Archive for May, 2018

Mike’s Top Ten of 1980-1989

The 80s as a whole is less than the sum of its parts. As a decade, I’ve always been very against it, just because, as a decade… the culture was pretty weird. And this is the decade where films became more mainstream and taken out of the directors’ hands. In a way, it was probably for the best, because they started getting really indulgent, but also, it just felt like films swung entirely to studio filmmaking here for a decade, until independent film started cropping up again, eventually reaching its heyday in the 90s.

Though, while I don’t particularly love the 80s as a decade for film, there are some of my all-time favorites in this decade. So it’s definitely not as bad as I’d think in the abstract. Though I do feel like this list was harder to compile because, while I can always get to a solid top 20, the last couple were difficult to come up with.

For methodology purposes, the way I compile these Top Tens of the Decade lists: I take my top ten for each year of the decade, throw them all together, and simply whittle it down until I find what I feel are my ten favorites from that decade. Not the best, my favorite. That’s really all it is. I feel like if I can figure out what my favorite films of all time are, then I can figure it out by specific decades. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “I didn’t hear what the bet was.” “Your life.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1989

And we’re finally done with the 80s.

This is a very strong year, and I think that has to do with the growing independent film movement that would take over the 90s. You also get very strong top of the line stuff here. All the Best Picture nominees made the top 20 this year, and there were at least another two more options that could have made it and still kept the field as strong as it is.

Plus, the below the line stuff is all around solid. You can definitely tell we’re getting out of the 80s. Everything is starting to trend upward again. Even Disney! The Renaissance stars this year!

I feel like the top ten or fifteen will be largely the same for most people this year, with the exception of the two or three movies that are quintessentially ones that appeal specifically to me and likely are ones that most people haven’t seen as often as I have or don’t even know about.

But that’s what you come here for, isn’t it? (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “You can lower your pistols, Lady Margaret.” “Unfortunately, I have no pistols.” “Your eyes. I’ve looked into pistol barrels that are warmer.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1988

This is my favorite year of the 80s. And that has nothing to do with the fact that it’s the year of my birth. This year has, in my mind, the strongest set of films. I’ll take most of these ten over a lot of #1s and #2s from the other years.

You got an all-time great comedy, an all-time great action movie, two incredible animated films, four other classic comedies, an iconic Oscar-winning drama… and Moonwalker.

The top three movies on my list shaped my childhood. I am who I am because of those movies. You can’t say that about most years. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “You came back. Wait, don’t go.” “Please, leave us alone. I wanted to tell you that.” “I want to talk to you.” “Human beings are dangerous. If we’re seen, we have to leave. My parents said so.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1987

This is one of the strongest overall years of the 80s. This list goes pretty deep. The theme of it seems to be “great directors making great movies.” And then other cool, offbeat stuff too.

I’m sure there are other years from this decade that can match this one, but the minute I look down at this list, I’m struck by who made most of the movies: Brooks, Kubrick, Boorman, Donner, Jewison, Reiner, the Coens, De Palma. Sure, it’s not the biggest on star power, but also, when you look at some of the movies on there, you might argue that they’re those directors’ best movies. Or at least the movie for which they’re best remembered.

My interest in the films is definitely also picking up overall, which might just be a head of steam knowing the decade is on the way out. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “What do you see?” “Home.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1986

If 1985 was peak 80s, this is more… how best to explain it… if we hit the pinnacle last year, then this is where everything starts to splinter off and go into its own little niche. This is where all the weird little strands start to appear as the decade winds down. I feel like the next three years are where you start to see the “80s”-ness dilute out of movies and you start to see the growing 90s independent film style start to creep up

But, while we’re still in the 80s, I think the main thing I get out of this year are the great comedies. Other than that, it’s mainly childhood staples, genre staples and weird or interesting movies by big filmmakers. That’s what it feels like.

Mostly, though. It’s the comedies. #1 and #2 on this list are unequivocally two of my absolute favorite movies of all time. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “All men are alike. The approach is different, the result is always the same.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1985

Peak 80s. That’s what this is. This feels like everything I remember the 80s being. Not that I particularly remember the 80s, since I wasn’t alive for just about 90% of it. But in my mind, this year epitomizes the decade for me.

This is one of those lists that was forged mainly by my childhood. A bunch of these are movies I grew up watching. Some of them I saw in college for the first time, and the rest I saw as part of the Oscar Quest. Which, for me, makes it feel like I’ve been with them for a while, given the amount of stuff I’ve seen since then.

Though I will say, as far as the decade goes… not the deepest. All the strength tends to be up top. But, so far we haven’t had a year that was horrendously bad, so we should be grateful for that. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “If there’s a plague here, you’re the most important guy in this town.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1984

We’re approaching peak 80s. The thing about this list is that you can look at most of them and go, “That’s an 80s movie.” It just feels like the decade. Also… it’s a great list. It’s just, boom, boom, boom, one after another.

