10 From 86

It was slightly less than the best of times, and it was significantly better than the worst of times.  It was…somewhere in there anyway.  This was the summer of 1986.  The soul crushing, gut punch caused by a routine ground ball headed towards a man wearing a “6” on his back had yet to occur.  Even though the Space Shuttle had blown up and Chernobyl melted down, life for me was pretty, pretty good.  And why not?  For this was the year my family had every cable channel available, including premiums.  Well, all except for HBO during those fateful four and a half minutes on April 27th.  Nevertheless, it was all movies, all the time for me during that one crazy summer.

Thanks to my good fortune, I was introduced and re-introduced to Fletch every day for three months straight.  As sure as finding Fat Sam sitting on the beach, one of the movie channels would be showing the film at any given time.  I have to tell you, my quoting skills for that movie are pretty sharp.  They were honed to perfection that year, bit by bit.

However, Fletch was not the only repeat viewing I enjoyed back in 1986.  There are perhaps a dozen movies which immediately bring me back to the “Summer of Chico” whenever I think of them.  Most of them are pretty obscure, and probably not memorable for anyone that did not have the experience I did.  Therefore, I thought it would be cool to make a game of it.  I have picked out ten of the least well-known and most…let’s say, weird, titles.  They are presented below for you to guess, based on one still photo and a brief description.  See how many you recognize.  You can check your answers by clicking the answer button, which will also give you the opportunity to buy the movie on Amazon.  Of course you don’t need to buy, but I think they’re all worth owning.  Good luck and have fun!


This gem is a close second to the aforementioned romp, at least in terms of number of times shown that year.  It actually was a box office success, but I’m betting most people don’t remember it.  The movie involves the kidnapping of the child shown above.  Even with mystical powers, he can’t seem to extricate himself from this cage.  I guess he’s holding out for a hero.



And speaking of mystical creatures…this features a big one.  It has been said that “this character’s adventures are social satires, or parodies of genre fiction with a metafictional awareness of the medium”.  I think it’s just dumb.  It’s kind of cool though, if you don’t take it too seriously.  And it does include a geeky version of Tim Robbins.  Also, watch out for the evil principal that once haunted Ferris Bueller.



No, that is not a Lucas film dropout.  The script for this movie was bought by the studio because certain elements fit Steven Spielberg’s ideas for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.  It was also the film debut for a well known actor that went to my high school.  I promise you this is not a name drop because: a) I didn’t give you his name and: 2) I never actually met the guy.  If the film has a certain unfinished look, it’s understandable.  It was rushed into production and never completed as intended.



Ooh…bikes, racing, Rae Dawn Chong and a brief appearance by Jennifer Grey.  How can you possibly go wrong?  Add to that, a very famous actor sporting a cheesy mustache only fit for “certain movies that I won’t mention here for fear of appearing in all the wrong search results.”  This same actor is also dying in the film…bummer.  Over all though, it’s pretty uplifting.  Everything I know about bicycle racing, I learned here.



My love of history helped make this one of my favorites from the mid-eighties.  A form of time travel brings people and objects from the past into the “modern” day world.  It was so cool to see these kids walking through the school as they come across soldiers from Vietnam, a giant T-Rex, and several other travelers.  Some stuff came from the future as well, but that didn’t interest me as much.  Need another reason to buy this one?  Dennis Hopper.



This movie is a hilarious parody of spy films.  It’s also a remake of a French movie from the 70’s.  There are quite a few big names in it, but I don’t recall the last time I heard it mentioned anywhere.  All you M*A*S*H fans will recognize the orchestra conductor for sure!  My favorite part has to be the scene that takes place at the dentist, though.  It’s big.



Football, mud and redemption.  ‘Merica, you gotta love it.  This one also features some well know names, but it too, has managed to slip under the radar.  The two main characters are Reno and Jack.  Reno was a way better quarterback in high school than Uncle Rico.  What did he have, like ten touchdowns in that game?  Then of course Jack dropped that ball.  What a shame.  But hey, they got a chance to do it all over again in the “old and out of shape bowl”.  I feel their pain.



Want more football?  How about more overmatched and out of shape players of football?  I’ve got you covered, then.  It’s the classic love triangle.  Little dude wants to date older girl, older girl wants to date older guy.  Nobody wants to date Winona Ryder.  Come on man, quit getting beat up trying to play a sport just to impress some chick.  Embrace the friends zone.



This movie is one I used in my previous post Lines Without a Face.  So if you’ve been a faithful reader, this shouldn’t be too difficult for you.  It’s one of the funniest movies that nobody seems to remember at all.  The two best lines for me are:

  • They said you weren’t fit to sleep with pigs, but I stood up for you.  I said you were.
  • Oooooh, no thanks.  Last time I smoked that stuff they found me on top of the Sears tower trying to build a nest.

And as I mentioned before, it has the funniest airplane pilot and landing this side of Airplane!



That sure ain’t shampoo.  It is wonderful product placement though.  You know, I just realized that our “hero boy’s” chain-smoking girlfriend is one of those Sex in the City ladies.  Anyway, it’s another one of those sciency movies featuring the super bright kid doing stuff that will probably get the whole world blown up.  It’s sort of the little baby brother to WarGames.  I’m telling you though, the green stuff in that bottle looks good enough to eat.



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