Some of you say I’m being too tough on ’80s pop culture. The truth is there was a lot of interesting tv, “Cheers” and all those cynical post-Rockford Files type action shows. But even then, they often had a bit too much green lanternism in them. Once the “A Team” got serious about kicking ass, they kicked ass. All Macgyver had to do was use his full power of will to turn a paper clip and piece of gum into a nuclear power plant. (I can’t include “Cheers” here since Sam lost the contest even once he pulled out the Babe Kit.)
The ’80s movies were much worse. In most ’80s movies, once the hero decides to put all of his energy into doing the right thing, he immediately wins. A wiser fellow than myself once told me that ’80s movies suck because they’re about the hero doing the right thing, ’70s movies are great because they’re about situations where there is no right thing to do.
Green lanternism, which I think only really got rolling in the Reagan era, has been a terrible plague on our society. It empowers conservatives because it plays into their idea that “straight-talking” morons like W make good presidents, and that all dissent must be squashed so that we as a nation can get behind whatever idiotic cause the Very Serious People have decided is important.
Geez, am I going to have to repeat my rant from the last thread about how assholes were cool in the 80s?
No, probably better to seek inner peace away from the political side of the intertubes.
But Raygun convinced the blue collar middle-class and west virginian types to vote for the 0.0001% tax benefits and forever war … as long as those people don’t get anything … wink, wink.
“The Road Warrior” (1981). One of the best movies of the era. Nobody wins. Surviving is the best you can do.
“Blade Runner” (1982). The other “one of the best movies of the era.” The hero isn’t even really the hero.
The Empire Strikes Back
Berlin Alexanderplatz, a heartbreaking series of films set in pre-Nazi Germany, directed by Fassbender
Raiders of the Lost Ark
And the divine, the wonderful, the sublime Airplane!
And that’s mainly 1980 and 1981
Fanny and Alexander
Once Upon A Time in America
The 80s was one of the best decades in movies and in pop culture.
Perhaps I’m not as intellectual as our learned front pager, but I have no idea what “Green Laternism” is. From the context, I imagine it had something to do with “right always prevailing”. But what does that have to do with the Green Latern specifically.
Maybe because the only Green Lantern I knew was the one on the Superfriends? You know, the one with the ring, and not the original that had an actual green lantern?
You aren’t being too hard. The 80’s were a cultural wasteland.
If you have to bring up “The A Team” in a discussion such as this all is already lost.
I really don’t think that’s possible. I was there. Almost all of it was awful beyond compare.
I won’t even get into the provable fact that it also helped produce a generation of morally depraved monsters. The only generation that disgusts me more than the Boomers is my own.
The ’80s was a deeply strange period of time. Our bigoted Alzhimer’s patient of a POTUS, mounds of blow everywhere, the mullet, Doctor Who turning to shit, the rise of the Yuppie, the rise of Scientology, ‘Butt Rock’ i.e.-Poison, Motley Crue, etc., and the ascension of the Conservative Movement. 90% of it was shit.
If I understand correctly, it is the idea that any problem can be solved simply by applying the proper amount of will power to the issue (much like the way a Green Lantern’s ring functions – if s/he can imagine it, the ring makes it reality)
I don’t know what green laternism means but 80’s pop culture, especially movies, is at the same time indefensible but deeply treasured in my heart. Maybe its the so bad its good thing but there are some movies, or even snippits of movies that just own me. (Breakfast Club isn’t one of them btw) I don’t go to art for realizim or meaning or whatever, I like to look at what is enjoyable to look at and I don’t think art needs to be anything more than that. If people wants to dissect it great, they aren’t wrong but give me some corny shot with that slow 80’s piano music over it… St. Elmo’s Fire is terrible but I want to watch it almost every day. The first 30 seconds… dang. The museum scene in Ferris Bueller. The water fountain scene in The Secret of my Success.
