Three years ago this week I started this blog, and I’m still getting a lot of pleasure out of contributing to it. For me, the conversation after seeing a film, being part of a community of film enthusiasts, is as essential as taking in the movie itself. This space allows me to collect my thoughts and share them. I hope it’s useful and entertaining for you.
In order to celebrate this milestone, I’ve imported a list from my social networks. A friend asked me to provide it, which made for a fun bit of research: 1987 was a great year for genre movies and comedies, I found. The list is a combination of nostalgia—I turned 17 in ’87, so there are movies on this list that were formative—and as much objectivity as I can muster, the kind that comes with experience. Best I can do, anyway.
So I offer this up in recognition of the third birthday of this blog. Thanks for reading.
A satire of America as a frighteningly plausible corporate police state. Also a great action movie. How often can you say both those things? Love the commercials.
9. 84 Charing Cross Road
The last good movie about the romance of writing letters, with lovely performances from Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.
8. Lethal Weapon
Probably the best buddy cop movie ever. In many ways it seems cliched now, but that’s because what this movie did so effortlessly so many since have tried (and failed) to imitate. (Even the many sequels that, with the addition of the seriously irritating Joe Pesci, went too jokey.) Mad Mel keeps it real, mullet and all.
Hollywood hubris writ large, there was no reason this movie needed to be so expensive, but it’s actually pretty damn funny. Beatty and Hoffman are great as deluded songwriters (and hilariously bad music from Paul Williams), and there’s a sweet message about friendship and enthusiasm being more important than talent.
6. Angel Heart
Mickey Rourke at his dangerous on-screen peak, this horror movie disguised as a procedural haunted my teenaged brain for days. Still very creepy.
5. Wings of Desire
Wim Wenders film (the German title is, literally translated, The Heaven Over Berlin, which I like more) is about angels who live among us. Gorgeous and stately.
4. Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s last war movie; cold, bleak and mean. Somehow he got people to believe Vietnam looked like east London.
3. Raising Arizona
The Coen Brothers’ genius was obvious right out of the gate. “Do these balloons blow up in funny shapes?” “Well, no, unless round is funny.” —my favourite line.
2. Broadcast News
They don’t make them like this anymore, and even then, they didn’t make them like this very often. James L. Brooks directs a classic love triangle set in TV news, and manages to encapsulate what journalistic ethics is all about while telling a tale both hilarious and touching, and providing amazing alliteration from anxious anchors. Only the shoulder pads have dated.
1. Withnail & I
“Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither.”
Also in consideration:
The Witches of Eastwick, Black Widow, No Way Out, Matewan
White Mischief, Swimming To Cambodia, The Untouchables, Predator,
The Hidden, The Big Easy