Guilty Pleasures of the Eighties | Offscreen
The eighties: a time of excess and superficial bravado, of neo-liberalism and unbridled consumerism. The Western world is divided into unemployed losers and successful yuppies; the former clad in sweatpants, the latter in Don Johnson style shoulder-padded suits. Cut-throat women compete fiercely with maxed out hairdos while muscle men flex their bulging biceps beneath spandex shirts. The cult of the body reigns supreme: bodybuilding, jogging and aerobics. New technologies push their way into private homes (video cassettes, home personal computers and the unforgettable floppy disk), setting a silent lifestyle revolution in motion. The 80s are simultaneously the climax and anti-climax of the Cold War. The political zeitgeist turns flesh, embodied perfectly by American president Ronald Reagan. The Cannon Studio, owned by cousins Golan and Globus, practically becomes the White House's official propaganda bureau, filling screens with all-American heroes (Norris, Bronson, Stallone and Schwarzenegger) fearlessly defending the free world. B-movie material gets pumped out of proportion and into monumental blockbusters. Dozens of teen flicks milk every and any rite of passage for what it's worth, and slashers are suddenly overcrowded by more and more beautiful people getting violently massacred. Countless nerds, yuppies, valley girls, bitches, punks, rappers and geeks populate the movies of the 80s, edited to the sounds of disco, new wave or hard rock hits so that Hollywood can ride off the success of MTV's big breakthrough. The ultimate result: an unprecedented concentration of some of the absolute worst movies of all time.
Every Friday evening in July and August, Cinematek and Offscreen invite you to discover a meticulous selection of the stupidest films from the 80s, accompanied by a socio-cultural historical guide who will hopefully convinces us to bury the past. These are all films that, for inexplicable reasons, came highly recommended at the time, yet today seem so outdated that we wonder how in the world anyone could ever feel compelled to watch them. Another selection criteria: they all take place in the United States of the 1980s. Alas, this means no My Little Pony: the movie, King Solomon's mines or Red Sonja. But hey, take a chill pill! There are so many other tasty nuggets of lousy filmmaking from the era for us to feast upon. So climb aboard our time machine and be transported to the shameful cinema of our youth during these eight evenings dedicated to the 80s.
Three teenagers have one sole purpose in life: to "do it" for the first time. A prototype for teenage sex comedies to come, ripe with clichés and literally drowning in pop and new wave hits from back when. The heartbreaking comedy remarkably degenerates into a tear-jearking melodrama that puts Terms of Endearment to shame.
Martial arts student Leroy Green pries a charming singer (80s-icon Vanity) from the clutches of a shady buisnessman and comes up against Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. A hilarious kung-fu comedy bathed in disco lights and cut to the pulsating rhythms of Motown's finest.
A geek and his artificially intelligent IBM pull out all the stops to win over the heart of a sexy neighbor. The director of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean video turns this pathetic romantic comedy in to a non-stop music video enhanced with outrageous synthesizers and a digital aesthetic that now seems prehistoric.
In this third part to a never-ending revenge saga, you can count on Charles Bronson to furrow his brow and spout one-liners with staggering ineptitude. But this time is particularly legendary: Bronson goes magnificently over-the-top by taking out the riffraff with a bazooka!
After his buddy Apollo get pummelled by Dolph Lundgren, Rocky has to go up against the merciless Soviet powerhouse. With the finesse of an uppercut, director/actor Stallone drains all humanity from Rocky's character and replaces it instead with steroids and bodybuilder ethics.
Kelly now goes by the name "Special K", after conquering the entire breakdance scene by assisting the choreographic stylings of street dancers Ozone and Turbo in battling the rival Electro Rock crew. A colorful slice of the past that now seems outdated to a hilarious degree.
Andrew McCarthy is infatuated with a shop mannequin, a perfect chance to show off the extreme stiffness of his acting skills. Meanwhile Kim Catrall (Sex and The City) plays the doll in question by embodying the materialistic and sexist farce to a cringe-worthy degree.
Patrick Swayze just received a degree in philosophy and begins his career as a bouncer for a rowdy bar. Raked across the coals by critics, this movie became a cult hit in the 80s with its unintended homoerotic allusions, one-dimensional characters and continuous knuckle fights.