Written by Shawn Bourdo
After the 1982 panel last year, I knew this was going to be right near the top of my list. It’s a simple concept – bring together some writers of films and magazine articles and have it moderated by Geek Magazine publisher, Mark A. Altman. 1982 might have been a great year for genre films but 1983 was much more than just the year that McNuggets were introduced.
The panel works best when showing a trailer and then talking about the film. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come just in trailer technology since 1983. Films discussed included Risky Business and the terrible Jaws 3-D. A majority of the hour was centered around Return Of The Jedi to no one’s surprise. It was definitely the tentpole film of the year and the one most anticipated. In 1983, there wasn’t the Internet or the proliferation of entertainment shows and magazines to get info about the new Star Wars film. For most of us, you saw the trailer and then went to go see the movie not knowing too much more about the film.
The film that captured the zeitgeist of the era was definitely the Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry sequel – Sudden Impact. For some reason, in the middle of the Reagan era, the phrase “Go ahead, make my day” became the catchphrase of the year. Looking back people might think it would be quotes from Scarface, the DePalma drama with Pacino. But that film didn’t find an audience for years. It wasn’t until it had played on cable and VHS that it became a cultural touchstone.
The year featured a Bond battle between Roger Moore in Octopussy and Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again. Neither film was anything that Bond fans like to rank among the better entries, so no one was a winner in this battle. The better thriller of that year was Blue Thunder. The Roy Scheider film about a futuristic helicopter used to spy on citizens. The plot resonates with today’s audience and shows that not all of 1983 films seem dated.
The fun of discussing these older films leads off on great tangents and I’d sit through a two-hour panel. There wasn’t even time in this panel to discuss Vacation, Krull, Psycho 3-D, War Games or The Right Stuff. I’m already anticipating the 1984 discussions next year.