Saturday, November 10, 2012

Top 10 Best Movies of the 1980s

Another all-important Pre-Blog

  Just like the 1970s, the 1980s had some pretty phenomenal movies, so again, there's a top-10 list of easy, obvious movies that you should have already seen, and if not, again, you're in for a real treat.  This time, I'll give more explanation of why these top-10 are all-important.

  By now, you should have seen these epic 1980's movies:

1. Blade Runner
  Regarded as the best science fiction movie of all time, this film-noir detective flick of the not too distant future has an astounding cast, great acting, great directing, and very advanced special-effects for its time.  The movie is arguably slow, but it builds the tension in this distopian future-noir.  The introductory sprawling scene of future Los Angeles is worth the watch alone.  Make sure you see this on the largest screen possible.  A+

2. Empire Strikes Back
  Part II of the initial Star Wars trilogy with a phenomenal soundtrack makes this love-story / sci-fi / drama the pinnacle of science-fiction and nearly ties with Blade Runner for its perfectness.  This movie can be watched as a stand-alone without any other knowledge of the Star Wars saga.  Thankfully not directed by George Lucas but instead by Irvin Kershner the movie definitely does not have kiddy elements; indeed, the only one of the current seven that does not. 
  Bit of news, Episodes 7, 8, and 9 are in the works through Disney and not George Lucas.  Don't groan yet, they aced The Avengers recently and Pixar can do no wrong.  Heck, it can't get any worse than The Phantom Menace which might be one of the worst sci-fi movies of all time.  We'll see. 
  Anyway, this film has all the soap-opera drama with turns and twists as well as kung-fu sensei elements and just about everything from horror to comedy that will appease everyone.  A must-watch.

3. Back to the Future Parts I & II

  I couldn't put the whole trilogy because the third installment is in the 1990's.  Parts I & II make for a nice epic film, and Steven Spielberg did a fine job keeping the viewer engaged.  Story's about a mad scientist who discovers time-travel and his actions make for an alternate reality that must be repaired.  Classic sci-fi theme and a lot of fun, even if you don't like sci-fi.  The car in the film, a DeLorean DMC sadly went out of business but it's a super-cool car and Michael J. Fox is a lot of fun with an '80s rock soundtrack makes this film trilogy a winner.

4. Aliens
   Where Alien in 1979 was a horror film, its sequel Aliens is an action film.  Marines are commissioned to eliminate the alien threat on the world discovered by Ripley in the previous film.  Scary, action-y, and a lot of fun with a soundtrack that adds a lot of tension when-needed.  The "strong mother" theme is used heavily in the film but not such that it detracts.  Lighting nearly makes it future-noir, and yeah, it's pretty cool.  An original watch of the first Alien is not mandatory to enjoy.  Action cinema gold.

5. Batman

 Young Tim Burton envisions a darker comic book character than the original 1966 film starring Jack Nicholson as The Joker.  Film works and America falls in love with edgy super-heroes.  Acting is pretty decent and shadow-play makes it win.  This movie was later revisioned with Heath Ledger in 2008 in the film The Dark Knight and it's arguably better and more concise.  Still, America at this time would have to wait 20 more years for that.  I did.  Until then, enjoy this second-runner as the second best Batman film: a caped crusader in a Gothic city against insane villainy.

6. Ghostbusters

  This comedic action movie is a lot of fun.   New York is threatened with ghost activity and four guys start a business to capture the ghosts and save the city.  Music is catchy and the special-effects are keen and don't look too cheesy.  Comedians Murray and Aykroyd from Canada's SCTV keep the tempo up.  Good watch for sure.

7. E.T.

  Movie played in theaters for over a year.  I waited it out because it was sappy but it turned out to be not that bad.  Kids discover an alien and help him get back home.  Government wants to do worse, probably because the alien is seemingly retarded (just kidding).  A lot of flicks mimic it, such as Mac and Me.  The candy Reese's Pieces, a peanut-butter M&M clone was featured as an alien's favorite and the sales in the US went to infinity.  Despite it's a kid's story, it's still touching, and a young Drew Barrymore gets her start cutely.  Definitely a film for the young-at-heart.

8. The Road Warrior

  The second film in a trilogy, the third being the more popular and far-more cheesy, Beyond Thunderdome, this film has been copied time and time again.  Post-appocolyptical Australian film where gangs fight to steal fuel.  Queen's Brian May (guitarist) does the music for this action flick.  A bit of a B-grade movie but a lot of fun and pretty epic in-scope.  Watch the original to get the origin of "Mad Max", a cop who puts the law in his own hands to get the job done.

