Labyrinth

I’m having a hard time deciding how I want to describe watching this movie. I can’t say that I super loved it, but I still think it’s a classic film and it brought back nostalgic feels for just how big Jim Henson’s creations were back in those days — and I’d forgotten that he actually directed this. So watching it now, it’s aged fairly well, if seeing a human or two surrounded by muppets is fine with you — I wonder if the effects were meant to be “realistic” back then or not. David Bowie is David Bowie, and a very young Jennifer Connelly is fine, but it’s not one of her best acting gigs (although a step above the previous year’s Phenomena).

Peggy Sue Got Married

It’s not an amazing movie or anything, but it was still fun to watch. It feels magical and innocent, like a lot of mid-80s movies do, and yes, Nicolas Cage is weird even back then — and it’s sort of funny to think that he was playing heartthrob (although with a weirdo bent) roles back then.

Running Scared

I had a hard time watching this. It’s not necessarily a bad movie, but I just wasn’t into it, and it took me quite a few sessions to get through it — and I admittedly watched most of it in the background while doing something else. It did feel like a deep cut when I selected it — I sorta remember watching it, but didn’t remember the story or anything — and I guess it’s just not a memorable movie at all.

Heartbreak Ridge

I watched this one over a month ago but forgot to include it here. It’s good in the way that army training movies tend to be (it’s an easy conceit to build something around), and it doesn’t break any new grounds or anything, and other movies have done it better (ahem, Full Metal Jacket), but I still enjoyed it. Some of the homophobic language used is hard to take now — and in fact it’s something that you often come across as you watch a lot of moveis from that era — but you have to imagine also that that’s probably the type of language that was used in that environment/context. Not the best of Eastwood’s movies, and it has its share of 80s cheesiness, but it’s not bad either.

Rad

I think I sorta remember hearing about this movie back then, but I don’t think I had watched it, and it wasn’t something I was planning on watching during my 1986 movie marathon, but it got suggested by a friend of mine, and I’m glad I followed his recommendation. Look, this is not a good movie, but more importantly, it’s a joyful expression of what the 80s were like, and for that alone it’s worth watching. Cheesy scene after cheesy scene, it all feels so innocent, in a way that you just don’t see anymore (sadly). I had a BMX like those kids, and we had a BMX track in our neighborhood that was sort of like the one you see in the movie, and so I could totally see myself in that world again.

Manhunter

Juste like The Name of the Rose, this is another movie from 1986 that has aged very well. It always gets unfairly compared to The Silence of the Lambs (or later Red Dragon, from which it is an actual adaptation of), and Silence certainly is a classic in its own right, but this is great too. Brian Cox plays a fantastic Lecter, and Michael Mann is already showing what a great director he is (and would continue to be). Some of the soundtrack hasn’t aged so well maybe, but I still quite enjoyed re-watching this.

The Name of the Rose

I loved this movie back then (although I’m not sure if I really watched in when it was released in ’86 or a few years later), and it’s still great. It’s an interesting mystery (even if you already know the solution) and I always thought that the setting (medieval monastery) was such a great one. Definitely a movie that has aged quite well.

The Wraith

I quite enjoyed watching this. Although I remembered the title, I didn’t really remember watching it back in the day — which I find pretty surprising — and when I started it I was completely surprised to see a young (and very lovely) pre-Twin Peaks Sherilyn Fenn in this, and didn’t remember that it starred Charlie Sheen (and funny enough, that night I did a double bill with Maximum Overdrive, starring his brother). This movie is one of the most 80s things I’ve watched in my current 1986 movie marathon, and I mean this in a good way, with a soundtrack that really puts you in that era. Sure, it’s cheesy as all hell, but it was really fun to watch.

Maximum Overdrive

I didn’t have great memories about this movie — in fact, I remember thinking it was pretty lousy. Watching it again now, it’s just as ridiculous as I remembered it being, but there was a bit of fun to be had re-watching all of this ridiculousness. Yeardley Smith is pretty entertaining. And the AC/DC soundtrack is good, and I love the riff-heavy sound effect they use a few times when a machine is about to kill someone.

Firewalker

This is not a good movie. To be fair, I sorta remembered it wasn’t a good movie, but I was still in the mood to take it in, and there was some nostalgic fun in seeing just how “Cannon” it feels. It looks cheap, it feels cheap, and although Louis Gossett Jr. does a decent job in it, you’re immediately reminded of just how bad an actor Chuck Norris really is. Unless you have some childhood memories of this, there’s absolutely no reason to watch it. Oh, the one bit I did find incredibly weird and fun was that the baddie — some sort of Aztec assassin — has a scene where’s he’s reading an issue of Marvel’s New Universe comic Psi-Force. I shit you not.