RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
Let’s REWIND to the year 1984.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics. You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the Best of ART VS POPCORN.
1984 was filled with some all-time greats in several different genres. More and more big budget blockbusters debuted to a lot of success. The #1 movie at the box office was BEVERLY HILLS COP with $235 million domestically (not adjusted for inflation). Along with all of the fantastic smash hits were a few duds, like the notable disappointment SUPERGIRL.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. THE KARATE KID
The underdog sports hero story told perfectly. Mixing comedy, action, and philosophy, in all the best ways helped this movie stand the test of time. Bonus points for capturing the cheesy charm of the decade.
9. NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND
Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE) helms this imaginative anime masterpiece. Way ahead of its time, this visual feast inspired many artists. This post-apocalyptic, steampunk vibing adventure mixes STAR WARS-like spectacle and action along with a cautionary tale about nature and taking care of the planet.
8. THE NEVERENDING STORY
This big budget family adventure takes itself seriously despite being for young children. Conceptual designs, from characters, to setting, are absolutely fantastic. The compelling narrative follows a young boy reading a book. The story he reads is our movie, until the two worlds begin to merge and he must save the kingdom from his book. Nostalgic? Yes. Magical? Of course.
7. BEVERLY HILLS COP
The biggest movie of the year was also the funniest. Back in ’84, comedies could crack the Top 10 at the box office a lot easier than today… but it also helped to have Eddie Murphy in his R-rated prime coming hot off of SNL. The success of this word-of-mouth smash-hit lead to many imitators blending action and comedy… like Shane Black with LETHAL WEAPON and the DIE HARDS of the era.
Spielberg presents this family tale gone wrong. Creatures run amok in a small snowy town at Christmas. Heart-warming and shocking, this was an odd blend at the time, giving some children nightmares. For me, the mayhem was always fun, and I fell in love with Gizmo.
5. INDIANA JONES & THE TEMPLE OF DOOM
The sequel to LOST ARK hams it up, aiming for campy popcorn fun. Some of it goes a little too goofy. That said, you still get a Spielberg-helmed adventure starring one of the best heroes in cinema history… and I’m talking about the man behind the myth: Harrison Ford.
4. BLOOD SIMPLE
One of the best film noirs ever comes to us from the Coen Brothers, making their stunning debut with this complex thriller that constantly unravels. Like a lot of noirs, a plan of murder goes horribly wrong, one horrifying twist at a time. Frances McDormand (FARGO) leads the way in this stylish ‘page-turner’. This very well could be the best Coen Bros. movie ever… and I’m aware of how huge that statement is. For me, it ranks right up there with FARGO, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and BIG LEBOWSKI. This is also their most cinematic feature to date. The photography, compositions, and lighting are top notch, showing off the true craft of the Coens. Highly recommended despite its non-number one placement.
3. THE TERMINATOR
James Cameron’s low-budget ‘horror’ movie is entirely exciting. The original also blends sci-fi and action into the genre brew. Arnold Schwarzenegger became a bonafide movie star with his role as the villain in this all-time great cult classic. Essentially a chase film, the story never once lets up.
Another genre masher – this time mixing comedy with horror. This incredibly funny scary movie broke through into the mainstream big time. Bill Murray and fellow SNL-er Dan Aykroyd deliver memorable performances, while Rick Moranis tries to steal the show from under them. Amazing special FX for the time, this was blockbuster entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
1. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
The best movie of the year is the one that affected me the most and stayed with me over the years. I have rewatched this numerous times and still get scared. Master horror director Wes Craven (SCREAM) deliberately makes this film work its way under your skin. A super-intriguing premise leads the way, but inventive FX and stylish direction seal the deal. From every angle, ELM STREET is one of the best horror movies ever made. The original is an astounding standout for the genre.
BODY DOUBLE / CONAN THE DESTROYER / DUNE / GREYSTOKE, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN / THE KILLING FIELDS / THE LAST STARFIGHTER / POLICE ACADEMY / RED DAWN / REVENGE OF THE NERDS / THIS IS SPINAL TAP
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
BACHELOR PARTY / BIRDY / BREAKIN’ / CHILDREN OF THE CORN / C.H.U.D. / FIRESTARTER / FOOTLOOSE / FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER / HOT DOG… THE MOVIE / ICEMAN / NIGHT OF THE COMET / PURPLE RAIN / ROMANCING THE STONE / SPLASH / STARMAN / STAR TREK 3: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK / TOP SECRET / THE WOMAN IN RED
notable films i need to watch
1984 / 2010 / THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI / AGAINST ALL ODDS / AMADEUS / THE BOUNTY / DREAMSCAPE / THE NATURAL / ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA / PARIS, TEXAS / A PASSAGE TO INDIA / PLACES IN THE HEART / REPO MAN / SIXTEEN CANDLES / A SOLDIER’S STORY / STRANGER THAN PARADISE
above: BLOOD SIMPLE retro trailer & modern trailer (for new 4k release)
What do you think?
more SUPERGIRL, as per cheeky request
Stay tuned for Rewind & Rank: The 1970s – Part 2.