Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1984 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. Imagine a world where This is Spinal Tap and Repo Man hit theaters on the same day. That is the world of 1984.
We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1984 was that great of a year for film.
The articles will come out on the same day the films hit theaters in 1984 so that it is their true 35th anniversaries. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory.
This time around it’s June 22, 1984, and we’re off to see Karate Kid and Rhinestone.
The Karate Kid
As I’ve worked my way through these films for this project, I’ve been a bit surprised by what has and hasn’t held up. Gremlins held up especially well. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom did not. I definitely was expecting The Karate Kid to fall into the latter group.
Much to my surprise, it held up really well.
It has been a couple of decades since I last watched this movie, so I had forgotten some of the story beats. I kept expecting a training montage to come up, and it never did. Instead, the training was treated as the star of this movie. For once a story was far more about the journey than the destination, and it created a pleasant pace to the story that never made you feel like you were being rushed down the road just to get somewhere.
Where the montage happened, actually, was in the All-Valley Karate Championships (that name has always killed me) scenes. And that was where it belonged. It gave us a sense of place and time without causing you to get bored with the happenings.
Some of the acting, to be blunt, is a bit over the top, but you just muddle through it for an entertaining story that 35 years later still keeps you engaged throughout.
I learned a valuable lesson with Rhinestone: Make sure the movie is in print before announcing you’re reviewing it. Rhinestone is not available digitally and is out of print on physical media. I finally located a used DVD that didn’t feel like highway robbery. Sure, I could have just skipped it, but if we announce a movie, we’re covering it. Add in I had never seen it, and I just had to go for it.
That being said… we could have skipped this movie.
Rhinestone was based on the song “Rhinestone Cowboy”… somehow. Still not sure of the connection. Dolly Parton plays a country singer with a stereotypical 1980s manager who wants to sleep with her. They establish a bet she can turn anyone into a country singer given two weeks, and if she wins she’s free of this guy. If he wins, I know you’ll be shocked, he gets to sleep with her.
Of course, Sylvester Stallone becomes the guy involved in the bet and he has no singing ability and no love of country music.
To be frank, the first act of the film was cute and tolerable. The second act where they head to her small hometown to teach him how to be country was okay, but seemed a bit drawn out. And the third act… the third act is a trainwreck.
Back in New York City to settle the bet, Nick (Stallone) performs for his family. He says how much he loved it, and he may want to make it into a career. and then Jake (Parton)just completely stomps on him. Throughout the movie she had been patient and supportive, and here she just turns into a completely different character. It is truly a character assassination played out in real time that is just stunning to see happen.
Any goodwill you had for this movie – which was tiny to be sure – is just completely wiped out in one scene, From this point on you don’t care what happens because you have one character just being completely decimated in front of his entire family and then he’s supposed to still help?
It was nonsensical and, frankly, ugly to watch.
Rhinestone isn’t a bad 80s movie, it is simply a bad movie. No wonder this thing is out of print.
1984 Movie Reviews will return on June 8 with a triple feature! Join us for Bachelor Party, Cannonball Run II, and Conan the Destroyer!
… and yes, I’ve made sure all three are available in some form.
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