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1984 Movie Reviews – Under the Volcano

by Sean P. Aune | June 15, 2024June 15, 2024 10:30 am EDT

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 15, 1984, and we’re off to see Under the Volcano.

Under the Volcano

When you think of ‘1980s Summer movies, ‘ you think of things like, say, Ghostbusters. Beverly Hills Cop.

You don’t think, “Albert Finney playing a divorced alcoholic who is enabled by his ex-wife and friends to the point of his death.”

Set in 1938 in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebration, and on the eve of World War II, Geoffrey Firmin (Finney) is a despondent alcoholic who can’t get over the fact his wife Yvonne (Jacqueline Bisset) divorced him. When she shows up out of the blue – despite having written him numerous letters he never received – nothing curtails his drinking. She feeds into his addiction under the misguided idea it will do no good to try to stop him. Eventually it leads to both of their untimely deaths within hours of her arrival back in his life.

There is nothing uplifting about Under the Volcano. It is, quite frankly, monumentally depressing. You feel nothing but pity and desperation for someone, anyone, to stop Geoffrey rapid decline.

I didn’t enjoy Under the Volcano, but I respect it. It is well-made, and Finney and Bisset’s performances are both stellar. (Mind you, in 1983 we also watched Finney drink himself to death in The Dresser, so it appears the 80s are his time to shine as an alcoholic.) But the topic is just so dire and depressing that it is hard to recommend it to anyone as something you really should set aside time to watch.

It’s well-made. Well-acted. And even well-written. It is just so depressing as to make you really not want to revisit it.

1984 Movie Reviews will return on June 22 with The Karate Kid, The Pope of Greenwich Village, and Rhinestone!


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