If I had to chose only one decode from which I could only watch movies from it might be the 80s. I posted on the SNL thread that everybody’s favorite cast seems to be the one they grew up with and maybe that’s it for me. Born in 1976. Anyway, you all totally needed all this information :P
I am sorry, but 1982 is recognized as the greatest year for science fiction/fantasy films ever. There were retrospectives everywhere in 2012 about this.
Your comments about movies apply to such a narrow collection of films (most made by Golan Globus) that it renders the argument meaningless.
Haven’t watched it yet, but Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey network has been airing “They Live”, released in 1988, which director John Carpenter calls his “primal scream” against living in the Reagan era.
From the wiki entry (which I’ve not read; want some surprises!):
Ah, I gotcha.
I was never really a comic book guy, and the Superfriend’s version of the Green Lantern seemed much more like a magician with his ring than a superhero.
He had a cool outfit though!
@MattR: The phrase was coined by Matthew Yglesias. It’s a bit clumsy as a metaphor because a Green Lantern still also needed the actual power ring. But the idea of success depending on having sufficient will is what it’s about.
Having sufficient will.
To will away AIDS.
Just say NO.
Actually, the entire 80s action genre was premised on the idea that the “right thing” was vigilantism meted out by a caucasian ubermensch, because the criminal class was coddled by all the homo liberal commies infecting the justice system.
Reaganism at the street level.
Top Gun: Why you can never be too hard on the 80s.
From the Lexicon:
…I think the gritty ’70s vibe couldn’t have lasted forever, and it could slide into nihilism: not only are there no good choices, there’s no point to doing anything whatsoever and you might as well kill yourself.
The thing about those Eighties action movies is that often the hero didn’t even win by doing the right thing; the hero won by doing a lot of outrageously wrong things, which the movie then tried to convince you were actually right, rather than leaving them morally ambiguous as a great 70s movie would have done.
Strictly off the top o’ the noggin, would add Interrogation and might even shoehorn in Star Trek numbers II and IV.
…Cacti said it better than I did.
Slightly OT, but this looks kinda fun. Although it’s one of those awful “click through 25 slides” formats.
Entertainment Weekly, The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since ’83
Not sure why they decided on 1983 as the cut-off. Caption says “Brazil” and “Showgirls (!?)” and “Scarface” made the cut.
Green Lanternism is a play on the eponymous hero’s ring being powered by his will. If his will is only strong enough, he can make his ring do anything, and the Green Lantern theory of policy is that it only takes enough will to get priorities enacted.
Green Lantern theory of foreign policy: We could have won Vietnam, Iraq, etc., if only we’d wanted it enough and those hippies hadn’t undermined us.
Green Lantern theory of domestic policy: Obama could have gotten a public option, if only he’d wanted it enough and wasn’t such a corporate sell-out.
And so on.
It’s different in the middle of it, seeing it all, than looking back with filters.
@Elizabelle: They Live! was an awesome, criminally under-rated, movie.
All Green Lanterns have a lantern (hence the name), which is the battery used to power up the ring.
I always wondered why the fighter jocks seemed so deliriously happy at the end of Top Gun, when the engagement they had just finished would likely have been the start of World War III.
OT: Well well again.
Nebraska’s legislature voted to abolish the death penalty. Veto-proof majority.
Applause, applause, Cornhuskers state.
Robocop was a great subversive 80s movie. You could watch it as a typical uberviolent action flick if you wanted to, but that wasn’t really what was going on.
I was an 80’s Reagan Youth AMA.
@WereBear: Recently spotted a hipster wearing a They Live tee shirt.
Have DVR’d it. Will watch it soon.
Also gets applied to Barack Obama a lot from the right and the left.
We’d have single payer if Obama simply used the bully pulpit and leaded harder.
Or Ron Fournier’s “Why won’t Obama LEAD?”
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that awhile ago.
Red Nebraska abolishes death penalty with veto proof majority.
Solid B picture. Also has one of the most realistic fight scenes in that type of movie – takes place in an alley, IIRC, and after maybe 90 seconds (if that) both of those fighting are hurting and exhausted.
