Tag Archives: Best of the Genre

Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 2)


On Monday we counted down numbers 10-6, and now we’re rounding out the final five. Now we’re getting into some more familiar faces, but a few may surprise you.

#5.) The Stranger (High Plains Drifter)

WesternsOnly Clint Eastwood could make getting bathed by a midget look totally badass.

Clint has played a lot of men with no names, but two in particular really stand out (The other one we’ll get to later). The Stranger is the quintessential *mysterious* man with no name, because he literally appears out of nowhere from the heat wave off in the distance. Sure, it could just be an optical illusion, but he does look mighty familiar. The people in the town of Lago can’t seem to put their finger on why he’s so recognizable, but deep down, they know exactly why… The plot of the movie aside, lets talk badassery. One of the first things dude does is walk into town, get a shave and a bath, and avoids getting shot at point-blank, by simply sinking into his bath water. His presence is seemingly supernaturally shielded from the gunfire by being obscured alone.  Once the local folks find out some bandits with a vendetta against the town are coming, they ask him to help them. So what does the Stranger do? Well first, he fires the Sheriff, and makes the town midget Sheriff in his place. If you ask me, anybody who gives midgets free license to be lawmaker of a town, is sure as hell a badass guy. Because as we all know, midgets are awesome, as well as hilarious! So he and the midget Sheriff team up, drink lots of booze and hallucinate about being whipped to death in front of the entire town. Well, something like that anyway. Don’t wanna spoil it for you too much. Stranger starts requesting weirder and weirder things, eventually asking the townspeople to acquire 200 gallons of red paint. He then paints the entire town red, (literally), and renames the town “Hell”. When the bandits arrive, he attacks them with help from the towns people, and the fallout from the whole thing begins to spell things out about who this mysterious stranger is. Throughout the whole movie, you’re wondering what his motive exactly is, and after he’s played the entire town against each other, burned it to the ground, gotten laid a few times and whipped a few dudes to death, he disappears back into the heat wave, same way as he came. Bad. Ass.

Continue reading Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 2)

Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 1)

I love westerns. Love them. But unfortunately, I honestly don’t see any new westerns coming out that’ll totally upend and reinvent the genre, thus establishing a new character that could trump any of the following ten. That’s not to say that the western genre is stagnant, or recycling material, but it’s a genre that has clearly peaked, and is in its twilight years, where most modern movies are looking back at its respective genre, rather than looking forward. New great westerns are still being made, they’re just not nearly as popular as they once were, and as such, innovation is mostly being left by the wayside. I suppose you could count Django Unchained as innovation, but I’m still very skeptical on my opinion of that film, a skepticism I’m sure isn’t shared by my colleagues here at Grizzly Bomb.

Continue reading Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 1)

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 “80s Horror Flicks”

This is the latest of a whole series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.

Not much says horror like 80’s horror. A genre defining decade if ever there was one, the 80’s brought us some of the classics as well as those cult favorites that most love to hate. We saw the start of never-ending franchises and one-offs that lasted longer in our nightmares than they did in the theater. Remember that short period of time when horror movies were scary? I do. It was the 80’s.

This list was populated by 14 Grizzly Bomb staffers and 2 additional guest voters. It resulted in a whopping 63 different movies being listed, which we scientifically put together into a list of the top 25.

*Our Guest Voters this time around are friends of the site Stephen Scarlata, who is currently finishing up some work on the Documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune‘, and David E. Williams who is an Executive Producer on Femme Fatales.

25. Christine (1983)
24. The Beyond (1981)
23. Stephen King’s Silver Bullet (1985)
22. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

21. Bad Taste (1987)
20. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
19. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
18. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
17. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
16. Halloween II (1981)
15. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
14. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
13. Day of the Dead (1985)
12. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
11. The Lost Boys (1987)

And the TOP 10….

10. Hellraiser

Horror

SCOOT: Hellraiser comes to us from horror visionary Clive Barker, and was adapted from his novella The Hellbound Heart . It was wide renowned for its shocking gore and out of this world storyline, with state of the art special effects (for its time, of course). It tells the story of a man seeking the ultimate in pleasure, and finding the ultimate in pain. The movie chronicles his return from Hell after he uses the mystical Puzzle Box, and the brave heroine who sends him back to dwell with the keepers of this particular Hell, the Cenobites. Hellraiser spawned a ton of horrible and doomed to be straight-to-video sequels, but no one can deny the kind of effect Hellraiser had on them during their first viewing. An original story, and a new face of horror with Pinhead and the Cenobites. The Puzzle Box has floated through a few other Clive Barker stories, as well as cameos in other movies. A lasting tradition of horror that carries on today, as plans for a remake of the popular franchise is underway.

