Erik Davis ordered me to come up with a new approach to summer movies, and he demanded that the concept be intelligent, engaging, and jam-packed with vowels and consonants. (One out of three isn't bad.) And since I'm a childish movie nerd who had a deep affection for all things nostalgic, my first idea was "Hey, let's have the writers pick their favorite 'movie summer' and write a piece about it." And since my next eleven ideas stunk, he said "Ugh, fine. Do your Favorite Summers thing. But don't forget the vowels."
Nearly all of the Cinematicaleers will be penning their own pieces, but since I like to lead by example (when I'm not leading by guilt), I figured I'd get the ball rolling first. (Special thanks to Box Office Mojo for displaying OLD release dates in very handy fashion.) Also, for the sake of this series, let's say "summer" counts as "May through August," even though May is technically spring and part of September is definitely summer.
5/4 -- The Bounty // Breakin' // Hardbodies // Sixteen Candles -- So which one of these would be the big "Iron Man" release? We got Gibson and Hopkins in a nautical remake; a whole lot of pop-lockin' looneys; a leering sex comedy that helped to kill the sub-genre of mid-'80s sex comedies; and the directorial debut of one John Hughes.
5/11 -- Firestarter // The Natural -- Robert Redford knocking the cover off a baseball and Drew Barrymore immolating George C. Scott. Now THAT's summer!
5/18 -- Finders Keepers // Making the Grade -- A pair of justifiably forgotten farces, yes, both of which I saw theatrically.
5/23 -- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- Even back in 1984 Indiana Jones demanded his very own weekend ... one that starts on a Wednesday, no less! I distinctly remember seeing this on the afternoon of opening day, and while I was waiting for Mom to come pick us up, there was a woman BERATING the box office girl. Honest! Something about the heart-tearing scene had upset her small child. And just like that, the PG-13 was born.
6/8 -- Beat Street // Ghostbusters // Gremlins -- So that's why Beat Street wasn't the blockbuster smash that everyone was expecting! It opened opposite two of the year's, nay decade's, most popular films! Nowadays you would never get these two flicks opening on the same day, which is just one more reason that the 1980s created so many hardcore movie freaks. (And yes, my friends and I actually did the Gremlins / Ghostbusters double feature. I believe we had pizza afterwards too.)
6/22 -- The Karate Kid // The Pope of Greenwich Village // Rhinestone // Top Secret! -- We all went to see The Karate Kid on opening night, of course, but I was ten times more excited to see the new comedy from the Airplane! guys. I didn't catch the other two until video but one is a great crime story and the other is a musical comedy so biblically abysmal that I'm stunned it didn't give its stars a venereal disease.
6/29 -- Bachelor Party // Cannonball Run 2 // Conan the Destroyer -- Hoo boy. Weekends like this are the reason matinees are cheaper than night-time tickets. (And a belated thanks to my mom for all those allowance payments. This is where that cash went.)
7/13 -- The Last Starfighter // The Muppets Take Manhattan -- Criticize either of these films in my presence and watch what happens. No, more "listen" than "watch."
7/20 -- Best Defense // Electric Dreams // The Neverending Story // Revenge of the Nerds -- So ... of these four films, which would you have dragged your friends to see? Yeah, I picked the Dudley Moore one. This is about when I started wanting to become a film critic, I think.
7/27 -- The Corsican Brothers // The Jungle Book (re-release) // Meatballs Part 2 // Purple Rain -- In one great weekend we got to witness A) the destruction of Cheech & Chong's movie career, B) a lovely old cartoon, C) a dress-wearing John Laroquette sharing the screen with a Jewish alien called Meathead, and D) Prince beat someone up. Hilarity!
8/3 -- Grandview U.S.A. // Joy of Sex // The Philadelphia Experiment -- OK, so not every weekend was a winner. I think this was the weekend we all did Gremlins / Ghostbusters again.
8/10 -- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai // Cloak & Dagger // Red Dawn -- Oh man, I thought I was soooo cool this weekend because I'd already seen Cloak and Dagger as part of a promotional double feature with The Last Starfighter. I think I even Twittered about it and everyone was like "Dude, spoilers, shutup!" (Shameful but true: I didn't discover Buckaroo Banzai until it hit VHS, but in my defense I did get that VHS tape the day it came out.)
8/17 -- Dreamscape // Sheena // Tightrope // The Woman in Red -- Saw Dreamscape with pals (fun!), saw The Woman in Red with dad (snooze!), saw Tightrope with mom (uncomfortable!), and Sheena with my sister, who teased me about the flick for about six months. I believe the phrase she used was "Sheena weena."
8/24 -- Oxford Blues -- (crickets)
8/31 -- Bolero // C.H.U.D. // Flashpoint -- Now this is how you end a summer: With subterranean cannibals eating Daniel Stern, with Bo Derek riding naked on a variety of satisfied mammals, and with Kris Kristofferson and Treat Williams discovering the truth behind the Kennedy assassination.