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The B+ Movie Guide: The New List (Part XXXIX)

I gave Colin a giant list of 500 movies, and he finished it. Of course I’m gonna come up with another list.

This one is for everyone, though. Not specifically for Colin. This is raw material for everybody, should they choose, to go out and see more movies. Not all of them are essential. Most of them are just awesome. I told Colin that once he finished this list, I’d give him another one that was more fun than work. Geared toward cool stuff that he’d enjoy.

I went through and found 1,000 more movies that I think either need to be seen (leftover “essential” films) or are just really great and would be enjoyed by most who see them. Here they are:

1980-1984

S.O.B. (1981)

Blake Edwards film. Lot of stars in this. Richard Mulligan and Julie Andrews are the main stars, along with Robert Preston, Larry Hagman, Robert Vaughn, Shelley Winters, Robert Loggia and William Holden. It’s a satire and dark comedy about Hollywood. It’s in part about Edwards’ experiences. Mulligan is a director who has a huge flop, the first of his career. So he tries to kill himself. And in these attempts, he realizes what he needs in his movie is sex. So he sets out to make a sex film in which the family-friendly main star (Julie Andrews. You see where lines blur) will do a nude scene. Definitely one of Edwards’ best later films, and pretty underrated in his filmography.

Stripes (1981)

You have to have heard of this movie. Billy Murray and Ivan Reitman join the army. Hilarity ensues. One of the all-time comedies. This is a major film for people who grew up in the 70s and 80s. It still holds up as very funny. Never pass up the chance to see one of the great Bill Murray comedies.

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

In a way, this movie has it all. Because it’s partly for guys — the training stuff — and partly for girls — the romance stuff. Richard Gere is the son of a Navy man and enlists in officer training school, despite having a problem with authority. So we watch as he clashes with his drill instructor (Lou Gossett Jr., who won an Oscar for the performance) and also finds romance with a factory worker (Debra Winger). It’s a great movie. The sequence where Gossett tries to make him quit is classic, and the end typically makes even hardened men become emotional. It’s a very big movie. I’d call it essential.

Diner (1982)

Essential movie. Big film for the 80s. This and Big Chill were very representative of a generation. Barry Levinson’s first film. It’s about a bunch of friends coming of age and dealing with that. Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke. Gotta see this one.

48 Hours (1982)

Eddie Murphy’s first movie. Talk about bursting onto the screen. Buddy movie. A cop and a criminal have to team up to catch a killer. Nick Nolte is the cop. Eddie Murphy is the criminal. Great action comedy.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

A lot of these titles should speak for themselves. It’s Fast Times, man. Spicoli, Aloha, Mr. Hand. Classic film.

Night Shift (1982)

Ron Howard’s second movie. This movie introduced Michael Keaton to the world. Two guys work the night shift at the morgue, and end up turning it into a whorehouse. Great movie. Henry Winkler also stars. Great film.

One from the Heart (1982)

The movie that basically ruined Francis Ford Coppola. Which isn’t necessarily true. But it completely bankrupted his studio and forced him to work for hire for the next fifteen years. It’s another big budget musical, shot entirely on soundstages and meant to evoke the golden age musicals. Ironically, he tried to make this as a smaller film to cleanse the palate after the insanity that was Apocalypse Now. It’s a very worthwhile film. I know musical tends to turn some people off, but this one looks great. And a director during a musical from the 80s forward is kind of like someone doing a western now — you’re mostly doing it as a technical exercise and it’s a chance for a director to put their stamp on the material and play with genre tropes. Which is why people should see this.

Sophie’s Choice (1982)

I think people are well aware of this movie, so I don’t need to get into the particulars. Meryl Streep won Best Actress for this, and, suffice it to say — wow.

The Thing (1982)

Remake of the Howard Hawks ’51 version. John Carpenter. Most people prefer this version. I am not one of those people, though I recognize this as very entertaining. Kurt Russell and Keith David star along with Wilford Brimley. Classic sci-fi that I’m you realize you should see if you haven’t.

Tron (1982)

Very famous. I wonder how many people have seen the sequel/reboot version and not this one. The special effects aren’t the same now as they were then, but they still hold up. They’re impressive for 1982. I’d consider this essential for the history of movies. Landmark film for special effects.

Victor Victoria (1982)

What a great movie. Probably Blake Edwards’ last great film. Throwback musical. Julie Andrews is a singer who can only get work by pretending to be a male female impersonator. So it’s basically a reverse Tootsie. Though with the added bonus — she’s a woman pretending to be a man dressed as a woman. It also stars James Garner as a gangster who falls for her, along with Robert Preston in one of his final roles, and Lesley Ann Warren, who got nominated for this (along with Andrews and Preston). Very funny movie.

The World According to Garp (1982)

One of the greatest films of the 80s. I’d probably look to have put this on the original list if I hadn’t known Colin had already seen it. (I’m sure you’ve heard us make mention of this movie many times on here. We practically use Garp as a verb.) I’m gonna tell you this — don’t look up what it’s about, because it’s not so much about the plot as much as it is about the experience. It’s a great movie. Robin Williams and Glenn Close are incredible. Trust me on this, if you haven’t seen this, you’re going to love it.

Easy Money (1983)

I love this movie so much. One of the great Rodney Dangerfield comedies. Sure, Back to School and Caddyshack are better and more well known, but this one is great too. He’s a baby photographer who gambles, drinks and smokes pot and is a general ne’er-do-well. His mother-in-law owns a bunch of department stores and dies suddenly. But her will says that the only way he can get the money is if he cuts back on all those things he loves to do. So the movie is about him trying to do that. It’s so funny. Joe Pesci plays his friend in this. Also has Jennifer Jason Leigh, Taylor Negron, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Jeffrey Jones, Tom Noonan and Tom Ewell. Classic comedy. Love this movie.

Educating Rita (1983)

This is basically Pygmalion. Except with Michael Caine and Julie Walters. He’s an alcoholic lit professor who agrees to help a housewife finish her education. Great performances, and the story is familiar enough that you can enjoy the experience. Highly recommended. Walters and Caine are terrific here.

Flashdance (1983)

Need I say more?

Local Hero (1983)

One of the well-known hidden gems. Stars Peter Reigert and Burt Lancaster. Lancaster owns an oil company and sends Reigert to a small town in Scotland in order to convince everyone there to sell their land so they can build a refinery there. It’s about him learning the ways of everyone there and falling in love with the way of life, despite being there to take the land away from them. Great film.

Risky Business (1983)

Culturally iconic movie. It’s almost a cop out to only watch the one scene and skip the rest. But do as you wish.

Silkwood (1983)

Meryl Streep killing it, as usual. Mike Nichols directs. Also stars Kurt Russell and Cher. They all work at a nuclear plant. She’s a union member and is worried about the radiation threat to the workers. And because of this, the plant starts secretly retaliating against her, deliberately exposing her to radiation and blaming her for it — crazy stuff like that. It’s a great movie. Kind of like Norma Rae meets The China Syndrome. Should be seen. Important film.

Star 80 (1983)

Bob Fosse’s last film. About the life of Dorothy Stratten. Stars Eric Roberts as Paul Snider. He’s terrific here. I’d say this is the weakest of Fosse’s five films, but when the five films are this, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Lenny and All That Jazz, what are we really saying? Trust in Fosse. The man is one of the great directors of all time.

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