My Life In Movies

So, apparently there’s this little thing starting up for a new blogathon, started by Andy over at FandangoGroovers. The basic premise is simple: a list of favorite movies. However, this one has a unique twist on it. You must come up with a favorite movie from each year, starting with the year you were born and going all the way up to last year (2010). Sounds interesting enough to me. So, I decided to have a little fun and give it a go. For the remainder of this article, y’all just try to pretend like you don’t understand math well enough to know that Current Year – Birth Year = Age. ;)

So, without further adieu, my top movies for the past….X amount of years. (After you read mine, you can check out all the other blogs that got into the spirit of this meme HERE)

*Mind you, these are “favorites”, not “best”. There’s a difference. Sheer entertainment factors into these selections, as well rewatchability.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark
You can’t be a boy of the 80′s and not have enjoyed Indiana Jones. It just wasn’t possible. Whether this meant you were bugging mom to buy you a whip, you kept trying to get your dad or granddad to loan you his fedora or if it simply meant you were running around the playground shouting out “Cover your heart Indie, cover your heart” as you ran up pretending to rip your friend’s heart out of his chest. Indiana Jones is an icon. This trilogy set the bar for all adventure movies to follow, with none having surpassed it yet.

Paul Newman in The Verdict

1982: The Verdict
I’m sure many would rather put Blade Runner or E.T. in this spot, but I just had to go another route. Part of my reasoning here was simply because I’m not old enough to put 12 Angry Men on this list. That being said, The Verdict is still another great movie from the late Sidney Lumet. The movie tells the story of a down-on-his-luck drunk of a lawyer that picks up a malpractice case in order to better his career. However, the whole case has a huge effect on him as he finds himself on the side of good and fighting for a righteous cause. To me, this is possibly Paul Newman’s best performance. Lumet had a tendency of pulling great performances from actors and this is no different. Furthermore, it’s just an all-around great movie and one of the top courtroom dramas.

1983: National Lampoon’s Vacation
John Hughes was the man in the days. With such classics as Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris, The Vacation Series and Planes, Trains and Automobiles amongst others, he practically ran the 80′s. That being said, no list that includes the 80′s would be complete without one of his movies. Of all the movies he either wrote or directed, I think the adventures of the Griswalds stands as my favorite. To this day, it still stands as one of the funniest franchises for me. Just watching Clark tie a dead Grandma to the roof of the car, or watching his little playboy fantasies or seeing him flip out when he finds the park is closed, all funny as hell. Hilarity constantly follows when Clark Griswald is involved.

1984: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
I told you, Indiana Jones is the man. So, it comes as no surprise that he makes my list yet again. This time he’s joined by funny little sidekick Short Round, who provides a nice fresh element to the series. Watching it (and him) is almost like having a dream come true. All that time you fantasized as a kid about how cool it would be to go on an adventure with Indie, here you get to see that somewhat played out as you live vicariously through Short Round. While Raiders is probably my favorite, Temple of Doom is still a great movie and stands above most adventure movies Hollywood has ever pumped out. Again, there’s not a person around that hasn’t went around screaming “Cover your heart, Indie. Cover your heart.” Admittedly in a really poor Indian accent when I did it.

1985: Rocky IV
Rocky Balboa. Another iconic character for any boy growing up in the 80′s. This was the underdog story that defined underdog stories for me. Rocky inspired many a youths in the 80′s (and, according to Eddie Murphy, many a drunk Italian men as well). With other good movies releasing this year, like Back to the Future, Goonies and The Breakfast Club, it was a hard decision but I just knew I couldn’t leave Rocky off the list. This one sees Rocky fighting that big hunk of machine known as Ivan Drago. If ever Rocky was an underdog, this was the one. After killing Apollo, I just knew Drago was going to beat the living shit out of Rocky when I was a kid. But there Rocky stood toe-to-toe with this killing machine, never backing down and giving it all he had. After watching Rocky finally win and hearing that Russian crowd begin chanting his name as this underdog gains the respect of these people, you can’t help but swell up inside with this almost sense of pride for Rocky as a smile comes across your face. While I don’t care for Rocky III, Parts 1, 2 and 4 are classics not to be missed.

1986: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris still stands as one of the greatest teen movies of all-time, capturing the American spirit like only John Hughes (Breakfast Club) can. Honestly, we’ve already seen Vacation, and Breakfast Club only slightly missed out on my 1985 pick. And trust me, you’ll be seeing more of John Hughes in this article soon enough. Ferris has become something of a staple amongst pop culture. Still to this day I’m sure you can find the wise-cracking kid calling out “Bueller? Bueller?” when attendance is being taken in class. Or maybe from time to time you’ll blurt out a mocking “Anyone?” as friends stare in confusion at some question you may have asked. For kids of the 80′s, Ferris became the guy you kinda wanted to be, that care-free, devil-may-care attitude that encompassed the spirit of freedom. This film has had an impact on many, and for good reason. When you have the First Lady quoting the movie in a public speech, you know there’s got to be something good about it.