9. Raiders of the Lost Ark

  Part 1 of a trilogy that all are worth watching is the least cheesy of the bunch.  An archaeologist seeks to find the Ark of the Covenant which holds the famed Ten Commandments of Moses' time during World War II.  Nazis try to intercept it.  Lots of action and a great score make this film a winner.   Three great Harrison Ford movies in one decade makes him a multi-quadrillionaire.

10. Stand By Me

   I saw this movie much later than when it came out, and I didn't really like it at the time, but it deserves its props.  A coming-of-age adventure of four boys who find a dead body in the woods and come back older and wiser.  Soundtrack is classic '50s as is the time it takes place.  Defines Americana on a deep level and one of Stephen King's best movies.

  So now that we got that out of the way, I'd like to point-out that other decades besides the '70s and '80s don't deserve such "must watch" honors.  Some of the best movies of all time came out during these two decades, more-so the 1970s but waned in the 1980s.  I'm not sure why this is, but it just.. is. 

  Watch those above 10 first, as they're again, cinematic gold.  Now, with that introduction,

  The 1980's were well-defined as the '50s, '60s, and '70s before it, with it's own style, concepts, and themes.  Indeed, decade transitions were becoming commonplace and I myself was getting quite used to it, almost expected it.  Luckily, the hangover of the dreary 1970s ended with the massive boot of Jimmy Carter during the 1980 election.  Due to a land-slide victory of Ronald Regan and an embrace of the Republican Party people again remembered why the Democratic Party sucks and hope was restored to America.  It always baffles me why America forgets this every 20 years or so which makes the US immediately fall into a slump, historically.  I blame the college kids with zero life experience and a refusal to look at history and their professors who wish it worked but never does.

1980 election, a landslide victory for the Republican Party as America remembers Democrats drown the US in debt

  Shortly after the election, Ronald Regan saves America from disaster heroically in less than a year.  The military get a much needed 20% raise in pay from the poverty conditions they were in, having to use food stamps ala Cuba and Russia style to make ends meet.  This puts the military now at a somewhat more comfortable minimum-wage alligned with the rest of the US.  The Democratic Party tries to stop this.  He also gives US Veterans a UCX program that allows them to receive unemployment benefits for 1 year after an honorable discharge so Veterans can find work after war where they couldn't before.  The Democrats still try to vote this away as recently as 2 years ago.
  Hope is restored in the US.  Gas is back to under $1 a gallon and people perk-up!

  Because of our success, The Cold War is in full swing.  Clandestine battles against the USSR occur on land, sea, air, and space unbeknowest to the rest of the US.  Ronald Regan incredibly strengthens our space program in retaliation.  Space warfare is frequent, as well as submarine conflict.  Regan does all of this because of the USSR's public sentiment, "We will bury you."  Few realize how much America got together from the brink of darkness of the 1970s and thwarted the oppression of the Soviet Union and socialist/communist regime at the time.  It was..   it is.. epic.
  The positive turn-around spun a cascade of colors similar to the 1960s but with a more primary-color scheme of pinks and greens.  Neon was cool and it was simulated in art and fashion.  Being a kid during these times was fascinating.  Malls were all the rage in America, and it was a safe place for teens to be cool.

  There's really a lot to say about the '80s.  It was very colorful and charasmatic.  Home computing was becoming common by way of the Commodore 64 and other systems, leading the way to PC-based games now very common. 

  Unlike the 1950s, the edge of being cool was not as dangerous.  Terminology as a comeback might be as, "Way to go.. laserbrain."  The "Valley Girl" of San Fernando Valley became a cultural icon with terms like, "Gag me with a spoon!" or "Fur sure!" or "Gnarly." spoken in an upbeat inflection.  The B-movie Joysticks brings to light the popularity of that culture, combined with the HUGE explosion of video arcades. 

Punky Brewster played some serious questions in her eponymous show

  Popular fads with a 3-dimensional puzzle called The Rubik's Cube where you'd rotate 9 segments to match colors.  People cheated by either peeling-off the stickers or breaking the cube into its individual parts and re-assembling it with matching color sides (that was my method).  Some brainiacs found patterns and never got laid.

  Other items such as Cabbage Patch Kids became an instant fad selling for thousands of dollars during Christmas time.  Basically an ugly doll with a round head that did nothing in particular, even some boys got 'em.  It was the must-have Christmas gift along with a home-gaming console or a Transformer robot.