The one thing I note about this year is that it has a proliferation of mainstream movies. All the best stuff are things that were not nominated for awards. In fact, this Oscar crop is one of the weakest of all time, in my mind. It shows that occasional disconnect where all the best stuff is ignored by the voting body in favor of the stodgy “Oscar” kind of movie.

I don’t have a whole lot to add about the year other than that. HOWEVER… there is a historical piece of information to relay about this one that makes it different from other 80s years. This is the year where the PG-13 rating was introduced. And we can thank Temple of Doom for that. And also Gremlins. These were movies with content above that young kids could handle that otherwise weren’t extreme enough for an R rating. So Spielberg suggested a rating in between, and then the PG-13 was introduced. Red Dawn was the first film to officially get the rating. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?” “Should I have?” “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you, old man.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1983

We’re full 80s at this point. Man… some of these movies are both the best and the worst of the 80s. Often at the same time.

But, as a standalone year, it’s pretty strong at the top. This list goes 7 or 8 deep of straight “oh shit yeah” kinda movies. Though I will say, as is the case with most of the 80s, the top ten lists of most people will largely be the same. I feel like everyone’s top ten for this year will consist of at least eight of my top 20 films. There’s always that 20% of personal preference, but I feel like the 80s are such that the cream rises to the top, and we’re all working off the same cream.

What I find interesting about this list in particular is how it starts off with all the obvious heavy hitters and then gets into some cool stuff that I really like. I like when I get to have a few top ten movies that are a bit straying from the beaten path, so maybe rather than affirming the same opinions as the rest of the group I get to give you something that you may not have heard about. Which is really what it’s all about. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “This is how Number 1 works: first he exhausts you, and then he kills you.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1982

Pound for pound, 1982 is one of the strongest years of the 80s.

This is the first year the industry feels like it switched over into the “80s.” Though, that being said, it still feels like there’s a strong auteurial stamp on the bigger movies, if that makes sense. It doesn’t feel like the studio has overwhelmed the filmmaker quite yet. For example — E.T. feels like a very personal movie for Spielberg, and it would end up being the thing that created that Amblin feel that would permeate the rest of the studio’s work for the decade.

Outside of that — heavy hitters this year. At least half the top ten list is just no-brainers on title alone. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Do you think you can hold me?” “We’ll do our best, Mr. Grindelwald.”


Mike’s Top Ten of 1981

I’ve always looked at 1981 as a weak year. Which might have something to do with their Best Picture choice. I don’t know. I just don’t find myself excited about many of the films. It’s the kind of year where, some of the films at the top would not be there had they come out in other years. But I guess you could say that for just about any year. It just feels kinda flat to me. Some of the below the line stuff definitely wouldn’t be there in a stronger year.

I’m guessing this is like 1968, which I also always looked at as a weak year, because the industry was flushing out the last of the “70s” stuff before moving onto the 80s. These industry transitions don’t just happen. They take a few years. This feels like the nadir of the transition, before everything fully switches over. This is like that moment, as you’re backing up, when the car sort of rolls to a stop before you put it back in drive. That’s how I would describe this year.

That said, one of my all time favorite movies came out this year, so that’s always nice. And then there’s some really cool stuff I like a lot also there. So that’ll keep things interesting. Overall, though, not my favorite year. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Did you see the frightened ones? / Did you hear the falling bombs? / Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter / When the promise of a brave new world unfurled / Beneath a clear blue sky?” ♫


Mike’s Top Ten of 1980

1980 is the transition period from the filmmaker-driven period of the 70s to the studio-driven period of the 80s. You can definitely see that shift taking place. Plus, this year has the big end marker: the giant bomb that effectively ended directors having complete control of projects.

The 80s as a decade always felt a bit formless to me. It’s just a weird time. But when you take each year on its own, there’s some great stuff. Here, two of the all-time most iconic films ever made were released. And honestly, if you didn’t know they came out in 1980, you wouldn’t know when it was they came out.

I think the theme of this decade is going to be, “Strong at the top, weak down below, with some good gems sprinkled throughout.” And a lot of terrible fashion choices. Oh, but it looks good on you though.

Here’s 1980. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “After this I can’t live with my parents anymore. I’ve got to disappear.”


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Pic of the Day: “You’ve got no faith in Johnny, have you, Julia? His little dream may fall flat, you think. Well, so it may, what if it should? There’ll be another. Oh, I’ve got all the faith in the world in Johnny. Whatever he does is all right with me. If he wants to dream for a while, he can dream for a while, and if he wants to come back and sell peanuts, oh, how I’ll believe in those peanuts!”


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Pic of the Day: “For more than two years… that poor girl has been pouring her heart out to you in those letters. And you haven’t answered one of them. You haven’t even bothered to read one!” Now, wait a minute. That was the arrangement. lt had to be done anonymously, remember? Alec insisted upon that.” “At least you could’ve asked about her. Shown some compassion, some humanity.”