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 June 4, 1982, and we’re off to see Hanky Panky, Poltergeist, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
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.
Hanky Panky was initially envisioned as a vehicle for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. After Pryor dropped out it was retooled as a rom-com of sorts with Gilda Radner. You end up with the most bog-standard “man on the run” 1980s film imaginable.
Michael Jordan (Wilder) gets wrapped up in intrigue when a woman jumps in his cab with him and some secret files. Meanwhile, Kate Hellman (Radner), wants in on the events to try to uncover who killed her brother.
It is quite possibly the least funny “comedy” I have seen in some time. It’s made even worse knowing the talent involved in front of the camera.
Forgetting this film even exists is the greatest kindness you can bestow upon it. Neither Wilder or Radner need this bomb smearing their memories in your brain.
Poltergeist feels like one of the first films that truly captured that 1980s film atheistic. The suburban homes, the go-getter husband, etc.
There was something about the films of this period where the world they occupied felt very lived in. You fully believe a family lives in this house. They have a routine. They have their messes. It just like a true home.
With all of this in mind, a lot of people confuse the film as having been directed by Steven Spielberg. He served as a producer and writer on the film, but it was Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) that actually directed the film. But with that said, you can definitely feel his fingerprints all over this film.
After 40 years, the story still holds up. There are a few quibbles on the effects, but considering where we were at the time – and the fact I knew some of the effects crew due to my family’s connections to the costume industry – we’ll just say it was an amazing accomplishment for its time.
If you’re looking for a solid film, it’s worth a revisit if you haven’t seen it in some time. And if you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth a view.
Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan
A lot of people list Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as one of the hallmarks of a good sequel. And it’s good, but I will say that I think some are looking at this film with a bit of a blur of fondness for the time.
There is no question it’s an entertaining film, but on this rewatch it felt a bit sparse. The action was nowhere as intense as I remembered it, and the acting is questionable from just about everyone in the film.
But darn it if that Spock Death scene doesn’t still play amazingly. The whole movie is worth it just for that honestly. If you grew up with the original crew, there is just no way you walk away from the scene, even if you’ve seen it before, without feeling like you’ve been gut-punched.
It’s still an entertaining film, but perhaps not quite as good as you remember.
1982 Movie Reviews will return on June 11 with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Grease 2!
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