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Feb 8, 2010

Fletch's Favored Five: 1988 in Film

Now, the fourth in a continuing series in which I count down my favorites from a particular year in film. Previous entries:

1997 * 1991 * 1984

I'm going to use my friend Wikipedia 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 1988. 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.

Not a lot of surprises here - the films selected as my Favored Five are likely what you'd expect from someone who was 11/12 years of age in 1988. Ditto the movies I've not yet seen. The only thing that might surprise you is the inclusion of Frantic amongst my honorable mentions, over such higher acclaimed fare as Rain Man and A Fish Called Wanda, or even Scrooged. It's not to say that I don't enjoy those films, but I thought to myself how odd it would be to place such films high amongst my rankings, considered I've seen none more than a handful of times, whereas the ones that made the lists are films I can practically recite (in some cases).

Notable movies not yet seen:
The Accused
Dangerous Liasons
Eight Men Out
The Last Temptation of Christ
Midnight Run
Mississippi Burning

Honorable Mentions
The Naked Gun
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

5. Big - You know I love the next four a lot when a great film such as this comes in fifth. There's not much wrong with Big; I gave it a re-watching recently, and aside from some unavoidable aging (cars, toys used, general technology) and the dodgy "So, was Liz Perkins a pedophile?" question, it's just as meaningful and funny now as it was then.

4. Bull Durham - Unquestionably one of the greatest sports films of all time and I won't hear anything otherwise. Ron Shelton (White Men Can't Jump, Blue Chips, Tin Cup) remains the only writer I'm aware of that can write sports movies that feel authentic and fresh at the same time, and the fact that he spares us the "inspirational" endings of so many others only endears me to him more (even if he hasn't made a relevant film since 1996).

3. Bloodsport - If you've been coming here for any time at all, or are a friend of mine of Facebook, or in real life - basically, if you know me at all, then you know I ♥ this movie with all my ♥. So why is it numero très and not numero uno? Well, love of trash does have its limits, and as hilarious and (I'm sad to say) important to me as this guilty pleasure is, it's still a guilty pleasure, and the next two movies are far, far superior in quality while still holding a special place in my ♥.

2. Coming to America - Take your 48 Hrs. and your Beverly Hills Cop(s) and maybe even Trading Places - I'll take Coming to America as my choice for Eddie Murphy's best, if not funniest, movie. Not-really-cameos from Sam Jackson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Louis Anderson and Vondie Curtis-Hall, Eriq LaSalle's jheri curls, Arsenio Hall getting most of the great lines, Sexual Chocolate, Darth Vader himself as a King, Murphy and Hall playing no less than five characters each, the Royal Penis - what more do you want?

1. Die Hard - There really can be no other option here. A no bullsh*t action movie that keeps the tension and comedy high and the stupidity low (Karl coming back to life is the only thing that really stands out). Movies with Heroes (shorthand for action flicks, fantasies, adventures, etc.) are only as good as their villains, and Alan Rickman gave us one of the most memorable in Bill Clay aka Hans Gruber. The inevitable sequels have inevitably taken off some of the luster from the franchise (go ahead, re-watch the second - it's pretty awful, to say nothing of the abominable fourth), but it served as the template for action movies for at least 15 years beyond its arrival. Kudos to Jim Rome for maintaining some of its cultural relevance.

6 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: 1988 in Film"

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

You havent seen Eight Men Out?! Blasphemy!

Buffett35 said...

I can't argue with this list. Bloodsport and Big aren't particularly quotable, but Die Hard, Coming to America, and Bull Durham influence my vocabulary to this day. Beetlejuice and Willow are faves of mine too, but not enough to push out any of your top 5. The only one of your "not yet seens" that I've seen is Akira, and I can't imagine you liking it that much.

OneLifeLiveIt said...

Bloodsport was a great movie at the time. It really has dated now though. It was running on cable here the other day and the music in it really dates it. One of JCVD's better moments.

Fletch said...

JSR - Nope. I think I've seen parts of 8 Men Out, but not the whole enchilada. I can't be missing that much, can I?

Buffett - The three you mentioned are certainly much more quotable, but give Bloodsport some credit - it's got the brick line, the goofy dood that says "put up your Dux, right?" and just a number of moments ready to be lampooned by pop culture.

I can't imagine me liking Akira that much, either.

OneLife - Yes, Bloodsport (and really, all of Van Damme's early work) is tremendously dated, but these days, that's about half the appeal.

He said, she said said...

I love Big but yeah... as I rewatch that peadophile question does come into the forefront of one's mind more. I can't get enough of that film though.


Reel Whore said...

I'd have to sift through the Wiki List, but I totally agree that Bloodsport had to take third to Coming to America & Die Hard. Bruce Willis is my man. Everything works in that flick; Rickman, Reggie Vel, Big & Little Johnson.

Coming to America is hard evidence that Eddie Murphy has talent, or at the least, he used to.

How bad do I suck that, as much as I love Warwick Davis, I've never seen Willow?