#841 Iceman (1984)

Iceman begins when a group of explorers in a isolated research facility somewhere deep in the arctic region stumble across an old life form trapped in a block of ice that is then transported to the base for a closer inspection. The setup reminds me very closely of that of The Thing, and I loved it to bits!

Soon after the iceman wakes up from his frozen state our protagonist-anthropologist finds out that he is able to communicate with him, and begins to form a meaningful relationship with him that soon makes it hard for him to treat the prehistoric man as just a scientific specimen.

John Lone does an extraordinary job in his humane portrayal of the almost mute iceman, a role that could very easy turn into unintentionally comical or an uninspired ape imitation.

The movie feels cut short and ends before we really get into the most interesting parts like exploring the true innings of the iceman, moral of the science and the essence of humanity. A miniseries might’ve been a more suitable format for subject this interesting.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 81%

#840 Humanoids from the Deep aka Monster (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep takes the Creature from the black lagoon and clones it to an army of bloodthirsty underwater perverts, hungry for some blood and t&a – but mostly the latter. It’s one of those horror movies originally engineered to attract young audience with its promise of gore and nudity and later turned into cult classic thanks to its campy script and effects.

Watched from this point of view, the first half of the movie has very little to offer in terms of entertainment. It’s only in the second half of the movie when the Humanoids are seen in great numbers that the movie offers some bang for the buck. There’s certain unexpected charm to the home made monsters and their presence and movement remind me of a crappier lizard version of Tarman from The Return of the Living Dead.

In terms of so bad it’s good, Humanoids from the Deep rates well above average, but it’s not quite bad enough to earn a sincere recommendation.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 60%

#839 Moon Over Parador (1988)

Moon Over Parador feels like it was written with Richard Dreyfuss specifically in mind, and after seeing the movie it’s hard to fathom anyone else playing the part. Accompanying him can be seen Raúl Juliá who also performs tremendously well as the menacing head of the police masterminding the whole ordeal.

The movie skillfully builds up a mouth watering situation that would’ve lended itself to a great variety of humor, but never quite explores it deeply enough. The end result is entertaining, but never quite side splittingly funny. Whatever humor there is, it’s because of the snappy delivery of the lines by the talented actors involved, not necessarily because of the lines itself. There are also scenes that don’t really contribute to anything, like the homecoming of the dictator’s mother.

Still, there’s something heartwarming about the whole movie that makes me want to be generous with the scoring. A credit for that has go to Dreyfuss who plunges into the role with a great energy, making Moon Over Parador his second best 80s comedy after Stakeout.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 80%

#838 Bad Boys (1983)

There are a lot of pitfalls present when making a film about juvenile delinquents, and the movies more often than not turn into melodramatic sap rich in gringeworthiness. Bad Boys as a name certainly had an alarming clang to it, but to my surprise the movie not only offered depth rarely seen in its peers, but realism in a way that’s neither romancing nor fetishistically violent.

Young Sean Penn no doubt deserves a nod as he once again showcases his uncanny skill to create three dimensional characters in situations where a path of the lowest common denominator was available. Luckily the script also gives him a lot to work with, avoiding most obvious clichés of the genre throughout the movie – mostly.

While the ending is not bad, it seems to me that it’s by far the most mediocre part of the movie, effectively robbing Bad Boys away from being a complete triumph.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 91%

#837 Streets of Fire (1984)

I’m fond of movies that don’t look like real life – I get plenty of that just by looking outside the window. It’s in this aspect that Street of Fire more than delivers, taking place in an alternative reality, even making a note about this at the start of the movie.

It may be due to the amount of music involved coupled with the lead actor Michael Paré’s mysterious presence, but Street of Fire reminds me a lot of his earlier movie Eddie and the Cruisers, released year earlier. Street of Fire ends up a weaker movie of the two, both in storyline and the music, which mostly suits the mood, but that last music video part movie really just felt like a filler for to make it to the 90 minute mark.

Streets of Fire is style over substance, which is definitely not a sin in my book. But if all that great cinemating style was stripped out of Streets of Fire you simply wouldn’t have that much of a movie going on here.

80s-o-meter: 74%

Total: 68%

#836 Prizzi’s Honor (1985)

A mob movie for people who don’t necessarily care for them, Prizzi’s Honor toys with the clichés of the genre. The lampooning alone would get tiresome after awhile, but luckily the smartly written script makes it for a refreshingly unique dark comedy.

The combination of Jack Nicholson with the Brooklyn accent is comical – probably even more than the production team intended to. Still, it’s good to see Nicholson breaking away from his usual acting patterns. Kathleen Turner is presented as the co-star of the show, but her screen time is unfortunately very limited, which leaves her character a bit too distant to the viewer.

