Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's do it: Top 100 Movies of the 1980s (an introduction)

I've been promising to do a list of the top 100 movies of the 1980s and then it dawned on me just how many 80s movies I hadn't seen. That was over a year and a half ago right when I just finished my 2000s list. Now, I've seen quite a good chunk of '80s movies that really bridged the gap and let a few months/weeks go by so I can really marinate on the movies that I saw so that I can make an informed, knowledgeable list.

So, for the following week, I will be unleashing my list of the Top 100 Movies of the 1980s. Doing the '90s and the 2000s was a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun doing them and I feel that I am a much better writer and evaluator now so I hope this will go a lot smoother than the last two lists. It's interesting because I was born in 1987 so I really am making this list from an outsider's point of view. But what was fun about watching a lot of '80s movies consecutively is that it sorta brought me back to that whole era. Not necessarily from a social perspective (although John Hughes movies do a great job of that), but primarily from a filmmaking perspective.

Looking at the 1980s in general, there's definitely a different feel with these movies than, say, movies from the '70s (which I plan on making a list for later this year, there's still some '70s movies I have to catch up on). But what the 1980s lacked in artistic freedom in the studio system, it definitely has the advantage when it comes to comedies, family-adventure type movies, and the beginning of American independent cinema brought some very interesting films that started a revolution that would continue into the 1990s. Filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch, the Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, and Steven Soderbergh were making their mark on American cinema and they all brought a wide range of taste.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of films that I just wasn't able to see in time. I feel like I've seen enough '80s movies to make a pretty well-informed list, but I really started getting impatient and wanted to have fun with this. I didn't want this to feel like work. So, unfortunately, there may be top 100-worthy films from the 1980s that didn't make the list because I just didn't get to all of them. I really tried though.

On the flip side, there are films that I did see that I just wasn't too fond of. If you noticed a lack of "Tootsie" or "Chariots of Fire" that's intentional. Also, "Out of Africa" didn't make the cut. I just didn't take a shining to "Tootsie" even though many regard it as a classic. I just don't think it really holds up well even though Dustin Hoffman has a really great performance. There's also a lack of "Driving Miss Daisy", "An Officer and a Gentleman", "Barfly." I liked "Field of Dreams" but didn't deem it top 100 worthy. Some films are like that, I enjoyed them but when I evaluated them with other films, I just preferred other films.

I also had a tough time deciding what comedies to leave in and what comedies to leave out. Some comedies I felt carried enough weight and were memorable enough to warrant a place on this top 100 list. Others I felt were almost too much a product of its time and, although funny, just didn't really fit with the rest of the list. So "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "48 Hours" just missed the cut. Honestly, "48 Hours" would be like 102 or 103 on this list.

There's a decent amount of films from other countries on this list. I really tried to look out to other continents and see what kinda films they were making there. I must say though, there'll probably be more foreign films on my '50s, '60s, '70s lists. I feel there were more filmmaking booms in other countries during those times. The 1980s were kind of a dry spell, although don't get me wrong, there are definitely some notable foreign films from the decade. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to some foreign filmmakers who I admire like Fassbinder. I just didn't have time to get to his work in the '80s even though I fully intend to watch the films he made in the years before he passed.

And yeah, I still plan on seeing more '80s films and if there are films that I feel deserve a place on the list, I will update the list accordingly. In fact, this summer, I plan on officially adjusting my 2000s and 1990s list because there are some films that I've seen from both decades since and I thought to myself "why the hell isn't it on my top 100 list?" I really like doing these kinds of things because they're fun to do, but the problem is always forgetting that one movie that makes you feel like a fool for forgetting it.

Oh well though, no need to get too caught up in it. I shall begin the first version of Kenoncinema's Top 100 Movies of the 1980s. I will do ten movies at a time, per blog post. And then count down from 10, dedicating a blog post per top 10 film.

So keep an eye on my blog as the next week I'll be all about the 1980s...

Let me start the list by telling you what my 101st movie is.

101. Bad Timing, 1980
Director: Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg is an extraordinary filmmaker from the UK who made a lot of great films in the 1970s. He's renown for the unique ways he edits his films and his often envelope-pushing subject matter. Bad Timing is definitely a movie that pushes the envelope as it delves into the tumultuous relationship between Alex and Milena. Roeg's unorthodox editing style often makes Bad Timing a dizzying film to watch but it's also a powerful film that goes into pretty dark places. You'll never look at Art Garfunkel the same way again.

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