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1980 Movie Reviews – Little Miss Marker

by Sean P. Aune | March 21, 2020March 21, 2020 10:30 am EDT

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 March 21, 1980, and we’re off to see Little Miss Marker!

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 episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.

1980 Movie Project - Little Miss Marker - 01

Little Miss Marker is a movie.

I mean this in the sense that it was shot on film. People act in it. Events happen.

These are the ingredients that make a movie, but Little Miss Marker feels like someone took it out of the oven too early. It’s fine, and you can consume it, but you just are left feeling unsatisfied.

All of this is really encapsulated by Sorrowful Jones (Walter Matthau) that we are shown – rather hamfistedly – almost immediately what a rough guy he is by his screaming at an elderly lady who can’t meet her bet. People think he’s a hardass and fear him, but the second he meets the Kid (Sara Stimson), he immediately begins breaking his own rules. He melts for her and there is really no instigating factor for this other than she is a child.

The same thing happens when he meets Amanda Worthington (Julie Andrews). He clearly falls for her instantly, and, again, there is nothing that makes you go, “oh, that makes sense.”

The 1980 version of Little Miss Marker is actually the third remake of 1934’s Little Miss Marker that starred Shirley Temple. When you view it as that, it makes a bit more sense. Even though I have never seen the original, this feels like a script lifted from that time period where movies were truly made as vehicles for a specific star. While Stimson is perfectly serviceable as the Kid, she is no Shirley Temple.

None of this is to say the movie is bad, it just doesn’t feel like a very satisfying meal. But if you need something you can watch as a family, you could do a lot worse.

1980 Movie Reviews will return on April 17 with The Private Eyes!


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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing