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 February 17, 1984, and we’re off to see Blame it on Rio and Footloose.
Blame it on Rio Review
One thing I wanted to avoid with this project was solely viewing these films through the eye of someone living in 2019. Society changes and evolves, and what was okay at one time may not be okay in another. In the case of the medium of film, when it is set in a contemporary time, it serves as a time capsule of that time period.
With all of that out of the way, there is no time period where the main plot of Blame it on Rio should have been okay.
Matthew Hollis (Michael Caine) and Victor Lyons (Joseph Bologna) are workmates and friends. When deciding to head off to Rio for a vacation, Hollis’ wife, Karen (Valerie Harper) informs him that she is off to Club Med because she needs to think about their marriage. This means that their daughter Nikki (Demi Moore) and Lyons daughter Jennifer (Michelle Johnson) will be stuck with just the dads for the duration as Lyons is in the middle of a divorce.
What we learn very early on is Jennifer has always had a crush on Matthew despite him being 20 some years older than her, and always referring to him as “Uncle Matthew.” And this is where “this is not okay” kicks in.
Exactly how old Jennifer is in the film is a bit hazy, but in reference materials I found (that’s how much this bothered me), she was indeed supposed to be 17. When you think of her as anything younger than college-aged, the film quickly swerves into a very dark Lolita-esque world where you don’t expect a ‘comedy’ – and I use that term loosely – to reside.
You add in that as the film progresses it becomes increasingly clear that Jennifer is unstable, and what was labeled as a comedy bordering on sexual farce turns into a car wreck that you just keep asking yourself how this film even truly got the green light to be made.
Where this whole thing gets even more insane is when you realize it was directed by Stanley Donen, the man responsible for Singin’ in the Rain. With that sort of talent on this film, how did no one in this entire process ask, “You really think we should make comedy out of the fact Jennifer attempts suicide by the end of the film?”
Yep. That happens.
There is so much wasted talent in this film, and that just makes it sadder. You would almost label this a “skinemax flick” for the amount of nudity if it wasn’t for the fact it was made before Cinemax existed.
From an incredibly weak script to an audio track that sounds like it was all dubbed over in a studio a month later, this movie was a heck of a kick in the shins to start this project. I can not think of anyone on this planet that needs to see Blame it on Rio to fill in some gap in their love of films.
Alright, Footloose! It’s inspired musicals! A remake! This will cleanse the pallet of the horror show of troubled girls not receiving the support they need.
… you know how sometimes memories are better than the actual thing? Footloose is the picture in the dictionary.
When Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) moves with his mom from Chicago to Bomont, Utah, he discovers a town that feels like it’s back in the stoneage. Cops will pull you over for your music. High school kids will beat you up because you’re dating his ex-girlfriend. It’s not a great town. But then Ren meets Ariel Moore (Lori Singer) and they team up to change Rev. Shaw Moore’s (John Lithgow) mind about letting kids have fun!
Along the way we shall have breaks for music videos and montages, enjoy those. They may be from a different project, we’re not sure, but they’re in here.
Where I realized Footloose was really just disconnected music videos was in the infamous warehouse dance scene. As Ren dances through the warehouse, taking off his sweatshirt and doing impromptu gymnastics, his memories flashback over everything that has gone wrong since he has moved to Bomont. Every slight, no matter the size is revisited showing you his anger and making sure the audience understands why he’s angry.
Did we mention this scene begins around 35 minutes into the film? Just in case you weren’t paying attention in the first half-hour – maybe the line at the concession stand was long – Footloose wants to make sure you are up to speed on everything that has happened so far.
This was a film I really expected to have fun watching, and instead, I walked away wondering what 12-year-old me saw in it.
The performances are fine, and the film looks better than most films from 1984, but story wise it’s just a sad, confused mess that is completely uncertain of what it wants to be.
1984 Movie Reviews will return on March 2 with Repo Man and This is Spinal Tap!
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