77 – Lose Yourself, Find Yourself: AMERICAN DREAMER (1984)



JoBeth Williams stars as suburban Ohio housewife and mother Cathy Palmer, who escapes her joyless marriage in her spare time by reading her favorite romantic thriller novels, all starring a Modesty Blaise-like globe-hopping female private detective, Rebecca Ryan. She loves them so much, she enters a Rebecca Ryan fan fiction writing contest in which the winner of the would-be authors scores an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris, including seeing all the famous sights, as well as meeting the author of the novels herself, Margaret McMann.  When her selfish hubby tells her he has no time for it, and she should just not go at all, Cathy decides she’s going to Paris alone if she must, leaving him and their two boys behind for the week. A curious thing happens on the trip, as Cathy ends up taking a blow to the head after getting hit by a car while pursuing some purse thieves, and when she awakens in the hospital, she not only forgets she’s Cathy, but she thinks she’s the heroine of her novels, Rebecca Ryan herself. She begins her make-over to glamour and adventure, all the while imagining everyone and everything around her is part of a plot of one of the novels, including the leader of the French opposition party, whom she suspects is part of her mission to help protect.  Meanwhile, she mistakes Englishman Alan McMann, Margaret’s son (played by Scottish actor, Tom Conti), as her partner-in-crime-solving, Dmitri, and the two get themselves into a heap of real trouble as she dives head-first into snooping around where she doesn’t belong without the skills or expertise to truly know what she’s doing.


76 – Lose Yourself, Find Yourself: DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN (1985)



Rosanna Arquette stars as Roberta Glass, a dreamer New Jersey housewife who contents herself to reading about the mysterious lives of others through perusing the personals in the local paper.  One in particular has caught her eye, involving “Jim and Susan” (Susan is played by Madonna) who use the ads in order to meet in public places.  Curious Roberta heads out to catch a glimpse of the two when they meet in New York City, and. through a mishap, ends up with amnesia, not to mention a case of mistaken identity that sees her playing the role of being Susan herself.  Trouble is, the artsy hipster Susan is being followed by a crazed thug (Will Patton) intent on recovering some heisted priceless Egyptian artifacts that end up given to Jim, earrings that have been seen in the real Susan’s possession.  With the help of Jim’s friend Dez (Aidan Quinn), who also mistakenly thinks Roberta is Susan, she must traverse this dangerous territory and find meaning to her own life, even if she has to live the life of another to do it. Susan Seidelman directs this whimsical, artsy farce.


75 – A Novel Romance: SHE-DEVIL (1989)



Roseanne Barr stars as Ruth Pratchett, a devoted wife to her accountant hubby Bob (Ed Begley Jr.), and mother to two precocious children.  One day while attending a swank party, Bob meets and eventually has a fling with best-selling romance novelist Mary Fisher (Meryl Streep), and while they do their best to keep things under wraps, Ruth knows better.  As their marriage falls apart, Ruth vows revenge, and set about destroying all of the things good old Bob and his mistress hold dear – his home, his family, his career, and his freedom. Susan Seidelman directs this cult comedy.


74 – A Novel Romance: THE JEWEL OF THE NILE (1985)



In this follow-up to the 1984 hit, Romancing the Stone, it’s hard to live up to a “happily ever after ending”, especially for a successful romance novelist like Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), who has learned more about romance in the chase than she does in the union of the two would-be lovebirds.  It’s affecting her work, as she struggles to come up with new dreams and situations to fuel her romance novels, resulting in a prolonged bout of writer’s block. As Joan and her hunky man of adventure, Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), have spent their time living the life of luxury partying in Cannes and sailing on their yacht off the French Riviera, boredom begins to set in, realizing the excitement in their lives lie more in reminiscing, causing them to wonder if their good run of romance has run out as they near the expectation of their marriage in Greece.