@RareSanity: I have no idea, either. In fact most of the front page pop culture and music reference sail right over my head.
@NotMax: It’s even better than a solid B flick because it’s trying to be a B flick. Which makes it an A in my book. Same with “Big Trouble in Little China”.
@dr. bloor: I have never understood Tom Cruise’s appeal, even before his couch jumping antics.
This argument just strikes me as inverted Golden Age-ism. Ain’t buyin’ it.
Interesting. One of the most famous runs of the Green Lantern comic started in 1970 when Green Arrow co-starred with him. They tackled social/political issues with GL being the conservative and GA being the liberal.
It’s also interesting that Hal Jordan was a reckless test pilot who was simply chosen by aliens to get his power ring to become Green Lantern. Oliver Queen doesn’t even have superpowers; he had to pull himself up by the bootstraps to learn fighting and archery. (though admittedly he was also born into money. I guess if Hal Jordan had been a reckless pilot who was born into wealth and later was granted immense power at the whim of a group of folks wearing robes, that might have been a bit too on-the-nose.)
It ain’t over ’til it’s over, unfortunately.
Word is that the governor is attempting to peel away one vote on a veto override, which is all that is needed to sustain the veto.
I probably should have looked there, or just asked the Oracle (Google) in the first place.
Well, that just about covers it.
The governor is crazily persistent. He’s gonna have a lot of unused death juice on his hands. Sadly, I’m sure that Texas will offer to buy it up.
The Green Lantern on the Superfriends cartoon never once “charged” his ring. I didn’t even know there was an actual lantern until that reboot movie came out a few years ago.
He was also not a main character, only appearing every now and then, which might explain why they didn’t include the whole ring charging thing,
Both Treks, definitely.
Of the movies I previously noted, I think “Fanny and Alexander” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz” were originally done for TV. Both are masterpieces.
More 80s gold
Stop Making Sense
Back to the Future
My Life as a Dog
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Stand By Me
Castle in the Sky
Wings of Desire
And the sublime, the wonderful, The Princess Bride
The Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run has since gained fame – and DC has pocketed a small fortune with reprints – but at the time it failed to stop plummeting sales and the title was canceled not long after.
And yes, that’s a barely disguised Spiro Agnew on the cover of issue 83.
Except that it continues for what feels like ten more minutes. One of the best fights in the movies.
Here’s the Agnew cover.
For some reason this reminded me of the movie Battleship. It was pretty crappy as a straight up sci-fi/action movie, but I also wonder if there was a more ambiguous message that most viewers did not pick up because they were watching it as a simplistic action film (or perhaps I am just reading into it and seeing things that weren’t there in trying to make the movie less sucky than it was). In many ways it seemed to me like it was a typical “benevolent/curious space travelers find planet with sentient life but run into problems during their mission which leads to a hostile encounter with the natives” story, only twisted by switching the species so it it was being told from the perspective of the natives rather than the explorers (which kinda makes humans the “bad guys” in the story)
(EDIT: And now off to the dentist. Yay.)
@lol: I know.
Ron Fournier and all the magical thinkers should be wearing sparkling red high heels, that they click three times. Through power of will.
And you know some of them would really like that.
The best and most subversive TV show of the 80’s was from across the pond of course:
The Singing Detective
@Brachiator: Good list, but it might be interesting to see that list up against a list of the most popular movies, per year, of the 1980s.
You’re going to find a lot more Terminator and less memorable flicks.
It’s always interesting to see what movies “stand the test of time” (cliche, cliche), and which turn out to be mere entertainments.
oh I love when DougJ intersects pop culture with politics, best kind of thread.
I suspect one will find that is true for any time period since the advent of film.
Say what you will about TV shows and movies in the 80s, it was a great decade for American music: the Replacements, Husker Du, the Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Prince, Afrika Bambaataa, Public Enemy, REM, and hundreds of lesser known bands and performers. Most of the best stuff didn’t get played on top forty radio, it’s true, but it was a silver age of pop music.
@NotMax: I hope the guv fails. Stand your conscience, Nebraska death-penalty abolishing conservatives.
In Virginia, we had GOP types convincing a Democratic legislator — the ignoble Phil Puckett — to give up his seat for cushy state jobs for his daughter and himself. Blew up in all the principals’ faces, and the Puckett family created no jobs but for their lawyers. But the legislature did revert to GOP control and that doomed Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Medicaid expansion plans.
I have never understood the fascination with The Princess Bride.
Stand By Me however, one of my all time favorites. The book was great too (and spawned teo other, good but not great, films.
@Elizabelle – the most popular movies of any year are never as good as the best movies of said year. That said, Terminator is a pretty memorable flick – still watchable and enjoyable. You get a little extar added for giggling at some of the style and the effects but it still works.
I love your lists.
As I said in the previous thread, I think that while the 80s US film production might have been a mixture of macho posturing + popular conformism, films from abroad and music from abroad was going through a sort of anti conformity revolution (punk pretty much everywhere but here). I know it was the case in Finland for example with the Leningrad Cowboys (or Tom of Finland art/cartoons for that matter). In Argentina you have movies such as La Historia Oficial which was a total destruction of the military dictatorship in one painful family movie. Or the music of Soda Stereo which was a tad ska and its own thing and caused waves all over the hemisphere.
Boy now I am having the feels about all these memories. Sigh.
Rowdy Roddy Piper at his best except when he was ‘rasslin’.
@shawn: I think it helps if you are a fan of what it is subverting.
Yup, I was thinking that too.
@NotMax: Still OT. From the WaPost:
Puckett’s Senate exit undid McAuliffe’s secret plan for Medicaid expansion
I will smile if I ever hear that Phil Puckett loses his house over attorney bills. Yes, the GOP legislature is worse, but Puckett deserves to live in ignominy. What a jackhole.
And he’s from SW Virginia. Not like there aren’t plenty of his constituents who need expanded Medicaid to afford health insurance. F*ck him.
And I love that Terry McAuliffe left that message.
@Felonius Monk: I’ll never forgive Piper for that sneak coconut attack on Supafly Snooka.
I, for one, blame Buckaroo Banzai for George Bush.
A few more in the sci-fi/anime category:
The Last Starfighter (1984)
ETA: and for fantasy, Labyrinth (1986) was my favorite thing Jim Henson ever did.
You could argue that this tendency began in the 1970s. Let’s take Death Wish, for example. It’s pretty much pure vigilantism fantasy. Bronson deals out his own brand of justice and we’re supposed to be cheering him on (which is supposedly a quite different take compared to the book on which it is based).
How about a more “classic’ film: Dirty Harry? Again, a vigilante fantasy, made even more troubling by the fact that Eastwood’s character is a police officer. I’ve heard the argument that Dirty Harry “really” takes a critical view of police violence, but I don’t buy it at all. If the movie is subversive in any way, it’s that it’s flat-out reactionary; it’s not mere coincidence, for example, that it’s set in San Francisco. Despite all that, I like the movie a lot and I do think it’s one of the better movies of that decade. But there’s little moral ambiguity in that film.
I wasn’t saying that all these shows were particularly good (except in a “you know what you’re getting, turn off your brain and enjoy”) kind of way, just reacting to the particular “there wasn’t much subversive stuff out there” – because my memory was that the TV shows, or at least those particular ones, didn’t seem to be lining up with the politics that were sweeping Washington at the time.
I’m probably grading these shows on a curb because at the time I started catching them on reruns, the contemporary entertainment I was watching at the same time was things like NCIS (a.k.a. “what the A-Team would be if Colonel Decker was the main character”) or 24 (a.k.a. “what MacGyver would be if ‘there’s no problem you can’t resolve without killing!’ Green Lanternism was replaced with ‘there’s no problem you can’t solve with an intense enough application of torture!'”) or JAG (sold as “Top Gun meets A Few Good Men,” but without any of A Few Good Men’s skepticism of the Colonel Jessup types).
