#1248 Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)

If one had to name Ridley Scott’s movie from 1987, even most of the movie enthusiasts would likely draw blank.

Someone to Watch Over Me is probably by far the least known full length feature film in Scott’s immaculate catalogue of movies. And it is a much more insignificant one, resembling more your typical 80s cop movie than a landmark film Scott is known for.

That being said, it’s still a quality movie written, acted, directed and shot with the best skill Hollywood has to offer, and it’s interesting to see Tom Berenger in this anti hero lead role where he is not a perfect cop, perfect husband nor a perfect human.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 85%

#1246 Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

The third film in Cannon Films’ Ninja Trilogy (the first being Enter the Ninja, and the second Revenge of the Ninja) that all have sort of a cult following, Ninja III: The Domination is really sequel only in name.

But it might the the most bizarre one of the all three, combining elements of ninjitsu mythology, exorcism and erotic thrillers and throwing in to the mix all sorts of 80s elements like big hairs, neon lights and aerobics.

Despite all this, Ninja III: The Domination isn’t quite the riot it sounds like – but it does end up my favourite of the three. What was said with the previous movies of the trilogy, holds true here as well: the new 4k transfers look amazing, but the old worn out VHS versions will provide much more atmosphere that somehow work out for all the Ninja movies’ advantage.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 80%

#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%

#1221 Crimes of Passion (1984)

Crimes of Passion is an erotic thriller, which usually is a definite flag for disaster. But when many other erotic thrillers end up just adoringly clumsy, Crimes of Passion really tries to be a real drama with depth and look into the human psyche. And it crashes and burns.

There weren’t too many moments of the movie that I didn’t hate – except for the bit with China Blue visiting a dying man for which I grant the movie the few points it ended up with.

Other than that I really hated Anthony Perkins’ over acted sex maniac priest character straight from a bad small town play and the shallowness of the script that made me feel indifferent about pretty much that took place on the screen.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 31%

#1216 Murphy’s Romance (1985)

A divorced woman along with his son move to an old ranch in Arizona and forms a deep friendship with an older gentleman.

Just when the relationship starts to form into something more meaningful things get interesting when her scoundrel of an ex-husband shows up, swearing it’s all water under the bridge now and that he is a reformed man. Brian Kerwin’s performance as the charming but petty man child of an ex-husband is perfectly executed and provides the best comedy bits of the movie.

A romantic comedy is always a triumph when it’s something us men can also stomach. Murphy’s Romance definitely falls into this category.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 76%

#1205 Some Girls (1988)

As the first 15 minutes of Some Girls had passed, I though in horror I was faced with another Twister: a comedy much too weird for its own good about a wacky family where the only running joke would revolve around the annoying eccentricity running in the family.

There’s a bit to that in Some Girls as well, but it fortunately starts to shed off at the point where the beloved grandmother of the family disappears, and it’s at this point where the movie manages to get uniquely interesting and heartwarming.

Some Girls ventures bravely to uncharted territories, resulting in bits and parts of the movie that are just plain annoying, as well as other parts that are genuinely interesting.

80s-o-meter: 67%

Total: 71%

#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%

#1085 And God Created Woman (1988)

Directed by Roger Vadim who also directed the 1956 Et Dieu… Créa la Femme that launched Brigitte Bardot’s career, And God Created Woman shares the same title, but brings a completely new story in an very edgy form to the 80s, resulting a catastrophic failure of a movie.

Life is tough for the characters of Rebecca De Mornay and Vincent Spano who play a woman prisoner on a parole, and a carpenter single parent respectively. And it’s oh so tough, and so melodramatic all the time. All sorts of emotional quarrels of love follow, so she decides to put together a rock band to pour all that agony into her songs, all while having erotic B-movie scenes with the carpenter and a famous politician played by Frank Langella.

