I’ve always thought that it was a slight decade, cinematically speaking, and that seems borne out by those lists, many of which include popcorn movies such as Robocop, Predator and Ghostbusters.
I love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as much as the next person, but I’ve never been able to consider it a great movie, in that way that, say, Raging Bull is great.
For me that decade is where enjoyment and quality parted company quite cleanly, giving us the enormous fun of the aforementioned titles (plus Die Hard, The Terminator, Back To The Future, E.T., etc.), but leaving us wanting in terms of greatness.
If you look at the two decades that bookended the 80s there are so many riches that it makes any 80s list look slight by comparison:
The 1970s: The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, Apocalypse Now, Annie Hall, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, All The President’s Men, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Harold And Maude, American Graffiti, Aguiire: The Wrath Of God (and many, many more).
The 1990s: Three Kings, Boogie Nights, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Age Of Innocence, Schindler’s List, Goodfellas, Unforgiven, Magnolia, Being John Malkovich, LA Confidential, Se7en, Short Cuts, Fight Club, The Three Colours trilogy, etc.
But the 80s?
Full Metal Jacket, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Do The Right Thing, Blue Velvet (I haven’t seen Grave Of The Fireflies, which appears on many of these lists)…
Then you drop down a level to movies like Platoon (a little too surface; bad performance from Charlie Sheen. Ditto Wall Street), Amadeus (too slick), The Last Emperor (too long and boring), Jean De Florette (is it great?), Spinal Tap and Airplane (not as funny as I remembered them)…
Anyway, that’s just my somewhat damning opinion on an entire decade of movie making.
What do you think?