Movie Review – The Sure Thing

The Sure Thing (1985)
Written by Steven Bloom and Jonathan Roberts
Directed by Rob Reiner

Rob Reiner had just come off of his debut film, the hilarious This Is Spinal Tap. His next project was The Sure Thing, a teen sex comedy, seemingly very different from that first feature. Reiner decided to make it the kind of movie he was interested in and played down the bawdy elements to focus on the dynamics of the two lead characters. As a result, he made what could be considered a modern remake of the classic screwball comedy It Happened One Night, following a similar plot structure and back and forth between the leads. The Sure Thing stands out from the crowd at the time, other films more influenced by Porky’s or John Hughes’ high school work. The Sure Thing feels like a classic movie, a connecting thread to the films of the 1930s and 40s.

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TV Review – Best of Moonlighting Part 3

Come Back Little Shiksa (Season 4, Episode 2)
Original airdate: October 6, 1987
Written by Jeff Reno & Ron Osborn
Directed by Allan Arkush

In the wake of season three’s conclusion, nothing was holding back David and Maddie from being together. However, the writers seemed to know that breaking that simmering tension took away an element that the viewers loved. So, they decided to send Maddie away from Los Angeles as a curveball to David. She goes home to Chicago, staying with her parents, and tries to explain to David she needs time to figure what this is and where it is going.

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Movie Review – Tampopo

Tampopo (1985)
Written & Directed by Juzo Itami

Food has been the subject of many films over the century. Sometimes, it is a central part of the story, like in Babbette’s Feast or Ratatouille, or just part of memorable scenes like Matilda or Hook. When a filmmaker gets food right in their work, they can activate your senses, taking images on a screen and turning them into a hunger for the dishes on display. Tampopo does this while remaining a nearly uncategorizable film. It’s a comedy and a drama and a strange series of vignettes about people’s love of food stuffed in around the edges.

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Movie Review – Crimewave

Crimewave (1985)
Written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, & Sam Raimi
Directed by Sam Raimi

A slapstick crime-comedy written by the Coens and directed Sam Raimi sounds like a perfect movie. This was before an era where these names were associated with the sorts of film perfection we talk about now. However, Crimewave is an extremely disappointing picture that has hints of later brilliance. It’s most definitely a Coen Brothers story with Raimi’s style overlaid, which isn’t a combination that works out as good as it sounds. Raimi opts to go for a Tex Avery angle with characters existing in a cartoonish world, yet there are some terrifying and dark aspects in the mix.

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Movie Review – Spies Like Us

Spies Like Us (1985)
Written by Dan Aykroyd, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel
Directed by John Landis

John Landis is a filmmaker that helped shape American wide-release movies for decades that followed the 1980s. His own career hasn’t gone in a direction that matches, but his influence has resonated. He directed Animal House & The Blues Brothers, starting the transition of former Saturday Night Live cast members to movies. Landis helmed Trading Places and Coming to America, which set Eddie Murphy into a stellar trajectory. Beyond films, Landis directed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Black or White” music videos, which have a hallowed place in the pop culture Hall of Fame. Most of his work, though, falls into the “okay” or “terrible” categories with Spies Like Us being one of those.

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Movie Review – The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club (1985)
Written & Directed by John Hughes

No name is associated more with teen movies of the 1980s than John Hughes. The writer-director had quite an impressive record: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Outside of teen films, he penned and/or directed all the National Lampoon’s Vacation films, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, and the stellar comedy Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Hughes found ways to make comedies that appealed to broad audiences yet were smart with pathos. He also found ways to inject stylistics flourishes playing with the reality of his worlds, it never felt out of place but blended perfectly with the more realistic tones. The Breakfast Club is considered by many of his fans to be the quintessential Hughes teen movie.

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Movie Review – The Stuff

The Stuff (1985)
Written & Directed by Larry Cohen

Paranoia has been a chief component of modern life since the Cold War. In the 1950s, Americans were told to beware of “Reds” in their midst while the Senate conducted a witch hunt against citizens. This inspired the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which took its novel roots and reimagined them as a commentary on the Red Scare tearing through the country. Ever since, the concept of the masses being overtaken by an insidious enemy has seemed enticing for many directors and writers. You often have one or two characters who are on to the ruse but seem helpless against the enemy’s scope and scale. This was the type of story that inspired independent filmmaker Larry Cohen to make his satire on the modern corporate food industry.

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