Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1982 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 four dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1982 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 1982 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 December 4, 1982, and we’re off to see 48 Hrs, Gandhi, and The Verdict!
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.
The 1980s were the golden age of buddy cop comedies. And it definitely feels as though 48 Hrs. was the genesis point of this entire trope.
I haven’t seen this film in decades, and so I’m glad I went into it pretty fresh. Tightly scripted, with insane chemistry between Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte makes for a very brisk 96 minutes. While I could have done without the silliness of Inspector Cates butting heads with Captain Haden (Franke McRae), but that overplayed “rogue cop” trope had to fit in somewhere in here. That particular portion was a hallmark of the late 1960s/into the 1970s cop films, and somehow stuck around for the cop comedies. We get it, move on from there.
This was Murphy’s first feature, and you would be hard-pressed to convince me of that. It seemed as though he had been doing this for years and was comfortably at home co-leading such a large production.
48 Hrs. isn’t uproariously funny, but it’s funny. The plot works, the chemistry is amazing, there is truly nothing here to truly complain about. It’s easy to see why so many people love this movie.
Gandhi is a difficult film to discuss. On the one hand, I’ll get this out of the way: Ben Kingsley owns this role and is amazing. Nothing I say from here on out is directed at him, or the real-life Gandhi.
This is not a well-made film. It is so anxious to tell so many moments in Gandhi’s life that it just glosses over so many other things. So many side characters just appear, and then disappear. Some get introductions, others just happen to be a major part of his life one day such as his nieces. No introduction for them, there are just suddenly two young women assisting him and for a bit you think they must be daughters. You just don’t know.
And the handling of Mirabehn (Geraldine James), a British woman that came to work with him, is handled so clumsily you immediately get red flags that make Gandhi sound like a cult leader. The film makes a point of Gandhi gave her an Indian name, but we never hear anything about why he did and it just comes off sounding weird and a bit creepy in a way.
Richard Attenborough was an accomplished director by this time, but it comes across like he simply wasn’t up to the weight of the topic he was trying to cover. Decades of a man’s life were condensed into three hours, and it leads to a very chaotic pacing that simply leaves you feeling unfilled in the end. You have only the most surface understanding of the events depicted in the film, and that is a disservice to the subjects as well as the audience.
Paul Newman was a magnificent actor and I would have gladly watched him read the phone book.
… you know where this is going.
The Verdict is a courtroom drama in the truest sense that it feels like it runs about the same length as an actual trial. But, thankfully, it is also an equal parts character study, and that’s the part of the film that works the best. The case portion, however, that feels so front-and-center, ends up being so monotonous. Take, for instance, when Frank and Mickey are calling around trying to find the nurse that wrote the original admittance paperwork. This could have been handled so effectively with intercut, overlapping dialogue. Let the two actors phase in and out of focus and overlap.
Nope. We needed to listen to those calls in real-time.
The movie is still worth a watch just to enjoy Newman, but don’t be too surprised if you find yourself checking your watch multiple times.
1982 Movie Reviews will return on Dec. 10 with Airplane II: The Sequel, Sophie’s Choice, and The Toy!
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