  Professional wrestling peaked in interest thanks in-part to Vince McMahonn.  Everyone had Hulkamania;  several wrestlers became like kids' superhero comic-book characters like Andre the Giant and Jimmy "Superfly" Snooka as well as Rowdy Roddy-Piper and others.

  In the very late 1970s, just about everybody could afford a television.  Game consoles such as the Atari 2600 and other competitors (such as my beloved Odyssey2) flooded the home-market with 4-bit graphics for home entertainment.  High-end 8-bit games could be found at arcades and it dominated the culture.    ARCADES WERE HUGE back then!

Dad getting way to excited over way-too-complex Indiana Jones for the Atari 2600, probably out of frustration
  Games such as PacMan, Defender, Centipede, DigDug, and Galaxians were only a few of the thousands of titles that came out month after month as people dumped rolls of quarters into the game slots.  In 1980, society wasn't sure how to make an arcade. 

  Arcade machines were pricey in the thousands of dollars but they paid for themselves in a few months (I know, I worked at a Namco-based arcade, because yeah, I'm pretty cool.  I also worked at a Spenser's Gifts, edgy novelty items).  At first, arcades had liquor, smoking was okay, heavy metal music played on a jukebox, and businessmen in ties would chainsmoke while playing Phoenix. 

  Eventually, kids took over about a year or two later, and it became more of a hangout for teens in the same way pool halls were in the 1950s.  Pinball got smart with classics like Black Knight, High Speed, and PinBot.  Voice synthesis added to the delights with games like Gorf, Bosconian, and Berzerk.  Sights and sounds could keep you occupied for hours.  Every game was a new concept (unlike today, where 1st person shooters are ubiquitous and dull).  Everything innovative.  Hollywood lampooned a few of these, not quite cool enough to pull it off successfully, except in the case of Disney's winner, Tron.

  Music.  Ah, music.  Such a change from the textural depth of the '70s.  Lyrics?  Not so important.  Maybe a little.  Pop became dominant.  Folk music hibernates now.  Flashy rock evolves to hair-bands, that is, men who dress as women with makeup and such and have "big hair".

  Interesting bands emerge from the 1980s.  Some cool, some cheesy, some awesome.  Rush gets real popular with the kids on the cool department, along with AC/DC, Guns n' Roses, The Police, Bon Jovi, Ratt, KISS, Poison, Motley Crue...  This list is near-infinite.  Pop legends emerge, such as the solo efforts of The Jackson Five's, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Duran Duran, A-Ha, and The GoGo's.  Poppy and up-beat tunes in major-scales.  Edgy, "alternative" music shows up to counter it, such as The Cure, REM, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths.  Culture countering counter culture.  Punk gets a foothold early-on with The Ramones, The Dead Milkmen, The Sex Pistols, and Public Image Limited.  Heavy metal reaches its height with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeath, and WASP.  Lots of nice variations for everyone to enjoy.  There's really good music from this timeframe, and some aren't afraid to experiment lyrically, but most of the songs are fun and safe.  MTV (Music Television) becomes available and the Music Video craze begins.  Every band has to be on MTV to make it.  It becomes a requirement.  Those left behind nearly died-out utterly.

  Keyboards become a requirement for the poppy, upbeat dance music.  The 70's synthesizer drone gives way to bright, bouncy hits, a kaleidoscope of sound.

  Fashion is primary colors, Picaso-like shapes and belts.  Women wear their hair teased up and frizzy.  Eyebrows become popular again thanks to Brooke Shields and aren't tweased to oblivion but instead are thick and create a animalistic sexuality that no one can understand but worked so well. 

  Makeup is intense and becomes an institution of requirement.  Huge amounts of eyeliner and mascara smeared back in the form of racoonish blues and pinks.  Women wear oversized sweaters with shoulder pads, then belted at the waist.  Guys peg their stonewash jeans and wear RayBan sunglasses.  Thin leather ties were all the rage for guys and people donned the Miami Vice look.  Everyone's cool, albieet a little clownish.

  Madonna gets a strong foothold in the pop music industry and accessorizing is mandatory.  Leg warmers become hip thanks to Flashdance.  Girls sometimes bananna-clip their hair back.  Strong colors contrasted with black to create a neon effect is common.

  Women such as Madonna champion the cause for self-expression.  Women take it quite far with a surgence of assuredness and individuality, accessorizing and customizing like peacocks (male peacocks anyway, the female bird of the species has no flashy color).

