Thursday, January 2, 2014

Movie Rewind: Where Were You in ’84?

by ScottDS

For my money, 1984 was just a good a year as 1982 was for movies. As per usual, this list focuses more on genre stuff and in no way constitutes a definitive best-of list! (And apologies for my lack of articles in 2013 – school has taken up most of my time.)

1984 – The second adaptation of George Orwell’s seminal novel, Michael Radford’s 1984 casts John Hurt as Winston Smith, a clerk in the Ministry of Truth who rewrites historical documents for the state. He falls in love with Julia and suffers the consequences of his “thoughtcrime.” Richard Burton appears (in his last role) as the villainous O’Brien and many of the phrases (originally from the novel) are part of the lexicon, including “doublethink” and “Big Brother.” Depressing but always relevant. “I love you.”

Amadeus – Milos Forman’s adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 stage play won eight Academy Awards, including Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham who plays composer Antonio Salieri, envious rival of the vulgar Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce, always Pinto). The look of the film is lavish, with the production having shot mostly on location in Eastern Europe. Dick Smith’s old-age make-up is some of the best ever done and according to music experts, Hulce played every note on the piano correctly! “I speak for all mediocrities in the world.”

2010: The Year We Make Contact – Writer/director Peter Hyams received Stanley Kubrick’s blessing to adapt Arthur C. Clarke’s sequel novel. The eclectic cast includes Roy Scheider as Dr. Heywood Floyd, John Lithgow as Discovery engineer Kurnow, Bob Balaban as HAL creator Dr. Chandra, and Helen Mirren as Russian cosmonaut Kirbuk. The political subplot dates the movie but it’s still entertaining. No space battles or fight scenes – just science and wonder. The effects mostly hold up, though the screenwriting is clunky at times, with less than stellar exposition (way too much voice-over). “My God, it’s full of stars!”

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension – This cult classic seems to get more popular with each passing year. Peter Weller is the titular hero, neurosurgeon/test pilot/rock star Buckaroo Banzai. John Lithgow is Lord John Whorfin, leader of the Red Lectroids who wish to take over Planet 10 after being banished by the Black Lectroids. (The Red ones are all named John; the Black ones are all Rastafarian.) Everyone is after the “oscillation overthruster” which allows humans to pass through solid matter. [sigh] Don’t ask. This film can’t be described in a short paragraph. Banzai’s compatriots include Clancy Brown as Rawhide and Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey. And the end credits are awesome. “Why is that watermelon there?”

Gremlins – One of the films that led to the creation of the PG-13 rating, Joe Dante’s horror comedy from first-time screenwriter (and future director) Chris Columbus still holds up after all these years. Inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) buys his son Billy (Zach Galligan) a fury creature known as a Mogwai. But all hell breaks loose after they fail to follow the main rule: don’t get it wet! A tour de force of creature effects, cartoonish gags, larger than life characters, and a cast of character actors (including Dante regular Dick Miller), all presented by Steven Spielberg’s then-new production outfit Amblin Entertainment. Also remembered for Jerry Goldsmith’s famous theme. “Get out of my kitchen!”

Beverly Hills Cop – A massive hit that wouldn’t be nearly as funny without Eddie Murphy, enigmatic director Martin Brest’s action-comedy features Murphy as Detroit cop Axel Foley who heads to Beverly Hills to solve the murder of a friend. An early hit for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, this film spawned two sequels and even a recent TV pilot which surprisingly was not picked up. Highlights include John Ashton and Judge Reinhold as Beverly Hills, uh, cops, along with Bronson Pinchot as Serge, and the always-entertaining Steven Berkoff as (who else?) the villain. And even people who’ve never seen the film know Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” theme. “Don’t f--- with me, Axel!”

Ghostbusters – One of my top 3 favorite movies of all-time, the movie that I grew up on, the movie whose original making-of book I spent years tracking down on eBay… what more could possibly be said about this classic American comedy? (Andrew reviewed it here.) Bill Murray, co-writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson (all playing their A-games) are the Ghostbusters, paranormal exterminators who have to save the day when a malevolent spirit attempts to bring about the end of the world. Excellent production values, a memorable theme song, infinitely-quotable dialogue, and sincere performances. “What about the Twinkie?”