1987: Lethal Weapon
If 48 Hrs. popularized the buddy cop movie genre, then Lethal Weapon took it to a whole new level. The on-screen chemistry between Glover and Gibson was great. The maverick style of Riggs made him a character that every kid wanted to be. I almost have no doubt that this is a franchise that inspired a lot of 80′s kids to want to grow up to be cops. Getting to go out there blowing shit up, being a total bad ass and gunning down bad guys. This is classic 80′s action right here. A guy movie that all guys should see (and all have I’m sure). For me, like I said, this raised the bar for buddy cop movies. A bar that hasn’t been touched since, in my opinion. Not even by Chris Rock and Jackie Chan.


1988: Die Hard
John McClane. If ever there was a bad-ass, McClane was that man. Basically, McClane was like the John Wayne of my generation: a man’s man. The ultimate bad-ass. The Die Hard franchise is pretty much at the top when it comes to Hollywood action flicks. It epitomizes action movies of the late 80′s-early 90′s. There’s a reason even Kevin Smith stands in awe before Bruce Willis when he got to be a part of Live Free or Die Hard. If you’re a fan of action movies, this is an absolute must-see/own franchise for you. From walking bare-footed on glass, to tossing bodies out of windows onto cop cars, to taking down entire terrorist groups single-handedly, McClane is the fucking man. Despite some strong competition for the year (Rain Man, Big, Roger Rabbit, Eight Men Out, Scrooged, Cocktail), that’s the reason Die Hard gets my vote here. Yippee kai yay, motherfucker.


1989: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I told you John Hughes would be showing back up again. Despite some other good movies being released in 1989, there was never really any chance for them in comparison to Christmas Vacation for me. The Griswald’s are, plain and simple, fucking hilarious. The Clark Griswald character was so iconic in his own right for portraying the every-man. He was the original Family Guy for me. All of the movies in this series have been hilarious for me. However, this still stands as my favorite of them all. Christmas Vacation is still an annual classic around Christmas time for me and my family (and even beyond the season). I can even remember, when I was younger, having this movie on VHS and having played it so many times and so often that eventually the tape just flat-out gave out on us. Needless to say, it was soon brought back from its grave and still sits on my DVD shelf right now. One of my favorite comedies of all-time.

Check out the 90′s Movies—–>

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  1. [...] Josh from The Couch Potato Club [...]

  2. DEZMOND says:

    INDIANA JONES was such a huge film from our childhoods. We don’t have many cult films like that one being shot in Hollywood today :(

    • JL says:

      Definitely. Indie is just an icon. That franchise was the last of a dying breed almost. That and Romancing the Stone are some of the last great TRUE adventure movies. Nowadays they turn way too much towards the action part of action-adventure and mostly abandon the adventure part. That’s part of the reason I was initially excited about the Uncharted movie, thinking they’d get back to making a good adventure movie. Looks like they’ll mess that up though.

  3. Great chronology of movies homie!

    Raiders, Die Hard, Rocky IV, Pulp, Goodfellas, Memento…so many awesome films. And great ’97 pick. GWH would be my choice too, no question about it!

    • JL says:

      Thanks. Good Will Hunting is definitely a great one. It might possibly be my favorite Matt Damon movie, even.

  4. Castor says:

    Nice list JL! It would definitely be hard to leave Raiders of the Lost Ark off a list like that. Also glad to see the love for Inglourious Basterds, it’s my favorite Tarentino movie.

    • JL says:

      Thanks, Castor. I wouldn’t call it my favorite Tarantino movie (that belongs to Pulp Fiction) but definitely a really good one. You know you’re in for an absolute treat when the movie starts off with a scene like that whole conversation with the Jew Hunter. That’s something Tarantino does better than anybody I know: dialogue.

  5. Red says:

    - Of all the people that were born around the same time as you, you might be the first one to leave Star Wars completely off your list. Nothing wrong with that, just something that popped out to me.

    - I’ve never even heard of What About Bob, so I’ll definitely have to check that out sometime. I love me some Bill Murray.

    - F*ck AND Yes for Boondock Saints. Absolutely love that movie. If Boys Don’t Cry didn’t have the homefield advantage, Saints might’ve been my pick.

    - LOTR = <3

    • JL says:

      lol Yes, I knew Star Wars would be brought up at some point, especially coming from someone in my age range. Plain and simple: Star Wars is pretty good, but I’m not nearly as infatuated with it as most and it’s just not something that would every even rank in my top 10 or even top 20 favorites. For me the trilogy is just good, not great. Iconic, indeed, just not my thing as much as others.

      If you like Bill Murray, definitely check out What About Bob? He’s hilarious in that movie. As is Richard Dreyfuss in the last half of that movie. Just a really funny one that I’ve seen so many times I can’t even count.

      Glad to see another fan of Boondock Saints as well. Is it one of the best movies? Probably not. But it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. I just love everything about that movie. I can watch it time and time and time again (and I have).

      And I definitely couldn’t leave LOTR off. Great trilogy that I really enjoyed. The hardest part was trying to figure out where I’d include a mention, since so many other movies I enjoyed came out in some of the same years.