 Saturday morning cartoons are alive and well in this decade even still.  Great cartoons such as Thundercats, Transformers, Inspector Gadget, He-Man, Voltron, and GI Joe are Japanese/English collaberations that are far superior in quality to Hanna Barberra and it almost bankrupts them.  Never before has such time spent on frame-rates and story complexity arcs.  Robotech in particular is a space-drama that spans 3 generations that did amazingly well in the US market with better-than-cinema rendering making Disney go into hiding for animation for 10 years.
He-Man cartoon

Freakin Voltron cartoon

  Never before had it been such an amazing time to be a kid, and I'm thankful for it.  Modern kids from the '90s onward had only shadows of such greatness.  It was a kid/teen world at the time, and the world was at our fingertips for the taking! 

Prime-time TV show Buck Rogers was popular for a few years
  Television was generally upbeat as well, shows like Knight Rider, The A-Team, The Cosby Show, Diffrent' Strokes, Family Ties, Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Moonlighting all focused on positive "good guys" making it, triumphing over evil, and having a sustinct morale taught to viewers.  Some cartoons had "Public Service Announcements" that showed a better path to take on safety or health. 

Pam Dawber and Robin Williams (coked-out utterly) in prime-time TV's Mork & Mindy

  Everything was a positive, upbeat message that the bad guys will not triumph.  It leaked into society well and people responded to it and a great upturn occurred across the nation.

David Hasslehoff in prime-time TV's Knight Rider, standing on his talking Pontiac Trans-Am, "KITT".

  Hollywood learns from its mistakes and swings with the times quicker and it impacts a lot of movies.  The following are depictive (and rather good) movies that define the 1980s that have some but minimal cheese.  It's important to note that defining movies are not necessarily awesome or epic, but instead exemplify the spirit of the times.  The list below do so with relish, but also are very good watches as well...

1. Karate Kid
2. Ferris Buller's Day Off
3. Nightmare on Elm Street trilogy
4. The Breakfast Club
5. Breakin' & Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
6. Weird Science
7. The Legend of Billy Jean
8. Night of the Comet
9. Top Gun
10. The Neverending Story
11. Flashdance
12. Footloose
13. Beverly Hills Cop I & II
14. Goonies
15. Rambo trilogy
16. Commando
17. Rocky IV
18. Krull
19. Dirty Dancing
20. Flash Gordon
21. Tron
22. Streets of Fire
23. Robocop
24 Legend
25. Labyrinth
26. The Dark Crystal
27. Enemy Mine

  The above movies are very good and very fun and give a taste of the 1980s decade as a whole, but, alas, the cheesy factor is too much.  Indeed, cheesy movies are prevalent in the 1980s.  A lot of folks only remember these when they think about the '80s.  They're good films but there's always a roll-your-eyes bit of each one.  They're fun, they're interesting, they're definitive, they're over-the-top and must-watches, but.. they're almost too 1980s.  Still, I strongly recommend them.  Any of those 27 are a great watch.  Very good soundtracks (especially Krull, Beverly Hills Cop, and Flash Gordon) and very interesting movies.  These should all be in your must-watch list for, at least historical reasons.  Like the original top-10 above, these top-27 are defining '80s movies.

  Like my initial list on the top of this blog, it's almost assumed that you've seen them.  You may have already formed an opinion of this decade just because you've seen them.  They do indeed define a decade, but are not the best movies of the time.  The first list is easily the best 10.  The next list is movies that defined the 1980s as a whole as a representative, but the final list are the..

Top 10 Best Movies of the 1980s  (aside from the initial above 10 of course)

1. WarGames (1983)
  From the director of Blue Thunder and Saturday Night Fever comes (arguably) his best film, WarGames, a story about a hacker-kid getting involved with Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and setting-off the sentient computer to initiate nuclear war against the Soviets.

  Who doesn't remeber the Pandora's Box-like question the modem'ed computer-voice asks...

  Ally Sheedy as the girlfriend-interest led her to The Breakfast Club and other films for her cute performance as well.

Rather acurate depiction of military base primary-targets for nukes.. hm..
  The movie's soundtrack is epic, and it really had a cultural impact in the '80s during the extreme height of the Cold War fears of the Americans.  This film helped Matthew Broderick get his foothold in Hollywood and opened doors for him for such very good movies such as, Ladyhawke, Ferris Buller's Day Off, Project X, and Glory which are indeed, excellent films.

  The computer has a voice-synthesis which helps bridge the gap from real programmer/hackers to standard Americans, though having worked at Cheyenne Mountain AFS from 1999 to 2002 (to help protect against JUST THIS MOVIE of a computer getting Y2K-confused and Russia retaliating, yeah, I'm that cool) it is a bit laughable.  We actually watched it on the "big screens" a few times at CMAFS and had a few good chuckles, though some of it is pretty dead-on in parts.

