Slap Shot

Continuing with movies from 1977, this is one of those classics that I really loved as a kid — I mean, I am Canadian after all, and it’s not like we get a lot of movies about hockey. Watching it again now (for the first time in ages), it still has all those classic/fun moments that I remember — mostly anything with the Hanson Brothers — but a lot of it is a bit on the boring side, when it comes to the dramatic elements of the film. But pretty much anything on the ice is a joy to take in again.

Annie Hall

My second film of 1977 was Annie Hall. I won’t lie, there comes a certain uneasiness with watching something by Woody Allen these days, but I’ve loved and enjoyed his films all my life, and this is certainly one of his best, if not the best. Re-watching it now — for the first time in ages — I found it just as entertaining as ever, and was completely transported to his NYC of the late 70s.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is my favorite Marvel movie to date, and I think Vol. 2 is just as good if not better. It’s just a hugely enjoyable thrill ride with lots of cool sci-fi visuals to take in, with a cast that’s still a blast to hang out with, and with even more funny lines — and can I get a Drax and Mantis buddy movie already? The thing I liked the least was Baby Groot, as I didn’t much care for the cutesiness of it all (although the button bit was pretty funny). Can’t wait to see how this trilogy is going to end, and can we maybe also get more cosmic Marvel movies? They sure teased enough at the end to warrant a few.

Star Wars

Yeah, fuck it, I don’t call it Episode IV or A New Hope, I call it Star Wars. So having just completed my 1986 movie run, I was already itching for another era to dive into, and so 1977 is next. Even though I re-watched this fairly recently (I re-watched every Star Wars movie ahead of the release of The Force Awakens), I found it difficult to start a 1977 run and not include this, since it’s inarguably one of the most (if not the most) groundbreaking and influential films of all time. I can’t even judge if it’s good or not anymore, it’s just what it is, I know every beat almost by heart, and I’m sure I’ll keep re-watching it forever. After I was done my viewing, I was in the mood to do a double bill with Rogue One, which I re-watched for the first time since seeing at the theater on release. I still feel the same way as when I first saw it, which is that it’s now my favorite Star Wars film. It’s just so damn good, and set in the era of Star Wars that I like the most, but from a new perspective, and so it feels so fresh. Really makes me that much more excited for all the other upcoming “A Star Wars Story” films.

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.

Alien: Covenant

Despite the mixed reviews when it came out, and a bunch of friends all telling me they didn’t like it much, I was still quite looking forward to watching this. Firstly, I have a thirst for hard sci-fi stuff like this, and secondly, I actually really liked Prometheus. As for Covenant, I can say I enjoyed it. I guess you’re either onboard with the origin story that Scott has been telling since Prometheus, or you’re not, and if you’re not, than you just can’t get into this. On a technical/visual level, just like Prometheus, I absolutely love what’s on screen. And in terms of how the aliens are presented, I thought it was quite terrifying to see them in action, which is something I hadn’t felt since Aliens. I guess it’s up in the air whether we will see the planned continuation (since box office returns were tepid), but I really do hope we do.

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).