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.
Mike’s Top Ten of 1986
An American Tail
Back to School
Castle in the Sky
The Color of Money
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
11-20: Big Trouble in Little China, Children of a Lesser God, Cobra, The Fly, The Great Mouse Detective, Labyrinth, Sid and Nancy, Stand by Me, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, ¡Three Amigos!
Tier two: The Adventures of Milo & Otis, Crocodile Dundee, Down by Law, Hannah and Her Sisters, Heartbreak Ridge, Highlander, Little Shop of Horrors, Manhunter, The Mission, Mona Lisa, The Mosquito Coast, Peggy Sue Got Married, Pretty in Pink, Round Midnight, Salvador, Short Circuit, Tough Guys, When the Wind Blows
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1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
It’s Ferris Bueller. Have we not all seen this movie a hundred times?
What can I even say about it at this point? If you haven’t seen it, I’m not really sure what you’re doing even reading these articles. The idea that there’s someone out there (as a film buff, but even sort of as a human being) who hasn’t seen this movie is just baffling to me.
The insane thing about this movie is that Hughes wrote the script in a week! He came up with the idea one day, then sold the pitch the next day, and within a week, he had the script done. And Hughes… the way he wrote was that he would go nuts writing and then basically shoot his first draft. I think the original cut was over two-and-a-half hours and then was edited down to what we have. But still… the idea that something like this came so effortless to him and became such an enduring film is amazing to me.
This is one of those movies that’s so good and so pervasive in our everyday lives, that I think if you really actively paid attention, you’d find that not a single week goes by without something in your daily life (from you or someone else referencing it, to a song choice, to a commercial parody, etc) reminding you of this movie. That’s greatness.
2. Back to School
“I’d like to join you, but I have class tonight.”
“Oh. How ’bout tomorrow night?”
“I have class then, too.”
“I’ll tell you what, then. Why don’t you call me some time when you have no class?”
This is one of the most perfect comedy setups of all time. It’s been around since the 40s, and it was spot on for Rodney Dangerfield and his screen persona. It’s such a perfect set up, they just ripped it off for a movie that came out this year!
The premise is — Dangerfield is a kid who came from nothing who built himself up to be a millionaire. However, he’s not the kind of guy that runs in those circles, and finds himself bored by the people. After a divorce from his wife, he decides to visit his son at college. While there, he finds out his son has been lying to him about how well he’s been doing. To prevent his son from dropping out, he says he’ll go there too. And that’s the movie. Rodney Dangerfield, at 65, goes (insert title here).
It’s a perfect movie. Dangerfield gets all his one-liners in, he gets to use his persona perfectly, and there are such great and memorable jokes throughout this film (“And another thing Vonnegut, FUCK YOU!”). Also they utilize Sam Kinison in a way that suits his persona, and you get early Robert Downey Jr.! It’s amazing. I can quote this movie all day.
This is one of those movies — and I don’t say this often — if someone doesn’t think this movie is good, I’m ready to fight. Because fuck you, this movie’s incredible.
“Somebody once wrote, ‘Hell is the impossibility of reason’. That’s what this place feels like. Hell.”
Oliver Stone took a giant leap with this one. He’d already been an Oscar-winning writer (for Midnight Express), and he’d written Scarface. He made two films before this year, both of which seem like the early Kubrick noirs in the sense that they’re minor films compared to the rest of his oeuvre. He didn’t direct for five years in between his last film and then came back with a definitive style. He had this and (as we’ll discuss below) Salvador come out this year, and both represent what would become his style — personal/politically active films about war or politics.
This movie came from his personal experiences in Vietnam (the way a lot of Sam Fuller’s films came from his time in Korea). It stars Charlie Sheen as a young soldier who goes to war and experiences the horrors there. The main struggle comes between the two sergeants in his unit — Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger. Dafoe is easy-going, very nice to the men and regularly smokes weed and listens to music with them in their down time. Berenger, meanwhile, is mean, hostile, and drinks beer in tense-filled rooms. The unit is split between the two men, some aligning themselves with one and some with the other. And it’s basically good vs. evil personified in these two men, all playing out in this seemingly winless war.
