Following on from the A-Z challenge the next idea was to have a brief stroll through a decade of movies. Well, actually, I was going to do a ‘deep dive’ into single year and watch several movies (much like the Best Movie Year Ever! – and still might), but then some friends asked to tag along and this sounded way easier and more fun!
First up, then, the 1980s… big hair, big shoulder pads, and so many memorable movies. Not that I watched many of those 😉 Here’s what I went with – and what (often better) other choices I might have made…
1980 – Flash Gordon
If you’re going to start a challenge, where else to go but Big, Stoopid, and a whole lot of Fun! Especially following a disappointing end to the A-Z challenge, I was in the mood for something that’d put a smile on my face.
Could have watched (aka some big releases of the year): 9 to 5, Altered States, The Blues Brothers, The Elephant Man, The Empire Strikes Back, Fame, The Shining, Xanadu
If I was doing it again: Xanadu – sure it’s far worse than I remember, but I’m curious. And given the rest of this list I should probably know better!
1981 – Gregory’s Girl
Okay, a little controversy on the year with this as technically it’s from 1980. However having struggled to get anything from this year my eyes lit up when it was on the Tivo listings with (1981). So… since the main release was ’81 with just festival showings the year before, I’m going to count it!
I’ve never seen this before as it’s not really my kind of movie, but it is a gentle, sweet affair, and there is a lot of personal nostalgia in the setting of a Scottish New Town in the early 80s.
Could have watched: Knightriders (not available to stream in the UK, nuts!), Chariots of Fire (never seen!), Dragonslayer, Escape from New York, Raiders of the Lost Ark (saw it relatively recently), Time Bandits, Clash of the Titans
If I was doing it again: I could always, always go a rewatch of Indiana Jones!
1982 – Tron
I’ve been meaning to rewatch this fav since treating myself to a bluray boxset with the new sequel, so what better choice? Programmer Flynn (Jeff Bridges) goes into a computer and is forced to play classic 80s video games – from the inside! Alas, they’ve remastered it for the new release and wow it looks naff! I mean, the 80s computer graphics were naff but they were of their time – now it looks like a cartoon. Bleh! Bridges is still so much fun, though.
Could have watched: Blade Runner, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Conan the Barbarian, Dark Crystal, Grease 2, ET, Gandhi, The Secret of Nimh, Tootsie
If I was doing it again: Blade Runner is top choice, and funnily enough another one with a recent sequel. Sensing a theme yet?
1983 – The Dead Zone
Another tricky year, somehow, and the available options seemed to be this or Krull. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually seen this, although seems likely given what a Stephen King fan I was back in the day. More than any other, this movie really struck me as showing how differently films tend to be made these days. It crams every bit of the story in, and doesn’t bother with much in the way of explanation, or elaboration on that ending.
Could have watched: Trading Places (could have done the rest of the challenge on Eddie Murphy films, I reckon!), Flashdance, War Games, Risky Business, Return of the Jedi, Yentl, Scarface
If I was doing it again: not feeling inspired, tbh. Probably Trading Places.
1984 – Beverly Hills Cop
Ah – the year that suddenly feels like the 80s, at least in terms of ‘classic’ movies. Romancing the Stone, Ghostbusters, Starman, Gremlins, The Last Starfighter, Dune, Supergirl – so many to choose! But between availability and the wish for something fun, step forward Mr Eddie Murphy. That laugh! 🙂
Could have watched: (see above)
If I was doing it again: Dune ahead of the new remake, perhaps.
1985 – Brazil
I’m not the hugest Terry Gilliam fan in the world, but seem to have seen most of his movies bar this. It’s one of those ones that gets referenced a lot, so it seemed like a good opportunity to finally give it a go. I think… I’m not a big Gilliam fan. I can see why it’s referenced, and also why it was almost named 1984 and a half. It’s weird.
