Tuesday, January 12, 2016


So, over the holiday break TheBoy and I finally sat down and watched "Diehard." He's heard us quote the movie extensively - especially around the holidays - and we figured he was old enough to deal with the language responsibly. A few days later we watched "Diehard 2," and he was hooked on the classic action flicks of the '80s and '90s.

New Year's Eve we were at my sister-in-law's house with my wife's two sisters and their families, and TheBoy asked the group what *other* movies he needed to see from that same time period. He's interested mainly in comedies and action movies, particularly ones that get quoted a lot in popular culture.

We sat down and brainstormed a list...

Blues Brothers
Holy Grail
Men in Black
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Vacation & Christmas Vacation
Major League
Slap Shot
Better off Dead
Blazing Saddles
Young Frankenstein 
Revenge of the Nerds
Animal House
Office Space
Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure
Princess Bride 
Beverly Hills Cop
Trading Places
Spies Like Us
My Blue Heaven
Great Outdoors
Armed & Dangerous
Uncle Buck
The Jerk
History of the World Part 1
Wayne's World
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Dumb & Dumber
Coming to America
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Austin Powers
American Graffiti 
Weird Science
Cannonball Run
Smokey & the Bandit

Indiana Jones
Pulp Fiction
Mission Impossible 
Fifth Element
Terminator 1&2
Lethal Weapon
Army of Darkness
Big Trouble in Little China
Full Metal Jacket
True Lies 
48 Hours
Total Recall
Star Trek 4
Red Dawn
Above the Law
Road Warrior
Obviously, this is not an exclusive list. We've added to it as more folks have chimed in, and will most likely continue to add movies to the list. The criteria are simple: evocative of the time period/genre, memorable, quotable, etc. He's 15, so we're not quite ready for rom/com or dramas, so I left it mostly action/comedy with a smattering of sci-fi thrown in for good measure.

What else should be on the list?

That is all.


Shrimp said...

While it doesn't quite fit the bill for comedy/action, I sat down with my 15 year old and watched Schindler's List, then Saving Private Ryan, which led us to watch Band of Brothers. Blackhawk Down is next. I imagine Enemies at the Gate will find its way in there, too. Strictly speaking, they don't fit the bill of 80/90 movies, but worth watching nonetheless.

Others no particular order:

My Cousin Vinny
Top Secret
Police Squad (TV Series)
Groundhog Day
Three Amigos
Noises Off!
Trapped in Paradise
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
City Slickers
Parenthood (the boy won't appreciate that one until he's a parent, though)
Crocodile Dundee
First Blood
Last of the Mohicans
The Great Escape
Quigley Down Under
The Hunt for Red October
Escape From Sobibor
Dirty Dozen
12 Monkeys
Outlaw Josey Wales
Fist Full of Dollars
For A Few Dollars More
Hang 'em High
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Michael Collins
Apollo 13
Courage Under Fire

If you ever get to Dramas:
A Few Good Men
Cry Freedom
Shawshank Redemption
Dead Poets Society
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind

Shrimp said...

Also, I forgot to mention:
Life of Brian
The Meaning of Life
all of the Monty Python series
Faulty Towers
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the original BBC miniseries production, not that craptastic mess of 2 hour POS made in 2005)

C-90 said...

Woochi: The demon slayer. Korean with English subtitles. but awesome CGI and stunts


The English language trailer...


c-90 said...


Forgot The Cruel Sea...

Excelling in Mediocrity said...

I was thinking the Firefly TV series and subsequent movie, but that came out in the early 2000's.
I'll second on Quigley and Princess Bride.

Daniel Watters said...

Don't forget "Extreme Prejudice" written by John Milius and Fred Rexer. Nick Nolte plays a Texas Ranger modeled after H. Joaquin Jackson.

Atom Smasher said...

Buckeroo Banzai.

Mark Matis said...

I cannot believe you left out the best action movie of the 90s:

The Bridges of Madison County


Sdv1949 said...


Ygolonac said...

You have most of the Christmas Actionathon on there (Die Hard 1 & 2, Lethal Weapon does need the first (only :P ) sequel), but how can you not watch I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel, but not the Jessica Alba show). It's got everything: giant alien cops and criminals! Dolph! Optical media of death! Calico M950s! Dolph! Yuppie drug dealers! A loose-cannon cop on the ed.. ah, quicker to type Dolph! again.

And Predator 2 needs to be there, along with the closest thing I've seen to a Predator 3: Split Second, with Rutger Hauer and Kim Cattrall and "We need GUNS! BIG FSCKING GUNS!", speaking of quotes.

