#1646 Patti Rocks (1988)

You know that screw up of a friend you don’t want anything to do with, but who for one reason or another manages to get you involved in his affairs, ”just for this one more time”.

In Patti Rocks that guy is Billy, played by Chris Mulkey. Billy is unlikely many other lovable bastards often seen in movies in a way that he at times manages to hover over likeable, but more often than not comes across just obnoxious. He is the kind of a guy with his sexist jokes that would make me want to switch tables at bar, and kind of a guy who would accuse anyone doing so of not having a sense of humour.

But his friend Eddie seems to be able to stomach him, and drives him on a long road trip filled with sexist jokes to settle the score with a girl – Patti Rocks – he got pregnant.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 40%

#1645 Atlantic City aka Atlantic City, USA (1980)

Atlantic City is a movie about transition periods and change. Sally is learning the ropes to be a dealer to be able to leave to Monaco to work on a casino. His former husband, now with Sally’s sister has arrived at the city to makes some money selling drugs, and they run into Lou, a small time old crook looking forward to finally becoming the big shot gangster with the money and a woman he could show off to his Florida pals.

And all this is taking place in Atlantic City that is going through sizeable changes where hotels and casinos of the old glory days are demolished to make room for new buildings.

The real gem in Atlantic City is the interesting array of characters with real yet a bit childish and silly aspirations, and in this sense the movie manages to positively surprise time after time: we don’t have to relate or even like the characters to be able to sympathise with their dreams.

80s-o-meter: 63%

Total: 87%

#1644 Runaway Nightmare (1982)

There’s only one thing wrong with being a renaissance man, and that is if you aren’t that talented.

This Mike Cartel’s movie, directed by Mike Cartel, written by Mike Cartel and starring Mike Cartel is one of these cases. It’s a messy, messy movie with no real focus what it really wants to be. The movie tries out quite a bit of different things, but fails on each and every one of them.

Runaway Nightmare makes me wish I had the will power to exclude all these kinds of exercises in movie making from my to-do list, but I’m still hoping there’s a gem to be found from that pile. Runaway Nightmare was not that gem, no by a long shot.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 11%

#1643 Cross Creek (1983)

I’ve a strange kind of romantic longing for the Everglades, and similar wetlands located in the southernmost states of the eastern USA. Strange because I could likely not stand the weather or humidity, or the isolation. But I guess its the quite unique, secret and hidden world of these parts that manage to catch my imagination.

80s offerings in this area has been something of a hit and miss. Starting from a-ok Swamp Thing and The Return of Swamp Thing to pretty nice The River Rat to complete stinkers like Shy People and Soggy Bottom, U.S.A there hasn’t been one definite movie that has been able to provide me the swamp experience what I’ve been looking for – until I came across Cross Creek.

On paper Cross Creek is a movie that was likely to be one of those slow, pompous, utterly boring period pictures, but this director Martin Ritt’s depiction of the author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings pushes all right buttons, managing to capture an array of greatly interesting and multi-dimensional characters. I was eager to get back to the movie’s world every time I had to pause the movie, and I felt the movie inviting me already to revisit it some time in the future.

80s-o-meter: 11%

Total: 96%

#1642 King Kong Lives (1986)

King Kong got a pretty ok reboot in the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis remake starring Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin, and ten years later King Kong Lives tried to pick up where the previous movie left by introducing a female counterpart for the colossal gorilla, but without the star power of the previous installation.

Well, almost. Linda Hamilton plays the female lead and John Ashton (of the Beverly Hills Cop fame) the army dude trying to blow up the big ape.

Movie fails to utilise neither one, and the apes themselves could be passable for late 80s, early 80s release, but by 1986 the audience had been already spoiled with the next wave of special FX and King Kong Lives absolutely can’t keep up in this race, and feels like a relic from the past with absolutely no value for the viewers of today.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 28%

#1641 Gleaming the Cube (1989)

What do you get when you put 80s up and coming skating legends like Mike McGillMark ”Gator” RogowskiRodney MullenLance MountainMike VallelyNatas Kaupas, Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero into the same movie with young Christian Slater on the top of his game, mix it up with a kick ass soundtrack and Californian scenery?

A totally rad 80s action adventure movie – that’s what.

Gleaming the Cube is enjoyable on most of its aspects and a movie that offers tons of aspects that make it worth revisiting time and time again.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 92%

#1640 Illegally Yours (1988)

Something feels amiss or disconnected throughout Illegally Yours. Perhaps its the nagging feeling of the movie being miscast on most parts, or Peter Bogdanovich’s direction not delivering the story in a convincing way or maybe its the story of a young handsome college dropout nerd stalking his old school love and getting tangled in a trial and murder mystery that just does not click.

There’s a lot to be loved about the movie, and various events and characters have a certain charm, but in the end it’s just somehow much less than the sum of its parts.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 61%

#1639 Blades (1989)

Blades – a silly movie about a killer lawnmower loose in a golf course sounds 100% like a Troma Entertainment production.

Or does it? Compared to the zany Troma movies of the earlier 80s, Blades feels almost playing it safe and trying to cater for some big enough niche audience: the creative anarchy is missing, but on the other hand Blades is actually quite well-rounded movie with some real budget and effort put into it. Even so that the silly machine antagonist feels like a faux pas, and the movie could have fared much better if it didn’t want to be so much tongue in cheek.

While the lack of a good baddie makes Blades a disappointment, it’s still an easy to watch and enjoyable disappointment for the most parts – especially if you are a golf aficionado. It was especially the shaky golf pro lead who was written as a counterweight for typical movie male characters that made Blades feel interesting and fresh.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 65%

#1638 Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988)

Ok, so the name here sounds much worse than what the movie actually is.

Assault of the Killer Bimbos is more like an early, rough version of Thelma & Louise. Actually, to them actually contemplating to sue its production team. Truth be told, Assault of the Killer Bimbos is no Thelma & Louise, but some of the similarities here are uncanny.

But Assault of the Killer Bimbos is really a feel good comedy, and actually not a bad one at that.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 75%

#1637 Big Man on Campus (1989)

Big Man on Campus is one of those movies with a super annoying character that you genuinely hope would start growing on you so that watching through the movie would not turn into complete torture. Here that character is a degenerated hunchback living in a bell tower in a campus where he gets discovered by two students and their professor, played by Tom Skerritt.

Ok so it does take quite awhile, but when the wild man starts to take his first clumsy steps into the civilised world the movie stopped rubbing me the wrong way, and I found myself finally rooting for the character.

Big Man on Campus has multiple weak moments that should have ended in the cutting room floor, but luckily the crudest and most boorish humour is absent, making it actually quite tolerable comedy.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 70%

#1635 War Cat aka Angel of Vengeance (1987)

There’s a group of survivalists living in a desert that after clashing with a motorcycle gang decide to make a game of human hunting out of one of the females. Needless to say it does not go as planned as she decides to fight back instead.

War Cat revisits the often seen human hunting / female revenge concept, and does not bring anything that new to the mix. It does perform as expected, so those who are fans of the genre will find something here to spend easy 90 minutes with.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 61%

#1634 Almost You (1984)

Listed as a 1984 movie by IMDB, and a March 1985 release according to Wikipedia, Almost You is a small, little known drama comedy of a love triangle (or a square, depending on how you count).

Griffin Dunne and Brooke Adams are a disgruntled New York yuppie couple who get emotionally tangled with a nurse, whose actor boyfriend gets involved in the mess for some reason. All the characters are quite obnoxious and highly unrelatable, the plot feels phoney and the movie subjects us to watch through all of these superficial characters having one of the most dull dinner parties ever with a dialogue written and acted with an blatant intention to be witty, making this inept repartée even more painful to follow.

Almost You is a love movie that fails to make one emotionally, drama that fails to move and a comedy that fails to make one laugh – leaving very little to love about this movie.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 8%

#1633 Dr. Alien aka I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac aka I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant (1989)

An intentionally campy sci-fi comedy, Dr. Alien is one of those movies that could have gone either way gambling on trying to be fun and weird. It’s more often than not when these kind of comedies end up just awkwardly weird.