Essentially a filmatisation of some 2-penny erotic novel I didn’t want to read in the first place, And God Created Woman is a remarkably bad movie – a piece of cinematic garbage that I can’t find any justification for.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 4%

#1082 Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? aka Café New York (1983)

If you dislike indie artsy cinema, Can She Bake a Cherry Pie is precisely the kind of movie that would make you hate them even more.

Shot ad-libbing (or so it seems) in New York, the movie shows a recently separated woman and middle aged man entering a relationship where they have sex and go through their neuroses. Watching the movie felt as if I was 6 years old again and having to listen to the adults having a tediously long and boring talks. But it’s even worse than that; here the people are in their underwear while having these long, yawn inducing discussions.

And as if the movie wasn’t artsy enough, it’s interrupted from time to time with needless bits of Orson Welles doing a cameo as a magician trying to make some animals disappear as well as clips of the lead Karen Black singing various musical numbers in some local improv.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 1%

#1081 Shanghai Surprise (1986)

Shanghai Surprise was supposed to be a sure hit: A comedic adventure taking place in the exotic 1930s Shanghai featuring Madonna and young Sean Penn, both guaranteed box office magnets.

The general finger or blame seems to point to Madonna – a pop star turned to actor – but despite being really uncomfortable in her role as a missionary, the real problem of the movie is that it’s just plain dull to watch. George Harrison who produced the film deemed necessary to write the soundtrack as well, and his Beatlesque pop songs just don’t work at all – not with the setting nor the era. Penn who has an uncanny ability to make any role his, can’t do much with the two dimensional frames he is given here and ends up creating some sort of weak pastiche from various men leads from classic romantic adventures, with a stub that pretty much looks like it was doodled on with a ball point pen.

Shanghai Surprise is an UK production that got picked up for the blog merely because of its leads and a little bit of personal curiousness – and I got a good reminder to be a little less curious in the future.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 45%

#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%

#1019 Modern Romance (1981)

Modern Romance follows the on / off relationship between hemming and hawing urban male and her very patient girlfriend.

The movie is such a chore to watch. That overly neurotic male shtick might’ve been pretty cute back in the early 80s, but from the present day’s standpoint the cuteness just isn’t there. The guy tries to cover all of his bases while spying on her love, breaking up with her cold blood one moment and then demanding her back just to not to have to share her with anyone else, probably more sane person. Cute? Try possessive, smothering or borderline sociopathic. Nothing modern about it.

I’ve really dug Albert Brooks in his various roles throughout the years, but Modern Romance falls quite far from that list.

80s-o-meter: 73%

Total: 31%

#1007 Working Girl (1988)

I don’t know how I’d managed to avoid Working Girl for so long. My guess it that I somehow got the movie mixed up with Blind Date, the stinker of a romantic comedy that featured the hottest names in the Hollywood.

Mind you, this movie is nothing like the Blind Date. Starring Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith the movie is a triumph especially for Griffith who plays the underdog of a business woman to such a perfection that us viewers can’t help but compassionate with her, and we really want to see her getting the lucky break she’s long time due for.

Romantic comedies can notoriously be sort of an agony for us men, but in the few special cases like Working Girl, they’re just plain old good movies first, and romantic comedies just on top of that.

80s-o-meter: 95%

Total: 93%

#1004 Grease 2 (1982)

Grease 2, the sequel for the original 1978 runaway musical hit starring John Travolta was a critical and a box office failure. Oh boy, I thought as I pressed the play on my remote, assured I was facing a torture even worse than having to watch through the original.

Pessimism be blessed, as the experience didn’t turn out to be nearly as bad as I’d anticipated. The movie is inept – that’s given – but it all seems to have been done in a good humour with a fair amount of tongue in cheek. Grease 2 does a remarkably bad work at establishing the early 60s setting and the movie never seizes to feel like 80s kids doing a cosplay of the former era.

Personally I count this only as a definitely plus for the movie.

80s-o-meter: 41%

Total: 48%

#994 Somewhere in Time (1980)

Christopher Reeve’s first movie since the hugely successful 1978 Superman, Somewhere in Time is a romantic drama with a time travel twist to it.

The movie relies heavily on its time travel bit and if that concept was stripped out of the movie, there just wouldn’t be much of a plot going on here: There’s the somewhat forbidden love between the two leads of different generations and the only real threat between the two lovers comes from the overprotective manager who just can’t provide much of a drama and the only real conflict between them is ultimately resolved with just a shrug of a shoulder.

The movie totally flopped at the box office, but has developed a cult following with the fans going as far as joining together to celebrate the historical dates presented in the movie.

80s-o-meter: 33%

Total: 51%

#900 Racing with the Moon (1984)

There’s no way around it; Sean Pean is quite simply one terrific actor. In Racing with the Moon he plays a small town boy on the brink of getting drafted and shipped to WWII, portraying the role of a rough on the outside, poetic in the inside boy who likes to play the piano and is secretly destined to things bigger than this old town. And does all this remarkably well and without a slightest sign of pretentiousness or insincerity.

Nicolas Cage, playing the role of his best buddy with a knack of always getting him in ways of trouble performs also strongly here and makes for a memorable screwup who misses direction in his life.

I’m always more than a bit suspicious when watching a period picture not based on historical events as they tend to just ride on the nostalgia factor, presenting the past as them good old days. There’s a little of that also going on here, but it never requires one to feel any real affection to the era. Racing with the Moon keep its focus tightly on the personas instead and manages to deal with universal themes of coming to age that are still as relevant as they were in the 40s.

80s-o-meter: 54%

Total: 92%

#874 Lucas (1986)

I’ve never seen a movie capture a teenage crush in such a honest, pure way.

Lucas is a movie about a boy of the same name whose peculiar life revolving around his peculiar hobbies changes the moment she meets Maggie who’s just moved in to the neighbourhood. They find themselves sharing the last days of the summer together before the start of a new school year and form an unlikely friendship that soon turns to a one-sided, hopeless love.

Corey Haim has never actually wowed me, but here he captures the essence of the misfit character in a magnificently three dimensional way, managing to make Lucas a tangible and often contradictory person by never sugar coating his shortcomings nor underlining his virtues.

The movie wanders too far into fiction towards its last minutes, but even that can’t diminish its accomplishments as one of the most heart warming portrayals of the high school life and of coming to age. Lucas reminds us of what was it like once to be hopelessly, head over heels in love, and in that sense it’s a truly a triumph.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 90%

#859 Winter People (1989)

I’m not too big on period pictures unless they’re based on actual historical events, and Winter People ends up yet another movie where the decision feels uninspired and glued on.

The director Ted Kotcheff who gave us the superb First Blood and Weekend at Bernie’s is at lost here. He gets a very limited mileage out of his actors, who all seem to perform well beyond their skill level. The most cringeworthy performance comes from Jeffrey Meek, whose performance as the sadistic, drunk father comes across cartoonish and artificial, and his rockstar like looks feel extremely out of place given the era.

Kurt Russell fares ok as the clockmaker single parent, but clearly Winter People wasn’t the right vehicle for him either.

80’s-o-meter: 37%

Total: 48%

#855 Nothing Personal (1980)

Here’s a film that once again reminds me of how much I loathe much of the 70s cinema. Nothing Personal is a horrid romantic comedy shot in the end of the decade and released during the first months of 1980, thus unfortunately making it into this review site.

There’s very little to be liked here, and the few somewhat interesting themes of nature preservation and fighting against big companies are quickly bypassed by cringeworthy scenes of the two leads getting it on between the sheets in the spirit of the sexual revolution that was big at the time.

I can’t remember the last time I was so mildly entertained by a comedy. The only decent thing the movie has going for it is Dickerson, a weasel of a big company spokesperson played to perfection by the terrific Dabney Coleman.

80s-o-meter: 22%

Total: 12%