Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 1985

We continue now with 1985.  As you'll see below, I guess I could coin this the "dead" year.  There were plenty of good ones to choose from here making the edit a little challenging.  I'm sure this will get real tough the further we get and more attention I paid to cinema year after year.  What this one came down to was which ones I'd been enjoying for the longer amount of time essentially.  Witness did not make the cut here, so Harrison's streak ends at 3. But, the film does get mentioned in the Oscar section.  Although i think he has it in him for more streaks possibly. We'll see.

As per usual, here's what the "Best Picture" nominees for the Oscars looked like in '85

WINNER - Out Of Africa
The Color Purple
Kiss Of The Spider Woman
Prizzi's Honor

Here's my rad picks for 1985

Back To The Future

Well, duh!  This is the essential 1985 movie.  I have loved this film since I can remember.  I can tell you it up and down and inside out.  Its a terrific time travel adventure/comedy for everyone to enjoy.  I also think this adventure, while basking and overstuffing itself in the 80s, is timeless.  It may have style of a generation long gone but its message and themes ring true today.  A highlight of mine was when it came back in 2010 for one weekend and I took my nephews who had never seen it before to the theater to see it (my friend Jay and I cosplayed the thing as Marty and Doc...we had a Halloween party that night, stars aligned), and they absolutely loved it.  This was a series early on in my life that I obsessed over, but over time its the first film that really is the perfect one and the only one that really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Better Off Dead

I can tend to have a bit of a weird and different sense of humor a lot of the time.  I tend to find humor in stuff that my mind can't make sense of or that plays in some weird kind of thing that I understand.  Well, when I saw this movie I fell in love as I got the idea that this movie's sense of humor and I "got" each other.  Case in point?  Watch the scene where Lane is in the cafeteria going through the lunch line.  Behind him in line is this stocky guy with big shades and all he's doing is wandering behind him with a fork in his hand.  Its background and the camera nor characters ever draw attention to it.  When I think about that whole thing it has me rolling on the floor laughing.  I can't explain unless you, too, understand.  Better Off Dead though, works on more levels than that and is one of Cusack's all time best.  Lane Meyer or Lloyd Dobler? Its pretty close for me, to be quite honest.

Day Of The Dead

I wrote about this one last year (HERE).  George Romero's (for a time) final piece to his zombie trilogy was wrongfully maligned for many years.  It still places last among the original 3 for me, but its still a damn good film in its own right.  Its just a bit more darker and less flashy compared to the original 2.  The acting in it is also much more hammy.  But, who doesn't love Rhodes here?  Apparently everyone because his death has been knocked off countless times in a ton of zombie movies since.  Just because you're 3rd place doesn't mean you're bad or not worth it.  You're just 3rd in comparison to 2 others.


For me, this is the ultimate Chevy Chase movie.  There's plenty of classic Chevy bits as he plays Irwin Fletcher, a detective who makes a habit of using whacky undercover aliases.  The cool thing about Fletch is that its actually got a pretty solid and fun mystery to go with it to boot.  They've been forever trying to reboot this franchise with nothing to show for it except a bunch name dropping and people leaving the project.  I'm fine with this movie, because if they reboot it, it won't be Chevy Chase.  And he's the only reason this movie works in the first place.  If its not him, its probably some generic forgotten about movie that nobody remembers anymore.  

Fright Night

This was kind of like the Scream of the 1980s.  Instead of slasher movies, we're talking classic monster movies and Hammer films.  The film took the old concept of vampires and hipped them up and brought them back into a the fold of modern times.  Prior to Fright Night, vampires weren't really taken seriously any more and were pretty much old hat and jokeworthy.  Tom Holland was able to make a film that not only was pretty meta but able to make the stakes count and make it cool again to use the vampires.  The film also contains one of the craziest performances you'll ever see captured on celluloid in the vein of Evil Ed.  This might be a time capsule movie now, but it really worked back then and I still think holds some charm.  Its a film every horror fan should see.

The Return Of The Living Dead

Speaking of "cool", here's a movie pitted punk rock against zombies.  This is the first true zombie comedy and the directorial debut of Dan O'Bannon.  Its got all the gross goodness you'd want from a zombie movie, plus some big laughs.  Ever want to know where zombies saying "Brains!" came from?  It's this movie, cuz they never said anything before that.  Who can forget classic moments like "Send more cops!"  And I think Linnea Quigley turned the head of every young male with her "skills" in this movie, a year following her antler moment in Silent Night, Deadly Night.  This is an out and out fun bash that still holds up and even has a feature length documentary looking back at making it.

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