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Added by Andy Goulding on 7 Sep 2014 03:24
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100 Great 'Fun' 80s Movies

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Here's an interesting fact to start us off. 'The NeverEnding Story', that popular 80s fantasy film, was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, the same man who only years earlier made claustrophobic submarine epic 'Das Boot'. Now there's a stylistic jump! Based on the novel by Michael Ende (who subsequently disowned the film and tried to have his novel's title taken off it) 'The NeverEnding Story' follows Bastian, a boy who is frequently bullied at school. Hiding from his tormentors in a bookshop, Bastian discovers a mysterious book which he takes to the attic of his school and begins reading. The book tells the tale of Atreyu and his quest to find a cure for the sick Empress of Fantasia, a land threatened by a mysterious force called The Nothing. Bastian follows Atreyu's adventures but it soon becomes clear that there is a link between the two of them. 'The NeverEnding Story' is an ambitious adventure that doesn't entirely work but has enough magic and mystery to keep fantasy fans happy. Its structure, linking Bastian with the adventure he is reading rather than just using him as a framing device, is usual and effective and several scenes are genuinely brilliant, particularly the Swamp of Sadness sequence in which Atreyu battles unsuccessfully to save his beloved horse from drowning.
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People who added this item 80 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
Vice Versa (1988)
Part of the barrage of body/age swap comedies that emerged in the 80s (including 'Big', 'Like Father, Like Son', '18 Again' and 'Dream a Little Dream'), 'Vice Versa' was one of the better efforts thanks to a fun script by British sitcom stalwarts Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and a cast of game 80s nearly-stars including the likably boyish Judge Reinhold, the precocious Fred Savage (of 'Wonder Years' fame) and the deliciously tongue-in-cheek Swoosie Kurtz. Based on an 1882 novel by F. Anstey, 'Vice Versa' was actually the fourth filmed adaptation of the source. It follows the adventures of Marshall Seymour, a divorced Vice President of a department store and his son Charlie, who find themselves out of their depths when an idle wish that they could switch places comes true. Reinhold and Savage are very good at playing each other's parts and the script, though silly and occasionally troubling (as with most of these 80s body swap comedies, the topic of sex eventually rears its head), is also genuinely witty at times. When Marshall, trapped in Charlie's body, is forced to return to live with his ex-wife, he comments "This is the woman I couldn't live with as a husband and now I'm going to be her son. It's a Freudian nightmare!"
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People who added this item 509 Average listal rating (374 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, the trio of directors who had such a big hit with 'Airplane!' found themselves struggling to follow it up. Sticking very much to the quick-fire joke style, they put together 'Top Secret!', a funny but loosely held-together spoof of spy movies and Elvis Presley musicals. The directors admitted themselves that 'Top Secret!' was a nightmare to write and a bit of a patchwork job. They had ideas for scenes and gags and then just worked the plot around it, creating a structurally weak film that seems less sure of its targets that the Disaster movie spoofing of 'Airplane!'. But very few people come to a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy looking for coherent plot and 'Top Secret!' is more than carried by its relentless flow of visual and verbal jokes that veer from corny to smutty, sweet to bad taste and silly to surprisingly clever. My favourite of the many, many gags is the moment when two characters argue over who will take the back end of a cow disguise. When one insists on taking the back end, the other throws it at him and says 'Fine! Be an asshole!' If you think that's funny, you'll probably find something to enjoy in this curious little film.
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People who added this item 1091 Average listal rating (718 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
Produced by George Lucas, who has come up with the basic idea as early as 1972, and directed by Ron Howard, 'Willow' is a fun fantasy adventure film that fails on a basic storytelling level but makes up for it with some good set-pieces, strong visual effects and a well-constructed swords-and-sorcery world. I loved 'Willow' when I was a kid so I was surprised on seeing it as an adult by just how baggy and slow it can be. George Lucas may have pre-emptively thumbed his nose at critics by naming some of his villainous characters after them (General Kael after Pauline Kael and the two-headed dragon Sispert after Siskel and Ebert) but such mudslinging could not stamp out their legitimate complaints about the film. That said, 'Willow' is still often a thrilling ride and an easy film to watch in a big group with a few beers and an inclination to simultaneously enjoy and mock what you're watching. Warwick Davis, in his most famous role, is amusingly intense as the heroic Willow and Val Kilmer is preeningly hammy as Madmartigan, his roguish sidekick. Kevin Pollak and Rick Overton provide the grating comic relief as two Brownies, their ever-present antics winning them the Jar Jar Binks award for cringeworthy disposability.
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People who added this item 234 Average listal rating (181 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.5
'Brewster's Millions' was another in a long line of adaptations of the 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon. It follows the story of Monty Brewster, a Minor League Baseball pitcher who receives a video message from dead great-uncle. He offers to leave Brewster his entire fortune of $300 million dollars but only if he takes part in a bizarre challenge in which he must spend $30 million dollars in thirty days. After the 30 days are up, he may not own any assets that are not already his. He must get value for the services of anyone he hires; he also cannot buy anything with the intent to destroy it and he may donate only 5% to charity and lose 5% by gambling. Perhaps the most troublesome clause of all though is that Brewster is not allowed to tell anyone about it, even his best friend Spike, played by the ever-reliable John Candy.

'Brewster's Millions' has always had a pretty dire critical reputation. I admit I haven't seen it in a long time but I've always enjoyed it when I have watched it. It is one of those high concept films that not only gets you talking afterwards but has everyone debating during the film too. "Is he allowed to do that?", "Why doesn't he just..." and "I would..." are all phrases likely to fly about during a home screening of the film, and this enhances the experience. Many of the ways Brewster finds around his little problem are ingenious and Pryor and Candy seem to enjoy themselves in their roles. It's not a classic but 'Brewster's Millions' is well worth a watch when it comes round on TV.
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People who added this item 1091 Average listal rating (646 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Director Herbert Ross was chiefly known during the 70s for a series of Neil Simon comedies and notched up two Best Picture Oscar nominees with the now largely-forgotten 'The Goodbye Girl' and 'The Turning Point'. But his most famous film remains this big block of 80s cheddar. Although it received a critical drubbing at the time and has been the victim of much scoffing since then, few would not find something to enjoy in this corny blast of a film, even if they only did so ironically. Although its plot about a small town in which dancing is banned sounds like a daft premise, it was actually based on a real city in Oklahoma, in which dancing was banned for 100 years. The film begins with Kevin Bacon staging a one man dance routine to the infectious title song by Kenny Loggins, immediately establishing 'Footloose' as a film caught between cinema and music video. Other 80s hits on the soundtrack include Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out for a Hero' and the montage-ready 'Let's Hear It for the Boy' by Deniece Williams. 'Footloose' may be remembered mainly as a sort of jukebox film that pleases 80s nostalgia fiends but the simple story is enjoyable enough and the cast includes a wealth of talent including John Lithgow as the domineering Reverend Shaw Moore, Dianne Wiest as his conflicted wife and Chris Penn and Sarah Jessica Parker in supporting roles. But it is Bacon's show and his energetic dancing and committed thesping in the middle of all the 80s silliness is laudable, memorable and hilarious.
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Co-directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, 'The Dark Crystal' was a notably darker proposition than their previous Muppet-based work. Billed as the first live action film to feature no human beings at all, 'The Dark Crystal' is a fantasy adventure that lives up to its adjective. Many parents were concerned about its scariness and 'The Dark Crystal' also suffers from a lack of good storytelling, emerging as an underwritten tale drenched in mythology but with little elaboration on its ideas. It follows two Gelflings on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal which gives the evil Skeksis their power and thus restore balance to the universe. But if the flabby story weighs it down, 'The Dark Crystal' soars on a purely visual level. The puppets and settings are absolutely terrific and immerse you in this troubling world completely. The puppeteering, as you'd expect from a Jim Henson production, is top drawer, with the creepy birdlike skeksis emerging as particularly effective in their grotesque manifestations. For its visual achievements alone then, 'The Dark Crystal' secures its place on this list, although if it had only had a story to match its imagery it would have been a lot higher up.
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'Little Shop of Horrors' was a hit comedy-horror rock musical based on the off-Broadway adaptation of Roger Corman's low budget 1960 comedy about Seymour, an assistant at a flower shop in a New York slum who nurtures a strange, small plant into a huge, gaping-mouthed killing machine by feeding it on blood. This big, camp production, directed by Frank Oz, is a bad-taste blast which could have been all the better had it been allowed to retain its now legendary original ending, in which the vicious plants kill all the main cast and take over the city. The final image is of the plants easily withstanding a hail of bullets from the army as they scale the statue of liberty, at which point a giant plant bursts through the screen to eat the audience. This dark, downbeat but blackly funny finale is entirely in keeping with the tone of the film but the rushed happy ending that Oz was forced to tack on after the original ending tested poorly with audiences ends up hurting the film considerably, leaving the audience with a sense of limp whimsy instead of the anarchy that the preceding film demands.

Purposefully presented in a very stagey way, 'Little Shop of Horrors' is a lot of fun despite its eleventh-hour compromise. 80s go-to-nerd Rick Moranis manages to carry the lead role convincing and while Ellen Greene is supremely annoying in a tongue-slit-right-through-the-cheek performance as romantic interest Audrey, this is compensated for by a range of great cameos by star comedians of the era. Steve Martin is fun as a sadistic dentist, John Candy delivers his usual cheery performance as an enthusiastic radio presenter, Christopher Guest, as an optimistic customer, proves that excessively tongue-in-cheek doesn't have to be teeth-grindingly irritating and Bill Murray steals his one scene as Arthur Denton, a masochistic dental patient (a role played by a very young Jack Nicholson in the original 1960 film). But undoubtedly the best performance stems from the ingenious casting of Levi Stubbs as Audrey II the man-eating plant. Stubbs voices this creation with furious energy, particularly in the musical number, of which his climactic 'Mean Green Mother From Outer Space' is the best.
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People who added this item 1877 Average listal rating (1197 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' director Tobe Hooper, 'Poltergeist' combines the two men's sensibilities to create a sort of adventure-horror film that remains enormously popular even if its slightly muted scares seem tame next to the more extreme shocks of John Carpenter and Wes Craven. The story of a young family's house being invaded by a ghostly apparition, 'Poltergeist' managed to secure itself a PG rating in the US, earning it the reputation of the scariest PG film ever. With its disintegrating faces, evil clowns and (reportedly real) human skeletons, 'Poltergeist' had plenty to keep horror fans happy even if its spooky tone does occasionally seem compromised in the hope of gaining a wider audience, an ironic detail in the face of its apparent satirical swipes at consumerist culture.
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Heavily influenced by Jack Arnold's brilliant 50s sci-fi 'The Incredible Shrinking Man', in which a man who has been shrunk by a mysterious fog must try and make his way across his own basement, battling giant spiders and humungous droplets of water, 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' swaps 'The Incredible Shrinking Man's serious, philosophical tone for a lively, family-friendly adventure vibe with a heavy dose of goofy comedy. Expanding on the premise of its influence, 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' sees scientist Rick Moranis accidentally shrinking his children and his neighbour's kids and drops them at the bottom of the garden, giving them a much wider, wilder area to cover with the potential for more encounters with a larger number of insects and deadly obstacles like lawn mowers to contend with. Casting children in the lead roles allows the film to tap into the popular themes of teen angst and rites of passage into young adulthood which litter so many 80s films, while Rick Moranis's frantic, hammy 80s charms are exploited to good effect as he searches desperately for the children he has inadvertently miniaturised. 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' was followed by two sequels, the feeble 'Honey, I Blew Up the Kid' and the straight to video 'Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves', as well as a popular interactive attraction at Disney World's Epcot, 'Honey, We Shrunk the Audience'. Moranis was the only cast member to appear in all incarnations of the franchise, with 'Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves' being his last appearance in a live-action film before he left acting to focus on being a single parent after the tragic death of his wife from breast cancer in 1991.
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People who added this item 866 Average listal rating (564 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
John Hughes's penultimate film as director, 'Uncle Buck' was his second successful collaboration with John Candy and his second film as director to not focus primarily on teenage characters. A simple tale of an irresponsible uncle who is lumbered with looking after his brother's children, 'Uncle Buck' is probably the role for which Candy is best remembered and he inhabits it entirely. Although most well-known for boisterous comedy, Candy also did a very nice line in pathos which is evident here in scenes where he finds himself folded off his family's wedding photos. The comedy alternates between warm and sweet, as Buck develops a relationship with the young kids Maizy and Miles (Gaby Hoffman and Macauley Culkin, on the cusp of 'Home Alone' superstardom) and genuinely alarming as Buck's ongoing war with teenager Tia's pushy suitor oversteps the comedy mark a little! 'Uncle Buck' hits a few sour comedy notes, particularly in a mean-spirited scene in which Buck confronts a teacher and a moment when he essentially kidnaps a teenage boy in the boot of his car, but generally its a fun, easy watch largely thanks to the consistently entertaining talents of Candy.
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Frank Oz's first non-puppet based directorial credit was for this impressively slick little comedy about a pair of con-artists competing to scam an American heiress out of $50,000. Steve Martin and Michael Caine make a surprisingly effective comedy duo as the anti-heroes Lawrence and Freddy and certainly appear to be having a lot of fun in the roles. Based on a little know 1964 comedy called 'Bedtime Story' which starred David Niven and Marlon Brando, 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is extremely predictable in its major plot twists but the plot is secondary to the comic set-pieces strewn along the way. Chief among these is the early scam in which Caine and Martin work together, casting Martin as Caine's idiot monkey-boy brother Ruprecht ("Don't take the cork off the fork"), who is used to scare off rich women once Caine has acquired their money. It may sound in questionable taste, as does the idea of Martin posing as a psychosomatically disabled Naval officer, but 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is so sprightly and good-natured even as it portrays unpleasant characters that such worries are quickly swept away.
