#1915 Mysterious Planet (1982)

I take no pride nor joy hitting down on a small underdog, but Mysterious Planet just plain does not have much redeeming qualities to it.

What we have here is a sci-fi adventure where a few earthlings and their extra terrestrial buddy end up stranded on a far away planet. Not only does the movie rely heavily on a special effects the team can’t possibly provide, the pure technical quality of the movie is downright abysmal. The basic camera work is off with very tiring shaky movement throughout, and void of using basic functions like white balance. But where the movie first the most is with its dubbed dialogue, quite impossible to understand due to hissing, extra noises, echo or other layering sounds drowning it all.

An ambitious project, Mysterious Planet unfortunately bit more than it could chew. Purely as a movie experience, it is nearing zero – but I do admire that level of ambition and the fact that they manage to finish it all despite the quite apparent uphill battle they faced.

80s-o-meter: 53%

Total: 12%

#1910 Fast-Walking aka The Rap (1982)

I’m struggling to see the point of Fast-Walking. A prison drama shot in a rascal comedy style, the movie draws a picture of state prison and its corrupt warden looking forward to making a few bucks.

At first I thought the film was about how he would start to feel the net tightening around him, but this is actually the lovable scoundrel the movie hopes us to root for.

I found very little to like about him, and the the events inside or outside the prison. Nor did I like the way the movie was constructed, and how it looks and feels very outdated much beyond its years.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 31%

#1903 That Championship Season (1982)

A different kind of sports movie, That Championship Season depicts four of the former college Basketball players now in their 50s gathering together to remember state championship 25 years earlier.

As with the likes of 12 Angry Men, the action in That Championship Season – which is based on a play of the same name – takes place in one location, and concentrates on interpersonal relationship and drama. We get to be the flies on the wall witnessing long time secrets revealed, personas clashing and well built facades toppling over.

The cast is strong, with the coast portrayed by Robert Mitchum being the father figure still keeping his team together no matter what. With all of this good out of the way, That Championship Season gives a portrayal of a late 70s Pennsylvania team of middle aged men, and while realistic, this portrayal is at times not socially apt in 2024.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 65%

#1895 Slapstick Of Another Kind (1982)

After suffering through Jerry Lewis’ Smorgasbord aka Cracking Up recently I was even less looking forward to seeing another one.

But Slapstick Of Another Kind was luckily quite different, not relying on short gags and Lewis’ silliness. But it does rely on trying to deliver Kurt Vonnegut’s original novel Slapstick from 1976, which is probably as difficult as a novel can get to adapt to the silver screen, and was also met with mixed opinions by the readers and critics alike. With this in mind it was a bold move trying to pull this one off.

Unfortunately it just does not work at all. The story including Chinese in with shrinking rays in flying saucers and deformed twins from outer space born on earth feels just plain silly, without any intelligent message or subtext behind it. Still better than Cracking Up – but that’s not saying much.

80s-o-meter: 42%

Total: 12%

#1891 A Time To Die (1982)

A Time To Die feels like a case of someone reading through the original book by Mario Puzo too many times over, and then explaining it to someone else who also knows the novel.

As for someone with none of this background information the movie and the way that it tells its story of an U.S. Intelligence agent on a revenge killing spree feels cryptic; you can kind of understand and follow what happens, but the movie never leads you close to the characters. It’s like well you can read this in the book if you want to dig deeper.

With A Time To Die doing such a poor job in basic story telling I cannot but view it purely as a plain stupid action thrilller – which is where it fails as well. The action is poor, with no real sense of tension or showmanship. What’s worst, the revenges lack the real sense of satisfaction many exploitative revenge movies double down on.

80s-o-meter: 21%

Total: 17%

#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%

#1885 A Stranger Is Watching (1982)

I’ve loved Rip Torn’s work from the 80s to date, so seeing him in this earlier role as a kidnapper in A Stranger Is Watching was a mixed bag for me.

Behind his grumpy facade for me there was always something endearing in Torn, but there’s nothing of that in this role. In fact, the role of a kidnapper feels like a side role that anyone could have played, and I kind of wished they had as seeing him in the role was more of a distraction than enjoyment.

