#1220 Six Pack (1982)

Six Pack is pretty useless little family comedy of a pack of orphans who also happen to be technical wizards what it comes to them cars.

They hook up with Brewster Baker (Kenny Rogers) and start competing against Brewster’s nemesis in various races. After the kids is a crooked sheriff who is trying to make some money on the side selling stolen car parts.

There’s two things in Six Pack that are somewhat interesting. First of all, it’s the only theatrical movie to date starring Kenny Rogers (I had to check – it was hard to believe due to the massive amount of made for TV movies he’s starred in) and secondly, it marks the movie debut for Anthony Michael Hall, playing the wizzest of the wiz kids.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 38%

#1215 Missing (1982)

Missing is a movie about a daring subject: the disappearance of an American journalist after a violent US-backed military coup in Chile and the cover-up that took place afterwards.

Too bad the execution of the the movie is nowhere as interesting as the subject itself; most of the films running time is spent with the father not really grasping the situation, when the gravity of the events has been clear to the audience a long time ago. Also, to me the movie lacked actual context of where (Chile as a location is never mentioned in the movie) the events took place and why and how did they unravel the way they did.

The message of the movie (and its original book) still remains strong and is a good reminder to us small people of the collateral damage approach many countries have driving their foreign policy.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 61%

#1195 They Call Me Bruce (1982)

The quite hacky They Call Me Bruce deals with a clueless oriental cook getting constantly mistaken for a martial arts master – and never bothers to clear up the mix-up.

The joke that plays on the stereotypical portrayal with asians is funny, but nowhere strong enough to carry through a full length feature film. The remaining of the movie is less inventive, with most of the humour derived from our antihero misunderstanding your basic English proverbs.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 37%

#1194 The Border (1982)

One of the rare misses for Jack Nicholson that didn’t gather nominations nor become a box office success, The Border is far from a failure as a movie.

in fact, it’s one of the most interesting looks into the situation at the U.S – Mexico border, picturing the very different everyday struggle that takes place on each side. Nicholson plays to a perfection the role of a border control agent trying to make the ends meet while struggling to hang onto his integrity, making it in my books one of the more memorable roles of the era.

The Border ended up being much, much more enjoyable movie than I anticipated and it is kept from greatness only by its 70s style sudden death ending that cuts the potentially gratifying final events much too short, leaving some vital questions unsatisfyingly unanswered.

80s-o-meter: 63%

Total: 78%

#1192 Author! Author! (1982)

Al Pacino’s winning streak that started in the 70s continued to the early 80s.

Author! Author! is Pacino’s lesser known work between Cruising and Scarface, but turned out to be a positive surprise. It’s a drama of a playwright going through a divorce process, but there are no manipulative tearjerker elements here – nobody gets sick or dies – and the movie draws its strength from everyday elements of a broken family trying to get from a day to another.

What seemed on a superficial level yet another pretentious early 80s romantic comedy with forced dramatic elements turned out to be one of the most moving depictions of changing modern family dynamics.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 72%

#1191 Halloween 2019: The Thing (1982)

This year’s Halloween will wrap up with this review, and what a feature it has been: we’ve watched together a whopping record number of 41 horror movies! There’s no immediate fear for running out of things to watch though, plenty more still out there.

I do miss getting back to the genre classics every now and then, so I wrapped up this year’s feature with Carpenter’s The Thing. This won’t be a full review as almost everything worth saying about the movie is already out there. I can just tell that this arctic survival horror is the best horror movie of the era, until proven otherwise. Its setting is perfect, cast lead by Kurt Russell flawless, effects work both years ahead of its time, but done with such perfect vision that they blend in to the story effortlessly and the story itself – Bill Lancaster’s screenwriting on the classic John W. Campbell Jr’s novella Who Goes There? concentrates on the just the right aspects of the story, while adds layers upon layers of tension and paranoia.

The Thing is an almost perfect horror movie that has aged tremendously well and gained fans in multiple generations up to date – and will probably keep on doing so as long as we keep on celebrating Halloween with classic films.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 98%

#1184 Halloween 2019: Nightbeast (1982)

An alien with his face frozen on a silly grin crash lands on the earth and begins to kill anything that passes their way.