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People who added this item 826 Average listal rating (554 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
The directorial debut of Harold Ramis, who would soon become world-famous as Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, 'Caddyshack' is one of the better entries into the loose series of crude comedies that ran through the late 70s and early 80s. Ramis had cut his teeth as one of the writers of the legendarily crude 'National Lampoon's Animal House', a college comedy hit which now seems a little too mean-spirited, misogynist and racist to raise any real laughs. But with 'Caddyshack' Ramis took the directorial reins and was able to create a less offensive, if still extremely crude, film. The reason it works so well is the cast Ramis has assembled features the cream of comedy talent from the era. Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield all shine in lead roles which largely see them given free reign to go off and do their shtick. There is little plot to speak of here. Originally, the main focus was on the young caddies whose clichéd romantic entanglements seem to be taking the film in a more predictable direction. But Ramis quickly took the film in another direction, throwing the spotlight on his comedy supporting cast who quickly got promoted to leads.

Chevy Chase does his offbeat cool guy routine as club professional Ty Webb, a wisecracking member of the Bushwood Country Club; Rodney Dangerfield keeps the one-liners coming as a vulgar millionaire whose slobbish behaviour upsets the other members; but it is Bill Murray as green-keeper Carl Spackler who really steals the show. In sharp contrast with the fast-talking wise-guy roles that made him famous, here Murray is playing an incredibly dense character whose obsession with ridding the course of gophers is semi-psychotic. Nearly all of Murray's dialogue was improvised, with Chase and Dangerfield also creating an improvisatory atmosphere that did not sit well with co-star Ted Knight (who nevertheless does very well in the straight guy role, with an unforgettable thunderstorm golf round scene). The funniest scene of the whole film, in which Ty hits his golf ball into Spackler's home, was added at the last minute when Ramis realised he didn't have any scenes featuring Chase and Murray together. This proved to be the only time the two appeared together on the cinema screen but it's worth seeing the film for alone.
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People who added this item 714 Average listal rating (484 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
John Badham's 'WarGames' is a thriller with a fantastic concept: a teenage computer hacker (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into an automated missile launch control centre and nearly starts World War 3 in the mistaken belief that he is playing computer games. 'WarGames' came out when home computers were still a genuine wonder and the kid with the ZX Spectrum was the most popular kid in the neighbourhood. Films like 'WarGames' fed our young fascination with this new technology and now they provide a nostalgic look back at the endearingly primitive early computers that once held the world spellbound. 'WarGames' great concept didn't go unnoticed, garnering lots of critical acclaim and even bagging an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay.
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Barry Levinson's 'Good Morning, Vietnam' is perhaps not as brilliant a film as its legendary reputation would imply but it is an enjoyable, energetic burst of irreverent comedy/drama that hinges on Robin William's excellent, improv-heavy performance that earned him the first of his four Oscar nominations. Also on the film's side is a brilliant soundtrack of 50s and 60s hits, interspersed with Williams' quickfire comic DJ routines. The premise of an irreverent DJ who angers his superiors with his unorthodox methods effectively became a template for many other inferior Williams films like 'Dead Poet's Society' and 'Patch Adams', both of which focus on an unconventional rebel whose effective methods clash with the established status quo. Unlike those films, 'Good Morning, Vietnam' manages to avoid sentimentality and its dramatic plot strands are actually quite effective. A baggy plot makes 'Good Morning Vietnam' the worst of Barry Levinson's six films of the 80s but considering how brilliant those other films were, this is not as harsh a criticism as it sounds.
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People who added this item 188 Average listal rating (113 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Corey Feldman and Corey Haim were two of the most popular actors of the 80s but, in truth, their frequent collaborations usually resulted in fairly dire films. The pair were much better when they appeared separately, as Haim's great performance in the unassuming high school film 'Lucas' attests. 'Lucas' is the story of a young boy who is seen as an oddball, who meets and falls in love with the new girl Maggie. The frequent victim of bullies, Lucas is desperate to earn respect and the affections of the uninterested Maggie, which drives him towards an ill-advised foray into football. Also starring a young Charlie Sheen as Lucas's protector Cappie, 'Lucas' is a sweet, melancholy tale which sidesteps many of the clichés and cheap laughs of the High School sub-genre to present a well-told tragi-comic story. Haim, in keeping with the low-key atmosphere, delivers his best and most subtle performance. making 'Lucas' a sweet-natured rarity worth seeking out. Roger Ebert agreed, putting 'Lucas' in his top ten films of 1986.
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People who added this item 1346 Average listal rating (876 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
'Crocodile Dundee' was a successful attempt at making an Australian film with mainstream appeal to a worldwide audience. It ended up surpassing its own intentions, becoming a huge phenomenon and the second highest grossing film of its year in America after 'Top Gun'. A cheerful adventure comedy, 'Crocodile Dundee' stars and was co-written by Australian comedian Paul Hogan, whose legendary turn as bushman Mick Dundee gives the film much of its appeal. Linda Kozlowski, soon to become Hogan's wife in real life (though the couple have since split up), plays reporter Sue Charlton who travels to Australia to write a story on Mick Dundee, a bushman famous for his crocodile fighting exploits. Having been exposed to Dundee's unique charms and unconventional approach to life, Charlton begins to fall for him and invites him back to America to continue working on the story. Here, Dundee continues to live in the ways he is accustomed to, which clash awkwardly with an urban American setting. In many ways, 'Crocodile Dundee' evokes classic American comedies of the 40s and 50s with its episodic, neatly plotted comic set-pieces and its fish-out-of-water scenario. This comparison may not have been lost on the Academy, who nominated 'Crocodile Dundee's screenplay for an Oscar. Watching its cheerfully cheesy comic interplay today, this may retrospectively seem like an overreaction but there's much to enjoy, including its overwhelmingly schmaltzy but fist-in-the-air satisfying subway station climax and the "Call that a knife" sequence that is beloved of everyone over a certain age.
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People who added this item 1317 Average listal rating (824 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
An early hit for director Ron Howard and the first film to be released under Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner for films deemed too adult for the wholesome Walt Disney Pictures label (the film has some swearing and brief nudity), 'Splash' is a romantic fantasy-comedy about a man who meets and falls in love with the mermaid who saved him from drowning as a child. Tom Hanks gives another great 80s comedy performance as Allen Bauer while Daryl Hannah is also memorable as the mermaid Madison, who is able to masquerade as a human provided she doesn't get her legs wet. Strong comedy support comes from John Candy as Allen's womanizing older brother and Eugene Levy as an obsessive scientist determined to expose Madison's secret. The charming screenplay managed to bag itself an Oscar nomination.