US Release:  September 18, 1987
Director: 
Clive Barker
Notable Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, and Ashley Laurence.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/Adjust. for Inflation: $14,564,027/$29,165,302

Best Quote: “Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”

Trivia: The concept of a cube being used as a portal to hell has basis in the urban legend of The Devil’s Toy Box, which concerns a six-sided cube constructed of inward facing mirrors. According to stories, individuals who enter the structure and then close it will undergo surreal, disturbing phenomenon that will simultaneously grant them a revelatory experience and permanently warp their mind.

9. The Fly

Horror

SCOOT: A remake of the classic 1958 horror with one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history (“Help me…. Help me…”) this movie truly elevated the original. It tells the story of the brilliant yet eccentric Dr. Seth Brundle (played masterfully by Jeff Goldblum), who is experimenting with matter teleportation. Of course the test takes a drastic turn when he discovers that a house fly shared the pod with him when he transported himself, mixing their genetics. What follows is a frightening and disgusting transformation as Dr. Brundle mutates into a freaky human/fly hybrid.

With Jeff Goldblum at his finest, and directed by master of horror David Cronenberg, The Fly presented one of the best remakes to date. It established the horror of the first one while engaging the audience with a  compelling story and nerve-wracking journey as Dr. Brundle teaches us a golden rule in life. Never try stuff on yourself… hire an assistant.

US Release: August 15, 1986
Director: 
David Cronenberg
Notable Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/1 (Best Makeup)
US Box Office/AFI: $40,456,565/$85,384,071

Best Quote:  How does Brundlefly eat? Well, he found out the hard and painful way that he eats very much the way a fly eats. His teeth are now useless, because although he can chew up solid food, he can’t digest them. Solid food hurts. So like a fly, Brundlefly breaks down solids with a corrosive enzyme, playfully called “vomit drop”. He regurgitates on his food, it liquifies, and then he sucks it back up. Ready for a demonstration, kids? Here goes…

Trivia: The line, “I’m saying I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it, but now that dream is over and the insect is awake,” is a reference to author Franz Kafka’s 1912 story “The Metamorphosis,” in which a man wakes from a nightmare to find himself transformed into a giant insect.

8. Child’s Play

HorrorKRONNER: Charles Lee Ray – serial killer, Voodoo enthusiast, and doll. While fleeing the authorities, Mr. Ray, wounded and desperate, transferred his soul into the body of a ‘Good Guys’ doll, but a good guy, he is not. Before long the possessed doll becomes the center of a back alley deal directed at making the Christmas of a young boy named Andy.

Andy is thrilled with his new friend, cause he’s a bit of a loser, and he has no real friends. Chuck (Charles Lee Ray – Named for Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray) is willing to play along with the charade for a bit while he tries to find his way out of his plastic prison. Eventually, he learns that his only way out of the doll is to inhabit the body of Andy, which means bad news for Andy. And everyone else involved.

Chucky has become an icon of 80s horror spawning 4 sequels and talk of a reboot. That little bastard just won’t die…

US Release: November 9, 1988
Director: 
Tom Holland
Notable Cast: Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Ed Gale, and Brad Dourif
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $32,842,703/$62,568,945

Best Quote: “Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!” 

Trivia: To help get into the right mood for Chucky, Brad Dourif would run around the recording studio, work himself up into a real frenzy and then deliver his lines. This would often leave Brad feeling drained after each take. In fact he nearly fainted after recording Chucky’s scream when he gets burned alive.

7. Evil Dead II

Horror

SCOOT: Ash Williams, hero of The Evil Dead returns possessed by the evil of the Necronomicon. Taking place moments after the end of the first film (sort of), Ash is slowly turning into a Deadite until he does the unthinkable. He cuts off his possessed hand, and we are given our look at one of the most badass anti-heroes in Hollywood, complete with a chainsaw for a hand and a sawed off shotgun. Not much gets better than that, and fans across the world will be quoting “Groovy” for years to come.

The opening of the movie retconned a lot of the first movie, but it really took a look at what it could be and ran with it. Not only was Ash’s battle against the evil forces of the Necronomicon better than ever, his battle with himself was a great moment in film. Raimi took the unintended humor from the first and intensified it, breaking genre boundaries and setting up a nerd love fest with Bruce Campbell and all things Deadite.

US Release: March 13, 1987
Director: 
Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Bruce Campbell, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, and Ted Raimi.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $5,923,044/$11,861,236

Best Quote: “Workshed.”

Trivia: One of the books on the can that traps Ash’s possessed hand is Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”.

6. Poltergeist

Horror

KRONNER: Poltergeist was the first movie that ever scared me. The clown under the bed at the end – terrible. I was traumatized. And to this day, maybe no quote from any horror movie in history resounds louder with me than when Carol Anne announces the arrival of their unwanted house guests.

This is about as scary as it gets short of an R rating and with Spielberg producing and Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper directing. It’s your classic tale of “We built this Subdivision on top of an Indian Burial Grounds and now they are haunting the shit out of us.” You know, just everyday sort of stuff.

This movie still stands up today as one of the best ghost movies ever made and has had me counting seconds between thunder and lightning for years…

US Release: June 4, 1982
Director: 
Tobe Hooper
Notable Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, James Karen, Zelda Rubinstein, and Heather O’Rourke.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/3 (Visual Effects, Score, Sound Editing)
US Box Office/AFI: $76,606,280/$204,022,848

Best Quote: “They’re here.” 

Trivia: Heather O’Rourke, who played the little girl Carol-Anne, and Dominique Dunne, who played the teenage daughter, are buried in the same cemetery: Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Dunne was strangled into brain-death by her boyfriend in 1982, the year of the film’s release. Six years later, O’Rourke died of intestinal stenosis.

5. Friday the 13th

Horror

SCOOT: The decade started with a ‘slasher film’ that continued the trend of awesome from 1978’s Halloween. Gruesome murders plague Crystal Lake, a camp full of fornicators and generally expendable counselors. The mystery of the killer carries through the whole movie, and creates a legend that won’t even be fully realized until the second chapter.The terrifying reveal teaches kids around the world to be nice to other people, especially if their mom is a homicidal maniac.

Horror at its finest, full of gore, spooky music, awesome kills and boobs. Friday the 13th made a ton of money, spawned a ton of sequels and a remake, and featured Kevin Bacon in one of his first roles. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. While Jason doesn’t actually appear until the end and in full killing form until the second film, his shadow looms large in this start of a decades long franchise.  No surprise here that it makes the Top 5.

US Release: May 9, 1980
Director: 
Sean S. Cunningham
Notable Cast: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Tom Savini, and Kevin Bacon.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $39,754,601/$115,716,924

Best Quote: “Did you know a young boy drowned the year before those two others were killed? The counselors weren’t paying any attention… They were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was Jason. I was working the day that it happened. Preparing meals… here. I was the cook. Jason should’ve been watched. Every minute. He was… He wasn’t a very good swimmer. We can go now… dear.”

Trivia: Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have taken the part of Pamela Voorhees. In fact, after she read the script she called the film “a piece of shit”.

4. The Evil Dead

Horror

SCOOT: Five friends drive out to a secluded cabin in the woods for some sexy party times. Unfortunately, they get snoopy and prove that they’ve never ever seen a horror movie when they play a recording of someone reading from the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Classic horror erupts with awesomely bad but still impressive special effects. The character of Ash is played perfectly by Bruce Campbell and stands out as one of his best performances ever, as well as pretty much his first.

The Evil Dead is the definition of a cult classic. Produced on a low-budget and over a year spent filming, it wowed and repulsed audiences simultaneously. With Sam Raimi’s stylized filmmaking at its rawest and a movie that is sure of its genre The Evil Dead gave us something different. A movie that was okay to laugh at while being frightened, and a movie you needed to share with all your friends.

US Release:  January 1, 1983
Director: 
Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, and Ellen Sandweiss.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $2,400,000/$5,965,714

Best Quote:  “We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.”

Trivia:  Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle on a root while running down a steep hill, and Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert decided to tease him by poking his injury with sticks, thus causing Campbell to have an obvious limp in some scenes.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Horror

SCOOT: Another proud parent of the ‘slasher film’ with a twist. A vicious killer haunts a group of teens on Elm Street. Seems simple enough, but when dead child murderer Freddy Krueger comes after these teens in their nightmares, things get decidedly more interesting. Krueger is a terrifying, burnt and evil man with a bladed glove and tons of lethal imagination. But why this group of teens? Everything changes as they discover that Freddy Krueger is out for revenge against the people who killed him… their parents.

Nightmare on Elm Street managed to blur the line between reality and our imagination perfectly. Robert Englund created one of the most vocal and frightening slashers ever. This also has Johnny Depp in his first feature film. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. This movie has caused a few nightmares of its own and spawned a decades-long franchise that promises to keep scaring.

US Release: November 9, 1984
Director: 
Wes Craven
Notable Cast: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $25,504,513/$59,434,624

Best Quote: “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again.” 

Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for the film. Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in the film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in the remake 26 years later.

2. The Shining (1980)

Horror

SCOOT: Jack Torrance (brought to life perfectly by Jack Nicholson) accepts the job as Caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, an ominous hotel with a tragic history plagued by troubled spirits. Locked down for the winter with his family, Jack is eventually driven insane by the evil within the hotel, and the only one who can save the day might be his son Danny, who is blessed with a rare gift known as The Shining.

Even if you haven’t seen The Shiningyou’ve seen The Shining in some form or another. Whether its being parodied on The Simpsons or pretty much everything else, this movie has carried on as a true gem of horror cinema. One of Stanley Kubrick’s most loved movies, and easily one of the few great Stephen King adaptations, The Shining is a testament to true psychological horror. Whether its being swept away in a river of blood, or slowly losing your grip on reality, prepare to be afraid.

