#1913 Touched (1983)

A movie you haven’t ever heard of, nor have your friends or family heard of, Touched is a long forgotten little drama on mental patients struggling to become independent.

Boasting only 140 ratings and one review on IMDB, I have no idea how the movie became so obsolete, but I suspect it had either really limited theatrical release, or it was canned altogether. While the movie is no stinker, and would have warranted a somewhat wired release, there’s just something about seeing Robert Hays so many times in Airplane! that I can’t take him easily serious enough to read how good of a drama actor he actually might be.

The movie tells a story of him falling love with another mental patient, played by at least equally gorgeous looking Kathleen Beller, and I was struggling to believe the two as patients going steady and starting a life of their own, instead of actors pretending to do so.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 38%

#1909 Enemies, A Love Story (1989)

Enemies, A Love Story is a rollercoaster of emotions in the life of Herman (Ron Silver), a holocaust survivor in the 1949 New York.

You see, Herman has tangled himself between women. And to make things worse, the third woman from the past is just around ther corner.

Silver does well in the role, portraying the low-key Herman with tons of mixed emotions storming below his calm facade. He never sells the character as heroic or likeable, but manages to make him relatable enough so that the audience finds themselves rooting for him, despite his morally questionable choices and actions.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 67%

#1900 Thrashin’ (1986)

Now I’m puzzled. If Gleaming the Cube was a definite rad California 80s skating movie, so is Thrashin’, both totally cool for partly the same, and partly different reasons.

Like Gleaming the Cube, the movie has just about everything one would love from the era; warm Californian landscapes, beach, boys from The Valley, skating baddies, famous skaters like Tony AlvaTony HawkChristian Hosoi and Steve Caballero, music and a live performance from nobody else than Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a totally bitchin’ title song of the same name from Meat Loaf.

After saving this one for later on for quite some time, I’m glad to say that Thrashin’ did definitely not disappoint. Comparing the two, Gleaming the Cube might edge it out slightly, but my suggestion? Watch them both and enjoy the ride!

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 91%

#1896 New York Stories (1989)

An anthology film, New York Stories weaves together three distinct tales taking part in New York. The movie begins with Martin Scorsese’s Life Lessons where Nick Nolte portrays a painter balancing between his love interest, and upcoming art exhibition. Next up, Francis Ford Coppola takes us into a whimsical world with Life Without Zoë co-written with his daughter Sofia Coppola, depicting a rich kid living independent live of her own while her family is travelling and working, and getting caught up in a story of Arab Princesses and lost jewelries. Lastly, Woody Allen finishes with Oedipus Wrecks, a quirky story of a middle age man being tormented by his possessive and overbearing mother.

Anthology films with different creative force behind each segment are harder to rate. I was the most happiest with seeing Nick Nolte portraying such a different role (and succeeding in it with flying colors), with Life Without Zoë seemingly written for completely different audience and age group.

Finally, Oedipus Wrecks has an interesting setup, but relies on a gag that was funny at first, but both grows old and takes disappointing dramatic turns that ultimately make it the weakest (or, single use) short story of the bunch.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 65%

#1894 Nobody’s Perfect (1989)

Ever since Chaplin and the dawn of the cinema men dressing as women has been an often visited theme to create comedic situations. This is where Nobody’s Perfect taps as well, this time with the motive of college freshman disguising himself as the opposite sex in order to be closer to his crush.

As imagined, nothing of much depth is to be found here, so it just all down to how entertaining the movie manages to be. And in the case of Nobody’s Perfect it actually fares quite well.

The story proceeds in a predictable path, but the whole experience is quite likeable, and definitely fits the bill if you’ve subscribed to having something easy to watch through and young Chad Lowe in the lead role does a perfectly passable job here.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 72%

#1893 Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

A movie that I have earlier managed to mix up with Crimes of the Heart (likely due to somewhat similar posters), Hannah and Her Sisters is a routine work from Woody Allen.

Even so that I found myself drifting off multiple times when watching it. Allen plays his trademark neurotic self, and other cast is populated by the typical cultivated, cultured and self-interested New Yorker types. The main storyline is about the toned back husband played by Michael Caine having a crush on the sister of his wife, and struggling with his thoughts, and this part of the movie is interesting to some extend. The other storylines, not so much.

For me personally seeing Caine here was the high point of the movie, with everything else falling to the generic Woody land. Allen has done better, both before and afterwards.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 42%

#1890 Split Image (1982)

A cult exploitation movie at its heart, Split Image depicts a youngster lured into brainwashed by a religious cult. But ever more interestingly, it also depicts him getting kidnapped back and deprogrammed by his family.

