Here are Nos. 16-20:
20. ChristineChristine is about a murderous, jealous, '50s-music loving... car. Yes, like with a lot of horror movies, one needs a heavy dose of suspension of disbelief to enjoy this film. But if you can get past the fact that a '58 Plymouth Fury loves and will do anything for her teenage owner (even kill his tormentors), you're in for one hell of a ride.--Chris
19. The SurvivorsThe Robin Williams of the '80s was a really funny guy. Being strung out on cocaine wasn't good for him, certainly, but it didn't hurt his comic timing. In fact, the whole manic thing kind of worked for him.
The Survivors is pretty under the radar as far as Robin WIlliams movies (and movies of the '80s in general) are concerned, but it's one of my personal favorites--and one that resonates pretty well with current events: a robbery victim joins a survivalist camp to learn to be a killing machine instead of a victim. Of course, since the victim in question is Williams, hilarity ensues. The movie is a great mix of (then) new comic talent in the person of Williams and classic comedy talent (Walter Matthau, who's laconic style makes him a great straight man for Williams's rapid-fire craziness). Add Jerry Reed to the mix as the robber who's out to kill both of them and you've got comic gold. The director, Michael Ritchie--who also directed Matthau in The Bad News Bears--went on to direct the Fletch films. Great stuff.--Dave
18. Easy MoneyAfter watching a Rodney Dangerfield flick, you might think he was a crass, obnoxious loudmouth in real life as that's the character he plays in classic films like Caddyshack and Back To School. Easy Money finds Dangerfield playing essentially the same character, but it's still a hoot. In this film, Dangerfield plays a man whose family stands to inherit $10 million from his mother-in-law if he can give up all his sins (gambling, drinking, drugs) for a year. In the end, he makes it a year, only to find out she's still alive and this was just her plot to make him a better father and husband. Jesus, this makes the movie sound rather depressing, doesn't it? But it's really funny and an overlooked gem of 1983.--Chris
17. Sudden Impact"Go ahead. Make my day."
If you don't remember anything about the fourth film in the Dirty Harry series--and a lot of people don't--you probably remember that line. When Sudden Impact hit the theaters in '83, I had never seen a Dirty Harry film--it was my introduction to the series, and I loved every minute of it. Harry Callahan was a character that really resonated with me--taking down the bad guys without undue regard for procedure. Just a tough guy making San Francisco a safer place. I know now that Sudden Impact is not by any means the best of the series--both the original Dirty Harry and the second film, Magnum Force, are a lot better--but I'll always have a fondness for this one.
Sudden Impact made me such a Dirty Harry fan that, when my parents took the family on a vacation to California in 1985, I dragged my family all over San Francisco to places that had been featured in the movies. (Let me tell you--if you want to see the seedy side of San Francisco, a Dirty Harry tour is definitely the way to go.) The tour culminated in a climb to the huge concrete cross in Mount Davidson Park. That was quite a hike.
On that same trip, we visited The Hog's Breath Inn in Carmel which, at the time, was owned by Eastwood. I asked the waiter if Eastwood ever visited the restaurant and was told that he was expected later that evening. We couldn't stay, but I gave the waiter an addressed, stamped postcard and asked him to have Clint Eastwood sign it if he did show up. I never expected to see the postcard again--but the Tuesday after we got home, it arrived in the mail, autographed by Dirty Harry himself. Pretty awesome. Talk about making my day.
But, I digress. Sudden Impact--not the best Dirty Harry movie but still a pretty good action flick.--Dave