US Release: May 23, 1980
Director: 
Stanley Kubrick
Notable Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Scatman Crothers.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $44,017,374/$128,124,922

Best Quote: “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.  Gonna bash ’em right the f–k in! ha ha ha”

Trivia: Every time Jack talks to a “ghost”, there’s a mirror in the scene, except in the food locker scene. This is because in the food locker scene he only talks to Grady through the door. We never see Grady in this scene.

1. The Thing (1982)

HorrorKRONNER: This is one of those movies that seems to get better every time I see it. It’s also one of the few remakes that I feel really surpassed it’s predecessor. The cast was awesome and the real effects are to me, much preferable to the more modern CGI tactics.

The story takes place in the desolate tundras or Antarctica, which provides the perfect setting to feel utterly trapped. The hopelessness bred by the situation, stalked in close proximity by a shape shifting killer alien, draws on the mystery of who is what they say they are, and who isn’t.  That is something from the original story and was left out of the 1950s film version. The mystery is what makes the movie so memorable.

Arguably Kurt Russell’s greatest performance, the sight of MacReady, beard iced over, clutching the dynamite, unsure who he can trust – classic. The paranoia and acting, combined with the ground breaking practical effects make this the best horror movie of a decade known for horror movies.

US Release: June 25, 1982
Director: 
John Carpenter
Notable Cast: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, T.K. Carter, and Wilford Brimley.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $19,629,760/$52,279,258

Best Quote: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS F–KING COUCH!”

Trivia: The opening title exactly duplicates the original Howard Hawks film. To create the effect of the title, an animation cell with “The Thing” written on it was placed behind a fish tank filled with smoke that was covered with a plastic garbage bag. The garbage bag was ignited, creating the effect of the title burning onto the screen.

The Best of the Genre (All Time): Top 25 “Comic Book Movies”

This is the latest of a whole series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.

For this topic, in addition to my list, I asked all the other members of my staff to give me a list of their “Top 15 Comic Book Movies”.

Anyhow, as for the results: From the other 16 people asked to make a Top Ten list, plus my own Top 10, it resulted in 60 different movies being named. I’ve tallied up the points, and I now give you the Top 25 of them…

25. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
24. Red (2010)
23. Dick Tracy (1990)
22. The Crow (1994)
21. Thor (2011)

Comic Book

20. Captain America: First Avenger (2011)
Comic Book19. X-Men: First Class (2011)
18. Blade (1998)
17. X-Men (2000)
16. V for Vendetta (2006)
15. Kick Ass (2010)
14. A History of Violence (2005)
13. 300 (2006)
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
11. Superman (1978)

Comic Book

And the TOP 10….

*Something new this time around is the AFI Box Office, which is ‘Adjusted for Inflation’…

10. Watchmen

Comic Book

[The Wozz] When one of the Watchmen is brutally murdered, Nite Owl attempts to bring the old team of retired crime fighters back together for one last job. But the public outrage against vigilantism forces the aging superheroes to question their morals and in some cases, even their sanity.

A lot of controversy and polarization came along with Zack Snyder’s adaptation of what is arguably the best comic book story ever told, but no one can deny that Watchmen is one of the most faithfully adapted stories to ever see the silver screen. Punctuated by Snyder’s trademark stylized action, Watchmen feels more like a hypnotizing motion comic than a traditional action movie, yet it still hits all the narrative beats of Alan Moore’s somber graphic novel, which is why it makes our top ten.

US Release: March 6, 2009
Director:
Zack Snyder
Notable Cast: Malin AkermanBilly CrudupJackie Earle HaleyMatthew GoodeJeffrey Dean MorganPatrick Wilson, Matt Frewer, and Carla Gugino.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $107,509,799 (AFI: $113,817,041)

Best Quote: “Rorschach’s Journal. October 12th, 1985: Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll whisper “no.” “

Trivia: The trailer features the song “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” by Smashing Pumpkins, which was originally a B-Side for the single “The End is the Beginning is the End”, the theme from Joel Schumacher‘s Batman & Robin.

9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Comic Book

[The Wozz] Scott Pilgrim is a jerk. He plays bass for an awful garage band and he’s dating a high school girl. But when he meets Ramona Flowers, a mysterious American girl with purple hair, he instantly falls in love. Scott will do anything to win over the literal girl of his dreams – and unfortunately for him, that means defeating Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes.

No other movie of this generation has simultaneously parodied and embraced popular culture like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The nerd culture, the indie music scene, hipster-pretentious teens and our superhero obsession all get a jab and an embrace in this gorgeous and hilarious take on the typical guy-meets-girl flick. Scott surrounds himself with about a dozen characters who all manage to come across as endearing, whether they’re charming, obnoxious, or just plain douchey, making this the flashiest, most over-the-top hangout movie of our time.

