#1566 Tin Men (1987)

Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito, the two best disgruntled, conning scoundrels ever on the silver screen in a movie where they get involved in a massive feud? Sign me in!

Honestly, the movie seems such a good fit for both personas it feels like it was written specifically with these two gentlemen in mind. A story that starts from one bad day and unfortunate accident between two rivalling house aluminium siding salesmen soon gets out of hand, and what seems an bitter downward spiral escalating further and further soon turns out a totally unexpected, beautiful love story.

An already enjoyable comedy, surprisingly it’s this romantic part of Tin Men that ends up its strongest asset.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 91%

#1558 Border Radio (1987)

When you see a black and white in the movie netting a mere 5.4 average in IMDb, it usually means the the movie does not even enjoy a strong cult following – so you know you’re not probably going to have a particularly good time with this particular title.

And this is the case with Border Radio as well. As with many other similar indie movies, Border Radio seems to be all about style over substance, and the characters and what we really know about them evolves very little during the 90 minute runtime. Sure, we get exposed to the faces a lot and they grow onto us that way, but it’s still a far cry from really connecting with any of them.

The movie and it’s southern California scenery look nice though.

80s-o-meter: 43%

Total: 22%

#1547 Someone to Love (1987)

Look, if you’ve seen any Henry Jaglom movie, you’ve already seen Someone to Love. This is one more for the pile of his adults wallowing in their own problems kind of movies, but with 100% more wallowing and even 95% less interesting content than any competing Jaglom movie.

Jaglom’s strongest suite, the improvised dialogue works well here, but the sheer lack of events makes the film feel like it’s dragging on and on. Really, at only 107 minutes, watching the movie felt like the few longest hours of my life.

Only thing that breaks the monotony are the inserts of Orson Welles’ dialogue, and while they are nice, I can’t help but to think some other author might have gotten something more memorable out of his ultimate feature film performance.

80s-o-meter: 40%

Total: 8%

#1545 Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)

A textbook example of how to make a decent B-movie, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity shows not only that one does not need a huge budget to make an entertaining movie, but also that B-movies don’t necessarily need to be laugh out loud bad.

Getting its inspiration very likely from The Most Dangerous Game (1932), Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity follows two intergalactic woman fugitives who crash land on a remote planet to find themselves in the vast mansion along with other visitors and robot servants, hosted by an eccentric aristocrat who has more plans for his guests than first meets the eye.

Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is throughly enjoyable scifi action movie that goes far beyond its modest budget. Should you watch the movie, pay close attention to the appearance and mannerisms of Don Scribner in the antagonist role as is looks as if young Christian Bale had taken a few notes of this very performance into his later day-to-day repertoire.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 79%

#1544 Rage of Honor (1987)

Shô Kosugi starred in many famous 80s Ninja movies, most of which really did not resonate with me, except for the entertaining Ninja III: The Domination, and his venture out from Ninja genre fared ever worse with the low budget stinkers like Rage of Honor and Black Eagle.

In Rage of Honor he plays a sort of a James Bond type that goes after a drug king pin in Argentina and while the movie is not quite as bad as Black Eagle, it just does everything in such an unimpressive and mediocre way that the movie leaves no lasting impression whatsoever.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 28%

#1534 Slam Dance (1987)

Tom Hulce’s movies of the 80s seem to range from great to kind of crappy. After his 1978 break through role in Animal House he started the new decade strongly with Those Lips, Those Eyes, won the critics over with Amadeus, followed by disappointing Echo Park, playing the support role in the highly popular Parenthood before wrapping the decade up in Black Rainbow, another slight disappointment.

While Slam Dance never had a chance of becoming a great movie, this story of an artist framed for a murder of a woman could’ve turned out an OK thriller, but it’s either the story by Don Keith Opper that’s too convoluted, or then it’s the director Wayne Wang who fails to translate it to the silver screen in an understandable manner.

Slam Dance is a messy film where nothing is quite real or convincing. Many of the elements here don’t quite seem to mix in well to the idea of Slam Dance trying to be an erotic thriller, and the sub plot of her ex-wife walking in to the scene just the wrong moment again and again gets old before the midpoint of the movie.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 41%

#1525 Made in Heaven (1987)

Made in Heaven is a movie narrated in two acts: in the first act we see the protagonist as a young boy heading off to California, getting killed in an accident, ending up in heaven and falling in love with another soul.

