#1856 Ghost Writer (1989)

The award for this years most featherweight comedy might go to Ghost Writer.

This is one of those movies that aims to sell us a ridiculous supernatural idea far beyond of what we would ever believe. And sure enough, if served in a fluffy alternative reality fantasy that only Hollywood can do, we usually just go with it.

And here Ghost Writer succeeds as well and the Landers sisters serve a movie that is easy spend the 90 minutes with – but only if you are in the mood for something completely trivial and forgettable. I could go on explaining the plot of a deceased Hollywood star of yesteryear coming alive as a ghost, but here the plot is really .. well, side plot here.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 70%

#1820 My Dinner with Andre (1981)

I like movies that invite you to a share a moment or night with some people you don’t know and by sharing that time with them you get to know them and enjoy a small slice of their lives just for a bit.

My Dinner with Andre takes the concept to the most minimalistic approach I’ve encountered so far by following a conversation of two friends – a struggling playwright and a director – over a meal in a Manhattan restaurant.

There’s a lot of ways this could have turned into a complete disaster and a bore of a movie of two intellectual talking heads, but the way that the dialogue effortlessly flows out makes this one interesting passing moment to witness.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 75%

#1819 Forbidden Zone (1980)

Something of a cult classic due to it’s connections with Elfman brothers and Oingo Boingo, Forbidden Zone is a wild and wacky ride into a world of sheer eccentricity.

The movie is shot in black and white films, and takes visual clues from the early cinema and cartoons with psychedelic look & feel to them and mixes it all up with musical numbers, some of which are imaginative, while others feel like the cast is just mouthing a song like in a billion Tiktok videos out there.

While I’m a big fan of wackiness, problem for me with Forbidden Zone is that it tries way, waaaay to hard to be weird at all times, as in ”hey everybody look at me I’m so cuckoo”. This along with some inane humor like everybody dry humping each other really got old and tired fast. I do applaud the movie for trying something a bit different, and succeeding in capturing a very special kind of mood to it – but it really isn’t my cup of tea.

80s-o-meter: 2%

Total: 9%

#1814 Krush Groove (1985)

I’ve now watched the majority of the 80s hiphop movies, and the verdict is that there’s two definite time capsules of the era that no-one interested in the culture should skip. The other one is Beat Street, and Krush Groove here is the other.

Set in the bustling New York City scene, the film revolves around the trials and tribulations of Russell Walker, a young music producer trying to make a mark in the fiercely competitive world of hip-hop. With an impressive ensemble cast featuring iconic artists like Run-D.M.C. & Jam Master Jay, LL Cool J, Kurtis Blow, Sheila E. and Beastie Boys, the movie pulsates with the rhythm of the era’s hip-hop music.

While both films capture the essence of hip-hop, Krush Groove leans towards entertainment and the music business side of the movement and celebrates the emergence of hip-hop as a commercial powerhouse, encapsulating the rise of hip-hop in the mainstream.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 95%

#1812 Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)

Released only seven months after the first one, I was expecting Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo to be more of the same cringe and badness than the first installation, so I really, really wasn’t looking forward to watching this sequel.

To my positive surprise this second part puts much more effort into the musical dance numbers and makes them much more entertaining in general. Also, the production team seems to have found much more street dance talent this time around, much for the benefit of the movie.

The movie is in many ways much more over the top and there seems to even be a plot line this time around, and I have to admit that I actually enjoyed watching this one.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 75%

#1811 Breakin’ aka Breakdance (1984)

Ah, the youth musicals.. Cue an endless source of cringe.

This goes with Breakin’ as well. This depiction of a young rich girl wanting to get into street wise dancing team and the breakdancing street people is a non-stop stream of life being oh-so-hard.

Dance numbers that might’ve saved the movie are quite underwhelming, and the body popping demonstrated by the leading duo looks like as if I was improvising in front of a camera. This is to say, it’s no good.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 22%

#1810 Bad Manners aka Growing Pains (1984)

Partly road movie, black comedy and coming to age story, Bad Manners seems to try and abandon a lot of avenues, but never quite gets very far in any.

