#1799 Stuck on You! (1983)

After suffering though Waitress! I thought I might as well look into the other Trauma sex comedies of the early 80s, and Stuck on You! comes definitely from the same assembly line, even including the exclamation mark in the title.

If there was no plot to speak about in Waitress!, here the whole concept is even looser, consisting of a divorcing young couple talking to a judge who takes them back to the totally unrelated totally crazy historical elements a bit like in Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I. There’s fart and belching jokes aplenty, few tits, and that’s pretty much about it.

The whole thing is a failure, and already in the first 15 minutes I ended up hating the movie, wishing it had never seen the light of the day.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 4%

#1798 The Stranger (1987)

One of those movies that takes place in the imaginary land of Hollywood movies, The Stranger presents the viewer with a plot line so convoluted that I had to rewind back and watch the whole movie again to see if I had missed something along the way.

Don’t get me wrong – I very much enjoy movies that aren’t necessarily realistic, but still the movie has to be able to sell those utterly silly ideas to the viewer, and this is where the most memorable movies succeed. The Stranger unfortunately isn’t one of those, and everything from the movie doctor to the movie baddies feels utterly forced and fake.

I do have to give the movie a few points of a plot twist that I have never seen before nor did I expect to see it here. But to me that plot twist was as hard to swallow as the rest of The Stranger.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 31%

#1797 Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987)

Not to be mixed up with Tough Guys, released just one year earlier, the cryptically named Tough Guys Don’t Dance makes an attempt to create a neo-noir thriller movie in the vein of old noir classics, but ends up mostly known for its ”Oh God! Oh Man! Oh God! Oh Man!” scene that has since become a modern meme classic.

I see good aspects here as well; I like old film noir thrillers with femme fatales, caricature-like baddies, chilly and rainy coastal settings like in Key Largo. I even like to an extend a film having style over substance, if the atmosphere is good enough to suck me in. In this sense Tough Guys Don’t Dance gets quite close. If the directing was any better and the plot didn’t feel as convoluted with tons of people coming and going without proper introductions, this could have been an ok take on the subject.

But, unfortunately Norman Mailer – who also wrote the original novel – decided to direct this thing on his own, and similarly to the Stephen King’s own film work, the skill of weaving a movie to a comprehensive package was really not one of Mailer’s strong suits.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 43%

#1796 P.O.W. the Escape aka Behind Enemy Lines aka Attack Force ’Nam (1986)

Look, I’ve seen so many movies about Americans going back and actually winning the Vietnam war that I either look into two interesting aspects: realism or the total lack of it. P.O.W. the Escape very much falls into the latter category.

The story here is about hard boiled ol’ Colonel Cooper with a track record of never leaving anyone behind, now being assigned to rescue prisoners of war from a sadistic Vietnamese camp run by officer who persuades Cooper to escort him out of the country with a gold treasure.

Charismatic David Carradine is the perfect lead for this schlock and it’s downright ridiculously funny how he is immune to all the gun fire. When everyone else holds back, Carradine just rushes in to demolish the whole village; there is never any feeling of real danger which is not optimal for a action thriller. Other than that, P.O.W. the Escape is made to entertain, and as such it does keep the good action pace going on to the very last minute.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1795 Waitress! (1982)

Before Troma Entertainment found its own niche that brought them a certain cult status they tried their wings with a series of sex comedies in the early 80s.

While the wackiness is already found here, it’s without shape and purpose – it feels like Kentucky Fried Movie, but devoid of all laughter and fun.

For the little plot there is, Waitress! follows two females, other getting undercover to write an article to ”Mature Teen Magazine”, and other pestering a director throughout the film to get to play Joan of Arc, getting to nerves of the director and the viewer alike.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 12%

#1794 Family Business (1989)

First of all, let it be known that if I had Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick to my avail, Family Business is not the movie I would have made.

That being said, let’s see what we have here. A quite mediocre and far fetched crime comedy about three generations of men whose grandpa is something of a small time thug, and the father is a recovering criminal, now a jefe in the meat packing industry. Three of them decide to go ahead and do a heist for some experimental science stuff, and of course it doesn’t go as planned.

The following events kind of tie the broken family together, but in a way that’s never satisfying, or something I could take with me as a memory or a lesson for life. Life your own life and don’t do what your gramps wants, maybe?

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 60%

#1794 American Rampage (1989)

I’m not quite sure whether to call this one a harmless or useless action movie. In any case, the world would have remained the same even if American Rampage never existed.

The movie does a little of everything seen elsewhere in the genre, but with less oomph and craftsmanship. The female lead seems like a nice change of pace on the surface, but remembering that this is still at heart a woman revenge movie, American Rampage feels less like something new and fresh, stinking more of a typical exploitation movie of the era.

Speaking of which – since there is not enough content here to fill a VHS tape, the movie is padded with numerous far too long nude scenes to help the movie make it to to the 90 minute mark.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 21%

#1793 Barfly (1987)

Charles Bukowski led a heavy drinking life himself that he romanticised in his novels as his alter ego Henry Chinaski who’s a lovable bum heavy on drinking. Enter Barfly, the first US-made movie featuring the character, played by Mickey Rourke.

A movie that does not really have much of a plot going for it, the show is ultimately kept afloat by the sheer charisma put into the role by Rourke – although Bukowski wasn’t reportedly entirely sold with his version of Chinaski. I don’t know, Rourke really puts a lot of himself – or rather, his lovable bum persona – to the role. I do like it, but I can also see the movie being quite different and more poetic in some other hands.

