Like it’s 1986

40 movies in, I’m finally putting an end to my 1986 run of movies. Following the 1985 run of 30 movies I watched at the start of the year, I took my time on this one by not forcing myself to watch them in a marathon manner like I did for 1985. I had a really great time watching all of these, and although there are still a few more movies I could have included, I thought 40 was a good number to end on. Yes, I’m already thinking of exploring 1987 later this year, but I’ll take a break for now — my next film exploration run will be 1977, which I’ll cap at 10, just like I did for 1967.

Below are all 40 films from 1986 that I watched (in alphabetical order), with links to my thoughts on each — or you can just click on my “1986” tag.

  1. Aliens
  2. Big Trouble in Little China
  3. Black Moon Rising
  4. Blue Velvet
  5. Cobra
  6. Crocodile Dundee
  7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  8. Firewalker
  9. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  10. Heartbreak Ridge
  11. Highlander
  12. Labyrinth
  13. Little Shop of Horrors
  14. Manhunter
  15. Maximum Overdrive
  16. Peggy Sue Got Married
  17. Platoon
  18. Police Academy 3: Back in Training
  19. Pretty in Pink
  20. Psycho III
  21. Rad
  22. River’s Edge
  23. Running Scared
  24. Short Circuit
  25. Something Wild
  26. Stand by Me
  27. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  28. The Big Easy
  29. The Color of Money
  30. The Delta Force
  31. The Fly
  32. The Golden Child
  33. The Karate Kid Part II
  34. The Mission
  35. The Money Pit
  36. The Name of the Rose
  37. The Transformers: The Movie
  38. The Wraith
  39. Three Amigos
  40. Top Gun

A Better Tomorrow

I decided that this would be my final film of my 1986 run (the 40th) a few days ago, when a friend reminded me that it came out that year. The films of John Woo are what got me into Hong Kong cinema (and then Asian cinema), and although I’m pretty sure Bullet in the Head was my first Woo film (I still have vivid memories of being blown away by its manic energy), and Hard Boiled is probably the most classic collaboration between Woo and Chow Yun Fat, this is still a really great movie. I haven’t watch classic HK cinema in ages, but this gave me the bug to watch more.

The Fly

I feel like this movie has aged incredibly well. It was much more horrifying and gruesome than I remembered, mixed in with the extreme sadness as you witness the transformation and ultimate fate of Brundel — and what a fantastic performance by Goldblum. I also like that it’s such a self-contained thing, with a small cast and most of it taking place in the laboratory.

Short Circuit

This is one of those movies that you’d think I’d have watched early on in my 1986 run, but I decided quite early on that I wanted to keep it for the end (this is my 38th film from 1986, and I have two left to watch since my plan has always been to hit 40). As with many comedies of the era, it’s fun and silly, and I was reminded that I still have a crush on Ally Sheedy. The bummer is of course the fact that Fisher Stevens plays a stereotype-heavy Indian man (a fact we were all reminded of in the first season of Master of None). But yeah, it’s still an enjoyable film to watch, and that El Debarge song is still pretty fun — and it’s funny how they insert it in the movie a couple of times, not as part of the regular soundtrack, but rather in the context of things happening on screen.

Little Shop of Horrors

This was a joy to re-watch. There’s a lot to love in this, and it reminded me how fun it is to see Rick Moranis on screen, and how I missed that (feels like he disappeared from making movies too early). But the absolute scene-stealing performance comes courtesy of Steve Martin, especially when he does the song that introduces his character. Just fantastic. I’d also forgotten how crazy it gets at the end (the invasion).

Black Moon Rising

I definitely remembered the poster/VHS box cover for this movie, but nothing else. After watching it, parts sorta came back to me (like the design of the futuristic car) so I’m guessing I probably did watch it, but that it wasn’t particularly memorable to me. Watching it now, it’s fun to see young Tommy Lee Jones starring in something like this, and Linda Hamilton post-Terminator. It’s silly, but a pretty decent 80s action/heist film.

The Mission

I remember this being one of the epic Oscar-worthy films of the time, and it still comes off that way. This is a really good movie, even if it is brutal and sad. I will say that Robert De Niro does seem a bit out of place in this — I don’t think it’s because he’s the only one here with an American accent, but his delivery reminds me too much of how we see him in Scorsese movies. But yeah, I did quite enjoy this. I was curious to see what director Roland Joffé had been up to since, and was pretty surprised to see that in 2011 he directed a movie called You and I in which “two teenage girls, Janie who is American and Lana who is Russian, fall in love after meeting at a t.A.T.u concert.”

The Big Easy

The memories I had of this movie were that it was a pretty decent drama, with some very sexy scenes with Ellen Barkin. Re-watching it now, the over-acting kinda ruins it — everyone is trying to put on a super New Orleans accent (especially Dennis Quaid) and it comes off bad. The story isn’t particularly captivating either, and the steamy sex scenes don’t come as very steamy anymore (yeah, gotta admit that seeing this as a kid was probably quite a different experience). Age has not been kind to this one, but it was neat to see young John Goodman, in that setting pre-Treme.

The Karate Kid Part II

Movies don’t get much more 80s than this: a silly and simple story, a Peter Cetera power ballad, and it’s a sequel. It’s fun to watch though. The setting for this one was Okinawa, and to me it does look like they actually shot it there — and all the extras do seem to be Japanese. What can I say, I did get a kick out of watching this, and I do believe in the “Glory of Love.”

The Delta Force

This is such a weird movie. You go in expecting a typical Cannon actioner, but then not only is it quite long, you can tell that director Menahem Golan was actually trying to say something here, and although I wouldn’t go so far as saying it goes into drama territory, it does take quite a while before the “Chuck Norris action” starts. But when that does start, it’s over-the-top 80s action from start to finish, battling the terrorists on a motorcycle equipped with mini-missiles. The weirdest thing though is seeing Robert Forster play an arab terrorist.