Nightman’s Favourite Films Of The 1980s – Stats Roundup

Greetings, Glancers! So, older readers of my Oscars posts may recall that I tried to give some stats at the end of the year. It became too difficult to gather metrics and I become too lazy, and lo the posts migrated to the Hades Of Blogs like so many before. The same will likely happen to these summary posts – where I give some ‘interesting’ stats on my favourite films of each decade. It doesn’t mean anything, you won’t gain any insight or pleasure from reading them, and they will be painful to write. Why do it? Well shucks, I’ve always had a thing for hurting myself. ‘Enjoy’!

Number Of Best Picture Nominees: Five (Out of a possible fifty)

Number Of Best Picture Winners: One (Out of a possible ten)

Number Of Movies In The Top Ten Grossing of The Year: Twenty nine (Out of a possible one hundred)

Number Of Movies Which Were The Top Grosser: Five (Out of a possible ten)

Well… this was the decade when The Academy began making truly bizarre choices when it came to Best Picture. When it came to most of the big categories actually, and it’s something they haven’t ever really recovered from. I’m not saying that just because this was the decade I grew up in and therefore have a lot of childhood association to the films I’ve picked as favourites – I do feel that many of the films in my Top Tens were far more deserving of critical attention, and in many cases that acclaim has come in the years and decades since.

This was certainly a decade when cinema as pure entertainment was perfected – we have more classics per genre than any other decade, and directors and writers must have been allowed a degree of freedom and creativity never seen before or since which led to many wacky ideas and films which you couldn’t believe would have ever seen the light of day at any other time. Naturally this meant we got an unprecedented level of crap too, and even some of those are beloved by me, but by and large it’s the decade when my favourite filmmakers and stars hit their peak. You may be wondering then why I only picked 29 out of the top 100 grossing films – well, we had a high rate of romances and comedies too which, while I like many of them, weren’t strong enough for me to put on my lists. While, as you’ll see below, there weren’t many foreign films causing my grossing figures to be low, there were a lot of cult hits and sequels that I love which didn’t make as much money as the originals.

Movies By Country In My Top 10:

USA: Ninety one

UK: Sixteen

Italy: One

Japan: Three

France: One

Australia: One

Canada: Two

HK: Five

The USA dominates again, to a ridiculous degree. While a lot of that is due to me mainly being exposed to Hollywood movies in my childhood, I still watched plenty of foreign stuff too. While those were mainly martial arts movies, few of those were strong enough to make my lists. The UK is really only here for Bond now but had plenty of crossover hits, Japan had still mostly fallen away even though there were plenty of Japanese animated movies I liked they were again rarely strong enough to penetrate the top ten.

Movies By Director:

John Carpenter: Seven

John Glen: Four

David Cronenberg: Four

 

Steven Spielberg: Two

John Landis: Two

David Lynch: Two

James Cameron: Two

Sam Raimi: Two

Francis Ford Coppola: Two

Stanley Kubrick: Two

Brian De Palma: Two

Jerry Paris: Two

Walter Hill: Two

George A Romero: Two

Richard Donner: Two

Robert Zemeckis: Two

John McTiernan: Two

Tim Burton: Two

John Woo: Two

John Hughes: Two

Sylvester Stallone: Two

Oliver Stone: Two

Rob Reiner: Two

Ivan Reitman: Two

 

