June 27, 2005

The eighth set of 20 films that if you haven’t seen you should see immediately or risk having protein wisdom sneer at you like certain embarrassingly snobby blue state gourmands sneer at salt water taffy and chili-cheese fries

1980s, group 8

  1. The Ninth Configuration (1980)
  2. Death Hunt (1981)
  3. A Christmas Story (1983)
  4. Cujo (1983)
  5. D.C. Cab (1983)
  6. The Dead Zone (1983)
  7. The Dresser (1983)
  8. Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)
  9. Gorky Park (1983)
  10. The Hunger (1983)
  11. The King of Comedy (1983)
  12. Lianna (1983)
  13. Local Hero (1983)
  14. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
  15. The Lords of Discipline (1983)
  16. The Man with Two Brains (1983)
  17. The Meaning of Life (1983)
  18. Nostalghia (1983)
  19. The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  20. The Outsiders (1983)


Some films I inadvertantly overlooked earlier head this list:  first, William Peter Blatty’s wonderfully atmospheric cult classic, The Ninth Configuration, as well as the Bronson / Lee Marvin Canadian wilderness actioneer, Death Hunt.  The rest of the list ranges from the sublime (The Dresser, and Martin Scorsese’s underappreciated, The King of Comedy) to the ridiculous (D.C. Cab, Flashdance).  Cult favorites include Local Hero andEddie the Cruisers.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:55pm

Comments (27)

  1. Does it count if you’ve seen it, but don’t remember one bit (except, perhaps, the promotional poster?)

    ‘Cause I’m at either 6 or 8 on this one, depending.

  2. Osterman? Pekinpah does Ludlum?

    I beg to disagree. Not even John Hurt, Rutger Hauer and Dennis Hopper together could avert the Curse of Craig T. Nelson.

  3. Does O.C. and Stiggs make it onto your lists? Seems right up your alley.

  4. I haven’t seen that one. Worth checking out?

  5. Jeff – how many movies total are we talking?  I’ve only got room in my Netflix queue for 500 (I’m currently at 390-something).  Do I need to add another account?

  6. 1744. Yes.  3.

  7. 20. The Outsiders (1983)

    “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

    I cringe.

  8. I thought I was the only one who cringed at that line delivery by Macchio. 

    Huge fan of the book; not so much of the movie—though it is notable as the film that really propelled the careers of many of the biggest stars of the 80s.

    Rumblefish is Coppola’s best adaptation of S.E. Hinton; The Outsiders is notable for its corn—and for Leif Garrett.

  9. For obvious reasons, Leif Garrett I can forgive; Ralph Macchio I cannot.

  10. “Your lone wolf attitude’s got to change.”

    Favorite scene: when he pours the beer over himself before driving the rv out of the pit it’s buried in.

  11. Local Hero’s my all-time favorite. Unfortunately, it’s Al Goe’s favorite also.

  12. Jeff,

    Can we safely assume from this list that you spent the entirety of 1983 in the local theater?  I can see you now with a sleeping bag somewhere in the 9th row, surrounded by Raisinets, Goobers, Popcorn grease and empty cups.

  13. “The Man With Two Brains” – a classic.  I’m shocked the Merv Griffin wasn’t typecast as a psycho after playing the “Vienna Elevator Killer” in this one.

    And “A Christmas Story” – best vehicle for a child actor to make the jump to porn star wannabe & general hanger-on.

  14. OC and Stiggs – Robert Altman directs,(in his post-Popeye, pre-Player free fall) the characters are the missing link between Cheech and Chong and Bill and Ted, and Dennis Hopper as a virtual continuation of his Apocalypse Now persona. A bit uneven, but I think it deserves much more recognition than it gets.

  15. Hmm.  Looks like it’s been released on DVD in the UK, so a domestic release might be in the offing.  I’ll check it out then.  I lost track of Altman during most of the 80s, but I’m always willing to give him a go.

  16. I haven’t met many other film buffs who dig Osterman, but it really is a tight piece of thriller-candy, and certainly a lot less self-indulgent than a lot of crap in the same genre. 

    Cf. the Peter Hyams remake of Narrow Margin, with Gene Hackman, which got a lot of flack for being paced like a an instruction manual for a 1936 Simplicity but is actually a great piece of atmospheric film work.

    Then again, I’ve always said I’d pay good money to see Hackman read the phone book aloud.

  17. I’ll second that – “Narrow Margin” was a very good film.  Wasn’t the co-star in that movie Anne Archer?  Great scenery, and a believable plot, I’d give it a thumbs up.

  18. You really shouldn’t wield your film knowledge with such reckless abandon. You’ll shoot your eye out, ya know.

  19. Cujo?  Cujo made your list?  egads.

  20. DC Cab—I liked it, too.  If you go into it not expecting Shakespeare and enjoy it for the silly comedy that it is, I don’t see how you can hate it.

    Maybe it’s just the Mr. T fan in me.  I’d walk through the fires of hell to bring that mohawked thespian an Orange Crush.  But, that’s just me.

  21. Hey, you mentioned Flashdance in the description, but you didn’t put it in the list.

  22. Shit, I must have put another link over that one. 

    Anyway, it belongs.  Cheesy as hell, but it remarkably influential—spawning a host of other “dance to express yourself” films that, not surprisingly, were every bit as corny.  But they didn’t have Jennifer B in an off-the-shoulder cut-up sweatshirt and legwarmers.

    God, how that look plagued the culture.

  23. So, will it be on the next list? Or should I add it to this one?

  24. Go ahead and just add it to this one.  Sorry about that.

    Aren’t you still working on the 70s?  (I found a couple of additional flicks from that decade I’d recommend that I hadn’t yet seen when I made the original lists:  St Ives (w/ Charles Bronson), Race with the Devil (with Warren Oates and Peter Fonda).  Also, not sure if I included Straw Dogs and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.

  25. Dude, I’m still working on the ‘70s list one. You had the last two listed, I bought Straw Dogs right before it went OOP, and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry ain’t out yet in region 1.

  26. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry’s out now in Region 1 and sitting on my shelf.

  27. Ha, came out yesterday. Thanks, it’s in my queue.