More cheesy action:

Showdown in Little Tokyo (Dolph! Brandon Lee! Tia Carrere!)
Silent Rage (Chuck! Flounder!)
The Octagon (Chuck! Sho Kosugi! Lee Van Cleef!)
Eye For An Eye (Chuck! Richard Roundtree! Mako! Professor Toru Tanaka! CHRISTOPHER LEE!)
Lone Wolf McQuade (Chuck! David Carradine! Barbara Carrera! Leon Issac Kennedy! Bulldozer vs. Halftrack!)
Code of Silence (Chuck! Henry Silva! Dennis Farina!)
The Delta Force (Chuck! Lee Marvin! Bo Svenson! George Kennedy!)
Enter The Dragon (Bruce! Uncredited Jackie Chan getting killed by Bruce! John Saxon! Jim Kelly! Bolo Yeung!)
The Killer (Chow Yun Fat! Ten Thousand Bullets!)
Hard Boiled (Chow Yun Fat! The ten thousand bullets they used as a practice session for The Killer!)
Timecop (Jean-Claude! Ron Silver!)
Hard Target (Jean-Claude! Lance Henriksen! Wilford Brimley!)
Hard To Kill (Seagal! George Kennedy!)
Marked For Death (Seagal! Keith David! A very early and minor appearance of Danny Trejo!)
Out For Justice (Seagal! Jerry Orbach! William Forsythe!)
Under Siege (Seagal! Tommy Lee! Chief O'Brian! Some boat!)
They Live (The Rowdy One! Keith David! Sunglasses! Sorry, all out of bubblegum...)


Ygolonac said...

(more wordage!)

The Quick and the Dead (Sharon Stone! Gene Hackman! Lance Henriksen! Keith David! Leo DiCaprio gets killed! LeMat! Bridgeport Rig!)
Streets of Fire (Michael Pare! Diane Lane! Rick Moranis! Willem Dafoe! Music!)
Escape From New York (Kurt! Donald Pleasance! Lee Van Cleef! Harry Dean Stanton! Adrienne Barbeau! ISSAC HAYES A-NUMBER-ONE!)
From Dusk Til Dawn (Cheech! Danny Trejo! Vampire Cheech! Salma Hayek! Fred Williamson! Tom Savini! Tarantino gets killed!)
Desperado (Antonio Banderas! Salma Hayek! Danny Trejo! Cheech! Cheech kills Tarantino! Buscemi dies too!)
Fist of Legend (Jet Li! Remake, more or less, of Fist of Fury (Bruce!), but both are worthy of this list.)
Black Mask (Jet Li! Wire fu! Asian comic-book adaption so confusing but you're not watching it for the sto - HOLY CARP DID YOU SEE THAT?! IT'S EVIL OZZY!)
Death Race 2000 (David Carradine! Stallone! Early for the specified era but worthy!)
Commando (Arnie the One Man Army! Bill Duke! Vernon "Wez" Wells!)
Raw Deal (Arnie! Robert Davi! Ed Lauter!)
Red Heat (Arnie! Jim Belushi! Larry Fishburne! Bus chicken!)
Conan the Barbarian (Arnie! Mako! Sandahl Bergman! James Earl Jones! Red Sonja and Conan the Destroyer are OK followups, but Conan sets the bar.)
The Sword and the Sorcerer (Speaking of coming in under the bar - Lee Horsely...OK, he gets a ! for this one. Richard "Bull Shannon" Moll! A sword that BudK can only dream of!)
The Beastmaster (Marc Singer! Tanya Roberts! Rip Torn! THE JUN HORDE!)
Heat (De Niro! Pacino! Kilmer! Sizemore! Trejo! Press check! More drama than action, but when the action hits... !!!!!)
48 Hours (Nick Nolte! Eddie Murphy!)
Point Break (Busey! Keanu! More drama than pure action, but again, when the action hits... !!!!)
Starship Troopers (Busey v2! Michael Ironside! BUGS!)
Robocop (Kurtwood Smith! Rocket Romano! The SUX-3000! The sequel was adequate, and we shall hear no heresy of a third one, or a remake.)

Not a lot to add for comedy, but Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon may as well be added, especially the former. "We are building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude..."

Used Cars (Kurt! Lenny and Squiggy! Highjacking TV broadcasts!)

Wow, that's a lot of text. Should keep all y'all busy for a while, though - and I know there's other quality (or "other quality") content. However, now there's actual work to do here, so...

ProudHillbilly said...

Shrimp beat me - Silverado is a must.

Shrimp said...

I had forgotten about They Live.

"I am here to chew bubble gum and kick some ass. And I am all out of bubble gum."

Which in turn, reminds me of Escape from New York, another must add.

