Some Good Ones
Is it a great movie? Of course. Is it a timely movie? Always. With all of this nonsense going on around the world, more people need to see Gandhi. I realize that this movie's LONG, but the man was the message, and the message was the man, and it's never too late to hear what he was trying to say.
2. The Slumber Party Massacre
Most of this movie qualifies as softcore porn, but it was written and directed by women. It's aged surprisingly well, and it's definitely a lot better than it has any right to be. Definitely NOT a horror masterpiece, but still pretty good. Fun Fact: the director of this movie turned down a job editing Steven Spielberg's E.T. for the chance to do Slumber Party Massacre.
Definitely one of the best comedies of that year. Dustin Hoffman stars as an actor who turns to cross-dressing to advance his career, with Bill Murray (!) co-starring as his best friend. Given the ongoing preoccupation with gender identity, it's not surprising how relevant this movie still is.
Anyone else remember this one? I watched it many, many times when I was a kid. It's still one of the best horror anthology movies ever, with memorable performances from the likes of Hal Holbrook, Stephen King (!), Ted Danson, and Leslie Nielson. Makes me wish Romero hadn't been quite so fixated on zombies.
5. Honkytonk Man
One of Clint Eastwood's less celebrated films. Erroneously described as a comedy, this drama about a musician headed to the Grand Old Opry is like a less nihilistic version of Leaving Las Vegas. Very good in an understated way.
6. Night Shift
Not laugh-out-loud funny, but still good after all these years. Back then Hollywood was probably banking on Henry Winkler and Shelley Long, but more than THREE DECADES LATER Michael Keaton is the biggest star in the cast. Not as much sex as you'd expect from a movie about pimps posing as morgue workers, but then again it was directed by Ron Howard.
7. An Officer and a Gentleman
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for this movie. Not only was it ALWAYS on HBO when I was a kid, but a lot of it was filmed around the Puget Sound, where I grew up. Between 1978's Days of Heaven, 1980's American Gigolo, and this movie, in 1982, Richard Gere had a nice little run of movies, even if he wouldn't star in anything memorable again until 1990's Pretty Woman. The director, Taylor Hackford, has also done a lot of good films.
Fun Fact: Richard Gere is descended on both his mother's and father's sides from the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower.
Some Bad Ones
1. 48 Hrs.
Hey it's the 80s! We can say "fuck" now! Fuck, fuck, fuck! Pussy, pussy, pussy! And let's throw in a lot of male bonding for good measure! I hate you, man! Fuck you! Let's fight! And now that's we had our fight... let's be friends! Fuck yeah, it's the 80s! Buddy cops for life!*
At least 48 Hrs. is better than Beverly Hills Cop. It has slightly more story, and even though he's boring in this movie, Nick Nolte's still a better actor than anyone in Beverly Hills Cop.
One of the best movies of 1982? Wikipedia says it was, but I'm not seeing it. Maybe a lot of critics are letting their nostalgia for this movie obscure its mediocrity.
2. Forced Vengeance
Is there such a thing as unforced vengeance? Passive vengeance? Dumb title aside, Chuck ("the Truck") Norris** gets into some Hong Kong gangster shit after they kill his boss. This movie features bad dubbing, terrible fight choreography, and (strangely) one of the most disturbing rape scenes ever.
Fun (Non)Fact: Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. Too bad he's never cried...
Whereas Dustin Hoffman plays a man pretending to be a woman in Tootsie, Julie Andrews plays a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman in Victor/Victoria. I know the critics loved it, but movies that seem too much like plays are a pet peeve of mine. The dialogue feels like something I would have been forced to read in drama class, and I never once felt like the actors weren't on a set.
4. Liquid Sky
If it was the early 80s, and you had all your New York art school friends over for the weekend, and you said to them, "Hey, let's make a movie!", the result would be something like Liquid Sky. I'm inclined to put it in the "so bad it's good" category below, but the soundtrack is headache-inducing. The "music" used is like John Carpenter on the wrong kind of drugs.
5. Cat People
Nastassja Kinski looked great naked, but this whole movie was just an excuse to show her nude. There's a certain transgressive element that made this movie seem cool in the early 80s, but the characters do inexplicable things, and Cat People is, for the most part, very boring. American Werewolf in London it definitely isn't.
Judged solely against other 80s teen sex comedies, Porky's is fairly disappointing. It's too talky, the "funny parts" aren't nearly as funny as the actors involved seem to think they are, and I'd be hard-pressed to remember any of the character's names or what they had to do with the plot.
In it's favor there's a brief scene of Kim Cattrall's perfect ass, an even shorter shower scene, and a scene with some run-down looking strippers in a backwoods club. Neither a good movie nor enough to masturbate over.
Boobies! And weed! And Scatman Crothers! But sadly not enough of any of those to make this movie about a telekinetic high school student interesting. The bit at his school prom could have been a great send-up of Carrie.
Some That Are So Bad They're Good
1. The Beastmaster
Fucking Beastmaster, dude. For every Saving Private Ryan there's a Windtalkers, and for every Conan the Barbarian there's a Beastmaster.
Hey look, there's Rip Torn. And hey look, there's Tanya Roberts (from A View to a Kill, the worst James Bond movie). So bad it's great!
2. Basket Case
Gotta love Basket Case. An emotionally disturbed young man brings his deformed, telepathic, homicidal, previously conjoined twin to New York in a basket. Yes, you read that right. It probably says more about me than I'd like, but I loved this movie when I was little.
Some Other Movies From 1980
Roller Disco, Man!
Ten Good Bad Movies
The 10 Most Classic (American) Gangster Movies
*48 Hrs is often referred to as "the first buddy cop movie." I feel the need to point out, however, that Eddie Murphy isn't a cop in this one. He's a convict who sometimes impersonates a cop. I think a lot of people get his roles in 48 Hrs and Beverly Hills Cop confused.
**If you don't get the reference you really should see Foot Fist Way. That movie's hilarious.