  The war-center is much more enormous than in real-life, and at the time there was no computer voice or main WHOPPER computer, and as most military know, generals are not involved in any day-to-day operations on a space-based system (thank goodness, because then nothing would get done).. oh, wait, I take it back, a reservist general worked with me on-crew for a week or two trying to learn my job, she couldn't hack it though (of course), but then again reservists get to be generals after 8 years of service like the Civil Air Patrol or Cub Scouts so...

Mathew logs-into Cheyenne Mountain.  Note the modem-phone-coupler in the bottom right which was high-tech at the time.
  Good special-effects for the time, keying on (now that I know) rather unnecessary fears of the public against nukes (we had massive space-defense systems already up by that time, as did the Soviets).  A lot of fun and rather interesting.  A must-watch.  Rotten-Tomatoes website gives an unprecedented 97%-fresh rating which is almost unheard-of.  Only Blade Runner gets a better score.  Good film. 

2. Escape from New York (1981)

  Okay, so I'm a bit biased.  This John Carpenter film is quite obviously a B-movie, but it succeeds in every way.  Kurt Russel carries the film far as he's arrested for a bank robbery (only seen in the deleted scenes) as Lt. Plissken, an ex-Army pilot. 

  Distopian 1997 has New York's Manhattan as a penal colony for criminals.  Air Force One is hijacked and crashes inside.  "Snake" Plissken is given an ultimatum to save the President or be killed.

  An all-star cast of the early '80s makes this film excel in ways unimaginable.  John Carpenter makes it work with analog keyboards and shadow-play he was known for in such movies as Halloween and it's an action/horror flick showcasing the worst in humanity in a crime "city" that has no mercy for the weak.

  Other films tried to copy the formula to zero success and the film gets a HUGE cult following (to include myself).  The movie is tense and edgy and is in sharp-focus since the 9/11 attacks in NY with stunning similarities.  The film is a bit dated for its time but still is one of my most favorite John Carpenter flicks.  It's a good watch.  Be advised the formula was repeated countless times and even attempted a sequel, Escape from LA with limited success.  Right after the film, Escape from San Francisco came out, trying to take advantage of the popularity but again, it was a dud.  The only B-movie of this genre that really worked.  I recommend it.  You wanna know what "cool" is?  Watch this flick.

Chicks dig dudes who stand in fire

3. The Last Starfighter

  One of Robert Preston's last roles from The Music Man this rags-to-riches story is about a video-game playing teen who's arcade machine records and sends his high-score to a galactic defense force that comes and enlists him to defend in real-life against an alien threat.  Once on the alien planet, the "fish out of water" theme ensues a bit, and it's a kid-fantasy coming-of-age film throughout.  Sort of an anti-Wizard of Oz in philosophy that engaged this generation, "If the going gets tough, if you keep trying you will succeed!!!"

The Last Starfighter video game was finally created for real in 2007.  Atari could not afford to create it for the advanced graphics at the time, though promised at the end of the movie credits, was too cost-inhibiting of over $10k per machine.
  Again, like WarGames, it keys-in on the video-game and computer culture and makes for a fine story.  The soundtrack is immense as in Krull, in the same way it's almost LARGER than the film itself, epic in standing.  I remember getting my first of two "Crew of the USAF for the Year" awards to this music in Washington DC and received my medal because of it.  (Yeah, again, I'm that awesome.. smirk) 

Dan O'Herlihy as "Grix" the copilot not too impressed with my constant bragging
  The game employed some pretty decent CGI for its time, though I remember watching it in 1984 in the theater and finding it a bit low-grade).  Indeed, CGI took a flying leap around 1982 when production started and improved 100-fold in only a few years.  I'd say the graphics look like Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" or Rush's "The Big Money", both employing (at the time) multi-million dollar CGI, now considered antiquated, both bands spent millions.

Original CGI used in the film of the Starfighter ship
  Catherine Mary-Stewart did a fine job and landed a few other good sci-fi roles, such as Night of the Comet, and Weekend At Bernie's.  Lance Guest got a few smaller roles as well, such as Halloween II.

   Still, the film is a tiny bit cheesy.  You can't avoid that in '80s films completely.  There's no cheese filter.  Everyone was too elated from the depressing '70s to NOT put a TINY bit of cheese-factor in it.  This film is great for young teens.  Indeed, kids who play online shooter games actually think the USMC recruits based on game high-scores even today. 

Robert Preston unimpressed kids really think the USMC recruits Medal of Honor game player experts
  Honestly, the USMC will take any thug, but that's besides the point.. then again, the USAF tried to recruit me quite a bit in the late '80s.. I wonder if they saw my highscore on F-15 Strike Eagle for the Commodore 64?  Hmm. 

4. Gandhi (1982)

  A bit of a sobering 4th film here, the film's about the India leader Gandhi and how he inspired non-violent protest against British occupation in the early 1900's.  Based on a true story it shows India's resolve against adversity which eventually succeeds against the British Empire with no bloodshed.

  Inspiring and philosophical, the movie is touching and deep and gives a great insight into a THIRD of the Earth's population and how they think and act.  Fantastic watch and heavy as lead as Gandhi begins his fasting-period in silent defiance so loud to the ears of billions and the India resistance against British sovereignty.

British attack the India people:  mass death of innocents.

5. Real Genius (1985)
  Real Genius is the Pepsi to Weird Science's Coke.  It's the more intelligent and witty of the two, with less cheese by-far, and far more entertaining.  Young brainiac Mitch is teamed up with Val Kilmer to invent a powerful laser for CalTech (actually Pacific Tech).

  Standard college antics ensue, and the band Tears for Fears does the soundtrack to great success and popularity, along with super-popular at-the-time, Bryan Adams, Y&T, and Don Henley
  Some very witty one-liners keep the pace high and the characters, unlike Weird Science are charismatic and likable, and with an actual story of value than "get laid" or "be popular".  Quite the opposite, it sings the swan-song of nerd-cred everywhere as an anthem, underlying that nerdiness is cool (and quirky).

Canadians can be hot too, right Melody Anderson?  Melody?  Are you listening?
  The movie is sort of a Rosa Parks of nerd-cred films that before made nerdiness uncool such as in Porky's, Sixteen Candles, or Revenge of the Nerds.  Instead of lampooning, it lauds, and that was the beginning for all of us Star Trek fans who in real-life make the world turn as a jock death-bell.
  Again, big government gets involved and things get out-of-hand.  Definitely a watch and great nerd-cred.  Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite plays the quirky basement-student who also starred in Joysticks as the punk-antagonist does a great Steven Wright styled impersonation make this film a fun ride.

6. The Shining (1980)

  Based on Stephen King's 1977 novel, the story is about a family that watches over a hotel in Colorado during the off-season.  A blizzard hits and they're snowed-in.  Over time, the father who's a writer, slowly goes insane and tries to kill his family.

  Stanley Kubrick does a fine job engaging the audience with stark scenes and horror concepts.  The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park got a boost in visitors because of it, though I have to admit that there's a McDonalds not 20 yards from the main doors as well as a mini-mall, even at the time of filming.

  Of course, the movie's been parodied in some parts, most recently by South Park which often focuses on Colorado things to good effect.  You never know what's behind the next corner.

  The actors, particularly Jack Nicholson do a fine job portraying their roles, and the story is fairly uncheesy and believable enough which makes it work, though it's not half as scary as The Exorcist, it's still in the top-10 classic horror films of all time, though not everyone would agree, but hey, it's my list and I'll list if I want to, list if I want to..  Scared the Dickins outa me when I was 10.

7. The Princess Bride (1987)

  In-con-ceivable!  A fine adventure story told by Peter Falk to grandson Fred Savage about a stable-boy who loves a girl, becomes a pirate, and comes back to take her as his wife, only to find she's betrothed to the prince of the land.

  Andre the Giant of WWF made this film irresistible.  Star Trek DS9 fans will recognize the "Grand
Nagus" as Vizzini the Sicilian.  Cary Elwes and Billy Crystal also appear, making it a near all-star cast. 

  The movie is light enough, with just enough tension to keep you engaged.  It's a feel-good movie the '80s are known for, and it's got just the right amount of humor and cleverness to keep the ball up.  Some of the puns are Mel Brooks inspired, but they worked in 1987 when I saw it as evidence of myself and the audience and my date.

  Classic lines are used and are timeless and punctual.  You'll even today 25 years later hear folks quote lines from it here or there.  It got lukewarm reception initially but over time grew a cult following and now rates 96% fresh on the RT list, which is gosh darn great as all heck! 

  Bring your kids, fun for the whole family, enjoy.  Perfect.

8. The Right Stuff

  An interesting look at the beginnings of the US Space Program starting with high-speed aeronautical pilots eventually going into the rather dangerous NASA's Mercury Space Program of the 1960s.

