365 Film Challenge Part 16: 1980s Special

Three movies from the ’80s in this one.

Film #46: The Dead Zone

Based on the Stephen King book this tells the story of a teacher, John (Christopher Walken) who wakes up after five years in a coma to discover he’s developed psychic powers. When he touches people he experiences visions of their past or futures. He struggles to deal with this, and the meets a politician (Martin Sheen) and experiences a vision of him causing nuclear war. Can John stop the vision from coming true?

It’s odd to see Walken in an everyman role, but he does a good job as a man dealing with coming back to life after missing half a decade and the strange new power he possesses. It’s a slow burning story, slowly exploring John’s visions and building up the politician in the periphery before John has his apocalyptic vision. And the finale, where he succeeds indirectly in his goal is a clever and well done ending. 8/10.

Film #64: Howard the Duck

I’d heard this movie wasn’t very good, but that was understating the awfulness that was on show. The plot involves a terribly done puppet duck being transported to our world where he tries to figure out how to get home.

Based on a Marvel comic, this film’s idea of comedy is slipping the word duck into phrases (“No more Mr Nice Duck!”) and the plot is extremely shoddy. Hell, the bad guy doesn’t show up until really late on. You just feel bad for Lea Thompson, who a year earlier had been involved in Back to the Future, an all time classic and was reduced to this, an all time stinker. What doesn’t help is the horribly mismatched tone, which sees risque jokes in a film that would be too dumb for kids. It’s an utter mess. It gets a generous 2/10 from me.

Film #65: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

The final Python film has somehow slipped under my radar which is a mystery because The Holy Grail is a film I absolutely adore (for me, it’s their best movie). This doesn’t follow one central theme, rather presenting a series of sketches which deal with the different stages of life.

As with most sketch based things the output is mixed, and some stuff really worked for me while others didn’t completely land. For the most part it’s a very funny and clever movie, with some nice gags and the group on fine form. It’s weaker than the two films it followed, but still an entertaining watch. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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