June 11, 2005

The sixth 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 6

  1. Cat People (1982)
  2. Conan the Barbarian (1982)
  3. Dark Crystal (1982)
  4. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)
  5. Diner (1982)
  6. The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
  7. Fanny och Alexander (1982)
  8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
  9. First Blood (1982)
  10. Fitzcarraldo (1982)
  11. Frances (1982)
  12. Gandhi (1982)
  13. The Grey Fox (1982)
  14. Honkytonk Man (1982)
  15. Made in Britain (1982)
  16. The Man From Snowy River (1982)
  17. Missing (1982)
  18. My Favorite Year (1982)
  19. Night Shift (1982)
  20. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)


This list features a few breakout performances (Michael Keaton in Night Shift, Jessica Lange in Frances, Ben Kingsley in Gandhi), and a few films that were not appreciated in their time, but whose reputations have grown over the years (Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Cat People).  For my money, Diner (along with Tin Men) marked Barry Levinson’s best work—though my being from Baltimore and knowing the terrain certainly could be influencing my thinking (for what it’s worth, though, I thought Liberty Heights, which is set in an area not 10 minutes from where I grew up, was crap); and First Blood features a very nice stoic performance by Stallone, who is a much better actor than he gets credit for (see also, Copland).

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:43pm

Comments (18)

  1. I’ve seen some of these. y’know, fyi.

  2. I don’t think I’ve seen Cat People since it came out.  It would be interesting to see it again.

    ‘82 was an interesting year for film, wasn’t it?  Another 80% plus list for me.

  3. Man, that’s a great list.  Any fan of action films should really appreciate a year that brought us Rambo and launched Arnold’s action career.  The great thing about First Blood is that the sequals are so different that the original can hold up on its own merits as a stand alone movie.

  4. Nice to see Fitzcarraldo on your list.  It was the first Kinski movie I saw.  Excellent stuff.  Do you also include Wrath of the Gods? No idea when it was made, but it belongs on any list–especially one so long as this.

  5. Good list.. Some hot babes.. Nastassja Kinski at her peak, Deb Winger, Jennifer Jason Leigh .. I trust that skipping Cannery Row ‘82 was simply an oversight… Winger made anything she was in hot in that girl next door way.

  6. I skipped Cannery Row because I don’t think it’s a must-see for any reason other than if you have a Steinbeck term paper due and you haven’t yet read the book because you spent the weekend parked outside of a haunted house in your buddy Howard’s station wagon, drinking malt liquor purchased underage from a Chinese take-out and making out with a couple of sophomore chicks who scare easily and like heavy petting.

  7. Steve Martin’s “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” was a comedic tour de farce, and always worth watching, if only for the many cameos.

    “You know how to dial, don’t you? You put your finger in the hole and wiggle it in tiny circles…”

  8. Some of my favorite movies on this list – even though 1982 was a crap year for me.

    Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid with it’s interspersing old B & W detective movie clips was original.

    My Favorite Year – Peter O’Toole’s best work in the 80’s.

    “Is this a great country or what?’ – best line of the 80’s.

  9. Damn.. Harsh review of Cannery Row, dude.. A lot of personal vitriol there. Which do you dislike so much; Winger, Nolte or Steinbeck ?

    Turing word: then

    As in: When you take the girls INTO the haunted house then you get a homerun.

  10. I got Night Shift on DVD at Target for 5.99.


    Brilliant movie.

  11. A lot of old favorites on this list.  Several have been commented on already.  Just like to add that I, too, was always fond of Honkytonk Man.  Only Eastwood could sing that horribly and still pull off the role.

  12. Must get My Favorite Year on DVD.  I find it almost impossible to go to a public lavatory without thinking of O’Toole response to the indignant woman who told him that the restroom he was in the process of using was “for ladies only!”

    O’Toole turns to face her: “Well, so is THIS, but occasionally I have to run some water through it.”

    Turing: zipper.  I kid you not.

  13. Stallone’s a good actor, when he allows himself to be:

    1.  Rocky – The genius of Rocky lies in the space that Stallone gives the other actors to fill the screen.  Burgess Meredith steals the movie, which is astonishing in that everybody who saw the original movie knew Burgess Meredith was the Penguin on ‘Batman’, but not one person when “Whaa, Whaa, Whaa’ when he showed up on screen.  Stallone was pretty good, too.

    2.  Night Hawks – Second only to the under-rated classic ‘The Soldier’ it’s surging relevance to events of today.  Billy Dee Williams before he took his act into space, Klaus Kinski, before he brought his act back from the shoulder of Orion, and Sylvester Stallone in drag, twice, with full beard. 

    3.  First Blood – It’s Brian Denehy’s movie, but Stallone does an admirable job of not stealing Brian’s thunder.

    4.  Victory – The scene with Stallone being led to the cooler, putting the back of his hands against his temple and waving his fingers *alone* is worth the price of admission.  Plus – spoiler alert – Stallone, as the team’s net minder, finally learns where to stand in goal during a corner kick.

  14. We’re gonna get these lists year by year until our heads explode or until we raise enough money to send Candyman to your house, right?

  15. OK Mr Smart Guy, why wasnt Monty Python LIVE at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) on your list..? and dont say ”because it sucked” either… It was Fuckin’ Brilliant ! Far better than Firesign Theatre ever was (and they were damned good)

    Hey, anybody know who the heavyset guy w/ dark short hair was that did the bit in which he kept saying ‘Fauking Brilliant !’ ? It wasnt one of the main Pythons and I dont think it was Neil Innes and I know it wasnt Carol Cleveland.. so who the fuck was it ?

  16. Stallone in a recent interview said that First Blood was originally about 3 hours long. So they went back in and took out almost every scene where he spoke. Even he said it improved the film greatly.

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