Crash! Landen’s Top 10 Movies of 1982

There are several widely regarded films from 1982 that I have not seen (or have and just can’t remember enough to have an opinion about them…), but these are just lists of movies that I have seen and the ones that I think were the ‘best’. These aren’t my favorites, although I have to say my selection for #1 for 1982 IS one of my personal favorites, but then, I do really like them All; otherwise they wouldn’t be on the list now, would they?

Generally, I think my lists are eclectic, if nothing else. This isn’t my widest range  of films for a given year, but that’s probably reflected by my age at the time. Not much of a foreign flavor here and the list lacks a single comedy, but still a pretty good mix of flicks…. Hey, I rhymed right there.

First Blood ( BUMPED) There are lots of other movies that I could have put at number 10 like Cameron Crowe’s best film Fast Times At Ridgemont High or this one. For me, I don’t think you can find an action flick that moved like this one from start to finish. Stallone took a simple premise and focused mostly on the action. That’s not a knock in this case. Stallone manages to make this indestructible character an underdog. The character would become iconic, of course. One of the best actioners of the 80s).

Here’s my 10.

10 Tron (A little hokey if you apply actual science to this, but as a fantasy it works very well. It concentrated on ideas and characters rather than on the uniquely striking imagery. David Warner is great here in a typically villainous role, as is Bridges who plays an ‘everyman’ turned hero.)

9  The Verdict (I just recently saw this one and now that I have seen it, wonder why it took me so long. This is easily one of Paul Newman’s best roles in a courtroom drama that never resorts to typical Hollywood tactics to keep the audience interested. Some solid work by Jack Warden and James Mason, also. Great, great film.)

8 Smithereens (An indie flick by Susan Seidelman that probably influenced the style of Wes Anderson. I can’t say I cared for her other films that I’ve seen, but this movie is an indie triumph. The story was unpredictable and ended with more substance than I expected. A great film with lots of interestingly flawed characters. I’m not a big fan of ‘band’ movies, but I highly recommend this one.)

7 The Secret of NIMH (One of the best cartoons I’ve ever seen and one of the first that I saw growing up that didn’t rely on songs. This was very character and plot driven and it’s a shame it didn’t do better at the box office. Sits in good company with Blade Runner in 1982 as a great film that failed to garner the public’s attention).

6 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (THE best Star Trek film. No other Trek film, and I’m including the reboot, even comes close to being a movie unto itself as this one is. You don’t hve to be a Trekker/trekkie to enjoy it, either. And this one is actually ABOUT something, being about facing loss and mortality. Worked on another level as the cast was beginning to reach advanced ages. A great film! Kaaaaaaahhhhnnnn!)

5 John Carpenter’s The Thing (When I saw this for the first time, it was a truly unsettling experience. So much so that I had to stop midway through the dog kennel scene and try again on another occasion. It was that freaky, and I had not even gotten to the good stuff yet. The FX were a gorehound’s delight, while still retaining a high level of intelligence. It sets a mood with the minimalist brooding soundtrack before the film ever fades in. It remains tense throughout and there is a strong sense of paranoia created by the actors that keeps the audience guessing even after the movie ends. This was one of Kurt Russell’s best roles and he was surrounded by some great character actors. Keith David  stands out among all of the great performances as does the great Wilford Brilmley. I think I remember hearing John Carpenter say that this was his favorite film and it should be. It’s probably his best. A masterpiece in both the sci fi and the horror genres.)

4 The Dark Crystal (I should probably have this one higher. there is no other film like this. This is one of the more imaginative films you’ll ever see. Jim Henson, along with the likes of Frank Oz and Brian Froud, created an entire alien world, with its own creatures, languages and history. Just a brilliant film. It’s extremely dark for a kid’s film. I think I caught movies like this (and Time Bandits) at just the right age.

3 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (I don’t think I need to say a whole lot about this one. Yes, I cried. What a great movie. I hate seeing all the new CGI FX that were added, though.)

2 Gandhi (An outstanding biopic filled with the most talented actors starting with two favorites: John Gielgud and Trevor Howard. Ben Kingsley stars in a once in a lifetime role. He’s been in quite a few of those. And watch for a Candice Bergen, Amrish ‘Mola Ram’ Puri and John Ratzenberger before he became Cliff Clavin on Cheers. Daniel Day Lewis also makes an appearance in an early in his career  bit part… Directed by the brilliant Richard Attenborough. Don’t confuse the title character with Guan-Di from  My Name Is Bruce, though.)

1 Blade Runner ( Panned I think by everyone except me. Yes, I was the lone moviegoer that immediately proclaimed this as one of the best movies ever made. And it is. As influential in its visuals as Metropolis when it was released. The soundtrack by Vangelis is one of the more distinctive  that you’ll find. And as far as the story goes, any version of this holds up. The director’s cut is more meaningful, but every version of this is amazing. The director’s cut is more about what constitutes identity, but all of the versions ask those basic questions that everyone can relate to. ” Who am I? Why am I here? How long have I got?”  Some complain about the slow pace, but it never bothered me. There is so much to look at onscreen at any given time to keep the viewer interested. I think the real reason it was panned, is that audiences and critics alike were going into this thinking they were going to see the swashbuckling hero that was Indiana Jones or Han Solo and what they got was Deckard, the guy that runs from fights, gets beaten for most of the film, fires on unarmed foes and manhandles women, even going so far as shooting one of them in the back.  That’s all out of context, but it is a dark film. Ford was just as good in this role as he was in the other roles. Rutger Hauer  plays one of the all time idiosynchratic villains as the leader of the Replicant fugitives Or does he? Depends on how you look at it I guess. Ridley Scott as a director clearly has one of the best combinations of storytelling ability and the eyes for visual in the business. Like Kubrick, even his ‘bad’ films are worth seeing. This might be his best, but that’s saying a lot.)

1982 was a great year…


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