Michael Wilmington is amusing, yet inaccurate, when he claims "screenwriting in American movies (in the Easy '80s) . . . just isn't there."
When was it there? In the '30s? '40s? '50s? Were the pre-'80s devoid of "burped out" sequels celluloid? The 1932 Boris Karloff classic "The Mummy" was followed by at least a dozen sequels.
The "Easy '80s" also do not have a monopoly on "hilarious, madcap movies about daffy, goofy, sex-crazed guys." Just go to any beach and yell "Surf's up!" and it's standing-room-only for Frankie and Annette.
If Wilmington truly believes that "the average major studio movie script has never--in the history of talking pictures--been as consistently bad as it is right now: as poorly written, as banally conceived, as frequently unoriginal or inept," then I must give him a hand--"The Crawling Hand."