This is fun. You'll be watching movies forever, Jay.

Anonymous said...

doesn't anybody ever watch Bogart?


"I'm Shocked! There's gambling in this establishment!"
"This could be the start of a beautiful friendship"

The Maltese Falcon:

"The stuff that dreams are made of"
"I won't play the sap for you"

Ted said...

Lawrence of Arabia --

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


Gone in 60 seconds

the original Vanishing point

Dr Stangelove

and for the dramas when he is a little older - Dr Zivago

ThrowDownYourLeavyScreens said...

Apocalypse Now
Godfather II

(There's ~12 hours of movies right there -- hope TheBoy doesn't have ADD!)

And on the opposite end of the spectrum: Big Trouble in Little China

Mike W. said...

Super Troopers ;)

Dustin Heaton said...

I'd include the second films of both the Beverly Hills Cop and Smokey & the Bandit series if I was making the list, but the third films don't exist.

I wouldn't put this one on a "must watch" list necessarily, because it's really not that good of a movie, but if TheBoy likes Bladerunner then Johnny Mnemonic is visually good cyberpunk (and made my mental images of the books in the genre more "awesome".

Glenn B said...

When he is old enough to appreciate them, have him watch some of the excellent classics like:

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Double Indemnity

The Treasure of The Sierra Madre

Zulu (Michael Caine version)

The Man Who Would be King

The Maltese Falcon

The Thin Man collection

By the way, I have to wonder (and I don't know if anyone else commented on this yet): You sit down and make a point that you watched Die hard and the next thing you know the actor who portrayed the villain goes belly up. I am interested to see what happens after the next one you watch.

All the best,

JFT said...

Independence Day
The Last Starfighter
The Dark Crystal
Flash Gordon
Strange Brew
Angry Beavers (OK, not a movie, and they're late 90's)

Just a few that might not be the best, but totally have the feel of the era.

Anonymous said...

Full Metal Jacket
Usual Suspects
Reservoir Dogs

Unknown said...

I can't believe that nobody has mentioned "This Is Spinal Tap" yet.

Or does that not count because it is a documentary?

Matthew said...

Strange Brew - "I could crush your head like a nut. But I won't. Because I need you!"

Megaforce - "Deeds Not Words!"

Joshua said...

"The Naked Gun" series by Leslie Nielsen for sure if he/you like comedies!
"Spy Hard" again by Nielsen.

"1941" a comedy set in WWII about an invasion of California by a Chinese spy sub. Lots of subtle humor that never really pokes fun at anyone but keeps it based on situations and gags. One of my repeated go to movies.

Anonymous said...

Um, the original Vanishing Point? Yikes. Similar cringe for the rest of Ted's suggestions. Might as well add the Billy Jack films, if those didn't make you cringe. (15 yo boy though, right?)

I'll second Buckaroo Bansai.

Also Real Genius with Val Kilmer


Remember that all the 'teen sex comedies' were full of full frontal-"Hair pie! Hair pie!" - Revenge of the Nerds

Porkies!-- NOT

Most of the classic comedies and all of the Mel Brooks are SO far from politically correct, he'll likely be VERY uncomfortable. And stuff like The Jerk is gonna be meaningless, as he lacks the cultural referents. Same for KY Fried Movie, or any movie that plays off of pop cultural riffs (spaceballs, UHF, used cars).

Any of the Brat pack/ Hughes movies

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

And while I love the Python's, they are an acquired taste. Necessary for cultural literacy in many useful subcultures, like geekdom, but tough. Faulty Towers, much less so. "Run away! Run away!"

I am surprised that I've seen almost all of the recommendations in the post and the comments. That was the era when I was dating, and had free time and money for the movies though...


B said...

Leap of faith. doesn't fit a category, but a good movie for a kid to watch.....

Tim said...

Jay, Great list there, but I can't believe no one has listed "The Long Kiss Goodnight." Great action flick with Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson.

Ritchie said...

Many fine suggestions here. Let me add, mostly avoiding the time bracket:
The War Lover-1962-Steve McQueen
Dark Blue World-2001 (R) Polish refugee fighter pilots in England.
Memphis Belle-1990-(PG-13) Every cliche done well but they're not cliches if you've never seen them before.
Battle of Britain 1969 (G)Note especially the end credits.
The Longest Day (G) 1962 John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton.
The Patriot 2000 (R) Mel Gibson.
Pearl Harbor 2001 (PG-13)

"Where we are today grew out of what happened before." Me

East Of The Pecos said...

Apologies in advance if I repeat

Red Dawn (original)
Dirty Harry
Magnum Force
The Enforcer
True Grit (both versions)
Young Frankenstein
The Great Escape
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot