1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 2)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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domino harvey
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#376 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:35 pm

I certainly hope so too!

And to whoever it was that also voted for Broadcast News, you get one of these: =D>

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Yojimbo
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#377 Post by Yojimbo » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:44 pm

domino harvey wrote:Oh let me start working through these capsules I owe:

the Verdict Mamet hadn't quite found his footing yet as a screenwriter but Newman excels in this small film. Rampling's character is so transparent that were the film twenty minutes shorter and all her scenes excised, it would have not been hurt one bit and helped plenty. Best part was hearing James Mason say "Bullshit."

.
I'm not ordinarily much of a Newman fan, admittedly, but I hate this one: I haven't gone back to it since its release : I think I perhaps mainly watched it for Milo O'Shea, to begin with, but everything about Newman's performance screamed: "I'm mad as Hell, and I can't take the Academy overlooking me no more".
Pass

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domino harvey
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#378 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:55 pm

I originally posted this in the Panda thread but since I talked about pretty much every movie on my list already, I might as well just discuss it here:

Final Top 10
01 They All Laughed (Bogdanovich)
02 My Dinner With Andre (Malle)
03 the Purple Rose of Cairo (Allen)
04 Detective (Godard)
05 Gang of Four (Rivette)
06 Broadcast News (Brooks)
07 Landscape in the Mist (Angelopoulos)
08 Rumble Fish (Coppola)
09 Do the Right Thing (Lee)
10 the Right Stuff (Kaufman)


The only highly-placed title I don't think I gave a shout-out to was
26 the History of White People in America
Harry Shearer directs Martin Mull's brilliant HBO special which takes down a certain section of White America with such vitriol and zeal that it becomes almost too funny at times. Watching Fred Willard get hyper-excited about things like Golf Joke Books and mayonnaise is exactly as amazing as it sounds.

And I couldn't resist including Airplane! the low 40s, one of the first, and still the best, ZAZ parodies

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Gregory
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#379 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:01 pm

Regarding domino and brendanjc's comments on Blow Out:
I didn't think the ending was supposed to be jokey; it's full of pathos and cynicism. And I don't see why claims that he should have done this or that differently are a criticism of the film at all. The way I understood the character, he's supposed to be stupid, largely as a result of his egomania, manipulative tendencies, and so on, not to mention laziness, etc.. The reason the Nancy Allen character had to be a nitwit was to make it plausible that she would lack any perception of his character flaws.

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Murdoch
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#380 Post by Murdoch » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:03 pm

Damn; Blood Wedding, Under the Volcano, and Shoah didn't make it. And no love for Cusack?

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domino harvey
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#381 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:05 pm

Murdoch wrote:And no love for Cusack?
Well, Joan made my list :P

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GringoTex
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#382 Post by GringoTex » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:11 pm

Murdoch wrote:Damn; Blood Wedding, Under the Volcano....didn't make it.
Both were in my top 10:

1. Argent, L' Robert Bresson
2. The Aviator's Wife Eric Rohmer
3. They All Laughed Peter Bogdanovich
4. Three Crowns of the Sailor Raoul Ruiz
5. À nos amours Maurice Pialat
6. The Right Stuff Philip Kaufman
7. Under the Volcano John Huston
8. Poto and Cabengo Jean-Pierre Gorin
9. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story Todd Haynes
10. Blood Wedding Carlos Saura

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#383 Post by Tom Hagen » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:14 pm

I was a voice of CW on this one:
1. Raging Bull
2. Fanny and Alexander
3. The Decalogue (with a sub-vote for "A Short Film About Killing" in the unlikely event it was voting ahead of the Decalogue)
4. The Shining
5. The Thin Blue Line
6. The Right Stuff
7. Berlin Alexanderplatz
8. Do The Right Thing
9. Hannah and Her Sisters
10. Crimes and Misdemeanors

And yes, I ended up voting for two different baseball-related movies starring Kevin Costner. Suck on that, Bela Tarr.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#384 Post by Cold Bishop » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:16 pm

I always had a weakness for peer pressure.

1. Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)
2. Les Destins de Manoel (Raoul Ruiz, 1985)
3. The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, 1986)
4. The Asthenic Syndrome (Kira Muratova, 1989)
5. Offret (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986)
6. Merry-Go-Round (Jacques Rivette, 1981)
7. Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982)
8. Nostalghia (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1983)
9. The Moon in the Gutter (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1983)
10. The Horse Thief (Zhuangzhuang Tian, 1986)

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Yojimbo
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#385 Post by Yojimbo » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:33 pm

Tom Hagen wrote:I was a voice of CW on this one:
1. Raging Bull
2. Fanny and Alexander
3. The Decalogue (with a sub-vote for "A Short Film About Killing" in the unlikely event it was voting ahead of the Decalogue)
4. The Shining
5. The Thin Blue Line
6. The Right Stuff
7. Berlin Alexanderplatz
8. Do The Right Thing
9. Hannah and Her Sisters
10. Crimes and Misdemeanors

And yes, I ended up voting for two different baseball-related movies starring Kevin Costner. Suck on that, Bela Tarr.
I voted for "A Short Film About Killing" as I thought 'Decalogue' would be ineligible due to it being a tv series.
I know I meant to include 'Bull Durham' in my 50
and Bela Tarr's 'Damnation', of course.

I was disappointed by 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', I must admit.

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#386 Post by Tom Hagen » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:40 pm

Bela Tarr was referenced as a shorthand for my choice of pop over art. Nothing against Damnation.

Anyone else surprised that Almodovar didn't make a better showing? I actually prefer his messy, early films -- all that eroticism and violence -- to his more sophisticated melodramas of recent years.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#387 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:44 pm

So is the Dead on DVD somewhere and I just didn't know about it? Someone please fill me in, I very much wanted to see it and still do

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Murdoch
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#388 Post by Murdoch » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:02 pm

domino harvey wrote:So is the Dead on DVD somewhere and I just didn't know about it? Someone please fill me in, I very much wanted to see it and still do
There's a region 2 release of it, plus - oddly enough - it was a film available on demand from time warner cable a few weeks ago. It made my top ten:

1. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder
2. Shoah (1985) – Claude Lanzmann
3. Sans Soleil (1983) – Chris Marker
4. The Decalogue (1989) – Krzysztof Kieslowski
5. God’s Country (1986) – Louis Malle
6. Three Crowns of the Sailor (1983) – Raoul Ruiz
7. Videodrome (1983) – David Cronenberg
8. The Dead (1987) – John Huston
9. Koyaanisqatsi (1982) – Godfrey Reggio
10. A City of Sadness (1989) – Hsiao-hsien Hou

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luridedith
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#389 Post by luridedith » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:57 pm

My top ten (one per director, biased towards cult films/obscure, marginalized b-movies):

Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
In A Glass Cage (Agustí Villaronga, 1987)
Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1988)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
The Blood Of Dr Jekyll (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)
Macumba Sexual (Jess Franco, 1983)
Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981)
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Todd Haynes, 1987)
Tenebre (Dario Argento, 1982)

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swo17
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#390 Post by swo17 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:00 am

Fittingly*, my wife's friend's sister threw an '80s-themed party tonight, which I was somehow wrangled into attending. As for the list, I was quite pleased with how my Landscape in the Mist campaign fared, but mostly, I was impressed with how many new films I was able to discover as part of this project. Thanks to all of you who shared many great recommendations and insights into the films. I guess we're sharing our top 10s, so here:

01 Decalogue
02 Ran
03 Brazil
04 This Is Spinal Tap
05 Come and See
06 A Fish Called Wanda
07 The Shining
08 Landscape in the Mist
09 um, some Lynch movie...
10 Paris, Texas

Interestingly, I didn't really talk about most of these during the course of the project, as I felt they didn't really need the support.


*other than the fact that my list had little to do with the concept of the '80s reflected at the party

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#391 Post by Cold Bishop » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:30 am

luridedith wrote:The Blood Of Dr Jekyll (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)
Unless you didn't turn in a list and are just putting in your two-cents after the fact, I believe that this should be listed as a also-ran. Zedz?