This is one of those quirky comedies where everyone is just outright weird, which soon becomes plain stupid, and renderers the viewer indifferent about the events on the screen.

The movie gets a few points of its edginess, but everything else here is just horribly messy.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 22%

#1808 Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985)

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart is a subtle little indie like movie following short period of life and events of two generations of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco.

Although the geographical location, ethnic background and challenges in life are quite alien to me, the movie still succeeds to make at very relatable, successfully inviting the viewer to their living room for a short period of time that felt that it was over too soon.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 65%

#1806 Miss Firecracker (1989)

I’ve seen my fair share of 80s comedies that classify themselves quirky. You know, the ones where every character is off just a little. The problem is that this quirkiness, meant to create memorable characters with lovable peculiarities often falls short and the characters feel forcefully written and acted, and often come across plain annoying.

Miss Firecracker gets all of this right. With its cast of a young girl (Holly Hunter) dissatisfied of her life and wanting to change the course of her life by entering a local beauty contest, and her two cousins Delmount (Tim Robbins) and Elain (Mary Steenburgen) with equally interesting traits to them the movie is just plain entertaining and soothing to watch.

80s-o-meter: 54%

Total: 93%

#1801 Making Mr. Right (1987)

Making Mr.Right’s story revolves around a driven public relations executive (Ann Magnuson), tasked to transform a socially awkward android (John Malkovich) into a marketable household name and trying to connect with androids even more complex creator.

Drawing its humour from complexities of relationships, identity, and human connection, the movie manages to make mostly best out of its utterly silly premise, although most of the head dropping clueless android gags fail to really amuse.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 64%

#1800 Last Resort (1986)

Last Resort is one of those silly and totally harmless comedies of the 80s that could have been almost entirely forgettable without the strong cast of Charles Grodin, John Ashton and Jon Lovitz starring in it. There just never was anyone better than Grodin to portray your average white collar American who when faced with huge adversities keeps on talking softly and agreably while building up thrilling amount of anger behind his polite smile.

There are also some gags here that genuinely made me laugh, like being stuck in a bungalow walls so paper thin that anyone can hear them speaking; upon discussing with his wife if they should make love they decide to pass on it, concluding the night by telling they love each other, to which their son replies that he also loves them.

Also the Lovitz’ character of a bartender not getting one word Grodin says to him, and often popping to scenes uninvited is a recurring gag that eventually managed to made me snicker.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 74%

#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%

#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%

#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%

#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%

#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%

#1784 Lookin’ To Get Out (1982)

Here’s a movie and a concept that has aged badly.

Lookin’ To Get Out is a rascal comedy about two gamblers who get into debt and evade to Las Vegas to try to make it big. It’s one of those comedies where the comedy part means stupid and implausible – not something to make one laugh. Both of the lead characters quite unlikeable and really I could not care less how they ended up since the whole movie feels completely like a charade.

Jon Voight and Burt Young are both excellent actors, and should have used their time better in some other endeavour.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 27%

#1783 Little Miss Marker (1980)

I don’t know how great of a movie the original 1934 Little Miss Marker starring Shirley Temple is, but based on this 1980 version I really can’t see anything that warrants a remake – other than the team’s interest in nostalgia, that is!

More bizarrely, the movie is not even brought to the current day. But maybe the story of a gambler giving her daughter as a collateral to bet on a horse race would not fly today as it already seems quite implausible in the 1940s. But so does everything else in the movie, especially the love relationship between the characters played by Walter Matthau and Julie Andrews, and the denouement of them forming a family of some sorts.

On the positive side Matthau is probably the best actor of the era for the role, and his trademark grumpy tone makes his slowly evolving attachment to the now orphaned girl quite touching at best.

80s-o-meter: 5%

Total: 37%