This year for my traditional summer movie retrospective I’ve decided to look back at the summer movie season of 1983. If you know your basic math, you can figure out that this is the, what, 40th anniversary of that summer? Sounds right. I was in the single digits at the time and from what I can remember only saw two of these in the theater that summer. So as always it will be fun to watch them in order of release and try to get a picture of what that time was like from an adult perspective.
I don’t really have a thesis for this one other than it had alot to live up to. The summer before saw the release of hits like CONAN THE BARBARIAN, ANNIE, ROCKY III, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, and E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, plus two flops that are now beloved classics (BLADE RUNNER and THE THING) and some other interesting stuff like THE SECRET OF NIMH and TRON. It’s widely considered the greatest summer movie season of all time, a claim I’m not inclined to argue against. So good luck trying to follow that, 1983. I’m sure you know what you’re doing.
They also all knew they were coming out against RETURN OF THE JEDI. That was the guaranteed biggest movie of the summer, and some of the others seem to have wanted to ride that wave. We’ll see if they can stay afloat. Anyway, that’s why I’m calling this series…
(Note: yes I did the research and I know that “love” in Ewokese is actually “nuv,” while “nub” is just half of the phrase for “freedom,” but I thought this would make people laugh more because they just know the song is called “Yub Nub.” Apologies to the Ewok community, who I have nothing but the deepest respect for.)
* * *
May 13, 1983 saw the release of a pretty crazy take on the police thriller: BLUE THUNDER, from director John Badham (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, DRACULA), working from a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (DARK STAR, ALIEN, DEAD & BURIED, HEAVY METAL) & his first-timer writing partner Don Jakoby. It’s one of those movies that says, “Hey guys, check out this special police unit, it’s pretty interesting.” And the unit is the people who fly the police helicopters. Since I was a kid at the time I can only assume it did for police helicopters what SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER did for disco. I don’t know if some of it is based on research or if it’s complete horse shit, but in this they go around fingering people on the streets as drug dealers and rapists and shit, spot abandoned cars and report them, even do detective work in the sky. They don’t just look for and shine the spotlight on the guy making a run for it (although they do that too). (read the rest of this shit…)