It’s amazing. This was your Best Picture winner from this year, and it still blows my mind that this actually won. This feels like the kinda movie we’d all think was the best movie that would lose to some boring choice like Out of Africa. But it’s really great. Berenger and Dafoe are incredible, and it gave way to one of the most famous images in all of film (above).
It’s one of the great war films of all time. And it remains one of Stone’s absolute best efforts in his career.
4. The Color of Money
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
This is the most un-Martin Scorsese, Scorsese movie. This was basically a director-for-hire job for him. He had the failure of King of Comedy and then went back to his indie roots with After Hours. It seems like he took this job to build up his cache with the studios so he could go back to making the movies he wanted to make. This movie allowed him to finally make his passion project, Last Temptation of Christ, which propelled him into Goodfellas. So there’s something that came out of it, and it’s a great movie, but make no mistake… this is him clearly taking the job for the money.
The film is a sequel to The Hustler. It brings Paul Newman back to his “Fast Eddie” Felson character 25 years after the fact. What I like is that it doesn’t try to do the same thing as that movie. It takes the character in a different direction and goes from there.
With almost all the big pool halls gone and no more “hustling” going on, we see Felson as a traveling liquor salesman. He overhears Tom Cruise, a young upstart, hustling a guy at the bar he’s at, and takes an interest in him. He decides to become his teacher, showing him how to hustle properly in exchange for a cut of the profits. And as he shows Cruise the ropes, it inspires him to make a comeback of his own. It’s great.
Newman finally won his Oscar for this movie, which we all know is a makeup Oscar after years of neglect by the Academy. But still, it’s nice. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was nominated for this too, playing Cruise’s girlfriend. You also get young John Turturro and young Forest Whitaker in this.
It’s just a really good movie. Not one of Scorsese’s best, but one of those movies of his I watch a lot. It’s a very watchable movie.
5. Blue Velvet
“What kind of beer do you like?”
“Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”
David Lynch. This is him going full Lynch. He has periods where he does more “mainstream” stuff, but once in a while, he’ll go completely weird, and those typically end up being his best movies. He made The Elephant Man (which is pretty restrained for him), and then went full mainstream with Dune, and then here he went back to his Eraserhead roots for what is continually his most enduring film.
It’s a murder mystery, but done by David Lynch. If you don’t know what that means, just watch it. This is an essential movie for all film buffs, so if you’re not already aware of some of the stuff in this movie, just go see it. It starts with a kid finding a severed ear in a field and then follows him as he goes down a deep, dark path of seedy places and dangerous people. Kyle McLachlen stars with Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Hope Lange and Dennis Hopper.
Hopper, who had been mostly persona non grata in Hollywood for years because of addiction issues, had a huge comeback this year with this film and Hoosiers. And while he was nominated for Hoosiers, this is the performance for which he’s most known. He is on such another level in this movie that I’m pretty sure most lists will put him on as one of the best film villains of all time. This movie is great, but Hopper in this movie is transcendent.
This is some of the greatest fifteen seconds in the history of cinema:
6. An American Tail
“Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me
And loving me tonight
Somewhere out there
Someone’s saying a prayer
That we’ll find one another
In that big somewhere out there”
Fievel. Oh man, Fievel. What a staple of my childhood.
This is the first animated movie produced by Steven Spielberg, if I recall correctly. It’s a movie about the immigrant experience, and done outside the Disney system, which allowed them to make it as serious and adult as it is. I’m guessing Spielberg saw Secret of NIMH and had Don Bluth try to recreate that magic.
The film is about a family of mice (the Mousekevitzes) who emigrate from the Ukraine to the United States because they are told that there are “no cats in America.” Basically… America is the land of freedom and they can start over and create a better life there without fear or oppression. And along their journey, their young son Fievel gets separated from them and goes on an odyssey to find them.
It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely incredible, and the song in the middle of it, “Somewhere Out There,” is legitimately better than 90% of anything Disney has written for their films. I adore this movie so much. It’s kinda weird how I grew up with the non-Disney animated stuff more than I did with the Disney stuff. But hey, it is what it is.
7. Castle in the Sky
“The earth speaks to all of us, and if we listen, we can understand.”