Red Dawn – Co-written and directed by the colorful John Milius, this cult classic shows what happens when the Soviets decide to invade Small Town, U.S.A. They meet armed resistance: a group of high school students who resort to guerilla warfare, and who call themselves the “Wolverines” after their school mascot. This is another movie I saw pretty late in the game and I liked it, corny moments and all. Plenty of familiar faces in this one, including Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Harry Dean Stanton, and Powers Booth. The right loved it, the left hated it… but some on the far-left loved it, too. “Avenge me!!”

The Karate Kid – I saw this movie years after the fact but it still worked. New student Daniel Russo (Ralph Macchio) is bullied by Johnny, a student at the Cobra Kai dojo. (I’m grinning just writing this.) Danny asks the kindly handyman at his mom’s apartment to train him. And thus audiences were introduced to Mr. Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita, who was nominated for an Oscar! Elizabeth Shue plays Ali, the object of both Daniel and Johnny’s affections and Johnny is played by William Zabka, who played the bully in almost every other 80s movie. Director John G. Avildsen achieved immortality with Rocky but he’ll certainly be remembered for this one as well. The film spawned three sequels and an inevitable remake. “Sweep the leg.”

Revenge of the Nerds – Of all the college comedies released in the wake of Animal House, this is one of the best. Louis and Gilbert attend Adams College where they, along with their fellow outcasts, face constant harassment by the jock fraternity, the Alpha Betas. Co-stars Anthony Edwards and Timothy Busfield have gone on to greater heights, though I’m not sure Robert Carradine has been able to live this one down. Also stars perennial character actor Curtis Armstrong (as “Booger”), sitcom killer Ted McGinley, and John Goodman who’s excellent as the Alpha Beta’s coach. And for anyone who thinks movies are more objectionable today, just show them this one. “We’ve got bush!”

Runaway – Yeah, right now you're probably thinking, "This stupid movie?" Honestly, I'm only including it so I can link to this montage. (Watch till the end!) As I write this, it’s been five years since the untimely passing of Michael Crichton, who wrote and directed this tale of robots run amuck. Crichton was a great novelist but his original movies (namely this and 1981's Looker) were quite silly, but fun in a B-movie kind of way. Tom Selleck is Sgt. Jack Ramsay who specializes in robotic crimes, and is baffled when he and his new partner (Cynthia Rhodes) find themselves dealing with the first homicide-by-robot. Gene Simmons (!) plays the villain… and. He’s. Just. Nuts. “Ramsay!!”

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – This was the last of the Kirk/Spock movies I saw when I first got into Trek 20 years ago. (I was at the mercy of Blockbuster’s selection.) It’s not as good as the movies surrounding it but not as bad as some people think. Leonard Nimoy does a competent job in his big-screen directing debut, though writer/producer Harve Bennett’s script takes a major shortcut in explaining the demise of the Genesis Planet. Proto-matter? Really? Christopher Lloyd is the villainous Klingon Kruge, though he mostly comes across as just another crazy Christopher Lloyd character. But the vintage 80s effects by ILM are great, James Horner’s score is larger than life, and all the actors get a moment to shine. “That green-blooded son of a bitch!”

Top Secret! – A parody that mixes Elvis movies and World War II thrillers, this cult classic from the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team doesn’t quite hold up narratively in the same way Airplane! and The Naked Gun do. (Both of those movies still work straight without the jokes.) But it’s a riot! Val Kilmer makes his big-screen debut as Nick Rivers, a singer who’s asked to perform in East Germany and soon finds himself involved in a resistance movement. Highlights include a scene that takes place in a Swedish bookstore which was shot in reverse(!) and an underwater saloon fight. “How do we know he’s not Mel Tormé?”

The Terminator – Let’s pretend Piranha II doesn’t exist so we can label this James Cameron’s first movie. The Canadian truck driver-turned filmmaker reportedly had a nightmare about a killer robotic torso dragging itself from flames and the rest is (future) history. Starring as the titular Terminator is former Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger, who quickly became the biggest star on the planet. This movie still works and the script by Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd is perfectly structured. There’s still a low-budget film school charm to this movie. Also an early hit for the late creature effects guru Stan Winston. Now if only we can get Cameron to leave Pandora. “I’ll be back.”

This is Spinal Tap – The ultimate mockumentary that chronicles the exploits of Spinal Tap, one of Europe’s “loudest bands.” Michael McKean, Harry Schearer, and Christopher Guest play David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls, and Nigel Tufnel, and director Rob Reiner plays director “Marti Di Bergi” who’s documenting the release of the band’s latest album Smell the Glove. Audiences hated this movie upon its release; most of them didn’t know it was a parody. Billy Crystal, Fred Willard, Fran Drescher, the late Bruno Kirby, and Paul Shaffer make appearances and the music is actually pretty good! And many musicians including (but not limited to) Dee Snider, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Waits, and Eddie Van Halen all thought the film hit way too close to home. “These go to eleven.”

