Saturday, April 12, 2014

1988: The Best

And now, the cream of the crop.  Most of the best movies in 1988 were comedies which is impressive to me given how many average to terrible comedies tend to be released over the course of any given year.  Actually, if I wanted to I could have made this a top 25 list given how many great movies were released in 1988 but that would be overkill to an extreme.

10. Midnight Run


I already wrote about this one but it still stands as one of Robert DeNiro's most enjoyable performances.  A fun buddy film with a generous helping of comedy and a dash or two of action, this has DeNiro in a wonderfully funny performance with able support from Charles Grodin, Dennis Farina and Yaphet Kotto.


9. Coming to America


The last really great Eddie Murphy vehicle till Bowfinger in 1999.  Directed by John Landis, Murphy stars as Akeem, a wealthy African prince who goes to New York in search of a woman.  Murphy is funny as hell and the script is nicely done with a sweet sense of humor and a solid supporting cast.  It's a real winner.

8. A Fish Called Wanda


Equally winning is this entertaining comedy abut jewel thieves in England that stars John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis. Michael Palin and Kevin Kline who ended up getting an Oscar for his role.  All four principles are funny as hell with Cleese playing against type as an average nice guy representing the brains behind the heist while Curtis, Palin and Kline are thieves hoping to get away with the crime.  Curtis and Cleese end up falling for each other and the whole film is just one funny bit after another, wonderfully timed, written and acted.  It's one of those films that's so good that it's almost hard to talk about.



7. The Naked Gun


From the team behind Airplane! comes this equally hilarious comedy, based on a short-lived TV series that also starred Leslie Nielsen.  Chock full of every sort of gag you can imagine, this is one of the more consistent comedies of all time.  Hell, even the cringe-inducing appearance of O.J. Simpson can produces laughs in a new way (admit it, you laugh a lot harder now when he gets clobbered than before 1994).


6. Twins


The one time Arnold did an intentional comedy that worked just fine.  I love this entertaining, funny tale of twin brothers separated at birth... Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.  The two stars overcome the inherent silliness of the plot to make a surprisingly warm, funny duo that plays well off of each other.



5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels


This sports another great comedy duo.  I also wrote about this one earlier so I'll keep things brief.  The leads are funny as hell, the rest of the cast is solid and the laughs still hold up today.


4. Phantasm II


The rare sequel that is just as good as the original, if not better in some ways.  While the original was a nicely creepy, surrealistic nightmare of a horror movie, the sequel goes for more of a horror/action vibe with more shootouts, explosions and funny bits.  The cast is strong, the f/x are great and the pacing is razor sharp.


3. Die Hard


This would be number one on the list but for the sheer quality of the top two.  Bruce Willis proved himself a more than capable action star with this classic thriller that sports a great villain in Alan Rickman and some of the best action scenes of the decade.


2. Tequila Sunrise


This is an underrated gem if there ever was one with Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell starring as a drug dealer, a sexy young restaurant owner and a cop respectively.  Russell and Gibson are old friends, now on opposite sides of the law and Pfeiffer is stuck between them.  Raul Julia and J.T. Walsh round out the main cast and the overall film is a sleek, sexy noir thriller with good acting and some nice twists here and there.  It's just a classic sort of film.


1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The best movie of the year is also one of the most inventive.  A fun, fast-paced pseudo-noir detective story full of greed, sex (of a PG variety) and murder, all combined with some frankly amazing special effects.  A stunning blend of animation and animatronics mixed with live action makes this one of the most subtly impressive special effects films of the decade.  Robert Zemeckis does a fine job directing the thing and the level of detail is nothing short of incredible.  Add to that a top notch cast headed by Bob Hoskins doing a great American accent and Christopher Lloyd as one of the creepiest villains I have ever seen.

1988 was a hell of a good year.  Lots of classics, some oddities and a ton of style.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, put them together and it shows that 1988 was a hell of a year for movies! My favourite movie coincidence involves two of these - in both A Fish Called Wanda and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (can you commit a spoiler for moves that are 26 years old?) the villain is run over by a steamroller and gets up again.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.