Hello, all Hairy here. I know it's taken awhile for Blofeld to complete his 80's list, but he's been busy, busy, busy capturing and torturing international spies and fulfilling plans to take over the world. If ya don't
like it, ya can take it up with the bald one's cat.|
THE 80's LIST, PART VI: 1983- SECTION I
All right, all right, I'm late, but I'm almost half way through the decade.
Considering that I started this list in print 11 years ago, before the
internet was available to me, I think I'm moving along at quite a nice pace.
Besides, it takes awhile to gather all of the information from my jumpsuited
henchmen working in my gigantic SPECTRE compound somewhere deep in the Andes
mountains, in between creating death traps for spies who infiltrate my base.
Because I'm a villain, you see? Get it? Not some dork with a 9-5 job working
for a laserdisc company.
I took some heat for placing "Conan the Barbarian" above "E.T." on my 1982
list, but I think Spielberg didn't really stretch himself much with his cute
little ailen film. Sure it made tons of money, but it just doesn't show much
range at all. John Milius, though, was able to wring much more raw emotion
than people are used to seeing in action films. I've read a script of a
project he's rumored to be considering called "Red Commie Invasion," that
will prove to cement his reputation in the pantheon of the greats.
Enough of that, though, let's get started with the list, shall we? I have my
ICBM missle stealing plan to get back to. Because I'm a villain bent on
world domination, remember?
1. THE KING OF COMEDY
The big surprise of the year for me- Jerry Lewis. Don't be fooled by the title, Lewis gives perhaps the most dramatic and nuanced performance in the entire film. Overall, Scorsese has delivered a taught drama about our society's obsession with celebrity and all that entails. DeNiro, for my money, though was just a bit on this side of "Too Much," though he seemed to really get inside the head of this Pupkin character to the point where you have to wonder about him.
There are two sequences that I think will live on in clip specials for decades to come: The first comes after DeNiro has captured Lewis, wth the help of his equally insane friend, Sandra Bernhardt(sp?). She does this bizarre, frightening and funny dance that had me squirming and laughing in my seat at the same time. The other happens when Jerry is on the streets of New York, trying to get to his office. This woman in a phone booth stops him to ask for an autograph. When he refuses, she screams "Cancer! You should only have cancer!" as he runs away, embarassed. Definitely one of the funniest scenes in the history of film.
Scorsese seems on track to make his work in this decade as memorable as his explosion onto the scene in the 70s. I hear his next project is supposed to be more of a straightforward comedy. I haven't seen a script yet, but I'll post a review up here as soon as I get ahold of it.
2. RETURN OF THE JEDI
Of course this would make the list. A virtual no-brainer. Easily the most rollicking of the Star Wars films so far (Until the first three and last three in the series are made), Lucas and Kasdan's script (Unlike his work on 'The Big Chill' [See my Ten Worst]) crackles with equal parts fun and drama, bringing this part of the story to a satisfying close. Everyone comes back (even Billy Dee), and stories are wrapped up. I won't spoil it if you still haven't seen it, but let's just say that the Emperor and Darth Vader both die.
I think this is an excellent way to leave these characters that we have all come to know and love. All of the actors give virtuoso performances, able to keeb it both lighthearted and dramatic when we need it. The action scenes and special effects are without peer, and I doubt we'll see better work come along for quite some time. I have one quibble though- This would have made number one, were it not for the inclusion of the Ewoks. Let us hope that George Lucas has learned his lesson, and won't stoop to the Steven Spielberg school of inserting cute characters into films simply to reach a mass audience.
You can have your Terms of Endearment dramafest. The year's most touching
film for me concerned a certain dancer/steelworkernamed Jennifer Beals.
Adrian Lyne (whose 'Foxes' made my 1980 runner's up list) uses a brilliant
script by Joe Eszterhas to create what I can only call the modern updating
of the type of films Frank Capra made at his height.
And that soundtrack! Irene Cara, Michael Sembello, Shandi- Lyne picked the perfect songs to keep this film moving along, yet set just the right tone. In this age when MTV and music videos are becoming the rage, I think we'll see more dynamic, visually exciting works like this, as we usher in a new age of filmmaking. Jennifer Beals is able to tred lightly and ably that thin line between rough and tumble factorywoman and nimble, gentle dancer. Definitely one of the most uplifting films I've seen in years.
4. SUPERMAN III
Okay, the first Superman film was a okay. The second, a great
improvement. Sure Dick Donner tries to take most of the credit for number
two, but the name up on the credits is Richard Lester, and with good reason.
He just kept going upward with the third in what I'm sure will be a
long-lasting series of films, perhaps like the James Bond series. (Though, I
hope not, as James Bond is my enemy. Because I'm Blofeld, one of the guys he
goes after, remember?)
This is the real deal. I doubt we're likely to see a film adaptation of a
comic book that nails it as dead on as this does. Reeve is in top form here,
as America's favorite hero. What provides balance, here, though is the
subtle, nuanced performance of Richard Pryor. His work in the scene, getting
that security guard drunk is some of the best we've seen from him in years.
But the highest kudos have to be reserved for Christopher Reeve. His ability
to show both the good and dark sides of the man of steel due to the fake
kryptonite laced with tobacco should have garnered him an Oscar nomination,
at least. Plus, it was fun to see everyne's favorite Man from U.N.C.L.E.,
Robert Vaughn, back in action.
Okay, that's all I have for now. In the next installment, I'll have numbers 4-8 ("WarGames," "Risky Business," "Betrayal," "Silkwood") and the first four of my worst of the year ("The Big Chill," "Terms Of Endearment," "The Right Stuff," "Chained Heat")
Don't despair, we'll get there, eventually. And world leaders don't forget- empty your treasuries into my Swiss Bank account by midnight Thursday, or else. because I'm Blofeld. The villain in such films as "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "Diamonds Are Forever," remember. But mostly the Telly Savalas one.