The turkey is gone and the Christmas tree is up. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I love this time of year and going to movies was a big part of my Christmas break, when I had enough money. This month is packed with great movies to choose. A few of them were nominated for multiple Academy Awards too.
Turn up the Christmas music and grab a cup of holiday cheer as we look at the movies from December 1982.
Movies from December 1982
Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase
Technically this is a movie. Really, it’s a handful of Mighty Mouse cartoons packaged into an hour and half feature.
My mom took me and a friend to see this at the Saturday Matinee. I like Mighty Mouse and it was a good movie.
In normal Might Mouse fashion he is trying to save Pearl Pureheart from the dastardly Oil Can Harry. Only this adventure takes place in space.
If you didn’t see it in the early 80s you are out of luck. It was released on VHS but those are hard to find. There isn’t a DVD release and no plans to make one.
There are lots of Mighty Mouse cartoons you can watch instead. If you’re a Mighty Mouse fan check those out.
The birth of the buddy cop movie, although one isn’t a cop. 48 Hrs was co-written by Steven E. de Souza the man behind great (future) movies like Commando, Running Man and Die Hard.
Not only is this the start of the buddy cop genre, it’s also the start of Eddie Murphy’s movie career. Young, 19-year old Eddie Murphy was a already a big star with a leading role on Saturday Night Live. His transition to the big screen was seamless and quick.
Once he was in movies he took off. Countless mega hits in the 80s starting with 48 Hrs and the Beverly Hills Cop franchise with a couple of Stand-Up comedy movies thrown in as well.
In 48 Hrs Murphy plays Reggie Hammond, a convict who teams up with Detective Jack Gates, played by Nick Nolte. Gates needs Hammond’s help to track down Hammond’s old partner who is wanted for murder. Hammond is released from prison in Gates’ custody for 48 hours.
Together they track down Hammond’s old partner while trying not to kill each other. The comedy is great, the action is great and the movie is great. Murphy shines on the big screen and it’s hard to believe it’s his debut movie. Murphy and Nolte have great chemistry and make the movie a success.
Audiences (and critics) agreed, 48 Hrs made over $78 million at the box office making it the 7th highest grossing movie of 1982. It’s regarded as one of the best movies from 1982. I certainly won’t disagree.
You can watch 48 Hrs. on Paramount+
I’m a huge fan of Jackie Gleason. I’ve loved him since I was a little kid when my dad and I watched reruns of The Honeymooners.
He commands attention whenever he is on screen, even in a supporting role. There wouldn’t be a Bandit without Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Gleason is a fantastic actor and I enjoy all his movies and shows. My favorite Jackie Gleason movie is Gigot, he plays a mute janitor who befriends the daughter of a prostitute. He communicates so much emotion without saying a word. It’s one of his best performances.
Back to The Toy… This movie would be problematic to make today. A white southern family buys a black man to entertain their spoiled brat son during spring break. Even the movie pitch would get you thrown out.
And yet, the movie works. Jackie Gleason is always great, Richard Pryor does a good job with his role and is as funny as always. They have good comedic timing on screen and work well together. Scott Schwartz plays the annoying kid, annoyingly.
You can watch The Toy on HBO Max.
The Dark Crystal
The Dark Crystal is a highly underrated movie. I loved this movie when I saw it in the theater and I still love it today. The darker nature of the movie, which most viewers dislike was what drew me to the movie.
The Dark Crystal was created and directed by Jim Henson, the mastermind behind The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Two shows I watched religiously growing up.
The Dark Crystal is a fantastic story set in a fantastic world and the puppetry is the best you’ll see. We’d expect nothing less from Jim Henson and company.
The story revolves around Jen, a Gelfling whose entire clan was killed by the skeksis, an evil race created when the Crystal of Truth was broke into two pieces. Jen is sent on a quest to fulfill the prophecy to heal the Crystal of Truth.
If he can’t fulfill the prophecy before the three suns of Thra set, the evil Skeksis race will rule the planet forever.
If you haven’t seen this one you should. It’s a great movie. Jim Henson going darker with this movie might have caught people off guard, which could account for the bad reviews in 1982.
Henson’s idea was to return to the darker themes of the Grimm Brother fairy tales. The Dark Crystal is described as a dark fantasy but it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s an enjoyable movie that kids can enjoy too.
In 2019 Netflix released The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a one season, ten episode prequel to the movie. The series was a success with fans and critics alike. Yet, it wasn’t renewed for a second season.
You can watch The Dark Crystal on Fubo TV.
Tootsie is about an actor (Dustin Hoffman) who can’t land a job because he is hard to work with. Speaking of actors who are hard to work with, Bill Murray is also in this movie.
Hoffman plays Micheal Dorsey, who can’t get an acting job so he flips the script, dons a wig and dress and becomes Dorthy Micheals and lands a lead role on the popular Soap Opera “Southwest General.”
Tootsie is a great movie. It’s well written, funny and loved by all (most) who watch it. The movie was a critical and financial success. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning only one, Jessica Lang for Best Supporting Actress. The real shame is, not only did it not win for Best Makeup, it wasn’t even nominated. Come on man, Dustin Hoffman was made up as a women the entire movie. Even Mrs. Doubtfire won the Oscar for Best Makeup.
Tootsie made over $177 million at the box office making it the second highest grossing movie of 1982.
Roger Ebert gave Tootsie 4 out of 4 stars and summed it up nicely, “Tootsie is the kind of Movie with a capital M that they used to make in the 1940s, when they weren’t afraid to mix up absurdity with seriousness, social comment with farce, and a little heartfelt tenderness right in there with the laughs. This movie gets you coming and going…”
You can watch Tootsie on Hulu.
Other movies released in December 1982
Here are the other movies released in December 1982 and there are a couple big names on the list. The first being Ghandi. It was a powerhouse movie. Nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning eight and making a ton of cash.
The other big movie was Sophie’s Choice. It didn’t make as much money as Ghandi but it was an Academy Award favorite earning five nominations. Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
I’ve heard The Verdict is a good movie too and you can’t really go wrong with Paul Newman. I enjoyed the first Airplane movie but don’t recall ever seeing the sequel.
Timerider looks interesting too, a time traveling motorcycle rider! Sign me up.
If you’ve seen any of them let me know in the comments below.
December 1982 was a great month for movies. Even the movies I didn’t see were mega hits and award winners.
I enjoy The Toy and love The Dark Crystal. 48 Hrs is easily the best movie of the month. It’s a great comedy and a great action movie.
What are your favorites from December 1982?
Next week we’ll look at December 1987.