#1763 Megaforce (1982)

I have to admit that I have many fond memories of Megaforce – not due to seeing the movie, but hearing the name so many in the 80s due to an iconic Amiga demo group sharing the same.

It was for this reason I was really looking for finally seeing Megaforce, and by large it actually delivers what I expected: shoddy early 80s scifi action. The movie shares sort of the same look and feel and take on machinery than the TV series Knight Rider, launched in the same year, and even has some quite well executed and convincing effects and set design.

Both even have the same type of smug, self-centered protagonist that are as excited in conquering women than engaging into battle. But Barry Bostwick as the Ace Hunter pretty much totally lacks the undeniable charm of David Hasselhoff, and his theatrical movement, faces and delivery likely loaned from William Shatner’s Captain Kirk come often comedic – but even more often ever so slightly annoying.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 65%

#1762 Courage aka Raw Courage (1984)

A pet project of Ronny Cox, starring the man himself and co-written with his wife Mary, Courage turned out to be a really refreshing piece of low budget cinema.

Building up from a simple story of three long distance runners crossing a desert, this survive thriller ends up with the best of the genre, offering tons of tension with just good plain old movie making workmanship.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 76%

#1761 Tough Enough (1983)

Whoa, Dennis Quaid was ripped back in 1983.

Pretty much unlike what I expected, Tough Enough is a boxing movie about a country singer that takes part in a Toughman amateur boxing competition to make the ends meet. This different approach and the human story behind it all is the side of Tough Enough that I enjoyed.

What I did not enjoy though was the endless staged boxing matches with random fighters that quite frankly weren’t really that interesting. The movie has all the usual shortcomings and dramatic structure than all the sports movies, which makes the movie also a bit less interesting if you know the formula. Ultimately I feel it’s Quaid who single handedly carries this movie through, transforming something quite mediocre to a passable movie experience.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 61%

#1760 Rad (1986)

With Rad we are closing in to what I would consider a 100% 80s rating: there’s BMX bikes, BMX baddies, evil businessmen, crazy futuristic gears, dance offs, radical and rebellious kids, and conservative parents and townsfolk, simply amazing pumping soundtrack – and the dreamy Lori Loughlin to top it all off.

It’s a sports movie, so there’s that certain formula everyone already knows – but then it just becomes the question of not how it will all and, but how entertaining the movie will be along the way. And Rad is admittedly pretty entertaining.

The Canadian shooting location does its very best to pass as an American small town. In all honesty I did not find Bill Allen to be the best choice for the lead role as he comes off a bit plasticky compared to many teen stars of the era – but he still manages to pull off the role as a something of a poor man’s Matthew Broderick.

80s-o-meter: 95%

Total: 87%

#1759 Stormy Monday (1988)

Stormy Monday is a movie shot in the UK with two Hollywood actors, Tommy Lee Jones and Melanie Griffith. The story follows a shady American businessman named Cosmo, played by Jones, who arrives in Newcastle during a business event welcoming investors from across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Brendan, a janitor at the Key Club, assists a nightclub owner Finney – played by Sting – against Cosmo’s henchmen while getting involved with Frank’s girlfriend, Kate, played by Griffith.

By far the best asset of the movie is its stunningly beautiful cinematography by Roger Deakins, with saturated blues and neon reds of nightclub strips and the blaring red, white, and blue of American business hype. But, as the rest of the movie falls short of the level of this cinematography, Stormy Monday is ultimately style over substance – but it’s stylish, alright!

Despite the promising premise of a thrilling film noir caper, Stormy Monday falls short. We never get to understand why Cosmo is so interested in a nightclub in Newcastle, while being so inept in getting it to his hands. Jones is supposed to be the top-billed star here, but it’s ultimately unclear what he’s doing in this movie as he’s more a source of campy fun than real menace. Sting holds his ground well as the little spoken owner of a night club, and Griffith performs admirably – although this is not the role she will be remembered for.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 52%

#1758 Twister’s Revenge! (1988)

Not to be confused with the 1989 Twister, Twister’s Revenge! is also a stinker of a movie, but for completely different reasons.

Instead of trying to be artistic like Twister, Twister’s Revenge does the very opposite and aims for as stupid as possible, featuring in idiotic thugs and monster trucks mainly for the purpose of smashing cars.