@shawn: You misspeak, my friend.
One of the other stories turned movie from the collection, “Different Seasons”, was “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”, which is my favorite Stephen King novella. And an outstanding film.
The third story to film was “Apt Pupil”, which starred Ian McKellen. Never saw that one …
The Coen Brothers started up in the 80s, both Blood Simple and Raising Arizona
Prick Up Your Ears (which kicked me off on the delicious plays of Joe Orton)
Popular culture is always going to be LCD, to a point. You have to search out the interesting stuff.
@maurinsky: What’s LCD?
I remember going to bed thinking he had the legislature with him and then reading about this ratf*****g on the WaPo the next day or after a couple of days. Ugh.
@Chris: ” grading these shows on a curb ” Is that an Eggcorn (man I miss Andrew Sullivan) or a typo? No judgements I cant type for ship :P
lowest common denominator :)
@Elizabelle: Oh my, you must watch it post haste. It’s not a “good” movie, but it’s pretty fantastic nonetheless.
@Elizabelle: how did i misspeak – i said the book spawned three movies… or was it by saying Shawshank was good but not great? Shawshank has not aged well for me and a couple of the scenes are so hard to watch. The source material is fantastic, but the movie – good not great.
I’ve long thought that Dirty Harry was the archetype of the caucasian ubermensch 80’s action hero. But by the 80’s, government was the enemy, and rough justice couldn’t even be accomplished with a badge. “Honest men” had to be a law unto themselves.
@shawn: Yeah, you did say good but not great. Truth.
I thought Shawshank the movie was great, and loved that they changed the ending slightly. Probably time to watch it again.
I think so, too. And even in Dirty Harry, it’s pretty clear that Callahan’s superiors are the ones holding him back, so even if he has a badge, he’s clearly acting outside of the lines drawn by a government that’s too indulgent of criminals. Recall also that Callahan throws away his badge at the end of the movie, although in the sequels, he’s still a police officer, which in some ways is even worse.
True. And it goes even deeper… the original crime that spawned the book was not exactly heinous. It was the cutting open of his car’s canvas roof to steal a radio. The writer was so angry. And realized just how more upset he would have been if someone had died.
… and Golan Globus, somewhere, felt a spark of happiness.
Fair challenge. The films I have noted (and there are many more) include the most popular, the most financially successful, and the most influential on other filmmakers and the culture.
Another fair question. I think that a film stands a better chance of being considered great if it doesn’t win many (or any) Oscars. And many films and other works now considered great were originally dismissed as “mere entertainment.”
Here are the Best Picture Oscar winners from the 80s. How many of them really stand up today?
I would trade you The Empire Strikes Back for most of them
And here are a few more possible greats from the era
@Cacti: and then since it’s Eastwood, it creates an equivalence between lone cowboys and lone cops, each fighting for decency in a world where murderous violence can break out at any time.
Have no problems with Akira as a film per se.
But is diverged quite a bit from the superior comics series. For one thing, in the comics Akira is alive.
And the 80s also produced Urotsukidoji subversive in its own extreme, twisted way.
I didn’t have any problems with the cinematic changes, as they were made by Otomo himself, because there was just too much material in the Manga to shoehorn into a feature length film.
It wasn’t Peter Jackson making cinematic fan fiction and calling it the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.
@Cacti: Agree with you big time on Akira and Nausicaa. I don’t think that Tron holds up as great, but it does represent Disney trying to do something new and it was incredibly influential. I understand the love that many have for The Last Starfighter, but I think it overrated. I think some people are trying to get the rights for a remake. Not sure what the problem is.
Still, I will keep the all in and add “The Grave of the Fireflies.”
And beautiful animation.
Yep. Great choice.
