Celebrating my 31st by catching up with some stuff I missed from my birth year.
9 1/2 Weeks (1986, dir. Adrian Lyne)
Critters (1986, dir. Stephen Herek)
E.T. and Gremlins, I couldn’t help but feel that it lacked the energy and soul that propelled those titles into classics. The boxes are all checked, of course: Precocious adolescent lead? Check. Older sister I’d totally have had a crush on when I was thirteen? Check. Eccentric townspeople getting into mischief? Check. Dee Wallace as the mom? Check. But those elements felt perfunctory, as if the people who wanted to make a weird movie about enigmatic, shape-shifting bounty hunters from space got shouted down by the people who wanted to make a family blockbuster that grandma could enjoy. There’s no real fun in the human stuff, at least not as much as in “alien with a ray gun disguises himself as a hair metal star and assassinates a bowling alley.” Adam Riske assures me that Critters 2: The Main Course is the superior film, and (taking a shot completely in the dark) I’m willing to bet that’s because it takes more chances. Critters takes very few chances. It just sort of exists.
Maximum Overdrive (1986, dir. Stephen King)
River’s Edge (1986, dir. Tim Hunter)
Heathers and Stand By Me had some of that freaky 9 1/2 Weeks sex and dropped their manic lovechild directly into a dysfunctional family. That life is a miserable disaster is just a given to these kids — adults are fucked up and distracted to the point of being completely useless. That said, I’m eager to watch the movie again with special attention to the seminars on morality and radicalism from Mr. Burkewaite (Jim Metzler), whose very presence in the film feels like a break in the fourth wall. I bet there’s optimism hidden in all the hopeless cynicism. The more I reflect on River’s Edge, the more it creeps in on me. How cool is that?
True Stories (1986, dir. David Byrne)
What are your birth year movie shames? Leave them below.