Back-to-back animated films. This is Miyzaki, in case it wasn’t immediately identifiable from the image above. It’s about a girl who has an amulet that contains the key to a secret floating island that pirates and government agents want to find. So it’s a race by all sides to get there first.
It’s incredible. All Miyazaki films are incredible. The thing with his movies are… there’s never something that’s bad, there’s just something you don’t like as much as the others, all while understanding how great it is.
“Welcome to Indiana basketball.”
One of the great and classic sports films of all times. It’s about Indiana high school basketball.
Gene Hackman is a coach with some demons in his past who comes to a basketball team and whips the players into shape by turning them into champions. And the film is about him being strict with them and making them hate him, but ultimately giving them everything they need to become winners. (You’ve seen this in other genres, like the military. It’s nothing new.) It’s amazing. Even non-sports fans like this movie, because it’s so well made. Dennis Hopper delivers another great performance as the alcoholic father of one of the players.
The director of this movie, David Anspaugh, weirdly has only two movies people recognize on his resume, but both of those movies are classics of the sports genre (the other being Rudy). Same for the writer. Apparently they specialize in uplifting sports movies.
It’s a classic. Very 80s, but great. Most people would put this one the list of the top ten sports movies of all time. It’s hard to argue. It’s really good.
“Get away from her, you bitch!”
The famous story is that James Cameron went in to pitch this movie and all he did was walk in, write on the board the word “Alien,” and then put a $ on the end as an S, and the studio bought it then and there.
The beauty of this is that it doesn’t try to be Alien in any way. It’s a sister film to it. The first Alien movie is a horror movie. This is an action movie. It’s different. Which allows to to enjoy the two side by side without having to pick a favorite. However, if forced to, I will take the original over this, but that’s just as a matter of preference. It’s like picking between the two Godfathers. Who cares, they’re both amazing.
This one is where a lot of the trademarks of the franchise came in, namely a lot of the Ripley stuff. This earned Sigourney Weaver a Best Actress nomination. It also gave us the great Bill Paxton line, “Game over, man!”
Say what you will about James Cameron — the man knows how to make a great action movie.
10. Top Gun
“I feel the need…”
“…the need for speed!”
Who doesn’t love this movie?
How does the thought of this movie not immediately put a smile on your face?
What can you even say about this movie? What is even the plot? Pilots… just sort of doing stuff… playing volleyball… the plot of this movie doesn’t even matter. It’s just 80s as shit, and just cool. This launched Tony Scott’s directing career, and it catapulted Tom Cruise from star to mega star.
I don’t even have anything to say about this movie. You’ve seen it, or you know you should have seen it, and honestly anything I could write up here won’t do nearly as well as this:
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Big Trouble in Little China — John Carpenter had a hell of a run in the 70s and 80s. This is the last of his really iconic films (though you could argue for They Live), and is just a fun time. It’s such a weird 80s action-adventure that totally works despite the fact that it absolutely should not. Kurt Russell plays a truck driver who gets involved in a fight with an ancient Chinese being in Chinatown. That’s it. That’s all you need. It’s fun as shit and one of the classic cult movies. This movie has the kind of cult status that, for years I wanted to pretend like it wasn’t that good and that I wasn’t gonna like it when I saw it. But no. It’s that fun and worthy of people liking it. It’s awesome.
Children of a Lesser God — I fell in love with this movie for no foreseeable reason when I first saw it. I still like it, even though it really hasn’t aged well (in terms of its handling of deafness and the whole Hurt/Matlin relationship). William Hurt plays a teacher at a school for the deaf who tries to push his students to “speak” when most of them try to hide behind their disability to not communicate with others. He strikes up a relationship with Marlee Matlin, a former student of the school who works as the janitor there. The film is about their relationship. I like how simple it is. In the 80s, that counts for a lot. Matlin won an Oscar for her performance, and Hurt was nominated (as part of his three-year-run of great, nominated performances), as was Piper Laurie, who has a strong cameo as Matlin’s estranged mother. If you look at it as a product of its time (which you have to do with so many movies anyway), it’s a nice little romance, even if it’s not exactly CODA when it comes to the progressive handling of deaf people.
