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 July 29th, 1983, and we’re off to see Krull, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Private School.
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.
Krull wanted to be something, but I don’t think it knew exactly what that was.
On one hand, it wanted to be a sword & sorcery movie, dealing with all sorts of mysticism, mythical creatures, giant spiders, and so on. On the other hand, it wanted to be a sci-fi movie with a giant rock ship, and laser rifles. And somewhere in all this sits a nifty circular weapon called the Glave which is about the only thing anyone remembers of this film then or now.
Here is the issue with Krull: From the first moments of the film you know the ending. A narrator tells you there is a prophecy of a queen with an ancient name, and she will choose a man to be her king, and together they will have a son that will rule the galaxy.
Okay… so… neither the man or woman we meet at the beginning of the film can die. Got it. Whelp, that was a fun story, on to the next.
Kidding aside, yeah, you know how it’s going to end, but the journey should be at least fun. In the case of Krull, it’s just forgettable and not that interesting. The effects, even by the standards of the early 1980s, are weak, and the plot lacks anything of substance.
It’s an easy pass.
National Lampoon’s Vacation
I tend to have issues with Chevy Chase in most roles: He plays the Chevy Chase character. He isn’t playing himself per se, it’s just the same character over and over. Luckily, it works when it comes to Clark W. Griswold.
All Clark wants is for his family to have a traditional vacation. Of course, everything goes wrong from the jump with the introduction of the Family Truckster, but isn’t that half the fun of a vacation?
Vacation is a solid comedy film on every level, but Chase sells it. His earnestness in this role is the main reason it works. You can easily believe that this man wants nothing more than to give his family a traditional vacation, and no matter what roadblocks present themselves, he’ll overcome them. There is something endearing about him, and you want to root for him no matter how stupid he may be at times.
What also cements this film as one of the best comedies of the decade is everyone in the cast works. The stop at Cousin Eddie’s for lunch is just such a fan, if uncomfortable time.
If you want to really dive into the 1980s and its film sensibilities, Vacation is an absolute must-watch.
The number of ‘teen’ sex comedies in the 1980s was enormous… this was one of them.
Maybe if I hadn’t just watched Vacation this film would have worked better, but it didn’t. The jokes fall flat and a lot of it is just uncomfortable. The “topless horse riding scene” is just so ludicrous that it pulls you out of the film and kills any humor that could have potentially existed in the moment.
And then I come to find out that it is a pseudo-sequel to Private Lessons from 1981, another uncomfortable sex romp that I hated. I swear for as bad as that movie was, I just can’t seem to escape its influence.
To be blunt, as much as I loved Vacation this week, I hated Private School. Nothing about this film worked. The ‘jokes,’ if you can even call them that, were sub-par and the acting lackluster. You absolutely can skip this drivel and not be the worse for it.
1983 Movie Reviews will return on Aug. 5, 2023 with Get Crazy, Risky Business, and The Star Chamber!
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