Thursday, January 19, 2012

1982 on Film

Cinema Du Meep has just turned 3! To celebrate, why not look back at another 3... 30 Years ago to be exact.

My 10 Favorite Movies of 1982:

1982. I was 7. And like most 7 year olds,  I was obsessed with one Movie. You can probably guess what that is pretty easily. And guess what, 30 odd years later it's still pretty great, if a touch too sentimental. But hey, it will still melt your heart and the Reese's Pieces in your pocket....

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Original Theatrical Release Date: June 11th 1982

If it's 1982, It can only be E.T... Some Movies stay with you forever. Those experiences of seeing it at the Cinema (I think around 3 or 4 times) still burn bright in my mind. Oddly, of all the E.T. merchandising that came along with the Film, my favorite was a puzzle of the bicycle flying scene. I remember being really upset that someone had glued it together after I had completed the puzzle. I would never be able to take it apart ad complete it again. And Elmer's Glue just makes a big old mess.

E.T. takes you through a wave of emotions. It's great Filmmaking, it's heartfelt and it will be around longer than any of us.

Original Theatrical Release Date: December 17th 1982

Somethings telling me it might be you
Yeah, it's telling me it must be you
And I'm feeling it'll just be you
All of my life...

So goes some of the infectious lyrics that crawl into your brain and never leave for the theme song to Tootsie. A Movie that I adore to no end. Studio Films still had a spring left in their step in 1982, and although this Picture lost out to the rather dry Gandhi Bio-Pic for most of the awards (Comedy rarely ever fares well) Tootsie will always remain one of the very best of the year and of the decade for that matter. 

Original Theatrical Release Date: July 30th 1982

When you're a teenager, especially when you're a bit shy, the worst possible thing to do is to be friends with a Class-A jerk who's also a stud with the ladies. Our poor hero doesn't really learn this until late in the Film. And by the time he does, he's devastated and he'll never be the same again. The Last American Virgin is a Teen Sex Comedy very much like Porky's from the same year, but it also has an unexpected soul and dramatic weight that catches you off guard from time to time in between all the scenes of the boys trying to score with the ladies. Plus the Soundtrack is absolute tops. I sometimes credit this Picture, along with Just One Of The Guys, as the Movies that kind of changed my life. When I found myself watching these Movies over and over, I knew I was hooked and I myself would never be the same. Thankfully that didn't mean crying off into the night while driving while Quincy Jones' Just Once played over me. Well, at least not all the time...

Grease 2
Original Theatrical Release Date: June 11th 1982

If you can't fathom why I like Grease 2 so much, well, you're probably never going to know me. The real me. In my charade.... Actually, that's not my favorite song in the Film. It's probably a toss up between Cool Rider and Who's That Guy. The latter getting the edge because it invokes my name. What would they say it they knew it was Michael?  But hey, I love all the songs. And I do like the first Film. It's just that Grease 2 belongs in a totally different universe for me. A world where nothing is ever that wrong. A world where I order a hamburger and ask for double Ketchup. A world that's not weird-weird, but like exciting weird. Ya know?

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Original Theatrical Release Date: August 13th 1982

I wasn't in love with Fast Times as much growing up as I am now. It's kind of crazy to think that, but it's true. Amy Heckerling's honest look into the lives of (mostly horny) High School teens mixed with zany antics is the perfect blend. I want to go to the Mall, have a lemonade, maybe a pretzel, make eyes with Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh and then catch a Movie RIGHT NOW. Aloha.

Original Theatrical Release Date: July 23td 1982

Speaking of horny teenagers, Scott Baio and Willie Aames work their pre-Charles In Charge magic and bring the Teen Comedy (by way of Carrie) gold. Zapped! is probably the best Motion Picture ever made. If you don't believe this, I just may have to shoot Salamis at you from a cannon. If you find yourself enjoying that too much, well, I'm sure we can make other arrangements (Maybe a yet-to-be exorcised ventriloquist dummy) For now, just watch Zapped all over again and fall in love it's mind bending, brassiere exploding power.

The Verdict
Original Theatrical Release Date: December 8th 1982

Sidney Lumet was a masterful Director. He was always able to coax great performances from his actors, and he had a knack for grounding his Movies in a reality that you not only can identify with, but also place yourself in. The Verdict is probably my favorite Film about a lawyer (sorry, To Kill A Mockingbird--You already have your throngs of fans, anyway) I think mostly it's because the Picture made me really care about this guy. A Lawyer. That's an incredible feat. The Verdict is the very definition of compelling.

Original Theatrical Release Date: October 1st 1982

It seems like most period Films are almost always so dramatic, so a comedy about the early days of Television was a refreshing change. And then you watch My Favorite Year and it turns out to be a HYSTERICAL comedy about the early days of Television with a truly wonderful performance by Peter O'Toole, my 2nd Favorite drunk of the 80's after Dudley Moore's Arthur. The script is superb. It's a Screwball Comedy very much in the vein of the all the greats from the 30's but set in the 50's and filmed in the 80's. It's a high wire act that never once teeters.

