By Brian Saur
My family had some odd films to call "family favorites", but this happened to be one of them for some reason (along with likes of ON GOLDEN POND). It is a bit of a dark thriller for family fare, but it remains a solid entry in the genre from this period. FBI Agent Sidney Poitier is unable to capture and kidnapping killer extortionist at the beginning of the film and he escapes to the mountain wilderness of Washington with a plan to hike across the Canadian border. What the killer needs is a guide and he ends up joining a fishing party led by Kirstie Alley without anyone in the group suspecting him of his evil intentions. Poitier finds himself in need of his own guide and gets wind that Tom Berenger is the best in the area (and also the boyfriend to Alley's character - complicating things a bit). Berenger and Poitier team up and attempt to track and look for the fishing party. The fun part comes when don't know what the killer looks like and he could be any one of five guys including: Clancy Brown, Andy Robinson, and in a lovely nod to Carpenter's THE THING (perhaps) - Richard Masur. All told though, a fun thriller that builds to a solid climax. No Blu-ray on this one and I wish there was.
This film hooks me with two particular elements. First, it stars the great Peter Riegert - a character actor that I love and who I find to be incredibly funny and fun to watch. Second it is from the same director as CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. This film ends up being a quite charming little romantic dramedy featuring a book store employee (Amy Irving) in New York City who is torn between her intense interest in a local writer and her befuddling intrigue with a gent who runs a pickle shop on the lower east side (Peter Riegert). While it suffers from the a dreaded condition that I call "unworthy object of romantic desire syndrome" to a degree (the author she is into is clearly an asshole from his initial introduction, but she likes him anyway), it ends up being a quite delightful watch and is a relatively unknown film outside of some New Yorkers of a certain age.
A rather frank and awkward portrait of sex and dating in the 1980s. It's mostly just Martin Short and the lovely Annette O'Toole themselves - out on their third date. Short's character trying desperately to impress her - going so far as to borrow a posh apartment and car from his pal Paul Reiser. Feels real in many ways that romantic comedies from this period don't. The whole sense of not trying to offend your date and still trying to be honest is portrayed in a way that I found most endearing.
Surfing version of THE KARATE KID starring one of the kids from TEEN WOLF (Matt Adler - he played "Lewis" in TW) and the lovely Nia Peeples. For 80s fans who are still looking for gems, this one has a nice vibe and taught me to use the word "haole" in my day to day life.
Brian Saur is a podcaster and blogger from Los Angeles that specializes in cult and classic films. He is co-host of the Pure Cinema Podcast and also produces and hosts another show called Just the Discs, which focuses on Blu-rays. He has run the Rupert Pupkin Speaks website since its inception in 2009 and continues to highlight obscure cinematic gems there on a regular basis. Follow him on Twitter (@bobfreelander, @justthediscspod, @purecinemapod), Facebook, or Instagram for more film recommendations.