An 80s Movie Sampler: # Through A

If you love 80s movies as I do, you're probably thinking of your favorite titles from the decade right now, and you're probably looking to track down a few of them for a trip down memory lane. If you're having trouble coming up with ideas for 80s movies to watch, this is the first in a series of articles where I, Johnny Caps, will give you some ideas for 80s movies to enjoy.

From films for kids to films for adults, from comedies and dramas to action movies and horror films, from big titles to films off the beaten path, each article will highlight anywhere from 15 to 20 movies, listed alphabetically, that I think you'll enjoy the next time you're looking for an 80s movie to watch. Many of these recommendations will include personal memories of connections between the films and my own life.

Going alphanumerically, more or less, this article will list 17 movies spanning from numbers through the letter A, and we'll start off with Eddie Murphy's screen debut, the action-dramedy 48 HRS. 48 HRS tells the story of police officer Jack Cates (Nick Nolte), who has to take prisoner Reggie Hammond (Murphy) out of prison for 48 HRS to track down criminals Ganz (James Remar), a former associate of Hammond's who's escaped from prison.

What makes this movie such a standout is Eddie Murphy's work as Reggie Hammond. Having helped save Saturday Night Live from the brink of cancellation in the early 80s, Murphy came on screen as a dynamo of great acting talent, capable of both great comedy and intense dramatic acting. The best scene that illustrates both of those qualities is a scene where Hammond borrows Cates' badge and an empty gun to get information at a redneck bar. Seeing that scene makes me wish Eddie had gotten an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

If you're looking for a great example of the buddy cop action movie, 48 HRS is the film for you.

Moving along alphanumerically, we come to 1986's 52 Pick-Up, a delightfully depraved thriller from the Cannon Group, directed by John Frankenheimer and based on a story by Elmore Leonard.

52 Pick-Up is the tale of an architect (Roy Scheider) whose life, and that of his wife (Ann-Margret), threatens to end up in shambles if he doesn't pay a trio of extortionists, played by John Glover, Clarence Williams III and Robert Trebor, to prevent them from framing him for the murder of his mistress (Kelly Preston).

I'll admit that I never read Elmore Leonard's book, or really any fiction after I graduated from high school, so I can't compare the novel to the film, but the film on its' own captures both the glamour and the grime of Los Angeles in the mid-80s. From a party with appearances by several noted adult film stars of the 80s to a climax that takes place on a pier, 52 Pick-Up is a unique look at California in the 80s.

A lot of people give The Cannon Group justifiable grief for their business practices and the way they treated many creatives, but their movies were made with passion, if not always a budget, and when they were on, they were ON! This movie is a great example of how they could do wonders with the right creative personnel and materials. Believe it or not, this wasn't Cannon's first time tackling this material, but that&