Wholly Moses!

Wholly Moses! Columbia Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

This movie sounds very similar to Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. The major difference, aside from being about a Moses parallel instead of a Jesus parallel, seems to be that Herschel has been deluded into believing he is God’s prophet while Brian spends the whole movie begging the crowds to stop trying to make him their messiah. Apparently it was also protested by Jewish groups for mocking their religion. I didn’t find Life of Brian as blasphemous as everyone said, so I’ll reserve judgment here.

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Battle Beyond The Stars

Battle Beyond the Stars. New World Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

The Seven Samurai has been remade and recontextualized and homaged many, many times. Its best known remake is of course the Western The Magnificent Seven, but pretty much every “go put together a group of mercenaries to save the hometown” story is probably based on Seven Samurai. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie do it so blatantly that the tagline itself invokes Magnificent Seven. Apparently Roger Corman wanted to do something like Star Wars and decided to do a sci-fi interpretation of Seven Samurai. So he did.

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Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon. Starling Films 1980.
Flash Gordon. Starling Films 1980.

Before watching the movie:

I’ve been wanting to see this movie ever since I learned while reviewing Highlander that Queen did music for it. That is the biggest selling point of this movie for me, and will likely be the best thing about it, even if it does turn out to be an effective update of a campy adventure serial. I’m just not sure this sort of thing can be done seriously anymore.

I was surprised to learn from the box that Flash is a football player. Some quick research showed that in the original comics, he was a polo player, so that’s not a big change. I never picked up on him being an athlete. I should probably invest more time in familiarizing myself with source material.

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Somewhere In Time

Somewhere in Time. Rastar Pictures 1980.
Somewhere in Time. Rastar Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

It occurs to me that “Time travel romance” is rather an oddball genre. I can think of two or three other examples (Assuming The Lake House counts), but it still seems more common than it ought to be, though less than it could be.

This movie somehow reminds me of Time After Time, even though the premise is almost entirely opposite. This is a modern person going back in time for love, the other is about a Victorian coming to the present and finding love accidentally.

Oddly, my conception of Christopher Reeve’s acting style is less from Superman and more from Noises Off! There may be more Superman, but I’ve seen Noises Off! more frequently.

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The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown. The Bryna Company 1980.
The Final Countdown. The Bryna Company 1980.

Before watching the movie:

So this is about a modern aircraft carrier dropped in the Pacific before Pearl Harbor. It appeals to me because I’m interested to see how modern military mixes with time travel, how they handle the realization, and how they get home. I don’t think I’ve seen accidental time travel done with large groups that didn’t use space-warping transportation daily and have practical “should you find yourself in the wrong time” procedures.

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The Shining

The Shining. Hawk Films 1980.
The Shining. Hawk Films 1980.

Before watching the movie:

Well, we’re out of a stealth theme month. First person to send their guess as to what December’s theme was to me via Astral Projection wins a genuine No-Prize.

Here’s another selection from the “how did you miss that one?” files. As I think I’ve discussed previously, I avoided horror movies for years because I didn’t like being scared, and then when I started catching up on them in my 20s, I found myself at best unaffected, and at worst cringing at the cheese. This one seems to be mostly psychological horror, so it should be better than the classic slashers I saw previously.

Thanks to pop cultural osmosis, I know more about the movie than I’d prefer to be going in with, but that’s usually the case when The Simpsons parodies a movie wholesale.

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Friday the Thirteenth

Friday the Thirteenth. Paramount Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

Well, I reviewed Nightmare on Elm Street, so it was only a matter of time before getting to this one. It also happens to be a time where three important factors come together: the post goes up on a Friday the 13th, I remember I have this movie in the lineup, and I don’t currently feel it’s too cheesy to do Friday the Thirteenth on Friday the 13th.

I think this codified the modern slasher film, so I’m probably going to have to overlook a lot of apparent unoriginality and formula-reliance. Also, this is one of those stories that our culture doesn’t allow one to be ignorant of the end. But I’ll still be courteous to any rock-dwelling, internet-connected cinephiles. Continue reading