A Film for Every Year, Part I
Needed: Blog content. Solution: Meme! Saw this one floating around at Tom The Dog's nifty blog and the Onion AV Club, and thought I'd give it a shot.
The deal: You pick your favorite movie released during each year you've been alive. So let's give it a go. Source for all movie release data: Wikipedia, naturally. Here's part one, from the year of your humble scribe's birth in 1971 on up to 1985.
Favorite: A Clockwork Orange -- Stanley Kubrick at his glacial, eerie best, with a never-better performance by Malcolm McDowell. Still as disturbing today as it was nearly 40 (urk) years ago.
Runners-up: Harold and Maude, Escape From The Planet of the Apes
Still haven't seen and really should: McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Favorite: The Godfather -- The obvious choice, but who am I to argue with the mob?
Runners-up: Last Tango In Paris, Play It Again Sam
Favorite: Sleeper -- The best of Woody Allen's "funny" movies and while it's rather dated and silly now, I still have a soft spot for any movie with an Orgasmotron in it.
Runners-up: Westworld, Charlotte's Web (OK, I grew up on the cartoon)
Still haven't seen and really should: The Exorcist
Favorite: Young Frankenstein -- "That's Frankensteen!" Nearly every line a classic, and as a fan of the old Universal horror flicks I always liked this (slightly) better than Blazing Saddles.
Runners-up: Blazing Saddles, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation
Favorite: Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- For a movie that feels like it was slapped together for about $50, this sure holds up, doesn't it?
Runners-up: Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dog Day Afternoon, Barry Lyndon, Picnic at Hanging Rock
Never liked quite as much as everyone else: Jaws
Favorite: The Man Who Fell To Earth -- I wrote about this one a few years back, and think it's a hugely underrated, trippy gem. Every time I watch it, I find a little more hidden inside. And it's got David Bowie's all-time best film role.
Runners-Up: Taxi Driver, Silver Streak, Rocky
Still haven't seen and really should: Network
Favorite: Tie: Star Wars and Annie Hall -- I know, two more different movies you could not imagine, but I can't choose between. Star Wars is Star Wars, and lit up a whole world of fantasy for me, but Annie Hall was just as important for me in illuminating the so-called 'real world' and the tricky realms of life between men and women. Honestly, I couldn't tell you which one I liked more of the two, but they're both stone-cold classics I've pretty much memorized.
Never liked as much as everyone else: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Still haven't seen and really should: Saturday Night Fever
Favorite: Superman: The Motion Picture -- Forget Jackman, Downey, Bale or Ledger -- thirty years on, Christopher Reeve is still the best superhero casting ever. I slightly like the more action-packed sequel more (ZOD!!!) but the original is still one terrific adventure, and the one every comic book movie since has reached to equal.
Runners-up: Dawn of the Dead, Animal House, Days of Heaven, Gates of Heaven
Still haven't seen and really should: The Deer Hunter
Favorite: The Jerk -- Sentimental favorite for me. As stupid comedies go, it's pretty darned smart.
Runners-Up: Alien, Apocalypse Now, Manhattan, Monty Python's Life of Brian
Favorite: The Empire Strikes Back -- A given.
Runners-Up: 9 to 5 (I know, it ain't cool, but I always rather liked this loopy satire), Airplane!
Never liked as much as everyone else: The Blues Brothers
Favorite: Tie: Superman II and Raiders of the Lost Ark - "General Zod, would you care to step outside?" I will never if I live a million years get to deliver a line half as cool as that.
Runners-Up: The Evil Dead, Time Bandits
Favorite: The Thing -- This has slowly become canonized in the years since its original underwhelming reception (in the year of E.T., arm-chomping slime things weren't going to win out). It really is an amazingly effective horror movie, with an ending that's still as chilling as they come. Gory as hell but all the goop and blood is mere window-dressing for the existential hell lurking beneath.
Runners-Up: Rocky III, Star Trek II, Blade Runner
Favorite: Return of the Jedi -- Sure, weakest of the first trilogy, but still, Leia in a bikini trumps Ewok weakness, know what I mean?
Runners-Up: A Christmas Story, The Right Stuff, Zelig
Still haven't seen and really should: Scarface, but the whole gangsta rap hipster quotient has kinda turned me off of it.
Favorite: Ghostbusters -- A bit dated now, but as great as big-budget New York City-set 1980s sci-fi comedies ever got. And Bill Murray at the top of his game. Very nearly beaten by Spinal Tap, though, but Tap has Fran Drescher which automatically knocks anything down a notch.
Runners-Up: The Terminator, 1984, This is Spinal Tap, Sixteen Candles
Never liked as much as everyone else: Beverly Hills Cop
Favorite: Pee Wee's Big Adventure -- It's creepy and kooky and odd, but also one hell of a lot of fun and not quite like anything else. Tim Burton's wild ride starts here. And Pee Wee Herman's ride pretty much started and finished.
Runners-Up: Rocky IV, Back to the Future, Witness, Better Off Dead, My Life As A Dog, Return to Oz, Weird Science. ...I was 14 in 1985 and apparently every movie that came out that year I loved as a kid, hence the explosion of flicks this year. They ain't all great cinema, but man, I had some great times at the movies this year.
Still haven't seen and really should: Rambo, First Blood Part II
Never liked as much as everyone else: The Goonies. Sorry, Internet!