The other day I was linked to an article that claimed 80’s movies were better than today. I agreed with every point they made and it inspired me to think about my favorite 80s movies. I thought about making a top ten list, but I really couldn’t rank the titles that I loved- my love for them changes daily. So I thought I would take a post, or two, and list out some of my favorite films from my childhood. I would love to hear some of your favorites and/or your thoughts on these films in the comments!
· Baby, Secret of the Lost Legend (1985)- This was a simply adorable film about a paleontologist and her husband working in the jungles of Africa discovering a baby brontosaurus and then having to protect it from poachers. Baby is a practical effect- an animatronic puppet- and thus appears dated now, but the interactions the acotrs had with it gave it the life it needed to be believeable. Yes, I was just a tyke, but I loved this sweet movie. I need to get it on DVD!
· Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the 8th Dimension (1984)- This is probably one of the strangest films ever made that also made perfect sense. And not just because I was a small tyke when it came out but because it made absolute sense. This is the story of Buckaroo, who happens to be a neurosurgeon, a rock star, and a superhero, and his crime fighting team (band) The Hong Kong Cavaliers as they save the planet from aliens from the Planet 10. Just about everyone who was either big in 1984 or just starting to make a name for themselves is in this movie including, Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, and Clancy Brown. One of my strongest memories is hair spray being used to get rid of one of the alien creatures and save the girl. There is so much ridiculous in this film… I know that if you’ve never seen it and are reading this post, you think I am insane… but trust me, this movie is amazeballs. Especially Jeff Goldblum in the sheepskin chaps.
· Spaceballs (1987)- Everyone has seen this, right? So I don’t need to explain the beauty of this parody of space films from Mel Brooks, right? I don’t know anyone in my age group who couldn’t quote this in high school… and probably still can today. Just don’t get tired of this one.
· Ice Pirates (1984)- This is a film about a group of pirates, in space, that end up helping the princess look for her missing father. Oh, and water is a rare commodity. Hence them being ICE pirates. Teehehe. Robert Urich plays the lead prate, Jason, and is quite dashing. Many top 80s actors appear in this film as well- Mary Crosby, Ron Perlman, Anjelica Huston, and Michael D. Roberts to name a few. And really, you can’t do better than a film about space herpes.
· Innerspace (1987)- OK, first of all… there is nothing better than a tiny Dennis Quaid stuck inside Martin Short and talking to him (and occasionally controlling him). Oh, and there’s Dennis Quaid ass in the beginning of the film when the taxi steals his sheet. Basically the story here is that a test pilot gets mistakenly injected into a random store clerk when bad guys want to steal the technology to micronize objects/people. Adventure begins as the two have to figure out how to stop the bad guys and get the pilot and his pod out before a) he runs out of air and/or b) they unshrink… and splat the clerk.
· Presidio (1988)- This one will eventually be talked about further in my love letter to the fabulous Mark Harmon, but holy hell I had to include it here too. Practical effects galore. And they are fabulous! OK… a series of murders cross jurisdictions in San Francisco… from the Army base to the city. Forcing Harmon’s character to work with his former boss, Sean Connery’s Colonel, to solve the crimes. And there’s a mighty hot, yet uncomfortable to watch sex scene. This movie makes me wonder why anything that is not a science fiction/fantasy film uses special effects… the practical effects in this movie are so much better than the overdone effects used today.
· The Abyss (1989)- While this film does utilize some great practical effects, one of the things that made it so special was the special effects. The Abyss was groundbreaking with some of the techniques James Cameron utilized. And it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen the movie, if I run across an airing, I have to watch til the end. There’s something very simple and beautiful about it.
· Aliens (1986)- I actually just saw this one on the big screen for the first time… it still scares me. The sequel to Alien (1979) took Ripley back to LV-426 to find out what happened to the settlers. This time she takes a group of Colonial Marines to back her up. We talk about Ripley as a badass heroine and this is the film where that happens. As soon as Hicks decides to show her how to use some of the weapons the marines have, the audience knows that at some point she’s going to pick up the big guns and go head to head with the queen.
· E.T. (1982)- Pretty sure there isn’t a child of the 80’s who doesn’t love this movie to pieces. Though, the Spanish version is hilarious as all the children were voiced by adults… Anyways… “Keys” terrified me as a child. And I’m pretty sure my love of Reese’s Pieces can be blamed on this film.