US Release: August 13, 2010
Director: Edgar Wright
Notable Cast: Michael CeraKieran CulkinAnna KendrickAubrey PlazaMary Elizabeth WinsteadChris EvansBrandon RouthJason Schwartzman, Clifton Collins Jr.Thomas JaneMae Whitman, and Bill Hader.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $31,524,275 (AFI: $31,724,049)

Best Quote: “He punched the highlights out of her hair!”

Trivia: Edgar Wright obtained permission to use the famous theme song from the SNES game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, by writing a letter to Nintendo, saying that it is considered to be “the nursery rhyme of this generation”. He was also allowed to use the Seinfeld theme song for a sitcom-style sequence.

8. X2: X-Men United

Comic Book

[Supascoot] A team of mutants hated and feared by the rest of the world are brought together by professor Charles Xavier, a powerful telepath dedicated to training the youthful mutants under his care to protect themselves and the world. This time they find themselves under attack from the government and William Stryker, who has past connections with Prof. X, Magneto and Wolverine.

Building on the success of the first movie, Brian Singer created a sequel that many consider to be far superior to the original. With one of the greatest opening scenes of any superhero movie out there, X2 changed how many of us looked at the comic movie medium. A realistic look at a fantastical world that was easy to relate to and touched on so many themes of both reality and the X-Men mythos. Featuring an ending that left us all excited for the next one, until we actually saw it and realized the flip side of what good movies are.

US Release: May 2, 2003
Director: Bryan Singer
Notable Cast: Patrick StewartHugh JackmanIan McKellenHalle BerryFamke JanssenJames MarsdenAnna PaquinRebecca RomijnBrian CoxAlan CummingBruce Davison, and Kelly Hu.
Oscar Wins/Nominations 0/0
US Box Office: $214,949,694 (AFI: $283,034,920)

Best Quote: “You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about in the news? I’m the worst one. “

Triva: On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hugh Jackman related a story about something that happened during the filming of the Weapon X flashback scene: while he was filming the corridor run (in which he is nude and backlit), he turned the corner and saw the female cast members, including James Marsden’s mother, waiting for him, hooting and waving dollar bills.

7. Spider-Man

Comic Book

[Supascoot] High School Nerd Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive genetically engineered super spider and infused with powers making him the Amazing Spider-Man. After refusing to stop a thief, he is horrified to learn that the thief went on to murder Peter’s Uncle Ben, and embraces his final lesson that “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility.” Also Norman Osborn goes crazy, becoming the Green Goblin and setting up a villain that will torment Spidey for 3 movies.

Said to be the movie of the 70’s, and then the movie of the 80’s, and the movie of the 90’s, Spider-Man had a spot on the big screen reserved just for him. It wasn’t until Sam Raimi was given the job that the movie finally started moving forward. Fans were unsure of what to think of the film, with many changes and unsure casting, but the moment the movie hit it was well received and provided hope that we may see other heroes getting the same kind of treatment by a director who loved and respected the characters and stories.

US Release: May 3, 2002
Director: Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Tobey MaguireWillem DafoeKirsten DunstJames FrancoJ.K. Simmons, Bruce CampbellElizabeth Banks, Stan Lee and Randy Savage.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/2 (Visual/Sound)
US Box Office: $403,706,375 (AFI: $551,708,884)

Best Quote: “Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-man. “

Triva: In addition to both Peter Parker and Norman Osborn wearing their enemy’s costume colors during the Thanksgiving dinner scene, Harry Osborn is seen wearing all of the colors. He’s wearing a green shirt, red tie and blue coat.

6. Batman

Comic Book

[Supascoot] Tim Burton’s Batman focused on the darker tone recently exhibited by DC Comics, in large part due to Frank Miller’s time with the character. The film followed the urban legend that is Batman creating and fighting his nemesis Joker, while dealing with the complicated life of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, who is falling for reporter Vicki Vale.

The 1st of 3 Batman movies in the Top 10, it’s a clear indication that when comparing any and all comic book movies, you look to Batman first. What worked, what didn’t and how we can make it as awesome as the first true Batman film in Hollywood. Keaton delivered an amazing performance as a slightly older Batman, while Jack Nicholson wowed audiences with his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, a role left untouched until Heath Ledger… but we can talk about that later.

US Release: June 23, 1989
Director: Tim Burton
Notable Cast: Michael KeatonJack NicholsonKim BasingerRobert WuhlBilly Dee WilliamsJack PalanceTracey Walter, Pat Hingle, and Michael Gough.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/1 (Art Direction)
US Box Office: $251,188,924 (AFI: $504,377,848)

Best Quote: “Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Trivia: The Joker’s line “Take thy beak from out my heart” (said at Vale’s apartment) is from Edgar Allan Poe‘s “The Raven”. The full line is ‘Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!’ (the “beak” being of the raven)

5. Iron Man

Comic Book[Supascoot] Tony Stark is a Billionaire Playboy Inventor Entrepreneur Wunderkind who parties hard and profits big for his company, Stark Enterprises. But when he is kidnapped by the Ten Rings, a terrorist cell in the Middle East, he is gravely wounded. Forced to build a powerful weapon for the Ten Rings, he instead chooses to create a suit of armor to not only save his life, but escape his captors. And iron Man is born.

When news hit that Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark, everyone accepted that this movie was actually happening, and that it just may be good. When some of the first footage was seen, fans were apprehensive but excited, and when it hit theaters it was just that; a hit. Spectacular special effects, great acting from Downey and cast and the villain; played by The Dude Jeff Bridges, who taught me to never try to enter the world of big business. Or make my own suit of armor to take on Iron Man. Jon Favreau delivered a realistic and acceptable world where we could see all our favorite Avengers characters existing, and proved to be the jumping off point for one of the biggest comic book movie epics to ever hit the big screen; The Avengers.

US Release: May 2, 2008
Director: Jon Favreau
Notable Cast: Robert Downey Jr.Terrence HowardJeff BridgesGwyneth PaltrowLeslie BibbClark GreggPaul BettanyJon Favreau, and Stan Lee.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/2 (Visual/Sound)
US Box Office: $318,412,101 (AFI: $352,115,889)

Best Quote: “They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

Triva: Stan Lee, the creator of Iron Man, had originally based Tony Stark on Howard Hughes, whom he felt was “one of the most colourful men of our time: an inventor, an adventurer, a multimillionaire, a ladies man and finally a nutcase.”

4. Spider-Man 2

Comic Book

[The Wozz] Peter Parker’s new career as a web-slinging superhero is starting to get in the way of his education, his family and most important of all, his relationship with Mary-Jane Watson. As his priorities start to shift, Peter begins to question his responsibilities as a vigilante crime fighter and eventually he hangs up the costume for good. But when Dr. Otto Octavius has an experiment go awry, killing his wife and binding four mechanical arms to his spine, Pete is forced to accept his role as a superhero and take back his true role as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man may be heralded as the movie that ushered in Hollywood’s superhero craze but it’s the second one that became the shining light of the franchise. It just feels the most like Spider-Man, because it perfectly nails that balance between thrilling acrobatics, lighthearted fun and a charming, somewhat corny moral center. Doctor Octopus is unquestionably the best villain of the trilogy, providing some of the best action sequences in all three movies, and this is the movie where Spidey feels most recognizable – none of that whiny, dancing B.S. that would come a few years later.

US Release: June 30, 2004
Director: Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Dylan BakerAasif Mandvi, Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Campbell, Alfred MolinaDaniel Dae KimHal SparksJoel McHaleEmily Deschanel, Willem Dafoe, Joy BryantReed DiamondVanessa Ferlito, and Stan Lee.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/2 (Visual Effects)
US Box Office: $373,585,825 (AFI: $477,660,459)

Best Quote: “We need a hero, courageous sacrificing people, setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for ’em, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to HOLD ON a second longer.”

Triva: Stan Lee originally filmed the cameo of the man who shouts: “Hey, Spider-Man stole that guy’s pizza!” But because of problems with the shot it was re-filmed with another actor, and Lee was given a different (but heroic) cameo.

3. Sin City

Comic Book[The Wozz] Three (Technically four) intercepting vignettes tell the tale of violence, corruption, death and vengeance in the streets of Basin City: Marv seeks revenge for the murder of a caring woman, killed as she slept by his side. Dwight gets into hot water when he punishes the wrong abusive boyfriend. Hartigan comes back from the dead to save a girl from a monster.

Sin City features more style and visual flair in some scenes than most movies have in their entirety. The gritty, unforgiving noir is punctuated with bursts of vibrant color  amid the gorgeous blacks, greys and whites of the simulated graphic novel, and it features one of the biggest casts you’re likely to ever find. Other films have tried to jump onto Sin City‘s dark, exaggerated aesthetic but their failure serves as evidence that there’s more to this movie than simple eye-porn. Sin City is in a world all to itself and delivers something entirely unique, which is why it’s number three on our list.

US Release: April 1, 2005
Directors: Frank MillerRobert Rodriguez, & Tarantino
Notable Cast: Jessica AlbaAlexis BledelPowers BootheRosario DawsonBenicio Del ToroMichael Clarke DuncanRick GomezTommy Flanagan, Carla Gugino, Josh HartnettRutger HauerNicky KattJaime KingMichael MadsenBrittany MurphyClive OwenMickey RourkeMarley SheltonNick StahlBruce WillisElijah Wood and Nick Offerman.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $74,103,820 (AFI: $91,791,627)

Best Quote: “Most people think Marv is crazy. He just had the rotten luck of being born in the wrong century. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield swinging an axe into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman arena, taking his sword to other gladiators like him. They woulda tossed him girls like Nancy back then.”

and

” It’s time to prove to your friends that you’re worth a damn. Sometimes that means dying, sometimes it means killing a whole lot of people. “

Triva: Despite appearing in all three of the major stories, Brittany Murphy filmed all of her scenes in one day.

