I wanted to give the eighties some love, and no one else was, so I'm (gasp!) doing a Top Ten list for 1985. I picked the year for no other reason than it's smack in the middle of the decade. There are a number of films I haven't seen that would probably end up on the list, and it is hard to separate what you loved when you were younger from what was really good. So keep those things in mind. And I don't know how you guys do it, but it's my personal top ten, not what I think are the top ten films of 1985. Make sense? So here goes. Also, I'm going with wide release dates in the film's country of origin, except where it suits my purposes. That makes sense to me.
1. Brazil (Gilliam)
This is one of my favorite films of all time, probably top ten or even 5. It's not only Gilliam's best, but one of the best dystopian sci-fi films out there. And it's got a hilarious cameo by Robert DeNiro.
2. Blood Simple (Coen)
Who could have guessed what a force to be reckoned with the Coens would become? This modern film noir featured a spectacular mood and cinematography. And John's going to say it's a 1984 film.
3. My Life as a Dog (Hallstrom)
One of the best coming-of-age films out there--a beautiful, quiet portrait of a childhood. Ingemar hangs out on the margins--he's not totally alone, but he's not really connected, either.
4. The Breakfast Club (Hughes)
This film had an undeniable and indelible impact on a generation and has influenced teen dramedies ever since. Need I say more? This is a classic.
5. Back to the Future (Zemeckis)
Again, who can truly encapsulate the impact this film has had? It's comedy, drama, and sci-fi all rolled into one. And it's got a frikkin' DeLorean. Also, "flux capacitor" enters the English language.
6. Return of the Living Dead (O'Bannon)
The first and perhaps best zombie satire film. Funny, gory, and spot-on in its parody of zombie films. Shaun of the Dead is a very close second.
7. Trip to Bountiful (Masterson)
Where My Life is a Dog is coming-of-age, Bountiful captures beautifully a similar state of being on the margins at the other end of life. An elderly woman runs away from her unsatisfying life to visit the home of her childhood one more time. John would call this a 1986 film, if I were being consistent with my release date system.
8. Better Off Dead (Holland)
One of the funniest and most offbeat comedies to come out of the eighties. Between the animation and the psychotic paperboy, this film distinguishes itself like few others, even to the present.
9. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (Burton)
1985 saw the eruption into the pop culture film of not only one (counting the Coens together) but two megasuperstar directors. Though the film was not for everyone, it spawned an immensely popular kids' TV show and the popularity (and eventual overuse) of the phrases "mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney ho" and "I know you are, but what am I?"
10. The Goonies (Donner)
The quintissential kids' adventure film, which has also influenced just about every kids' adventure film after it. Great characters, lots of hijinks and humor, and nonstop action.
Honorable Mentions: Mask, Desperately Seeking Susan, Cocoon, St. Elmo's Fire, Re-Animator, Rocky IV, Spies Like Us (maybe), Subway
I Loved These When I Saw Them as a Kid: Police Academy 2, Brewster's Millions, Fletch, National Lampoon's European Vacation, Transylvania 6-5000, Explorers, Spies Like Us, Bad Medicine
This Belongs in the Toilet: Friday the 13th part V (it's not even Jason, for criminy's sake)
Haven't Seen: Witness, Purple Rose of Cairo, The Color Purple, Ran, Pale Rider, Day of the Dead