Friday, June 6, 2014

1983: The Leftovers

Like the stuff in the fridge from the night before, some of it's sort of good and some of it will make you gag.

Steve Martin and Carl Reiner re-team after The Jerk and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid for this spoof of mad scientist movies.  Martin is a famous brain surgeon who saves the life of a greedy femme fatale played by Kathleen Turner.  They get married and after meeting a mad scientist who can keep brains alive outside of the body, Martin falls in love with the brain of a woman named Anne and wackiness ensues.  Martin is pretty funny but for the most part, the film sort of misses more than it hits.  It's worth checking out, just don't go in expecting a work of genius.

If not fore the last two segments and the wraparound scenes, this would be more or less not worth your time.  A messily uneven adaptation of the classic TV series, this has four segments directed by John Landis, Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg and George Miller.  Landis also does the wraparound scenes which feature Dan Aykroyd as a sort of demon monster.  Landis' actual segment, however, ended up nearly getting him prison time after actor Vic Morrow and two young children were killed during the production.  Spielberg's story is sentimental schmaltz of the worst order (it nearly ends up being the worst thing he's ever directed) but happily, the last two segments are gold.  Dante directs a new version of "It's a Good Life" about a psychotic kid with psychic powers and Miller does a remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" with John Lithgow replacing William Shatner.

The last two segments really save the film and make it worth a look.  Just skip to the last two segments and it's all good.

The third Stephen King film of 1983 is also the biggest disappointment for me.  You would expect a Stephen King movie directed by John Carpenter would be a blissful experience but thanks to the rather harsh reception The Thing got the previous year, Carpenter dialed down the horror elements to the bare minimum, leaving us with a good looking movie with some nice f/x (love the car reassembling itself) and some decent performances but little else.

Sean Connery returns as James Bond in a remake of Thunderball (legally, this is all the film was entitled to be) that hits the basic notes the previous film did only nowhere near as well.  The film has pacing issues, the action is not that hot apart from one fight and while the performances are good, there is nothing in this movie you can't get from the original.  If it were a little more fun, it would make my guilty pleasures list... but it isn't.

The fourth Dirty Harry movie  is, to be honest, more iconic and memorable than really great.  Clint is back to the usual routine, only this time he's going after Sondra Locke as a vengeance seeking rape victim.  Eastwood directs things with his usual skill and there are some fun bits of action here and there but while the story is interesting, it doesn't really flow like it should.  It's good, but not great.  I also could do without Pat Hingle and his overacting.  It sometimes works and his last scene is pretty good, but until that point it's just annoying.

Coming Soon: The Guilty Pleasures of 1983

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.