1983: Movies Sorted By Tier
Submitted by jim on Tue, 09/14/2004 - 04:58
The Big Chill
A Christmas Story
The Right Stuff... Another movie that I can't believe I delayed watching. I love true stories told well. And truth trumps fiction, as this movie has it all over movies like Armageddon and Space Cowboys. I do think it waned a bit in the final 20%, but this certainly didn't detract much from this 3-hour movie that felt like 2.
Local Hero... An enjoyable, quirky story. Paced kinda slowly, but has a nice small town feel about it with well-drawn characters.
Tender Mercies... So far I've watched three movies on JohnnyWaco's recommendation: The Verdict, Atlantic City, and this. They are all gently sentimental, but with a complete (and refreshing) lack of artifice. This is probably my favorite of the three, and Robert Duvall's performance was fantastic. Possibly my favorite by him.
Glad I Saw
Prodigal Son... A Sammo Hung kung fu flick, and one of my less painful revisitations to a favorite genre of my youth. However, the movie is an odd bird, which is perhaps part of its appeal. It starts off as slapstick, as we are introduced to our hero, who thinks he's the best fighter in his province. Indeed, he is unbeaten in 300 bouts. But that's because his father is paying is opponents to throw their fights. It's all fairly amusing, and the fights are well-choreographed. Suddenly things take a deadly serious turn and I found myself on the edge of my seat, thinking "hoo boy, here we go!" And then, back to slapstick! The humor is more laborious this time, and is only relieved when things get grim again. The showdown is technically sound, but also odd in that our villain isn't so much a villain as he is a rite of passage for our hero, draining one of the bloodlust that usually comes with climactic kung fu showdowns. Still, I find myself liking it for that, but with a hint of having just lost to an entertaining three-card-monte hustler. Sure, I'm a few bucks poorer, but it was fun while it lasted.
Project A... This is widely regarded as Jackie Chan's best movie, and it may be although I've enjoyed others more. The stunts are amazing and vicariously painful, and some of the action sequences are thoroughly exciting and entertaining. The plot is thin, but at least the comedy doesn't detract here as it often does for me in other martial arts movies. Unfortunately I saw this on the butchered US-release of the DVD. The picture quality is great, but the dub is awful, and I read that key scenes were chopped and the score was completely replaced. And, moronically, they cut the outtakes! I hope whatever bonehead made that decision was flogged and then fired.
Return of the Jedi... Best effects of the three, but lacking the exuberance/groundbreakingness of A New Hope, and the darkness/depth of The Empire Strikes Back (I won't even mention that OTHER SW movie). Still, this one at least successfully rides the shoulders of its predecessors.
Scarface... I wish I could be the first to make a joke about Al Pacino doing his best Frito Bandito impersonation as Cuban gangster Tony Montana, but Mike Nelson beat me to it when he more aptly described Jon Voight's accent as such in his Anaconda review. Pacino's scenery chewing is actually fairly enjoyable here, in a movie that really wanted to be a musical. Or maybe an opera. It was garish and bellicose enough, but they just never quite broke into song. An opportunity lost. I was also going to make a Hamlet comparison in terms of the fates of the sisters, but here again I see I've been beaten to it. Well done AJ. I think between your impulse control observation and my Ophelia/Gina connection, we're well on our way to a passable dissertation.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Lone Wolf McQuade
National Lampoon's Vacation
Could Have Missed
- None Yet
All the Right Moves
The Day After
Never Say Never Again
Should Have Missed
- None Yet
El Sucko Grande
The Man with Two Brains