Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Movie a Year: A look back

Both Lee from Quit your Day Job and Samuraifrog did this meme they picked up from the Onion's AV Club. Basically the gist is that you select a movie from every year that you've been alive that you would call a favorite.

Now, I've always preferred hamburger to steak, so let's just say at times my choices may not exactly be prime rib. And since the AV club version had alternates, well, I decided to include a couple of runners-up for each year.

I am prepared for the wholesale mocking I am about to receive for some of these choices.

1976: Network. I just watched this last week, and it still holds up remarkably well in a creepy, creepy way. Runners-Up: Assault on Precinct 13/All the President's Men

1977: A Bridge Too Far. I've expressed a great affection for this movie in the past, and I still feel it got gypped in terms of Oscar nominations. Runners-Up: The Spy Who Loved Me/Star Wars

1978: Dawn of the Dead. A movie that inspired so many, and when I saw it as a kid, I was traumatized, but man, it has some staying power. Runners-Up: Animal House/Halloween

1979: The Warriors. This one was a toss-up, with the tie breaker being mainly based on the fact that if given a choice most days, I would watch the one I chose. Runners-Up: Alien/China Syndrome

1980: Caddyshack. I'm all about the 'shack... Bill Murray, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield... all I have to say. Runners-Up:The Empire Strikes Back/The Shining

1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Do I really need to explain this choice? Honestly, I don't think I have to. Runners-Up: Escape from New York/Thief

1982: The Thing. Another one of my favorite movies. To me, this is the alien-related movie of 1982, even though the other one made me cry... it just hasn't held up the same way for me. Runners-Up: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid/The World According to Garp

1983: WarGames. I watch this movie every time it is on. It is silly, but I like it. Runners-Up: Trading Places/Monty Python's Meaning of Life

1984: Beverly Hills Cop. A great action/comedy, and a movie that balances those two aspects well. Runners-Up: Ghostbusters/Revenge of the Nerds

1985: Silverado. Until I tried putting together this list, I never realized how many movies I loved were made in 1985. I am sort of surprised that Silverado ended up at the top of this year for me, but through the "what would you rather watch?" game, it prevailed. Runners-Up: Remo Williams/Better Off Dead

1986: Night of the Creeps. I'm not going to defend it at length. It is just good, writhing fun, what can I say? Runners-Up: Tampopo/Ruthless People

1987: Raising Arizona. A Coen Brothers comedic farce over a balls-to-the-wall, tricked out action satire? This was the closest year for two movies to take #1 for me... the margin was hair thin. Runners-Up: Robocop/Princess Bride

1988: Die Hard. John McClane kicks serious ass while getting chewed up by the rigors of an action movie. Talk about a legend. Runners-Up: Comic Book Confidential/Bloodsport

1989: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. After seeing this again recently, the elements of the plot hold together really well, especially for a time travel movie, and the two leads are still likable. Runners-Up: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade/Uncle Buck

1990: Quick Change. I think this is one of the most underrated movies ever made. Snake Plissken had an easier time escaping from New York than these three hapless bank robbers. Runners-Up: GoodFellas/Robocop II

1991: Silence of the Lambs. Even though Anthony Hopkins does ham it up a bit, I've always felt that this movie was a great atmospheric thriller. Runners-Up: Terminator II/Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey

1992: Wayne's World. It is a goofy movie that realizes it is such and plays to those strengths with a wink. Runners-Up: My Cousin Vinnie/Manufacturing Consent

1993: Gettysburg. An epic battle deserves an epic movie. It was perhaps Jeff Daniels' finest role to date. Runners-Up: The Sandlot/Last Action Hero

1994: Pulp Fiction. I went with the easy choice... Sam Jackson, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames. I can't deny their combined star power in this movie. Runners-Up: The Paper/True Lies

1995: Babe. It makes me weep more every time I see it. Runners-Up: Goldeneye/Die Hard with a Vengeance

1996: The Long Kiss Goodnight. I wrote about this movie as one of my first Remembering columns, and I still think it is one of the hippest and most quotable little action movies to come out in the past couple of decades. Runners-Up: Matilda/The People Vs. Larry Flynt

1997: L.A. Confidential. A taut cop procedural with corruption, Hollywood vice and an all-star cast. What is not to like? Runners-Up: Starship Troopers/The Fifth Element

1998: The Big Lebowski. Was there any doubt that this would be my choice for 1998? Runners-Up: Ronin/Babe:Pig in the City

