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The Class of ’84 Blogathon arrives

October 25th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Buckaroo Banzai, 1984, Pepe Serna, Peter Weller, Lewis Smith, Jeff Goldblum

There was probably no better year to be a kid going to the movies than 1984.

It seems like I might have spent most of the year at two theaters in northwest Houston: the AMC North Oaks 6 and a six screen General Cinemas theater at the gargantuan Willowbrook Mall. Willowbrook featured countless retail stores. Toys By Roy and a shop that sold role playing game gear are two that stand out because I was their ideal customer at the time.

I preferred North Oaks. In addition to the movie theater, there was B. Dalton Booksellers and Aladdin’s Castle arcade. North Oaks lacked an essential element in the development of the mall as a social scene — the food court — but this suited my purposes well. I could safely enter the world of the movie with minimal risk of running into Shu-Shu Taylor and worrying what I would have to say to her.

Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Top Secret!, Night of the Comet, Dune, Beverly Hills Cop and Starman are among the pictures I remember spending time in a darkened theater with. Some (Red Dawn, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Johnny Dangerously) I felt were masterpieces at the time. Others (Conan the Destroyer, Cannonball Run II, Runaway) I felt were crap then and 25 years has done little to change my mind.

Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984, Heather Langenkamp

Dialing the way-back machine to the year of 1984 with me over the next several days are the following bloggers. This post will be updated as their links continue to come in, so check back. If you enjoy the content you’re discovering at these sites, bookmark, blogroll or brag about them to anyone you know who loves reading about movies.

Jeremy Richey at Moon In The Gutter brings us all a dream of Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare On Elm Street, with some spooky screen shots.

Neil Fulwood at The Agitation of the Mind opens up the ledger on Sergio Leone’s melancholy swan song Once Upon A Time in America.

Ivan Lerner at The United Provinces of Ivanlandia (too bad for anyone else thinking of naming their blog that!) is all over the stupidest smart movie of 1984: Red Dawn.

Mike Phillips at goatdogblog answers the question of how you make a documentary without the cooperation of the subject with Maximillian Schell’s Marlene.

Red Dawn, 1984, Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze

“Wings” at Caffeinated Joe beholds Crispin Glover dancing and other Crystal Lake horrors in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

Jeff McMahon at When the Dead Walk the Earth chimes in with what he loves about Bill “Ghostbustin” Murray in Ghostbusters.

Patricia Evans at Pretty Pink Patty’s Pictures takes us back through the dark woods with Little Red Riding Hood in The Company of Wolves. Apropos to Patricia’s location, Neil Jordan’s adult faerie tale opened in the U.K. in 1984.

Kelsy Chesnut at cheerful cynicism embarks on a review as epic and ridiculous as the film itself, taking her first trip to the David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Fantastic post, Kelsy!

Jim Wilson at Let’s Not Talk About Movies recounts the legend of Roy Hobbs, a siren’s bullet and a baseball bat called Wonderboy in The Natural.

Splash, 1984, Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah

Chuck Bowen at Bowen’s-Cinematic revisits Ron Howard’s “wonderful, frisky fantasy” Splash. I couldn’t have said it any better, Chuck!

Edward Copeland at Edward Copeland on Film polishes off his Blue Blaze Irregular badge and blasts back to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension.

Daniel Getahun at Getafilm marvels over The Gods Must Be Crazy. A film connoisseur, Dan knows that this South African comedy played all over the globe before reaching U.S. art houses in 1984, but his take makes me glad he picked it.

Amanda Rehagen at My Life in Movies ventures back to Fantasia for Wolfgang Petersen’s adaptation of Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. Awesome selection, Amanda! Can’t wait to find out if that creature was a dragon or a flying dog.

In the first of two exclusives he nabbed for this blogathon, Jim Magovern at The Moviezzz Blog chats with actress Catherine Mary Stewart about The Last Starfighter and Night of the Comet. Coming real soon, Stewart’s Comet co-star Kelli Maroney. Jim, you win the Carl Bernstein Award for tenacity!

Night of the Comet, 1984, Kelli Maroney, Catherine Mary Stewart

Jim Magovern at The Moviezzz Blog grabs a word or two with actress Kelli Maroney about Night of the Comet.

Megan Cahalan at All I Need Is Everything uses the movies of 1984 to recall an experience growing up. On Monday, it was doing “The Neutron Dance” from Beverly Hills Cop. Tuesday brings memories of Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner doing the business in Romancing the Stone. I really enjoyed your take on this blogathon, Megan.

J.D. Lafrance at Radiator Heaven dreams about Michael Pare and Diane Lane in Walter Hill’s maligned rock ‘n roll fable Streets of Fire.

Christian Divine at Technicolor Dreams turns in an old homework assignment, but his defense of Alex Cox’s Repo Man rates way better than an incomplete grade.

Marilyn Ferdinand at Ferdy on Films descends into Michael Radford’s adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. Thanks, Marilyn! This post was worth the wait and is a key film to close to the blogathon on.

Top Secret!, 1984, Lucy Gutteridge, Val Kilmer

Tags: Thoughts and theories

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Megan // Oct 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Mine’s not done yet, but it’ll be up by tomorrow night, I’ll let you know. SO looking forward to reading all these. 84 was a good movie-going year for me, too. I had lots of babysitting money that summer! :)

  • 2 Wings (Caffeinated Joe) // Oct 26, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Great idea for a blogathon & I am happy to be taking part!

    Can’t wait to read what everyone else has in store.

  • 3 Flickhead // Oct 26, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I’ve got a few years on you, old boy. I thought about contributing, but, well, it didn’t happen.

    “There was probably no better year to be a kid going to the movies than 1984.”

    1965 was better, far, far better, trust me.

  • 4 Joe Valdez // Oct 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Ray: Your honesty is refreshing in this Internet age of ours. What boggles my mind is even uttering 1965 in the same breath as 1984. Based on offerings like Thunderball, Help!, The Great Race, The Sons of Katie Elder or That Darn Cat,’65 has to be one of the dullest movie years on record. Unless you went to see The Sound of Music 12 times …

  • 5 kelsy // Oct 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks for letting a youngster who wasn’t even born yet in 1984 participate. This was a fun idea that reminded me of movies I saw when I was little and reminded me of how many more I have to see!

  • 6 Flickhead // Oct 27, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Joe, you forgot to mention Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster!

  • 7 Ivan // Oct 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Oo-oo-oo! Fight! 1984 vs. 1965: who will survive and what will be left of them? Oops, sorry, that’s a tagline from 1974….

    Joe,
    Once again, let me say THANKS for putting this all together.
    –Ivan

  • 8 christian // Oct 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Joe, are you saying that Sean Connery in THUNDERBALL at the height of 1965 Bondmania was “dull”? Along with The Beatles HELP? There was also Lester’s brilliant THE KNACK and Godard’s ALPHAVILLE, DR. ZHIVAGO and GHIDRAH THE THREE HEADED MONSTER and THE IPCRESS FILE and JULIET OF THE SPIRITS and A THOUSAND CLOWNS and VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS!

  • 9 Marilyn // Oct 29, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I’m working on 1984, but life keeps getting in the way. I’m aiming for today, but is tomorrow too late, Joe?

  • 10 Flickhead // Oct 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    And Christian, let’s not forget Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster!

  • 11 christian // Oct 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    1965 was a banner year for bad and good genre films fer sure. I need to revisit FMTSM as I always liked the monsters and the great 60’s go-go soundtrack…

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