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People who added this item 427 Average listal rating (293 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
Developed from an idea originally intended for an episode of Steven Spielberg's TV series 'Amazing Stories', 'Batteries Not Included' was built up into a feature film when Spielberg liked the idea and stepped in to executive produce it. The film also marks the film debut of writer Brad Bird, who went on to direct such classic animations as 'The Iron Giant', 'The Incredibles' and 'Ratatouille'. Although it utilises a fairly typical template for sentimental feelgood 80s sci-fi, 'Batteries Not Included' retains the low-key charms of its small-screen origin, with the family of spaceships that constitute its main attraction actually playing secondary narrative fiddle to the touching story of an elderly couple resisting the threats of a property developer who wants to replace their small apartment block café with a larger development and is willing to employ hoodlums to 'persuade' them. Screen veterans Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy are great as the couple, with Tandy portraying a tragic slide into senility with her usual easy grace. Michael Carmine as Carlos, the head of the hoodlums, is also very good and his narrative arc is one of the most surprising and moving. This solid emotional base allows the wonderful sci-fi element of the family of helpful spaceships who fix things to shine all the more and the emotional engagement the film establishes makes it all the more satisfying as the bad guys watch in disbelief as the damage they cause is repeatedly repaired inexplicably quickly.
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People who added this item 1660 Average listal rating (1061 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Joel Schumacher's 'The Lost Boys' was one of the most popular vampire films of the 80s. While it is not as good a film as Kathryn Bigelow's fantastic 'Near Dark' from the same year, 'The Lost Boys' combines the vampiric fetishism with teen film tropes and goofy comedy to emerge as the broader fun alternative. Following the story of two brothers who move to a California beach community with their mother, only to find the place is crawling with teenage vampires, 'The Lost Boys' is the one decent film to feature both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim together. In terms of story, there really isn't much to speak of here and the cynically sexy flash of the vampire scenes recalls the sickening yuppie antics of Schumacher's previous 'St. Elmo's Fire' (a film too smug to win a place even on this list!) but the film is balanced by a knowing comedic strand which is much stronger than anything else in the film, which coupled with the great visual effects makes it an eminently watchable experience. The ending, which sees the film close with a big, unexpected laugh, is the best thing in the film by some distance.
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Wes Craven's 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' remains on of the most iconic horror films of all time and its inventive plotting and the brilliant central creation of Freddy Krueger ensured that it became both a critical and commercial success. The film follows the story of a group of teenagers who are terrorised in their dreams by the disfigured, stripy-jumpered Krueger. As they are picked off one by one, the remaining targeted kids try to stay awake long enough to work out a way out of the situation. Nightmares have been thoroughly explored in many horror films but the idea of making the necessary daily activity of sleeping a threat in and of itself is great; a sort of biological equivalent of the encroaching night-time that so commonly unleashes evil in horror films. Krueger, as brilliantly played by Robert Englund, has become one of horror's greatest icons and the film went on to spawn many popular sequels and a 2010 remake. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' also famously features a young Johnny Depp, whose lack of anything approaching the acting ability he would develop may be the scariest thing in the whole film!
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People who added this item 309 Average listal rating (224 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Fletch (1985)
Loosely based on the series of novels by Gregory McDonald, Michael Ritchie's 'Fletch' proved to be an ideal star vehicle for Chevy Chase, who has since named this as his favourite role. Irwin Fletcher is a journalist who specialises in going undercover to write articles under the pseudonym Jane Doe. While living the life of a bum on an LA beach in order to write an article about the drug trade, Fletch is offered an unusual proposition by a rich businessman with cancer. He wants Fletch to shoot him and make it look like a burglary so that his wife will get the insurance money. For this service, Fletch will receive $50,000. In the process of investigating the offer, Fletch dons a number of different disguises and uncovers some unpleasant connections. 'Fletch' is one of the pinnacles of a certain type of laid-back, wise-guy comedy. The gag count is high and, as you'd expect with this sort of film, not everything works. But the pace is so brisk that when a joke falls flat there are two more on the way that you might like. Ritchie apparently shot two takes of each scene, one in which the script had to be closely adhered to and one in which Chase was let off the leash to improvise as much as he liked. In his smirking, sardonic performance, Chase carries the film. Also notable is a synthesiser score by Harold Faltermeyer, fresh from his hit with 'Axel F' for the 'Beverly Hills Cop' soundtrack the previous year.
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People who added this item 2424 Average listal rating (1728 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Although I've never been a massive fan of action movies, I also enjoy a well made one as much as the next person. 'Predator', the second film of director John McTiernan, is a great example of the genre, combining the gripping suspense of 'Alien' with the pulse-pounding action of 'The Terminator' to create a film that both holds the attention and delivers the big payoffs. Arnold Schwartzeneger steps up to the plate in one of his tailor-made macho roles as Dutch, the head of a commando unit tasked with rescuing an official held hostage in a remote South American jungle. Carl Weathers, fresh from his role as Apollo Creed in the 'Rocky' franchise (which was a major influence on 'Predator'), is the agent assigned to supervise. From hereon in there is little real plot but plenty of running, jumping, shooting and bleeding ('ain't got time to bleed!') as members of the team are picked off by the titular creature. Originally, the script called for just Schwartzeneger to take on the Predator but it was wisely worked up into a bigger scenario, building to an intense one-on-one battle. 'Predator' did not receive good reviews on release but it soon built up a reputation as one of the best action films of the 80s.
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People who added this item 454 Average listal rating (277 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Radio Days (1987)
One of Woody Allen's lightest and most purely-enjoyable films, 'Radio Days' is a nostalgic series of vignettes about a large Jewish family each of which is linked to the radio shows and songs of the 30s and 40s and interspersed with stories about several fictional radio celebrities of the era. Although the stories are largely comedic, there is an underlying melancholy to much of the material as well which makes 'Radio Days' all the richer. Allen mixes family memories with skits inspired by far-fetched gossip and exaggerations. The episodic structure and multiple narrative angles make 'Radio Days' constantly suprising, amusing and enjoyable. It remains one of the easiest to love of all Allen's films.
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I'll probably take a lot of flack for confining 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' to such a lowly place on the list when many would put it in their top ten. Were we ranking these films for their fun qualities alone, this would be higher, but I'm taking into account how much I like the film too and I've always found 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' to be considerably overrated. A sunny, funny film about a kid who decides to take a day off school with his girlfriend and best friend and enjoy the pleasures that downtown Chicago has to offer, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' is a wish-fulfilment fantasy about the best day off school ever. Directed and written by teen-movie icon John Hughes, the film moves at a fast pace but much of its comedy, particularly the slapstick scenes of the suspicious Dean Rooney trying to hunt Ferris down, falls flat and the final implication that Ferris has orchestrated everything that happens in the film is utterly unconvincing, as is his girlfriend's drippy declaration "He's gonna marry me". That said, as is the case with most teen movies, if you immerse yourself in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' it will take you for a good ride, even if Matthew Broderick's iconic Ferris is probably more obnoxious than you remember!
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People who added this item 333 Average listal rating (233 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.9
Although it was a critical and commercial flop, 'I've always loved Tom Mankiewicz's 'Dragnet', the spoof of/homage to the 50s cop show of the same name. Mankiewicz, the son of the legendary Joseph L. Mankiewicz who wrote and directed classic films such as 'All About Eve' and 'A Letter to Three Wives', does not attempt to live up to his father's verbose legacy, instead throwing himself headlong into a joyously silly parody. Daft but largely clinging to a form of reality eschewed by the classic spoofs of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker's 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun!', 'Dragnet' gives us characters to root for and identify with while never immersing us in a completely coherent story. This matters little, however, as all we're looking for here is a simple good-guys-get-the-bad-guys plot with lots of laughs. Very occasionally lapsing into bad taste (particularly a scene involving an interogatees testicles and a desk drawer), 'Dragnet' largely stays family friendly, fast-paced and fun. Dan Akroyd hams it up enjoyably as straight-laced lead Joe Friday and Tom Hanks is a revelation as Streebeck, the laid-back cool guy partner who initially clashes with Friday but eventually... well, you know how these plots go! For anyone who never thought of Hanks as a comedy actor after his 90s conversion to worthy epic dramas, 'Dragnet' displays his considerable comedic abilities brilliantly. Endlessly rewatchable, 'Dragnet' also features one of my favourite movie endings which, in retrospect you should see coming a mile away but which ends the film on a huge belly-laugh.
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Robert Zemeckis scored his first commercial hit with 'Romancing the Stone', a great comedy adventure parody of overblown romance novels in which Kathleen Turner plays Joan Wilder, a writer of such novels whose romantic standards have been raised too high by her fondness for her own romantic heroes. But when her sister is kidnapped and she is forced to travel to Colombia to rescue her, Joan finds herself in the middle of a situation not unlike her overblown fictions, except the real life equivalent of her dashing protagonists, Jack Colton, is not as ideal as she envisaged. With its Colombian jungle setting, tongue-in-cheek treasure-hunting adventure and slapstick bad guy (who else but Danny DeVito?!), 'Romancing the Stone' is fast-paced 80s fun all the way. Its success allowed Zemeckis to make 'Back to the Future' as his next film, which alone justifies its existence.
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Stephen Herek's 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' is a fondly remembered sci-fi comedy that quickly became a cult hit. Although there is much that marks it out as an 80s film (including one grossly misjudged moment of homophobia), 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' has much in common with the slacker comedies of the early 90s, with phrases like 'bodacious', 'bogus' and 'party on' carrying over into other cultural phenomena like 'Wayne's World'. Following the adventures of two underachieving school kids who need to get an A+ on their History report in order to pass the class and avoid Ted being sent off to military academy by his overbearing father. This would result in their fledgling band, Wyld Stallyns, being broken up and this is unacceptable to Rufus, a mysterious stranger from the future where Wild Stallyns music has helped bring about peace. So Rufus sets Bill and Ted off on a journey through history in a time-travelling phone booth in order to collect historical figures to help them with their report. It's all extremely silly, goofy fun, with Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves having a blast in the title roles (it's still one of the few films I can enjoy watching Keanu Reeves in) and comedian George Carlin giving a memorably placid performance as the chilled out guardian Rufus. The follow-up, 'Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey' was that rarest of things, a sequel that was even better than the original.
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People who added this item 1157 Average listal rating (768 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
The original run of Superman films have been forgiven a lot over the years thanks to their purely enjoyable quality and, while I do enjoy watching them, I'd say that 'Superman II' is the only one of the series that genuinely approaches being a 'good' film. 'Superman II' had a legendarily troubled production, with directorial duties switching from Richard Donner to Richard Lester, both of whose footage appears in the film. The plot this time round focuses on the arrival on Earth of three Krypton villains who only Superman can stop. Unfortunately, having taken Lois Lane to the Fortress of Solitude, Superman has shed his powers by exposing himself to red Kryptonian sunlight in a crystal chamber, in order to become human and have a relationship with his one true love. With Lex Luther looking to join forces with the trio of Kryptonians, how will Superman save the Earth? Better plotted and with a less ridiculous ending that the first film (although it does throw in a last minute memory-erasing kiss that doesn't seem to play by the rules), 'Superman II' is a better film all round, with Terence Stamp's villainous General Zod proving to be a memorable villain and Gene Hackman's cocky Lex Luther proving more fun when largely freed from the irritating comedy henchman Otis (Ned Beatty).
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People who added this item 4987 Average listal rating (3326 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Tim Burton himself has looked back on 'Batman' as "more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie" but Burton's third film remains an impressive piece of work, even if the visuals trump the story considerably. Although he upset comic book fans by tinkering with some of the mythology, Burton also delivered the first screen Batman to approach the darkness of the actual comic books. Wisely removing Robin altogether, Burton instead chose to focus heavily on the hero himself and his nemesis, The Joker. In an inspired piece of casting, Jack Nicholson took the villain's role, allowing him to ham it up gloriously and walk away with the film unchallenged. The controversial casting of Michael Keaton as Batman paid off, with the actor nailing the character's stony-faced stoicism. While they have now been undoubtedly surpassed by Chris Nolan's brilliant trilogy on 21st century Batman films, the original Burton films (he also directed the even better sequel 'Batman Returns') opened doors for superhero films to be darker and more adult, as well as inspiring the exquisite 'Batman: The Animated Series', which did the same for TV cartoons.
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People who added this item 1027 Average listal rating (617 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Written by John Hughes but directed by Howard Deutsch, 'Pretty in Pink' was one of the most popular films in a clutch of 80s hits starring members of a group of young actors who became known as 'The Brat Pack'. Hughes worked closely with the Brat Pack, writing or directing several of the better films they appeared in. 'Pretty in Pink' stars Pack regulars Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, as well as Jon Cryer and James Spader in early roles. It follows the story of a school in which there is a significant rich/poor divide (although the poor seem to be defined by the crippling inconvenience of having worse cars). When Andie Walsh (Ringwald) meets and begins to fall for rich kid Blane McDonough (McCarthy), it seems they might bridge the class divide. But pressure from Blane's friends and the obsessive attentions of Andie's best friend and unrequited admirer Duckie (Cryer) may thwart their budding romance.

It's standard romantic comedy-drama plotting but 'Pretty in Pink' is marked out for special attention by several strong elements. One is the performance of Jon Cryer as Duckie, an oddball eccentric who longs for Andie, who audiences generally fall for and want to see end up getting the girl. This was apparently the original intention but test audiences reportedly objected and the ending was reshot with Duckie stepping aside to allow Andie and Blane to get together. Although this is an unsatisfying ending given Blane's utter spinelessness as a leading man, the backlash against 'Pretty in Pink' for following movie clichés ignores the fact that had Andie ended up with Duckie, the message of the film would have essentially been 'stick to your own social class and don't try and branch out, it'll lead to heartbreak'.

If the weak plotting of the central romance ultimately made 'Pretty in Pink' a no-win situation in regard to its possible endings, there is fortunately plenty to make up for this. Aside from the aforementioned performance of Cryer, there is also a genuinely heartfelt and moving subplot involving the brilliant Harry Dean Stanton as Andie's father, a man who is struggling to pick up the pieces of his broken marriage. It's one of the most emotionally convincing plotlines in a Brat Pack film and gives the lightweight high-school antics more weight. Also on 'Pretty in Pink's side is a brilliant soundtrack, frequently acknowledged as one of the best of the 80s. It includes the Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Rave-Ups (who appear in the film performing tracks from their 'Town + Country' album, although sadly these tracks did not make it onto the accompanying soundtrack album). Echo and the Bunnymen reportedly wrote their single 'Bring On the Dancing Horses' specifically for 'Pretty in Pink', which is enough reason alone for the film to exist.
