For those of us who grew up in the eighties it can really and truly be said that was the golden age of television. Even now one can just listen to the background music of a film, or watch a split second scene of action and recognize a production of the 1980s.
Immediately, I recall Knight Rider and the A-Team. Although they were not feature movies as such, the impact of these two series are phenomenal. I have always said that in order to create a great story thee must be something unusual placed in the usually mundane environment. Additionally, the actors who played the leading roles worked well together on-screen and kept the audience with them all the time.
Other series that I particularly enjoyed watching on Saturdays would have included Airwolf, Street Hawk and Charles in Charge, a sitcom presentation.
A few weeks ago I sat back and looked at Starz Encore Action as they showed The Jewel of the Nile. I was taken way back down memory lane. The youthfulness of Danny Devito and Michael Douglas was amazing to see; it was a vivid reminder that we all grow older and that life is to be enjoyed at all ages. The metaphoric use of jewel in this movie as well I thought was a good technique of holding the audience’s attention.
One of my all time favourite movie has to be Lethal Weapon 2. My gosh! Talk about building action. Talk about no retreat no surrender! (which is another 80s classic by the way). But Danny Glover and the energetic Mel Gibson gave the crooks run for their money. What I particularly enjoy with lethal Weapon 2 is the fact that evil, as manifested by the bad guys from South Africa, is never able to get the upper hand by use of threat, intimidation or openly brutal force. Whatever action the crooks take the crime-fighting duo comes back with just as much or even more “reasonable force” to show who is really the boss. This is great, non-stop action and humour, along with calculated romance, from beginning to end.
I have also loved the movie “Batteries Not Included, a movie that combined sci-fi special effects with down to earth family love and friendship. This movie had introduced me to the now deceased Jessica Tandy. She outplayed herself in this role. The combination of the characters of the tenants in this dilapidated apartment building added to the unpredictability of the plot. Again, if you want an unforgettable story, put the extraordinary into the ordinary.
And who can forget Driving Miss Daisey and Lean on Me? Two of the classical works of actor Morgan Freeman. In Driving Miss Daisey by the way, Jessica Tandy played the leading female role. Dan Akroyd from the Ghostbusters hall of fame also completed the eclectic cast in this movie. I thought the humility and loveable traits of the characters, especially Morgan Freeman, were special indeed.
In a previous post I talked about Stand By Me. This movie just hit me right there. In the emotions. I have always valued friendships and I was able to identify with the story line a lot. The words of the writer at the end I found so very real: “I have never had any friends like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” As any of us grows older we are able to appreciate coming of age films, especially when the characterization is something we can connect with.
Just yesterday I am learning of the death of “Bubba” Smith. He was Officer Hightower in the 1980s Police Academy series. His size, strength and usual silence helped cement those films in the annals of entertainment history. I doubt there is anyone on the planet who can watch any of the Police Academy films and not have a good laugh.
For a while, after the decade of the 80s there were some great films. “What a damn night!” My line from American Ninja. The bumbling partnership of the actors of Kangaroo Jack cannot be easily matched for their humour, in my opinion. Few other movies have added humour and good happy laughter to the audience. I recall the first time i watched “Its’s a Guy Thing” that I almost had cardiac arrest from the apparently inexplicable events. The scenes when the police announce they have found and arrested a suspect bearing an identical match to the phony details provided by the main character and again when the pastor kept asking for anyone to come forward to object to the wedding both blew me away. Seriously!
Within the last few years I have to admit that my love for movies have dropped. I see Hollywood remaking a lot of earlier classics, and sometimes with terrible results. I felt sad that Superman Returns could not have been produced with a better plot and simpler love story. The character of Superman was really never given the chance in the movie to “return”. It seems to me that Superman was the least super of all the characters.
Another path I see Hollywood taking is to make sequels to the prequels that often turn the audience off. Hollywood needs to learn that having a good prequel does not necessitate always making sequels. I really don’t think that the growing young generation today really knows what makes a great entertaining film.
A major ingredient of the films of yesteryear must be the wholesome family values and respect shown to people’s bodies. A movie does not have to contain gross curse words, bloody baths and terrorism-attack like scenes of horror or torture to be a good movie. When you get a chance you must compare a love scene shot in today’s movies to a love scene shot in the 1980s or that era. The differences will surprise. I end this post with a quote from the CEO of Dreamsworks studio., producers of Madagascar, Jeffrey Katzenberg.
“The last seven or eight months of movies is the worst lineup of movies you’ve experienced in the last five years of your life. They suck. It’s unbelievable how bad movies have been.”