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1982 Movie Reviews – Airplane II, Sophie’s Choice, and The Toy

by Sean P. Aune | December 10, 2022December 10, 2022 10:30 am EST

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.

Airplane II: The Sequel

Comedy sequels are always a tricky beast. Do you just try to essentially make the first movie again, or do you go with far more original material? While it’s always easy to go with the idea of copying what worked, and then thinking “if we just amplify this, people will love it even more.”

I dearly love the original Airplane!, but the sequel just doesn’t work nearly as well. There is really only one quotable line about ‘what’s happened so far,’ and other than that it’s a fairly forgettable film. Yes, I laughed here and there, but nothing just jumped out at me as being that memorable.

It’s a fine comedy at the end of the day, but when you are coming off of one of the most memorable parodies in history, just about everything will pale in comparison. It’s worth watching once, and then you’re done with it.

Sophie’s Choice

Once again I found myself in an unfortunate conundrum with a movie: Do you grade simply based on the performances, or everything?

If I was to grade Sophie’s Choice on the performances, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline would just walk away with everything. Meanwhile, I would question whoever told Peter MacNicol he could do a garish Southern accent. Streep is mesmerizing, and Kline is convincing in the role of the mentally disturbed Nathan.

And that’s where part of the problem with this film resides. MacNicol’s Stingo is an audience insert who becomes cumbersome and distracting as the film goes on. You want to spend every moment with Sophie and Nathan, and not deal with Stingo at all. And at the end of the day, he doesn’t serve much if any purpose. Absolutely everything he does could have been handled more creatively as discussions between Nathan and Sophie. Stingo is such a lazy plot tool that it drags down the entire film and you find yourself getting angrier at him by the scene.

Why couldn’t we have spent more time on when Nathan and Sophie met? The first time Sophie witnessed Nathan’s paranoid schizophrenia? We could have spent more time with her and her children in Poland to make the impact of the titular ‘Sophie’s choice’ that much more impactful.

Instead… we get to watch Stingo carry flats of Spam into his apartment.

The entire character of Stingo reeks to me as an uncreative thought process that solved some issues for the writer that meant he didn’t have to think some things through.

It’s a culturally important film, and one that has made its way into the world’s zeitgeist, but go in with your expectations in check as this film will not change your life in any way.

The Toy

Early in The Toy, there’s a scene in the department store where you see a display full of original MEGO superhero figures. That one scene has stuck with me for years as I think about what that display would be worth now.

Other than that I would love to forget this movie exists.

It was interesting how the movie decided to just full on confront how the concept was problematic even in 1982, but here we are 40 years later and the film is now really, really problematic. Yes, when young Master Bates (don’t… just… don’t) comes home for spring break he goes to by some toys and instead decided he wants to take home Jack Brown, a black man working int he department store.

I can’t keep going. The whole concept is just so awful, and the fact they even address in the film how awful it is makes it that much worse. How did this film ever get to the production stage, let alone a release, is beyond me.

Stay away at all costs.

1982 Movie Reviews will return on Dec. 17 with… movies. We’re still determining which ones it will be.

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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