Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 1989
Another year, more difficult decisions. 1989 is one of my favorite years for movies and one of the biggest ones as a fan and contributor to my passion, love and geekiness for film today. Once again, the Lethal Weapon franchise gets the short end of the stick here (its got 2 more chances to show up!) and none of Jason/Freddy/Michael made the cut in the big turning point year for slashers. This year's summer was the answer to the summer of 1982...except these ones were both hyped and respected at the time. 2008 would later mirror some of these releases, but I'll get to that later (and if I forget, remind me). I'm not so sure on how 1990 is going to turn out, but it was a really remarkable run here in my personal journey from 1987-1989.
Here's what our Oscar landscape looked like in the 'Best Picture' category in 1989. And for the first time here in this study, the nominees look like films that a lot of people (general audiences) actually saw that year.
WINNER - Driving Ms. Daisy
Born On The Fourth Of July
Dead Poets Society
Field Of Dreams
My Left Foot
And now, here's my 1989
Back To The Future Part II
This film has a lot of plot holes, problems and gets kind of off tonally. But you know what? I don't really care, because I enjoy these characters and I'm enjoying the ride. If anything, I embrace all that is wrong with this movie. Its not as good as the first, but this movie is still very iconic in its own right. Everybody can recall the lavishly exaggerated 1980s in the form of 2015. Hoverboards, the flying DeLorean, Mr. Fushion, "Two McFlys with the same gun", the sports almanac...I could go on and an on and "Ooh La La! OOH LA LA!" about all the iconic stuff from this movie all day. This Back To The Future has its "dark chapter" middle chapter moments as well as a mystery in the center of everything. The second half of the film plays on your nostalgia for its predecessor but it really fun and rewarding for fans. Plus the cliffhanger at the end of the film is outstanding.
Yeah yeah yeah, the Nolan films may be better and this one might be "dated"...but this one is my absolute favorite. This movie blew my mind when I saw it in the theater. The place was crowded and the audience ooh'd and aw'd throughout. This movie was larger than life for me. I was a fan of reruns of the Adam West Batman and collected a comic book or two, but this film took me to extreme Bat-fandom. I just about damn near wore out my VHS tape of it. I even remember the Diet Coke commercial on it and the Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny trying to sell the hell out of Warner Bros merchandise before the movie started. The film has one of my favorite scores and opening credits sequences of all time. Its a Top 10 all-time film for me (if I had to make a list it'd be in HEAVY consideration). Tim Burton became a god among filmmakers from me with this movie too. I love this movie in a way I never have the Christopher Nolan ones. Its not fair as I was at a more impressionable age and this one made a massive impression, but it is what it is.
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Put your gloves on haters. To me, this is the best Indiana Jones movie. The chemistry between Henry Jones and his father is unmatched in any other entry of the series and is gold for this franchise. It returns to a much more tradition adventure akin to Raiders, but also puts on some fun by becoming sort of a road trip movie. Its got some breathtaking stunts, a great sense of adventure and plenty of laughs to that have this thing moving. Maybe there's some bias as its the first Indy movie I saw in the theater, but I've had many years to watch these and have it change my mind and I haven't budged. Make no mistake, though. Its a close race, but this one wins out for me.
License To Kill
Once, a time ago, I wrote about this one HERE. This Bond film dared to try something different and something audiences weren't ready for at the time. Anyone who is merely into the Daniel Craig Bond films should do themselves a favor and check this one out as it features the type of Bond they enjoy and a story akin to the tone of the newer films. People once wrote Timothy Dalton out of town for the exact same reasons they praise Daniel Craig and call him "the best". I'm not looking at this as a competition as I'm a Bond fan and enjoy all aspects and men in the role, but I was just making an observation in regards to what history has shown. This is one of the all time best 007 films and it seems to be slowly picking up more appreciation as the years go by as it was not warmly received upon release and is the lowest grossing Bond adventure of all time.
Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" just started playing in your head, right? This is a film I could see a lot of people tossing aside as some generic "typical" romantic comedy and if you've done that, you're making a grave mistake. We all have the image of John Cusack with the boombox over his head ingrained in our brains, but there's so much more to the film than that. This one actually deals with some real and personal drama as well as giving you some laughs. Its also got a powerhouse performance from John Cusack. The film deals with the uncertainties of life following graduation as well as the the blindfold of your youth being removed to see the ugliness and problems with a world and people you once thought were perfect and infallible. Its a film that you just don't expect to see take the avenues it does from the outset. And it feels really real and personal too.
To this day, sadly, the only Weird Al led film adventure. This movie is full of those stupid, absurd, nonsensical things I mentioned I love laughing at. Its got some super funny parodies (Conan The Librarian) and sketch bits that have had me rolling throughout all these years. I understand that this movie is very much a product of its time and that a lot of jokes aren't going to register with the younger crowd, but I'd hope some of its silliness could still be charming today. This was kind of a comedy bible for me and many of my friends going through middle and high school too. I love Al's wandering fantastic mind in this movie as I feel I can relate to his daydreaming about crazy things in the world of film and television.