Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Top 10 Favorite Movies of 1981

Hey, guess what? I just made a list of my top 10 favorite movies of 1981. If you want to see it, look at it. It's right here. #7 will blow your miiind! You won't belieeeve what made #3!! #8 will make your jaw drop!!! #4 will give you AIDS!!!

Enter The Ninja

It isn't very hard for me to be a fan of Menahem Golan and his disastrously awesome movies. When it comes to campy lowbrow '80s cheese, Cannon was the studio of my dreams. In a way this is actually an influential movie, as it helped usher in the ninja film for American audiences. It's also accidentally hilarious and a blast to watch. I'd highly recommend this one for drunken movie nights.

Halloween II

It may appear blasphemous, but in several ways I actually enjoy this sequel more than the original. In spite of the original being an absolute classic, this movie took the set up and added tons more action and entertainment. Yes, the first one is better, more important, scarier, etc. But this sequel is great fun that's still appropriately intense. I wish it had been the last Michael Myers appearance, but oh well.

My Dinner With Andre

Renowned for being one of the least eventful movies of the 1980s, putting this one on my list after the previous two should come as a bit of surprise (unless you really know me). I enjoy long winded conversations, and this movie is centered around one that is never dull and flows like a genuine interaction. Never exciting, but never less than absorbing. Pay attention, screenwriters. This is how you write dialogue.

Quest For Fire

And now we go from all talking to no talking. Caveman movies very rarely appeal to me, but seeing this one so committed to telling it's story as realistically as possible has opened my eyes to their potential. I have never seen another movie quite like this, filled with great visuals and non-verbal performances like a quasi-silent film in the post-silent era. It's challenging but incredible at conveying a lot without ever dumbing itself down.

The Evil Dead

One of the great comedic horror movies of the 1980s and one of the most important of all-time. While most people would argue the sequel is better, I find it distractingly silly and desperate. No, this is the good one. The effects are crude but incredible in their innovation and while the humor is at times accidental, it is never unsuccessful at being charming and twisted in the best possible way.

Clash Of The Titans

The final film of Ray Harryhausen's incredible career as an effects genius and innovator, and still among my very favorites (Jason and the Argonauts still edges it out). I freaking love the stop motion animation in this movie, it just makes me happy to watch. The set designs and style and sense of adventure here makes for an incredibly entertaining experience. It appeals to that part of my brain that likes fun things.

An American Werewolf In London

And this movie appeals to the part of my brain that likes fun things that are more disgusting and brutal. Everyone knows the effects in this movie are amazing, and Rick Baker's makeup design is flawless. The performances are solid, and the writing allows for some great humor in between the scenes of gruesome violence. The werewolf transformation scene in this movie is one of the greatest sequences ever put to film.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

The first and probably best Indiana Jones movie (apart from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, obviously, the masterpiece that it is), this is still the template for how to judge almost all adventure films as far as I'm concerned. The creation of an iconic franchise character is tricky, and part of what makes Indy so cool is how unmanufactured and natural he is. Wonderfully iconic sets, action sequences, and music. It's pretty much perfect.

Das Boot

From a purely technical perspective, this might be the most impressive movie of the 1980s. It's an amazing, tightly shot, claustrophobic masterpiece filled with intense scenes and performances made all the more effective by the almost-literal imprisonment of the film's cast (look it up, Wolfgang Petersen is a lunatic genius). This would definitely be in my top 5 favorite war movies ever, and the cinematography alone would be enough to justify that placement.


As far as I'm concerned, Arthur is the pinnacre of modern romantic comedies, but unlike most of the greats, it isn't the romantic relationship that has the best chemistry. Dudley Moore's drunken, endearing performance paired with John Gielgud as the best butler ever make for one of the great cinematic pairings of all time. This aside, the writing, story and characters are all top-notch here. It's a hilarious and touching movie (with a wonderful theme song) that deserves the difficult-to-fill spot as my #1 of 1981.

This was a tough list to make, with the bottom 2 being almost interchangeable with another 2 that barely missed the cut, and the top 4 all being on an even enough level for me to consider any of them a potential #1. But there you have it. Oh, and Chariots Of Fire sucks.

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