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.
The seminal hip-hop film looks at underground Bronx art culture, including rap, graffiti art, break-dancing (aka b-boying) and DJing (aka turntablism), as we follow the exploits of a graffiti artist named Zoro and his quest to take his art and make it a living. Charlie Ahearn and Fab 5 Freddy created this film to expose to the world the genuine artistry and talent going on in the South Bronx, with lost of scenes of the authentic underground artists and their phenomenal talents. Imitated, but never duplicated, WILD STYLE is the grand daddy of all films covering hip-hop.
Christopher Walken stars as a scientist out to protect his project, one that involves being able to experience the senses and emotions of another person, from getting into the wrong hands. Natalie Wood, in her final film role, co-stars as the wife he is about to lose, if only they could remember the love they once had. Special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull directs this troubled but still intriguing science fiction exploration that was, perhaps, too ahead of its time to transplant what he envisioned into our own minds.
Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy star in this major hit from 1983, one of the first films to break through into the world of hacking and the burgeoning internet, WarGames. Directed by John Badham, this tells the tale of a teenager who hacks into a database he thinks will allow him to play a not-yet-released video game only to discover he’s in a machine used by the military to launch nuclear missiles in a time of crisis. The computer has games of its own, one called “Global Thermonuclear War”, but the teenager soon discovers that the game may not be a game after all, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance, as the military brass must decide to counterattack what might be a simulation.
Gone is Richard Donner, gone is Gene Hackman, and gone is the epic feel of the SUPERMAN series with SUPERMAN III, in which the creators finally wrest the controls away to make what they’ve been wanting to make all along: comedies! Richard Lester returns as director, as Superman, once again played by Christopher Reeve, has to battle a genius computer hacker played by Richard Pryor from assisting megalomaniac businessman Robert Vaughn from taking over the economic future of the world through computer dominance.
Bob Clark directs and co-writes my favorite Christmas film of the 1980s, and perhaps my favorite of any era, A CHRISTMAS STORY, a nostalgic look at childhood that makes me nostalgic for my own. Peter Billingsley stars as Ralphie, who wants more than anything to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, even though the adults think he’ll just shoot his eye out.
This final entry sees the Empire creating a new Death Star, a feat with such magnitude, even the Emperor himself has come to oversee the progress. Meanwhile, a rescue attempt is underway to try to spring Han Solo from his icy trap in Jabba the Hut’s lair. Luke has grown in his Jedi training, but only a confrontation with Darth Vader will make the transformation complete, and its a showdown Luke wants to avoid now that familial ties have been revealed. The Rebellion once again plans to destroy the Death Star before it becomes functional by eliminating the force field surrounding it generated by a base on a nearby planet, but the Emperor isn’t a fool, and has a few surprises up his sleeve.