August 16, 2013

My Five Favorite Films From...1981

Honorable Mention – Time Bandits: A dark comedy of the highest order. Terry Gilliam is a fantastic director and this is, in many ways, my favorite of his films.

5. Gallipoli: It’s a war film in which very little of war is shown. But what you see is so powerful. The final scene is heartbreaking.

4. Excalibur: An epic re-telling of the Arthurian legend. The imagery and archetypes are wonderful and the battle scenes are both brutal and mesmerizing. The only downside is the now-constant abuse of Carl Orff’s "O Fortuna,” which was first used to effect in a film in Excalibur.

3. Stripes: Who knew the Army was so hilarious? Ridiculously fun and irreverent, I think it gets overlooked a lot in the discussion of great comedies. It’s highly quotable as well; I still use “Lighten up, Francis” when someone gets a little too strident for their own good.

2. Escape from New York: One the best adventure flicks ever made. Still a fun watch today, if slightly-dated. Great action and an iconic character in Snake Plissken.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark: A throwback to the old serials of the 30s and 40s, it exceeded every expectation and is (rightly) one of the most beloved films today. It never drags, is always exciting and fires on all cylinders. If you want to learn about making movies, this is a film to watch.

Films I Like But Didn't Make The List: Absence of Malice, Clash of the Titans, Arthur, Bustin’ Loose, Das Boot, Chariots of Fire, Fort Apache the Bronx, History of the World, Part 1, Road Warrior, Outland, Prince of the City, Taps, The Great Muppets Caper, For Your Eyes Only, The Evil Dead

Guilty Pleasure – The Hand: I love Michael Caine as an actor, but this film is so stupid. Yet, I like it. A crazy animated severed hand that kills for its former owner, who happens to be batshit nuts by film’s end? How can you not like that?

Insane Film That Must Be Mentioned – Heavy Metal: I’ve seen this film more than once…and it’s still a mess. Using the idea of concentrated evil (the Loc-Nar) to thinly join together numerous stories of average quality but insane concepts…it just doesn’t work. And then you have the breast-centric art (wonderfully satirized by South Park in a classic episode) to bring the crazy altogether.


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