Friday, August 18, 2006

Top movies of the 1980's

I think movies have generally been good in almost every decade. It's just been a matter of what type of films are big during that decade. The 80's saw more big budget action films and big budget science fiction films although there were still plenty of bottom of the barrel budget films as well. Comedies were fairly broad, but there was definitely an increase in the number of comedies both with and for teenagers. Horror movies had been big before, but there were some bigger budget horror movies coming out, but lots of small budget ones as well. The "slasher" film also became more predominant during the decade. They were around in the 70's, but really emerged in the 1980's although they would be dying down some before the decade was over.
The type of movies I like don't tend to win many awards unless it's like for special effects or something like that. I tend to like comedy, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and action so those are the ones I made lists for.
I didn't feel that I could make one list because it just didn't seem fair to have comedies and action movies competing against each other. So I have a top five comedy films and top five horror. I decided to take action, adventure, science fiction and fantasy throw them in one category because some of the films overlap as a film like "Raiders of the lost ark" is essentially an action film, but it has some science fiction elements in it's conclusion. "Aliens" has more action than most straight action movies, yet it's mainly a sci-fi movie. So this category will be labeled action film and be a top ten. I hope that's not too confusing, but that's what worked best for me.

5)Fast Times at Ridgemont high- A teen comedy that was actually funny and had at least somewhat likeable characters.
4)National Lampoon's Vacation-Back when Chevy Chase was actually funny. I watch this at least once every summer and it's still solid.
3)UHF -Bombed at the theater, but it's hilarious. Just good, stupid humor with Weird Al leading the way. I have seen this one at least 25 times.
2)Caddyshack - A few week points, but the four big names here make the film. Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield are hilarious.
1)Airplane-Completely crazy, fast paced spoof of disaster flicks. Always makes me laugh.

5)Tie-American werewolf in London and Fright Night
American werewolf puts in some comedy, but it works. the special effects and the settings are the big plus here.
Fright Night-Slightly dated, but a good cast make this modern day (1985) vampire film stand out.
4)The Howling-A werewolf film that was finally done right. A solid cast and a great atmosphere help this film.
3)The Thing-A remake that's not all that much like the original (which is also very good). It has more horror elements in it and really plays up the paranoia angle.
2)Nightmare on Elm Street-Most of the other films in this series struggled, but this film worked. Some real scares and they play up the legend of Freddy more than Freddy himself.
1)Evil Dead 2-Yes, it's a horror comedy and it's horrific and funny at the same time which is not easy to do. This to me is the point where Bruce Campbell moved up to being the great B star that he has become. Demons, an ancient evil book, a psycho dead girlfriend and possessed hand make this a great one.

10)Conan the barbarian-Had to include one fantasy film and this edges out Clash of the titans and Beastmaster.
9)Escape from New York-Okay, the effects are way dates by now yet the steady action makes it hold up pretty well.
8)Rocky 3- Forget those Rambo movies, I wanted to see Stallone go against Mr. T.
7)The Empire Strikes back- Probably my favorite Star Wars film. The plot and the settings make it worthwhile.
6)Star Trek 2 -I am a big Star Trek fan, but the movies were hit or miss. This one hit with some great spaceship fights and lots of explosions.
5)Batman-We knew Nicholson would be good, Michael Keaton was surprisingly good particularly while under the mask. Great sets as well.
4)Predator-Schwarzenegger in one of his best films. Lots of action , great pace and one the best final confrontations of any action film.
3)Die Hard-Bruce Willis played a bit of an everyman as copy taking on terrorists in a building. Simple concept that plays out in spectacular form. Alan Rickman was very good as well.
2)Aliens-Some of the battles with the aliens are just crazy with some amazing sound effects, sets and lighting. Weaver is fantastic as the sour hero trying to last against the aliens. It's a shame the last segments of the series struggled.
1)Raiders of the lost ark-Yes, the special effects at the end are sketchy after 25 years, but so what? Harrison Ford is great, the stunts are unreal at times, the settings still look great and the plot works. I think this film changed the face of action films and heroes for some time to come.

Best film that didn't fit into any of the above categories
Back to the future-Sort of a sci-fi comedy, but not a true comedy and not enough action to be a true action film. Still a great film and it still holds up well.

So what movies did you like from the 1980's?

***On Saturday the "Eight day of the 80's" will conclude with a double dose of Van Halen as I review both Fair Warning and 1984.


Blogger Ben said...

I'd certainly add Spinal Tap to the list.

Also Ferris Bueller
The Untouchables,
I think Apocalypse Now was 1980 although I'm not sure.
The Blues Brothers
Three Amigos
Planes,Trains and Automobiles

4:07 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

In comedies, I must put in a good word for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. And I woudl rate Empire at the top!

These lists bring back a lot of memories ...

-- david

4:08 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Great lists. I'd echo Ben and David with their additions, plus Better Off Dead and of course Cannonball Run (with an honorable mention to Smokey & the Bandit).

I agree with you that Michael Keaton was a surprise as Batman. All I kept thinking is "Mr. Mom? BATMAN!??! Come on!", but he pulled it off nicely.

5:26 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

What no 'Ice Pirates' or 'Revenge of the Nerds'?

5:33 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Labrinth. David Bowie scared the hell out of me in that movie.

Oh -- and Time Bandits. Who doesn't love time traveling dwarves?

5:35 AM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

I'd add Spaceballs, Poltergeist, The Lost Boys, and maybe Romancing the Stone - Fatal Attraction was pretty scary, too.

your list was great! I absolutely love An American Werewolf in London and Aliens.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

In no particular order:
Fast Times...
The Elephant Man
American Pop
Die Hard
Lethal Weapon
The Big Chill
Fatal Attraction

7:46 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

The Breakfast Club
Weird Science
Sixteen Candles
D.C. Cab
The Princess Bride
The Terminator

7:52 AM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

I'm surprised that you left out Spinal Tap!

Great list, especially the horror movies. You've mentioned all of my favorites. Evil Dead 2 and the Thing would top the list for me.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I would add:

Spinal Tap
Ferris Bueller

10:12 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Ben, Fred, Jeff-Spinal Tap would definitely make my top ten favorite comedies.

David-I saw Bill and Ted in the theater, but have not seen it since.

Mike-I liked Cannonball Run, but have not seen it in years. Smokey and the Bandit was 1977.

Fuzz-Ice Pirates was a strange one.

Curare Z-I saw Time Bandits once and liked it.

Onmywatch-Poltergeist would make my top ten horror films.

Bruce-We agree on a few films.

Strutter-What, no Gene Simmons films? Sixteen Candles and the Breakfast Club are good, but some of the characters are so annoying.
Princess Bride is very good. Terminator is good, but I don't think that it has aged as well as Predator.

The only other films I wish I had been able to add are:

Killer Klowns from Outer Space-Weird, but very cool.

Pale Rider-Clint still busting heads.

Superman 2-Some of the effects are dated, but this deserves a mention for the city street destruction scene alone.

Big trouble in Little China-Okay, it's not going to win any awards, but it's a fun film.

For your eyes only and The Living Daylights-Not the greatest decade for Bond films, but I liked these two fils a lot.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Mark - Yeah, I knew Bandit was '77, but I got on the Burt Reynolds kick and lost my train of thought.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Sgt Fluffy said...

One Crazy Summer
Better Off Dead
How I got into College
Wow, I'd better stop.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

OK, Mark...

Runaway wasn't half bad.

8:23 PM  

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