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1981 Movie Reviews – Arthur and Endless Love

by Sean P. Aune | July 17, 2021July 17, 2021 10:30 am EDT

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 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 1981 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 1981 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. 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 July 17, 1981, and we’re off to see Arthur and Endless Love!

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

1981 Movie Project - Arthur - 01


I will say this for Arthur, no one could act drunk quite like Dudley Moore.

Beyond that, what a complete waste of a movie.

Arthur is your typical bored rich person with far more cents than sense. While he is cruising towards a marriage he doesn’t want, he meets Linda (Liza Minnelli) while she is shoplifting. He is immediately smitten with her because of her attitude towards life and decides fairly quickly that he is willing to throw everything out to be with her.

It honestly doesn’t make a lick of sense. Sure, you could believe Arthur doesn’t want to marry Susan (Jill Eikenberry), but the nonsensical falling for Linda the way he does, the very cornerstone of this whole movie, is just never sold. There is no real romantic chemistry between the two of them, and it feels far more like a friendship than anything else.

The movie made a killing at the box office bringing in over $95M off of a $7M budget, and it won multiple awards. I honestly never got the appeal of it and still very much don’t.

Endless Love

I’ll say this for Endless Love, it made me like Arthur more.

I don’t even know where to begin with this trainwreck of a film. It starts off sweetly enough as a teen love story and quickly falls into this co-dependent, stalker story that feels disturbing on every possible level.

Jade Butterfield (Brooke Shields) is 15-years-old and lives this bohemian life with her family that seems to be an “anything goes” type of arrangement. She falls for David Axelrod (Martin Hewitt) who is a few years older than her, and they are obsessed with each other, but not in a psychotic way… yet.

You know things are going to go insanely off the rails in this movie when Ann (Shirley Knight) stands on the staircase and watches Jade and David make love by the fire as she smiles on adoringly at the couple. It’s fairly clear that mom has some pent-up interests in David.

From here on out the movie just gets progressively more insane. After the father finally says David shouldn’t come around anymore, the young suitor tries to set a small fire so he can save the family and be a hero – an idea he gets from Tom Cruise in his first film role.

To be frank, it took me three days to watch this movie because it is just insanity on celluloid. The fact this film was ever made is beyond me, and you add in that this is the song that spawned Lionel Ritchie’s hit song is even more baffling.

Part of me wants no one else to ever suffer through this movie, while another part of me wants more people to see it so I don’t feel so alone in my trauma.

The 1981 movie reviews will return on July 24 with Wolfen!

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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