Tag Archives: 1980s

Conan the Barbarian/Destroyer

I watched both Conan movies in one evening, so I’ll go ahead and review them both in one shot.

Conan the Barbarian: Okay, so this is your standard tale of orphan sold into slavery who eventually comes back to kill his parents’ murderer. In this case, said murderer is a startlingly Caucasian-looking James Earl Jones in a bad wig. (I think it was the blue eyes that threw me off.) Along the way Conan picks up a wizard, a thief, and a girlfriend, not necessarily in that order. The special effects are pretty laughable and the acting is mediocre, but it’s a silly little action flick. With lots of bare breasts (and none of them larger than Arnold’s!)

Conan the Destroyer: Conan’s sidekick from the previous movie is inexplicably missing and has been replaced by a wisecracking (and painfully unfunny) coward of a fantasy stereotype. Luckily, he is also joined by the awesomely terrifying Grace Jones. This movie takes itself much less seriously than the previous one, which actually makes for a somewhat more enjoyable flick. I wonder, though, if they’d planned to make a whole series, what with the wizard dude always saying that yes, Conan did eventually find a kingdom to rule, but that’s another story. (Perhaps covered in either Red Sonja or Kull the Conqueror, both of which were originally supposed to be part of the Conan franchise.)

Will you like these two cheesy action fantasy films from the 1980s? Um, yeah, if you like cheesy action fantasy films from the 1980s. Otherwise, probably not.

The Outsiders

The Outsiders: I was honestly somewhat meh about the book and felt similarly about the movie – which is to be expected, since the movie takes pretty much zero liberties with the book. I’m sure this film was popular with the ladies: pretty much every ’80s heartthrob is present. I particularly enjoyed Emilio Estevez as Two-Bit and felt a little uncomfortable watching cutie Ralph Macchio as Johnny – until I learned he was 22 when he played the role. 22! When did his voice change, 30? My husband says this movie was played on cable all the time back in the day, but until I got my hands on the book I’d never even heard of it. Ever read what you thought was a semi-obscure book only to discover a super-popular film had been made from it? Yeah, maybe that’s just me.

The Karate Kid

Last night I watched The Karate Kid for – believe it or not – the very first time. I knew the story, of course: underdog teenager gets his ass kicked, starts taking karate lessons from enigmatic old Japanese dude, mistakes his training for menial labor, finds understanding, goes to tournament, kicks ass. What I didn’t realize was (1) Pat Morita has some truly hilarious lines, (2) Ralph Macchio was totally charming and I would so have had a crush on him back in the day, and (3) OMG 80s.

Seriously, the clothing is hysterical. What was it about shirts tucked into high-waisted jeans with no belt? More than that, who decided that this fashion nightmare, PLUS a purple checked shirt, PLUS camouflage pants would look attractive on Daniel-san? Aside from that, he’s really not an awkward teenager at all; the way he talks to Alli-with-an-I is clear evidence of that. He just dresses like one.

So yeah, I liked this movie, and I understand why it is one of my husband’s childhood favorites. Too bad about Ralph Macchio’s career, though.

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