially her plan to get rich by marrying men, wising them up and putting them to win big time in a game show before taking the money and shrinking the whole family makes less sense than anything I’ve encountered in ages.

Wicked Stepmother starts strong with an interesting premise, but I wish the writing was a bit more intelligent as I feel there could’ve been a good supernatural horror comedy buried somewhere in this pile of nonsense. For what it’s worth, I was happy to see the always funny David Rasche (of the Sledge Hammer! fame) in the lead role.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 70%

#1736 Hot Chili (1985)

When I thought I had already witnessed the rock bottom of 80s teen sex comedies, along comes Hot Chili, that makes most other similar movies feel high browed and intellectual.

The tired story takes place in a Mexican resort where a group of horny American teenagers have enlisted for summer work. The run into zany and horny guests, have sex, get caught .. aaand I can’t even bother to write more about this one.

Uninspired, and really, really, really tired.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 3%

#1735 My Brother’s Wedding (1983)

My Brother’s Wedding was presented to me as a lost Charles Burnett movie, now remastered to its previous glory.

The movie tells a small, passing by moment in the life of low achiever Pierce Mundy living in South Central whose successful brother is getting married to a middle class family, much to the contempt of Pierce. As his low life friend Soldier is freed from the prison, Pierce has to decide whether to attend his brother’s wedding as the best man, or be there when Soldier needs him.

For most people this would not be any kind of a problem, but this is exactly where the movie taps into as we try to understand the motivators behind Pierce’s choices and hoping he goes for the right choice.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 63%