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Overrated/Underrated Movies-The Eighties


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> {quote:title=JefCostello wrote:}{quote}

> Radio Days is a very underrated movie. I watched it several months ago without having seen it before, and wondered why it isn't considered one of Woody Allen's best films.

 

Gotta agree with that. Stardust Memories as well. The 80s was such a strong period for Woody Allen, I think his best.

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When Neko Case was a Guest Programmer last winter, she also said that RADIO DAYS was mysteriously absent in most lists of Woody Allen's best films. I also think it's one of his masterpieces, and I've often recommended it to those misguided souls who claim that they hate Woody Allen.

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I would put *Radio Days* in my list of top 5 Woody Allen films. It's enjoyable in every way; warm , funny, nostalgic, and somehow even philosophical. I once watched it on New Year's Eve (don't like New Year's Eve parties usually) because it makes you laugh, it makes you feel good, and of course it's got that wonderful New Year's Eve scene at the end, with the sophisticated New Yorkers on the roof of the nightclub, with that enormous top hat moving up and down. Another unforgettable image from Allen.

 

Another Woody Allen film from the 80s which is often overlooked is *Broadway Danny Rose*. Again, it's another of his comedies that's both funny and sad, with some perceptive things to say about the human condition.

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BROADWAY DANNY ROSE is another great one, although it took me a few viewings to fully appreciate it. Misswonderly, if you're ever in New York City, be sure to visit the Carnegie Deli, where the framing scenes (involving the stand-up comics) were filmed. The menu even includes a Broadway Danny Rose special!

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American Flyer, about bicycle marathons, is one I recommend. Kevin Costner and Rae Dawn Chong make an interesting couple and it's a chance to see Janice Rule who wasn't doing much by then. There are other actors who are about to become well known in it as well. You will never guess the ending. It's as much a family drama as a sports movie.

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Thanks for mentioning Rae Dawn Chong, for that reminds me of a terrific film from the 80s: CHOOSE ME (1984). Alan Rudolph's film from the next year, TROUBLE IN MIND, also has its moments, but the criss-crossing characters of CHOOSE ME are a special offbeat group. A reviewer on amazon.com mentions loving this film and two great films of the 90s, Egoyan's EXOTICA and Kieslowski's BLUE, and I, too, am crazy about all three of those films.

 

Another superb, moving, and troubling film from the 80s is Michael Apted's documentary 28 UP. I've enjoyed all of the continuing sequence of films, but this one is the best, since most of the continuing subjects were still involved in the project. Imagine dropping in every seven years on a group of people from different social classes whom you first met at age seven. Even if you don't usually like documentaries, you might be fascinated by this one.

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My pick for most underrated film of the 80s is Michael Cimino's *Heaven's Gate*, the 219m cut. Ridiculed by critics, even before its release, in part for its length. It was a flop. It is an excellent film, great cast, and actually could be a bit longer, to fill in a few gaps in the last 1/3 of the film.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> My pick for most underrated film of the 80s is Michael Cimino's *Heaven's Gate*, the 219m cut. Ridiculed by critics, even before its release, in part for its length. It was a flop. It is an excellent film, great cast, and actually could be a bit longer, to fill in a few gaps in the last 1/3 of the film.

 

A good choice. Now that Criterion has access to the modern MGM's film collection I hope they pick up Heaven's Gate for Blu-ray. Odds are that's the only hope it has.

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RADIO DAYS has a strong first half. The atmosphere, the family dynamics, the hilarious anecdotes. By the time it ended, I wanted an actual story. I like the movie. The music, as in most Woody films, adds tremendous flavor. But the film tends to drift when staying on course would have been a better choice. The less ambitious "Danny Rose" is actually better.

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In hindsight, I find *Tender Mercies* completely overrated, with the exception of Betty Buckley, who is underrated in it. Brian De Palma's *Blow Out* remains my favorite film from the entire decade, and perhaps the most underrated film ever made.

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Wow! Ishstar and Heaven's Gate, two of the most vilified movies in history, making our list! Might they some day be talked about in milder terms than the ones we can't repeat here?

 

I've never seen Ishstar but will give it a look when I can. I curse Heaven's Gate for what it could and should have been but praise it too as I found a lot to like as well. Obviously a take on the Johnson County Range War it does show us that all of the West wasn't golden.

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I have to disagree with the earlier post supporting *Ishtar*. As you can see by my support for *Heaven's Gate*, I am not in the least bit afraid to go against the mass of the critics. I could name lots of critically vilified films I like. But, I thought *Ishtar* stunk. One of the worst main-line films I've seen. Still, if someone else enjoys it, that's fine by me.

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> But, I thought *Ishtar* stunk. One of the worst main-line films I've seen.

 

Worse than *Howard the Duck* and *Ghost Dad*? I understand *Leonard Part 6* is pretty bad, too.

 

I think the worst 80s movie I saw was *Neighbors*, John Belushi's last. But then, I was too young for the movie, with a lot of the adult humor going over my head. (I remember there was a joke about edible underwear, for example.)

 

Then again, *The Octagon* was pretty bad, too.

 

As for underrated 80s movies, I'll pick *Xanadu*. It's too bad we have to wait until the very end of the movie for the priceless shots of Gene Kelly on roller skates.

 

xanadu.jpg

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Well, I did see *Howard the Duck*, and thought it was so bad it was funny. I was already a fan of the comic. I think that films based on humorous comics/cartoon characters rarely, if ever, work.

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> I think that films based on humorous comics/cartoon characters rarely, if ever, work.

 

With the exception of all those Blondie movies in the 1940s, I suppose. :-p

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I've probably said this before, but any movie with Lawrence Kasdan or William Hurt is overrated, with the exception of "The Empire Strikes Back," "Clue," by contrast improves markedly after the first twenty minutes.

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A few more rhymes for the house:

 

*To Sleep With Anger (1989)*

*Come and See (1980)*

*Ms. .45 (1981)*

*For All Mankind (1989)*

*the Dresser (1983)*

*One From the Heart (1982)*

*Angel Heart (1987)*

*Love Streams (1984)*

*Cruising (1980)*

*Variety (1981)*

*Cutter's Way (1981)*

*Burden of Dreams (1982)*

*Gloria (1980)*

*Death in Full View (1980)*

*Copkiller (1983)*

*Resurrection (1980)*

*Round Midnight (1986)*

*The House by the Cemetery (1981)*

*Ironweed (1987)*

*Down by Law (1983)*

*Let's Get Lost (1983)*

*Tenebre (1982)*

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TOP SECRET is still extremely underrated; even its own creators (Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker) don't seem to appreciate how funny it is. BIG grossed over $100 domestically and earned a few Oscar nominations, so I don't think of it as underrated. The somewhat similar comedy VICE VERSA was released a few months before BIG and features a performance by Judge Reinhold that rivals Tom Hanks' work in BIG. Anyone else think VICE VERSA is underrated?

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