Cobra — Whenever this movie comes up, I believe my usual pitch is, “YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE.” This is so 80s it borders on parody. I don’t even wanna spoil it for you. Just go see this movie. Because it’s great. The plot doesn’t even matter — Stallone is a cop protecting a witness from being killed. That’s all you need. Go see it. You think you’ve seen 80s excess action movies. Wait til you finish this one. The opening ten minutes alone…
The Fly — Do I even need to talk about this one? David Cronenberg, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis? This is one of those movies everyone else beat me to first. I’d heard for years how good it was, and generally knew the entire movie, but just never formally watched it. So I’m not one to gush over this the way others are. But trust me… it’s a classic for a reason. One of the definitive body horror movies of all time, and just one of those classics everyone needs to see at some point in their movie-watching life.
The Great Mouse Detective — One of those overlooked Disney movies. Part of what seems to be a major Sherlock Holmes craze of the 80s. Or maybe it’s just that everyone likes using Holmes. The interesting thing is that it allows for the existence of the real Sherlock Holmes, and then shows that this detective lives underneath 221B Baker Street. It has Basil, (insert title here), investigating the kidnapping of a toymaker, which brings him to a world domination plot by his arch-nemesis, Professor Ratigan (voiced by Vincent Price, with adequate gusto). It’s fun.
Labyrinth — Classic 80s fantasy directed by Jim Henson. Part of that fantasy craze that hit in the 80s, with stuff like NeverEnding Story and Legend. It’s about a young girl who wishes that her infant brother could disappear, only to see that happen, as he is kidnapped by the Goblin King. She is then forced to enter a (insert title here) in order to get him back. It’s fun. A lot of great Henson creature work, and David Bowie as the Goblin King. What more do you need?
Sid and Nancy — A lot of people see this one pretty early because most people get into Gary Oldman pretty early. And then when you get into him, you invariably come across this performance, because this is the one that launched him. It’s a biopic of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Oldman is amazing here, and the film is very, very good too. Shot by Roger Deakins, which is something to look out for.
Stand by Me — Classic 80s movie. I, unlike most people, missed this one completely as a child. Which is the case for a lot of 80s movies. Like The Goonies and Lost Boys… I just completely missed all that stuff and only saw them in college or just after college. This is one of those movies most people hold so dear, there’s not really anything I can add to it in the way of why you should see it. Based on a Stephen King short story, it’s a coming-of-age film about a group of kids who set out to find a dead body of a missing boy. Stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack and is narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. This was directed by Rob Reiner, and is part of his incredible run at the beginning of his career (one of the most unparalleled stretches in the history of cinema. And I am not exaggerating on that).
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — This is my favorite of the Star Trek movies. It’s the one with the whales. I love it. It’s so good. Directed by Nimoy himself, Nick Meyer wrote this (which makes sense, because it bears a lot of elements to Time After Time, in terms of the fish out of water stuff). It’s basically the Enterprise answering a distress call, which they cannot decipher, and traveling back to get the only species who can: humpback whales. Which brings them to 1985 San Francisco. And hilarity ensues. I’m sure Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s so great. How can you not enjoy this?
¡Three Amigos! — Yes. I was originally just gonna leave it at that, but I realize that some people might not know what this movie is. Which is a goddamn shame. Here’s the premise: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short are three actors famous for playing western heroes on the screen. They get what they think is an invitation to perform for a Mexican village… only to find out when they arrive that it’s not that. It’s a Magnificent Seven situation, where they sent for what they thought were real heroes to save their town from a ruthless bandit (El Guapo, man), and now they actually expect them to do it. It’s hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. One of the great comedies of the 80s.
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- The Adventures of Milo and Otis
- Crocodile Dundee
- Down by Law
- Hannah and Her Sisters
- Haunted Honeymoon
- Heartbreak Ridge
- Howard the Duck
- Little Shop of Horrors
- The Mission
- Mona Lisa
- The Mosquito Coast
- Peggy Sue Got Married
- Pretty in Pink
- Round Midnight
- Short Circuit
- Tough Guys
- When the Wind Blows
I love how 80s this list is about to be.
Short Circuit is one of those films that was a huge part of my childhood. I watched the sequel more than this one, but they’re both a big part of my childhood. Number Johnny Five, man. It’s about a group of experimental robots the government is designing for the Cold War. One of them gets struck by lightning and gains sentience. And he’s the man:
It’s weird to me to think of people not having grown up with this movie. Because it’s amazing.