I’ll throw in Matador, from Almodovar
Dirty Harry was 1971. It was one of a number of films that Clint Eastwood did for Don Siegel. Some of the reactionary stuff may have come from John Milius, who worked on the screenplay without credit. But the film holds up, even if the “hero” is a monster. Movies don’t have to represent our beliefs and politics to be great.
Yeah, things got worse in some ways.
“RoboCop” Strong anti-corporate message
“Alien” “Aliens” anti-corporate
There’s a lot out there beyond what you hate. Tastes are tastes but I disagree with your assessment of the 80’s.
Also too, the film version of Barefoot Gen.
Grave of the Fireflies is the saddest thing I’ve ever watched, live action or animated.
The juxtaposition of how some people went back to their homes after war, life went on, and they hardly missed a beat, where others lost everything, died miserably, and it was as if they never existed, was just heart wrenching.
@Brachiator: Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, Out of Africa, Platoon, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy
I would trade you The Empire Strikes Back for most of them
NO. WAY. Star Wars is so overrated by the vaneer or whatever of childhood.
Platoon is the only one that doesn’t seem to have aged all that well. Could be, Like Shawshank Elizabelle, that it was a staple of TNT/TBS/USA saturday afternoons that it got played to death.
because I am now thinking about Argentinian music you mentioned Matador (Almodovar has to be one of my favorites of all time) and all I could think about was this, also Matador by the great ska+ band Fabulosos Cadillac. There are tons of amazing live versions, specially the one from the concert at the River Plate Stadium El Monumental
ETA: I would ad that Mujeres al Borde which is also from the 80s was a pretty subversive Almodovar movie. His women characters open vistas for spanish speaking women the world-over
Despite its critical reputation, I never thought much of Platoon.
OTOH, for 80’s Vietnam movies, I loved, loved, LOVED Full Metal Jacket.
maybe that was too strong, 1st Star Wars trilogy was fine, but not better than any of the ten listed
@shawn: I like the acting in Ordinary People, Terms of Endearment, and Rain Man. But none of these movies are, for me, the best of the 80s.
I will still defend Star Wars and Raiders. And with Star Wars and the prequels, we can see how strangely Lucas failed as an artist later on. The last of the Star Wars originals, Return of the Jedi, is weak and does not hold up.
@Cacti: Full Metal Jacket kind of lost it for me. It’s great but quoted so often it gets old. Being in the militray and being from Texas you hear that one line way too often. :P
Tao of Nope
I’ll see your Dirty Harry and raise you one Untouchables.
All the ’70’s ambiguity of Harry out the window, in favor of ’80’s righteous state violence.
Want to win Prohibition / the Drug War? Torture, “they pull a knife, you pull a gun”, murder unarmed suspects via defenestration, blackmail a judge. Then say “I’ve become what I beheld and content that what I did was right”.
The introduction of the Ewoks was the harbinger of a future with Jar Jar Binks.
OTOH, I loved Darth Maul, and hated that they made him a disposable character. He had the most potential by far of any of the Ep I characters. Would have loved to have seen Anakin have to fight him to the death to take his place as Sidious’s apprentice.
@Brachiator: I can agree with that – just wouldn’t elevate Star Wars above them.
@Brachiator: I was just watching the original Star Wars trilogy with my daughter. Considered as a film, The Empire Strikes Back is the most interesting of the three in many ways, and the last half or so is tremendous.
But there’s one thing about it that bothers me: Han Solo just seems written wrong in the first half. In Star Wars and even in Return of the Jedi, you get the sense that he’s kind of a bastard but he’s basically likable. When he’s trying to get Leia to admit that she’s in love with him in The Empire Strikes Back, he just comes off as completely repellent and bullying. And it’s played as adorable sexual-tension banter.
Also, C3PO’s personality also goes through what TVTropes calls Flanderization; his anxious streak gets magnified into over-the-top comedy cowardice, and he becomes outright irritating.
