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1982 Movie Reviews – The Escape Artist, Rocky III, and Visiting Hours

by Sean P. Aune | May 28, 2022May 28, 2022 10:30 am EDT

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 May 28, 1982, and we’re off to see The Escape Artist, Rocky III, and Visiting Hours.

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.

1982 Movie Project - The Escape Artist - 01

The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist is one of those movies that is full of talent and absolutely no clue what to do with it.

Danny Masters (Griffin O’Neal) runs away from his grandparents to pursue his magic career and instead finds himself caught up in local corruption. You know, as you do. It comes about when picks the wallet off of the mayor’s slightly insane son, played by Raul Julia, and it was filled with money that dad, played by Desi Arnez, needed for something. We’ll ignore later that dad has plenty of other money, but for some reason, this wallet, in particular, is needed back.

Apparently, the movie was shot in 1980 but sat on the shelf for two years as they tried to edit something coherent out of it. They very clearly should have left it on the shelf.

The performances are good, with Teri Garr and Raul Julia really stealing the show. You really don’t expect less from the two of them.

It’s an utterly useless script, but it’s fun to watch the performances. Go in with your expectations well in check and you may be at least amused by it.

1982 Movie Project - Rocky III - 01

Rocky III

Lets not fool ourselves; the Rocky film series really didn’t need to go past Rocky II. But, if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have ended up with some really excellent later entries.

Rocky III is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it feels completely unnecessary, but on the other, it’s a well-disguised commentary about the success of the first two films. Sylvester Stallone had been bootstrapping this series along, and he had new threats coming at him from every direction. Enter Clubber Lang (Mr. T) to threaten Rocky’s success and you quickly see the parallels.

Add in some commentary on living a life full of extravagance, allowing success to blur your path, and the toll success can put on families, and it seems as though Stallone had a lot on his mind.

This entry feels vapid on a few levels, but it’s difficult not to still enjoy it. When not just after a paycheck, Stallone is honestly a good actor, and he’s a better writer than most people give him credit for.

This third film is clearly not the shining gem of the series, but it’s enjoyable, and, dammit, it gave us “Eye of the Tiger” as a song that will live rent-free in your brain until the moment you shuffle off this mortal coil.

If you have visited this entry in a while, or you have never seen it, it’s worth your time. Just prepare to look past the punches a bit.

1982 Movie Project - Visiting Hours - 01

Visiting Hours

Visiting Hours is a strange film. It feels as though it was made with an eye toward cashing in on the Slasher film craze of the early 80s, but the writer’s only knowledge of them was that people get stabbed.

Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside) hates women and he enjoys killing them. And if they dare to talk about how women shouldn’t be killed, then he really wants to kill them. This stems from his mother disfiguring his father with hot oil when he was a child, so he thinks women who defend themselves should be killed.

It’s a vile little film that doesn’t really eek out even a moment of entertainment until he finally gets killed in the end. It’s poorly shot, the script is nonsense, and it’s not even good in that “it’s so bad that it’s good” way. It’s just plain bad.

Avoid it. No one needs this move in their lives.

1982 Movie Reviews will return on June 4 with Hanky Panky, Poltergeist, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan!

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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