John G Avildson: x

Tobe Hooper: x

Akira Kurosawa: x

Walter Murch: x

Robert Harmon: x

Martin Scorsese: x

Joe Dante: x

Ridley Scott: x

Tony Scott: x

George Miller: x

Russell Mulcahy: x

John Milius: x

Ted Kotcheff: x

Barry Levinson: x

George P Cosmatos: x

Alan Parker: x

Martin Brest: x

Gerald Scarfe: x

Cliver Barker: x

Paul Michael Glaser: x

Joel Schumacher: x

Paul Verhoeven: x

Chuck Russell: x

Jim Drake: x

Kathryn Bigelow: x

Larry Cohen: x

Irvin Kershner: x

John Hough: x

Mark L Lester: x

Ching Siu-Tung: x

Bruce Robinson: x

Ringo Lam: x

Vincent McEveety: x

Hayao Miyazaki: x

Arthur Hiller: x

Ruggero Deodato: x

Desmond Davis: x

Sidney J Furie: x

Wes Craven: x

John Huston: x

Mary Lambert: x

Stephen Herek: x

Ron Howard: x

Michael Lehmann: x

Christopher Cain: x

Katsushiro Otomo: x

Newt Arnold: x

Tony Randel: x

Richard Marquand: x

John Badham: x

Luc Besson: x

Jackie Chan: x

Sammo Hung: x

Hugh Wilson: x

One hundred films, seventy eight directors. When people think of the 80s, they usually say it was Spielberg’s decade, or belonged to John Hughes. I was never a massive fan of the more mainstream John Hughes films and while Spielberg was everywhere in the 80s, people may forget that he didn’t always direct many of the films he was associated with. For me, the decade belonged to John Carpenter. Ten years, seven top ten movies – that’s pretty unprecedented. Then again, I am biased as Carpenter is my favourite director of all time. The numbers don’t lie though, and he’s way out on top. While we have a large list of directors with only one hit on my lists, a number of those single hits happened to me my first or second film of the year, and we have plenty of stalwarts with a deuce. Only coming close to Carpenter are John Glen, who directed every Bond film of the 80s, and David Cronenberg with his terrific run of classics.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1989

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: The Killer (HK)

9: Uncle Buck (US)

8: Born On The Fourth Of July (US)

7: Kiki’s Delivery Service (Japan)

6: See No Evil, Hear No Evil (US)

5: Licence To Kill (US/UK)

4: Pet Sematary (US)

3: Back To The Future Part II  (US)

2: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (US)

1: Batman (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One

The Wailing

Before I saw The Wailing I had seen it described as one of the scariest Asian movies of the decade – that sort of widespread feedback is enough to get me excited and wary at the same time, and by thirty minutes in to the movie I was wondering if I had accidentally selected another Korean movie with the same name, a comedy caper which was nevertheless entertaining. That’s what most of the reviews don’t tell you – The Wailing isn’t just a horror movie – it’s a comedy, it’s a drama, and it’s a tragic character study which will suck you in and spit you out if you allow yourself to be swallowed.

There’s a certain cultural divide you have to be prepared for when going into most foreign cinema. Sometimes an Asian film can be straight enough and universal enough to be fully understood by any viewer, and sometimes there can be quirky moments or pieces of dialogue or character traits which seem alien. Most of the time if the film is good enough, interesting enough, these can be overlooked or even enhance our viewing and become something a Western viewer looks forward to. When you watch a film with a certain historical or political context, or in the case of The Wailing, with numerous instances of Asian folklore, it can become a little overwhelming. I’ll admit to feeling a little lost in places while watching The Wailing – coming from someone who considers themselves a seasoned viewer of Asian Cinema. I feel like I can’t give an adequate synopsis of the plot due to this, and also due to wanting to avoid spoilers/mystery. All you need to know is that it’s about a small Korean town/village policeman and father who is investigating a mysterious sickness which has been sweeping through the town, coinciding with the arrival of a Japanese man.

The film has received universal acclaim from critics and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it too, even if I didn’t absorb everything I could have on first viewing. I suspect more of the puzzle pieces will become clear on a second viewing, possibly uncovering more of the Asian folklore and nods to Christianity. The film passes two and a half hours long and I feel like some of the early scenes could have been saved to get the film closer to a 120 minute run time. 150 mins plus is a long time for a horror film to retain scares and dread and threat and that opening half an hour or so almost feels like a different film, with bumbling keystone cop antics at loose character info eventually giving way to the procedural, the macabre, the horror. Mystery and myth intertwine and a father who seems careless and distant is forced to reevaluate his life and priorities in a race against time, but deception and intrigue seem to thwart him at every turn. Is it scary? There are moments, set pieces, both early on and towards the end which will scare or chill, but once the main plot picks up steam it is that sense of unearthly dread and tension which will get under your skin. The film is so well acted, so beautifully crafted, that it should unnerve even the most hardcore horror viewer – just don’t go in expecting jump scares and knife attacks. Expect the unexpected, expect provocation, and expect lots of reading up on the film after watching. I expect you’ll love it.