1999: Fight Club. I still laugh every time I see this movie when I picture Janeane Garofalo playing Marla Singer. A great big swig of Fincher style. Runners-Up: Galaxy Quest/Payback

2000: O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Good Actors. Check. Good writing. Check. An Allusion to another work of myth/fiction that I love. Double Check. Runners-Up: The Whole Nine Yards/Snatch

2001: Ocean's Eleven. I like a good con, or a good scheme, and what plays out in this Steven Soderburgh remake is exactly what I am talking about. Runners-Up: Series 7: The Contenders/Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

2002: An Evening with Kevin Smith. While not a theatrical release, I still count it as a documentary, and it was one of the most entertaining and informative things I saw that year. Runners-Up: The Bourne Identity/XXX

2003: Kill Bill Vol. 1. I like Spaghetti Westerns, I like Kung Fu/Samurai movies, and I love revenge... so this one is a given. Runners-Up: The Corporation/Old School

2004: Kill Bill Vol. 2. See above. Runners-Up: Shaun of the Dead/Anchorman

2005: Sin City. Stylish, ultra-violent and just really good at what it does, this movie has stuck with me since I saw it. Runners-Up: Kung Fu Hustle/Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

2006: Casino Royale. I have been a James Bond fan since I was a kid (I was a Moore man), and this movie made me forget about the gimmicks and the half-hearted humor of those earlier films and see the character anew. To erase a 40 year legacy in one film and rebuild it just as quickly is something truly noteworthy. Runners-Up: Lucky Number Slevin/Cocaine Cowboys

2007: Hot Fuzz. A spoof and true homage to the entire police procedural/cop action movie ever made. I love what Pegg and Wright do, and I look forward to the last part of their Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. Runners-Up: Shoot Em Up/No Country for Old Men

Now, I haven't seen enough movies from 2008 to actually make a choice at this moment, which I think is the best option at the moment.

So, let the mocking begin. And feel free to try this little exercise yourself.


Arjan said...

Mocking: I can't stand the humor in the revenge of the nerd just makes me hurl.

But I really liked the rest of the list. I think I'll have a go at this meme in the near future..I'm from 1984..but I really will have to check which movies are from the 80s..and if I like them :P

Lee said...

Wow I love this meme because it is an easy playlist of films to watch. Your list is great and you chose films that upon reflection I easily could have - I missed Bill and Ted completely and Casino Royale was so close to being on my list too.

Kudos for the detail too, I think I nodded off at one point during my list :P

Megan said...

Hey I like this idea and will probably do it sometime! We appear to have many choices in common. But I do get some extra years to work with!

MC said...

Arjan: I am all about Michelle Meyrink(Gilbert's love interest) in that movie though.

Lee: The movie that I had to pass up on my list that you had listed on yours is 1986's Big Trouble in Little China. When I was making my list, I had a lot of help because I actually looked up all the movies that came out during those years at various sites, because truth be told, I can never remember when movies came out.

Megan: It is a fun little trip down memory lane.

Micgar said...

I liked a lot of those choices and I am ashamed to say that I have not seen some of those that you named, that are true classics-Die Hard, Caddyshack, Fight Club....I know I know...sigh.. one of these days!

SamuraiFrog said...

Okay, here's where your list sucks... (Just kidding; you said you expected a razzing.)

I like to see people doing this; it's a neat playlist of personal favorites instead of a stodgy old best-of list. A few of these movies I haven't seen and always wanted to. There's a lot of movies I very nearly picked, too (I looked at your list and said, "Damn, why didn't I pick Dawn of the Dead? Oh, right, Superman was that year.").

I haven't seen WarGames since I was a kid. I should do an 80s Revisited on that. There are a couple of movies I just don't like at all (Fight Club, biggest example), but that's why these lists are so interesting.

MC said...

Micgar: The hardest one to see is likely going to be Night of the Creeps because last time I checked, it still wasn't available on DVD.

SF: I knew there would be some disagreements, and Fight Club seemed like a given... but personally I've never been sold on your own choice for 1997, Boogie Nights... so it seems to even out.

Something I've found interesting to do as more of these lists come out is to look at the entire list and noticing the trends within... like the fact that I didn't select any superhero movies, didn't really explore science fiction/fantasy with my picks(while you and Lee had lists dominated by those categories), while mine was more action/crime/war related.

NYD said...

Dropping by from Meagan's place.
You show great courage to choose Bill and Ted's excellent adventure.
Most folks would have let that one slip by.

All in all a most bodacious list of rightous cinematic features.

MC said...

It holds up remarkably well, despite the fact that the royal ugly dudes don't like it too much.