  6. Andrew says:

    Came close to picking Die Hard, Inglourious Basterds, and Sling Blade myself, actually. Good list. I’ll jump in as the third party choice for Boondock Saints and say that it’s by far not one of the worst movies of all time but a deeply flawed and completely unoriginal one, which I think is where most people have their beef. I’ve seen worse, but I’ll never understand its cult following (despite once being part of that number).

    Can’t go wrong with your early 80′s picks, either, but those were before my time and I can’t cheat on that one. I think almost inevitably, everyone thought of putting at least one of the LotR movies on there but I’m surprised at the variety. For me, there’s no question that Fellowship is the best of the three, but you really can’t go wrong with any of ‘em.

    • JL says:

      I absolutely love Boondock Saints as just a fun kick-ass movie. Nobody will ever convince me otherwise. As for LotR, I personally feel Return of the King is the best of the three. Just far more epic I felt.

      Glad you liked the list for the most part, though.

  7. Bluej says:

    I was gonna argue with you about your claim that Goodfellas is the best mob movie becasue I think Godfather rules all…but then Ive never seen Goodfellas so i cant really argue about something ive never seen lol. And wow your list makes me feel like such a teenybopper cause the vast majority of your 80′s and 90′s movies Ive never seen.. but I like that you have such an diverse range of taste.

    • JL says:

      I like Godfather. I’ll give you that it is far more iconic and was more of a game-changer so to speak. For me, though, Goodfellas I actually enjoyed more.

      And no worries about being such a teenybopper ;) There’s always time to go back and catch up on some great movies. And obviously, every one on this list is one I’d definitely recommend.

  8. This is the first list I remember seeing where anyone included “Shaun of the Dead” or “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but those are killer picks! I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite Steve Carell performance, but Andy might be it.

    • JL says:

      Yea I’d have to say Andy is my favorite Steve Carell performance definitely (especially if we’re only talking movies here). 40 Year Old Virgin is still one of my all-time favorite comedies. It’s just non-stop hilarity.

  9. Fletch says:

    Pretty sure you’re the only one besides me to take The Bourne Identity. Clearly, a man of great taste!

    • JL says:

      As are you sir for selecting it as well. The Bourne franchise is just great and one of the best examples of modern action around. It was a very refreshing addition to a somewhat stale genre.

  10. Jaccstev says:

    What a great movie list! I can see some of my personal favorites too there. As an absolute fan of Nolan, I can’t agree more on Inception and The Dark Knight ;D Lord of the Rings and The Bourne series are also my all time favorites.

  11. Katie says:

    Wow that’s a really interesting list. We have a few in common (Die Hard, LOTR etc…all the big ones) but you’ve also got some more unusual ones.
    Loving how many people got on board with this blogathon, and how many new blogs I’m discovering out of it!

    • JL says:

      Thanks, Katie. Definitely can’t go wrong with some of those like Die Hard, LotR, etc. But at the same time I did want to ensure mine weren’t all the usual picks.

      Definitely was a fun blogathon. I’ll head over to check yours out as well later.

  12. ruth says:

    Awesome list! I like how you broke ‘em down to decades, JL. Looks like we’ll have quite a few in common… Indy, Die Hard, LOTR, and Nolan’s Batman… and though I generally can’t stomach too much violence, I really appreciate Inglourious Basterds, it was so well-done and well-acted. Christoph is a genius!

    • JL says:

      lol Thanks, the whole decade breakdown thing was kinda by happenstance. I don’t like making posts that long on one page, so I planned on dividing it up. Given that I was born at the beginning of a decade and I’m exactly 30 it kinda worked out perfect to divide it up like that.

      And glad to see we have some in common, guess that means you have some good taste ;) I really did like Christoph in Inglourious Basterds. He’s the one reason I’m half-tempted to watch Water for Elephants. I definitely want to see more of him (yay for him being in the new movie Tarantino is working on).

  13. Anna says:

    The Verdict all the way! Love that film.

    Ferris Bueller is something 80′s kids always pick, I’m a 90′s one so horror of horrors haven’t even seen it! Does that make me a bad person?

    Also Sling Blade! Great choice, a lot of people have seem to have forgotten about it. Love Billy Bob in that, made me his fan that!

    • JL says:

      Definitely love The Verdict. I think that’s one of (if not THE) best performances from Newman.

      Also, Ferris Bueller. Yea I guess I can under a 90′s kid not being as attached to it as those of us who grew up in that era. So I’ll forgive you and not call the lynch mob just yet lol

      And definitely about Billy Bob in Sling Blade. I don’t get why that one got so overlooked in this meme. But definitely that’s one of the greats and Billy Bob’s performance in there has to go down as one of the greatest performances ever. The whole movie made me a fan of Billy Bob especially considering he wrote and directed it as well.

  14. Renee says:

    JL, I can’t believe you didn’t pick ET for 1982. It was the very first movie me and your dad ever took you to!

    P.S. Please stop using the “F” word!

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