Tag: 1980s

The Last Unicorn (1982)

The Last Unicorn

dir. Arthur Rankin Jr. & Jules Bass (1982)

Film poster: “The Last Unicorn” dir. Arthur Rankin Jr. & Jules Bass (1982)

This really shouldn’t work, with its Disney-style animation, My Little Pony unicorn-worship and grandiose, prog-rock soundtrack. Then Alan Arkin (Schmendrick) and Jeff Bridges (Prince Lír) come along, and somehow it does. Still a trippy adaptation, but also epic-feeling and strangely compelling.

Icehouse and Simple Minds, live @ Sandstone Point Hotel

Icehouse and Simple Minds

live @ Sandstone Point Hotel

(Red Hot Summer Tour, 17 February 2024)

Concert poster: “Icehouse and Simple Minds, live @ Sandstone Point Hotel” (Red Hot Summer Tour, 17 February 2024)

Simple Minds delivered an outdoor acoustics–defying exhibition of blended synth rhythms and early-80s nostalgia. Highlights: ‘Someone, Somewhere (in Summertime)’; ‘Promised You a Miracle’. Equally assured, Icehouse then soundscaped and rocked the already predisposed crowd. Highlights: ‘Hey, Little Girl’; ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’.



dir. Mark L. Lester (1985)

Film poster: “Commando” dir. Mark L. Lester (1985)

Recipe for the quintessential 1980s action film. Take: atrocious dialogue; nonsequitous, spectacle-driven plot; casual continuity lapses; women as accessories; relentless electronic score; selectively efficacious weaponry; overweight Australian Freddie Mercury villain. Mix well, add Schwarzenegger. Ensure that writers and director are all male.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!

dir. W. D. Richter (1984)

DVD cover: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! (1984)

Very 1980s and very much of B-movie stock, blending music-video vibes (without much actual music), some truly appalling acting and an utterly batshit-crazy SF plot. The sets and props are praiseworthy, as is the attention given to incidental detail and throwaway incongruities.

The Terminator

The Terminator

dir. James Cameron (1984)

Film poster: The Terminator (1984)

Though irrevocably lodged in the 1980s, the original Terminator nevertheless stands up well as a nightmarish SF thriller. The final effects are a bit ropey but Hamilton, Biehn and Schwarzenegger nail their roles, allowing James Cameron’s straightforward plot to carry the day.

The Land Before Avocado

The Land Before Avocado: Journeys in a Lost Australia

by Richard Glover (ABC Books, 2018); audiobook read by the author (Bolinda, 2018)

Glover_Land Before Avocado

Part personal recollection, part assiduous research, Glover delivers a time capsule of Australian social history for the years 1975-1985. Though the material itself is fascinating, and tragicomic in a ‘truth as satire’ way, the delivery suffers whenever Glover tries to be funny.





dir. Lewis Arnold (ITV, 2020)

Des (2020)

A three-part miniseries about 1980s serial killer Dennis Nilsen, played by David Tennant. The production remains true to life and derives its impact from Nilsen’s acute emotional remove—an unsettling detachment rendered darker still by his harangues in favour of due process.



Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe

by Trent Dalton (4th Estate, 2018); audiobook read by Stig Wemyss (Bolinda, 2018)

Dalton_Boy Swallows Universe

Dalton paints a detailed, unromanticised picture of Brisbane in the 1980s. The story is a slowly unfolding epic, neatly plotted, with great attention to character, yet the writing’s unremitting descriptive slather evokes in its consumption the cloying regret of eating cheesecake nonstop.