Other than that A Stranger Is Watching is a bit outdated, but still gripping thriller worth watching. It plays out a bit differently from other similar movies, and the steamy bowels of New York metro tunnels serve well as the location that the camera and viewers alike love.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 63%

#1867 The Verdict (1982)

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Paul Newman fan. Ever since seeing Cool Hand Luke when I was just seven years old I was drawn his screen presence perhaps second to none, and also being able to be just plain cool and vulnerable at the same time.

In The Verdict Newman plays Frank Galvin, once renowned lawyer who after some bad career choices has become a vulture preying injury cases for some easy settlement money. This is until he comes across a case of malpractice that he wants to trial to partly help the family, but also the personal redemption as a strong motive. But as Frank soon finds out he might have bitten more than he can chew as he goes against the army of corporate lawyers.

I have seen many thrillers in my time and only a few of them can amount to the palm sweating skilfully introduced here; as one unfortunate event follows another, the tension in The Verdict ratchets up to almost unbearable levels, and I felt being right there with the lead as he closes in to a nervous breakdown. This one is truly a must watch for any courtroom or Newman fan.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 95%

#1865 The Beast Within (1982)

A movie I wish I had watched as a part of this years Halloween feature, The Beast Within is an apt little horror thriller taking a place in a small town along the Mississippi river.

To be completely honest I had somewhat hard time following all of the plot and nuances the movie was trying to convey, but this did not take away much of the enjoyment I had watching the secrets of the small town unravel. The production quality and direction of Philippe Mora (minus the flaws in story telling) is solid and the sense of danger and gloomy events were enough to keep in glued in my seat through the movie.

Also the cast led by Ronny Cox do their part with flying colors, contributing to an enjoyable overall watching experience.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 21%

#1824 Halloween 2023: The Dorm That Dripped Blood aka Death Dorm aka Pranks (1982)

This Halloween begins once again with a slasher – a sub genre I’ve learned not to expect much from.

The Dorm That Dripped Blood gives you pretty much what you’d expect from a slasher of the era, teenagers played by too old actors getting eliminated one by one by a deranged killer in a distant location.

Where the movie stands out though is that it doesn’t seem to carbon copy any other slasher out there but manages to carve its own space inside the genre; the killer is not an invincible super human and the ending does not follow the often seen last minute jump scare approach. Despite the low budged the effects feel well done, landing The Dorm That Dripped Blood ends up on the higher end spectrum of the slashers.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 60%

#1816 Vice Squad (1982)

Not to be mixed up with Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) – which I always did – Vice Squad is a movie of a entirely different caliber.

At first coming across as an exploitative movie only to showcase naked skin and low-lifes of Los Angeles, Vice Squad does nothing of such but instead presents the viewer one of the tightest palm sweating action thrillers of the era.

Much of this is the credit of the director Gary Sherman, who paces and escalates the movie masterfully towards the end. Wings Hauser – of whom I’ve always been sort of on the verge if he is any good – makes a stand out role in Vice Squad as one of the most relentless, despicable, vile and chilling characters ever seen on the silver screen.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 89%

#1795 Waitress! (1982)

Before Troma Entertainment found its own niche that brought them a certain cult status they tried their wings with a series of sex comedies in the early 80s.

While the wackiness is already found here, it’s without shape and purpose – it feels like Kentucky Fried Movie, but devoid of all laughter and fun.

For the little plot there is, Waitress! follows two females, other getting undercover to write an article to ”Mature Teen Magazine”, and other pestering a director throughout the film to get to play Joan of Arc, getting to nerves of the director and the viewer alike.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 12%

#1784 Lookin’ To Get Out (1982)

Here’s a movie and a concept that has aged badly.

Lookin’ To Get Out is a rascal comedy about two gamblers who get into debt and evade to Las Vegas to try to make it big. It’s one of those comedies where the comedy part means stupid and implausible – not something to make one laugh. Both of the lead characters quite unlikeable and really I could not care less how they ended up since the whole movie feels completely like a charade.

Jon Voight and Burt Young are both excellent actors, and should have used their time better in some other endeavour.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 27%

#1777 National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1982)

Advertised in the poster as the spiritual followup to the vastly popular 1978 Animal House, Movie Madness is nowhere near the same quality. As in: absolutely nobody remembers this movie.