People getting into playing this sort of movie know what they are subscribing to, and Dr. Alien pretty much delivers what it promises, ending up in the ”better” end of the spectrum – again, for those who know what they are looking for when watching an 80s high school sex comedy.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 69%

#1632 Carny (1980)

I’ve always been a theme park aficionado, and as such I’ve a soft spot for carnivals and fairs, and similarly themed popular media. It was therefore a delight to see Carny during its first 30 minutes.

By that time many good and interesting things had taken place, and both Gary Busey’s and Jodie Foster’s interesting characters, and their relationship was established successfully. But as the carnival takes off from the town with Jodie Foster with it, so does the plot, going into all sorts of needless directions, none of which as interesting than what the movie had already going in its first minutes.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 52%

#1631 Beer (1985)

Beer is a satire picking fun out of advertisement agencies selling brew to the the masses, and one particular agency that hires three average joes to become their spokespersons.

The movie balances well with being witty and making the right observations to pick fun of, and being light to watch and entertaining. The fictive events don’t seem too far fetched and the three leads with distinctive personal traits (and problems) are all someone you could imagine starring in a beer commercial in an alternative reality.

Same goes for the supporting cast. Rip Torn is great as always as the eccentric director and Loretta Swit is a natural as the advertisement agency exec to whom easy profit always justifies the means.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 79%

#1630 A Man for All Seasons (1988)

Apparently Charlton Heston would have wanted to star in the 1966 version of A Man for All Seasons that took home six Oscars in that year’s Academy Awards.

To the extend that to rectify this wrongdoing he would go on to direct his own made-for-TV version some 20 years later where he this time around stars in. Based on a play by Robert Bolt of the life of Sir Thomas More, this newer version of A Man for All Seasons still maintains the great wit and charm of the original.

Historical dramas – especially the made for TV ones – aren’t my cup of tea, but in this genre A Man for All Season definitely holds its own, thanks to its strong manuscript.

80s-o-meter: 2%

Total: 70%

#1629 Round Midnight (1986)

A fictional tale loosely based on African-American jazz musicians’ life and influence in late 50s Paris, Round Midnight feels an exercise too keen on substance and being accepted as a cool cat piece of French cinema.

Although I understand the intention for going for an atmosphere that can be sold to American cinema goers, it all frankly feels far too clichéd to be taken seriously: dark, smoke-filled rooms, a gloomy and dark Paris where it always rains, and characters (despite of battling with serious personal problems, like alcoholism) that feel naïve caricatures instead of actual persons.

The musical pieces composed by Herbie Hancock and performed by a bunch of skilled musicians are the best aspects of the movie, hands down. As I enjoyed the jazz pieces, but not so much the interludes between them, I could not but to think that for the selected fictional style of the movie it would’ve been better to go all in and make Round Midnight a full musical instead.

80s-o-meter: 17%

Total: 54%

#1628 Not for Publication (1984)

Not for Publication is advertised as a movie by the director of Eating Raoul, but in reality it’s pretty different from Paul Bartel’s more outrageous comedies. In fact, the movie feels more like something out of Blake Edwards’ pencil.

More mainstream than Bartel’s other movies, Not for Publication is a satire about sleazy tabloids and political corruption that never quite finds its target and as such fails to make one laugh.

Although a frustrating movie to watch (you keep on wishing things would finally start to click – they never do), there are single good moments here and I feel there’s a decent movie hidden here somewhere that Bartel might have found by streamlining and rewriting the manuscript one more time from the scratch.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 48%

#1627 Yes, Giorgio aka Bravo, Giorgio (1982)

Written as a vehicle for Luciano Pavarotti, Yes, Giorgio portrays a fictional tenor called Giorgio touring in America.

Giorgio is a big man child with superstition to ever singing at Metropolitan Opera, and so he desperately seeks the love and care of a female doctor. A world class singer, in private life he is something of a half-grown, with the inner life of a 5-year old: he throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, and gets into food fight with the opposite sex.

The only thing Yes, Giorgio has going for it are its opera numbers. But really – you’d be much better off watching any of Pavarotti’s opera performances on VHS, than to sit through this drivel.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 9%