Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Movies of the 80s

About a week ago, moviefone put out its list of the top movies of the 1980s. Now I don't know exactly what criteria they claim to have used for these ratings, but in some ways it's almost like this list is designed to antagonize me. I mean, Aliens at #10, but no Alien? The Empire Strikes Back at #4, but no Return of the Jedi? This is Spinal Tap as the 5th greatest movie of the 80s? Blue Velvet huh? Is that even a real movie?

Moviefone's list is the top 40 movies of the period from 1980-1989, and they managed to get most of the decade's best flicks, albeit in the wrong order. And there were some glaring exceptions from their list, such as Return of the Jedi, films that were completely omitted from the top 40 even though they are easily within the best handful of movies made at the time. I mean, how does Ferris Bueller's Day Off not even make the top 40? That's like ranking the movies of the 1990s and leaving off The Matrix for crying out loud. No Ferris Bueller, but Caddyshack and Stripes and Spinal Tap are all firmly entrenched in the top 20? Puh-lease guys, you totally missed the boat on the comedy side, not to mention also omitting The Naked Gun, Fletch and Airplane from the top 40 list entirely in this genre.

But moviefone's screwups with this list extend far beyond just comedy flicks. In the action/thriller genre, they did a great job I think with Raiders of the Lost Ark, I'll buy Blade Runner -- the forefather of most modern science fiction movies today -- and The Empire Strikes Back certainly belongs near the top as well, but these clowns have Back to the Future -- easily one of the ten best movies of the decade -- down at #21, and friggin E.T. in at 20. Huh? When you're putting science fiction movies all over the list, but you don't get to E.T. until #20, you know you've screwed up big time. I mean, do you remember what a shock to the system E.T. was when it came out in theaters? That's really the movie that put Steven Speilberg into eternal fame and fortune forever. After E.T., the man could do no wrong. #20 for E.T.? I think not. And what's with Die Hard all the way down at #28? Tell me when that shit is on you don't stop the channel surfing and settle in for some fine action/adventure viewing, no matter where in the movie it is. #28 my foot.

Putting aside the sappy crap in the top 10, the creators of moviefone's list made some of their most glaring errors in the movies that they left off entirely from the top 40, including some of the best sequels, sports movies and other action and comedy films of my childhood without a doubt. I mean, what top 10 movies of the 80s list is complete without Superman II on there, right? And how do they forget Ricardo Montaban in all his glory in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? What about Rocky III, with Mr. T.? You know, where Rocky loses the eye of the tiger and gets beat down on by Clubber Lang? "My prediction? Pain!" Not even in the top 40, any of those three famous sequels? Give me a break. And no Top Gun? I'm not saying this has to be top 10, but not even top 40, while movies like The Verdict and Blood Simple are on the list? Please. And one often-overlooked film that is easily in the top 40 movies of the 1980s in my book has got to be Robert Redford's greatest work, The Natural. Go ahead, tell me you didn't love The Natural, I dare you.

In all, moviefone did a decent job in compiling most of the best movies of the 1980s on their list, but they got the order all wrong, and they consistently downgraded some types of movies while overrating others, in particular some of the sappier, more emotional stuff that is typically the fodder of the female-types out there, but which lord knows a random sampling of 30- and 40-somethings would never include in their list of top ten 80s movies. But in doing so, moviefone managed to fail to make any mention at all of some of the very greatest movies of the entire period. Me? I'll take Superman II or The Natural over most of the films on moviefone's list. And I'll watch Die Hard over Sophie's Choice any day of the week.



Blogger PokahDave said...

Alien came out in '79. This is Spinal Tap is easily one of the best movies of the 80's. It's one of the best comedies ever...

10:58 PM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Top Gun epitomizes the 80's. Very disappointed.

Caddy Shack def gets a nod where you said it was. Not only is it a top 80's movie, but it has to be one of the funniest of all time. At least in the sports category.

Ferris Bueller not making the list totally removes all credibility in my opinion

12:52 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

Princess Bride was at #31. Travesty; it easily should be Top 10.


3:34 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

The moviephone top ten isn't my top ten, but there's no real clunkers there.

Nothing wrong with Empire over Jedi in my opinion. The Ewoks sowed the seeds of Jar Jar.

Blue Velvet is an amazing film, one of Lynch's best.

I'll assume you are joking about Superman II and Rocky III. Good one!

Top Gun is the gayest movie of the eighties. I wouldn't argue about that.

There are tons of great movies in the eighties, but for that reason a movie has to be extremely great to make top 10. Every awesome action movie can't receive instant enshrinement. If you don't limit it to 10 then you can just list great movies. That's probably better. Look at this list of films:

Then try to limit yourself to 10. And that's a very partial list of major releases. Hell, you might not get Ferris in your top ten, either, as great a flick as it is.

My list would probably be in no particular order: Raising Arizona, The Princess Bride, Do the Right Thing, Brazil, Die Hard, Airplane!, The Brave Little Toaster, Gladiator, Casablanca, and, of course, Heroes.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Duey said...

i totally agree with you on Die Hard.

10:56 AM  
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8:58 PM  

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