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Mike Nichols' 'Working Girl' is a charming romantic comedy-drama which I only have one problem with... but it's a big problem. I can't stand Melanie Griffith. This is a considerable problem since Griffith is in pretty much every scene of the film and her breathy, ain't-I-cute performance grates on me, which probably accounts for this excellent film being so far down the list. Haughtily and chauvinistically dismissed by some as a "woman's picture", 'Working Girl' is a refreshing look at the world of business from a female point of view. Male star Harrison Ford does ok but he feels like mere window-dressing alongside his Oscar-nominated female co-stars Sigourney Weaver as the manipulative bitch of a boss and the wonderful Joan Cusack in the film's funniest turn as Griffith's best friend. This uplifting film was nominated for Best Picture Oscar in a particularly weak year, although it ended up losing out to 'Rain Man'. Even with my dislike of Griffith's performance, that final scene in which the jaded assistant realises her new boss is going to be a joy to work for is still one of my favourites, perhaps because of my own intermittent experiences with horrendous bosses.
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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Tin Men (1987)
Probably the least well-known of Barry Levinson's six great films of the 80s, 'Tin Men' is a great low-key comedy about aluminium siding salesmen in 1963 Baltimore. Although it may not sound like the most exciting subject, 'Tin Men' is superb in its period detail, its comic dialogue and its central performances by Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss who play a pair of obnoxious salesmen who become locked in a battle over a minor traffic accident, which escalates to the point that one of their wives becomes a pawn in their game. The two men are brilliantly repugnant and Barbara Hershey gives a deeply sympathetic and fine performance as the wife. A lost gem of the 80s, this would probably be a lot higher on my list were we not ranking by both quality and fun. 'Tin Men' is a lot of fun but in a comparatively understated way, so it must make do with a respectable placing at number 69.
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Amy Heckerling's 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', based on a screenplay by Cameron Crowe, is a sort of X-rated take on the teen movie that John Hughes would soon come to dominate for the rest of the decade. That said, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' is not the cheap, smutty comedy that that idea might suggest. Critic Roger Ebert called it a "scuz-pit of a movie", surprising considering he championed the far more offensive 'National Lampoon's Animal House'. 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' focuses on the burgeoning sexuality of a young Jennifer Jason Leigh, whose coaching by the older and more experienced Phoebe Cates leads to the unflinchingly graphic dialogue that Ebert most objected to but which seems fairly tame by today's standards. Jason Leigh's plot is actually dealt with as a comedy-drama and doesn't lapse into the cess-pit of vulgarity you'd find in something like 'Porky's'. 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' also has several purely comedic sub-plots starring young stars in early roles. The most famous among these features Sean Penn as the perpetually stoned Jeff Spicoli, one of the 80s great cult icons and a precursor to all sorts of more normalised movie 'dudes'! His ongoing battle with teacher Mr. Hand is full of great quotes and moments. Also great is young Judge Reinhold as Jason Leigh's older brother who is working a string of unrewarding jobs in an attempt to pay off his car. His swimming pool fantasy of a topless Phoebe Cates is perhaps the film's most iconic moment, exploitative as it undoubtedly feels now.
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People who added this item 689 Average listal rating (471 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
John Badham's 'Short Circuit' is one of the better family sci-fi films that came out in the wake of 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial'. Though it is riddled with flaws, 'Short Circuit' is such fun that it manages to paper over its numerous cracks with a driving, light-hearted energy. Chief among its pluses are the central character, Number 5 the robot, who greatly upstages his human co-stars. When Number 5, the fifth in a series of robots invented for peaceful means but appropriated by the military, is struck by lightning he suddenly acquires a human consciousness and strays from the military base to seek input. Bratpacker Ally Sheedy plays the sympathetic woman who takes Number 5 in to her home, Steve Guttenberg and Fisher Stevens are the inventors behind the robots and G.W. Bailey (of 'Police Academy' fame) is the gung-ho Captain trying desperately to get Number 5 back and reprogram him as a warbot. The film spawned several catchphrases, including "Input!" and "Number 5... is alive!" It also features the song 'Who's Johnny' by El Debarge, from which Number 5 rechristens himself. For all its family friendly warmth, 'Short Circuit' is also remembered for the spectacularly misjudged casting of Fisher Stevens as the Indian scientist Ben Jabituya. According to Stevens, in order to play the role he had to "grow a beard, dye his hair black, darken his skin with makeup, turn his blue eyes brown with contact lenses, speak with an East Indian accent and "walk hunched over like a cricket player." Considering the amount of effort that went into creating this head-wobbling stereotype, it's a wonder no-one at any point said "Hang on, this seems a bit wrong doesn't it?"
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People who added this item 930 Average listal rating (621 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7
Richard Donner's 'Scrooged' is an updated take on Charles Dickens' classic Christmas story 'A Christmas Carol' in which Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a ruthless TV programming executive who thinks nothing of firing an employee on Christmas Eve and sees the death of an elderly viewer as great publicity. Cross is about to change his tune though, as he is visited by three ghosts who show him his past, present and future in order to change his outlook on life. It's a classic tale that has been told many times and 'Scrooged', despite its flaws, is a lot of fun and has several new twists on the tale. One of the best plot wrinkles is the fact that Frank's TV station is staging a live version of 'A Christmas Carol', allowing the film to switch between traditional Dickensian sets and modern equivalents. Murray is very funny as Frank, particularly when he's at his nastiest, while David Johansen (of New York Dolls) is unforgettable as the cigar-smoking, cab-driving Ghost of Christmas Past and Carol Kane absolutely steals the show as the Ghost of Christmas Present, a psychotically violent fairy ("The bitch hit me with a toaster!"). Apparently 'Scrooged' was not a happy experience for its director or star, who clashed frequently over the script and neither of whom ended up happy with the result. Fortunately the same can't be said of viewers, who have made 'Scrooged' a Christmas staple in the TV listings.
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The comedy team of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker had made a short-lived TV series in the early 80s called 'Police Squad', which starred Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin, a bumbling police officer picking his way through criminal cases littered with the directors' trademark one-liners and absurdist sight-gags. For some reason this wonderful series was never a hit but when it was revived in 1988 for a big screen version the premise suddenly took off, with 'The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad' becoming one of the biggest comedies of its year and spawning two further sequels. If you've seen other Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker films then you probably know what to expect here, although the hit-ratio for gags is higher than in their earlier 'Top Secret', with a more coherent, though largely superfluous plot helping to retain a greater focus. Neilsen was so brilliantly deadpan in the role of Drebin that this formerly serious actor became known primarily for comedic spoofs. The presence of OJ Simpson in a supporting role dates the film, although Simpson managed to appear in both sequels before his infamous trial ended his budding acting career.
