Stream Police: 80’s Edition

Posted in The Screening Room by - August 11, 2015

Hello dear readers, it’s time for another edition of the Stream Police. We’ve tried to stick with weekly themes here since the Stream Police was put under new management, and now it’s time for a look back at the 80’s. The 80’s were a time of great movies, great music, and killer fashion. Well maybe not the last one but the first two for sure. So here are my suggestions for what you can check out on Netflix to get your 80’s fix. 


Fletch

While I can’t speak for him as a person, there were few comedians bigger in the 80’s than Chevy Chase. Not only was he in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, but he also starred in a cavalcade of other comedies including CaddyshackFunny Farm, and the grossly underrated Modern Problems. He also starred in one of my absolute favorite films, Fletch. The film follows Irwin Fletcher, an investigative journalist for the L.A. Times, as he tries to discover the source behind L.A.’s rampant drug problem. While investigating, Fletch is offered $500,000 by a local businessman to kill him, which sets into motion the film. Fletch relies on disguises to gain information from people, often to comedic effect. The film is filled with Chase’s signature snarky humor, with a lot of the jokes focusing on him being a smartass just for his own sake. Fletch would be followed up by an equally funny, but less acclaimed sequel Fletch Lives, and there have been talks recently of a reboot. 

For Fans Of: smart comedies, Caddyshack, elephant books


Batman

My thoughts on the newest Batman trilogy are well documented at this point, but I’ve never given my thoughts as to the best Batman movie. Well, the original Batman film from Tim Burton is the best film version of the Caped Crusader ever made. It has Burton’s iconic style that doesn’t get in the way of film, a memorable soundtrack courtesy of Prince, and one of the all time great performances from Jack Nicholson. Burton’s style can be felt throughout, with a major part of that being the set design. The buildings are all Gothic-styled, a trait that would carry later 90’s Batman films, and even into the animated series. While everyone always extols the glory of Heath Ledger’s Joker, Jack Nicholson is the true clown prince, bringing a sadistic slapstick angle to the role that is lacking in Ledger’s. The Prince soundtrack rounds out the absolute 80’s feel of the film, with hits such as “Trust” and “Partyman”. It’s a near-perfect superhero movie, and one that feels uniquely Burton. 

For Fans Of: Tim Burton, Prince, Dancing with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight


A Nightmare on Elm Street

Horror is my favorite genre, and there are few films that compare to the original Nightmare on Elm Street. The film came on the heels of another horror franchise, Friday the 13th, but Nightmare went a more cerebral route than pure slasher. The film follows Nancy as she attempts to save herself and her friends from Freddy Krueger, a dream serial killer who was burned alive by the parents of Elm Street. It also helps that the film is carried on the back of some standout performances from Robert Englund as Freddy, and Heather Langenkamp as Nancy. It helps when your monster is able to emote and talk, as opposed to relying on the physical intimidation factor. The film would spawn a handful of sequels and a reboot, but none come close to the original. It even features Johnny Depp in his first movie role, getting absolutely destroyed towards the end of the film.

For Fans OfSlasher flicks, cerebral films, finger knives


Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Regardless of Paul Reuben’s personal life, Pee Wee Herman is one of the greatest characters ever imagined. Unsurprisingly, his big screen debut would be directed at the hands of Tim Burton, which coincidentally would serve as Burton’s first film. The movie follows Pee Wee Herman, a lovable man child, as he attempts to get his stolen bicycle back from the basement of the Alamo. It’s a strange little film that is quintessential Burton, with weird characters, an overwhelming sense of style, and quirky humor. It’s one of those films that is hard to describe, but is well worth the watch. 

For Fans Of: quirky comedies, Beetlejuice, red bicycles


Witness

There were few actors in as high demand during the 80’s as Harrison Ford. From Indiana Jones to Han Solo, he was one of the undisputed kings of the decade. Witness is one of his films that was critically acclaimed, and puts Ford in one of his most interesting scenarios: as a big city cop protecting an Amish boy. It’s the only time that Ford was ever nominated for an Oscar, and for good reason, the film is one of his best. His turn as John Book is different from what most movie viewers are used to, but in a good way. It’s also a great thriller at its core, with some standout supporting performances. 

For Fans Of: Hitchcock, thrillers, the Amish

This post was written by

Chris Stachiw is the Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Kulturecast. He’s a native Californian with a penchant for sarcasm and a taste for the cinematic bizarre. You’ll often find him wandering the wasteland of Nebraska searching for the meaning of life and possibly another rare Pokemon.

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