#988 The Executioner’s Song (1982)

Tommy Lee Jones stars in The Executioner’s Song, a solid made for TV movie documenting the life and ultimate death of Gary Gilmore who was executed in 1977 upon his own request.

Unlike many other crime movies, The Executioner’s Song doesn’t go out to glamourise the killer or the criminal life style and handles its subject in a way that seems semi-documentary at times. Gilmore is pictured as a complex, short-tempered man who often resorts in violence and even in the passing moments of regret he still maintains his ominous, possessive and obsessive presence.

Tommy Lee Jones makes the best out of the role, easily outperforming the movie itself.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 64%

#886 Suspect (1987)

Suspect, a dime a dozen courthouse drama on the surface has many positive surprises to offer.

I never thought much of Cher, thanks to her horribad europop tracks of the early 2000s. Much to my surprise she turned out a radiant actress in many of her 80s movies, often stealing the spotlight and making the movie hers.

This is true as well with Suspect and Cher’s effortless presence on screen definitely makes watching the movie a breeze. Equally surprising is the unlikely chemistry between Cher and Dennis Quaid, who on paper mix together pretty much like water and oil. Quaid provides a perfectly lovable, smirky scoundrel of a juror who doesn’t seem to be able help himself poking his nose in the investigation.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 81%

#808 First Monday in October (1981)

Like many Walter Matthau movies, First Monday in October isn’t particularly eighties in style, but more like a nice, cozy breeze from the past. Often typecast as the grumpy, stubborn character, Matthau does have plenty of that old world charm which he always manages to bring into his productions.

Same goes here; Matthau plays an uncompromising, liberal Associate Justice that finds himself in a verbal tug-of-war with the first female Associate Justice just appointed to the Supreme Court. The old men contra women workplace setup is a bit dated, but not at all something that wouldn’t resonate still today. The real highlight of the movie is the snappy, smartly written dialogue that Matthau and Clayburgh deliver in a delightful fashion as they go against each other, tooth and nail.

It’s also an interesting period piece from the time when landmark decisions on the adult video censorship were being made in the Supreme Court.

80s-o-meter: 62%

Total: 75%

#805 Eight Men Out (1988)

Eight Men Out retells the story of 1919 baseball scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox made a pact with gamblers to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series. Knowing how it all turns out in the end the movie’s angle is to go through the events in the chronological order as they unfolded, with the focus slightly tilted towards outfielder Buck Weaver who would go on trying to prove his innocence for rest of his natural life.

As we go on from a match to another, I can’t help but to think some smarter editing could’ve been used here, snipping off the time from the games and focusing for example on the final trial instead. Still, it was a positive surprise how well the movie was put together and how well it conveys the time period without ever making a big fuss about it, or getting tediously drowsy or stale like so many period pictures tend to come out.

The casting is strong with John Cusack leading as Buck Weaver. As his teammate can be seen young Charlie Sheen, who’d incidentally go on starring in Major League, a hugely successful baseball comedy released the following year.

80s-o-meter: 35%

Total: 72%