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John Landis's 'Trading Places' has acquired quite a reputation over the years, with its role-switching plot often being compared with Mark Twain's 'The Prince and the Pauper' and Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro', its comedic style being compared with Frank Capra and Preston Sturges and its continued influence leading to new regulations on the financial markets known as 'the Eddie Murphy Rule', which dealt with insider trading. Not bad for a film that also features gratuitous nudity, an unnecessary blacking-up sequence and a joke about a man being raped by a gorilla!

If not all elements of 'Trading Places' have aged as well as you might remember, overall the film is a well-plotted, paced and acted treat. Dan Akroyd is amusingly pompous as upper class commodities broker Louis Winthorpe who becomes the subject of a cruel bet to destroy his life and put a homeless conman in his place. While his initial overacting is apparent, Akroyd makes Louis's fall from grace dramatically as well as comedically compelling, with his eventual suicide attempt one of the most memorable tragi-comic moments of the 80s. Murphy, in only his second screen role, immediately shows his natural talent as hustler Billy Ray Valentine who suddenly finds himself thrust into a life of luxury. Screen veterans Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche are also well-cast as the cruel puppet-masters behind the switch and Denholm Elliot is also amusing as Akryord/Murphy's butler Coleman but the film's top acting honours go to Jamie Lee Curtis who is superb as the prostitute hired to further Louis's dire situation but who ultimately takes him into her home. Her topless scene is often talked about at the expense of her great performance, which is a shame. While it threatens to fall apart in a dire scene in its third act (which, tellingly, features Jim Belushi), 'Trading Places' ultimately puts this narrative slip behind it for a satisfying table-turning finale.
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Frank Oz's first foray into solo-directing (having co-directed 'The Dark Crystal' with Jim Henson) was the third in the original classic trilogy of Muppet films. While not quite improving on 'The Muppet Movie' (few family films ever have), 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' was better than its predecessor 'The Great Muppet Caper'. Co-written by the writers of that film, Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses, the original script was rejected by Frank Oz for being 'over-jokey'. Oz stepped in to oversee the rewrites, putting the heart back into the film and showing an intuitive recognition of the importance of character and story alongside gags which is often missing in children's films. 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' sees the Muppets attempting to make a Broadway hit of their new show but falling foul of a conman. Failing to whip up any interest from other producers, the Muppets are forced to go their separate ways and get jobs in order to survive. The script's premise is a pastiche of many previous stories about the struggle to put on a big show but the Muppet spin on this feelgood premise, coupled with Oz's deft, reliable hand, 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' emerges as a hugely enjoyable treat.
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'Grease' director Randall Kleiser's children's sci-fi adventure 'Flight of the Navigator' is one of those 80s films that most people have seen, many people love but is rarely ranked amongst the classics. The reason for this may be that the film sets up an intriguing series of plot strands only to turn into what basically amounts to a joyride in a spaceship. But then again, there are very few kids of the 80s who would have said no to a joyride in a spaceship. Like all sci-fi family films of the 80s, 'Flight of the Navigator' lives in the shadow of 'E.T.' and 'Star Wars' and looks considerably more dated than either of those films now but with fine effects, puppet monsters and a smart-aleck computer called Max, the film should fulfil the demands of most kids craving adventure. Cheesy, light and funny, 'Flight of the Navigator' is great company on a Sunday afternoon.
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People who added this item 1253 Average listal rating (865 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
'Rocky III' could be called the moment that Sylvester Stallone's 'Rocky' series starts to get silly. It is also the moment when it starts to get really fun! The first 'Rocky' film was a phenomenon but its surprising just how downbeat and gritty it is when you revisit it. For all its flaws, it has an endearingly independent spirit, a 'little film that could'. 'Rocky II' is a genuinely fine sequel and probably the best of the series but 'Rocky III' marks the moment when the franchise shed its credibility in favour of pure entertainment value and, for one film at least, this paid off in spades. With all the original cast members returning once again, including an extended role for Carl Weathers as Rocky's former opponent and new trainer Apollo Creed, 'Rocky III' launches itself headlong into a macho, action-packed, joyous mess. Unlike 'Rocky II', this second sequel can't be called a technically 'good' film per se, but in terms of escapism and fun it's a great film! Fans of the series will remember this as the one with the ludicrously chaotic charity fight with Hulk Hogan, the overacting masterclass of Mr. T as pantomime opponent Clubber Lang and Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' on the soundtrack (a hit that became inseparably associated with the 'Rocky' series). 'Rocky IV' was ultimately too silly even for this list. That's the one in which Rocky's friend Paulie gets a robot that he ultimately begins treating as a wife... really!
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A rare sequel that is better than the original, 'Short Circuit 2' commits all the sins of the worst sequels and still manages to emerge as a vastly entertaining film thanks to a driving pace and multi-faceted plot. Although foregrounding Fisher Stevens' supporting character Ben Jahrvi (originally Ben Jabituya in the first film but changed with a blatant disregard for continuity) may have people fearing the worst, 'Short Circuit 2' attempts to make up for this boldly drawn stereotype with a finale that celebrates multiculturalism. It's a shame that the only other ethnic minorities seen in the film are thieves and con men. That's the 80s for you! For all its indelicacy, 'Short Circuit 2' is genuinely funny, with Tim Blaney reprising his role as the voice of robot Johnny Five, who now finds himself in New York City. As well as the comic antics for which a city setting allows, 'Short Circuit 2' also brings in a crime plot involving a diamond heist, hired goons and loan sharks, as Ben attempts to start up a business making toy robots alongside his inadvertently acquired business partner Michael McKean. McKean is enjoyably oily as conman Fred Ritter whose redemption is inevitable but enjoyable to watch, while Cynthia Gibb is winsome enough as love interest Sandy Banatoni. 'Short Circuit 2' is fun throughout but it really comes alive in its final act, which incorporates several different threads including a rock 'n' roll enhanced escape from a giant freezer, a brutal near-death experience and a punk rock rebirth, not to mention a group of radio controlled planes with minds of their own, a daredevil dive from a dockside crane and the chance to hear Johnny Five declare "I am REALLY PISSED OFF".
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Thom Eberhardt's 'Without a Clue' is a vastly underrated comedy take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Michael Caine as the great detective and Ben Kingsley as Watson. The twist here is that the 'great' detective isn't that great. In fact he is a fictional creation invented by Watson, the real mastermind, who feared his amateur sleuthing hobby might be frowned upon by the medical profession. Inundated with demands to meet his creation, Watson hired an actor to portray him, who unfortunately also turned out to be a drunken womaniser. His attempts to reluctantly keep up this charade is the basis of this great adventure comedy. Both actors have fun, with Caine particularly hilarious as the ersatz Sherlock, and the occasional descent into the broadest slapstick only makes the film more lovably family friendly.
