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

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:

1985-1989

Beetlejuice (1988)

If I need to tell you that you need to see this movie then something is very wrong.

Bull Durham (1988)

One of the all-time classic sports movies. It’s essential for everyone. Kevin Costner is a career minor league baseball player assigned to tutor Tim Robbins, an up and coming pitcher and get him ready for the big leagues. And Susan Sarandon is a baseball groupie who sleeps with one of the players each year in order to make them a better player. It’s a great movie.

Clean and Sober (1988)

Michael Keaton made Beetlejuice this year, but this movie got completely swept under the rug over the years. This is the one where he really gives the powerhouse performance. He’s a businessman who uses cocaine and parties a lot. And one day a woman ODs and dies in his bed. And in order to escape any legal trouble, he goes to rehab. And it’s about him trying to get (insert title here). Terrific film and a great performance. Also stars Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman and M. Emmet Walsh.

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Pretty famous movie from the 80s. Nominated for a bunch of Oscars. People don’t really watch this as much anymore, do they? Doesn’t feel that way. Based on one of those English major novels you read in college. It’s about a bunch of aristocrats who play all these games with each other and try to fuck each other and fuck each other over. Glenn Close is a conniving bitch, John Malkovich is the guy helping her (because he desperately wants to fuck her), Michelle Pfeiffer is the target of their schemes, and you throw in Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman for good measure. It’s a good movie. Very engaging, great performances.

Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Martin Scorsese had a couple of passion projects. This was the first one he got to make. Classic movie. VERY controversial upon release. Either way, terrific movie. It’s about Jesus’ last days, in which he is tempted in his last days to live as a normal man. It’s a great movie. A really great movie. Willem Dafoe is Jesus, Harvey Keitel is Judas, Barbara Hershey is Mary Magdalene. David Bowie is Pontius Pilate! This film needs to be seen.

Midnight Run (1988)

One of the great buddy comedies of all time. Robert De Niro is a bounty hunter who has to bring Charles Grodin in. Only everyone else wants him too. The FBI, the mob — great, great movie. Classic action comedy. Essential film.

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Great movie. This might have originally been in the initial list of 500. Alan Parker again. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe are FBI agents investigating the murder of three civil rights workers in the deep South. KKK shit. It’s a great movie. There’s a fun dynamic here, as Dafoe is the northern educated liberal who doesn’t understand the looks he gets when he sits with black people at the diner, and Hackman is the guy who grew up around this and understands how to go about things to not ruffle any feathers. Really great movie that you need to see.

Scrooged (1988)

Everyone needs to have seen this movie. It’s A Christmas Carol but with Bill Murray. It’s incredible. A holiday classic.

Stand and Deliver (1988)

Cultural classic. Edward James Olmos, baby. High school teacher who gets inner city kids to learn calculus. You need to see this. Teacher movies are great, and Edward James Olmos is a boss.

They Live (1988)

Roddy Piper, man. He came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. John Carpenter, too. This movie features the longest fistfight in cinema history. Pretty sure it’s still going on.

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

It’s funny how Francis Ford Coppola took a bunch of director for hire jobs in the 80s and 90s, and yet occasionally he put movies out there that feel like his. Look at Rumble Fish. That feels like his movie. So does Dracula. This one also feels like he had a lot of say over the finished product. It’s about Preston Tucker, who made a revolutionary kind of car that never broke down. Which of course did not fly with the other car companies. A great movie. Also ends with a terrific trial sequence and a fantastic closing monologue. Jeff Bridges stars, as do Joan Allen, Martin Landau (also nominated here), Frederic Forrest, Elias Koteas, Christian Slater, Mako, Dean Stockwell (as Howard Hughes) and Lloyd Bridges!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Completely essential, should have been on the other list, but was one of those that got left off because I knew Colin had seen it. One of the all time great movies. A landmark film for special effects, essential culturally, and a great movie — the total package.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Classic comedy. There’s no one who hasn’t at least heard of this. And if you have only heard of it, you should know that you need to see it.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Based on the title, this probably could have made it onto the initial list. Oliver Stone, Tom Cruise. Probably Tom Cruise’s best performance. (It’s this and Magnolia, which are probably not coincidentally the only two he’s ever been nominated for.) About Ron Kovic, who was (insert title here) and lost the use of his legs in Vietnam. Terrific film. Essential film.

The ‘Burbs (1989)

One of my favorite comedies of all time. I love this movie so much. Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Henry Gibson. Tom Hanks thinks the new family in the neighborhood murdered the previous owners of their house and are also cannibals. And he does everything he can to prove this true. Absolutely hysterical. Bruce Dern is incredible here. You need to see this movie. It’s really amazing. One of the most underrated all time comedies.

Christmas Vacation (1989)

It’s a holiday classic. It’s amazing how many classic films John Hughes wrote. (Vacation, Mr. Mom, Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, European Vacation, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Denis the Menace, Beethoven — insane.) But yeah, I think everyone knows about this movie.

Dead Poet’s Society (1989)

I think the title speaks for itself about how essential it is. This was the time period where I deliberately left things off I knew Colin had seen. Because clearly this belonged on that initial list.

The Dream Team (1989)

Nobody remembers this movie. And I love it. I came upon it by accident in high school. Ready for this? I’m gonna sell it very simply, and say nothing more. It’s about a bunch of mental patients who escape to go to a baseball game. Starring Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd and Peter Boyle. I rest my case.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Essential. Don’t need to say anything more than that. Except maybe Piggly Wiggly.

Glory (1989)

Also essential. About the first all-black volunteer company in the Civil War. Ed Zwick (the man who hasn’t met a movie too baity for the Oscars) directs. Matthew Broderick, Denzel, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman star. You need to have seen this one.

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