As far as the hybrid Rourke/Bukowski character goes, he is an interesting mix of far ends of the same spectrum: self destruction vs skill to survive, intelligence vs acting like an ass, poetic vs foul mouthed and depressed vs smile that never seems to wear out.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 62%

#1792 A New Life (1988)

Pretty much the same thing than Adam Alda’s previous The Four Seasons, A New Life is a comedy about middle aged people getting bored with each others, divorcing, getting confused and then finding new love interests, with the difference here that it’s Alda himself here that divorces. Or rather, he is at the receiving end of being divorced as her wife is the one to pack her packs and go.

Can’t blame the wife as the main character is petty, loud and obnoxious most of the time.

The end result is plastic and very superficial take on the subject that fails to push any of the buttons to make this exercise worth anyone’s time, and very thin on laughs, wit or anything that would make A New Life even mediocre.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 18%

#1791 The Census Taker (1984)

As per usual I did not check any information of The Census Taker before watching it. It was therefore that the first events of the movie took me totally by surprise, and made the viewing experience much more interesting to watch compared to having known what to expect here.

I will not spill the beans either here – other than stating that the movie gets weirder and weirder as it goes on. In a totally good way, that is.

After the interesting build up The Census Taker it felt to me that the writer did not know himself how to conclude the story and thus the movie starts slowly losing its momentum towards the end, finally concluding in a quite unsatisfactory way that feels something of a panic decision.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 62%

#1790 Crime Zone (1988)

Another one of David Carradine’s 80s scifi movies alongside with Future Force, Crime Zone is clearly the superior one of these two.

Like Future Force, the movie is made with low budget with no fancy FX work done and relies heavily on dimly lit scenes, which are not fancy, but do their job. As a viewer I found myself rooting for the leading couple, and the movie itself also concluded in a totally satisfactory way.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1789 The Devastator aka Kings Ransom aka The Destroyers (1986)

How would you like a movie like First Blood, but with multiple Rambos running around in the forest for the price of just one?

Enter The Devastator where a Vietnam vet reassembles his combat strike force to fight a horde of cannabis farming hoodlums in the California forests. And yes, there is even the corrupted Sheriff of a local small town after this bunch of John Rambos.

Compared to First Blood, this one is a paper thin show where no character or act of violence has any real weight to it: it’s just a bunch on random guys running and gunning around the mountains. One of the protagonists is a show wrestler kind of big guy who walks around laughing maniacally, and one of the real upsides of the movie is the moment he finally gets gunned down and rendered quiet.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 26%

#1788 Girlfriend from Hell (1989)

An evil spirit possesses a nerdy girls who becomes a vamp draining the life out of all the few guests taking part in a teen get together.

Here’s a part of Girlfriend from Hell that actually works to an extend, and I wished the movie would’ve double downed on this premise, with party guests missing one by one, upping the ante as the last few ones figure things out. Unfortunately the latter half of the movie concentrates on the God’s bounty hunter after the spirit, depicted in the spirit of a cheapo scifi movie.

The scifi part I don’t mind, but the character is just too weak and out of place to carry the movie that quite disappointingly comes to a total halt in a moment where it should really take off.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 60%

#1787 Future Force aka C.O.P.S. (1989)

80s was an interesting era for David Carradine: while his star was falling (before the 2003 comeback in Kill Bill) he performed in around 40 movies during the period. Needless to say that’s a heck of a lot of movies.

Future Force is one of his many low budget movies, directed straight for video rental market. He plays the part of a headhunter working for a loose organisation of misfits called C.O.P.S (Civilian Operated Police SystemsCivilian Operated Police Systems) somewhere in the distant future of 1994. There’s nothing much noteworthy in the movie, and if it wasn’t for Carradine’s great screen presence there wouldn’t be much of a film here. That being said, Carradine does manage to lift the movie from being totally forgettable, to barely enjoyable.

If Future Force ticked your interest, you’ll be delighted to know the movie received a sequel called Future Zone in 1990.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 53%

#1786 Troll (1986)

Do you know which movie stars the brown haired pre-teen boy called Harry Potter Jr who’s interested in all kinds of magical and superstitious and gets sucked into an adventure full of weird mystical creatures, witches and such.

If you answered Troll, you are quite right! If you answered something else, you must have mixed up this masterpiece with some less known trivial pulp.

The house getting overtaken by Trolls and other magic creatures is bit of a weird mix made a bit in the vein of Gremlins, but does not manage to hit the same buttons in terms of adventure, scares, thrill and humour – but it does a pretty good job attempting it. While the Troll figure is well made, it’s not a strong antagonist lead in any sense of the word, but the remaining visual effects are actually executed much better than in your average movie of the era. Speaking of humour, there is a little song with wonderfully weird atmosphere to it, performed by the Troll army – something I will be looking to listening soon again.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 71%

#1785 Rosalie Goes Shopping (1989)

Rosalie Goes Shopping is a quirky little comedy about a quirky German family whose quirky mother who effortlessly switches between being the caring mother showering her family with all kinds of presents – and then turning into a con artist to support this lavish life style

Quirkiness can be a double edged sword, and I’ve seen it go south more than once in this movie journey. But Rosalie Goes Shopping does all of it right, and the family remains lovable no matter how unrelatable their peculiarities are. It’s especially the father Brad Davis who comes across lovable in his child like enthusiasm.

Davis replaced Fred Ward whom the film team failed to get for the role, and he performs the role admirably, possessing the same sort of undeniable rugged charisma.

80s-o-meter: 40%

Total: 68%