3. Over the Top (1987)
Over the Top took nobody’s favourite sport, arm wrestling, and turned it into a movie which made for one of the ’80s weirdest blockbusters. And that’s in a decade that brought you Howard the Duck, Return to Oz, and Labyrinth.
Starring – who else? Well, maybe Arnie, but not this time – Sylvester Stallone as a down-on-his-luck trucker Lincoln Hawk hoping to reconnect with estranged son Michael after picking him up from military school.
There’s an appropriate amount of male-bonding, including Hawk teaching Michael to arm wrestle and drive a truck, but when the two are forced to part ways, Lincoln goes to Las Vegas to compete in the World Armwrestling Championship.
It’s a cheesy example of how to turn being overly macho into subtle homo-eroticism, but it’s an unlikely feel-good movie about a labored father/son relationship, and it’s unpredictably relatable.
Did it work? Yes, but only just. As ridiculous as it seems, arm wrestling serves an actual purpose in the movie. It’s not high art, but it’s a good watch.