But all this peeping Tommery is pretty much the only interesting part of the movie, and other drama falling behind. And even that is not too interesting.

There is a small foreshadowing from the cult, but perhaps the movie would have been more interesting if it tried to present itself less as a documentary movie (which it is not), and more just a thriller where the main character has to flee the cult at the risk of their live.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 26%

#1886 Two Moon Junction (1988)

A few of the most painful experiences during watching all these movies have been with those ”daring”, ”intimate” and ”passionate” erotic dramas that cause endless amount of cringe to watch through. Knowing this was going to be a case with Two Moon Junction as well, I honestly weren’t looking forward to this one.

To my surprise, not only is there kind of a movie and drama going on here, but the erotic tension of the movie is actually high on this one, thanks to great casting with Richard Tyson and Sherilyn Fenn, both on the very top of their game. Tyson as the rugged carnival odd-jobber with his piercing gaze wins over his love interest and the viewer alike at the first look, and has just the right amount of that free spirit and danger to sell the character with ease.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 77%

#1886 For Keeps? aka Maybe Baby (1988)

Two high school seniors get pregnant, decide on keeping the baby in For Keeps?, a drama movie riding heavily on clichés and predictable plot lines.

While the struggle that takes place as they have to both give up their youth, dreams and ultimately love for each other is likely what would happen to many, I kept on hoping the movie to take another, less wandered path.

Molly Ringwald was on top of Hollywood’s A-list at the time, and she is once again great (as in: sincere and believable) in her role, no doubt about it. She’s so good that For Keeps? ultimately feels just too small and insignificant for her.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 51%

#1884 Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing I presume is a movie that everyone who lived on or are interested of the 80s know of. I definitely had been exposed to the concept, that it starred Patrick Swayze, and kind of put the dots together to know the movie was about dancing.

Expecting this to be a modern tale of ambitious young dancers trying to make it in a big city, what I did not know was that Dirty Dancing is a nostalgic period picture taking place in the summer of 1963 when a young girl nicknamed Baby travels to mountain resort with her parents to spend the summer holiday there. The upper middle class girl then gets involved with the dancers hired as staff to entertain the guests, and is shown a mambo like ”Dirty Dancing” the staff gets involved in their free time, after which Baby hits it up with the dance instructor Johnny.

In the end this was much lesser of a movie than I had anticipated. The dancing does not look that impressive, the two main leads seem to have zero chemistry between them and I also totally missed the point of the plot, especially how it all concludes at the end as they put on a show for a few campers. Is it Baby’s coming of age story, about her finding her own way and breaking social barriers? Or is it just about some nice nostalgic vibe of the movie, and watching the dreamy Patrick Swayze dance around?

Your guess is as good as mine.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 55%

#1877 Violets Are Blue (1986)

A romantic drama starring Kevin Kline and Sissy Spacek, Violets Are Blue (title sometimes followed with extra ’…’) depicts a long lost young love coming into life again as the Gussie (Spacek) returns to her home town for a brief vacation. Time has passed and lives have takes much different turns since the couple last saw, but they soon find themselves in a situation where the relationship cut short continues right where they left it some 15 years ago.

I admittedly had difficulties adjusting myself seeing Spacek in such a different role from her usual range, but both Spacek and Kline managed to sell the relationship to me with ease, and it was a pleasure seeing the two working together on a silver screen. The movie’s overarching theme of hard choices we make in life resulting in consequences with live with was also fully delivered, and relating to the situation the lead characters found themselves in was very relatable.

The movie itself did not grasp me on the same level than its theme did, and there were certain aspects and scenes in the movie that for me dragged the overall experience down from great to OK.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 74%

#1873 Moonstruck (1987)

I usually don’t force the family into watching the 80s movies – this is purely my personal project – but as they wished something lighthearted for the Saturday night and Moonstruck was available on Prime I decided to go with it as I hadn’t yet seen the movie myself.

And how wrong could it go? After all the movie stars Cher, Danny Aiello, Olympia Dukakis and Nicolas Cage, and was nominated to six academy awards, winning in three, bagging her first Oscar. But, we all found the movie to be a bit of a bore. Everyone seems to be quite tired in what they do and the pace of life is tediously slow. Not only does the love affair between Cher and Cage feel contrived, but so it the former relationship with Danny Aiello’s character, as is how Aiello handles the climatic twist at the end. Artificiality aside, there’s only one small romance – that of the mother – that evokes any emotions.

