Tag Archives: comedy

RoboCop (1987) | Paul Verhoeven



RoboCop is set in near-future Detroit, where the city streets are just about completely dominated by the criminal element, while the police are neither respected nor welcome; they are virtually walking targets out there.  Desperate to clean up the crime-ridden community and build a gleaming new one in its place, the government officials turn to OCP, Omni Consumer Products, to build and manufacture the future of law enforcement, robotic police that are more powerful and well-armed than anything anyone has ever seen.  However, when the first prototypes prove inconsistent, the city officials balk at the idea, so an upstart faction within the OCP comes up with a newer, more “human” cop, a cyborg built using the remnant body of downed officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller), and dubbed simply as “RoboCop”.Things proceed splendidly for the RoboCop program, that is, until the human side of the cyborg begins to recollect his past life as Murphy, plagued with flashbacks to the family he lost and the psychopathic criminals who all but ended his life as he knew it.  Determined to bring the bad guys that did him in to justice, RoboCop sets out on a mission of his own, not realizing that the gang in question is actually in cahoots with a rogue entity within the OCP, who for all intents and purposes, also own the city, the police department, and the machine side of Murphy. Paul Verhoeven directs this scathing and potent satire on American commercialism and privatization.


Overboard (1987) | Garry Marshall



Goldie Hawn plays the ultra-disdainful Joanna Slayton, who hires a carpenter, Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell), while stopping off for repairs in their luxury yacht off the coast of the small town of Elk Cove, Oregon, with her snobby hubby Grant (Edward Herrmann), in order to remodel her closet space for her extensive designer clothing collection. The two don’t see eye to eye on his work, and Joanna refuses payment, leaving him walking away miffed, especially as she also tosses him and his pricey tools overboard. When Joanna ends up falling off the yacht, she ends up drifting ashore with amnesia. Grant sees this as his opportunity to sow some wild oats, while Dean, seeing her story on the news, sees a way to get payback by claiming she is his wife Annie and making her do all of the household chores for him and his four bratty boys. Annie knows nothing about such matters but soon settles into the role Dean tells her she has always had, but as the two grow feelings for one another, there will be a reckoning should she ever remember where she actually came from. Garry Marshall directs.


American Dreamer (1984) | Rick Rosenthal



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.


Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) | Susan Seidelman



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.


She-Devil (1989) | Susan Seidelman



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.


The Jewel of the Nile (1985) | Lewis Teague



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.


Romancing the Stone (1984) | Robert Zemeckis



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.


The Goonies (1985) | Richard Donner



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.


Batteries Not Included (1987) | Matthew Robbins



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.


The Blues Brothers (1980) | John Landis



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.


Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984) | Sam Firstenberg



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.


Krush Groove (1985) | Michael Schultz



The loose story of how Def Jam came to be, featuring the hottest hip-hop artists of the mid-1980s, Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys, and many more.  Blair Underwood plays Russell, whose management company is coming up with some hot musical acts, including Run-DMC, featuring his brother Joe, who he ends up losing to some rivals offering more money.  He gets into a financial pickle, while also romancing a hot funk-pop talent named Sheila, whom Joe also has a thing for. Michael Schultz directs this fan-favorite kitsch on hip-hop’s early days.


Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon (1985) | Michael Schultz



Taimak stars as a young African-American Harlemite who is a devout student of martial arts.  He lives kung fu, breathes kung fu and is so entrenched in the ways of the kung fu warrior, he stands out in his predominantly Black community for his lack of hipness and Asian-tinged wardrobe (he even eats his movie popcorn with chopsticks).  He is sent out into the world from his master teacher to reach the final level of his training to become a true kung fu master, involving a golden amulet and a master named Som Dom Goy.  Meanwhile, his quest is detoured by constant disruptions by a neighborhood bully, Sho’Nuff. who, along with his gang of thugs, are terrorizing the neighborhood.  Leroy also gets embroiled with an even bigger bad guy, amoral record producer Eddie Arkadian, whose quest to get his girlfriend’s video played on the hottest music show on TV hosted by singer/VJ Laura Charles causes them to get physical.  Leroy becomes Laura’s reluctant bodyguards, and the sparks between them suggest that they might have something more going on.


Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985) | Alan Metter



Sarah Jessica Parker stars as a Chicago teenager who works her tail off for a spot as a dance on her favorite dance show on television, but spats with her dance partner and a potentially rigged contest makes for a great challenge to success, not to mention her father will not approve if he finds out about her pursuit.  Helen Hunt, Shannon Doherty, Jonathan Silverman, and Lee Montgomery get supporting roles in this film that takes its title from the Cyndi Lauper song.


Hairspray (1988) | John Waters



John Waters writes and directs this most accessible of his films, his only one to be rated PG, with HAIRSPRAY, the film that made Ricki Lake a prominent star to be.  Set in 1962, HAIRSPRAY explores race and class in a mostly divided Baltimore, where teens of different races weren’t allowed to dance on the same show at the same time. Tracy Turnblad doesn’t see why they can’t all be one happy group, vowing to turn the local variety show to reflect the diversity of the town itself.  Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Divine also appear.