June 20, 2005

The seventh 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 7

  1. Personal Best (1982)
  2. The Plague Dogs (1982)
  3. Poltergeist (1982)
  4. Porky’s (1982)
  5. Q:  THe Winged Serpent (1982)
  6. Shoot The Moon (1982)
  7. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
  8. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)
  9. Tex (1982)
  10. The Thing (1982)
  11. Tootsie (1982)
  12. Tron (1982)
  13. The Verdict (1982)
  14. The World According to Garp (1982)
  15. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
  16. Zapped (1982)
  17. Bad Boys (1983)
  18. Blue Thunder (1983)
  19. Brainstorm (1983)
  20. Chained Heat (1983)


Years vefore Strange Days heralded the era of mainstream cyberpunk, Brainstorm asked and answered many of the same questions.  Also of import:  John Carpenter’s (at the time) critically savaged The Thing, which has since become an acknowledged sci-fi classic, The World According to Garp, which essentially launched the career of Glenn Close and features a welcome, not-too-over-the-top performance by Robin Williams, and The Verdict, which might be Paul Newman’s greatest performance.  Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist took horror away fromt the slasher genre; and Porky’s and Zapped defined the mindless teen comedies of the era (standing in contrast to more serious teen comedies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Risky Business).


update:  One of my new advertisers offers DVD rentals for $1.  Anybody used the service?

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:50pm

Comments (25)

  1. uh, am i missing the 20th movie? it’s monday. rasberry

  2. May I suggest …

    A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982)

  3. Ah, Personal Best.  Don’t remember much about the story, but it’s worth a viewing just for the girl/girl action with Mariel Hemingway.

  4. 20. 1984

    Fine performances all around, notably by Sir Richard Burton (no, the 20th century one) and John Hurt.

  5. I’m still waiting for that sequel that was alluded to in the ending credits to The Sword and the Sorcerer.

  6. I’m gonna guess that number 20 will be either the Richard Gere vehicle Breathless, Caged Heat as a tie-in to the Martha Stewart diaries, or Christine. The latter is a movie I actually enjoyed, and would make a fine addition to this list.

  7. Oops, that was two movies I ran into one. It’ll either be Caged Fury or Chained Heat. Between those two I’d vote for the latter because it stars Linda Blair.

  8. I think you put Zapped up there to see how many people (a) are completely loyal to this website and (b) will proffer recycled Onion jokes: “Zapped Sweeps Oscars!”

    Although the chemistry between Scatman and Aunt Esther was undeniable.

  9. Zapped is so misunderstood.  Like “Charles in Charge,” its serious, post-modern comedic edge is betrayed by the fanboy appeal of its two leads.  But I have looked deeper.

    Oh. And Heather Thomas’s sweater bursts open.

  10. Aha! I was right. Now Christine will be first on the next list.

  11. Plague Dogs. Now that was one f’ed up movie. Made Watership Down look like The Happy Adventures of Peter Rabbit and his Furry Friends. Almost made me want to join Peta. Almost.

    Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist? He’d probably disagree with you on now much that movie is really his. Although I would like to second how refreshing it was when that film came out to have a horror movie that wasn’t some variation of Ten Little Indians.

  12. “Sword and the Sorceror?” Saw it at least 8 times in the theater, 3 times paired with “Beastmaster.”

    I bought the Tron DVD a few years ago.  Man, was I disappointed.  I had forgotten how bad it was.  Groundbreaking for its time, sure, which is probably why it’s on the list.  But painful to watch.

  13. “Chicks in prison” movies rule.

    BTW, has anybody heard of some dork named Bill Ardolino? He thinks he’s famous or something.

  14. There’s something about the idea of a scantily-clad prison chick nick-named “Grinder”…

    It works for me.

    SB: respect

    Oh, absolutely! I swear

  15. It looks like the redbox service are those kiosks you find at Denver area McDonald’s.  I’ve used them once or twice.  One day rentals for $1, even for new releases which is the main reason I tried it.  Swipe a credit card, charge is $1 per day you keep it.  I had no complaints.

  16. And the look on Scott Baio’s face when he used his powers?  Intense.

  17. Method acting, dorkafork.  According to the director’s commentary track on the 20th anniversary SE DVD, Baio would get ready for a scene by trying to move cameras along their dolly tracks with his mind.

  18. Still, Baio couldn’t deliver a line like Moriarty does in “Q” when he gets all method-actor-Brando-like and delivers:

    “Eat him!”

  19. Why is it that whenever a film is set in New England like Paper Chase or If Ever I See You Again or in this case The Verdict it’s always winter, overcast, and nobody ever turns on the lights?

    It’s a testament to James Mason’s talents that I didn’t notice that he had descended into self parody.

    A good underdog movie, though the climax could have used some slow motion camera work, in my opinion.

  20. You’re right about The Verdict, but you’re forgetting that last scene in Paper Chase.  Man, do I love that flick.

  21. I think Blue Thunder was the first time I ever saw breasts.

  22. The Redbox service (that 1 dollar Mickey D’s DVD thing) works really well, but it only has the top 30 or so movies of the week. And the selection is rather limited on a Saturday night (I think they had four movies when I checked).

    One of the great things about the service is that you can return the movies to any Redbox. That’ll be really cool once they’re all over the country. If you go on a roadtrip with a portable DVD player you could rent a movie at any McDonalds and then return it at the next one 200 miles down the highway.

  23. Re: Brainstorm

    Thank you for reminding me of this one.

    Y’know the part of the movie where somebody records his experience of having sex with the secretary or whoever she was, and then that middle-aged dude puts the orgasm on an infinite loop and gets addicted to it and needs to go into some sort of rehab?

    When they ask him later how he is, he says something very wierd. He says words to the effect of “I’m more than I was before.”

    What the hell did he mean by that? Is he a superhero now? Captain Orgasm?!?!

    Maybe that’s where the movie was going to go, but Natalie Wood drowned and they had to go another direction…

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