I never was a fan of mob movies, and there’s nothing substantial enough in Prizzi’s Honor to change that. But it is one of the rare movies in the genre I might consider watching again at some point.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 71%

#835 Colors (1988)

Possibly the first ever gang movie of the new wave that came begun in the late 80s and continued throughout the 90s, Colors may be outshadowed by the later milestone titles of the genre, but still hold up fairly well in comparison.

Sean Penn and Robert Duvall are one of the finest actors around and both embrace their roles as the cops trying to be the good guys, often in their humane, flawed way. This is true especially with Duvall who guides the rookie cop through the hoods, but realises his own shortcomings and never comes across as an tiring, omnipotent master. The movie isn’t graphic, but the few scenes of violence there are, are skillfully coordinated and often extremely impactful.

There are a few things in the movie I did find distracting. Some of the side plot lines along with the scenes that make some sort of comedic effort should’ve really ended up on the cutting room floor. The depiction of the gangs and the hood is noticeably cinematic making many of the characters and the settings feel needlessly artificial and plasticky.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 84%

#834 Prince of the City (1981)

Based on a book by Robert Daley about Bob Leuci, a New York cop who cooperated with the 1971 investigation of police corruption, Prince of the City is a grippingly lifelike depiction of the law enforcers so knee deep in the business it’s often hard to tell between a policeman and a gangster.

Treat Williams shows tremendous talent as the crooked detective rubbing elbows with the mob, caught in a dead end where the only alternative remains having to betray his partners. It’s his spiralling from a big player to a complete wreck that really makes the movie.

Clocking a whopping 167 minutes, I was happy to find out the movie doesn’t feel any more taxing to watch than your usual 90 minuter, and the length is completely justified as it really adds a lot of depth to the storytelling.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 87%

#833 TerrorVision (1986)

Finding a totally obscure movie that rocks is a thing that really makes running this blog worthwhile, and TerrorVision is definitely fits the bill.

It’s not a hard task to figure out an outrageous silly plot and concept like seen in this movie, but making it work definitely is and it’s more often than not that these kind of movies fail. But TerrorVision totally makes the best out of its B-movie origins and has one positive surprise after another lined up. While playing around with clichés has proven to be the biggest letdown in numerous of uninspired horror comedies, TerrorVision succeeds to find its own voice, often taking a step into completely unexpected direction.

I can’t end up nothing but to recommend the title. It’s one of the most positive, utterly surprises lately, and a perfect addition for that marathon of horror scifi comedies along with Night of the Creeps, The return of the Living Dead and Dead Heat.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 95%

#832 Last Plane Out (1983)

Halfway through Last Plane Out I had no idea what the movie was really about, and by the end credits rolled I was even more bemused.

Taking place during the Nicaraguan Revolution in the late 70s, there’s no real story to the movie. A journalist visits Nicaragua, meets up with the powers that be, falls in love with a rebel and flees the country in the finale which, while unexciting, is definitely the most coherent part of the movie.

Jan-Michael Vincent was never my favorite actor, and here he seems extra wooden and dazed out.

80s-o-meter: 67%

Total: 32%

#831 Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment, directed by James L. Brooks who wrote and directed the amazing Broadcast News and brought us The Simpsons along with Matt Groening was supposed to be a treat. The reviews were positive in general and the movie had won a whopping 5 Academy Awards, one of which was for the best picture of the year.

What I saw was completely mediocre. The really interesting moments are far and between and once the conflicts between all the characters are tediously set up, the movie pulls a sleight of hand of a terminal illness kind to resolve the movie without ever actually answering any of the questions it’s been raising for the last 90 minutes. It’s this cop out approach that makes the movie feel insignificant from today’s standpoint. If the movie really had some guts, it would’ve killed its starlet earlier on and concentrated on on lives of the people left behind, instead of just bailing out.

Jack Nicholson puts on his trademark lovable jerk impression, this time creating a character that’s somewhat impossible to read and even harder to see in any kind of fruitful relationship. Brooks’ 1997 movie As Good as It Gets has a similar setup but captures the whole struggle of wanting to be a better man in a much more three dimensional way.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 58%

#830 Protocol (1984)

A definition of a dedicated star vehicle if there ever was one, Protocol is a light hearted comedy built upon the very lovable girl next door qualities of Goldie Hawn — and it’s the role she pulls of with flying colors.

Although the movie is complete fluff, it’s fortunately mostly of the entertaining kind and manages to press a whole combination of feel good buttons that make the movie an easy to watch experience.

While the first portion of the movie builds up an intriguing setup, the latter part about arabs and sheiks feels like an unneeded diversion and entirely plastered on. Both the story and Hawn’s perky character would’ve benefited a lot if the writers would’ve just dug deeper into the already established plot. This decisions seems due to the makers of the movie struggling to meet the 90 minute mark as evident in some of the scenes that just seem to drag on and on.

