by John Walters
Five Films: 1984
This was the year Hollywood made a lot of popular films, but no great ones. At least not serious great ones. A year with a lot of big films that people still discuss today, most of which I’ve either never seen (The Terminator, Gremlins, A Nightmare On Elm Street) or didn’t like half as much last the rest of you (Ghostbusters, Footloose). I know: I’m such a snob.
- This Is Spinal Tap: Will this list go to 11? I don’t think so. This is the seminal mockumentary, and still the best. 2. The Karate Kid: Wax on, wax off. Sort of the Rocky of martial arts mixed with the classic 68-pound weakling tale. The Cobra Kai remains synonymous with bullying treachery. 3. Amadeus: In which a dude who had a small part in Animal House wins a Best Actor Oscar in a film that won Best Picture. 4. Beverly Hills Cop: It’s somewhat formulaic, sure, but Eddie Murphy is like, the coolest cat you’ve ever seen. Was half the film improvised? Who knows, it all works. 5. Purple Rain: Prince’s coming-out party and it’s fantastic, both the music and the story. Nobody’d ever seen a brother shred a guitar like that before.
Honorable Mentions Go To: Against All Odds (Rachel Ward was a goddess), Revenge Of The Nerds, Broadway Danny Rose (underrated Woody Allen), Johnny Dangerously (“my mother called me that once…ONCE!”), Bachelor Party and Splash! (early Tom Hanks; Bachelor Party is a much funnier film than Ghostbusters, at least to me), Sixteen Candles (not John Hughes’ best, but right up there).
Still need to see The Killing Fields.