Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 19 Movies of 1983 (#4 – 1)

March 1, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The Top 19 Movies of 1983: #4-#1

Image Credit: Scream Factory

The last “movie that I like but don’t love so it didn’t make the list” movie for this mega list is the Charles Band directed weird beard sci-fi action flick Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. The movie has a terrific look and some impressive special effects and make-up. The movie also has Tim Thomerson in it, which is always a plus, regardless of what the movie actually is. And who doesn’t love the goddamn name Metalstorm? That’s such a great movie title. But the movie never really gels the way it needs to. It’s slow, it meanders around too much, and it doesn’t leave you with a feeling of “Holy crap! That was awesome!” It just sort of is. That doesn’t mean the movie isn’t good. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn is good. It just isn’t great. It should have been. Had it been great I bet we would have had at least one sequel, and that would have been cool.

I will say, though, that I’ve never seen the movie in 3-D. It’s possible that 3-D somehow makes the movie’s deficiencies easier to digest/accept. Maybe. Anyone out there see Metalstorm in 3-D?

If you missed the first three parts of this list, or if you just want to read it again for some reason, check them below:
Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

And now, without any further what have you, the conclusion of the Top 19 Movies of 1983 mega list:

The Top 19 Movies of 1983: #4-#1

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

4- Mr. Mom: When it comes to Michael Keaton Mr. Mom is the first thing that comes to mind, at least for me. It’s a comedy that I saw God knows how many times on HBO when I was a kid, and it’s a movie that I still love to check out now that I’m much, much older. It’s still funny. It’s still chock full of family warmth (Keaton and Teri Garr make for a terrific couple and the kids, Frederick Koehler and Taliesin Jaffe, as Alex and Kenny, are two of the least annoying kids in any movie from the 1980’s), sly social commentary (there’s stuff in the movie about the economy, jobs, what you need to do when you have a job, like kiss the boss’s ass [think of the race at the company picnic], stuff about sexual harassment and how men need to get over the whole idea of women working and earning money, maybe even more money than men, and how it’s okay for a man to be a caregiver), and some of the silliest stuff you’d ever see in a movie (the part where Keaton’s Jack has to fight a vacuum cleaner, the soap opera parody, and the big tuna commercial that ends the movie. Schooner Tuna). The movie also has two of the most loathsome bosses in movie history (Jinx, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is such a an asshole that you cheer when Jack punches him in the face, and Martin Mull’s ultimate fucking sleazebag Ron Richardson is just… my God, how the hell did anyone work for him at that ad agency and not just fucking murder him?). Mr. Mom is also full of quotable moments (“You gonna do it all 220? 220, 221, whatever it takes,” “Want a beer? It’s 7 o’clock in the morning. Scotch?”, “Honey, if you call and I’m not home I’ll be at the gym or the gun club,” “Are you crazy? You don’t feed a baby chili!,” “You’re doing it wrong,” and so many more). Mr. Mom is a movie that never gets old. It still resonates almost four decades later. I’m shocked that no one has tried to remake it (and I mean a real remake. I’m not counting that TV movie remake that apparently came out in 1984 or that thing that was on Vudu starring.

