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The Triangle Indie Film Meetup Group Message Board › Your favorite 1980s films ...?

Your favorite 1980s films ...?

Durham, NC
Post #: 59
We had so much enjoyable discussion in our "favorite 'comfort' films" discussion (thank you Jeanne, Joyce, Kathryn, Tanya, et al, for the suggestion), let's compare our lists of favorite movies from that wacky, confused era, the 1980s. Seeing the cult Polish sci-fi comedy (yep, you read that right: cult Polish sci-fi comedy) Seksmisja (Sexmission) from 1984 had me thinking of some of the truly great, avant garde movies that I return to watch again and again, both for their entertainment value and their thoughtfulness -- despite the decade they were made in.

This was the decade that was ushered in with films like Airplane! and Breaker Morant, and ended with Batman and Sex Lies and Videotape. New Wave music. Glasnost and Perestroika. Reagonomics. Solidarność. IBM Personal Computers. AIDS. The downing of Korean Air 007. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Hip hop and house music. "Political Correctness." Erno Rubik's cube. Ray Bans. Oprah. Teen films, Vietnam films. Crack cocaine.

Still. It was a decade in which dark comedies (Heathers, Hellraiser) and indie films (the Sundance Film Festival launched in 1986) grew and flourished.

What're your fondly remembered favs?
Durham, NC
Post #: 60
My picks:

1. Bull Durham - 1988 Ron Shelton parlayed his own experiences as a minor leaguer into the quintessential film about baseball. A classic sport, a classic romance, and a classic underdog romantic lead in Kevin Costner. Written with more pizzazz and maturity than most sports-comedies -- this one's still not dated. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon fell in love and had babies after this -- who can blame them?

2. A Christmas Story - 1983 Bob Clark dethroned It's a Wonderful Life as the reigning king of Christmas favorites. His nostalgic setting of Jean Shepard tales in a mythical 1940s childhood continues to amaze. Everyone's got a favorite scene, or line.

3. Creepshow - 1982 Stephen King and George Romero revived the campy comedy-horror comic genre with panache, flair, and no shortage of frights. I got to hear Romero talk at USC with this film, and I can assure you fun is what they wanted to inspire, and fun is what this film is. Hal Holbrook is so deliciously timid and scary here.

4. The Elephant Man -1980 Mel Brooks' production company hired David (Eraserhead) Lynch to direct a touching period piece about John Merrick. It's creepy, moody, dark and heart-breaking. Who knew that Lynch could pull it off? I don't think he's ever topped this. And John Hurt was amazing, underneath all that makeup.

5. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe's nonfiction book about the Mercury astronauts made for rather interesting reading, but he watered down the early space race myth to a tongue in cheek history. Kaufman saw the mythic overtones in "how the future began," and put it all on screen. The film was short-changed by the media as a supposed ode to presidential hopeful John Glenn, but it's much better than that. When post-war, postmodern, flying cowboy Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepherd) trots on a steed by the howling Bell X-1in his flight jacket, you know this film is about more than just pilots. Filmed for a fraction of what it could've cost (using underground filmmaking techniques and mocked-up sets around Northern California), The Right Stuff hasn't dated a bit in 20-odd years.

6. Rumble Fish - 1983 In his most audacious and creative period, Francis Coppola adapted an S.E. Hinton novel about teen punks into an insomniac nightmare of growing up with nowhere to go, filmed "like black and white television with the sound turned down low." Eerie score by Steward Copeland, and possibly Mickey Rourke's most nuanced performance as troubled, introspective Motorcycle Boy.

7. Something Wicked This Way Comes - 1983 For this retro adaptation of a Ray Bradbury novella, new age Disney execs lured director Jack Clayton (The Innocents) out of retirement, and delivered up a superb, old-fashioned horror yarn. Two boys discover that the carnival that visits their town is more than just scary ? it's evil. Jonathan Pryce is genuinely villainous as Mr. Dark.

8. Sophie's Choice - 1982 Alan J. Pakula's adaptation of William Styron's novel was funny, romantic, heartbreaking. Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline cemented their careers acting virtuosos, but the story here is the star. When Streep stares right into the camera and starts recounting Sophie's wartime experience, it's heartbreaking. The ending doubles the effect.

9. Tremors - 1989 Superb throwback (lovingly rendered) to the 1950s monster-on-the-loose flicks. The effects were great, but what really made this film click was the constant bickering of low-life buddies played by Kevin Bacon and Fred T. Ward. Ward -- grizzled, grumpy, hung-over -- somehow makes handyman Earl seem debonair and sublime. Amazing. Add Michael Gross (days after wrapping Family Ties) and Reba McEntire as the survivalist gun nuts, and you've got a rootin' tootin', funny film.

10. The Year of Living Dangerously -- 1982 Peter Weir's adaptation of a rather dry novel into super-sexy political thriller romance. Romance is steaming hot when a whole country's about to blow up and professional passions violate personal allegiances right and left. Linda Hunt won an Oscar as the Chinese-Australian dwarf Billy Kwan. Possibly the high point of Mel Gibson's career, which is saying a lot. No kidding, this was the year that People named him the sexiest man alive or some such.

11. Zelig - 1983 Woody Allen's mockumentary of a Depression era "chameleon man" came out during a period when his creative experimentation was really flowing hot and heavy. It took years to prepare and execute the optical effects and film (mis)treatment which made every frame look authentically antique. Using faked photos, mock newsreels and old-fashioned silent era filmmaking techniques, Woody Allen made what I think is one of his 3-4 masterpieces. It's polymorphously perverse.
A former member
Post #: 2
I'll take a crack at this one, though I'm not the best at writing about films. Anyhow, since most of my favorites seem to be from the '80s, here are write-ups on a few of them:

1. Witness - I love this film. It's beautiful to look at, has an amazing score, and the acting is phenomenal. The romantic tension between Rachel (Kelly McGillis) and John Book (Harrison Ford) is nearly palpable. Throw in a cute kid and lots of guys in suits with no zippers and you have what in my opinion is a nearly perfect film. "Lemonade?"

2. Tootsie - Often imitated, never duplicated. This movie really holds up as one of the great romantic comedies of all time.

3. 9 to 5 - Hilarious. A little dated in terms of gender roles in the workplace (though we still have a long way to go, sadly), but a comic gem even today.

4. The Great Muppet Caper - The Mallory Gallery. The Baseball Diamond. Nicky's flowered socks. Love it.

5. Crossing Delancey - A lot of my friends liken watching this film to having teeth extracted, but for me there's something really compelling about this story. I must have seen this film 30 times, but I could keep watching. And I can't go to NYC now without a trip to the Lower East Side for a few half sours.
Durham, NC
Post #: 63
How could I forget your #5?? Also one of my top favorites from the 1980s. And it's only come out on DVD in the 2 weeks. FINALLY!!! (The nice cinematography was kinda lost on VHS.)

Should we screen it at the Bickett or Tallula's or somewhere?
user 2355454
Morrisville, NC
Post #: 65
In no particular order

Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown
Breakfast club
Dirty Dancing (I won a college dance contest judged by the Vixen in the movie and some of the dancers!)

Suspect (Was that the nuclear one cher was in? )
Bagdad cafe
Buckaroo Bonzai (doo doo dooo doo doooo John B. Butee!)
Risky Business (as much as I disdain Tom Cruise - )
Ferris Bueller's day off
Uncle Buck
Brother From Another Planet
A River Runs Through It
Sex Lies and Video Tape
Secrets and Lies
The Nephew
Secret of Roan Innish
The Funeral
A Taxing Woman
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