Crocodile Dundee is the movie that, once and for all, taught us what a knife was. A quintessential 80s movie. A female journalist travels to Australia to interview a native who is said to have survived a crocodile attack. That puts her in a nice fish out of water story in the outback with him, and naturally romance ensues and all that good stuff. One of those 80s movies that everyone should see just to be able to reference. The Adventures of Milo and Otis is one of the movies I grew up with as a kid. Of course, later I realized how fucked up it is, with all the allegations of the filmmakers torturing animals. But you know, the movie is cute. It’s kinda like Homeward Bound. A cat and a dog become friends and get separated, and have to journey to reunite. There are no humans in the film whatsoever, and it’s narrated by Dudley Moore. Off-screen, pretty fucked up, on-screen, quite delightful. Hannah and Her Sisters is another Woody Allen film that I’m okay with. I don’t particularly like the movie, but the performances in it are quite good. Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest won Oscars for their performances.
Tough Guys is a great 80s comedy with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. They’re two guys just getting out of a 30 year prison sentence for robbing a train. So now you have two old men entering the 80s without a clue of how this new culture works. They’re told they can’t see each other for 3 years as part of their parole. Naturally, they get into all sorts of situations, which ends with them deciding this new world is not for them and deciding to go back to their old ways. It’s fun. The movie wouldn’t be worth it if not for the fact that Lancaster and Douglas are the leads. Plus you get Eli Wallach and Charles Durning too. Down by Law is Jim Jarmusch. Simple movie, stars Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni. They are three strangers who are all arrested and thrown in the same cell. After an initial period inside the cell (which is hilarious), Benigni decides to escape, so they all escape. And then we see them on the run. It’s really good. I saw this by chance in college, for no real reason. It wasn’t something I’d have sought out then, and somehow I ended up seeing it. I remember laughing a lot at it but also being really invested. Definitely one of my favorite Jarmusch movies. Haunted Honeymoon is a comedy haunted house movie. Gene Wilder stars with wife Gilda Radner as the stars of a radio mystery hour who are engaged. Since the engagement, he’s been having a lot of panic attacks. On his return to his family’s castle, his family decides to “scare him to death” to cure him. Though, naturally… the place really is haunted. So comedy ensues. It’s a fun movie. Gilda Radner’s final film.
Manhunter is the first Hannibal Lecter movie. Pre-Silence of the Lambs. Michael Mann directs and Brian Cox stars as Lecter. This is the Red Dragon story. So if you saw that movie or watched the show… that’s the story. Will Graham (played by William Petersen) goes to Lecter to help catch Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan). It’s interesting to see the story done without Anthony Hopkins. Cox is a different Lecter. Not as interesting overall, but still good. Dennis Farina plays Jack Crawford, Stephen Lang plays Freddy Lounds, and Joan Allen plays Reba, the blind girl Dollarhyde kidnaps. An interesting bit of trivia, Frankie Faison, who played Barney in the Hopkins films, plays a different character here. As does Dan Butler, who played the dude that diagnoses the moth for her (with the creepy eyes). It’s a solid film. Not quite Silence of the Lambs, but still very worthwhile. Also a great climactic sequence set to “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida.” Heartbreak Ridge is a Clint Eastwood war movie. He’s one of those lifer marines who is so stubborn he constantly clashes with his superiors and can never hold a promotion, even though by now he should be doing much better than he is. He’s about to reach mandatory retirement. His final assignment is to shape up a platoon of soldiers who are really undisciplined. Which… is a tried and true military storyline. He whips them into shape and they end up being deployed to Grenada. It works. Not Eastwood’s best, but solid.
