Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1983 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 1983 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 1983 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 November 4th, 1983, and we’re off to see Deal of the Century and The Osterman Weekend.
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.
Deal of the Century
Outside of the Vacation series, and Fletch, Chevy Chase in the 1980s was just not a good leading man. He was fine in films such as Caddyshack where he wasn’t the lead, but put him in the leading role and it just doesn’t work at this point in his career.
Chase plays Eddie Muntz, an arms dealer who will sell his wares to anyone. By chance he comes across Harold DeVoto (Wallace Shawn) who is a legitimate arms dealer, but is at the end of his tether waiting for a call. Shortly after meeting, DeVoto commits suicide and Muntz picks up his contracts for $300M and decides to carry out the deal.
Along the way, he meets Muntz’s widow, Catherine (Sigourney Weaver) who seems to quickly forget her husband and not only takes up with Muntz, but sleeps with a client to close the deal because… 1980s. Muntz’s business partner is Ray (Gregory Hines) who has recently found religion and that causes all sorts of issues in this line of work.
It’s a mess of a film and is just unpleasant to watch. it feels as though it was trying to say something about capitalism, the military-industrial complex, and so on, but it just comes off as hollow and really not that funny. No one seems to enjoy being in this film, and certainly no one was enjoying watching it.
The Osterman Weekend
I watched 40 minutes of The Osterman Weekend and thought, “I’ve missed something.” I went back 10 minutes, and it still wasn’t making sense. I decided to wait a day and try again. It still made no sense. I really wasn’t sure if I was missing something, or if the film truly made no sense.
I looked around and I found Roger Ebert’s review from 1983 and instantly felt better.
I do not understand this movie. I sat before the screen, quiet, attentive and alert, and gradually a certain anger began to stir inside me, because the movie was not holding up its side of the bargain. It was making no sense.
I don’t demand that all movies make sense. I sometimes enjoy movies that make no sense whatsoever, if that’s their intention. But a thriller is supposed to hold together in some sort of logical way, isn’t it?
Oh good, it’s not just me. This movie was garbage.
I usually share some of the plot. It has something to do with the C.I.A. and people die… oh, and women get naked for no real reason. This movie is so confusing that one DVD release even had a bonus documentary trying to figure out what went wrong.
In short, avoid this movie. It dodn’t need to be a part of anyone’s 1980s film journeys.
1983 Movie Reviews will return on Nov. 11, 2023 with Amityville 3-D and The Being!