Ultimate 80s Blogathon Encore: Ten 1980s Faves by Film and TV 101

If you saw Drew’s conclusion earlier today, I’m sorry but we’re not done yet.  Its come to our attention that technical difficulties has fallen on our Ultimate 80s blogathon and now that we’ve found out and fixed it, we don’t turn away any of your hard work so its time for an encore.  Our encore is brought to you in the form of a  Top Ten list by Kira over at Film and TV 101.   Her piece was just too awesome to pass up!

Let’s pass it over to Kira to give us an encore to Ultimate 80s Blogathon! 🙂


So, to tie in with Tranquil Dreams and Drew’s Ultimate 80s Blogathon, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite films from the 80s. There’s a fair old mix, but I believe they capture some of the best the era had to offer.

The Killing Fields (1984)

The Killing Fields relives the account of a photographer who got trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s ‘Year Zero’ cleansing campaign; the struggles he overcame to get out of the country and the friends he made along the way. It’s one of those films that serves as a real eye-opener to the events that took place during the brutal regime the Cambodian tyrant led, and is one that will be difficult to forget for anyone who takes the time to watch it due to transparency with which it was made.

The Untouchables (1987)

In Brian De Palma’s crime drama where Kevin Costner’s FBI Agent Ness goes after Robert De Niro’s Al Capone, thrills are a-plenty. The Untouchables was a film I convinced my parents to let me watch years ago as I told them that it would help me with my history lessons, and I was very glad my little bit of cunning trickery went a long way. It’s a very slick piece of work with an all-star cast which really captured the struggles the Law had with bringing down the original Scarface during the Prohibition Era.

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Just qualifying for my list is The Blues Brothers – the action-packed crime-comedy that as confirmed itself as a cult classic. In it, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi make an excellent comedy pairing as the title characters as they set off on a mission from God to save the Catholic orphanage they were raised in. It’s another all-star ensemble that’s backed up by music royalty, meaning that it’s worth watching just for the music (which, by the way, is fabulous).

The Shining (1980)

Here’s Johnny! Also just scraping in is The Shining – Stanley Kubrick’s tremendous adaptation of Stephen King’s novel where a family suffers at the hands of a spiritual presence during their winter holiday. Jack Nicholson absolutely kicks ass in this one, and who can forget him beating his way through those door panels into the bathroom where his terrified wife stood, screaming hysterically, with nothing but a kitchen knife in her hand? It was proof again of Kubrick’s directorial talent, and of how well King’s novels translate into film.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Well, if you want a good laugh, look no further than Eddie Murphy’s freewheeling Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. I’d love to know how many tears have been shed throughout all three films, but I’d have a guess and say that at least half of them resulted from this one. It’s the original, and in my eyes, it’s the best, and showed the world how the field of police work is flooded with comedic material.

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Robin Williams had us in stitches as the unorthodox and irreverent DJ who shakes things up when he’s assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam. The film, which was largely improvised by Williams, also has hints of a winning buddy movie as Forest Whitaker co-stars as the serviceman given the job of showing Williams’ Adrian Cronauer the ropes. Good Morning, Vietnam takes a slightly lighter look at the war America would rather forget about, and I think that’s why audiences loved it so much.

The Evil Dead (1981)

The thought of watching this one terrified me, but over the summer I finally got the guts to see it. I really enjoyed The Evil Dead, which told the story of five friends who travel to a cabin in the woods for a few days where they unwittingly release flesh-possessing demons. It’s a film that was ahead of its time when it came to make-up and special effects and whilst it might be a bit of a fright-fest, it’s also a wonderful bit of fun.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

There’s not a fat lot not to like about the first instalment of the smash-hit franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as the mismatched detectives we all know and love by now. Lethal Weapon was the original buddy movie that set the standard that a lot of films have since tried (and many failed) to meet. It’s a hard one not to love and it’s probably an epitome of the 80s; Gibson’s mullet, Maverick cops and major political incorrectness.

Scarface (1983)

Sooner or later, I was always going to crow-bar a bit of Al Pacino onto this list and , of course, it had to be with Scarface that I did this. It’s near-on three hours long and full of raucous fun and endlessly quotable lines that I absolutely love, and whilst Pacino’s Tony Montana isn’t a character with the highest morals, you can’t help but feel slightly sorrowful when he meets his end and the credits start rolling. You’ll be hooked, you’ll laugh, but most importantly, you won’t be able to stop saying that line (and let’s face it, you’re doing it right now).