2. Batman Begins

Comic Book

[The Wozz] Believe it or not, there was a time when most of us weren’t looking forward to a new Batman movie. Joel Schumacher took the franchise out at the knees with Batman & Robin, and it was hard to believe any revival could undo the damage. Then we found out the Memento guy was directing it, and shortly after that Christian Bale would play Bruce Wayne. Clearly things were going in a new direction, but no one had any idea what was coming.

Batman Begins is about about Bruce Wayne. If you break down the movie, you can see it all the way through. Even in the third act, when Bruce is almost always under the cape and cowl he is still the man, not the symbol. It’s not until The Dark Knight that Batman truly becomes a second identity and that is what makes Begins such an engaging story. No other Batman movie has given so much attention and importance to the person who became the Bat. Begins is about other things, too – fear, corruption, justice – but this is the most human the character has ever been, and it delivers an origin story befitting to the greatest superhero of all time.

US Release: June 15, 2005
Directors: Christopher Nolan
Notable Cast: Christian BaleMichael CaineLiam NeesonKatie HolmesMorgan FreemanGary OldmanRade SerbedzijaCillian MurphyTom WilkinsonRutger HauerKen Watanabe, and Mark Boone Junior.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Cinematography)
US Box Office: $205,343,774 (AFI: $254,357,186)

Best Quote: “What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing? “

Triva: Christian Bale lost his voice three times during filming after altering his voice while playing Batman.

1. The Dark Knight

Comic Book

[The Wozz] After the success of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight might have become one of the most anticipated movies ever, but that didn’t keep it completely free from scrutiny. The decision to bring in The Joker after Jack Nicholson’s beloved performance, combined with the casting of Heath Ledger in the role was baffling to most of us. And the IMDb page showed clear as day that between Ledger, Cillian Murphy and Aaron Eckhart, there would be three different villains in the movie (Just months before, Spider-Man 3 had crumbled under that weight). On opening weekend, The Dark Knight absolutely shattered any doubts.

As opposed to Batman Begins, in The Dark Knight Batman no longer exists as a man in a a suit; Bruce Wayne has completely transformed the caped crusader into a symbol, elevating him far past the limitations of a simple vigilante. The Joker’s brand of chaos isn’t a threat to Bruce, or his loved ones, or even to Gotham, at least not directly. Joker represents something far more destructive than that. He threatens to dismantle the legend of Batman, kill the icon instead instead of the person. In actuality, The Dark Knight has nothing to do with two men on either side of the law. It’s about the manifestations of good and evil, the struggle between order against chaos. That’s what elevates The Dark Knight beyond the ranks of a simple superhero movie and makes it the best comic book movie of all time.

US Release: July 18, 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Notable Cast:  Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Heath LedgerAaron EckhartMaggie GyllenhaalNestor CarbonellEric Roberts, Michael Jai WhiteWilliam FichtnerTommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, and Anthony Michael Hall.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 2/8 (Sound Editing, Supporting Actor)
US Box Office: $533,345,358 (AFI: $589,799,741)

Best Quote: “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Triva: Nestor Carbonell who plays the mayor coincidentally also played “Bat Manuel”, a parody of Batman, in the comic-based live action The Tick TV series. And Michael Jai White who played the Batman-inspired character Spawn in Spawn plays a gangster.

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Best of the Genre (By Decade)

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 “80s Action Flicks”

This is the latest of a whole series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.

For this topic, in addition to my list, I asked 13 members of my staff to give me a list of their “Top 10 Action Movies of the 1980s”. The action movies  of the 80s, more than any other decade or genre, have an identity. Big muscles, big explosions, and witty one-liners. There are even movies that came out in other decades that you could consider 80s Action. Stuff like Point Break (1991), Cop Out (2010), and The Expendables (2010). Though we’re only counting stuff actually from the 1980s, you get the idea. Now, Schwarzenegger and Stallone of course owned the decade, but it wasn’t just them kicking ass back in the day, but several other action stars will pop up on this list as well.