Twister’s Revenge is kind of a movie that makes Smokey and the Bandit feel like a serious arthouse film.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 2%

#1757 Cocaine Wars (1985)

You know all those mock 80s shorts, music videos and commercials made in the following decades? Cocaine Wars looks from start to finish like one of them. This is especially true with the lead John Schneider with his melodramatic acting style (emphasis with the word acting), mullet and a handlebar moustache that looks 100% glued on.

You might guess where I’m leading with this? Yes. This is truly an 80s action movie with South American baddie generals, bad acting, macho males, occasional dubbing, alcohol and of course cocaine. It’s a cookie cutter drug war action movie, totally forgettable one (if it wasn’t for Schneider), but still more entertaining than it really deserves to be.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 58%

#1756 Going Ape! (1981)

The fact that that Going Ape!, a movie about three orangutans is a brain child of a writer-director Jeremy Joe Kronsberg most known as a writer for Clint Eastwood’s ape comedies Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980) kind of kills me. These primate exploitation movies are very much relics of the era, and something we will likely never see in the silver screen again, unless they’re animated with CGI.

And even then they would not be represented like this, as comedic reliefs mimicking human behaviour.

I don’t know if I even have to into details with this one as the movie is pretty much what the poster promises. There’s orangutans, crooks and car chases like in any decent early 80s comedy. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the movie is it’s featuring Danny DeVito in a quite different kind of role as a (Lithuanian?) animal trainer which earned him nomination for a Razzie award. The silly, unnecessary accent besides DeVito manages to put a lot of heart into the role, making it probably better than what it was on the paper.

80s-o-meter: 73%

Total: 61%

#1755 Luther the Geek (1989)

Luther the Geek (geek referring to a circus freak) is a horror movie that revolves around a psychopathic killer released from prison, only to immediate resuming his killing spree.

The makers of the movie aimed to create a character that would be off-putting and revolting, and they certainly succeeded as Luther is one of the characters I hope never to see in another movie. His appearance is reminiscent of the classic movie villain, Nosferatu, but with a much more gruesome method of killing, as he bites off the heads of his victims and even chickens he catches.

But there are positives here as well: The movie really manages to create a haunting and suspenseful atmosphere and as such is an above the average horror movie. I have to say I was surprised to find the movie rated as comedy as I did not find anything comedic about, other than the almost ridiculous amount of gore presented.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 65%

#1755 Dirty Laundry (1987)

One of those many comedies shot in what seems an endless summer of 1987, Dirty Laundry at paper has all the elements in place for a nice harmless comedy but ultimately lacks content to make it really worth watching again.

A laundry bag filled to the rim with dollars in it gets switched and to the trunk of Jay, typical comedy type of the era with no plans for the future and only his car to his name. From here the movie could’ve still taken multiple interesting routes, but the rest of the movie is pretty much him and his girlfriend running away from the thugs.

Although the movie is by large a missed opportunity, it does manage to push many right buttons if you’re in for another late 80s comedy you haven’t seen before.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 65%

#1754 Liar’s Moon (1981)

Liar’s Moon feels like someone first wanted to write a tragic love story, but was never quite sure how to wrap it all up. And actually this is pretty much what happened, apparently; Liar’s Moon was shot and distributed with two very different endings, one tragic and another where ”the forbidden love” ends well for everyone.

The weak writing ultimately leads to the movie turning into a complete soap opera in its third act. I watched the happier version, and I can only imagine the other version being even more soap opera like.

On the positive side young Matt Dillon and Cindy Fisher make a great pair on the screen though, and I did find myself genuinely rooting for them.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 51%

#1753 Class Reunion aka National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)

Let me cut to the chase: I really wish the Class Reunion hadn’t chosen to parody slasher movies. I really, really do.

Because, this first produced cinema movie screenplay by John Hughes certainly has certain aspects going on for it, including a few moments when the movie breaks the usual comedy mould with some crazy comedy and meta elements – sort of being a parody of a high school comedy.

But, unfortunately multiple uninspired creative decisions (including the quite tired slasher angle) keep Class Reunion from really standing out and being memorable genre classic.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 62%

#1752 Nijinsky (1980)

Nijinsky was a movie sat on my shelf for years and I never really felt like giving it a go as it looked like it’s going to be this woefully boring period picture about some obnoxious male ballet star of the past.

Given this background I find it almost a feat that Nijinsky manages to let me down even more than I had anticipated.

Instead of being a movie about world of ballet, we are forced to watch a tug and pull relationship of young Nijinsky who is romantically involved with the ballet company manager. Both of the men come across extremely unlikeable and never did I feel like rooting for either one of them, or their toxic relationship. Other people around them get a part of their tantrums, and when this Nijinsky isn’t shouting to ballet dancers or choreographing numbers that look more like modern dance than ballet and getting laughed off the stage, he marries a nice woman just to get even with his former protégé and then beats her up.

