So here we go, the start of my movie marathon for 1980 — my plan right now is to watch 10-15 movies. I’ve been watching a lot of Friday the 13th movies over the last couple of years (all of the ones released between 1985 and 1989), and so I figured it was about time to watch the one that started it all. I honestly can’t remember if I ever watched it — it’s possible I did at some point, but I had no real memory of it. As I was watching it, I kept thinking, man, it’s amazing that this is what marked the start of such an iconic franchise, since for the most part it’s a pretty bad movie. But then that final sequence happens (the one in the middle of the lake), and that’s when the magic — and the birth of a franchise — happens. But yeah, for the most part, it’s not a very enjoyable film to watch (even with Kevin Bacon in the mix), and although it gets more exciting once Mrs. Voorhees shows up, her performance unfortunately drags it down (or is just too laughable). But hey, it does make me curious to watch the second one, and I guess that’s what all good franchises do, make you look forward to the next one.
It took a while to complete it — and I blame Star Trek V for that — but I’m now done with my latest year-based movie marathon (following 1967, 1968, 1977, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988) with the below list of 21 movies released in 1989. Why 21? I do usually like to keep it to a round number (10 or 20), and had planned to stop at 20, but then the day I was going to write this post I read a feature in Empire magazine about the madness that was the making of Tango and Cash, and felt like I needed to watch it — it’s also fitting that it came out at the tail end of 1989 (end of December), and so is considered to be the last 80s blockbuster. Below is the full list of the movies I watched, with links to each mini-review I wrote — you can also find them all through the “1989” category. What’s next? Next year I will be hitting 1990, but before that I plan on revisiting 1980 — this whole movie marathon endeavor started with 1985, so I still have the first half of the 80s to revisit.
- Back to the Future Part II
- Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
- Black Rain
- Christmas Vacation
- Dead Poets Society
- Do the Right Thing
- Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Lethal Weapon 2
- License to Kill
- Major League
- Mystery Train
- Patlabor: The Movie
- Police Academy 6: City Under Siege
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Tango and Cash
- The Abyss
- The Killer
- The Wizard
I was supposed to be done with my 1989 movie marathon at 20 films (finishing up with Dead Poets Society), but then this morning I read a feature in the latest issue of Empire magazine about the fiasco that was the making of Tango & Cash, and so I just had to watch it. It’s also a movie that came out at the very end of 1989, and so is considered the last blockbuster movie of the 1980s. Was it worth it? Hmmm… Not really, it’s not really good, and that’s the reason I hadn’t included it in my initial selection of movies to watch for that year. But I don’t regret watching it, as it was still fun to see what was described in the article actually happen in the movie — basically, the entire third act, which was pretty much written on the fly.
This was a bad movie then, and it’s still a bad movie. I’d say it’s the worst Star Trek film ever made. I remember seeing this in the theater at the time, and hating it the whole way through. Optimist that I am (or try to be), I was hoping to find a bit more to like this time around, but nope, it was an incredible chore to get through it, and it’s the main reason my 1989 movie marathon went on hiatus for months — I stopped watching midway, and it took that long to gather the courage to finish it, and continue watching more movies of that era. I don’t ever want to watch this movie again.
I remember loving this movie so damn much, thinking that Japan looked so incredibly cool as a place and setting (and this was years before I had any thought of moving there). I was quite worried that it wouldn’t have aged well, but I was pleased to see that it’s still quite enjoyable as a film, and you definitely can tell that it was shot there and that there was a desire to be as genuine as possible with the portrayal of Japan (something that Hollywood, especially then, didn’t really care much about). Including a Japanese cast — especially Ken Takakura — certainly helped with that.
This is my favorite Jim Jarmusch film (and I love his movies in general) and I was very pleased at how much I still enjoyed it — I don’t think I had seen it since its original release. Yes, the two Japanese actors absolutely steal the show, and I’d say I probably appreciate them even more now, having lived in Japan for so long (after I originally saw the film). It all feels so genuine, and I’m really impressed that Jarmusch was able to capture that, even though I doubt he speaks or understands any Japanese. Still a must-watch film.
The best thing about re-watching this was that it was as funny and enjoyable as I remembered it being. I mean, what is there to say other than it’s so fun and goofy, and I still can’t believe we’re getting a new movie in the series next year. I seem to remember that the sequel, Bogus Journey, was a bit of a letdown, but I’m sure I’ll revisit it as well when my marathons hit the year it was released.
As I mentioned in my post for Halloween 5, I do prefer the Halloween movies over the Friday the 13th ones, but hey, there’s still fun to be had here. And as silly as this sequel is — and boy is it silly — you gotta (well, you don’t need to, but you want to) give them some credit for trying to do something different by taking Jason out of his homebase and in this crazy setting. Of course, this will get topped with Part X.
What to say about Major League — it is what it is, a fun and goofy (and in the end, feel good) comedy from the tail end of 80s. It does have a great cast — with Charlie Sheen’s best role? — and I guess it does end up being one of the best sports-related films of the era (comedy or otherwise).
Mamoru Oshii is certainly one of my favorite anime film directors, and although I won’t say that this is better than Ghost in the Shell (or even Innocence), it’s still a great film, and has all the elements of what makes a good Oshii film — which if I was pushed to try and describe, comes down to tone and deep-rooted realism within the confines of a sci-fi setting. Well worth watching even now, especially if you’ve never visited the industrial mech-filled world of Patlabor.