When a well-known leader within the fictional North African country of Kadir, a supremely wealthy sheikh named Omar (Spyros Fokas), approaches her to write his life’s story, on the hope of elevating his status among his people to become the new emperor there, Joan sees new possibilities to change her scenery, her outlook, and her horizons as a writer.  Jack and Joan reluctantly split up, but when Jack catches wind that Omar may be in possession of the mysteriously alluring “Jewel of the Nile”, his soldier-of-fortune ways get the better of him, so he decides to get a closer look in Kadir, as does the diminutive lowlife named Ralph (Danny DeVito), who insists that Jack owes him enough for them to help each other get the jewel and split their fortune.  Meanwhile, Joan discovers that Omar’s dark side and his attempt at a bloody power grab, leading her to try to get the scoop, as well as help spring a valuable prisoner who is seen as a folk hero to the people of the region, and therefore, Omar’s greatest threat to be respected as leader.


73 – A Novel Romance: ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)



Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), a best-selling writer of romance novels, has little romance in her own life. She dreams of a tall, dark and handsome man to rescue her and whisk her off her feet, much like the hero in her series of sexy adventure novels, though her waiting for her idealized man may be the reason why she is still single. When Joan’s sister is kidnapped, Joan must travel to Colombia to give some baddies a mysterious map she was sent by her recently butchered brother-in-law to free her. Unfortunately, the corrupt local police are after the same map and when Joan takes the wrong bus upon arrival, she soon finds herself on the run for her life. She comes across a local soldier of fortune named Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), who agrees to escort her to the nearest phone booth (for a price), but soon discovers the journey will be harder than they bargained for. Jack has the idea that they should follow the map to get to the treasure it points to, because it is the treasure and not the map that is the true bargaining chip. Could this be the adventure she has searched for all her life?  Danny DeVito co-stars in this Robert Zemeckis film.


72 – “Indy” Movies – INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)



Last Crusade begins with River Phoenix playing a young Indiana Jones, even at a young age, having a thirst for adventure.  His father (Connery), who is also professor of Medieval literature, is acutely obsessed with tracking down any information he can get regarding the whereabouts of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and, as a result, little attention is paid to young Indy.  Flash forward to 1938, where Indiana (Harrison Ford) finds that his father has been kidnapped by the Nazis, who are also looking for the Holy Grail, and the legendary powers of immortality it may hold.  Indy and his dad have never quite seen eye to eye, which makes Indiana’s subsequent rescue attempts all the more interesting, as he tries to impress a man who only lives for the Grail.  Steven Spielberg directs, with another memorable John Williams score in what was intended to be the iconic character’s final cinematic adventure.


71 – “Indy” Movies: INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)



While INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM is a sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s really a prequel, set in 1935, a year before.  Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds himself in Shanghai on the hunt for a precious diamond, but gets in over his head, chased out of town with his assistant, a young boy nicknamed Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan), and Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), a ditsy, blonde, nightclub singer.  Having to make a hasty exit into the Himalayas from a crashing airplane, Indy and friends find themselves in a starving village in India, who see their visitors as saviors destined to save their children who they believe have been taken away by resurrected forces of evil at a formerly abandoned palace.  The trio set off for the palace in search of lost children, a sacred stone…and fortune and glory.


70 – “Indy” Movies: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)



The year is 1936, just before the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime.  Hitler has been seeking the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, the container for the original tablets containing the Ten Commandments, reportedly used by God’s people in the days of old to crush their enemies using its vast powers.  For over 2,000 years, the Ark has been completely hidden somewhere, and the Nazis are digging in one of the sites reported to be a resting place for it.  The American government seeks fame and fortune hunter, Dr. Henry Jones, to find the Ark before it ends up in the wrong hands, but it’s easier said than done, as he must not only face peril at every turn, he must bring along an old flame who no longer has much tolerance for the likes of Indiana Jones.

Harrison Ford would catapult to super-stardom after this one, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas solidifying their place as they greatest blockbuster filmmakers of their generation. Can’t forget that amazing John Williams score, either.


69 – Stealing Home: THE GOONIES (1985)



Sean Astin stars as Mikey, the youngest of two brothers who are about to move from their home in Astoria, Oregon because their family lacks the funds to stop a developer from taking over the area to expand a lush country club.  This would end many friendships with the other children in the area, which they’ve dubbed “the Goondocks”, and their crew call themselves The Goonies, who are united in their quest for adventure and shenanigans.  Things take an interesting turn when a map is discovered in Mikey’s father’s collection of antiques in their attic, which promises to lead to the secret fortune of the infamous One-Eyed Willy, whose cache of jewels promises to make them rich beyond imagination, once they get though all the pirate booty-traps (er, I mean, booby-traps).  The gang end up finding the entrance to the caves where the loot is hidden, but a rival group of thieves threatens to get there first, and to kill anyone who gets in their way. Steven Spielberg produces, Chris Columbus scripts, and Richard Donner directs.  Also features Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Quan, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Anne Ramsey, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, and Joe Pantoliano.


