Like it’s 1985

So I started the year by watching 30 movies from 1985, over a period of a month and a half. Why? Good question. It sorta happened by accident.

During one of the first days of January, I watched The Goonies with my wife (she had never seen it), and not only did we have a really fun time watching it, but it got us talking about how movies of that era felt so different — with Goonies specifically, it’s the innocence of the kids (which you see depicted in Stranger Things) and the silly adventure. After noticing that it came out in 1985, I was curious and so checked out Box Office Mojo’s list of movies from that year, which got me thinking that it would be fun to revisit a bunch of them, most of them films I hadn’t watched since back then.

There was no method to my madness, I just picked stuff I was in the mood to watch — not necessarily the top grossing movies of the year, but most of them were. I also didn’t really know how many I’d end up watching, but the more I watched, the more I enjoyed this cultural time warp back to 1985, and so I just kept going until I got to 30, which I felt was a good number to stop at. I could have still watched more — I was planning on also watching American Ninja, Missing in Action 2, Out of Africa, and even Cat’s Eye, as well as a few more — but thought it would be good to move on to other things. I did keep track of all the movies I watched in my Debaser diary, and so you’ll find the full alphabetical list below (or just click on my “1985” tag).

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
  2. Back to the Future
  3. Brazil
  4. Brewster’s Millions
  5. Clue
  6. Commando
  7. Fletch
  8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  9. Fright Night
  10. Invasion U.S.A.
  11. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
  12. National Lampoon’s European Vacation
  13. Phenomena
  14. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment
  15. Pray for Death
  16. Rambo: First Blood Part II
  17. Ran
  18. Red Sonja
  19. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
  20. Rocky IV
  21. Spies Like Us
  22. St. Elmo’s Fire
  23. Teen Wolf
  24. The Black Cauldron
  25. The Breakfast Club
  26. The Goonies
  27. The Jewel of the Nile
  28. Weird Science
  29. Witness
  30. Young Sherlock Holmes

Rambo: First Blood Part II

So how did I end my 30-movie 1985 marathon? With one of the biggest movies of the year. I actually re-watched this movie a year or two ago (along with First Blood), and so it was still relatively fresh in my mind, but I still had fun watching it. Yes, it’s of the era, jingoistic, cheesy lines and all, but whether its colored by nostalgia or not, it’s still a blast to watch Stallone terrorize soldiers with his bow and arrows, and later with that full-on machine gun and bazooka.

Witness

I had fond memories of this movie, and I’m glad to say it’s still pretty good. It’s also a movie I remember appreciating later on, not when it came out — since I was too young at the time, and was more a fan of Ford as an action hero. But yeah, it’s a good thriller, and the scenes that take place in the Amish community are still interesting to watch.

Young Sherlock Holmes

I remember liking this when I was a kid, and I actually had a pretty good time watching it again. It has that fun adventure feel that you get from something produced by Spielberg (back in those days), and that CG character (the first use of CG in a movie to depict a character) still looks good, and I remember it being so cool back then.

Phenomena

I guess Creepers is what it was called for its North American release, but it’s better known as Phenomena. Although I’ve been meaning to watch one of his movies forever, this is my first Dario Argento film. I’ll go out and say it, I thought this film was terrible, although I did think that the batshit insane last 10 minutes were pretty fun. But overall, the acting was beyond awful — including what we see from an incredibly young Jennifer Connelly, who I normally adore. Argento is always described as a master of the genre, so I was really surprised by what I was seeing. And overall, the story is pretty hokey, and the use of heavy metal in the soundtrack (Iron Maiden, a band I actually like) makes no sense, and feels completely off when used. I still want to watch Susperia though, which is considered his best film.

Commando

This was still pretty enjoyable, for what it is. The montage when he puts on his equipment before the final confrontation is still so classic, and overall the action is pretty good. And man, whatever happened to Rae Dawn Chong!

The Black Cauldron

I remember that back then, this was a low for Disney animation — it was a pretty big flop, in a series of animated flops for Disney, before it got its groove back with The Little Mermaid. But I remember liking this movie, although I’m guessing it’s because I liked the dark-ish fantasy setting. Unfortunately, it hasn’t aged well at all — or just was never really good. The story is uninteresting, and the animation throughout feels pretty weak.

Teen Wolf

The “Michael J. Fox movie of 1985” was of course Back to the Future, but Teen Wolf came out the same year, and you know what, it’s not bad. You’re reminded of why we liked Michael J. Fox so much during that era, as he has the same charm here than in Back to the Future, and the concept — although silly — is good fun.

St. Elmo’s Fire

Watching this again made me miss the brat pack so damn much. It sucks that we didn’t get more movies during that era that featured pretty much all of them — there are a lot of movies with a couple of members, but this and Breakfast Club are pretty much the only ones with so many. But yeah, this movie is as 80s as it gets, and the soundtrack too — and I’ll admit that I still get a kick out of that John Parr track. I can’t objectively say if it’s a good movie or not, but I certainly like watching it.

 

Spies Like Us

As far as silly comedies go, this is pretty silly, and I admit that it still made me laugh — although I’m not sure if it’s because it’s actually really funny, or that I just enjoyed seeing it again because of the nostalgia. But either way, I had a fun time watching it, and it was also fun to see a lot of those character actors of the era pop up (oh man Donna Dixon).