  The movie fared awful in the theaters but later became a huge success.  It's an accurate and epic telling with an intermission in-between at nearly 3 hours long.  There's enough humor and American gumption to get you psyched-up, and it's downright interesting.
  Though not all fun and games as a propoganda film, there were a lot of failures along the way; the movie is huge and deep and gives you an insight into the lives of US astronauts.  Another near-impossible 97% fresh rating and a great soundtrack to keep you pumped.

9. Star Trek Trilogy parts II, III, & IV

  With the abysmal failure of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 (though it tripled its production costs in the theater, somehow) Paramount continued with a trilogy involving "the Genesis Project" to great success!  I list all three because they're completely interjoined as the same film expanded into three in the same way The Lord of the Rings is.

  From the original Star Trek series episode, Space Seed (1967) in which Kirk had put actor Ricardo Montalbahn's character "Kahn" onto a remote, habitable planet with his henchmen as he deemed the genetically created space-drifting team too dangerous, several years later the planet gets nearly destroyed.  On a scouting mission by The Federation, Kahn  (now forgotten) hijacks the starship and seeks vengeance over Kirk and to get the dead-to-habitable planet-creating device, "Genesis".

  Kirk defeats him but at the lost of his science officer, Spock, but not before Spock memory-dumps into the ship's doctor, "Bones". 
  In Star Trek III, weeks later, Bones goes nuts and convinces the crew to illegally find the Genesis-created planet that Spock's casket was dropped where they find the Genesis Project resurrects Spock as a boy but is aging rapidly.  A Klingon vessel interferes with their pickup and kills much of Kirk's team and the Enterprise is destroyed but Kirk eventually commandeers the Klingon vessel.

  The Earth is then being destroyed by an unknown alien force after they return to Spock's homeworld to memory-reload from Bones and they have to go back in time to retrieve two humpback whales in a classic "fish-out-of-water" crew dealing with San Francisco in the 1980s which is a crowd-pleaser favorite movie in Star Trek IV.

Captain Kirk retorts against a cab driver the wisest comeback ever, "Oh yeah?  Well double-dumbass on YOU!"  Well-played, Kirk!

  The special-effects still hold-up today, and the score by Jerry Goldsmith is epic.  All three should be watched in-order for full-effect as there's little space in-between.  The classic 1960s characters all reprise their roles so the nostalgia factor is 11, and the concept of the no-win scenario, the classic, Kobayashi Maru becomes Space Command legend.
  Interestingly Kirstie Alley didn't want to complete Star Trek III or IV so was replaced by Robin Cook, who, in my opinion did a fine job.

10. The Blues Brothers (1980)
  It's actually a musical, though few people recognize it as such.  The "Joilet Brothers" (from an SNL sketch) team-up after prison to save an orphanage they grew-up in from foreclosure by starting an R&B band.  Along the way they're pursued by the cops and other misadventures ensue.

  Amazingly humorous and with an epic R&B cast including James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin the music alone holds-up the film as an impossible get-together of such huge musical gold.  The soundtrack sold remarkably well, and Carrie Fisher as John Belushi's vengeful ex-girlfriend is hillarious.  Lines become pop-culture, such as when they play in a bar and ask what the normal venue is, the female owner twangs, "We got both kinds of music, country and western!"

  The level of action goes to the absurd, and boasts one of the largest police-car crashes in history.  It's clever, witty, and fun and the pace keeps-up.  John Belushi is hillarious in just the right doses and this cult-film became huge on its own right. 

One of the world's best car-pile-up scenes ever

  So, that's the 1980's!  Enjoy your watching and get thee to Netflix!  Soon, the best top 10 movies of the 1990s.  You like depressing?  It's 1970 all over again, but with more anger and self-absorption.  Probably the worst decade of all-time of media, kids these days scramble to find any value in "their" generation.  More like Generation Puke.  Way-to-go, laser brains!  Ah, well.  Huge paradign shift again as is typical with each decade so-far.  Nothing good in the '90s you think?  Perhaps we can sift through the chaff and find something worthy?  You'll be surprised!


Yep, I did it again.  Blatantly making extra in a top-10 list.  What's up with that?  Aren't like 47 movies enough?  Well, sure, but these are two more that I just couldn't leave behind as personal favorites (amongst the 47 already listed).

