Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1980 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.
We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1980 was that great of a year for film.
The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1980 so that it is their true 40th anniversaries. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.
This time around it’s Oct. 24, 1980, and we’re off to see It’s My Turn and Motel Hell!
Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to a couple of episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.
It’s My Turn
Imagine you made a romantic comedy and you forgot to add the romance or the comedy. You would end up with It’s My Turn.
Kate (Jill Clayburgh) heads to New York for a job interview that just happens to coincides with her father’s new marriage, an event she is not excited about. She does attend a new family meal and she meets Ben (Michael Douglas), her future step-brother, and they are immediately attracted to one another.
No. You did not misread that. This is a romantic comedy about new step-siblings falling for each other. Admittedly they are both in their mid-30s, so it isn’t that lurid, it just feels odd.
Oh, and Kate is in a committed relationship with Homer (Charles Grodin), which means she is also having an affair. Ben? Fully married with a child, which also means he is having an affair. They do make it clear that Kate and Homer don’t have the most idyllic relationship early on, but when added in with the step-siblings angle, it feels like an odd place from where to begin a couple you are supposed to be rooting for.
Add in a barely mentioned sub-plot that is made very obvious multiple times that Kate’s father is having health issues, and the film is just not enjoyable.
Sure, real life is messy and people have affairs all the time, but this film just felt an odd compulsion to add multiple layers of complication.
Without characters you feel truly compelled to care about, the film is just a slog, and not one you particularly care to finish.
Motel Hell is part horror and part satire, and it works on both levels equally well.
Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) and his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) not only run a small hotel, but they also have a popular line of smoked meats. But seeing as this is a horror film, you can probably figure out something is up with the meats almost immediately.
Yes, Farmer Vincent is turning humans into his tasty meats. How does he get the humans? Mostly by ambushing them on the highway, but then they need time to marinate. How do you do that? Bury them in the garden up to their neck, but make sure you cut their vocal cords first so they can only gurgle at you.
Motel Hell is a weird little trip of a film, but it is engaging. Even if you don’t like horror, you may make it through this one just due to the absurdity. I mean, the final battle of the film involves chainsaws and a man wearing a giant pig’s head for… reasons? I would think it would be next to impossible to see out of the pig’s head, but what do I know.
Weird. Absurd. And a bit of gore. What is there not to like about Motel Hell?
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