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 April 29th, 1983, and we’re off to see The Hunger, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Valley Girl!
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.
Vampires meet the goth and fashion scenes of the early 80s and pose… a lot.
With a cast featuring the likes of Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon, you would think you would be in for an instant classic, but The Hunger is, sadly, all style with no bite (pun intended).
Miriam (Deneuve) is a vampire dating back to ancient Egypt that has spent 200 years with her current consort, John (Bowie). While she promised him eternal life, she did not promise him eternal youth. It seems that a certain stage all of her consort experience insomnia, and then rapid aging. When they finally reach such a decrepit age, she carries them to the attic and places them in a coffin to ‘live’ out their remaining years with her other past lovers.
While the general premise of the film is fine, no character feels that well-developed. And while director Tony Scott would go on to develop his own visual style, his first feature feels like it was done by exactly the person you think it was, Ridley Scott’s brother. The lighting to atmosphere chokes of Blade Runner influences to the point of distraction.
It’s a visually pleasing film, but it just feels so empty storywise that it feels akin to taking in empty calories. It’s with a look-see for the style alone, but don’t expect to walk away feeling anything for the people you’ve seen.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
I hadn’t seen this movie in years, and I’m so glad this project afforded me the chance to watch it again.
I remember when Something Wicked This Way Comes was released, it was considered controversial. The main reason being it was produced by the Walt Disney Company and people just couldn’t understand them releasing something this ‘dark.’ It’s based on a book Ray Bradbury, but it didn’t keep the heat from pouring onto Disney.
A carnival comes to town operated by Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce), and it immediately catches the attention of Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson) and Will Halloway (Vidal Peterson). They sneak off to the carnival and see all sorts of odd happenings, including one of the workers riding the carousel backward and turning into a child.
It seems the carnival comes to every so many years, and on their last visit, they had been fought off by Will’s grandfather. And now it is up to Will, his father (Jason Robards) and Jim to drive them out of town once again and get back the citizens who have been taken by the evil that has arrived.
The original book was published in 1962, and the film was released in 1983, but you can’t get over this overwhelming sense that it heavily inspired Stephen King’s Needful Things. Despite that sense, it is an entertaining film, but, sadly, not always the easiest to find. If you can find it – the internet can be a wonderful place – it’s well worth checking out.
Valley Girl is yet another entry in the “I’ve always meant to watch this” list.
At the time of its release, ‘valley girls’ and their speech patterns were all the rage. In 1982 Frank Zappa, along with his daughter Moon Unit, had released the song “Valley Girl,” and you couldn’t escape it. With the release of this film it feels very much like some older men at a movie studio going, “You know what we need? To do something with them valley girls… bring me a script!”
Valley Girl ends up telling the story of Randy (Nicolas Cage) and Julie (Deborah Foreman) meeting one day and falling for each other instantly. She’s a valley girl, and he’s from Hollywood, and their lives couldn’t be more different. All of Julie’s friends look down on Randy and they want her back in the fold of their suburban lives, but the star-crossed couple just can’t keep away from each other no matter how hard they try.
Yes, all of that is correct. And, yes, you are correct that now one original thing happens in this movie. That being said, it’s performed well, the characters are engaging, and it’s just light fun. You won’t walk away from Valley Girl with any new outlook on life other than, “Was there even one original word on that script?”
And, so help me, there is an entire sub-plot in this film about one of the distant friends of Julie, Skip, who seems as though he’s going to end up hooking up with one of the mothers Berh (Lee Purcell). Could someone please tell me why the older women/high school boy thing seemed to be such a trend in the early 80s? It was frankly disturbing and this is the fourth movie – Private Lessons, My Tutor, and last week’s Losin’ It – to go down this unfortunate road.
All that aside, it’s a cute film, and you should check it out. Just don’t expect anything original.
1983 Movie Reviews will return on May 6, 2023 with The Final Terror and Doctor Detroit!
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