Also the humour did not really find its target (although the setup could have lent itself to many delicious comedy situations), and the best laughs you can get out of this movie is Aiello forgetting his suitcases for three times in a row.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 41%

#1872 Full Moon in Blue Water (1988)

I love it when a movie gets the mood right. Love it to bits.

Such is the case with Full Moon in Blue Water, a small drama comedy taking place in Texas Gulf Coast on a small, worn out Diner bar run by Floyd (Gene Hackman). Floyd has lost his wife and the will to go on with his life, and remains unwelcoming to Louise (Teri Garr), who sees something in this stubborn old man. Seeings these two clash before coming together would have been more than enough in the right hands to create a solid romantic comedy, but for some reason the writer Bill Bozzone insists on adding unrelated twists to the story in the form of a dim-witted janitor two messes up bad, and then messes up even worse trying to cover the mess.

Even with the apparent problems with the writing, Full Moon in Blue Water is a movie that invites one the share a moment with the people at the Blue Water Grill. And that moment felt too brief, as I could have hanged around just a little bit longer.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 77%

#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%

#1782 Cross My Heart (1987)

Cross My Heart is a captivating comedy of a two people going to their third date having put on a perfect dating facade for so far. Maybe a bit too perfect, as they both are about find out a lot of new things about the other – and of themselves.

The movie is a two person show between Martin Short and Annette O’Toole, and both provide big grins for the viewer. It’s especially Short whose movies of the era always surprise me how great physical actor and a comedian he was at the very top of his game.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 76%

#1774 A Change of Seasons (1980)

As you can tell from the poster, A Change of Seasons tries to get the masses interested in it by blatantly advertising a hot tub scene of Bo Derek in it.

Well, that scene does exist, but little of worth anyone interest follows. We have Derek once again picking up an older gentleman, and his wife trying to be a swinger also by starting a relationship with a semi hippie nature type. And everything that follows is just downright ridiculous. With no real characters to work with, Anthony Hopkins just ends up walking around confused producing one silly line after another in scenes that seem downright forced.

A Change of Seasons is classified as a comedy, but really there’s nothing side splitting here, and the comedic aspect is just overall silliness and unrelated persons performing nonsensical lines. If you really, really have to see Bo Derek, my advice is to pick up 10 (1979) instead.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 13%

#1772 Flesh and Bullets aka The Wife Contract (1985)

Written and directed by Carlos Tobalina, mostly known for his adult movies, Flesh and Bullets – or rather the more descriptive The Wife Contract – is an amateurish take on thrillers that very much looks like a porn movie, but without porn. The movie also looks old beyond its year, with a certain 70s vibe to it.

It is therefore quite a surprise that the movie is actually .. not that bad at all! Despite the obviously clumsiness and wooden acting the story is quite unique and the ingredients of a passable thriller are to be found here.

80s-o-meter: 54%

Total: 59%

#1771 Desert Hearts (1985)

Feeling dissatisfied with her marriage a young Professor Vivian Bell arrives in 1950s Nevada ranch to seek a quickie divorce. In the middle of a big change in her life, Vivian finds herself unexpectedly and irresistibly drawn to Cay Rivers, a carefree and free spirited young lesbian who is the daughter of the ranch owner, disapproving her lifestyle. As their intimacy develops, Vivian’s insecurities about her feelings for Cay clash with the emotions they unleash.

Desert Hearts is a gem of a movie that totally grasped me and took me to another time, place and life. And for this along it’s a triumph.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 87%

#1767 Dance Goddess (1987)

Look, I don’t even pretend to know enough movie business to understand how something like Dance Goddess gets green lighted and funded, but now that it exists, you can congratulate yourself as you belong to about ten people in the world who know of it.

Sometimes an idea can sound good on paper, but fail on the execution – but I honestly can’t fathom how a concept of an American Bollywood musical has ever gotten enough traction and people backing it up for it to get made. The end result is perhaps the thinnest amount of plot ever seen on the silver screen, coupled with Bollywood style dancing and music acts, performed by American amateur actors. While I’m fully aware that musicals aren’t exactly know for the stellar scripts, at least they usually have either the singing or dancing going for them. Dance Goddess has neither.

At the day of writing this, Dance Goddess has no reviews in Imdb, and only 13 ratings averaging to 3.4 – meaning there was probably more people in the production team than those who’ve seen the movie to date.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 3%