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zedz
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#392 Post by zedz » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:18 am

Cold Bishop wrote:
luridedith wrote:The Blood Of Dr Jekyll (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)
Unless you didn't turn in a list and are just putting in your two-cents after the fact, I believe that this should be listed as a also-ran. Zedz?
Spot on, unless luridedith's list got lost in the radiator. I double checked my inbox and there's nothing there.

My top ten were:

The Terroriser
Sherman's March
Berlin Alexanderplatz
City of Pirates
Taipei Story
The Thin Blue Line
Street of Crocodiles
Heimat
l'Argent
Darkness Light Darkness


I expected the 80s list to be the one I had least sympathy with, since I pretty much retain no sentimental attachment for all the mainstream films I saw as a teen, but even though the upper echelons of the list are rather predictable (for a very long time it looked like the major surprise would be the previously unplaced A nos amours finishing in the top ten, but that was not to be), there's only one film in the top twenty that I really hate.

So here's my curmudgeonly take-down of the top 10, as sort of promised.

Out top two are sponsored by The Criterion Collection:

Fanny - actually I don't mind this, and it might have made my top 100, but surely Bergman benefited this round by having no viable competition from himself. This film was slow to rally, in and out of the top ten for the first half of the vote, but powering ahead in the last 24 hours. Lots of top-of-the-list or top three placings.

Ran - this was the last sentimental choice I expunged from my list. It was extremely important to my film education at the time, but I don't really have any wish to see it again at the moment, and the film I preserved in the number 50 slot on my list I'd walk a mile in stilettos to see again. A late starter in the voting, and it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it choice.

The next section of the top ten is brought to you by Empire magazine:

Blade Runner - great production design, but it's never seemed like that good a film to me otherwise. I've seen it three times in the different versions, and each version improves notably on what went before, but they've all been dramatically stodgy and uninvolving in my book. Voting for this was also quite polarised - lots of top 10 placings but missing from many lists.

Raging Bull - sort of ditto - an impressive filmmaking achievement, but it's always been a film I admire rather than love.

Blue Velvet - Odd that this only finished fifth, as it was probably the big concensus favourite. Haven't got the spreadsheet here to check, but I expect it appeared on more lists than any other film. Normally that's enough, but in the weird polarised 80s vote that didn't count for too much, and the large number of modest or minor placings (including my own) weren't enough to overcome the fanaticism for other titles.

The Shining - Ouch. Obviously I'm on a hiding to nothing, but does nobody else see this as a really, really bad film? I moaned about it before and I just can't see it any other way, but I've generally got a low tolerance for Kubrick's glossy, fussy, empty stylisations.

Do the Right Thing - OK, I'm with you on this one. These stylisations are fine by me, and they're anything but empty.

Fitzcarraldo - I'm not going to begrudge Herzog a place on any list. Oh, very well, yes I am. The strong performance of this really surprised me, since it's always seemed a decidedly 'third tier' Herzog film, much more notable for the story of its making than for what ended up on screen. And, as a consequence, I've always felt that Burden of Dreams was its effortless superior. For the record, my idea of 'first tier' is Signs of Life, Aguirre, Land of Silence and Darkness, Every Man for Himself. . ., La Sourfriere, Lessons in Darkness with most of the other 70s features and lots of documentaries (Woodcarver Steiner, Wings of Hope, Grizzly Man) constituting the second tier.

Come and See - this must count as the big success of the 'swapsies' / recommendations process. I remember it as powerful enough, but bombastic and one-note, but I haven't seen it for a very long time.

The Decalogue - I put this on my list and have fond memories of it, but haven't viewed it since the 80s, which might be negligent of me. For me, Kieslowski went into decline after this (or after the polish section of Veronique, maybe). Nicely appropriate placing on the list, too!



(As for not retaining any sentimental attachment to the Hollywood films of my youth, I will make an exception for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and salute those who included it.)

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swo17
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#393 Post by swo17 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:40 am

zedz wrote:As for not retaining any sentimental attachment to the Hollywood films of my youth, I will make an exception for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and salute those who included it.
You're welcome. I would assert that, of all the sentimental childhood favorites that I rewatched for the project (and there were many), this one by far stood up the best.

roujin
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#394 Post by roujin » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:41 am

Too bad about Mauvais Sang not making it (close though). It's a film I caught up with just last year (along with the other Carax films) and it sort of blew me away.