11. Ladyhawke (1985)

  Medieval movie starring Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Matthew Broderick is about a couple who are cursed by a bishop that he takes the form of a wolf by day, she a hawk by night.  Matthew plays sort of a good thief.  The adventure is good and, like several '80s films, the theme music is epic and keyboard-y.  Just about everyone saw it in the '80s and '90s by now, but it may have escaped some of the newer folks.

Rutger not too sure if I should make top-10 lists anymore when I put the best 49-out-of-10 in a list.

  Great visuals as well; long, panning shots and plenty of action scenes.  A bit of a love story if you're interested, and a hint of Star Wars revengence built-in.  There's a nod towards the perils of organized religion, though a lot of folks might not recognize it for being a tad sacrilegious, John Wood is up to the task well.  Amusingly, he works with Matthew in WarGames mentioned as my first movie!

Michelle looking cute as a button

  Though not Michelle's first film, she had quite a few under her belt by this point, she does a fine job despite her history in such B-movies as Grease 2.  Nice, serious roles for all the characters with Matthew providing the comic relief he'll be later credited for in Ferris Buller's Day Off, probably his most notorious work.  Hauer riding the '80s out like a Thunder-god with several decent films, this adds to his fine resume, only to sulk until Hobo With a Shotgun last year as a Z-grade movie triumph/cult-win.

   If you like it, I recommend also Blood of Heroes, and Hawk the Slayer which the former is more post-apocalyptic Hauer-goodness, the latter disco-medieval D&D cult-y juiciness that only people who know what a dodecahedron is for, and the importance of a "natural 20".  I loved all three, and yeah, my nerd-meter is pegged.

12.  The Thing (1982)
  I couldn't not put John Carpenter's remake masterpiece, The Thing.  I'd probably be shot if I neglected to even credit it.  Rarely does a film stand-up today, especially horror films that degrade to cheesiness as their freshness-date expires after about 20 years or so.  Take a look at Anaconda or some such "horror" film now Z-rated in horribly.  Just sucky (despite J-Lo.. who actually has been in a few pretty decent films such as Enough and .. arguably, The Cell).

The dogs in this film were naturally very creepy and that's super-cool
  The Thing does everything right.  Mood lighting is what John C. knew best back-then.  Sadly, he's forgotten the technique but it's masterful. 
  Story's about an Antarctic science outpost that discover an alien ship and take the lifeform into the outpost to examine it.  You can guess what happens wrong next.  The music is analog-keyboards similar to Escape From New York and it's moody and dreary and adds tension at every step.  The realism of the movie is astounding and the actors really do a fine job, especially to Kurt Russell's credit.  Acting is fluid and natural.  Animals used in the filming actually performed on their own with no direction which added to the non-fakeness of it.  The movie inspired a prequel recently which is also worth a watch afterwards (yeah, I wouldn't watch the prequel first, just my opinion, as it gives more proper value to both).

  The gore-factor is natural and intense, not for the faint-of-heart!  The autopsy scene is particularly engaging, as is the desperation of the men when they can't radio-out due to an extreme blizzard for several days, stranded.  Things dissolve into chaos ala Lord of the Flies and unlike recent films, men generally keep their cool up to a point, making logical decisions and it leaves you guessing until the end (of which for those that can't stand a cliffhanger ending can watch an extended, alternate ending that explains a few more things as an afterward)

Infamous autopsy scene
  When watching this film, it's best to do a little research on Antarctica if you're geographically-challenged.  It's not like you can just get picked-up in an hour or two in case of trouble, even now!  Honestly, a must-watch film.  Probably in the top-10 horror films of all time.  Obey: watch.

See ya!  Hope you liked the list.  I'm sure I missed a few favorites out there but, man 49 is enough!!!


  1. Seems you have a bit of confusion going on. There were no 4-bit consoles, the 2600, Odyssey2, etc. are all 8-bit. The 2600 for instance, has an 8-bit 6507 CPU and 8-bit system bus. The confusion comes from the later usage of "bitness" as a marketing technique, which simply isn't accurate. It's the machine's graphics processing chip that decides what features it has, not the bitness, hence the 2600 vs NES as 8-bit machines. The Intellivision is 16-bit for another example.

    1. Ah, yes! Absolutely correct! There's been a bit of online buzz that mistakes things. 8-bit is the Assembly code "word" size, but argument arises (incorrectly as you've pointed out expertly). Memory and GPU ability are not quite affected by word-size, so yes, the Atari 2600 and NES were both 8-bit goodness. The Atari 2600 only allowed 4-colors per-scanline where the NES allowed 16, though I agree, this did not make the NES a "16-bit" machine, that's just the graphical capabilities and not the Assembly Language Word-bit rate. A+