I was born in 1995 so I wasn’t there when a lot of pop culture started to form during the 1980s. This is why I am kind of envious of my brother who did experience growing up during the time period because it must’ve been awesome seeing some of the popular films of the time on the big screen. Well, thanks to my brother, I have sort of gotten a taste of it as he exposed me to some of the films of yesteryear since he does have a sizable collection of films from that decade.
I have managed to watch the more notable films of the past, like the original Star Wars Trilogy, the Indiana Jones movies, Robocop, Ghostbusters, the Back to the Future series and the Lethal Weapon movies, to name a few. However, I know there are just so many other popular movies from that time period I’m missing out on. So, for the past couple of weeks, I have been watching some of the other films in his collection and here are my first impressions of them!
This is the movie which inspired me to collect my first impressions on movies from the 80’s. My brother popped into my room and saw me watching the Nostalgia Critic “review” Commando and he asked me if I wanted to see the actual film. I said “yes” and an idea for an article was born!
Command stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix (is that even his real name) who’s daughter is kidnapped and blackmailed to kill the leader of another country by the bad guys. In modern movies, you would have the hero be conflicted as he goes through the process of assassinating a good man. In Commando (and 80’s movies, apparently), the hero simply goes after the bad guys to get his daughter back!
Honestly, I really enjoyed this movie! I know it was supposed to be taken with some modicum of seriousness when it was released but I just couldn’t! That’s not a knock on Commando! That’s actually a good thing! The movie is entirely entertaining because of how silly and over the top everything is! Arnold is practically invincible in this movie as he powers out of a dogpile of more than a dozen cops, presses a phone booth over his head with a person inside, falls out of an airplane without breaking a single bone and take out a literal platoon of soldiers without getting hit once!
One thing that did catch me off guard was when John Matrix (haha!) and a bad guy smashing through a motel room where a couple was filming a porno and there was actual nudity. This isn’t something I see in modern films and this won’t be the last time I’ll see some exposed female nipples.
With a sequel delayed until next year, I felt this was a good time to finally watch Top Gun. I know about the NES game and how impossible it is to land the plane and I’m even familiar with calling people by their callsigns like Maverick, Goose and Iceman, which are all supercool nicknames to give yourself.
How was the movie which spawned all of this, however? Honestly, it was boring! Top Gun illicited images of high-speed dogfights in the air, tense tactical briefings and everything of the sort. What Top Gun really is is just a test of who’s the best pilot and a whole lot of talking. The only real exciting aerial battle happens at the end of the film! It’s kind of a letdown, actually.
I can kind of see why Top Gun was incredibly big at the time as it does exude style and there is a plot a solid plot regarding Tom Cruise’s character growing from being a hotshot pilot to a more mature person. Ultimately, though, I felt lied to because it wasn’t the exciting action movie I pictured it to be.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Here’s another movie from the 80’s that’s going to get a sequel in the near future. I actually watched the first sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and, for the longest time (which means up until last week), I never realized it was the 2nd film of a series!
Since I did watch Bogus Journey, I can’t help help but compare it to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. While Excellent Adventure is an excellent movie (sorry), I can’t help but feel it was made on a shoestring budget and a protracted schedule. The plot is very simple as you have Bill and Ted, two wannabe rock musicians about to flunk history and being held back in high school, take a time travel machine to recruit historical figures to help them pass. You can tell how cheaply the sets are and the only name I really recognize was Keanu Reeves. I do know George Carlin as the guy who invented the stand up routine about the seven words you can’t can on television routine but I’m not really sure with his body of work.
Despite it, or because of it, having a B-movie quality to the production, I still liked Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. There’s a certain charm to the story and the main characters are adorably likable since they don’t seem to have a mean bone in their body. It’s also a kick to see the guy who played Neo and John Wick play a slacker doofus.
Revenge of the Nerds
I have heard Revenge of the Nerds references on and off throughout my entire life. This is also considered to be a classic film about the nerds getting revenge on the bullies on their college campus. I guess it was a revolutionary concept during the 80’s to have the nerds/geeks as the heroes of a movie rather than the jocks. I also heard it’s considered to be very offensive by today’s standards. The question is: will I be offended?
Well, yeah. Kinda.
I understand the 80’s were a time when the general social insensitivity can fly so Revenge of the Nerds is just a product of the time. I didn’t actually mind all the female nudity because I understand the kind of comedy film it is. What I didn’t like were how they chose to implement the nudity!
I had to put myself into that frame of mind whenever I saw some of the things like guys entering a female dorm house, installing cameras in the dressing rooms and showers and then selling the pictures without the consent of the girls! It might have been cute then but, if this happened today and in real life, you can bet it would become a huge scandal, dozens of arrests made and lawsuit galore! I can’t imagine Hollywood putting a scene like that in today’s movies! Oh, I also think dressing up as someone else and having sex with them is considered sexual assault. I just had to add that little nugget before I forget. I know it’s “just a movie” and isn’t real. That doesn’t mean I can’t still feel offended by it!
However, if I take Revenge of the Nerds as it is and watched it in the 80’s when depicting these scenes wouldn’t be cause all kinds of objections, I think it’s a fine movie. Some of the characters, like Booger and Ogre are funny and the story is actually kind of touching as the underdog does manage to win out in the end. I get why it was so popular in the 80’s but times have changed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Well, it is a grab bag of 80’s movies and, if there was a genre that hit it big during the time period, it was the horror genre. Despite my aversion to scary movies, I had to suck it up and watch at least one of them. I chose A Nightmare on Elm Street because it’s considered one of the cult classics and spawned a lot of sequels as well as a remake. I was curious to see how it all started.
I was rather surprised A Nightmare on Elm Street had no nudity in it. I always believed naked females were a staple of the 80’s horror genre in order to pull in all the teen boys to watch it because boobs and gore were a big selling point then. There’s a lot of sexual innuendo and pretend sex but that was it! I was also surprised to see a neophyte Johnny Depp as one of the main characters!
A Nightmare on Elm Street had an incredible premise and a really terrifying one at that. The idea of being killed by a maniac in your dreams is creative. Couple that with the incredible design of Freddy Krueger with that burned face and clawed hand, that really upped the fright factor. Unfortunately, the guy who thought of dressing Freddy Krueger in a red and green striped turtleneck sweater should be fired as it distracted from how frightening his character is and made me think how frightening his fashion sense was! He lives in the dream world! He couldn’t have dreamed up a better outfit to kill stupid teenagers in?
The scares are there but they were nothing I couldn’t handle. Some of them were even hilariously over the top, like the fountain of blood Johnny Depp’s character endured! They were mostly jump scares but the idea of going to sleep and being killed? That’s what really got me! I actually couldn’t sleep well for a couple of nights because of that idea ringing in my head whenever I went to bed. This just means A Nightmare on Elm Street is still an effective horror movie to this day.
Have any old movies you might recommend for me to watch and give my first impressions? Tell me what they are in the comments section below!