Both of these problems become less of an issue in the second half, once everyone gets to Cloud City.
@Tao of Nope:
I kind of think of “Die Hard” as the epitome of the eighties in that way. It’s not as heavy on the vigilante thing, but it’s all about how all the authorities don’t know shit and are wrong about everything (the feds with their stupid guidebooks to terrorist situations, the pointyheaded intellectuals with their “Helsinki syndrome” crap, the media that’s actively making things worse), and Average Joe McClane hasn’t got time for any of that bullshit – he follows his guts, shoots first, doesn’t ask questions at all, and saves the day.
@Chris: I never expected to adore Die Hard as much as I do, but I do.
However, it’s also non-political classic movie making — John McClane is the One Sane Man. The only one IN the scene who knows what is really going on. It’s not just the authorities. Everyone else misreads the situation, from the Japanese tycoon who realizes too late this isn’t really a boardroom situation, to the wheeler dealer who thinks they are just negotiating higher points. And that makes perfect sense in the screenplay, too; to the outside world they are terrorists, when they are only pretending to be so. They are bank robbers, really, and no one would get that except a cop on the inside.
Good stories. They’re inevitable.
…The other thing about the Star Wars movies is, the modern fan notion that The Empire Strikes Back is the best one was not the critical or popular consensus at the time. I remember feeling unsatisfied by the ending, and many critics were as well.
I think the reassessment is a consequence of home video. Today, you know you can watch the whole trilogy any time you want, and that this is the middle chapter, and an open cliffhanger ending is a fine, suspenseful thing. At the time, it was the conclusion of all the Star Wars people had up to that point. They actually didn’t want to be left hanging at the end of the middle chapter, with the knowledge that it would be about three years until the next movie came out.
Also, I suppose the movie was a little different from what they expected: a little bit meatier and more tragic, less of the pure popcorn in the first one (which Return of the Jedi went back to delivering in a big way). Now we like it for that.
@WereBear: one of my fav die hard lines is in the 4th one i think when he is down in kevin smith’s basement and smith asks him if he is a big fan of the fett and mcclane says “no, i’ve always been more of a star wars guy”
@shawn: Unlike a lot of series, I can enjoy all of the Die Hards.
Alien, for instance… two incredible ones, one that is literally unwatchable for me, and the fourth is just chaotic with too many unexpressed ideas.
BTW, never too late for a DougJ shout-out for the Donovan reference. Kids these days.
@WereBear: It’s currently fashionable to insist that Alien 3 is actually a great movie, it’s just too deep for stupid American fans.
I think it had some potential but was ruined by the messed-up production. The climax of the movie has a lot of the same alien-POV chase shot repeated over and over. It’s sort of like it was released unfinished.
One can say that. One cannot, however, explain it. Like the fourth one; everyone who defends it is in love with its ideas, which are barely there up on the movie screen.
And I’m not even against making Aliens 3 into the Macbeth of Alien monster movies, ya know? Tragic deaths are expected in the genre. But make them mean something, okay? To have Newt, the whole point of the second one, die somewhere mid-credits is not writing, or movie-making. It’s just lazy crap, and I hate watching lazy crap.
@Elizabelle: LCD = Least common divisor. You need it when you add fractions.
You don’t happen to have the name of that run, do you? It actually sounds really interesting, and I say this as someone who’s more of a Marvel fan.
It’s definitely a really enjoyable movie, but it also works the way I meant it, and I think it was at least partly intended to. (I think good movies like this are often best if the political subtext is there, but if it’s also something you can just enjoy in its own right).
@WereBear: the last die hard with Courtney Jai was pretty bad – Aliens was never quite my jam – More of a Predator, P2 + reboot guy. Prometheus has some cool stuff though.
@Elizabelle: Props to my birth state. I’m totally shocked. I wonder what started all that?
Yes, that too, I wasn’t trying to disagree with you. Just being arty/wonky.
