#1277 Romantic Comedy (1983)

When I first saw Arthurand then watched it again a gazillion times – I looked forward to seeing Dudley Moore’s other comedies of the era.

So far nothing has quite reached what Arthur had to offer, and Romantic Comedy is no exception. It’s pretty generic early 80s – well, romantic comedy – With neurotic adults not knowing whom they should commit to.

The chemistry between Mary Steenburgen and Moore is weirdly off throughout the movie, but it’s all fortunately by design, as the ending reveals.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 54%

#1276 Odd Jobs aka Summer Jobs (1986)

Odd Jobs is an on even, small budget comedy of a bunch of college students first trying to get summer jobs before forming their own moving company.

As much as I root for the underdogs, Odd Jobs just doesn’t have what it takes to make for a memorable comedy, and although the single ok moments in the movie are many, as a whole it ends up a dud.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 50%

#1273 Shock Treatment (1981)

A spiritual sequel to the 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment marches similar kind of bizarre imagery and zany characters on screen, but falls short every way our heads RHPS managed not to, despite its unorthodox setup.

Placed on a set of a TV show/hospital the music remains the only good point in Shock Treatment – and the music is not very good.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 2%

#1272 Zelig (1983)

Some of Woody Allen’s comedies feel like a prolonged joke, and Zelig, a black and white documentary of a long forgotten human chameleon so willing to please who ever he talks to that he and that’s not only their point of you, but also their profession, appearance and race certainly feels like one.

Allen plays the lead role well, writing is snappy and the editing that combines old news clips with new footage is flawless, which more than often is not the case for the era.

The story in Zelig does not carry through its feature film length, and would’ve been much more efficient as a 45 minute short film, with some of the excessive padding left on the cutting room floor.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 51%

#1271 Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)

A portrayal of a Jewish family living together in 1937 Brooklyn, New York, Brighton Beach Memoirs concentrate on the story of Eugene, a horny 16-year-old trying to find an outlet for his sexual frustrations.

But almost every other character in the story is more interesting to follow. The movie gets its best moments out of the shared moments between the older brother, who makes several bad choices, and the father, who is surprises the son as well as the viewer with his totally unexpected compassion and wisdom.

80s-o-meter: 21%

Total: 58%

#1270 Bustin’ Loose (1981)

Many of the 80s movies still feel fresh and topical, while others have it quite badly, and Richard Pryor’s Bustin’ Loose definitely falls into the latter category.

Not only does Bustin’ Loose feel badly aged, but it also has some questionable aspects to it. Like when Pryor’s small-time conman arranges a strip poker session with a bunch of 12-year-olds, and later physically attacks one of the kids after losing his temper.

I never was a fan of priors movie work – excluding Brewster’s Millions and the brilliant See No Evil, Hear No Evil – and the much outdated Bustin’ Loose is not going to change that.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 33%

#1269 Cutting Class (1989)

Known for most only for featuring young Brad Pitt, Cutting Class has been downplayed in many reviews. And while it’s arguably not a masterpiece, it is not completely without merit.

To me cutting class felt like a nice little high school slasher with late 80s look and feel that seems at first to paint by numbers, but then takes the formula to an original and interesting direction.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 71%

#1268 Housekeeping (1987)

A critical success of movie of an odd ball sisters, who after getting orphaned end up with their eccentric aunt.

Housekeeping is one of those movies where you either get enchanted by the eccentricity, or don’t get much out of the movie, as happened to me. While I did enjoy the overall mood I found the characters uninteresting and pacing of the movie tedious.

For me a much more interesting story would’ve instead been that of the sister who’s torn with belonging to the dysfunctional family and wanting to fit it with the rest of the society.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 30%

#1266 My Chauffeur (1986)

I wasn’t feeling My Chauffeur at all and actually stopped watching it after only 15 minutes as the concept of an annoying free-spirited Madonna copy introduced to a high society limousine company to cause resentment just seemed like such a bore concept.

But after a small pause I carried on bravely and found My Chauffeur not exactly improving, but not at all as irritating as I first thought. The movie actually turned so self-consciously bad from time to time that it actually got entertaining at times, and I found myself ashamed laughing out loud to all the stupidity.

One aspect worth mentioning about My Chauffeur is that the magician / entertainer duo Penn & Teller make their first movie debut together as a team here in a long segment that feels almost completely separated from the rest of the movie.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 60%

#1265 18 Again! (1988)

One of the many body switching movies of the 80s, 18 Again! does a pretty routine job at comedy.

The only variable with similar titles is that here the story is observed entirely through only the other party of the body switching process as the 81-year old grandfather overtakes the body of his 18-year old grandson, while the grandson ends up in his unconscious body, hooked to life support. This decision leaves the growth story that’s usually in the core of the movie one sided. Another call I didn’t agree with was using the grandpa’s voiceover throughout the movie, often delivering uninspired one-liners – or explaining the situation to the viewer in a condescending fashion.

