Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

A lot of movies came out summer '82. A lot.

I've written before (in fact, more than once) about 80s All Over, Scott Weinberg and Drew McWeeny's podcast that recaps, month by month, all major U.S. feature film releases from that decade. I'd started seeing films on the big screen as a kid in the late Seventies; in the early '80s I started doing so more regularly — I have a strong hunch there weren't many theaters near to where I lived back then, in Rancho Bernardo and Camarillo, because it always seemed like a long-ish drive to each — and come summer 1982, after we'd moved to Virginia Beach, for the first time I was taking advantage of being off from school on summer break to see more.

80s All Over has reached that summer. The latest regular episode covered July '82, with 15 films released wide in America. That May, 19 films were released wide; that June, 20 were, including four genuine science fiction classics. Yes, Drew and Scott rewatch each one. No, many don't hold up. Most that are forgotten, are forgotten for good reason, but many are fascinatingly odd time capsules of trends and social norms. (The hosts notice lots of casual homophobia, for one, and also how many sword-and-sorcery films got made while Conan the Barbarian was in production. That film outclassed, and out-weirded, all of those quickie sword-and-sorcery films.)

Films in bold, I saw in first release in theaters. Films in italics, I saw later.

May 1982
Fighting Back (starring Tom Skerrit)
Urgh! A Music War
The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
Paradise (Phoebe Cates)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Zombie Holocaust
Forbidden World, a.k.a. Mutant
Visiting Hours
The House Where Evil Dwells
The Escape Artist (in-flight movie, late 1982)
Savannah Smiles
The Road Warrior (video)
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (cable)
Wrong Is Right (Sean Connery)
Gregory's Girl
Rocky III (late night revival screening, March 2009)
Conan the Barbarian (video)

I didn't get to films that month: school and preparing to move filled my time. Annie was still playing in June when my brother and I saw it, at a ratty theater in Norfolk's Military Circle Mall. Mom and Dad got us into that theater then went to another, R-rated film at another screen there. For me, this was almost certainly my first exposure to Tim Curry. And to John Huston. (I'd seen a musical on the big screen before, when Mary Poppins got a May 1980 re-release.)

June 1982
Attack Force Z (1979 Australian film starring Mel Gibson)
Alien Contamination
The Soldier
Bob Le Flambeur (wide re-release of 1950s film)
Chan Is Missing
Kiss My Grits
Bambi (reissue)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (cable)
Poltergeist (cable)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (cable)
Hanky Panky (Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Grease 2
Firefox (cable)
Author! Author!
Monty Python Live At The Hollywood Bowl (video)
Blade Runner (video)
The Thing (late night revival screening, October 2011)

I was the right (well, reasonably right) age for Bambi, though I don't remember much beyond the last scene when Bambi (spoiler!) is grown. I also had my first experience of not getting into a theater, because when we first tried to see E.T., the screening was sold out and we couldn't wait for a later one. We made up for that by seeing the film at least three times that summer.

July 1982
Young Doctors In Love
Raw Force
The Challenge
Zapped! (Nope. Not seeing it. Never seeing it. Never ever ever.)
Summer Lovers (Daryl Hannah)
Forced Vengeance (Chuck Norris)
Six-Pack (Kenny Rogers)
The Secret of N.I.M.H.
The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
Night Shift
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
An Officer and a Gentleman
The World According to Garp (video)

Along with those re-watches of E.T. (of course I wasn't watching Blade Runner or The Thing* yet), I saw other fantastical stuff. I know Tron honestly isn't very good, but it's striking and memorable with some big ideas, and I still have a soft spot for it. And The Secret of N.I.M.H., if you've never seen it, really is Really That Good**: a moody, lovely tale that holds up, and possibly the best film Don Bluth ever made. I got so caught up in N.I.M.H. that I was well away from the theater before I realized, too late, that I'd forgotten my coat. Which was already gone (thrown out?) when we got back.

80s All Over is going to help me reconstruct a slice of my youth, by reminding me of what movies I saw when, from kindergarten to early 10th grade (fall and winter 1989). I'm hopeful that some episode will remind me of some film I'd completely forgotten seeing: will I get surprised that way?

* I saw a bit of The Thing a couple of years later in Virginia Beach. On a show that aired on cable highlighting practical special effects. I was no older than 10. I SAW THE TORSO THAT TURNED INTO A MOUTH, AND I WAS NO OLDER THAN 10. I watched with wide eyes. The TV special also showed how Monty Python's The Meaning of Life's Mr. Creosote was blown up on set. I was wide-eyed at that, too.

** Phrasing stolen, I mean borrowed from Really That Good, a video series.

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