There are b-movies movies that are made intentionally bad. Then there are bad movies that are made without any skills, and end up being just plain bad and boring. And out of all the b-movies only a fraction are like Nightbeast: really bad, but totally disarming in its clumsiness and unintentional humour.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 76%

#1164 Halloween 2019: The Last Horror Film (1982)

Shot in location in Cannes Film Festival 1981 without permits, The Last Horror Film makes a valiant effort of mixing real life events and elements to the heartbreaking story of a dazed and confused New York taxi driver who dreams of making a horror movie with a beautiful actress he admires.

The real power of the movie is how well it depicts the mind of its protagonist turned to a stalking antagonist without realising it and the viewer will find themselves going through a barrage of emotions, and feeling sorry for him as he breaks and enters an apartment of a understandably shocked and traumatised young actress.

But it’s not all good news. This is a very uneven movie – even shoddy at times – and while the idea to mix in real life footage with sounds good on the paper, in reality it feels disconnected and out of place.

The Last Horror film is an admirable and ambitious attempt to do something out of the ordinary, but unfortunately its execution does not reach that same level of ambition.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 61%

#1157 Halloween 2019: Basket Case (1982)

An indie cult horror comedy Basket Case follows a bizarre story of a deformed half of the formerly conjoined, but separated against their will twins seeking for revenge, while being carried around in a rattan basket.

A pet project of the writer/director Frank Henenlotter, Basket Case is a refreshingly different take on slasher movies and the movie’s mood as well the attacks of the deformed creature are nothing short of nightmarish and haunting.

Although Basket Case can be considered to be ahead its time as an indie horror comedy that punches above its weight, it did feel a bit more dated than I hoped for. Basket Case would go on to spawn two sequels, released in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 63%

#1155 Halloween 2019: Silent Rage (1982)

A slasher featuring Chuck Norris? Although the movie markets itself as a action crime movie, make no mistake as it takes most of its cues from the contemporary slashers – in good and in bad.

On the bright side, Silent Rage also brings something a little different to the table and manages to move cross-genre in a surprising way. There is even a bit of scifi brought into the mix as we are introduced to the mad scientist who fiddles with the Mother Nature, creating a self healing, relentless kill machine not unlike Michael Myers or Jason.

With this genre of choice many of its banalities are unfortunately also brought in to the mix, including a very disappointing and clichéd last second cliffhanger ending.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 58%

#1127 Double Exposure (1982)

A fashion photographer sleeps with countless of models and then dreams about killing them, after which they end up turning dead in Double Exposure.

The movie has tons of problems, least of which are not the way the movie tries to sell Michael Callan being the divine gift for them ladies and the lengthy love making scenes that ensue.

Erotic thrillers never quite were my thing, and Double Exposure has nothing special enough under its hood to change my stance on this.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 36%

#1104 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek, the iconic TV show from the 60s saw continuum in 1979 as the first movie of the Star Trek series was released and received with mixed reviews. Given the vast public interest in scifi at the time a cost effective sequel was green lighted, and the first Star Trek movie of the 80s, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan finally saw daylight in 1982.

Made with a budget of $11.2M – one-fourth that of its predecessor – the sequel became a sleeper hit that restored the public interest in the franchise and is considered by many the best movie of the series. Much of the success is due to iconic Khan, the villainous title character of the movie played with certain charism by Ricardo Montalbán.

Personally I also preferred the sequel to the original 1979 movie, although I admittedly found the overall experience less epic than I recalled. But what the movie itself may lack in grandiosity is more than redeemed in its emotional ending that wonderfully bridges the saga towards its next instalment, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

80s-o-meter: 69%

Total: 71%

#1102 Liquid Sky (1982)

Invisible aliens in search for heroin land in New York end up harvesting the endorphin that forms in the brain as people orgasm, consequently killing them.

Liquid Sky is one of those purposely weird independent films – and apparently something of a cult classic at that. Directed by the USSR born Slava Tsukerman, the movie is really nothing to celebrate about but more of a disjointed collection of scenes than a solid movie experience. It’s characters and neon lit scenes are stylish, but very much style over substance, and the movie feels like it’s mostly designed just to impress those who associate themselves with New York’s early 80s Warholian hipster art scene.

The main problem with Liquid Sky is that it’s just plain weird – but never quite wonderfully nor charmingly so.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 23%

#1089 The Last American Virgin (1982)

As I sat down to watch The Last American Virgin, I had no idea I was up for the biggest movie surprise of the year.

