My brother and I were on a road trip with our Mom that summer. I was eleven years old.. ..what I consider to be a boy's true "last age" ... and I was a very young, happy eleven.
We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but my mother still took us on a trip every year - some of the best memories of my life to be honest. She'd rented a cottage on the water, then took us to a little diner for a bite. It was rustic and cozy and I think it was getting dark when Mom picked up the paper to see if there were any good movies playing in Sydney. She asked me to check the listings and I suggested "The Best Little War House in Texas".
God love my Mom - she tried to hide her laughter ...I remember reading more titles ...probably Tron and The Thing in there...then noticing Mom's menu bouncing up and down as she tried to contain herself. I hadn't seen my mother laugh that hard in a long time, if ever. Her attempts at explaining "Whore" and "Whorehouse" became a highlight of the trip for two little goofballs, who would end up producing films together many years later.
The end of July would see the release of Night Shift ...my family's personal favorite from what I consider to be the single most important year for film releases ever. I love Night Shift - I think it is a perfect comedy ...but I won't argue that it's the best film of 1982. That's a tricky one, with no definite answer...
Blade Runner and The Thing were released on the same day - The Same Day!! That's wild for me especially ...as those two are my most watched films by far(Zodiac's different...) and I'll never have a favorite of them ...be like picking a favorite child. Now, I wouldn't actually see either film for years - the Cowie Hill days again, and then years more to truly appreciate the material. Not since 1939 when Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz were released has there been a more relevant year in film. By June, Conan, The Road Warrior, and Das Boot had hit the cinemas locking it as a pretty good genre year but June/July ...these two months changed Sci-Fi forever...
If I could go back in time and see the summer films of '82 ...well, I'd start with Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan ...actually, bad example - I did see this one in the theatre and that was that - totally hooked. Same with ET ...it's just a part of our generation to love that little alien. Tron, Blade Runner and The Thing would take years to become favorites, but First Blood came along before them - I love love love First Blood and watch it every spring. I think this was the first film I felt that "link" ...that "I know this film is going to keep me company forever " feeling. Like The Terminator, it was a midnight watch, me curled up on the couch with my sleeping father across the room in his chair. Charming little Herring Cove memories of renting VCRs and begging to see Star Trek II and Night Shift again.
That September I started grade 7 with a legendarily scary new teacher named Minichiello, who's playing the lead in my Stephen King film this year - the one I'm producing with my brother. Anyway, I recall Brock Beazley asking me who my favorite actor was..."Clint Eastwood ...are you crazy? ...the monkey guy?". I took a lot of flack for that answer, but Mom loved him and if it wasn't Restricted we saw the new Clint Pic every time - Honkeytonk Man annnd Firefox at the Spryfield Cinemas that year. He's my adult hero now - for simpler reasons than I'd've ever guessed - basically a love of film and an extraordinary work ethic. One element I possess ...one I desire.
Q (or Quetzalcoatl - go rent this) and Deathtrap would both make good impressions in the years to come, as would Diner and Ghandi - so many good films but Walter Hill's 48 Hours is one of the few I saw soon after it's release and it still holds up as the best buddy-comedy of the 80's. How many boys were guiltily loving this with their Dad's?
On that note, my buddy Brock's dad took us to see The Toy the same December Mom and Barb Harrigan would take groups of us kids to see Tootsie and The Dark Crystal. Now obviously one o' those aint quite like the others(I'll never watch The Toy again ...last thing I want to do is discover it isn't so good...) but December '82 would also see The Verdict and Sophie's Choice ...quite a month. Quick aside ...Brock's folks dropped us off at the Hyland Theater one afternoon to go see Ghandi, and they wouldn't let us in - ratings stuff. We waited 3 hours in the sun that day ...which seemed appropriate years later when I finally did see the film.
Victor Victoria was one of my first adult style comedies, and I really liked it, but Bob Clark's Porky's holds that claim to fame for many. Many consider Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid to be Steve Martin's best - same for Richard Pryor's Live on the Sunset Strip, with Pink Floyd's The Wall marking the only time I found them interesting. Creepshow(where Stephen King turns in an incredibly funny performance) and A Stranger is Watching round out the horror/suspense nicely with Costa Gavras' Missing as #1 on my "must-see movie" list.
*addendum - Cheers, Remington Steele, and St.Elsewhere all debuted in 1982 ...need I say more?
The year itself, and all of it's spoils that would unfold in the years to come have profoundly influenced my life, and my desire to make movies. They were some of the best times and best people I'll ever know, accompanying some of the best work by filmmakers EVER - amazing days.
Thanks 1982 ...you're the best.