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People who added this item 184 Average listal rating (115 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
In his first major starring role, John Cusack plays a New England college freshman who is unlucky with women until his friend at a California college invites him up for Christmas break with the promise that he has set him up with a 'sure thing'. At a glance, the premise of 'The Sure Thing' sounds like a recipe for a tasteless, sexist 80s sex comedy along the line of 'Porky's' but, in the hands of one of the great 80s directors, Rob Reiner, and with a script co-written by Johnathan Roberts (who went on to co-write 'The Lion King'), 'The Sure Thing' instead emerges as a brilliant update of 'It Happened One Night', in which a mismatched couple are forced to embark on a lengthy cross-country journey together. Daphne Zuniga is great as the studious travelling companion but it is Cusack who emphatically steals the show as the wild and wacky Walter Gibson. This underseen gem of a film is the hidden treasure amongst Reiner's early run of classics.
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People who added this item 277 Average listal rating (177 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
The third film in a trio of fantastic comedies co-written by and starring Steven Martin and directed by Carl Reiner, 'The Man with Two Brains' is a frenzied spoof of mad scientist films which is overflowing with brilliant sight gags and one-liners. Martin plays Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, a brain surgeon who has invented the method of cranial screw-top surgery. Targeted by a sadistic gold-digger (a brilliant Kathleen Turner, relishing the opportunity to play a real bitch) and driven half-insane by her mind-games, Dr. Hfuhruhurr crosses paths with mad scientist Dr. Necessiter (David Warner), who has created a way to keep human brains alive in jars. Discovering that he can communicate telepathically with one of the brains (voiced by the wonderful Sissy Spacek), Hfuhruhurr falls in love with the disembodied organ. If only there were a way to bring together the perfect body of his wife with the perfect mind in the jar.... Whether you see 'The Man with Two Brains' as a comedy classic or silly nonsense will depend on whether or not you find Steve Martin funny, since he pretty much carries the entire film with his distinctive brand on comedy brilliance. Martin was one of my childhood heroes and anyone who has waded through his recent output will surely be amazed by the excellence of his early work. Although it is not quite as good as its two predecessors 'The Jerk' and 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid', 'The Man with Two Brains' is a worthy end to this unofficial trilogy, which is high praise indeed.
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People who added this item 4552 Average listal rating (3061 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Tim Burton's 'Beetlejuice' is a fantastically inventive comedy-horror film about a married couple who are killed in a car accident and find themselves embroiled in a bureaucratic nightmare of an afterlife and their home invaded by obnoxious new owners. In an attempt to reclaim their residence, they enlist the assistance of Betelgeuse, a 'bio-exorcist' who specialises in ridding properties of living pests. But by employing him they unwittingly unleash a perverted menace who has his sights set on marrying the young daughter of the house's new owners. With a great cast including Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton, 'Beetlejuice' is the perfect Halloween treat for those old enough to crave some scares but too young for anything grisly. Interestingly, the original script for 'Beetlejuice' aimed at a much more adult audience, portraying Betelgeuse as a murderous would-be rapist who at one point savagely mutilates a child while in the form of a demonic squirrel. Wisely toned down into a charmingly ghoulish black comedy, 'Beetlejuice' allows Michael Keaton to unleash his full comic potential in one of his most memorable performances.
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John Hughes's first film as director that did not focus primarily on teenager characters, 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' was a brilliant move into adult filmmaking. It wasn't unprecedented in Hughes's screenwriting, with his previous 'National Lampoon's Vacation' films focusing on both adult characters and disastrous road trips. 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' takes a less broadly farcical, warmer approach to the same themes. Hughes balances the sentimentality with an emotional rawness and depth of character that fleshes out the fun into a deeply satisfying story. Steve Martin is wonderful as tightly-wound executive Neal Page, while John Candy gives his finest performance as the irritating but amiable Del Griffith, a shower curtain ring salesman whom Neal cannot stop crossing paths with in his struggle to get home for Thanksgiving. It would be easy to have us just laugh at Del's in-your-face personality but very early in the film, when Neal cracks and tells Del just how annoying he is, Candy gives a beautiful portrayal of a sensitive, wounded man. These moments of real feeling are interspersed with much comic invention as the pair go from reluctant travelling companions to tentative friends. Be sure to watch a late showing of the film if it's on TV, as early showings cut out one of the best scenes in which an at-the-end-of-his-rope Martin launches a barrage of expletives at a shocked car rental agent.
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Harold Ramis followed up his debut 'Caddyshack' with a similarly risqué but hysterically funny comedy farce about the Griswold family's disastrous road trip to Walley World during which patriarch Chevy Chase goes from lovably enthusiastic dunderhead to all-out psychotic in his determination to give his family the perfect holiday. Scripted by John Hughes the year before he made his own directorial debut, 'Vacation' goes from hilarious scene to hilarious scene, occasionally overstepping the boundaries of taste but usually managing to get away with it through the sheer gleefulness of its own audacity (the grisly fate of mean dog Dinky is particularly bleak, though the humour is derived more from Chase's brilliant reaction). Sandwiched between several films in which he played the smart-aleck cool guy, 'Vacation' cemented Chase's other notable skill for portraying the optimistic fool. The Griswold family were so popular that they were brought back for several sequels but none of them came anywhere close to being as effective as this low-brow comedy gem.
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People who added this item 1584 Average listal rating (1060 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
The second in Richard Donner's hugely successful action comedy/drama series, 'Lethal Weapon 2' is a notch less gritty than its predecessor but considerably more so than the two films that followed, in which the comedy factor was heightened and the grim underlying themes underplayed. The problem with the premise of a cop who has become suicidal after the death of his wife, making him a lethal weapon due to his indifference over whether he lives or dies, is a strong one but with every film, as the tragedy becomes more of a distant memory and new romantic connections inevitably emerge, Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs gets less and less lethal. By the fourth episode his life was so back on track that the premise didn't work at all anymore.

'Lethal Weapon 2' gets around the problem of Riggs' diminishing death wish by planting some unfortunate events in its final act in order to reawaken his anger and despair but for the most part this sequel is a lighter affair, focusing on the continued close friendship between Riggs and Danny Glover's Murtaugh. A good double act, this time round the pair are saddled with a third wheel in the shape of irritating federal witness Joe Pesci, whose presence in the following films played a significant part in ramping up the goofy comedy. 'Lethal Weapon 2's anti-apartheid stance is admirable even if Patsy Kensit's attempt at a South African accent is somewhat inhumane itself. All in all, 'Lethal Weapon 2' is a strong sequel that should please most fans of the original.
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Directed by Brian De Palma from a script by David Mamet, 'The Untouchables' is a fictionalised account of federal agent Eliot Ness's attempts to bring down Al Capone during the mob wars of the Prohibition-era 1920s, for which he assembles a small team of handpicked assistance. Kevin Costner and Robert De Niro are decent as Ness and Capone, while Sean Connery is extremely entertaining in an Oscar winning performance as veteran police officer Jimmy Malone, despite a wobbly accent! But it is the action set pieces, great period setting and gripping forward drive of the film that makes it so much fun, if occasionally grisly, to watch. Critic Pauline Kael nailed it when she called 'The Untouchables' "a great audience movie - a wonderful potboiler".
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