HERC's Year In Movies: 1982

Let's review: HERC believes 1982 is the single greatest year in the history of music. He further believes that Citizen Kane is the greatest motion picture ever filmed - and he finally saw it up on the big screen just a few days ago.

Now back to the present, if only for a moment.  The Summer of 2012 has seen (and will see) an extraordinarily number of movies of pretty dang good movies released in a short amount of time.  HERC says or hopes they are dang good but they might not be for everyone.  Kind of like HERC's favorite films from 1982 - not all of them are critical or commercial darlings but all of them hold a firm grip on HERC's movie-loving heart.  Let him know what you think of them in the comments.

Cat People
Somehow, someway despite being under the age of 17, HERC saw this R-rated flick shortly after it came out; maybe on HBO in 1983.  He hasn't seen it since then but two things stuck with him: Natassia Kinski appeared on the cover of the first issue of young HERC's "Rolling Stone" subscription with a nip slip inside and David Bowie's haunting reading of the theme song which he later re-cut in with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

AC/DC: Let There Be Rock
After being turned on to AC/DC in 1980 by the late great Robert Rottet, HERC has since purchased every one of their albums and video releases, often multiple times.  He has seen them in concert three times afterwards but nothing could have prepared him for this: he walked into the theater after paying for a concert-priced ticket ($12 maybe?) and saw huge speakers stacked in front of the screen as if a concert was going to be presented, stacks and stacks and stacks of them.  There were less than 10 of us in the theater that afternoon and we were all literally blown away by the film's soundtrack.  HERC's ears rang for three days afterward!  This one was recently released in the fashionable digital disc format and HERC watched it using only the built-in speakers of the television - don't get him started on why he doesn't do surround sound.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Steve Martin teamed up with Carl Reiner, after they made The Jerk, for the wildly original (at least to HERC) parody and homage to film noir and pulp movies of the 1930s and 1940s.  It was Martin's third starring role and remains one of his least seen films which is a shame. Despite some of the low-brow humor, the film is finely crafted with near perfect editing and scene recreation.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
HERC had seen the "Star Trek" series growing up but never paid much attention to it.  Then the movies started coming out and this one pretty much fired up young HERC's technical imagination - he started sketching the Enterprise and checking out the many books of Start Trek tech the local library offered.  HERC especially enjoyed the J.J. Abrams reboot of the movie franchise but never got into any of the other "Star Trek" series though.  Stand down Trekkies!  HERC means you no harm.

This one originally looked like a sequel to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which would have been cool. The movie's greatest contribution in HERC's eyes?  Reese's Pieces.  Although they had been on the market for almost 5 years by 1982, Reese's Pieces became HERC's movie candy of choice after seeing this movie.  Turns out M+M's were the producers first choice but they didn't want to be involved with E.T. for still unnamed reasons.  Hershey's swept in with their Reese's and modern product placement in movies was born eventually reaching it's comedic peak with 2001's Josie + the Pussycats [another HERC favorite] and then it's inevitable reality a decade later in Morgan Spurlock's POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

For HERC, this was a realistically scary movie.  He does not believe in ghosts but if he did this is how they would be.  And for the life of him, HERC refuses to watch static on a television screen for reasons that just became crystal clear.  Didn't watch any of the $equel$ either.

Grease 2
The original film is one of HERC's all-time favorites and he does not compare it to this.  It's cheesey, cornballish and crude - and a whole lot of fun.  HERC wanted to be a "Coooooool Rider" after seeing it and there's no denying that almost all of the songs have razor-sharp hooks - they will stick in your noggin for days.  TRIVIA: Andy Gibb (failed screen-test), Tom Cruise (too short), Jennifer Beals (dropped out to make Flashdance), Deborah Harry (too old) and Cher (too expensive) were almost in this movie and cameos were planned for original stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Jeff Conaway.

Blade Runner
HERC is not all into this movie like most of its fans.  He likes it a lot, especially the look and feel, but the coolest thing about this movie is that it introduced HERC to the wonderful written works of Phillip K. Dick.  If you have not read his stuff before, stop what you're doing and acquire some of his texts IMMEDIATELY.  His imagination and writing is so vivid and complex, it is impossible for filmmakers to do his works justice but they continue to try: Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next and The Adjustment Bureau are all originally from the mind of P.K.D.

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
This crazy, true story albeit in musical comedy form brings back memories for HERC: that Summer, when his Texas Grandma took him and his cousins to the movies, they wanted to see E.T. but HERC had already seen it.  She asked him what he wanted to see and he chose this one but he was underage so she bought him a ticket.  The movie wasn't what he hoped it would be but it was still one of the coolest things his Texas Grandma ever did for him.

This one was what HERC hoped "Whorehouse" was gonna be:  Sexy and silly.  Alright, stupid.  Nuff said.  If you didn't watch it as a teenage boy, you wouldn't understand.  By the way, that is a body double for Heather Thomas.  The giveaway is when they don't show the face.

Night Shift
An Odd Couple style movie featuring Michael Ketaon at his fast talking best while Henry "Fonzie" Winkler was considerably less cool than his television character.  HERC probably hasn't seen this one in at least 20 years.  Strange translation: In Japan, this was released as Love In New York.  TRIVIA: The movie was directed by Winkler's former co-star Ron "Richie" Howard and is the film debut of Michael Keaton, Kevin Costner and Shannon Doherty.

The Last American Virgin
This is one of those movies where the trailer does not do the film justice - it was marketed solely as a new wave music filled teen sexploitation flick yet it was so much more.  Sure, it had offensive stereotypical characters and teens that just wanted to "do it" but the movie also has a tiny secret heart and one of the saddest endings EVER.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High
That's Phoebe Cates in one of the most iconic film moments of the Eighties which was very nicely done on an episode of "Alias" with Jennifer Garner decades later.  There are so many young actors in this movie that went on to be stars including three future Oscar winners!  HERC bought the book (AND it was a book before it was a movie), bought the soundtrack on cassette AND vinyl (he never did that again) and then saw the movie when it opened in August 1982 then saw it three more times before it left the big screen.  Eventually, HERC sold the book for big bucks (he got $75 for it) and bought the movie on VHS, DVD, HD-DVD and soon, on blu-ray.  He has purchased the soundtrack on CD at least three times (don't ask) and has followed Cameron Crowe's film-making career ever since this, his debut as a screenwriter and author.  Sadly, the film's soundtrack is not available on Spotify - only four songs are currently available.   TRIVIA: There was a sequel of sorts in 1984 called The Wild Life.  It was written by Cameron Crowe and stars Eric Stolz who plays a surfer buddy of Spiccoli in Fast Times but a different character in this film, a recent high school graduate.  It was never issued in a home format beyond VHS and laserdisc due to music issues: Eddie Van Halen performed most of the instrumental parts of the soundtrack and he does on the soundtrack album:
credit to original scanner
There was also a short-lived "Fast Times" television series featuring the the original Mr. Hand and Mr. Vargas on CBS four years after the movie's release.  Watch the first three episodes in their entirety below - there are some other recognizable faces, too...two of the series leads - "Stacy" and "Jeff" - would go on to star in the film Summer School in 1987.

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