The following is a re-write of an article I wrote in 1996. The original appeared in the July/August 1997 issue of MIND OVER MATTER, a small zine run by a few fine folks in Delaware.
Re-edited once again in July 2000.
A DOZEN COMEDIES FROM THE 80'S YOU PROBABLY NEVER SAW... BUT SHOULD HAVE
by Brian Nern
I watch lots of movies. Probably many more than the average person. The fact is that I go out of my way to find strange B-movies that most people overlooked for one reason or another. I generally try to coax a friend into watching them with me. For the most part they generally agree that most of them were not seen for a very good reason-- they're aweful. So why in the world do they continue to come over? Good question!! Probably because I tend to find a few great films among the countless number of bad films that we watch. I also have a deep affection for the years falling between 1979 and 1990. There were some really great films made in the eighties. Anyone who IS anyone has seen SIXTEEN CANDLES , THE BREAKFAST CLUB , SAY ANYTHING , and the other popular teen movies of the eighties. But I'm willing to bet you missed a few that you shouldn't have.
Here's a dozen films of a comedic nature which were made in the 80s and deserve the 90 or so minutes of your attention that they were intended for.
THE FORBIDDEN ZONE (1980) is a cult film about the sixth dimension directed by Richard Elfman. The music was written by his brother Danny Elfman and performed by The Mystic Knights Of Oingo Boingo. Very strange and funny, plus any film that stars Tattoo from Fantasy Island is a must see.
HEATHERS (1989) is a dark comedy starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannon Doherty about a guy with a fetish for killing people and the girlfriend he ropes into helping him. It's so very.
I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (1989) A spoof on many black exploitation films and fads. Stars what seems to be the majority of the apparently ever-expanding Wayan family.
MORGAN STEWART'S COMING HOME (1987) Jon Cryer is the well-meaning but misunderstood son brought home from boarding school to help the re-election campaign of his senator father. Funny and you'd even recognize a few people, other than Jon Cryer, from other eighties movies.
THE NIGHT BEFORE (1988) Lori Loughlin looses a bet and is forced to go to the senior prom with the geekiest guy in school, played by Keanu Reeves. There's much more to the movie than that though. This films working title must have been "The Misadventures of Keanu". Everything that could go wrong does.
REALLY WEIRD TALES (1986) stars most of the members of the Canadian TV show SCTV. Kind of a spoof on The Twilight Zone series with three separate stories tied together by host Joe Flaherety. Really hilarious SCTV-ish humor. (duh!)
RICH HALL'S VANISHING AMERICA (1986) I think this was an HBO movie. Rich Hall makes his way via various means of transportation across the US in search of a prize he won selling seeds, but never received as a boy. Very hilarious as he encounters lots of strange people along the way.
ROGER & ME (1989) Documents the antics of Michael Moore trying to get the attention of General Motors Chairman Roger Smith about the closing of the auto plant in Flint, Michigan. Sad but easily the funniest documentary movie ever- not counting Spinal Tap (see below).
TAPE HEADS (1988) Two friends, Tim Robbins & John Cusak, decide to start their own video production company after being fired from their night security guard jobs.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) Believe it or not I know several people who have never seen this movie. Spoof documentary of an aging British metal band touring the US. Lots of great cameos in this one.
THE WILD LIFE (1984) This film was written and produced by Cameron Crowe, the guy who brought you FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, SINGLES, SAY ANYTHING, and JERRY MACGUIRE. Christopher Penn is a party animal. The film also features Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, Rick Moranis, Randy Quaid, and Ben Stein.
VALLEY GIRL (1983) This is a classic eighties movie, yet many people have never seen it. A girl from the valley and an LA punk fall for each other and must make it work despite her snobby friends.
And because I am a big fan of baked goods, lets make it a baker's dozen...
THREE O'CLOCK HIGH (1987) The frustration of the class geek avoiding getting his face beat in after school by the new school psychopath after accidentally bumping into him.
I hope you check these movies out and enjoy them as much as my friends and I do. For more information on 1980s movies and music visit my website, BRIAN'S WORLD at: http://briansworld.nova.org
80s Quizzes - Test your knowledge with quizzes I made for some of my favorite movies and music.
Coming Attractions by Corona - Huge list of films which includes updates and rumors through various stages of production.
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