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1988

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: They Live (US)

9: Hellraiser 2. (US/UK)

8: Bloodsport. (US)

7: Akira (Japan)

6: Twins (US)

5: Young Guns (US)

4: Heathers (US)

3: Willow (US)

2: Die Hard (US)

1: Beetlejuice. (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Zero

Nightman’s Top Twenty Films Of 1987

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

Yes, you read that right – 1987 is probably my favourite year in Cinema with a ludicrous amount of films that I love and count among my all time favourites – films which have contributed to my love of film and to who I am. I could have gone more than twenty, just like in other years I could have selected more than ten. Basically any year I could pick any number of films that I enjoy, but I’m limiting these lists to the best of the best, the ones I love most, and in 1987 there are just too many of these. I mean, I picked twenty films and hardly any of these were among the top grossers and none were nominated for Best Picture, so there were plenty more great releases this year. Enjoy!

20: A Chinese Ghost Story (HK)

19: Withnail And I (UK)

18: City On Fire (HK)

17: Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (US)

16: Good Morning, Vietnam (US)

15: The Princess Bride (US)

14: The Living Daylights (UK)

13: Lethal Weapon (US)

12: Full Metal Jacket (US/UK)

11: Evil Dead 2 (US)

10: The Untouchables (US)

9: Hellraiser (UK)

8: The Running Man (US)

7: Dream Warriors (US)

6: Citizens On Patrol (US)

5: Prince Of Darkness (US)

4: Near Dark (US)

3: The Lost Boys (US)

2: Predator (Top Ten Of All Time) (US)

1: Robocop (Top Ten Of All Time) (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Zero

Big Driver

Rape is arguably the most difficult subject to tackle on screen, never mind in literature. The horrific act is something which has long been used in stories – particularly in the visual medium – as a turning point in the narrative; the character survives and generally seeks vengeance or justice. There is a whole history, mainly in horror, of the rape revenge stories with increasingly, depressingly violent or graphic, or inexplicably titillating scenes of sexual violence which lead to further acts of violence against the perpetrator(s). Stephen King tackles the issue knowingly in his novella of the same name, from a collection which largely deals with issues relating to women or relationships. The written story is done with a level of tact and a lack of detail of the event, instead spending most of its length on the lead character, depicted before and after the event as a strong, singular women who just happens to be led into the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed, King even acknowledges the cinematic tropes as the lead character refuses to be a victim and seeks out some of the aforementioned movies as part of her recovery, planning, and justice. The film, while it doesn’t linger on the event, shows enough to possibly put off a large section of the intended audience.

Big Driver stars Mario Bello (who is excellent in the role) as Tess – a successful crime writer who lives with her cat and the voices in her head – a device King often employs. She is invited to speak at library fan meeting and is advised to take a short cut, idyllic drive home off the beaten track by the event organiser. If you’ve seen any film in this vein before, you’ll have already connected the dots – one flat tyre and ‘helpful’ trucker later and Tess has been raped and left for dead in a sewage pipe, along with the rotting corpses of past victims. She survives, heads home, and begins connecting her own dots as she seeks vengeance.

If you’ve watched any rape revenge movie before, then you know what you’re going to get here. Thankfully this one didn’t feel like exploitation, at least to me, and the worthy cast give full-blooded performances. It’s a Lifetime TV movie so you have any idea how extreme the content will be. The direction is sound, nothing eye-catching or out of the ordinary here and the story, while attempting to offer some moderate twists in the narrative and contemplation on guilt doesn’t really offer anything new. This will be mainly for King fans, or any fans of the cast – as it stands it’s a worthwhile watch for those groups, but it’s not one you’re likely to remember or watch again.

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1986

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Highlander (UK/US)

9: Stand By Me (US)

8: A Better Tomorrow (HK)

7: Blue Velvet (US)

6: Platoon (US)

5: Police Academy 3 (US)

4: The Fly (US)

3: The Hitcher (US)

2: Big Trouble In Little China (US)

1: Aliens (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Two

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One – the winner