68 – Stealing Home: BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED (1987)



Real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy star as Frank and Faye Riley, the owners of a small diner in a dilapidated building that also houses their apartment in the slums of Manhattan.  The rest of the tenants of the building are being paid off to evacuate ASAP, so that greedy land developers can take over and demolish the building in order to erect some high-rise corporate edifices.  Those that refuse are being threatened with injury “or worse” by some local thugs that are also on the corporate payroll to scare the bejesus out of the remaining tenants.  Without anyone to turn to, a desperate plea may have saved the day, as a couple of miniature flying saucers arrive, consuming metal materials and then fixing up damaged parts of the building.  The saucers befriend the remaining tenants, although the thugs and land developers are determined to put an end to this new development even if it costs lives in the process.  Steven Spielberg produced this quaint sci-fi fairy tale.


67 – Stealing Home: THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980)



The film starts out with Jake Blues (John Belushi) being released from prison, picked up by his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) in a used cop car turned “Blues Mobile”.  They make good on a promise to visit the orphanage they grew up in, only to find it is in danger of being shut down, due needing $5,000 in tax money owed.  With only days to go before it is too late, the Blues Brothers are inspired by a vision from God to save the orphanage, which they plan to do by reuniting the band they played in.  This proves to be a tough task, as all of the members have moved on to other occupations.  Not only this, but along the way, they manage to piss off the police, the Illinois Nazi Party, and just about everyone else they come across in their bid to make enough money to deliver by the deadline without getting caught, or worse.


66 – Breakin’ Through: BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO (1984)



Somewhere underneath the never-ending music and dance numbers is a story about keeping Shabba-Doo’s community center for inner city youth (named “Miracles”) from falling into the hands of a slimy developer who wants to bulldoze it to erect a shopping center in the middle of the community.  This would leave the kids nowhere else to go, so obviously they choose to fight the city council’s decision to shut it down, but a window of opportunity exists, which calls for $200,000 in necessary repairs.


65 – Breakin’ Through: BREAKIN’ (1984)



Former “Solid Gold” dancer Lucinda Dickey stars as Kelly, a waitress by day, aspiring jazz dancer in her spare time.  She has the looks and talent to go far, at least according to her dance instructor, but this move seems to come at a price, as he wants a little action on the side to help her career.  She makes friends with a couple of local street dancers, aka break-dancers, Ozone and Turbo, and she becomes enamored of the mannerisms and moves of the street dancers.  They agree to teach her some steps in order to gain street rep, while she has a crazy idea to make break-dancing more mainstream in the form of a staged musical about it.  Alas, the conservative art crowd scoffs at the idea, as do the rival street-dancing crews who want to be prove they are the best of the bunch.


64 – Breakin’ Through: STYLE WARS (1983)



Style Wars is a documentary look at the street art among the youth of New York in the early 1980s, especially in the South Bronx, particularly in graffiti art and break-dancing.  The film takes a balanced look at the youth culture, showing the artistry and thought involved in young people trying to make a name and impact by creating art for people all over the city to see on the side (or the interior) of a subway train, but also shows the frustration on the part of then-mayor Ed Koch, as well as law enforcement, in trying to keep the city from the blight of illegal art that often looks like gibberish to most people.


63 – Rap Attack: BEAT STREET (1984)



Producer and activist Harry Belafonte’s commercialized slice-of-life drama stars Guy Davis as Kenny ‘Double K’ Kirkland, a South Bronx hip-hop DJ with big dreams, and Jon Chardiet as Ramon, a Puerto Rican graffiti artist who would rather tag trains than get a real job.  Rae Dawn Chong is Tracy, an upper-class music student from  a college in Manhattan who sees something in Kenny’s proficiency with turntablism to want him to assist with her presentation on break-dancing.