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Nov 25, 2009

Fletch's Favored Five: 1984 in film

Not only have I failed at regularly maintaining the Fletch's Favored Five feature, I feel like I've been sorely lacking in the list department in general. Why should everyone else get to post fun and/or genius and/or idiotic Top 5s and/or 10s? I can do that, too!

But seriously, this particular series that I'm officially starting up (doing it by year) serves a dual purpose for me. See, I have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of movies that have been released since 1993. Before then? Not so much. It's not that I didn't watch movies before then - I just have a terrible memory (and I was pretty young for much of it). Sure, I know all of the big flicks, but I have a hard time recalling the little movies, the Oscar bait, the ones that would make peoples' "Oh, this is a totally underrated movie!" lists. After thinking about this a bit, I'm starting to wonder if the explosion of truly independent movies onto big screens (hmm, right around the early 90s) doesn't play a large factor here. Do I not remember the small movies...because there just plain weren't any/many? I seriously doubt that, or at least hope that's not the case.

Thus, I'm going to use my friend Wikipedia (poor thing, always being used, rarely getting attention) to kickstart my brain, year by year, and I'll throw out a Favored Five here and there. If you want to refresh your memory in a similar fashion, just go to Wiki and type "[four-character year] in film." Here's the one for 1984. I won't pretend that Wiki is the end-all, be-all of filmic knowledge or that these yearly lists are 100% accurate, but they're an excellent place to start and a great resource.

I was seven years old for most of this year, so I don't feel all that terrible for the low, low number of films that I can claim to have seen. Still, it seems like I should be aware of many more than I am. That not being the case, making this favored five list was relatively easy, since the pickings from which I have seen are so small.

Honorable Mentions: Gremlins, Police Academy, Star Trek II: The Search for Spock

5. Ghostbusters - Haven't sat down and watched this in forever, but talk about the right movie for the right time (and time of my life). Funnier than my young self could have possibly comprehended, and responsible for the hilarious homage in Be Kind Rewind.

4. Blood Simple - the film that introduced the world to the Coen brothers, and Frances McDormand. Dan Hedaya makes a great greaseball as usual, and seeing Fletch vet (of course, this was before that seminal work) M. Emmett Walsh always makes me happy.

3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - the lesser of the series until that abomination from a couple years back (yeah, I said it, Joe), TOD is still a great action-adventure, and is somehow the darkest and "kiddiest" at the same time. Invented the PG-13 rating, if I recall correctly.

2. The Karate Kid - set the standard for many copycats over the next few decades, and believe it or not, despite all of the love/mockery, it actually holds up as a good (albeit predictable) film. Who else is just dying for the latest version with Will Smith's kid? [Sees no hands being raised...]

1. The Terminator - It's not as easy to love as its sequel, but it was the beginning of an enduring franchise, the breakout of a certain Governator, and oh by the way, the special effects kicked ass (for the mid-80s). Pretty chilling, too.

9 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: 1984 in film"

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

Great list. I will say that I am one of the few people that actually likes the first Terminator more than the second. The second is certainly one of the greatest action movies of all time but I love the atmosphere created by the first. I also tend to hold a special place in my heart for indies and lower budget movies and I think that is what puts it over part two for me.

I love Blood Simple as well. The AFI theater near me did a showing of a bunch of Coen Bros films about the time that No Country FOr Old Men came out and that was the first time I saw a lot of there films. They quickly made the list of my favorite directors. I actually think they may be my favorite currently working directors. They tend to to be hit and miss but when they hit it is a homerun.

Anonymous said...

Nice work bringing back this feature, while you probably won't be able to live up to the last rendition with the SNL actors, these movie year flashbacks should resonate with the fans, as Costanza once said "we like things we don't have to think about", these should be a much bigger hit than your review of the latest gay indie flick noone wants to see...


Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Terminator: The best Terminator.

Temple of Doom: Possibly the best Indy. Sure it has that annoying Short Round kid, but Indy backhands him! Just obliterates him! It's way more awesome than anything else that happens in that movie.

Indy 4: People need to stop drinking the haterade. It was fun.

David Bishop said...

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the inspiration for the PG-13 rating. I think it, along with the movie Gremlins, brought light to the fact that there ought to be a midway rating between PG and R. I like the movie but can't stand the Willie Scott character at any given point in the movie.

I'm well aware I'm in the minority, but the first Terminator is one of my least favorite in the franchise with only Salvation below it. I appreciate it for the mythology it introduced, but as a whole, I don't enjoy the movie as much.

Fletch said...

Rick - what's up? Thanks for chiming in. I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to say that I prefer the 1st to the 2nd, but it's certainly a great action pic in its own right, being the original and all. And it's definitely more of a frightener than the later ones, though that might just be because you knew what was coming, to a certain extent, with the sequels.

Gay - I appreciate your blunt honesty, as usual. No, I'd be hard pressed to live up to those SNL editions. But have no fear, many more gay indie reviews are yet to come, no doubt.

Paul - 1. I think not, but it's certainly debatable.

2. I've never been a hater of Temple of Doom, I just think it ludicrous that anyone could think that its the best, or 2nd best, or even 3rd best of the series. Ok, thinking it 2nd or 3rd maybe isn't insane, but the best? No way.

3. I am a certified hater of Crystal Skull. And the haterade tastes goooooood.

David - yeah, looking back, the PG-13 rating makes a lot of sense, and you could easily see it being applied to any number of older flicks.

Meanwhile, as opposed to my hatred of Crystal Skull, I liked Salvation. Didn't love it, but I thought it a solid actioner and a decent return to form for the series. 2, 1, 4, 3.

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

I think part of the reason I like the first one more is that it is more of a frightener than the sequels. I think it has more of a suspense/thriller vibe than the sequels and I love that. Logically speaking the T-1000 may be a more dangerous killing machine but he doesn't come across anywhere near as scary as Arnold does in the first movie. Arnold just got that cold, emotionless gaze down perfectly in the movie. My girlfriend even refuses to watch the first movie because it scares her.

Fletch said...

Rick - I can definitely get on board with that. No doubt helped by his being a much smaller star at the time, but Arnold is downright scary and menacing. They kinda re-created that effect by getting a more or less unknown in Patrick for the sequel, but the effect had already been put to better use by the intimidator previously.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I think I like Indy II so damn much because, before Crystal Skull, it was the one that everybody HAD TO HATE. Honestly, it's the same reason I liked Speed Racer, but it's much less damaging to my credibility.

I have a Mola Ram action figure on my desk at work. I'm convinced that someday it'll pull out my heart.

And T1 is the best of the series. It's the most desperate, and I like that. James Cameron making a movie like he had something to lose. It never really happened again. And it was Arnold before catchphrases and one-liners became de-rigure (I botched the French, probably). The only movie he was better in was Total Recall. You can quote me on that.

Reel Whore said...

Great choices, though Gremlins would make my 5 and Karate Kid would be an honorable mention.

This is Spinal Tap, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Purple Rain would also be contenders, though none of them could unseat Ghostbusters!