This week's Geek in Review is another entry in the Guilty Pleasures series, Sci-Fi Guilty Pleasures of the 80s:
After exhaustive research (read: a week spent watching a big pile of movies so I can convince my wife that I’m “working”), I’ve realized that most films of the eighties which claim to be science fiction are equal parts awesomely awful and awesomely awesome, and none of them are purely sci-fi; they’re all some sort of hybrid.
If you’re of a certain age, and you spent any time at all browsing the science fiction/horror section of the video store on Friday nights in high school, you may recognize some of these Sci-Fi Guilty Pleasures of the 80s. They are presented in order of release, and are unranked.
I was surprised at how many good movies came out of the eighties, like Buckaroo Banzai, Brazil, Tron, Robocop, and Terminator. I could do a column on those movies, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun as commenting on movies like They Live:
Awesomely Awful Because: John Carpenter took twenty minutes of story and added in seventy minutes of filler, including a five minute-long back alley wrestling match that doesn’t involve a single folding metal chair. What could be a brilliant commentary on the excesses of the eighties tries way too hard to be funny. When you find yourself laughing at the satire instead of with the satire, something isn’t quite right.
Awesomely Awesome Because: If you set aside the filler, and just focus on the story, They Live is so prophetic, it’s kind of disturbing. It’s sort of like Ishmael for popular consumption. On a less deep note, the outrageous fights and snappy one-liners that are so annoying to sci-fi purist geeks also make this movie absurdly entertaining.
There are plenty of other guilty pleasures that came out of the eighties (I gave some of them honorable mentions at the end) so if this gets a positive response, I'll totally do another 80s version in the mysterious future.