Die Hard (1988)

As we reach number one, I admit to you that there was never going to be anything else other than Die Hard that was going to be in the top spot. However, Bruce Willis’ tour-de-force is there not only because it is a great film and one of my all-time favourites, but because it’s probably the reason I love film so much. Plus, it broke new ground in the action genre and is full of witty lines that, again, you’ll be saying for weeks after watching. Yippee ki-yay!

There you have it – my ten best 80s films. There’s certainly a bit of variety there, but the general gist of things suggest that, for me, film in the 80s was all about action and quick-witted lines. What about you? Do you agree with any of the films on my list? Or would you stick something else on there?

Lethal Weapon (1987) by The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger – Ultimate 80s Blogathon

We’re in Week 3 now! Next up, we have Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger.  She runs a fantastic blog full of reviews on movies, books and TV series.  She participates in the Blindspot series and also Sporadic Scene segment which is absolutely fun! Head on over and check out her lovely posts! 🙂

Without further ado, let me hand it over to Zoe and her Ultimate 80s choice: Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon

Well, I’ll tell you what. You make it through tomorrow without killing anybody, especially me, or yourself, then I’ll start trusting you.” – Roger Murtaugh

SYNOPSIS: Roger Murtaugh is an aging family man and sensible veteran police officer just trying to make it through the day unscathed. Martin Riggs is a suicidal loose cannon cop who doesn’t care if he even lives to see the end of the day. Reluctantly thrown together to solve the mysterious murder of a banker’s daughter, the unlikely duo uncovers a dangerous ring of drug smugglers employing ex-military mercenaries. After a tragic turn of events, the mission becomes personal and the mismatched investigators must learn to trust one another as they wage a two-man war against a deadly criminal organization. – via IMDB

You know, I might not be a fan of the 80s at all, but there is no denying that the 80s churned out some fantastic movies – A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Princess Bride, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Aliens, Blade Runner, The Shining, The Thing, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi among others. There are countless movies, and picking a favourite is just, well… ouch. So I thought in terms of practicality, I would go with a feel good action comedy. Yep, narrowed down the list quite significantly. And what do I enjoy the most when it comes to that? Damn right, Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon features an old school, pre-cuckoo Mel Gibson (though what the ever-loving hell is going on with his hair is beyond me – the freaking 80s, man), Danny Glover, a pretty great story from Shane Black, and good sense of humour and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Yep, this is that type of movie. The movie is just fun, plain and simple, and I think it has held up exceptionally well, considering it was released 29 years ago (yes, that actually happened). Seriously, it is older than me, but I love the movie!

Lethal Weapon

While the majority of the movie is focused on action and investigation and spans of humour, it cannot be denied that there were times where it was serious. A prime example where this is demonstrated is Riggs and his deceased wife, Victoria Lynn.  A particularly moving scene features Riggs in his trailer, gun propped up in his mouth, their wedding photo in his lap. He is wrecked and emotionally unstable, and ultimately fails to pull the trigger, crying that he will see her, one day. The whole scene just gives reason to pause because it is so incredibly well executed. We also get a dose of a day in the life of Riggs on the job, and the man is certifiable, and it is exactly what we need. Just checking him bust some drug dealers is classic, not to mention him taking down a sniper holding some kids hostage. Then there is Murtaugh, who is never involved with anything too crazy or rough, and a family man to boot.

Lethal Weapon

I really like the pacing for this, because the movie actually took the time to set up the characters of both Riggs and Murtaugh before throwing them in together for their partnering. Nothing is really rushed. I think that Danny Glover and Mel Gibson worked wonders together – each was exactly the right age for their character, they both really got into their roles and had some awesome chemistry going on. You could totally buy into them being on opposite ends of the spectrum, seeing how they could find a way to work together, and ultimately becoming friends. They just worked. The movie is almost two hours long, yet that sentiment never really occurs to you while watching because you are so engrossed with what is going on. The dialogue is fast and witty, though it is undeniable that there are a few lines that fall quite flat (just think of the flock line nearing the end), but then there are conversations that simply shine (just think about their “pretty fucking thin” hunch), and I like the way that some of the jokes got carried through to other places in the film and it didn’t get old.

Alright, here’s a link to that crazy conversation at the shooting range between Riggs and Murtaugh, their pretty fucking thin theory, and their shot accuracy comparison. I find it to be a highly entertaining scene, and the dialogue is fantastically amusing.

Obviously, all I can say is that I have a lot of love for this movie – it’s great, it’s funny, it is super quotable, it looks good and is shot well and is carried by some awesome performances, and it never gets old. In fact, I am pretty darn sure I am going to end up rewatching them all now again, and it wasn’t even that long ago that I watched these films to start with!