Wednesday, February 16, 2011

101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the ‘80s

1. "Wake up! Wake up, wake up, wake up, up you wake, up you wake, up you wake, up you wake! This is Mr. Senor Love Daddy, your voice of choice, the world's only 12-hour strongman on the air, here on We Love Radio, 108 FM, the last on your dial but first in your hearts.  And that's the truth, Ruth."

2. "I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being."

3. "It's a sunny, woodsy day in Lumberton, so get those chainsaws out.”

4. This force of nature:

5. This force of nature:

6. This force of nature:

7. The use of “Adagio for Strings" in Elephant Man

8. The use of “Adagio for Strings" in Platoon

9. Robert De Niro playing Jake La Motta playing Marlon Brando playing Terry Mallow

10. John William’s score for E.T.

11. The start of this great collaboration (the ending... not so great):

12. The American crime genre is forever altered with the release of Thief, Michael Mann’s first film

13. The 105-minute long conversation Wally has with Andre

14. Watching Klaus Kinski orchestrate the dragging a giant ship across a mountain

15. Watching Werner Herzog direct Klaus Kinksi orchestrate the dragging a giant ship across a mountain

16. Paul Newman playing pinball.  The man is acting… with his shoulders.

17. “I’m the boss I’m the boss I’m the boss I’m the boss.”

18. The birth of independent cinema:

19. Rupert Pupkin laughing with Jerry Langford

20. The 188 seamless minutes that make up the flawless Fanny and Alexander

21. Spinal Tap’s inability to harmonize in front of Elvis’ grave

22. A scrawny black kid from Brooklyn makes She’s Gotta Have It, singlehandedly giving birth to contemporary African American independent cinema

23. Willem Dafoe smiling at Tom Berenger across a dense forest

24. At 75 years old, a master proves he’s at the top of his game:

25. One thing is clear at the start of the 1989 Oscars: Tom Cruise is going to win Best Actor for his balls-out, remarkable performance in Born of the Fourth of July.  Jodie Foster opens the envelope and reads the winner.  Daniel Day-Lewis glides on stage to accept his award.  Screen acting is forever changed.

26. “I’m not bad.  I’m just drawn that way.”

27. Matt Dillon casually hitting a security guard in the face with a crowbar

28. From “the next James Dean” to complete obscurity within eight years:

29. Dustin Hoffman counting toothpicks

30. “My name is… John…Merrick.”

31. The fact that Another Woman is the best, most underappreciated, film of Woody Allen’s prolific career

32. Rob Epstein releases The Times of Harvey Milk. The documentary genre becomes an exercise in emotion.

33. Errol Morris releases The Thin Blue Line.  The documentary genre gets a man off death row.

34. Michael Moore releases Roger & Me.  The documentary genre becomes cool.

35. "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

36. Mookie throwing a metal trashcan through Sal’s window

37. The fact that, no matter how hard I try to found faults with it, Field of Dreams is simply a damn fine film

38. David Mamet releases his first film, House of Games, screenwriting is finally considered an art form.

39. Albert Brooks sweating his ass off on live television

40. Character acting is never the same:

41. Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi

42. “I’ll be back.”

43. “Now I have a machine go.  HO-HO-HO”

44. “Get away from her you bitch!”

45. “DO YOU WANNA?! Do you wanna jump?  All right then asshole, let’s do it, let’s jump.”

46. “Get to da chopper!”

47. The horrifying scene in which Meryl Streep, as Sophie, makes her choice

48. The fact that one dude made all of these great (occasionally classic) films:

49. Dean Stockwell singing “In Dreams” into a small spotlight

50. Jeremy Irons as Beverly Mantle

51. Jeremy Irons as Elliot Mantle

52. The guests of a posh dinner party randomly singing “Day-O”

53. The brazenly bizarre brashness of Brazil

54. “Did you fuck my wife?”

55. Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People.  An utterly flawless performance.

56."Let's daaaaaaaaance!"

57. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

58. Kubrick’s tracking shots in The Shining

59. …and Full Metal Jacket

60. "Do you have a problem with that?!"