The Mosquito Coast is quite possibly Harrison Ford’s best acting work. He was nominated for Witness the year before this, but I feel like this might be the performance of his most worthy of that distinction. He plays an eccentric inventor who gets fed up with America’s consumerism and moves his family to Central America. His plan is to build a utopia there. Naturally, things are more difficult than anticipated, but he refuses to give up, even in the face of… well, bad stuff. It’s a terrific film. Directed by Peter Weir (who also did Witness), Helen Mirren plays Ford’s wife and River Phoenix plays his son. I highly recommend this one. Little Shop of Horrors is your classic story. Guy gets plant, guy cares for plant, guy realizes plant requires blood to survive, guy begins murdering people and feeding them to the plant. Just like in the Bible. This is a classic cult musical. A lot of fun. Frank Oz directs and Rick Moranis stars, along with Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest and Bill Murray. It’s one of those movies everyone needs to see at least once. Salvador is an Oliver Stone film. James Woods plays a photojournalist who is basically unemployable because of his… extracurricular activities. So he goes to El Salvador for freelance work and sees just how much worse the situation is than was anticipated.
Highlander. There can be only one. Classic 80s movie. There are a number of immortal warriors out there, and they can only be killed by decapitation. All the warriors are destined to do battle, with only one remaining alive in the end. It’s awesome. Christopher Lambert stars, Sean Connery has an extended cameo, Clancy Brown is the Kurgan. It’s so much fun. Most of these movies I think are self-explanatory in terms of ‘need to see’. They’re just culturally essential because everyone knows them. Round Midnight is a jazz drama starring an actual jazz musician. Dexter Gordon plays a drug addicted sax player barely getting by in his career, so he decides to go to Paris. The beauty of the movie is that a lot of real jazz musicians co-star in the film and it has a very laid back kind of feel. There aren’t that many pure jazz movies out there, but this is one of the main (and better) ones. The Mission is a movie that every film buff comes across pretty early. People love it for the Morricone score. And it’s got De Niro in a non-gangster (etc) role, which sticks out. And it’s a Best Picture nominee. So it’s very much something you come across. It’s about Spanish Jesuits trying to protect a local tribe from slavers. Jeremy Irons plays the head priest, and De Niro plays a slaver who converts. Liam Neeson is also in it as a priest. Roland Joffe directs (his follow up to The Killing Fields). It’s really good. It looks great, and it’s a solid film.
Mona Lisa is Bob Hoskins’ only Oscar nominated performance. Most people don’t even know about this movie anymore. Directed by Neil Jordan, Hoskins plays an ex-con who gets a job driving a prostitute around town for work. As he becomes close with the woman, he decides to help her save her sister from her ex-pimp. Naturally, this puts him right back in danger… you know the drill. This would have been a noir had it been made in America in the 40s. Ex-con driving a call girl around, getting back into the life he left behind for a woman who might not necessarily feel the same about him as he does about her. It’s a really good movie. Cicely Tyson is the prostitute, Michael Caine and Robbie Coltrane are also in it. Really good hidden gem. Peggy Sue Got Married is a Francis Ford Coppola director-for-hire film. This is one where, if I didn’t tell you that, you might not notice. Though there are some moments where you can see he put a bit of a stamp on it. It stars Kathleen Turner as an unhappy housewife who got everything she thought she wanted in high school and is now attending her 25-year reunion. She ends up passing out and waking up back in her senior year of high school with a chance to do it all over again and maybe make her life turn out differently. It’s fun. Nicolas Cage plays Turner’s husband, and it also features a young Joan Allen, Jim Carrey and Helen Hunt as well as old John Carradine, Maureen O’Sullivan and Leon Ames.
When the Wind Blows is a British animated film about an elderly couple who discover nuclear war upon them and do what they can to survive. It’s quite good. Also, incredible soundtrack, with films by Bowie, Roger Waters, Genesis. I love this underground history of overlooked adult animated movies (or non-Disney animated movies) from before 1990. Howard the Duck is one of the great disasters of the 80s. So fucking creepy on every level, and yet… a cult classic. Why? Because the star is a giant anthropomorphic duck! Who fucks a human woman! The plot doesn’t matter… it’s all about the experience. And you need to experience this movie at least once. Pretty in Pink is another John Hughes 80s classic. He didn’t direct this one, but he wrote it. Molly Ringwald stars as a poor girl whose best friend Duckie (John Cryer) is in love with her and also starts dating a rich preppy boy at school. It’s terrific. Harry Dean Stanton is great as her father, and it’s got one of my favorite scenes, the “Try a Little Tenderness” scene with Cryer.
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