Here are Nos. 16-20:
20. Pink Floyd: The WallIt seemed that every dorm room I ever walked into in college had a Pink Floyd poster on the wall. It was like they came pre-decorated. Floyd's combination of sonic experimentation and thematic complexity seems perfectly in synch with the identity struggles inherent in coming of age, and their Wagnerian tendencies certainly fed my own overblown self-importance at that age. So it's no surprise that Pink Floyd: The Wall has a special place in my heart; it's both a time capsule and a spectacular over-the-top exploration of narcissism and loneliness. Granted, the film isn't subtle with its metaphors--marching hammers right out of a Nazi propaganda film, and a couple of flowers that could make an appearance in a Sex Ed class if they didn't end up sprouting teeth at the end--but I love how the music and film sees no distinction between life's minor injustices and the grand failures of modern society. Pink Floyd; The Wall is trippy as shit, probably best enjoyed on hallucinogens, and marvelously gives visual form to one of the great musical experiences of our generation. And it's much easier than trying to watch The Wizard Of Oz on mute with Dark Side Of The Moon playing.--CroutonBoy
19. Conan The BarbarianAh, Conan. The movie that made Ah-nuld an action star and gave us the ONLY acceptable answer to the question, "What is best in life?" Schwarzenegger looked like he'd just walked out of a Boris Vallejo painting back then, and suddenly every boy's definition of "warrior" and "bad ass" was rewritten. Conan The Barbarian is cheesy pulp fun on an incredible scale. The plot is laden with deep emotional themes or overly nuanced characterizations. Conan is wronged by a very bad guy. Conan is angry. Conan is going to cut him down. But the movie checks every box in the sword & sorcery epic playbook with such style, such earnestness, and such brutality that it still remains the model by which all others are judged.--CroutonBoy
18. Rocky IIIRocky III was the first Rocky movie I ever saw. I was too young to appreciate the first two films in the series. But Rocky III had Mr. T and as a kid growing up in the '80s, there was nobody cooler than Mr. T (except maybe Hulk Hogan, who's also in the movie). While we're at it, let's also add the introduction of the immortal theme "Eye Of The Tiger" to the pop culture bouillabaisse that was Rocky III, a song that nearly eclipsed the iconic "Gonna Fly Now" as Rocky's theme. There was no way I was going to miss this movie. I think I saw it three times in the theater and countless times on video and TV. While it may not be the best movie in the Rocky franchise (an honor that is reserved for the original), it was and will always be my favorite.--Daddy Geek Boy
17. Airplane II: The Sequel"Can I ask you a question?"
"What is it?"
"It's an interrogative statement used to test knowledge, but that's not important right now."
I could write volumes just heaping praise on the Airplane movies. The humor in those films is the cornerstone of my entire sense of humor. Usually, sequels tend to fall short of the original, especially when the original team involved in the first film has nothing to do with the second. (I learned that the Zuckers weren't involved with Airplane II when I listened to the commentary track on Airplane when I watched it for the hundredth time or so.) But, in most ways, Airplane II is the equal to the first film. Sure, a lot of the jokes are a little recycled, but new versions of gags that work are still funny (see above). And one of the highlights of this film was William Shatner's turn as Buck Murdock, moon base commander. Up until this time, Shatner had taken himself pretty seriously as an actor. This might have been the first time he decided to poke fun at himself, the tactic that pretty much relaunched his career.
Brilliant stuff. I can't get enough.--Dave
16. TAG: The Assassination GameIf ever there was an '80s movie that not only flew under the radar, but was also heavily coated with black stealth paint and flown only at night, it was this one. A friend of mine turned me on to it when it was running at odd hours late at night on Showtime in the mid '80s. When I heard the concept--real murders being committed against players of a live action role playing assassination game--I was instantly intrigued. (We used to play a similar game, "Killer," in high school. Ah, the innocent '80s. Kids would be dead or in jail for life if they ran around the halls of their schools blasting each other with fake guns these days.)
When the movie starts out, it looks like it's not going to be much. But it's actually a decent thriller done in a sort of film noir style. It stars Robert Carradine and Linda Hamilton before they were household names (this was two years prior to Revenge Of The Nerds and The Terminator) and was written by Nick Castle (writer of Escape From New York). It's funny, it's occasionally suspenseful, and it's loads of fun.
And, as far as I can tell, it's not available on DVD. And that sucks, because now I want to watch it.--Dave
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