This is a one woman show and it’s Goldie that makes the movie worth your time. The movie is fluffy, outdated and completely irrelevant, but similarly to its heroine, Protocol somehow manages to have some irresistible qualities to it.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 75%

#829 UHF (1989)

Although a Weird Al Yankovic movie, it’s Michael Richards as the eccentric janitor turned a TV star that rightfully steals the show in UHF. And it is Kevin McCarthy whose hilarious rendition of a rotten executive of a rivalling station that got the best laughs out of me this time around.

Similar to most parodies, the mileage you get out of UHF greatly depends on your knowledge of the popular culture of the late 70s and the 80s, and much of the humor will be lost with those not familiar with the era. The skits and musical numbers are completely loose from the main plot, but thanks to the TV station theme they blend in fairly well to the movie and are among the best ones Yankovic ever produced.

The movie bombed in the box office – some say because of the financial problems of Orion Pictures and the resulting lack of promotion – and remained Yankovic’s last feature film effort. Unfortunately so as his silver screen debut is surely one of the better crazy comedies of the era and has since become a cult classic.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 86%

#828 Power (1986)

Directed by Sidney Lumet who struck gold with his 1976 movie Network that successfully exposed the cynical world behind the news media, Power aims to do the very same for the political candidates and their spin doctors.

Unfortunately it’s a bit of a tame concept, especially from today’s perspective. The basic behind the political scenes approach isn’t really enough to impress the audience, but the movie keeps on relying on this aspect nonetheless. The movie tries to sell its political behind the scenes machination as somehow cunning or witty, without being neither.

Just check out the parts where they tweak the TV spots and tell me I’m wrong.

Being a seasoned director, Lumet has included some good cinematic elements, like the lead character’s constant energetic drumming bits between the scenes, that finally fade out towards the end. But outside those few small insights, Power unfortunately misses its target.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 58%

#827 Eureka (1983)

Whenever there’s a movie that features an array of top tier talent of the era – which in Euroka’s case is Gene Hackman, Rutger Hauer, Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci – but you have never even heard about the title, it’s tends not to be good news. The very same goes here.

It’s not that Eureka is not a good movie or without merits; right off the start it’s made clear this isn’t your average movie. The dream-like sequences of gold rush are filled with crude poetism and scenes of wealth, sex and – often graphic – death. The same tone continues as the movie proceeds to the present time, to a tropical island where the now wealthy gold miner lives his luxurious life in the vast mansion he built, Eureka.

Every character involved is presented in an underlining fashion and with strong eccentric traits, often caught up in lengthy monologues filled with pompous melodramaticism usually seen only in costume dramas. But given the context, the setting and the plot of Eureka, here they regrettably give a strong impression of a soap opera instead.

Still, credit has to be given to Eureka for its unique approach and willingness to try out something off the beaten path. It’s this kind of boldness that sometimes makes those one of the kind landmark movies — but in this case the gamble does not pay off.

80s-o-meter: 38%

Total: 48%

#826 The Keep (1983)

Based on the F. Paul Wilson’s 1981 novel of the same name, The Keep mixes up some delicious ingredients to a somewhat uneven dish.

The real star here is the atmospheric mood The Keep achieves: The movie is always just a bit off in a charmingly fashion and that right kind of eerie feeling is constantly present when inside the citadel. The haunting soundtrack by Tangerine Dream no doubt plays a bit part in this.

The Keep is also a visually solid film with some genuinely well framed scenes.

Given all this it’s shame that The Keep isn’t a great movie and the end result fall short of the appetising premise and there’s just something unfinished and unfulfilled about it all, even during the movie’s best moments.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 72%

#825 Revenge of the Ninja (1983)

One of those ultra violent, banned and notorious 80s ninja movies, Revenge of the Ninja is the kind of a movie loses some of its charm with the hi-def transfer, compared to the good old grungy VHS; The super clean transfer reveals all the clumsy makeup, effects and wobbling sets without remorse – which doesn’t exactly work out for the movie’s advantage.

Now, almost 40 years after the movie was first released, all the fuss about the movie being too violent and getting banned feels hard to fathom. What is seen here is not particularly gory or cruel, and the effects are a far cry from convincing and come across more comedic than upsetting.

The choreographed fights are ok, but nothing special enough to set the movie apart. It does get a bit better (and sillier) towards the end, and it is the outrageous end showdown that kind of makes it worthwhile to watch it through. Like the case is with many martial arts movies, Revenge of the Ninja has a very limited appeal to those who are not fans of the genre.

80s-o-meter: 67%

Total: 58%