#1896 New York Stories (1989)

An anthology film, New York Stories weaves together three distinct tales taking part in New York. The movie begins with Martin Scorsese’s Life Lessons where Nick Nolte portrays a painter balancing between his love interest, and upcoming art exhibition. Next up, Francis Ford Coppola takes us into a whimsical world with Life Without Zoë co-written with his daughter Sofia Coppola, depicting a rich kid living independent live of her own while her family is travelling and working, and getting caught up in a story of Arab Princesses and lost jewelries. Lastly, Woody Allen finishes with Oedipus Wrecks, a quirky story of a middle age man being tormented by his possessive and overbearing mother.

Anthology films with different creative force behind each segment are harder to rate. I was the most happiest with seeing Nick Nolte portraying such a different role (and succeeding in it with flying colors), with Life Without Zoë seemingly written for completely different audience and age group.

Finally, Oedipus Wrecks has an interesting setup, but relies on a gag that was funny at first, but both grows old and takes disappointing dramatic turns that ultimately make it the weakest (or, single use) short story of the bunch.

80s-o-meter: 82%

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%

#1894 Nobody’s Perfect (1989)

Ever since Chaplin and the dawn of the cinema men dressing as women has been an often visited theme to create comedic situations. This is where Nobody’s Perfect taps as well, this time with the motive of college freshman disguising himself as the opposite sex in order to be closer to his crush.

As imagined, nothing of much depth is to be found here, so it just all down to how entertaining the movie manages to be. And in the case of Nobody’s Perfect it actually fares quite well.

The story proceeds in a predictable path, but the whole experience is quite likeable, and definitely fits the bill if you’ve subscribed to having something easy to watch through and young Chad Lowe in the lead role does a perfectly passable job here.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 72%

#1893 Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

A movie that I have earlier managed to mix up with Crimes of the Heart (likely due to somewhat similar posters), Hannah and Her Sisters is a routine work from Woody Allen.

Even so that I found myself drifting off multiple times when watching it. Allen plays his trademark neurotic self, and other cast is populated by the typical cultivated, cultured and self-interested New Yorker types. The main storyline is about the toned back husband played by Michael Caine having a crush on the sister of his wife, and struggling with his thoughts, and this part of the movie is interesting to some extend. The other storylines, not so much.

For me personally seeing Caine here was the high point of the movie, with everything else falling to the generic Woody land. Allen has done better, both before and afterwards.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 42%

#1892 Nuts (1987)

A mistreated woman (Barbra Streisand) ultimately accused of murder wants a fair trial, while her family and doctors insist her to be declared mentally incompetent in Nuts, a courtroom drama that faces the viewer with a few interesting questions about basic human rights versus justice system and the powerful psychiatric and mental health care machinery.

A lawyer played by Richard Dreyfuss sets out to defend her, and the dynamics between these two is a joy to watch on the silver screen.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 71%

#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%

#1889 Slashdance aka Slash Dance (1989)

When it comes to B-movies, I often mention the padding, meaning trying to make the movie last more than an hour with insufficient footage and content by making each shot last too long and generally lingering on with one scene for much longer than necessary.

Slashdance takes this to the very extreme, with most of the movie just feeling like a filler.

There’s a theatre, young women dancing around and then getting killed one by one. And boy do they dance: endlessly, just improvising badly and trying to keep the film rolling.

80s-o-meter: 76%

Total: 3%

#1888 Hard Country (1981)


I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jan-Michael Vincent in a movie I would care for, nor in role I that’d had me admiring his acting skills – but Hard Country could very well be an exception.

In this film, he stars alongside Kim Basinger as a young Texan couple. He aspires to be a blue-collar worker, enjoys getting drunk on weekends, dreams of marrying his teenage sweetheart, having kids, and staying in Texas. She, however, has bigger ambitions for herself.

Vincent’s portrayal is spot-on, embodying a stubborn, womanizing, traditional redneck with surprisingly likable, almost puppy like qualities to him. Their dynamic keeps viewers engaged, wondering if she will muster the courage to pursue her dreams.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 72%

#1887 Fast Forward (1985)

Fast Forward is a rare dance musical where the dancing is actually enjoyable to watch, and there’s not too much gringe here in the form of melodramatic teen agony that makes many of the movies in this genre typically hard to watch.

Coupled with pretty ok soundtrack this (at least to my eye a bit Michael Jackson inspired) dance movie is also generally quite enjoyable, and I found myself rooting for the small town ensemble trying to make it in the big city.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 74%

#1886 Two Moon Junction (1988)

A few of the most painful experiences during watching all these movies have been with those ”daring”, ”intimate” and ”passionate” erotic dramas that cause endless amount of cringe to watch through. Knowing this was going to be a case with Two Moon Junction as well, I honestly weren’t looking forward to this one.

To my surprise, not only is there kind of a movie and drama going on here, but the erotic tension of the movie is actually high on this one, thanks to great casting with Richard Tyson and Sherilyn Fenn, both on the very top of their game. Tyson as the rugged carnival odd-jobber with his piercing gaze wins over his love interest and the viewer alike at the first look, and has just the right amount of that free spirit and danger to sell the character with ease.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 77%

#1886 For Keeps? aka Maybe Baby (1988)

Two high school seniors get pregnant, decide on keeping the baby in For Keeps?, a drama movie riding heavily on clichés and predictable plot lines.

