Gimme 5: Classic 80s Films You Might Have Missed

For the month of May, I’ve decided to do a cheesy tie-in here on the Rants blog.  Since May is the fifth month of the year and I enjoy lists which include five items,…well, you get it.  A list of five things I find necessary to bring to your attention will be posted each week during this month.  We’ll kick off with Five Classic 80s Films You Might Have Missed, a list of must-see movies which may not be on the radar of the average bear, listed in no particular order.

Summer School (1987) – A typical high schooler may recognize Marc Harmon as the gray-haired guy from NCIS, but once upon a time, he made a successful foray into comedy.  Harmon plays a gym teacher who is Hawaii-bound as the last bell of the school year rings, only to be cornered on his way out and forced into teaching remedial English during summer school.  As a kid, I always hoped to grow up to be as cool and witty as Harmon’s Freddy Shoop.  I’d like to think I’ve come part way there by now.  I’m not going to outline the entire movie for you, but you can imagine the kind of hilarity which comes when a laid back gym teacher and a bunch of misfits are stuck spending a few weeks together.  Also, if you look really hard, you can spot a fit Kirstie Alley.

Bachelor Party (1984) – Few have ever been as hilarious in movies as Tom Hanks was in the 80s.  While The Hangover has become the preeminent bachelor party movie, 25 years before it, Tom and his gang of friends wreaked havoc on a hotel while trying to send him off in style.  Everything which can go wrong goes wrong and everything which can go right goes right.  An angry ex, a drugged up donkey, and disdaining in-laws merely scratch the surface of the frenzy packed into this hour and half.  Needless to say, with his charmingly hilarious persona, I also wanted to grow up to be Tom Hanks.

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)Yes, everyone has seen Holy Grail.  Sadly, I come across many people who haven’t seen this movie, the last of the four Python films.  Some feel it falls flat because it doesn’t follow a straight story.  Personally, I like the sketch type of flow the movie has and how they guide you through the progression of life, from getting yanked out of your mother at the hospital (and what a show that is) to a tasteful group death led by the Grim Reaper.  It may even qualify as a musical just as much as a comedy, considering the epic dance numbers and upbeat tunes which pepper the movie.  If you enjoy quick and easy (and gory) laughs which end up tying a film together in the end, makes your eyes take a gander at this one.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)I always loved comedy teams, and some of the best duo movies were made by Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.  While I’m also a huge fan of Stir Crazy, it seems everyone has seen that already.  Here’s all you need to know about this movie: Richard Pryor is blind, Gene Wilder is deaf, and they’re running around trying to prove their innocence after getting charged with murder.  Plus, they’re getting chased by Kevin Spacey.  You tell me what part of that doesn’t sound appealing.  I actually watched this with my parents a few weeks ago and had to repeatedly pause the DVD because the two of them were laughing so hard that they were missing the next bit of dialogue.  I’ve seen the movie quite a few times and the jokes never get old for me.  Here’s hoping more actors and writers see all the Pryor/Wilder flicks and finally make some new quality movies with great comedy teams.

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)This film might be from the tail end of the 70’s but it helped establish the template for almost every teen comedy for the next decade.  All the future clichés are accounted for in this movie: misunderstood teenagers, controlling authority figures, musical montages, rock concerts, and a killer soundtrack.  Plus, the Ramones being the centerpiece of the movie really pushes this one to classic status for me.  Granted, it has become something of a cult classic since it was produced by Roger Corman, and Ramones fans enjoy the fantasy of the band being so popular during that era.  If you dig teen comedies and exploding mice, there should be nothing stopping you from seeing this movie.

Okay, that’s it.  Next week, I will teach you all about the laws of the universe.

Yes, really.