Also: Body Double, The Bounty, both Breakin' movies!, Broadway Danny Rose, Children of the Corn, Conan the Destroyer, Dune, Footloose, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Last Starfighter, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Natural, Night of the Comet, Police Academy, Purple Rain, Romancing the Stone, Splash, Starman, and Supergirl.

Will 2014 prove to be as memorable?

48 comments:

shawn said...

I was a junior in High School and saw all of the highlighted movies at the theater except "1984" and "Amadeus", both of which I caught later on HBO. Saw most of the "also" movies as well.

Gremlins- I remember thinking coming out of the theater, "holy smokes! how did it get a PG?"

The Terminator- saw no tv ads, but saw it listed in the paper and it was at one of the B-run theaters. My buddies and I thought it might make a good MST3K like experience, but were blown away instead.

All in all, it was a pretty good year for movies.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Scott!

I'm with Shawn. I saw most of these in theaters, and I enjoyed them all. This was a great year for movies.

I do have to admit though that I've never cared for Spinal Tap. I get it, I just don't find it all that funny.

I also remember Romancing The Stone for being a real high point for Douglas/Devito and for the missing theme song by Eddie Grant.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. 2014 has NO chance... zero point zero of being as good. They aren't even trying. To quote Animal House: "Bloated, pointless and derivative is no way to go through life, son."

ScottDS said...

shawn -

Re: The Terminator - I've read that story many times before... people who saw the trailer or heard the title and wrote it off as a B-movie, only to go see it and love it.

And the MPAA ratings system is still a joke, if only because they're so inconsistent and out of touch. I know some folks talk of ratings creep (i.e. PG-13 movies that should be R) but the inverse is also true.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I didn't get Spinal Tap until I was older to appreciate it. I mean, I "got it" but I didn't find it funny till years later. And I admit it's not really laugh-out-loud.

Romancing the Stone (which I ran out of room to write about) is another movie I saw for the first time years later. It's quite enjoyable and was a much-needed hit for a young Robert Zemeckis, which allowed him to make a little movie called Back to the Future afterwards. My friend likes to do his Alfonso Aráu impression: "Joan Wilder?!" :-)

ScottDS said...

As for 2014, I'm looking forward to David Fincher's Gone Girl (if only because it's Fincher) and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

And we'll have more Spider-Man, more Captain America, more Apes, and even the LEGO movie.

Dave Olson said...

There's no way 2014 will have as many memorable movies as 1984. Thirty years ago Reaganism was at its height, and movies had plots, conflicts, and resolutions. Today we have Obamacare and CGI. Improvement? I think not. Today's movies are an excuse for excess; one mindless action scene piled atop the previous scene. A two-hour ride on a waterslide may be fun in the moment, but will you remember anything about it beyond the fact that you were on it?

Just a few observations: 1984 in its original incarnation was brilliant; the colours were desaturated and the whole film had a dirty, dingy look that was a perfect match for it and the source novel. When I saw it on cable last year, they had "restored" it and it looked like a regular film. The costumes obviously weren't as elaborate as Amadeus but that's almost what it looked like. Suddenly, Oceania wasn't nearly as dystopic. A crime almost as bad as colorization.

2010 was a less boring movie than 2001, and it was a lesser movie. They ignored a major subplot of the novel and shoehorned in some Cold War "tension" that seems dated now, and turned Helen Mirren's character into a straight-up bitch.

There's nothing I can add about Ghostbusters that wasn't said in "Overthinking Ghostbusters", so I won't. A great website for a great movie.

The Terminator now involves two of the biggest assholes in Hollywood, James Cameron and Harlan Ellison. Ellison claimed that Cameron "ripped off" various elements of his stories that ran on "The Outer Limits". Now to be fair, Cameron himself has been quoted as saying that he "ripped off" those very stories, but in fact they were only a few similar camera shots and very, very general themes. But Ellison sued and now all video copies and broadcasts of The Terminator have to acknowledge Ellison's "contribution". Bah. A pox on both their houses. At what point does homage cross the line to rip-off? I was watching the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth last night, and there is a scene in which Our Heroes are chased in the caverns by a boulder. Did Speilberg put the boulder chase in Raiders as homage or rip-off?

ScottDS said...

Dave -

I almost didn't include Ghostbusters on account of Andrew's review and that Overthinking piece (which took me a week to get through!).

I don't remember how I originally saw 1984. It might've been on Netflix or one of those odd movie channels somewhere in the 200s and it looked plenty desaturated to me. I'm surprised we haven't seen a new version but nowadays, such a film would be better suited to TV.

I like 2010 - it's one of my comfort food movies to keep on in the background. Intellectually, it can't hold a candle to Kubrick (for whatever that's worth)... but the films are still different enough that comparing them is apples and oranges to me.

Someone once said that if the film is bad, it's a rip-off and if it's good, then it's an homage! Ellison is... well, he's a character. And some of his personality traits notwithstanding, I give Cameron all the credit in the world for being able to pull off what he's done.

PikeBishop said...

Man, 1984 was a frightening vision of the dystopian future. I think the most disturbing image was Susanah Hamilton's "carpet." (full body shiver) ;-)

ScottDS said...

Pike -

I've never actually read the novel. :-) (Yeah, it's on the to-do list.)

As for the carpet, can you think of a better reason to oppose a police state?!

tryanmax said...

I've seen nearly everything on this list. Like you, I had to come to them late, what with being four at the time, and all. A truly excellent year for movies.

I leave you with this: No More Kings - "Sweep the Leg"

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

I was only one at the time, but I still wonder why I never got around to seeing The Karate Kid when I was, say, 8 or 9. (I grew up watching a similar film: Sidekicks with Chuck Norris.)

Nice video! It's amazing how much of our art these days is a reference to someone else's art... but that's another story. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

One? Four? You guys were pikers. I was busy being 14 at the time!

ScottDS said...

By the way, this has nothing to do with the column but I wanted to acknowledge the passing of James Avery who played Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

He was also the voice of Shredder on the Ninja Turtles cartoon and played Corey Haim's driving instructor from Hell in License to Drive which I reviewed here a while back.

Jim said...

I think Harlan Ellison is the Little Richard of science fiction. He thinks everything is a rip-off of his work...

ScottDS said...

Jim -

Pretty much. :-) I did a report on him back in high school, despite not having read much of his work. I enjoyed sharing some of his profane quotes with my classmates.

Kit said...

Movies in 2014:
Lego Movie: Could be good, could be bad.
Veronica Mars: Eh, could be interesting.
Divergent: Young attractive female heroine + dystopian future + hot broody guy = Totally Not Hunger Games.
Captain America: WInter Soldier: Oh, hell yes!
Amazing Spiderman 2: Will see it.
Godzilla: Could be good. If it works well enough it could be the most memorable movie of the year.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Evil humans try to rid the world of mutants. First return of Bryan Singer since 2002.

Also, Transformers 4 is coming out. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Aside from seeing bits of The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, and Gremlins when I was a kid, which I only have vague memories of, the only one of these movies I remember seeing all the way through is Revenge of the Nerds, which I watched in high school and loved. My mom had recommended the movie for a long time and I got a real kick out of it. Liquid Heat indeed... I was one that year myself so I couldn't catch any of them in the theater obviously! I have been meaning to go back and see some of them all the way through, though, Ghostbusters especially.

2014's movie lineup doesn't look impressive to me either, but as a big gamer it's looking like a good year on that front! I'm already making plans to get Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, both parts of Metal Gear Solid V, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Collection, Tales of Xillia 2, and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMix, among others! It's going to be a busy year of slowly reserving and paying off good games...

- Daniel

Koshcat said...

I almost thought you forgot Footloose, but you mentioned it at the bottom.

Surprised you didn't mention The Killing Fields. It was the first time I learned about Khmer Rouge. Nightmare on Elm Street and Sixteen Candles also came out that year. It has many great lines and characters. Long Duk Dong; "My brother paid a buck to see your underpants."; "Oh Fred, she's gotten her boobies."

Koshcat said...

ScottDS - RE: Gone Girl

Did you read the book?

EricP said...

>> I was busy being 14 at the time! >>

My brutha! We had the best of all worlds that year, too, fo' sho' (link help, please): http://www.threedonia.com/archives/22852 .

Great stuff, ScottDS! Re. Top Secret, I was lucky enough to attend a screening a couple years ago which featured a post-movie Q&A with "Weird" Al. Gotta love Hollywood.

Another fun Hollywood moment happened following a Spinal Tap screening when it got a revival run about a decade ago. Thinking the albums actually existed, a group of early 20-somethings excitedly talked about going out to get Shark Sandwich and Intravenous DeMilo on the way home, and I really wish I could have been a clerk at the local Virgin Records that day. I woulda strung them along for a good couple months, saying the shipment hadn't gotten in yet. "Viv, can you double with the keyboard and bass lines?" "Oh, yeah, I got two hands."

Actually got to co-opt a Sixteen Candles line this morning, too, when an elderly lady complained about having to use a computer to sign in at the blood donation center. "Oh, I hate computers!" "Sorry, ma'am, but I'm afraid they're here to stay."

1984 -- accept no substitutes!!!!

Dave Olson said...

I consider Red Dawn to be one of the great sci-fi movies ever made. It tells the tale of a parallel universe in which Jimmy Carter won his second term.

Anonymous said...

Looking back 1984 was a great year for movies, I just didn't appreciate it at the time. Being 10 years old and growing up in Australia I didn't get to see any of these movies at the movies but had to watch them on VHS at least a year or five later. But most of the movies you mentioned are classics that I still enjoy today.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

I can't stand Harlan Ellison. What a whiny jerk. And it drives me nut that he (and people like Philip Dick's widow) actually believe they came up with everything. "You used a rocket ship... I used a rocket ship... you stole that from me." Self-aggrandizing a-hole.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Yeah, a great year for music too! All around, a good time to grow up.

Here's your link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, You've got to check out some of these films!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You get current movies the same time we do, right?

ScottDS said...

Kit -

I’ll end up Redboxing most of those titles. The Godzilla teaser looked surprisingly awesome.

ScottDS said...

Daniel -

Definitely see Ghostbusters! There’s a reason it’s still held in high regard 30 years later.

Good luck with the games. For some reason, my interest in video games both began and ended with Mario. And the last thing I need right now is another expensive hobby! :-)

ScottDS said...

Koshcat -

No, never read the book. But I’ll see anything Fincher does.

Crap, I can’t believe I forgot Sixteen Candles!!! I still think it’s one of the best - if not the nest - teen movie ever made. I saw it for the first time on a high school trip.

“Automobiiiile?!”

ScottDS said...

Eric -

As I mentioned on Threedonia, you’d be amazed by how many people I meet who love Airplane! but have never heard of Top Secret!.

Now all they need to do is bring it out on Blu-Ray along with the Naked Gun sequels and Brain Donors.

ScottDS said...

Scott -

They are, indeed, classics, even if they don't appear to be. Some of them just took their sweet time.

Jason said...

Oh man, I watched that scene in “Licence to Drive” with James Avery before I got my license…big big big mistake. I was a jittering mass of nerves when trying to get my license.

If the Lego Movie came out back when I was a kid (circa late 80s-early 90s) I would be super hyped for it. I absolutely loved Legos. Today, I think it’ll be enjoyable but I feel like we’re going to get another rehash of the “chosen one” plot, which is dampening my enthusiasm a little.

Never saw “Top Secret” but I have a feeling it belongs on my “to watch” list.

I saw Ellison doing a Youtube commentary on the movie “Saving Mr. Banks.” I hadn't seen a recent Ellison video in a long time (I used to watch his commentaries on Sci-Fi Buzz in the late 90s). I can tell age has taken a toll on him - his speech is more halting, his voice has gotten more hoarse, and he practically looks ancient.

ScottDS said...

Jason -

I used to watch License to Drive a lot as a kid and it might as well have been a horror film! It may have even had something to do with the fact that I didn't get my license until 17 (most of my friends had permits at 15).

Anonymous said...

Scott, Andrew, I definitely plan on catching Ghostbusters and a good chunk of the other movies when I can, no worries! I'm starting to find movies to be a nice break from the more involved games I play and books I read anyway, though it may still be slow going - I only just caught up on the Craig Bond movies this past weekend!

I understand about the games being a pricey, distracting hobby too, no worries. For me Mario helped me get into them, but it was playing a lot of the JRPGs like the Final Fantasy games that sealed my interest in them as a hobby and a storytelling medium. I know they're not for everyone, though I still can't help but think of the sci-fi community here whenever I play the Mass Effect games. Anyway, I'm sure everyone here will find something to enjoy in the coming year!

-- Daniel

Koshcat said...

Then don't read it. There is a twist in the story. I wonder how they'll do it. Good book and I was suspicious of my wife for about a week. :)

Anonymous said...

Andrew, now we get movies anywhere from a week to a month after the USA and sometimes like with the Avengers we actually got it a week before you! But as a kid with no internet piracy we had to wait months and some of these movies never got a theatrical release at all and I had to wait years to discover them on VHS or TV.

ScottDS, true, but a good movie is a good movie and will eventually make itself well known no matter how long it takes.

Scott.

ScottDS said...

Scott -

"...but a good movie is a good movie and will eventually make itself well known no matter how long it takes."

Which is why I hate when people use money as the barometer - if that were the case, then Avatar would be one of the best movies ever made and that just ain't so! :-)

The only true test is time.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Ellison used to appear on a Sci-Fi Channel show called Sci-Fi Buzz - this was pre-Internet when we had to find out our geek news from TV and magazines. Ellison would appear at the tale end of each episode to do an editorial (of sorts)... he was always entertaining, and always a grouch. :-)

Critch said...

Many of my favorite movies. In 1984 I was a commodity broker for Shearson-Lehman Bros. I had money, a new wife and we went to movies, we still do. I especially loved Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Red Dawn and Runaway. Kirstie Alley was hotter than a two dollar pistol in that movie...she had legs that ran from the floor all the way up...I was a nuclear weapons specialist in SAC in the early 70s so Red Dawn was my kinda movie,,,never did like commies, still don't. Buckaroo bonzai was strange, I think being stoned would have helped my view of it. Beverly Hills Cop is still Eddy Murphy's best work outside of SNL.Someone mentioned 2010: The Year We Make Contact...it was a good movie, way too many dump on it, they did a good job. One of my favorite actors is in 2010; Bob Balaban, this guy is everywhere from Midnight Cowboy on to today's Monument Men...he is the consumate professional. Although a 1983 movie, Trading Places is till a favorite..

ScottDS said...

I like 2010... and as I said above, it's just too different in style to 2001 that I don't even bother to compare it. The actors are fine (I miss Roy Scheider!), David Shire's synth score is interesting and I'm not the biggest fan of synth scores, the model work still holds up for the most part, and things move along at a good pace. I just think Peter Hyams depends too much on voice-over for exposition. I'd love to create a fan-edit of the film that removes most of it. :-)

Yeah, Bob Balaban is just one of those guys. He wrote a book about his experiences on Close Encounters which I need to read one day.

PikeBishop said...

Can't add any new titles, as my favorites were already being mentioned, but I would like to add a little b movie gem. Went to school in small town Virginia. Every Monday night was one dollar night at the only movie theatre in town. Saw a lot of great ones there. But one night we went and saw "Angel II." Anyone remember the grindhouse like premise of "Angel?" "Honor Student by day; Hollywood Hooker by night." Puh-leez.

Anyway the sequel was a fun, well directed little B movie that didn't take itself seriously and you watch with a smile on your face the whole time. Also featured the late great western character actor, Rory Calhoun (Motel Hell) in one of his last film roles.

Great experience.

Dwizzum said...

What a great year for movies. I saw almost all of these. Some that you missed on your list I ended up watching on cable and still are fun. Repo Man, The Razor's Edge, Missing in Action, Ice Pirates, and Dreamscape. All these minor movies are pretty much more entertaining than anything coming out now.

ScottDS said...

Pike -

Never heard of it though from your description, I wish I went to school with her. :-)

ScottDS said...

Dwizzum -

I always start big and edit as I go along. I almost mentioned Ice Pirates, then I asked myself, "Why?!"

(I saw it for the first time a few years ago with a friend who hadn't seen it in years. As soon as the DVD menu came up, my friend asked, "What have I done?!?!") :-)

Tennessee Jed said...

Thanks for a pretty exhaustive list. Amadeus was absolutely my personal favorite. Tom Hulse was surprisingly good, F. Murray Abraham, astonishing. If Beverly Hills Cop was made as a vehicle for Eddie Murphy, kudos to the writer. Yes, he made that character, and lifted it to one of the best of the genre. Having been in bands during college and after, I enjoyed Spinal Tap immensely. It isn't a "great" film, but I have always enjoyed that group's work.

ScottDS said...

Jed -

Beverly Hills Cop was originally offered to Stallone, but he left over creative differences pretty late in pre-production. Stallone later used some of his ideas in Cobra a few years later.

Tennessee Jed said...

wow, I just would not see it working nearly as well with Sly.

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