While the struggle that takes place as they have to both give up their youth, dreams and ultimately love for each other is likely what would happen to many, I kept on hoping the movie to take another, less wandered path.

Molly Ringwald was on top of Hollywood’s A-list at the time, and she is once again great (as in: sincere and believable) in her role, no doubt about it. She’s so good that For Keeps? ultimately feels just too small and insignificant for her.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 51%

#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%

#1884 Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing I presume is a movie that everyone who lived on or are interested of the 80s know of. I definitely had been exposed to the concept, that it starred Patrick Swayze, and kind of put the dots together to know the movie was about dancing.

Expecting this to be a modern tale of ambitious young dancers trying to make it in a big city, what I did not know was that Dirty Dancing is a nostalgic period picture taking place in the summer of 1963 when a young girl nicknamed Baby travels to mountain resort with her parents to spend the summer holiday there. The upper middle class girl then gets involved with the dancers hired as staff to entertain the guests, and is shown a mambo like ”Dirty Dancing” the staff gets involved in their free time, after which Baby hits it up with the dance instructor Johnny.

In the end this was much lesser of a movie than I had anticipated. The dancing does not look that impressive, the two main leads seem to have zero chemistry between them and I also totally missed the point of the plot, especially how it all concludes at the end as they put on a show for a few campers. Is it Baby’s coming of age story, about her finding her own way and breaking social barriers? Or is it just about some nice nostalgic vibe of the movie, and watching the dreamy Patrick Swayze dance around?

Your guess is as good as mine.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 55%

#1883 Variety (1983)

An indie film depicting young woman working at the door of an adult movie theatre in Times Square who after awhile develops a tempting interest in the world of porn.

In a crossing plot line she accepts an invitation to join an older business man who visits the shows, and finds out he is involved in shady business that she stars to investigate.

Shot almost entirely during nights, the scenes of nocturnal New York work for the advantage of Variety and the atmosphere is the strongest fuel that keeps the movie running. Take the same concept to somewhere else and shoot it during the day, and there wouldn’t be much of a movie here.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 45%

#1882 Staying Together (1989)

In a small southern town a father of three brothers sells the family chicken restaurant, consequently triggering a chain of changes in the lives his sons.

Staying Together is built upon numerous conflicts, of which few feel relatable and many less so. This also goes with many of the intentions either the writer or the director had for the story or the main characters; Staying Together is a movie busy being dramatic, but more often than not that drama fails strike the right chord with the viewer.

Between the brothers the movie does have its moments – but much of the sentiment, feeling and intentions that might have been there in the storyboard quite unfortunately remain unfulfilled and unmet.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 48%

#1881 Teen Vamp (1989)

An unpopular nerd turns into a cool cat leather-jacketed vampire after getting bit by a vampire prostitute in a shoelace budgeted horror comedy Teen Vamp.

This one’s is a feeble, amateurish attempt if I ever saw one. Some of the similar hobby horror movies manage to turn the underdog setting to their advantage either by being over the top in either the concept or the gore, but Teen Vamp remains amazingly tame until the very end.

Teen Vamp is one of those amateur movies where I bet the the team enjoyed shooting it more than the viewers enjoy watching it.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 17%

#1880 Beverly Hills Brats (1989)

Right off the bat: is Beverly Hills Brats a good movie?

Well, it could be if you are 6-9 years old, but for myself I cannot really say. The movie is rated as PG-13 most likely due to some foul language, but really feels like targeted to kids. It is kind of a shame since the necessarily building blocks for a satire of filthy rich Beverly Hills family seems to be present, but put together in a very dull and predictable way. Again, as the movie was made for infants in mind.

Martin Sheen as the cosmetic surgeon does his best to keep the movie alive, while Peter Billingsley performs his trademark role straight out of Christmas Story. Probably the funniest side of the movie is seeing totally indifferent Burt Young sleepwalk through the entire movie.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 38%

#1879 Field of Dreams (1989)

A sports movie for those of us who dislike sports movies, Field of Dreams is a fairytale for both adults and kids alike.

No doubt about it; the story itself is totally unbelievable. But like the lead character played by Kevin Costner we find ourselves really wanting to believe in the same silly dream. This is in no way an easy feat from the director Phil Alden Robinson to pull through and the bold gamble put into this movie could have backfired in a horrible way.

Simply put: I loved Field of Dreams, and I especially loved the way way still found it in me to believe in such magic.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 90%

#1878 Matewan (1987)

Another quality historic drama here!

Matewan depicts events that took place in a small coal town in West-Virginia back in 1920 when the workers who unified by young union organizer go on a strike against exploitative mining company and their gun-wielding corporate henchmen.

The movie looks and feels fantastic, and with the modern transfer it could still pass in any theatre. The story is told with seemingly realistic historical detailing, and it manages to bring the viewer very close to the subjects and grasp the feeling of them sitting on a powder keg.

80s-o-meter: 2%

Total: 83%