In the second act they both have been born again, unaware of their previous lives and mutual time together in heaven, and the thrill the movie offers to the viewers is of course the hope of their life lines somehow intertwining, perhaps leading them to find each other once again.

I have to admit I found the movie incredibly dull and slow paced for most of its running time, but the final events did admittedly get to me to the extend of turning the overall experience quite positive. Clearly this concept of soul mates has something special going for it, only if the endless taxiing before final payoff of a takeoff was crafted just a bit more exciting.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 61%

#1519 The Allnighter (1987)

Hey look, it’s Susanna Hoffs (of the The Bangles fame) making her debut in a lead role, in a movie written and directed by her mother Tamar Simon Hoffs.

While Susanna herself performs the role adequately, The Allnighter itself is such a mess that is pretty much nullifies that performance. I would have loved the movie actually living up to its name, taking place in one long night, but instead the events take place during a time period of few days and none of them are properly followed through, leaving one scratching their head wondering what actually is the theme of the movie.

The movie looks good though and has all those nice seasonings of California, surf, beach houses, parties and overall good mood, sprinkled on top of an empty shell of a movie.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 30%

#1518 Someone to Love (1987)

Look, if you’ve seen the other Henry Jaglom’s movies of the era, you’ve pretty much already seen Someone to Love.

The theme is once again adults wallowing in their life and relationship troubles, this time invited and enclosed in an old theatre. Jaglom’s trademark improvised dialogue is once again the aspect of the movie that stands out most, but other than that the array of the characters does not grasp one at all.

Orson Welles can be seen in his final feature film role having a dialogue of his own. Although these interludes do break the monotony of the movie, they make the film feel even more uneven and fragmented as it should be.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 22%

#1512 Flowers in the Attic (1987)

When ran into Flowers in the Attic I already knew it by its name. Based on the 1979 novel of the same name, this was the first movie adaptation of the book.

But I did not know the grim gothic tale it was. A story of a grandmother locking the children to wither away in a north wing of the family mansion, and their mother betraying them the movie is not an easy thing to watch – especially considering this kind of abuse in the world is not fictive.

I haven’t read the book or seen the 2014 made for TV version, but based on what I’ve read the director Jeffrey Bloom has made the right call downplaying the incest relationship between the children that would’ve made the movie even harder for me to stomach, and toned it down to normal teen curiosity and a strong comradeship between the two elder siblings.

80s-o-meter: 28%

Total: 85%

#1503 The House on Carroll Street (1987)

A movie about woman in FBI’s is blacklist uncovering a plot in 1950s America to smuggle Nazi war criminals to the states under false identities, The House on Carroll Street plays out like a good mystery novel.

For a thriller the movie plays it quite safe, but establishes well the feeling of being a totally expendable chess piece in the international theatre of power. The House on Carroll Street is also exemplary in the way it portrays the period in a totally natural way and not even once feels underlined nor forced.

I loved Kelly McGillis’ portrayal of Emily that she plays with ethereal coolness but with a humane touch – she is sort of an enigma herself, after all. Jeff Daniels also go out to prove once again that you can’t go much wrong with him aboard.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 80%

#1500 Predator (1987)

By 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger had already starred in the multiple movies that defined the action genre (Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, Commando), but it was Predator that really established him as the action star of the 80s.

Presenting us with a story of an alien humanoid life from travelling over to earth for recreational sports hunting (targeting humans), Predator is a mere B-movie ramped up to an A-level blockbuster hit by utilising all the top shelve talent Hollywood had to its avail at the time.

Similarly to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, with Predator Schwarzenegger reached a pinnacle where his character became immortal, and something that transcends human age and passing of time.

This is how we forever remember Schwarzenegger: as a 40-year old still very much in his top form, with a flat top haircut and boasting a magnetic screen presence the few extra years under this his belt and the confidence gained by finally silencing all the naysayers who said he could not cut it as a movie star.