One noteworthy piece of trivia to share of 18 Again is that this was the last movie for the ageless comedy legend George Burns who plays the 81-year old grandfather. In reality, he was already 91 at the time.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 70%

#1262 Say Anything… (1989)

Sometimes when I encounter a movie written with great intellect and penmanship, I get an urge to write something equally meaningful and insightful about it.But sometimes the awe for great writing just renders me unable to come up with fancy words or witty similes.

This happened with Say Anything, where the writer / director Cameron Crowe has achieved something so sincere that leaves next to nothing to improve. The movie tells a love story that’s equally minimalistic, yet biggest thing in the universe through well-rounded, three dimensional characters without once resorting to easy solutions or tearjerkery. And it does all this with an illusion of ease, making the viewing experience unlaborious.

If the movie is a triumph for Crowe, it’s one also for the leads Ione Skye and John Cusack. It’s especially Cusack that performs the role of a lifetime, making Say Anything his no.1 film of the 80s, well ahead of Hot Pursuit and Better Off Dead.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 96%

#1258 Date with an Angel (1987)

Whether you enjoy watching Date with an Angel at all depends on if you take it as a weird comedy with a huge credibility problem – or an adult fantasy fairytale that it is.

The sooner I accepted this, the more I started to enjoy the movie, especially considering that in a bigger picture it all kind of made sense in the end. My movie experience went from rolling my eyes, to getting somewhat engaged, to actually wanting to watch the movie again some time in the future.

I’d even consider the movie a triumph for managing to sell the viewer such an implausible setup, and I’d hoped the team had had more courage than to wrap up the movie otherwise than its current compromised crowd pleasing ending.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 81%

#1253 The In Crowd (1988)

Teen dance party TV programs were apparently a thing in 1960s. The In Crowd taps into this phenomenon and offers a look into a life of a young gentleman who makes it to the show and becomes a huge celebrity in his school.

The movie seems extremely silly and trivial so it was very hard for me to have any empathy to their problems, knowing that the male rivals of the movie would settle the score by having a dance off together in a living room.

Yes, a dance off.

The In Crowd tells a story that did not beg to be told and offers a nostalgic trip for meant for those who were there or who really dig the era, or at least when accompanied with thick, rosy nostalgia goggles.

80s-o-meter: 21%

Total: 11%

#1245 No Small Affair (1984)

No Small Affair, a depiction of a nerdy 16 year old photographer falling hopelessly in love with a nightclub singer was originally written for Matthew Broderick in mind. And as much as I appreciate Jon Cryer’s later works, I can’t help but to think that the movie would’ve been much more believable with Broderick in lead.

With Cryer and Demi Moore as his love interest the movie kind of works, but the lack of real chemistry between the two hurt the overall experience. The movie does have its moments and as a whole it’s original and likeable, albeit without much of a rewatch qualities to it.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 72%

#1244 Teachers (1984)

Teachers would have been a better movie if it shifted its focus more on being either a comedy or a drama as the way how it mixes the two was not to my liking.

Right now the emphasis is on comedy, but as the movie later introduces some actually dramatic elements, like a young juvenile student getting assaulted in the school by his own father, the drama lost much of the impact it could’ve had.

Nick Nolte makes a very believable role as a teacher that is a rare breed, but totally recognisable to me: one who can connect with even the lost causes. Ralph Macchio does not cut it at all as a juvenile student, but Judd Hirsch saves the day with his portrayal of a hilariously disillusioned principal.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 61%

#1242 Mystery Train (1989)

Although nothing much happens in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train, there’s just something very enchanting about it.

We get to witness three overlapping stories of events unravelling in one day and night in Memphis and while the movie starts stylish but slow, by the third story I found myself fully hooked the the movie and would’ve kept on watching one similar story after another if the movie just offered more.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 85%

#1240 ‎The Pick-up Artist (1987)

We all know what a cool guy Robert Downey Jr of today is. But in his previous life he was a somewhat tiresome character in multiple 80s teen movies.

The Pick-up Artist – Downey Jr’s first leading cinematic role – catches him at his worst. To his defense, there’s nothing much for him to work with in the weak character the script pins on him and I can’t see any contemporary actor saving the movie either.

Nonetheless, the role demands someone with the charm to pull off the lovable scoundrel schtick, but young Downey Jr can’t provide any of that, and his character comes off plain annoying. Same goes for Molly Ringwald who at the peak of her career ends up wasting her time and talent as the romantic interest of this movie.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 36%

#1233 The Big Chill (1983)

A bunch of thirty-something friends drifted apart since their youth spend together gather up for the burial of their friend who committed suicide and consequently spend a weekend together at a vacation house.

The Big Chill is brilliantly written, and wonderfully acted with just the right amount of nostalgia, intellectual jabber, painful tragedies, hidden love, and all things that are life.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 91%

#1232 The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

The long-lasting professional relationship of two lounge pianists develops cracks as beautiful young singer joins them.

A fascinating look into family dynamics gets ever more interesting after realising that the two Briges brothers playing the parts are in fact real life brothers, which effectively makes their embittered clashes feel much more real.

Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer both turn their charism to 11 for The Fabulous Baker Boys, making it easy for the viewer to a little secret movie crush with either one.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 93%