In fact, half way through the movie I still had no idea; what I’d seen so far was pretty typical early 80s tits & ass teen comedy. But unexpectedly the consequences of all the irresponsible actions suddenly start piling up, the movie changes from trivial comedy to serious drama, with even some heart breaking elements of tragedy to it.

I loved the sudden changes of genres and I loved how the movie had the courage to try out something completely different. I loved the kick ass soundtrack. And most of all I loved how the movie fittingly depicted the heartrending nature of an unfulfilled, unrequited love. What a positive surprise.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 87%

#1084 Savannah Smiles (1982)

I can think of thousands of ways Savannah Smiles could’ve gone very wrong; a tale of two criminals in a run after a jailbreak inadvertently kidnapping a young girl is a delicate subject even for 1982, and a theme that would never go through the executives these days.

What happens afterwards is of course foreseeable. The young girl touches the hearts of the fugitives who let their shields down for the first time and grow attached to her. And Savannah in return finds love and comfort she lacked back home.

What makes this movie tick is the heartfelt change the leads Mark Miller and Donovan Scott manage to convey, as well as the the apparent love that Miller – who also wrote the manuscript – had for the subject.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 65%

#1072 Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again (1982)

There are movies that I look forward to watching at some point, and then there are the ones that I just have to get over with. Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again is definitely of the latter variety: I could tell already from the poster that this is going to be one of those stuffy early 80s comedies with the roots firmly in the mid-70s, and a quick glance through the chapters confirmed that I wasn’t in for a treat.

Much to my surprise the first 20 minutes of the movie aren’t that bad at all, and there are some genuinely funny visual gags here. It’s when the transformation to the sex crazy Hyde happens that the movie goes completely to the shitter.

I loathed the movie and its design choices. The chance of a possibly passable crazy comedy is ruined by an annoying lead character and on top of it all the movie manages to completely waste the talent of Tim Thomerson.

80s-o-meter: 32%

Total: 3%

#1071 Hanky Panky (1982)

Hanky Panky plays it safe.

Far too safe, in fact: It gives us the basic story of a man wrongly accused of a murder that soon finds himself tangled in an international espionage ploy.

It really feels like a rehash since Gene Wilder’s previous comedy Stir Crazy already presented us with a similar plot. There are some funny aspects here, like Wilder foolishly trying to outwit the powers that be, but otherwise Hanky Panky ends up pretty eventless, predictable and bland adventure comedy.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 43%

#1023 Jinxed! (1982)

For a movie about gambling, Jinxed really truly pulls a great sleight of hand. With its story of a boorish, womanising gambler going after one specific blackjack dealer who he thinks is jinxed, the movie really seems to have an interesting and unique little comedic story in its hands.

But as the we reach the end of the act one, the movie really goes down the shitter and an interesting story that was being developed all along is changed to something of a cannonball run where the woman lead played by Bette Midler goes for a hunt after heritage left behind by his late husband. Nothing in the movie really works from hereon.

Midler does his comedic work in a satisfactory way, and Ken Wahl – who later gathered fame as the lead in Wiseguy, a successful late 80s TV series – co-stars as a hunk of a casino worker, delivering one of the most wooden acting ever recorded on film, yet somehow managing to be likeable.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 41%

#1022 A Little Sex (1982)

A newly married man keeps on landing on his dick on every woman that crosses his path in A Little Sex, an early eighties sex comedy.

The theme of the movie might’d still been somewhat relatable if the main male character wasn’t written in such a dull way: He’s portrayed as this whiny, poor thing that is forced to extramarital affairs by the sex craving women, instead of taking any of the initiative himself.

There’s somewhat interesting tension built between the couple as the dude finally is caught, but even that is quickly diluted in a disappointing, uninspired romantic comedy ending.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 32%

#1015 Young Doctors in Love (1982)

A crazy comedy no doubt inspired by the iconic Airplane, Young Doctors in Love many cues from its paragon, but doesn’t really measure up to enough for any further comparison.

The usual problem with crazy comedies – making an attempt for a joke all the time and at all the cost – easily makes the plot and the events in the movie feel trivial. This is very much the case with Young Doctors in Love as well, and I noticed getting somewhat indifferent about the events and characters in the movie.

Young Doctors in Love is not a total dud, but I have this nagging feeling that the movie could’ve worked better as a more traditional comedy – with a bit less crazy in it.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 50%