Predator is an action movie that defined its genre so well that its formula still works to date, 35 years after Predator’s theatrical debut.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 98%

#1497 The Beat (1987)

An eccentric boy moves into neighbourhood to find himself an outsider with the local gangs and clicks – until one of the students finds himself gravitating towards the strange world and poetry inside the boys mind. And soon the others follow.

The title of the movie is something they all then begin to chant together.

The Beat is a totally ridiculous depiction of the youth – high school musical ridiculous – but somehow escapes total cringeworthiness, probably due to its somewhat charming, naïvely honest approach.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 65%

#1486 The Hanoi Hilton (1987)

Portraying a bunch of American soldiers imprisoned in the Viet Cong Hỏa Lò prison during the 1960s and early 1980s, Hanoi Hilton turns a tremendously potent set up into a lot lukewarm and mostly an interesting depiction of soldiers forgotten by the war, and their country.

The movie follows many soldiers, but never quite stays long enough with one, or gets under their skin to make us really root for them. Everything from torture to mind games never quite seems to touch, and the made for television look & feel coupled with a strong shot inside a studio feeling does not really add to the authenticity.

Maybe if the approach would’ve been even more daring – like sharing one single cell all through the movie with a prisoner – we could’ve gotten a better sense of what was it like to locked up with no human contacts.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 45%

#1478 Shy People (1987)

American wetlands have always intrigued for their mystique, and I’m always happy to see a movie exploring the swampy southern regions. In Shy People we city slickers get to identify with a New York journalist and her daughter who travel to Louisiana to meet with their weird, backwards distant family.

There are lots of backwards ways in their lives. The family still looks up to an old patriarch of the family who has since left them, lives in a creaky old house and has one of the adult kids permanently locked up in a shed.

I get what the movie makers were going after with the concept, but everything in the movie feels super artificial and implausible. I lost my interest in the events and the characters in the very first minutes when they arrived to the swamp, and the movie failed to pick up my interest afterwards.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 22%

#1477 Square Dance (1987)

Square Dance is an exercise in futility. Stuff happens, people clash and fight and finally get back to the starting point with very little gained along the way.

Everything in the movie feels forced, and it was especially when the intellectually disabled young man played by Rob Lowe appears on screen that I felt the movie was totally without focus. But as it turns out, the only thing really working in the movie is Lowe’s character and I’d rather watched a movie about him rather than being subjected to all the other nonsense the movie tries to serve as a plot.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 16%

#1475 Romero (1989)

Based on the assassination of Óscar Romero, the Archbishop of El Salvador, it felt to me that despite the graphic nature of the movie it fails to really grasp the viewer.

What is shown here feels more documenting than telling an actual story. Perhaps the movie would’ve been better when told from a point of view of a citizen somehow connected to Romero?

Raúl Juliá in the lead does a charismatic role as the Archbishop Bishop standing against the violent regime, and my appreciation towards him has deepened with every one of his movies I’ve seen.

80s-o-meter: 20%

Total: 60%

#1472 Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987)

Chuck, a star of his little league baseball team realises after a visit to nuclear missile silo how the world is in a balance of terror that might go off any minute, and refuses to throw another pitch until the nuclear arsenal in the world is gone. His boycott is then picked up by a local newspaper, after which an unexpected chain of events starts to unravel as a NBA star Amazing Grace Smith joins him, followed by other front row athletes.

Amazing Grace and Chuck is a beautiful fairy tale with great array of interesting personas and events. It grasped me from the get go, and I enjoyed it all the way to the end. So, it’s highly implausible – but the movie handles all this very well, finally wrapping up beautifully with a one single thought:

”But wouldn’t it be nice”

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 86%

#1458 Death Before Dishonor (1987)

A rambo-like Sergeant goes against a terrorist organisation led by Abu Jihad (!) in Death Before Dishonor, a patriotic American action romp taking place somewhere in Middle East.

Despite all the action, the overall feeling of the movie is oddly tame. The movie tries to push all the best buttons to the best of its abilities, but the end result always seems to fall far behind expected.

I expected to lift up a few strengths of the movie to this last paragraph, but honestly can’t think of anything that would stand above average – and that is probably the biggest downside of the whole film.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 50%