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|Top 10 Blockbusters of the 1980s|
|Written by Trent Daniel|
|Friday, 26 June 2009 10:00|
1. Raiders of The Lost Ark (June 1981)
To me, this is still the king of all summer blockbusters and about as much fun as one can have at a movie. So many classic moments, from the giant stone orb, to the sword versus gun gag (one of the funniest movie moments ever), to the snake infested tomb to the truck chase (one of the best car chases ever) to the horrifying, infamous moment when the ark is opened and the Nazis get their just desserts. I remember when I left the theater as a kid and I had a feeling not unlike getting off a great roller coaster ride: I was totally spent and a bit disoriented-yet also exhilarated and ready to turn around and ride it again. A truly great movie.
2. The Empire Strikes Back (May 1980)
This is the film that moved the Star Wars saga from simply mega-blockbuster stage to being an integral part of our very culture. What is remarkable about The Empire Strikes Back is that such a thrilling film could emerge from what is actually a decidedly grim story-basically, the Empire destroys our heroes and the only thing that saves the good guys from total defeat is Darth Vaderís infamous and legendary revelation at the end. What moves this film to the top of the Star Wars cannon is 1) showing Darth Vader at his most fearsome, moving him near the top of the greatest movie villains of all time and 2) the introduction of Yoda, guru to Luke and leader of the Jedi (Yoda is one of the great animated characters; what is remarkable is that he is such a good actor, how such amazing expressions and depth of character were found in a puppet is still quite an accomplishment).
3. Ghostbusters (June 1984)
This is perhaps the greatest horror-comedy ever, as perhaps no film has so seamlessly meshed genuine scares with as many laugh out loud moments. The film features Bill Murray at his ìcool jerkî best, with great supporting work by Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis and a hysterical Rick Moranis (ìOk, who brought the dog?î). Highlights: the encounter with the library ghost, the pursuit of Moranis though Central Park and, of course, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man. And admit it-the theme songís stuck in your hear right now, isnít it?
4. ET (June 1982)
Though it tries to tug a bit too hard at the heartstrings, especially near the end, ET is still a wonderful portrait of childhood. Though hard to define, Spielberg somehow captures such a sense of awe and wonderment in this film that it makes it seem as if we really are experiencing this adventure through the eyes of a 10 year old boy. This film could quite easily have become too ìmushy,î yet Spielberg masterfully adds enough trilling, scary moments, as well as moments that are quite funny, to keep the melodrama at bay for the most part. Watch it again and it easy to see while people fell so in love with this movie back in 1982.
5. Die Hard (July 1988)
Who knew, back in 1988, that a guy best known for his role in an ABC show called ìMoonlightingî could carry one of the greatest action films ever? Yet Bruce Willis did, jumpstarting what is overall a great movie career. Die Hard became the basic blueprint for action films since. Once Willis gets isolated in the building and the back guys take over (led by Alan Rickman in a terrific performance as a truly hiss-worthy main villain), the film never lets up, leading from one spectacular action sequence to the next. The fact that the hero is this time all too human and gets battered and bruised like anyone would in his situation (the barefoot hop across the glass is still incredibly painful to watch) only involves the audience that much more.
6. Back to the Future (July 1985)
Speaking of TV stars carrying a movie, two actors best known for their TV work, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, carried this sci-fi comedy gem. The premise: a young man travels 30 years back in time to his home town and alters the moment when his parents first met, is genuinely intriguing, yet could easily have gone off the tracks if not for a great script and strong direction by Robert Zemekis. The film has a wonderful ìfish out of waterî element to it, as Foxís 1980s apparel and sensibility clash strongly with the 1950ís world he is trapped in, plus a genuinely eerie undercurrent (if his parents do not fall in love, his existence is erased).
7. Poltergeist (June 1982)
Whereas Spielbergís ET captured the awe and wonderment of childhood, Poltergeist captured its fears. Many a child has lay awake a night, afraid of the big tree that cast a shadow on their bedroom wall, what might be lurking under the bed, or the doll in the corner of the room (especially if it is a hideous clown doll) that looked like it might have moved on its own. Though it has some moments of humor, it is also scary as hell, about as scary as a PG-13 movie gets. I donít recommend watching it alone the first time. You might want throw out your TV afterward.
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (June 1988)
No film since has topped this one for seamlessly mixing live action with animation. What makes this film truly click, however, is its story, which blends high comedy and innovative special effects into a somewhat grim yet involving film noir type storyline (and Jessica Rabbit makes an unforgettable femme fatale). Getting to see Warner Bros. icons alongside their Disney counterparts (I loved seeing Daffy and Donald playing the piano together) only adds to the fun.
9. Robocop (June 1987)
This classic sci-fi thriller is exceedingly violent and gruesome, yet so over the top it is hard to take too seriously. The film might not have worked at all had Peter Weller not made Robocop such as tragic, yet compelling hero. I remember the audience I saw it with cheering wildly at the end when he finally took revenge against the main villain. Highlights: the rather haunting image of Peter Wellerís human face attached to his new robotic body and the unforgettable image of a man slowly melting to death after being doused by toxic waste (one of the most spectacular death scenes in film history).
10. Airplane! (June 1980)
Audiences in 1980 were blindsided by this one. The filmís ìthrow every joke at the wall and see what sticksî style has been often imitated since, but was truly innovative at the time. The film showed that in comedy, there truly are no rules, be it for story structure or simple decency. Gleefully bizarre and politically incorrect, yet still hysterical, Airplane! clearly inspired not only the Naked Gun series, but South Park, Family Guy, Reno 911 and the Judd Apatow comedies as well.
|Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2009 11:40|
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