Eating Raoul
Original Theatrical Release Date: March 24th 1982

Cult icons Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov are cult icons for a reason. Just take a look at this insane Comedy and you'll be hooked. Eating Raoul was unlike any other Film of the time. And thank god for that. Anyone hungry? I know of a good little restaurant we can check out after watching the Movie...

Jekyll & Hyde...Together Again
Original Theatrical Release Date: December 3rd 1982

The Airplane! of coke snorting Mad Scientist Movies. I'm obsessed with this bizarre Movie. To think that it was released by Paramount, such a highly regarded Film Studio is just insane in itself. Jekyll & Hyde...Together Again makes me laugh and laugh. Mark Blankfield is genius in the titular roles. He should have had a bigger career. Co-stars Krista Errickson (Little Darlings, The First Time) as a ho, for sho. She's always played the bitchy girl so well. 1982 was truly a great year for Comedies.

More Movies I loved:

An Officer And A Gentlemen
Vice Squad
48 Hrs.
The World According To Garp
Making Love
Death Trap
Still Of The Night
Come Back To The Five And Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Personal Best
Veronika Voss
Fighting Back
Night Shift
and Partners

Since there were so many good Horror Films in the early 80's (ah, still the golden era for the Slasher) I decided to give them their own top 10.

My 10 Favorite Horror Films of 1982:

Original Theatrical Release Date: June 25th 1982

John Carpenter's The Thing. Not just A terrifying remake. A terrifying Film, period. The effects, the atmosphere, the music, the actors. Everything works and it works so well. The Thing didn't go over too well in 1982. Audiences were much more in the mood for a gentle Alien Film with E.T., released that very month. It's since become the Classic (and I can use that word as this Film is now 30 years old) that it so rightfully deserves to be.

Basket Case
Original Theatrical Release Date:  April 2nd 1982

By 1982, The Grindhouse Film was on it's last legs. With Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case, you get Grindhouse Movie perfection. I actually saw this in a Times Square theater back in the day, and it terrified the hell out of me. Now it's much more hysterical than scary, and I still love it so. It's the kind of Movie that captures a real sense of atmosphere and time period. We all have a little Belial attached to us somewhere. Hopefully not to our crotch...

Original Theatrical Release Date: May 28th 1982

Visiting Hours scared the hell out of me. And it still does. There's no Movie Psycho quite like Michael Ironside in this Film. Tons of suspense and an attitude to match. Don't ever cross a creep who wears mesh shirts and occasionally likes to wear women's makeup and jewelry when he has the urge to Slash. TV Journalists, Nurses and sluts with crimped hair, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Original Theatrical Release Date: June 4th 1982

You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you? You son of a bitch... you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones!!!

I always thought this was much more a Steven Spielberg Film than a Tobe Hooper one. Just watching the Film, you can tell who truly Directed the thing. But hey, whatever the case, Poltergeist was really effective back in it's day. I know a lot of people don't seem to think it holds up, but I'm not one of them. Every time I watch this Movie, I'm always struck by how authentic it's characters feel and how well the situation plays out. It may not be a non-stop creep-fest like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but it has it's moments, and those moments are really eye-opening. And you'll never look at a clown doll the same way ever again.

Original Theatrical Release Date: August 20th 1982

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we do what must be done?
When do we stand and face the future?
When there is nowhere left to run?

The High School Movie meets The Horror Movie. Class of 1984 is really an Urban nightmare. A story of a teacher up against the odds, trying to hang on to the few students who do want to learn while dealing with the many who just want to cause trouble. It's a Movie that kind of shook me to my core back in the day. I understood that sometimes younger people can be bad, but I didn't know to what extent. And boy, they can also be damn fine Pianists! Class of 1984 is also a kick-ass revenge Movie. Wood Shop would never be the same for me once I reached High School.

Original Theatrical Release Date: November 12th 1982

Director Jack Sholder's (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2, The Hidden) first Feature Film. A Slasher Movie with more attitude than anything else of the time. It's also criminally underrated. Let's see, mental patients Jack Palance, Martin Landau, a child molester and a guy known as "The Bleeder" under the influence of a wacky and possibly nuts himself psychotherapist played by Donald Pleasence, out to kill Dwight Schultz of the A-Team and his Family. Awesome.

Original Theatrical Release Date: November 12th 1982

George Romero + Stephen King. You can't go wrong! Some of the stories might be better than others (My favorite being the E.G. Marshall creepy-ass bug segment, and my least favorite the Stephen King starring Moss-Man bit) but it's all good stuff. I love Romero's visuals and his loving nod to the EC Comics of past. The cast is really superb. Top drawer Anthology Horror Filmmaking. I also enjoyed the Sequel from 1987.