Image Credit: Orion Pictures

3- Easy Money: Easy Money is yet another comedy that I watched a million times on HBO back in the day (I also watched it plenty of times on WWOR in its “edited for TV” version) and have enjoyed watching it still some three plus decades later. It’s the first starring vehicle for stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield and is a perfect follow up for Dangerfield’s crude but hilarious part in Caddyshack three years earlier. Easy Money is probably cruder than Caddyshack, as Dangerfield’s Monty Capuletti is sort of the ultimate “crude man’s man.” Monty is a baby photographer by day, but when he isn’t working or spending time with his wife and two daughters he’s hanging out with his buddies (Joe Pesci is his best friend, along with Tom Noonan and Val Avery) drinking, smoking, playing cards, gambling, smoking pot… you know, guy shit. Monty’s mother-in-law despises him and tells him through her will that he must reform himself over a year in order to receive a big hooha inheritance. And so we watch Monty try to lose weight, quit smoking and drinking, with the mother-in-law’s nephew Clive (Jeffrey Jones, in one of his sleaziest roles) running interference because he wants the inheritance instead. There are so many great moments and performances in this movie. Dangerfield and Pesci are one of the great comedy teams (how the hell didn’t they have multiple movies together?), Taylor Negron as Julio, Monty’s daughter’s fiancé, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Monty’s daughter Allison. As for the moments: the wedding cake fiasco, the exercise bike mishap, the scene at the track where the one guy doesn’t know how to make a proper bet, the whole “diner that’s open for 23 hours” thing, the wedding reception in Monty’s backyard that features Monty singing, the sequence where Julio tries to sneak into Monty’s house in order to talk to his estranged wife Allison and ends up getting the back of his hand stuck in the toilet, the “just browsing” sequence, the “Men don’t have style, men wear clothes. Women have style” scene, the “Regular Guy look” fashion show, and the great bit where Julio accidentally shoots Monty in the ass, Monty ends up in the hospital, and Monty exclaims after being told by a doctor that he was shot in the gluteus maximus “Wrong, he got me in the ass!” And the ending is brilliant. “My mother-in-law, for years I wouldn’t kiss her face, I ended up kissing her ass!” Just so many great scenes and so many great lines. And that Billy Joel theme song!

Easy Money also has one of the greatest Dangerfield jokes I’ve ever heard: “Thanks to jogging, millions of people are dropping dead in perfect health!”

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

2- Return of the Jedi: Now known as Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, this finale to the original Star Wars trilogy is still, to this very day, divisive within Star Wars fandom because of the Ewoks. I’ve never understood that hatred because the Ewoks are great. A race of little beat aliens that teams up with the Rebellion to take down the second Death Star’s shield generator on the forest moon of Endor. What’s wrong with that? It makes sense, it fits in with the theme of the whole rebellion against the Galactic Empire, and the Ewoks are funny. And even if you don’t care for the Ewoks, I don’t see how they could possibly negate the rest of the movie or the truly awesome stuff in it. The score, the final space battle, the speeder bike sequences, the Emperor (the ultimate bad guy), and the final light saber battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. I still get goosebumps thinking about that lightsaber battle, the bit where Vader threatens to turn Luke’s “twin sister over to the Dark Side,” and that pan where we see Luke go right at Vader (I can hear the music in my head as I write this). And who can forget the finale celebration? And I’m fine with both the original and the reworked “Special Edition” version. They’re both great. Return of the Jedi doesn’t deserve the shit it continues to get to this day. It’s a superb sci-fi fantasy achievement and a movie that we should celebrate. It really is that damn good.

Image Credit: Kino Lorber

1- Revenge of the Ninja: Directed by the great Sam Firstenberg, Revenge of the Ninja is easily the greatest ninja movie ever made. Plenty of ninja movies were made after it, several of them made by Firstenberg himself, but none of them achieved the ultimate greatness of Revenge of the Ninja (and that isn’t to say that stuff like Ninja III: The Domination and American Ninja aren’t great and supreme ninja movies in their own right because they are). Featuring Sho Kosugi in his first starring role (he was the bad guy ninja in Enter the Ninja, which came out in 1981), Revenge is a perfect blend of martial arts mayhem, ninja mysticism, and Hollywood action. Kosugi is so perfect and spot on as Cho Osaki, the ninja family man who gives up violence after his family is slaughtered by ninjas, goes to America with his son and mother to open an art gallery, and ends up having to fight an evil ninja and the mob when he finds out that his art gallery is being used to smuggle drugs. The action and fight scenes in this movie are still jaw dropping to this day and they are a terrific showcase for Kosugi’s martial arts prowess. The final ninja fight on the roof of the building is still the best ninja fight ever filmed. Still an amazing movie watching experience, Revenge of the Ninja is something that, if you’re an action movie fan, martial arts movie fan, ninja movie fan, or just a great movie fan, you should be intimately aware of. It’s the ninja movie of all time.


Thanks for reading. Agree? Disagree? Sign up with disqus and comment. You know you want to, so just go do it.

Please “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column on Facebook!

Oh, and B-movies rule. Always remember that.