This dive into the history of film is now moving into the ‘80s. I’ve been going back to look at the movies released in America around the time I am writing in five-year increments. So far, it’s been pretty bleak. Most movies seem to have more bad movies than good ones. Maybe that’s always true of every month but you just don’t think about it. I know that I don’t usually just sit there and assess each month in terms of movie quality. Now, I move to 1985. Also, I’m going to move ahead to May, since at the time of this writing April is basically done and May is right around the corner. Let’s see what happens.
I have been using Wikipedia for this process, and for some reason 1985 does not have as much coverage as previous months. Only a handful of movies are mentioned, and they aren’t in a table. Maybe they just don’t bother with the movies they don’t feel to be notable at all. Anyway, May 1985 was huge, because the movie Gymkata came out. You know, the thrill of gymnastics meets the kill of karate. It’s an action film built around Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas. He uses his gymnastics ability to enter one of those fighting competitions where the contestants kill each other. There will be random stuff around he can vault off of in his fights. Gymkata is a cult movie of the “so bad it’s good variety.” It’s existence is joyous, even if the movie is straight-up awful.
Speaking of awful, Rambo: First Blood Part II. In addition to being a clunky movie title, by this point the Rambo series had become completely insane action nonsense. The first movie had some points about PTSD and war and Vietnam. This is just Sylvester Stallone looking all roided up and mowing people down. That month also saw the premiere of A View to a Kill, which was Roger Moore’s last James Bond film. Moore was about 58 when the movie came out. That’s a bit old for Bond, though Christopher Walken plays the bad guy, which is fun.
Lastly, a couple notable comedies came out. One is mediocre, one is actually good. Brewster’s Millions stars Richard Pryor as a baseball player who has to spend a ton of money in order to get even more money. It’s alright, which is about as good as Pryor’s movies get. I know he was a star, but the guy just didn’t make very good films. Then, there’s Fletch, a movie from the heyday of Chevy Chase. He was at his deadpan, snarky best at this time. This was maybe the end of the good period of Chase’s career. He stars as Irwin R. Fletcher, an investigative journalist delving into a story. Along the way he drops a bunch of jokes and quips. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun. The dramatic mystery is actually pretty solid, and Chase is really well-suited for the role. I like Fletch more than, say, Vacation or maybe even Caddyshack. Also, Geena Davis is great in a small role.
So that’s May 1985. We have a Bond film, a bad Rambo film, an amazing cult classic, a mediocre comedy, and a really good comedy. That’s not too terrible. I’d happily watch a double feature of Fletch and Gymkata.