Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ranking the Best Pictures of the 1980's

Since I have completed watching every nominated movie from this decade now, the time has come for more ranking.

10. Terms of Endearment (1983) – A terrible film from a rather terrible year.  The 80’s were not known for making good movies and this is a perfect example of one of them.  It’s a sappy tearjerker of a film that had the luck to come out at the right time.  Just like a team that finishes one game above five hundred but win’s their division, this is what you get.

9. Out of Africa (1985) – Talk about competing in a weak division, another example of a film that had no serious competition.  Very stylish but boring and tedious, a perfect example of what the 1980’s were like in Hollywood.

8. Chariots of Fire (1981) – The start of a long run of bad movies (see above) to come from the decade.  With the exception of Ordinary People and Gandhi, this film is typical of the type of film that won best picture during the decade.  A simple slightly boring movie about English runners in the 1924 Olympics doesn't rank well against the other movies from the decade.

7. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - An aptly fitting film to close out the weak decade of the 80's.  A simple heartfelt drama about an old woman unable to drive and her son hiring her a driver.  She doesn't like or trust him but they eventually learn to become friends.  It's not a terrible film, but when compared to other films that won it's not that good.

6. Rain Man (1988) - Another typical 1980's film, although great acting from Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruse.  It did come from a weak decade and a very soft year so it really isn't much of a classic.  Simple drama about a man finding out he has a mentally disabled older brother and finding himself, and a lot of money, as they go across country.  It was the first movie that I saw in the theater before it won best picture so I was rooting for it back in 1989.

5. Platoon (1986) - Hollywood's attempt to wash away their guilt for treating Vietnam veterans like dirt after the war.  There was a popular movement in the mid 80's to finally recognize Vietnam vets including parades and movies like this.  Talk with a vet who served and they will tell you that this movie is pure fiction, not much of it based on reality.  It does have some strong acting and to date the last Vietnam War film to win best picture.

4. Amadeus (1984) - A rather good film about Mozart, although not very historically accurate but very well done.  One of the finer best pictures from the decade that produced some of the worst best pictures.  The costumes were great, very good acting and the soundtrack isn't too shabby either.

3. The Last Emperor (1987) - A stylish epic that doesn't get the recognition it deserves.  Made during a decade where most movies were bland and meaningless, this is one of the few that was very well done.  Based on the life story of the last emperor of China it shows his life as he grows up, deals with WWII and imprisoned under the dirge of communism.

2. Gandhi (1982) - The grand epic that is an island in a sea of horrible movies.  One of the few best pictures of the decade and ranks well among other best picture winners.  A well done bio-pic about the life of Gandhi well acted and great cinematography.  One of those films that still stands up over time.

1. Ordinary People (1980) - Clearly the best picture to win from the decade, but it still riles me that it beat Raging Bull.  Either way it is one of the best dramas to be made, a simple but powerful film that will stand the test of time.

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