An anthology of three short films, every one less funny than the one preceding it, Movie Madness is a horrible misfire from the director Henry Jaglom who clearly grasp even the basics how to put together a mainstream comedy.

The only even remotely interesting aspect of the movie is seeing young(er) Christopher Lloyd playing a role in the last segment.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 2%

#1770 Losing Ground (1982)

Losing Ground is a recovered piece of lost cinema history, directed and written by Cathleen Collins that never got distributed outside film festivals, and was ultimately restored and released upon initiative of her daughter.

As much as I love seeing any piece of movie retuned from the dead, I found Losing Ground pretty typical piece of indie movie of the era. We have intellectual and artistic academic people wallowing in their troubles and relationships. Here the lead is married to an artist who apparently can’t keep his pants on, leading to all kinds of mishap between the two.

I found the movie within a movie the most interesting aspect here and there was something relatable to the leads willingness to jump into the world of cinema even if for just a passing moment of glory.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 37%

#1769 Night Crossing (1982)

Night Crossing is one of the movies where the story is bigger than the movie itself: the real life events of two families building a hot air balloon in late 70s and use it to jump to the west from East-Germany is certainly something that warrants a movie, or two.

This is not to say Night Crossing is a bad movie. It does it job and tells the story in a relatable and understandable manner – but its style is documenting, to the point and TV-movie like. The story would definitely have worked without western leads – but, if I get John Hurt and Beau Bridges starring together in any movie, you won’t see me complaining.

Normally I would have complained about the uninspiring European setting, but given the Eastern-Germany theme and the 70s era, here it works of course for the benefit of the movie, even if shot in the western side of the fence.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 77%

#1763 Megaforce (1982)

I have to admit that I have many fond memories of Megaforce – not due to seeing the movie, but hearing the name so many in the 80s due to an iconic Amiga demo group sharing the same.

It was for this reason I was really looking for finally seeing Megaforce, and by large it actually delivers what I expected: shoddy early 80s scifi action. The movie shares sort of the same look and feel and take on machinery than the TV series Knight Rider, launched in the same year, and even has some quite well executed and convincing effects and set design.

Both even have the same type of smug, self-centered protagonist that are as excited in conquering women than engaging into battle. But Barry Bostwick as the Ace Hunter pretty much totally lacks the undeniable charm of David Hasselhoff, and his theatrical movement, faces and delivery likely loaned from William Shatner’s Captain Kirk come often comedic – but even more often ever so slightly annoying.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 65%

#1753 Class Reunion aka National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)

Let me cut to the chase: I really wish the Class Reunion hadn’t chosen to parody slasher movies. I really, really do.

Because, this first produced cinema movie screenplay by John Hughes certainly has certain aspects going on for it, including a few moments when the movie breaks the usual comedy mould with some crazy comedy and meta elements – sort of being a parody of a high school comedy.

But, unfortunately multiple uninspired creative decisions (including the quite tired slasher angle) keep Class Reunion from really standing out and being memorable genre classic.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 62%

#1746 Things Are Tough All Over (1982)

Just a personal reminder here that every stoner film of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong is worse than the previous one, starting from the strong 1978 Up in Smoke, all the way to the very appalling 1984 The Corsican Brothers.

Things Are Tough All Over already sits in the lower end of this spectrum. The stupidity is still definitely there but it isn’t that lovable any more, just more stale and uninspired. The humour in Things Are Tough All Over consists of Cheech and Chong dressing up as arabs or women and never really getting more inventive than playing through all the tired stereotypical jokes.

These two C’s really should’ve called it a day while they were still ahead.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 2%

#1741 I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can (1982)

I don’t know where to even start with this one.

Apparently there was some documentarian who started to eat too much valium in the 70s and upon quitting it cold turkey got derailed and had to spend a few months in a mental institute.

I don”t know how exciting her story had been in real life or in the novel this movie was based on, but if it was, nothing of that has transferred into this movie. I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can is one drab movie to follow from the start to the ending and I could not say I could get emotionally involved with any of the characters here. The topic of people getting addicted to description medicine is interesting though, but I’ve seen multiple documentaries about the subject done in much more interesting fashion.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 16%