Wednesday, June 2, 2010

25th Anniversary

Maybe it was because it caught me offguard, but, for some reason, when the Brattle Theater announced that it was showing The Goonies as a part of its twenty-fifth anniversary (the movie not the Brattle). But it made me feel older than realizing it was the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Then it made me look back at 1985, in general, to see what else was celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and I found a few more goodies. And, thus, another list. Obviously, these are my ten favorite movies from 1985 (for now-I realize I think I revised this particular list in the last year or so for some reason-new information just came to light, I guess).

My Favorite Movies of 1985

In alphabetical order, except for the first one, for obvious reasons:

1) The Goonies

To me, I genuinely think The Goonies still holds up. But then again, I saw it in the movies with my Aunt Peg, Uncle Bob, and my cousins Bobby and Greg-and liked it from the get go. But I do think is still works, I'm just not sure its the type of thing that will work as well if you come at it as an adult. But as a fun, and to me, funny, kids' adventure movie: I do think it still works.

2) After Hours

After Hours is a prime example of that sort of fish-out-of-water story where a character gets lost in some sort of urban hellscape. Whats interesting about Scorcsese's take on it is that this particularly fish isn't some rube from the suburbs but someone who actually lives uptown and has come to the strange environs of downtown, and thats when the odyssey begins. I feel like, and I could be wrong, that this tends to get overlooked for the most part in Scorsese's overall catalog.

3) Back To The Future

Another gem from the Summer of 1985. I forget these sorts of things, but I do remember while enjoying The Goonies, I feel like Back To The Future
was the movie everyone was really talking about that Summer. (And both were produced by Steven Spielberg!) Man, looking back, Zemeckis was really on a roll with his first three movies: Used Cars, Romancing The Stone, and then this. Thats a pretty good start. Eh, he couldn't sustain that but not many could, I guess. Back To The Future is interesting because it works both as a straightforward, sci-fi/adventure story, but underneath there is that sort-of skewering of 1950's America that the 1980's Reagan era Republicans gave some much lip service to. Its sly, but its also really good.

4) The Color Purple

And here we have Steven Spielberg as the director. Of course, this was notorious for receiving 11 Academy Award nominations and receiving a single award. It also has something in common with The Golden Girls in that by watching it with Tina I really came around to it. Its remarkable really, and I think it has become somewhat unfairly maligned, because it is both funny in certain parts, and amazingly powerful in others. I do really think it deserves to be considered among Steven Spielberg's best work.

5) Brazil

Brazil hits the zeitgeist of those crazy early-Gilliam years. Talk about a director that truly has his own, unique visual style. And, lets be honest, kind of like Time Bandits, Brazil is nuts. There is some sort of message here about bureaucracy threatening to consume us all, I guess. And its set in some weird, dystopian, art deco future, with elements of 1984. In some ways it can be exhausting and overwhelming, but its something to behold. And I really love Robert De Niro's small turn as Archie "Harry" Tuttle, the terrorist. One of his best lines: "Why? I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. Now they got the whole country sectioned off, you can't make a move without a form. "

6) The Breakfast Club

"When you grow up your heart dies."
The end all, be -all of John Hughes teen angst movies. In every John Hughes movie there's that one thing where it makes you kind of go "WTF!?". I mean you do that now, as an adult, I am sure growing up I thought it was amazing. But, in this instance, its the dancing. They have this very serious group discussion about high school cliques and opening up and what not-then they dance. And of course, there is the problem of Emilio Estevez only noticing Ally Sheedy after she was "cleaned up"-but quibbles aside, whether we like it or not, its sort of a touchstone of a certain generation. And say what you want about Hughes, but, he obviously made something that touched people growing up at the time. It hit a nerve somehow.

7) Into The Night

Sort of a cross between Something Wild and the "fish-out-of-water" scenario I described above with After Hours. This one is interesting, it caught my fancy because my Dad used to love it so much. And, I forgot until now, it was directed by John Landis. Jeff Goldblum is somewhat dissatisfied with his life, and he can't sleep, and in one of his long nighttime drives around Los Angeles he bumps into Michelle Pfeiffer, who is being chased by a group of Iranians. This sets them off on a wild chase through Los Angeles. Its fun, and funny too.

8) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

You might think I'm nuts for this, but Roger Ebert agrees with me. I think this is such a good ending to the series, that I sort of wish George Miller would just leave well enough alone and not make a fourth with someone else playing Max but what can you do? It actually seems pretty perfect for Mel Gibson too-around Easter I like to tease my Mom and tell her that watching Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a perfectly acceptable substitute to watching The Passion Of The Christ. If you knew my deeply Catholic mom, you'd understand why this annoys her. But I stick by my guns, because it basically a Christ allegory (or Moses, I guess-dig that very last shot) where he leads a group of primitive innocents out of the Wasteland, and the create a religion thats basically based on him.

9) Ran

One of Kurosawa's last masterpieces, and sort of crazy because he was about 75 when he made it. Its basically his take on King Lear. And it indeed has it all from Shakespeare: greed, the lust for power, and revenge. It also looks amazingly beautiful.

10) Witness

Here's another movie, besides The Color Purple, where Danny Glover plays the bad guy. Although in The Color Purple, he eventually redeems himself, but not here. Its good he played Roger Murtaugh in a few years. Looking at Witness, besides remembering just how good it was. It's also hard to think of a couple of other things. Mainly, "Wow, Harrison Ford used to be so awesome." and "Whatever happened to Kelly McGillis". Well they were great here in a movie that not only works as a great thriller but also as a great romance. Look for Alexander Godunov, who became more famous in Die Hard (and to a lesser extent, The Money Pit) and Viggo Mortensen's first role, both as Amish people.

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