61. That little piece of skin that dangles from Jack’s face in An American Werewolf in London

62. “You’re crazy!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
“You’re a nerd!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
“You’re an idiot!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”

63. The misleading opening scene of Blow Out

64. Al Pacino shoving his face into a giant pile of cocaine

65. Using Reese's Pieces to befriend an alien

66. Jeff Spicoli

67. Full Metal Jacket’s terrifying use of tube socks and bars of soap

68. The Big Chill hits theatres, movie soundtracks are forever altered

69. "Wolfman's got nards."

70. Ed Harris trying to revive Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The Abyss

71. “Give my daughter the shot.  Give my daughter the shot! GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!”

72. The ghost of an old woman reading in the basement of the New York Public Library

73. The peep show scene with Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski in Paris, Texas

74. It is because of this performance that I will always like Michael Keaton:

75. Willem Dafoe getting off the cross

76. Ferris lip synching “Twist and Shout”

77. Jeff Goldblum teleporting with a common housefly

78. Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern trying to outrun a train

79. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

80. The Union Station shootout in The Untouchables

81. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

82. Tom Hanks playing "Chopsticks" with his feet

83. Kevin Kline eating a live gold fish

84. The fact that The Vanishing never goes where you expect it to (seriously, see this movie)

85. “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

86. The single tear that rolls down Denzel’s face

87. “I’ll make it.”

88. The discovery of Luke’s father

89. Jason Patric turning into a lost boy

90. Robert De Niro alone with a concrete wall

91. Rutger Hauer’s pronunciation of the word “father” in Blade Runner

92. “This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.”


94. Harrison Ford punching a guy out in Witness

95. Glenn Close’s cooking habits in Fatal Attraction

96. The perfect villain:

97. Tom Cruise sliding across the living room floor

98. “We did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. The enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days.”

99. “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

100. “I’ll… be… right… here.”

101. “I wondered if a memory is something you have or something you’ve lost. For the first time in a long time, I felt at peace.”

Answer Key

1. Do the Right Thing
2. Stand By Me
3. Blue Velvet
4. Blue Velvet
5. Full Metal Jacket
6. The Shining
9. Raging Bull
13. My Dinner With Andre
14. Fitzcarraldo
15. Burden of Dreams
16. The Verdict
17. Raging Bull
19. The King of Comedy
21. This is Spinal Tap
23. Platoon
24. Ran
25. My Left Foot
26. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
27. Drugstore Cowboy
28. From top left: 9 ½ Weeks, Body Heat, Rumble Fish, Diner
29. Rain Man
30. Elephant Man
35. Say Anything…
36. Do the Right Thing
39. Broadcast News
40. Sid and Nancy
42. The Terminator
43. Die Hard
44. Aliens
45. Lethal Weapon
46. Predators
47. Sophie’s Choice
49. Blue Velvet
50. Dead Ringers
51. Dead Ringers
52. Beetlejuice
54. Raging Bull
56. Footloose
57. When Harry Met Sally…
60. The Karate Kid
62. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
64. Scarface
65. E.T.
66. Fast Times and Ridgemont High
69. Monster Squad
71. Terms of Endearment
72. Ghostbusters
74. Beetlejuice
75. The Last Temptation of Christ
76. Ferris Buller’s Day Off
77. The Fly
78. Stand By Me
79. Dirty Dancing
81. Wall Street
82. Big
83. A Fish Called Wanda
85. Batman
86. Glory
87. Hoosiers
88. The Empire Strikes Back
89. The Lost Boys
90. Raging Bull
92. Full Metal Jacket
93. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
96. The Little Mermaid
97. Risky Business
98. Platoon
99. Back to the Future
100. E.T.
101. Another Woman

Click here for 101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the ‘90s

Click here for 101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the 2000s


  1. These posts are great. I enjoy your blog very much, but these lists have been a real standout.

    Have you ever thought about posting them to IMDBs HitList?

    If you get a lot of hits, they may but your blog on the bottom of their home page.

  2. Wow that's actually I really good idea, I have no clue why I haven't done that yet. I'm on it. Thanks for the tip!

  3. ...and thanks, as always, for reading.

  4. Great work, another brilliant blast from the past!

  5. God yes no.49. So fucking Lynch :D Not a big fan of the 80s, but a great post regardless

    1. A better year for foreign films, in my opinion. But I'm glad you dig the post!

    2. Certainly so. Come & See is fantastic, Cinema Paradiso (I didnt REALLY like Ran, despite my love of Kurosawa). Have you ever seen The Ascent, BTW?

    3. No I haven't. Sounds really interesting though.