It’s not often that I’ve hated watching a movie as much as I did Nijinsky, and I will be quite happy to throw it one away and never be subjected to it again.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 0%

#1751 Switching Channels (1988)

Now here’s an interesting combination: Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner and Christopher Reeve in a same comedy. Almost feels like something an 80s AI bot would come up with.

The movie follows TV reporters (Reynolds, Turner) who are also an ex-couple, with Reeve as a successful and handsome business magnate coming in as a third wheel in their weird love-hate relationship. The rest of the movie Reynolds tries his very best to sabotage the new found love between the two.

Towards the end of the 80s Reynolds grew out of his Smokie and the Bandit self-centered lovable rascal role and in Switching Channels he is already quite tolerable to watch. Movie wise Switching Channels is ok I guess, but ventures much too far into fictive movie world towards the end where nobody acts in a plausible way anymore, and thus feel much more like moving parts of a wacky manuscript than real persons.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 77%

#1750 The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

Hey, it’s that science dude from Terminator 2! Joe Morton plays an extraterrestrial crash landing to New York, and wandering around the big city trying to grasp this strange world completely alien to him.

I did enjoy the very special dark mood of the movie, amplified by the acting work of Morton who really possesses a great screen presence. But, I can’t help but think that there were ingredients here with a greater movie, with some other design choices.

While trying to interpret the inner life of the non-verbal alien and watching him trying to cope on earth is downright great, the goofy bounty hunters after him and his ability to fix inanimate objects felt contrived. To me just doubling down on the basic premise of two cultures clashing would’ve been just enough for the movie.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 75%

#1749 The Four Seasons (1981)

Written, directed and starring Alan Alda, The Four Seasons follows the three middle-aged married couples whose mutual relationship with each other gets complicated after one of them divorces, putting them all into a position where the old chemistry seems to be gone for good.

Some of the qualities in their friendship seems real, genuine and relatable which many other aspects feel contrived. Especially the moments where they all follow the lead by Alda and engage into big belly laugh (as stated in the manuscript) feel woefully artificial.

The Four Seasons is a harmless little excercise that has some good bits going for it, but ultimately tries to muscle in too many events, people and aspects for the movie’s own good.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 42%

#1748 The Moderns (1988)

The Moderns is a dreadful movie about pretentious, obnoxious and horrible human beings trying to act the hipster artist life in the 1926 Paris.

I never understood the American movie makers’ affection to recreate a Paris that never was, and after seeing The Moderns I understand it even less. My guess is that it’s for getting some street credibility; put the same movie to the current day and location and one would immediately see there’s really nothing to this story but smoke and mirrors.

The only good thing I can think of this mind numbingly dull movie is the stylistic character played by John Lone. He may be pretentious and obnoxious like all the others, but at least he manages turns it all to his favour, totally dominating every scene he is in with sheer coolness.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 6%

#1747 The Ratings Game (1984)

Danny DeVito stars in this little known made for TV with his wife Rhea Perlman, a fact I wasn’t aware in the time when I watched the movie. Their love relationship in the movie was kind of endearing, but would’ve have gone to another level had I known of their real life relationship.

The Ratings Game is one of those made for TV movies that punches way above its weight. First of all it’s always a delight seeing DeVito – one of my all time favourite actors – in action, but the story here is also pretty darn unique and interesting: we have a rich owner of a truck company moving to west coast and trying to make it big in Hollywood despite being atrocious writer, who then comes up with a cunning plan to exploit the ratings system for his advantage.

Supporting cast is also top notch here, making The Ratings Game a recommendable movie, and one that easily outperforms vast majority of theatrical comedy movies of 1984.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 79%

#1746 Things Are Tough All Over (1982)

Just a personal reminder here that every stoner film of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong is worse than the previous one, starting from the strong 1978 Up in Smoke, all the way to the very appalling 1984 The Corsican Brothers.

Things Are Tough All Over already sits in the lower end of this spectrum. The stupidity is still definitely there but it isn’t that lovable any more, just more stale and uninspired. The humour in Things Are Tough All Over consists of Cheech and Chong dressing up as arabs or women and never really getting more inventive than playing through all the tired stereotypical jokes.

These two C’s really should’ve called it a day while they were still ahead.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 2%