Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Warner Bros. 1985.

Before watching the movie:

I watched an episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse once and I didn’t get it. I wasn’t repelled by it, it just didn’t make sense. Everything seemed random for the sake of being random, and it was like an educational children’s show without a lesson, a story, or a point.

So why am I getting ready to watch the Pee-wee Herman movie? Because it looks like it’s got a story and possibly a point. It’s a vehicle for Paul Reubens, and vehicles go places.

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The Money Pit

The Money Pit. U-Drive Productions 1986.

Before watching the movie:

So a young couple makes a real estate investment to live their dream, and then everything that could possibly go wrong with that choice does. That sounds a lot like The Long, Long Trailer to me. Only this time it’s Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, and the house doesn’t roll. (Probably.)

Unlike that movie, a lot of the problems turn out to be disastrous unexpected costs, rather than just ruining their marriage, which probably happens too, because money is the top reason couples fight.

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The Wraith

The Wraith. Alliance Entertainment 1986.

Before watching the movie:

So what I’m seeing described here is a techno ghost chasing down the drag racing gang that killed him in a magic racing car. I’m trying to come up with a crazier movie synopsis and, okay, Ghost Rider probably counts. And a whole lot of other contemporary horror stories, I guess. I withdraw the question.

I’m not clear right now on who the protagonist is. The summary I saw framed it as the dead guy’s story, the poster looks like it’s about a group of people who may be the drag racing gang that got him killed, but I don’t think the heroes of a horror story would be as culpable as the summary I saw made out.

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Innerspace

Innerspace. Amblin Entertainment 1987.

Before watching the movie:

I don’t recall at the moment if this started as a direct remake/sequel to Fantastic Voyage, was merely inspired by it openly, or just has a similar concept, but I do know that I was first made aware of the existence of Innerspace when researching Voyage. I have dim recollections that it might be a “suggested by” treatment of the novel sequel to Voyage?

Anyway, I also just discovered it has Martin Short as the hapless fellow who doesn’t realize he’s got a tiny explorer inside him, which ramps up my interest in it. Also, the idea of cutting back to comedy sequences outside caused by what’s going on inside reminds me of Osmosis Jones, only with live action/VFX instead of cartoon animation.

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Max Dugan Returns

Max Dugan Returns. 20th Century Fox 1983.

Before watching the movie:

This seems strongly positioned as a guardian angel/Mary Poppins kind of movie, but I think that’s just metaphorical, and hopefully tongue in cheek. The movie I would really like this to be is Max Dugan dropping into his daughter’s life expecting to fix everything and be instantly forgiven and failing miserably on both accounts, then working to earn his way back into her family and in the process making things better. That’s the plot vibe I’m getting from this movie, and I hope the magical trappings are just because it’s the kind of art Neil Simon brings to a project, because if it’s as straightforward as it looks, that would easily become too simple and saccharine.

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The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project. Gladden Entertainment 1986.

Before watching the movie:

I think this is set contemporary (contemporarily set?), but it’s hard to tell. The most obvious difference in fashion between the 50s and 80s is in hairstyles, and a production could possibly overlook them.

This is listed as sci-fi, but it’s in that area of sci-fi that concerns such contemporary technology that I don’t really consider it so. The suspension of disbelief involved in “high school student steals plutonium from a shady lab and builds a nuclear bomb” has nothing to do with the technology so much as with the security procedures being circumvented. The Andromeda Strain is sci-fi so diamond-hard it plays as a pathological procedural, this is just a thriller.

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Police Academy

Police Academy. The Ladd Company 1984.

Before watching the movie:

Police Academy grew into a franchise of irreverent comedy, which I kind of have the same impression of as of Carry On, only with at least a cohesive theme. I think the third movie is the most popular, but this is where it started. If this one hadn’t done well, there wouldn’t be a III. As far as I know, there are still “Police Academy” movies being made, in the kind of sad way cheap movies get the “National Lampoon” name put on them.

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