I actually caught up with Possession a couple of days ago and it would've made my top 10. Great to see that it made the list.

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#395 Post by Tom Hagen » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:51 am

zedz wrote:The Shining - Ouch. Obviously I'm on a hiding to nothing, but does nobody else see this as a really, really bad film? I moaned about it before and I just can't see it any other way, but I've generally got a low tolerance for Kubrick's glossy, fussy, empty stylisations.
Of all the Kubricks, this is the one that has consistently surprised and impressed me most on repeated viewings. And it is one of the few films I can think of that I enjoy more with each viewing.

Glad to see your love for The Thin Blue Line. It is perhaps the best documentary film ever made.

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zedz
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#396 Post by zedz » Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:41 am

Tom Hagen wrote:Glad to see your love for The Thin Blue Line. It is perhaps the best documentary film ever made.
It's probably responsible for a lot of awful stuff in documentary since, but it's genius filmmaking all around, even without taking any account of its real-world achievement. A great form / content lesson: every sequence is just about perfectly expressed (the timing of the reveal of David Harris' wrists; the absence of footage for the last interview) - and sometimes the form you need doesn't exist yet and you have to invent it.

Maybe we should have lobbied more for this. I expected it would have fared better.

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luridedith
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#397 Post by luridedith » Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:42 am

Cold Bishop wrote:
luridedith wrote:The Blood Of Dr Jekyll (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)
Unless you didn't turn in a list and are just putting in your two-cents after the fact, I believe that this should be listed as a also-ran. Zedz?
Oh sorry I just posted my list without looking at the whole thread, forget about it.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#398 Post by Cold Bishop » Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:48 am

It's fine, it was just puzzling. One just wishes you would have participated. I wouldn't mind if you defended any absences just as much as if you had. Eccentric viewpoints is what this list is about.

Perkins Cobb
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#399 Post by Perkins Cobb » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:09 am

What's interesting is how much richer a list the "also rans" are than the top 100. If anyone is looking for stuff to watch, I'd suggest picking movies at random from the second list rather than the first. I may take my own advice on that too, although (like most of you, probably) I expect to see it all someday.

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Zazou dans le Metro
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Re: 1980s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project)

#400 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:11 am

Perkins Cobb wrote:What's interesting is how much richer a list the "also rans" are than the top 100. If anyone is looking for stuff to watch, I'd suggest picking movies at random from the second list rather than the first. .
Probably the most troublesome decade for me to make a list for, since it represented the blossoming of cinephilia whilst a student. Consequently there was a lot of juggling with the nostalgia for the excitement of the times Coens/Lynch/Jarmusch/Kurosawa with the mass of stuff experienced retrospectively- mainly Kiarostami and Pialat. Although figuring in my list I don't remember the last time I sat and watched Stranger in Paradise or Blood Simple over many of these MoC/Mk2 re-issues.

As zedz notes, Fanny has become a hardy perennial akin to a Christmas Dickens and whose prominence is a nod to Bergman's greatness rather than anything else. Again it figured high with me for these reasons.
The ebb and flow of memory has of course its own toll of casualties. My calfs are bruised from the exclusion of Damnation and a couple of Paul Cox titles. But all in all an enjoyable experience and thanks again to zedz for navigating us through the shifting sands of time.
Where else would I get to share the guilty pleasure of having Planes trains and Automobiles cruising alongside Mahkmalbaf's Cyclist and like Perky above look forward to exploring some hither to unknown titles.

Finally if I am allowed the indulgence - let me share a quote from Kundera that I happened on today.

Man is separated from the past (even from the past only a few seconds old) by two forces that go instantly to work and co-operate: the force of forgetting (which erases) and the force of memory (which transforms)...
Beyond the slender margin of the incontestable......stretches an infinite realm:the realm of the approximate,the invented,the deformed,the simplistic,the exaggerated,the misinformed, an infinite realm of non-truths that copulate,multiply like rats and become immortal.

And now of course the Nineties!!
Well there's Close up from Kiarostami and Denis' S'en fout La Mort but what about that Steve Martin film I liked what the fuck was it called ?...

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