@shawn: Predator is just an incredible movie, and all the ego clashing and false steps don’t show up, which is amazing. It was revamped on the ground quite a lot, and that usually has a much harsher result on the final product.
Neal Adams (artist) & Dennis O’Neil (writer). The whole run is collected together (1 hardcover or 2 soft) as Green Arrow/Green Lantern. One of those runs that’s hugely influential today but at the time was sort of a commercial flop.
There’s an Archive vs Predator mini-series going on right now.
Commando is the perfect distillation of the mythology Reagan’s America.
You can take any decade and find a barrel-full of great movies; it’s a DECADE, fer crissake, and many thousands of movies get made. But for me the Eighties can be summed up — unfairly, sure, but here I go — by a license-plate holder and a necklace/choker. License-plate holder (first seen on a new BMW): “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Necklace/choker (in diamonds): RICH BITCH.
@Hungry Joe: False. The movies of 1370-1379 are crap, truly unwatchable. You couldn’t give me a movie from that decade. That’s an opinion sure, but it is also reflected at the box office – they essentially made no money.
or would it be 1371-1380?
Saw it when it opened; 3:25 am screening at the Hollywood Egyptian Theater. Thought it was great, then. Still think so.
“Predator” also has great sound editing, and I think may have won some awards for it. Since the creature was invisible, the sound as it moved through the canopy of trees or on the ground (and the shimmering invisibility) located the creature in reference to the humans. Expertly done in theaters. Don’t know if the effect holds up on home systems.
@Chris: I can’t guarantee this collects the entire run (though the GL/GA run wasn’t very long), but this is at least the idea:
The run starts with Green Lantern #76 (April 1970) and goes 14 issues total. As another poster indicated above, it wasn’t super popular at the time, but is now looked back on as groundbreaking.
@shawn: You say 1370-79? Okay, what about …
“White Knight/Black Death”
“Have Fun Storming the Castle” (shamelessly lifted by William Goldman)
“Die Hard and Very Young”
@Brachiator: So many great lines in Predator. So many Schwarzenegger impressions based in this movie.
“And she said, ‘Why did you say that twice?’ And I said ‘I didn’t.’ You know…it was the echo.”
@TG Chicago: I think you can read it online but you have to create an account with YaksMedia (they offer a free 5 day trial subscription followed by a $35/month charge))
Um, lots of good culture in the 1370s: Chaucer was writing his Tales, Petrarch’s Canzoniere were being distributed and were a major hit throughout Europe, Nicholas Oresme and Albert of Saxony were philosophizing, Giotto’s students were busy following up on their master’s discoveries, and lots else.
@Tao of Nope:
I don’t think the difference between the two is all that great. In both cases, you have a protagonist who breaches the limits that are placed on him by virtue of the job he holds, which is justified because he is fighting Very Bad People who are either coddled by the state or who are able to subvert it. The decadent social order in which they operate produces the need for them to act as they do. At least Ness is initially reluctant, whereas Callahan is not.
@burritoboy: but no good movies….. show off :P hey have a great night!
@Matt McIrvin: Some very perceptive stuff about some of the unevenness in “Empire Strikes Back.”
But as you note, it does recover and then zips along.
Seventies this and eighties that? Fuck’s sake. I’ve little use for anybody who pretends that history and culture are begging us to slice them into neat 10-year portions.
That said, Demme’s “Something Wild” is the apotheosis of ’80s culture…
@shawn: It was all about drama: The Plague’s the thing …
@Elizabelle: do be sure to do it -I am ALMOST ashamed at how much I love that one.
@burritoboy: The Funky Seventies!
But seriously Professor X could beat them both with his mind powers.
@Brachiator: The best film of the 80s was Withnail & I which shockingly no one has yet mentioned. The second best film was probably My Beautiful Laundrette. And Gregory’s Girl deserves an honorable mention. Maybe 80s cinema sucked in the US but it was probably a cultural high point for Great Britain. In music too.
Just want to give a thumbs up for mentioning “The Rockford Files”.