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1981 Movie Reviews – Modern Problems

by Sean P. Aune | December 25, 2021December 25, 2021 10:30 am EST

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 Dec. 25, 1981, and we’re off to see Modern Problems!

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 - Modern Problems - 01

Modern Problems

Chevy Chase is an acquired taste at times. Modern Problems is definitely one of those times.

First off, lets look at the fact that his character – Max Fielder – gets doused with chemicals giving him all sorts of powers. Somehow, through absolutely no explanation, by the end of the film it has turned more into a possession and he is somehow able to transfer it to another character. There is no explanation as to the how or why of this, it just happens.

Lets also deal with the fact that his character is a skeeve from the outset. Why did his girlfriend leave him? For being possessive and obsessive. Yet, he gets these powers and rocks her world in the bedroom and, well, okay, all is forgiven.

None of the characters in this movie are likable. The plot is nonsensical. And the ‘comedy’ is grade school level at best.

How any studio thought this was a film worth releasing on Christmas day is beyond me.

And with that, our 1981 movie reviews draw to a close. We debated do we keep doing and, yeah, we’re going to keep going. Why not. So be back here in one week for the first 1982 review… Madman! Oh… I may already be regretting this.

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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