Monday, January 6, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 1987
Well, this year pissed me off. It was hard as hell to dwindle it down to 6. So much good stuff in this year. So many favorites. There are plenty I'm going to miss on this one. I boiled it down to what I have watched most and what I've gone back to more recently and more often. I'd like to take this moment as well, and give an honorable mention to Miami Connection which came out this year. Its an incredible film that Drafthouse Films unearthered a little over a year ago and its absolutely fabulous. See it if you've not had the privilege
Okay, back to 1987. We have absolutely GLARING absences in today's list (Lethal Weapon & Princess Bride for example, ugh!). But I'm staying true to methods. So here's the Oscar breakdown for Best Picture that year.
WINNER - The Last Emperor
Hope And Glory
And now for my 6 favorite...or this time...survivors of 1987
Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
A full essay from me on this one can be found HERE. You can also listen to me, Aaron Neuwirth & Jim Dietz discuss the film during a full length feature commentary HERE. The "sequel" or revised telling of the first one is a perfect mixure of horror and comedy. Its almost a one man splatstick show as Bruce Campbell gives a legendary performance. When most people are thinking Evil Dead, most are thinking of this movie and the one that follows. A lot of stupid people went into the perfectly fine and very enjoyable remake expecting this kind of approach and when they got a serious tone for it, they started turning against it for no damn good reason. But, we're talking about this one, and its a horror-comedy staple, so see it!
Full Metal Jacket
Possibly my favorite war film of all time. I'll let it out right now, that I am a huge Stanley Kubrick fan (top 3 all time director for me). When I was young I made the mistake of saying that he made half a great film here. I've also heard others refer to it as that. It's a bunch of bull hokey. While yes, R Lee Ermey grabs you buy the balls and never lets go during the boot camp section, the 2nd half of this film is as good if not better than it. One day maybe I'll do a full on Kubrick retrospective and expand my thoughts, but people forget just how memorable ("Me so horny. Me love you long time") the second half its. Plus the end shootout is one of my favorite action sequences in a war film and maybe just film in general.
As a young lad, this film unnerved me. It was painfully graphic and very sexual so it made me a bit uncomfortable. During my horror upbringing, this one stuck out as truly taking things to another level that at my age I wasn't fully understanding but it was really affecting me. In a world piled on with slashers, this was actually a fresh and new just plain old horror film. As an adult, this film works incredibly for me. The effects are so good they still hold up like gangbusters today. Also I am mature and am able to "get" this story now. When I was little I was all about the "Pinhead! Show me Pinhead! What's he do!" type thing and that's not what this film is about at all. And I love when the cenobites hang in the shadows and we deal with more human drama and horrors with freaky setups and scenarios. This film is outstanding and one of the best horror movies of this entire decade and I still don't think it gets enough credit to this day.
The Living Daylights
I wrote about this one during my first ever retrospective (HERE). Timothy Dalton's debut is one of the absolute best Bond films of all time (#4 for me), and I hope people going back through the series see the greatness and finally appreciate the awesome Bond that was the the Dalton 1-2 punch. This one has everything. Its got terrific stunts, a great car, fun gadgets, a super gorgeous but also solidly written Bond girl and a underrated kick ass song by A-Ha. I love this movie more and more every time I see it. Its a lot of fun and works on many Bond'ian levels.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
This is hands down, one of the greatest sequels ever. Due to a retrospective later this year, I don't want to overdo it here talking about it today, but this is pretty much what people consider the perfect Freddy film. Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont (yes, "that" Frank Darabont) really had a full understanding of what they were doing in the script and executing it on screen. This does jump into a lot of camp in the final act, but manages to maintain a sense of dread and keeps the stakes high. This is ultimately a high mark for slasher-horror films of the 1980s. This is also the only film that was able to maintain a healthy balance of Freddy's personality and make it work.
This movie kicks a whole lot of ass. Its essentially a Ten Little Indians setup in the jungle with a mercenary team. Its got a lot of guns firing, explosions happening and limbs flying. It's also pretty damn good at delivering suspense. This is a full testosterone infused sci fi actioner, but damn is it a lot of fun. This is one of Schwarzenneger's highest marks of his career, but he never came back for a sequel. Plus, everybody assumes his character died of radiation poisoning anyway. I just wish they could get the transfer on this right for the damn Blu-ray!