Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A 1980's Nostalgia trip... Part One

Well, I had fun - I became a teenager in 1980 and all the things that led to... acne, bad hair, lousy exam results, girls and motorbikes. I found the last two more than made up for all the angst and unrequited yearnings - the odd embarrassing photo occasionally popping up as a mocking reminder...

But, hey, for those too young to know, and those eager to remember, here's a badly incomplete list of some of the films that, to me, are always welcome on my screen.

Yes, it's an obvious one - I could add Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, the  Back to the Future trilogy and we all remember The Breakfast Club, but it's MY blog, so here we go with Eddie Murphy's triumphant romp. Detroit Detective Axel Foley's pal is murdered by some California hoods, whose boss is played by a suitably sinister Steven Berkoff. The story itself isn't exactly a challenge for Sherlock Holmes, but Murphy's light-hearted and pacey performance is a real treat. Check out BHC2, but avoid the awful third outing at all costs.

Truck drivin' man Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) gets in over his head when his friend's fiancee is kidnapped by 2,000 year old evil spirit Lo Pan (James Hong).
Martial arts and magic take over the screen in a mesmerizing display of special effects, action and good ole' FUN... 

Unbeknownst to him, John Ritter closely resembles a dead CIA agent. Enter James Belushi as a super-secret agent, able to construct machine-guns from garage junk and generally the smoothest man on Earth...
O.K. - the plot gets silly, aliens doing deals with the US government, killer clowns and the like all adds up to - well, a brilliantly funny film. Somehow, Dennis Feldman's movie manages to deliver. An unexpected gem.

Spielberg's story about a group of kids hoping to save their homes in the 'Goon-Docks' of coastal Oregon is probably the best adventure fantasy of the eighties. Almost anyone of a certain age, when asked for their favourite eighties flicks, will include this in their list. 
A treasure map belonging to notorious pirate One Eyed Willie leads the pals through a series of booby-traps to Willie's Galleon - with the evil Fratelli family in hot pursuit. If you ever find yourself in charge of a bunch of bored kids on a wet day, a copy of The Goonies may save your life... a must-have. 

Jonathan Pryce is a British Spy, code-named Jumpin' Jack Flash. With the KGB on his heels in the Soviet Bloc, he enlists the aid of bored bank employee Whoopi Goldberg. Using the then-embryonic internet, he sends her clues to aid her in her rescue attempt.  This is the film that introduced me to Whoopi, a cold-war comedy that remains a favourite. 

To me, the name Ivan Reitman is the one to look for in an eighties comedy.  Stripes is one very large reason why. Cast Bill Murray as a slacker New York cabbie, Harold Ramis as his English teacher friend. Then, send them to the Army recruitment office and basic training with the granite-faced Sgt.Hulka (Warren Oates), plus fellow recruits that include John Candy and Judge Reinhold. Finally, give them a top-secret Urban Assault Vehicle and send them behind the iron curtain on a rescue mission... mayhem!.
This was always going to be a smash-hit, the production is Reitman's trademark quality, the script is a gag-fest and the cast rise to their task magnificently - well worth watching back-to-back with Reitman's 1984 smasher Ghostbusters.  

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