Original Theatrical Release Date: June 11th 1982

I've covered this little gem a couple of times before, so I'll leave it at that. You can read more about it here and more about the recent DVD can be found here.

And a 3quel Double Feature:

Original Theatrical Release Date: August 13th 1982

Jason is just off from his potato sack-head high from the great Part 2 and finds himself a new, iconic look for Part 3. In glorious 3D. I'm going to say it right now, Friday The 13th Part 3 is still my favorite theatrical 3D experience to date. The format has gotten all spiffy, but nothing will ever top my experience with this one. All in 3D: Eyeballs go-a-gouging. Juggling. Bats. Yo-Yos. Various weaponry. Windshields getting broken. Potheads. Popcorn and on and on. Friday 3 is the epitome of silly, Slasher Movie goodness. With a disco theme song! Grab your friends, prankster, pregnant or otherwise, get into a customized van and head to your families' cabin on the lake and let the fun begin!

Original Theatrical Release Date: October 22nd 1982 

The Night Michael didn't come home but some kids with gnarly masks sure did. The fun begins!

Actually, I remember a lot of people really disappointed with this Film back in the 80's. I guess that's why it wasn't really a financial high point for the series. But hey, who cares about them? Tom Atkins and his investigation into the evil doings at a Halloween Mask and Novelty company are plenty fine to me. I'd also credit Halloween III with having the single most impressionable scene in Horror Movies of the time. Ugh, Bugs. I hate them. I'll never be the same. It's time, Kids....

I also have love for:

The Slumber Party Massacre
Cat People
Q The Winged Serpent
The Killing Hour
Amityville II: The Possession
Girls Nite Out
Death Valley
The Slayer
The Sender
The Dorm That Dripped Blood
New York Ripper
and Silent Rage

1982 At The Box Office:

1. E.T. (359 million)
2. Tootsie (177 mill)
3. An Officer And A Gentlemen (129 mill)
4. Rocky III (124 mill)
5. Porky's (105 mill)
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn (78 mill)
7. 48 Hrs. (78 mill)
8. Poltergeist (76 mill)
9. The Best Whorehouse In Texas (69 mill)
10. Annie (57 mill)

1982 At The Oscars:

Best Picture: Gandhi  (My personal choice of the nominees: E.T.)
Best Director: Richard Attenborough, Gandhi  (Sidney Lumet, The Verdict)
Best Actor: Ben Kingsley, Gandhi  (Peter O'Toole, My Favorite Year)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice  (Meryl Streep)
Best Sup. Actor: Louis Gossett Jr., An Officer And A Gentlmen  (John Lithgow, The World According To Garp)
Best Sup. Actress: Jessica Lange, Tootsie  (Glenn Close, The World According To Garp)
Best Orig. Screenplay: Gandhi  (Tootsie)
Best Adapt. Screenplay: Missing  (The Verdict)
Best Cinematography:  Gandhi  (E.T.)
Best Original Score: E.T. (E.T. or Poltergeist)


Thomas Duke said...

I actually have that Mariel Playboy. One of my prized possessions. :)

Apparently, Eating Raoul is going to released by Criterion (on Blu-ray, presumably). It's pretty fantastic and it deserves a wider audience.

Scott Is NOT A Professional said...

Very nice. I've seen most of these, made my mom take me to see E.T. at least four times, remember seeing Tootsie on the big screen.

And those horror films... oh, for the days of being exposed to '80s horror flicks released on Vestron Video, that your mom rented from the local mom-and-pop video store with the cassettes kept inside the brown plastic cases just behind the video boxes, which had the wad of styrofoam stuffed inside.


Luis said...

I never had an emotional connection to E.T. like most people since even then (and I did see it in it's original theatrical release) I found it way to sappy.
I missed The Last American Virgin when it first came out but I now own it on DVD and consider it THE BEST teen comedy of the 80's, not just because it's funny but also brutally honest - those who've seen it know what I mean.
I saw Grease 2 only once back in the day and can remember almost nothing of it, save that it starred Michelle Pfeiffer.
Of the horror films mentioned The Thing is, of course, a classic and one I saw as a rental many years after its release. Poltergeist I did manage to see it in theaters as well as Cat People, a personal favorite. But the one that gets my vote for BEST horror film of 82 is Amityville II: The Possession a much underrated film in my opinion.

Ryan Clark said...

I picked Tootsie for the first poll, but I think my favorite film of 1982 is probably Tenebre! Gotta love the Argento. ;)

Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

Great list again, and congrats on the three years, here's to many more!

Cinema Du Meep said...

Thomas-- I'll have to pick that Criterion up. Very exciting news. Thanks!

Scott- Love your comment. It totally took me back.

Luis-- Cat People and Amityville II are both excellent choices.

Ryan-- Gotta love Tootsie.

Direct To Video Con -- Why thank you!

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