A Very Good Year …. for Movies

Be warned: this blog is only for those of you who have tangible memories of 1983 … so I am guessing those of you who are at least 35 or older. I guess I’m freezing out much of the “web” generation, but sometimes you have to tell the younger members of our society that there was life prior to 1992.

The reason I single out 1983, other than it’s the year I became an upperclassman in high school, was that it was an exceptional year for movies. Not so much because there were great movies made, but there were generational hits produced that year and these are films that not only continue to be in our culture today but have laid the foundation for films that are still being made today.

First, The Big Chill. The premise was so simple: A bunch of college friends reunited 20 years after college having achieved some success in the real world but wondering if they were still true to the ideals they had during their younger years. What made the movie such a hit and allows it to still captivate audience 25 years later was a kickin’ Motown soundtrack and an all-star cast which included Glenn Close and Pittsburgh’s own Jeff Goldblum. How good was this movie? Kevin Costner’s role was cut out. However, it was the fusion of music and movie that still sets the standard to this day.

Scarface: Is there a man on this planet who hasn’t seen this movie more than once. Guns, gore and guy talk. Before everyone went “gonzo” over the Sopranos, this is the film that made the mafia cool. Al Pacino, already one of Hollywood’s best, took his career to a whole new level playing the rea;;y, really over the top bad guy. While this was not a family movie by any stretch, it opened the door to an entire family of films featuring the misunderstood bad guy cast as the protagonist.

Risky Business:I remember this as the ultimate date movie that year. You have to remember, Tom Cruise was already one of us when he did the western Pennsylvania football story “All the Right Movies”. Then, came this film which took on a teen fantasy and took it to a ridiculous level. It gave us one memorable scene set to music ( Tom dancing in his drawers and socks to the tune “Old Time Rock an Roll” by Bob Seger ) … and one line that stays with me to this day, although I would likely be fired for repeating in person. Most of all, it was a stylish flick that was meant for teens … and the pre-cursor for all those teen flicks about guys going after the girl that seems well beyond their reach.

There were more great films that year … and Pittsburgh got a taste of the spotlight when Flashdance came out in 1983. Still, it was quite a year for films and that’s not my opinion. These flicks stood the test of time and you really can’t say that about most of the movies being made today. Even the blockbusters are with us for a year until the sequel to the blockbuster comes out.

The other thing these three films have done is stayed in our collective culture. How many times have you heard of a  reunion film referred to as “modern-day Big Chill”? Also, can you really look at The Sopranos and not think of Al Pacino?

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