Could have watched: Breakfast Club, St Elmo’s Fire, Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes (still love this movie!), Ladyhawke, Clue (ah, if only I’d found that!), Real Genius (baby Val Kilmer!), Witness, The Black Cauldron (ooh – I remember collecting the plastic figures in the cornflake boxes!)
If I was doing it again: Clue sounds like so much fun. Again! All the endings 🙂
1986 – Pirates
Back in my tadpole days I vaguely recall being briefly mad about this movie. I can only assume it was in the bargain bin at the rental store (hah, how times have changed) and I was entranced by the main character being called ‘Frog’ (not really getting that it was about his nationality…!). I could remember pretty much nothing else, so why not take a stroll down nostalgia lane? Urm, possibly because my tastes in movies weren’t that great as a kid? Having watched it now – rather bored throughout – I can’t imagine what might have appealed back in the day.
Could have watched: Aliens, Top Gun (yet another with an upcoming sequel!), Labyrinth, Ferris Bueller, F/X Murder by Illusion, Highlander, The Big Easy, Jumpin’ Jack Flash – all far, far better options!!
If I was doing it again: Bueller. Bueller. Bueller?
1987 – Wings of Desire
I think I’d always assumed this was from the 60s, but no, just black and white for arty reasons. So much arty. This was another ‘stretching my horizons’, watching a classic that so many people go on about. There were a couple of really striking visuals, for sure, but overall… I was bored? Sorry. 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I’m saying it’s dull. Well, there go my movie viewer credentials!
Could have watched: The Running Man, Spaceballs, Empire of the Sun, Robocop, Inner Space, Dirty Dancing, Lethal Weapon, The Witches of Eastwick, No Way Out, Good Morning Vietnam
If I was doing it again: The Princess Bride – one of my favourite movies ever!
1988 – Coming to America
Oh, I needed this after the snooze-fest of yesterday and a couple of disappointments in a row. I never intended to have two Eddie Murphy movies, but I think this might be my favourite of his, with a less brash character performance. And with a sequel in the works (!) it felt like a good time to see this again.
Could have watched: Beetlejuice, Young Guns, Willow, Cocktail, Die Hard, Rainman, Heathers (actually saw the 30th anniversary screening at the cinema a couple of years back!), Scrooged, A Fish Called Wanda, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
If I was doing it again: What’s this? A new prequel to Willow due soon? What *is* it with this decade?!!
1989 – Gleaming the Cube
Back in the 80s and 90s, Christian Slater was quite the next big thing – but what’s this, a movie I’ve never heard of? Curiosity got the better of me! And you know what, it was fine. Nothing startling, sure I’ve seen that plot in a hundred other places, but Slater’s disaffected teen routine is as strong as ever – in fact, was almost jarring to hear the ‘what’s the point’ speech, sounding so much like it could be stated now by any Gen-Z’er. And really, what could be more late-’80s than a skateboarding movie?
Could have watched: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (strangely, a sequel… yeah, yeah), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Dead Poet’s Society, Parenthood, Road House, Weekend at Bernie’s
If I was doing it again: Y’know, I haven’t seen the Burton Batmans in such a long time. I really want to go watch Dark Knight now 😉
Gives my age away a bit, but the 80s hold all my first exposure to movies and all the nostalgia that brings. A lot of the ‘almost watched’ titles are ones I’ve seen quite recently, still hugely watchable – but, that wasn’t entirely the point of the challenge. A bit, sure, but it was also good to push myself to see a few ‘missed’ classics, or to remind myself of things I could barely recall. Those might not have been the most enjoyable, but adds something other than watching Dirty Dancing… again (the music is the best bit, not sorry).
A lot of these were ‘omg how is that that old already’ – much like myself, I suppose! I know, I KNOW I’ve missed out tons and tons of big titles, of great movies, or just the not-great but always favourite ones – please feel free to tell me some of yours in the comments 🙂
And why yes, there will be a 90s challenge – watch this space! 🙂