Heathers

Definitely one of the biggest cult movies from those years, I was curious to see how it had aged. I’ll say that I still enjoyed watching it — in the way that I enjoy watching all of these 80s movies, as a nostalgic trip back to the era — but it does feel a lot cheesier than I remembered, with ridiculous dialogue (even for teenagers), and brooding Christian Slater coming off as a joke more than cool or threatening. But this is pretty much “ultimate” Winona Ryder (who I loved so much), and there’s a lot to like here, as a funny parody of high-school life, taken to extremes.

The Naked Gun

OK, yes, this is still a ridiculously dumb movie, but oh-so-fun. I must have watched it countless times back in the day, because so many lines and situations felt so familiar, even though I haven’t re-watched it since back in the day. I loved all the Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams comedies from the 80s (Airplane, Top Secret), and this was just what I was expecting and hoping to watch. Mindless fun.

Frantic

I tend to have a very bad memory when it comes to the plots of old movies, which means that I can go in and revisit these movies and still discover the story again, and enjoy the suspense. Such is the case for this — I remembered liking it, but couldn’t really remember much outside of the basic “this is Harrison Ford in trouble in Paris.” It’s still an enjoyable thriller with a Hitchcock feel, with good performances all around. Well worth a revisit.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this — thinking it hadn’t aged well — but I was still quite curious to watch it again since I hadn’t revisited since back in the day. To my pleasant surprise, this was quite enjoyable, and still stands out as a novel idea, and the execution is still quite admirable. I had also completely forgotten that they had managed to get all these characters together (from Disney, Looney Tunes, etc.) and that made it even more fun. Sure, it’s not high cinema, but I think it’s still a rather good film, and extremely fun. I’m a bit surprised that they haven’t tried to do anything with Roger Rabbit since then (outside of doing a few shorts following the film’s release) — this would be an interesting world to revisit.

They Live

I kicked off my 1988 movie marathon with this, and I’m glad I did. I really enjoy re-watching all these John Carpenter movies — I was a pretty big fan of his movies after all — and this one is another enjoyable visit. Yes, that 10-minute fight scene (between the two buddies) is still as ridiculous as ever, but overall this is still such a great story idea, and I love how it builds up to the climax. Great effects work too on the look of the aliens.

Like it’s 1978

There goes another year-based movie marathon done and dusted (following: 1967, 1968197719851986, 1987). I was pretty excited to jump into 1978, as a lot of the movies I watched were pretty nostalgic for me. I ended up watching nine films (listed below), which I think acted as a good round-up of the type of popular films we saw that year — on the cusp of the blockbuster era, following 1977’s Star Wars).

You can take a look at all my short write-ups for each film by clicking below, or simply find them through the “1978” category. Next up: 1988.

  1. Animal House
  2. Damien: Omen II
  3. Death on the Nile
  4. Game of Death
  5. Grease
  6. Halloween (1978)
  7. Jaws 2
  8. Superman: The Movie
  9. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings

The biggest memory I have around this film is when I was younger and we were planning on watching it, a friend was tasked with renting it, but accidentally got a wrestling tape called The Lords of the Ring instead (maybe he had just called to reserve it, without seeing the box). I’ve always had mixed feelings for this film. I do find it to be quite interesting and fascinating, and it is a well done retelling (albeit unfortunately cut short) of the Lord of the Rings saga — and I was quite surprised to see how Jackson’s film does in fact follow so many of the same beats as this earlier film. Where I have mixed feelings is with the aesthetics. The character designs are great, but I’m not a huge fan of rotoscoping when it comes to animation — it gives everything too much of a jerky motion, since it maps too closely to realistic movement — and so would have much preferred a more traditional animation style. But what I dislike the most is that they in fact eschew animation a lot of times (maybe for budget reasons) and so you occasionally get real actors with a slight color overlay — often suddenly and with no transition — and that’s something I don’t like. Where it does slightly work is with the orcs, since it makes them look so creepy (but I would still have preferred to have them properly animated). Still an interesting film to revisit though.

Grease

Grease is Grease. It’s still fun, it still has a fantastic soundtrack, it’s still cheesy and corny, and it still has its charm and a great cast. Grease is the word. Grease lightning! 

Animal House

To be honest, this was much funnier than I was expecting — although it probably didn’t hurt that I was drinking wine while watching it. Sure, it’s considered a classic (mostly because of Belushi’s presence), but I wasn’t expecting it to have aged well, and in a lot of ways it hasn’t (rampant sexism, etc.) But if you look at it as a product of the time, there are a lot of laughs to be had, and it’s fun seeing so many recognizable actors in one of their earliest roles. And yes, Belushi is fantastic, as crass and disgusting and weird as you remember him being.

Jaws 2

In one of my previous marathons I watched Jaws: The Revenge, the fourth entry in the series, and that was quite awful. This second one is definitely better, and at least also see Roy Scheider still there, but that said, as expected, it takes a bit too long to get to the fun stuff (i.e. the shark attacking people). When it does though, it’s fun, and even the way they defeat Jaws is pretty funny. Can’t say I particularly liked it, but it was still interesting to watch as a snapshot of that era’s blockbuster film/sequel.