Anyhow, as for the results: From the 13 people asked to make a Top Ten list, plus my own Top 10, it resulted in 43 different movies being named. I’ve tallied up the points, and I now give you the Top 25 of them…

25. Highlander (1986)
24. The Protector (1985)
23. Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989)
22. Escape from New York (1981)
21. Above the Law (1988)

Action, movies

Action, movies

20. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
19. No Holds Barred (1989)
18. The Untouchables (1987)
17. The Running Man (1987)
16. Bloodsport (1988)
15. Rocky IV (1985)
14. Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (1981)
13. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
12. Cobra (1986)
11. Roadhouse (1989)

Action, movies, Stallone

And the TOP 10….

*Something new this time around is the AFI Box Office, which is ‘Adjusted for Inflation’…

10. Tango and Cash

Action, movies, Stallone

Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash are narcotics detectives who, while both being extremely successful, can’t stand each other. Crime Lord Yves Perret, furious at the loss of income that Tango and Cash have caused him, frames the two for murder. Caught with the murder weapon on the scene of the crime, the two have alibi. Thrown into prison with most of the criminals they helped convict, it appears that they are going to have to trust each other if they are to clear their names and catch the evil Perret.

This movie so full of one-liners and unnecessary violence it amazing Schwarzenegger isn’t in it.

US Release: December 22, 1989
Director: 
Andrey Konchalovskiy/Albert Magnoli
Notable Cast: Sylvester StalloneKurt RussellTeri HatcherJack PalanceBilly BlanksClint HowardGlenn MorshowerMichael J. PollardJames Hong, and Brion James.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $63,408,614 (AFI: $127,136,667)

Best Quote: “Rambo? Rambo’s a pussy.”

Trivia: Patrick Swayze was originally cast as Cash, but he dropped out and went to star in Road House.

9. Aliens

Sigourney Weaver, Action

This one is where some debate came in, mostly from Rev Kaiser who argued this movie was more Sci-Fi than Action, but to me there are just too many great Action elements present to leave this off the list. That, combined with Kaiser’s main motivation for his argument being he wanted Roadhouse in the Top Ten, he was outvoted. Aliens is so much more than just Sci-Fi, as Alien delivered us one of the greatest horror/thrillers ever, here we were given some of the most heart-pounding action scenes ever filmed.

This is 57 years after the first movie and Ripley must once again face off against the alien menace, but this time she’s backed by an entire team of Marines.
US Release: July 18, 1986
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: Sigourney WeaverCarrie HennMichael BiehnPaul ReiserLance HenriksenBill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein.
Oscar Wins/Nominations2/7 (Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects) 
US Box Office: $85,160,248 (AFI: $182,715,788)

Best Quote: “We’d better get back, ’cause it’ll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night… mostly.”

Trivia: The Alien nest set was kept intact after filming. It was later used as the Axis Chemicals set for Batman. When the crew of Batman first entered the set, they found most of the Alien nest still intact.

8. Robocop

Action, movies, Robocop‘New Detroit’, a hell hole spawned by the predicted progression seen in the 1980s real Detroit. It was only logical in the late 80s to assume Detroit would get worse, and so it made sense that one day they would look for an answer to crime though technology. Hence Robocop. The fact that Officer Murphy is killed and then resurrected in a Jesus like fashion to right the wrongs of the city, is only made sweeter by the fact that his killer was Red Foreman. This is a story about corruption at the highest levels and an underdog desire to do whats right and fix a once great city. And the fight was so bloody and violent, this marks the first time ever that a movie was rated X for violence. Oh how I miss the 80s, I‘d but that for a dollar!

US Release:
 July 17, 1987
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Notable Cast: Peter WellerNancy AllenRonny CoxKurtwood SmithMiguel Ferrer, Leeza Gibbons, and Ray Wise.
Oscar Wins/Nominations 1/3 (Sound Effects Editing)
US Box Office: $53,424,681 (AFI: $108,762,266)

Best Quote: “Bitches, leave.”

Triva: The repeated line ‘I’d buy that for a dollar!’ comes from Cyril M. Kornbluth‘s short story ‘The Marching Morons’, which presents a similarly cynical view of an over-commercialized future that’s desensitized to violence and war. A radio game show in that short story uses the line ‘I’d buy that for a quarter.’ as its signature phrase.

7. First Blood

Action, movies, Stallone

In a departure from the source material, which saw John Rambo ultimately killed in the end of the book, this ended up being the franchise that saved Stallone’s career. And the funny part is, after shooting he hated the movie so much he tried to stop its release. This movie turned into a direct message about the treatment of soldiers returning from Viet Nam and say what you want about Stallone’s acting ability, but the end scene in which we see Rambo break down and cry in front of Col. Troutman is both powerful and moving. That, combined with one man, manhandling an entire police department made for the birth of a pop-culture icon. “Rambo” is now synonymous with ‘Badass”.

US Release: October 22, 1982
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Notable Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard CrennaBrian Dennehy, and David Caruso.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $47,212,904 (AFI: $127,828,135)

Best Quote: “If you want some friendly advice, get a haircut and take a bath. You wouldn’t get hassled so much.”

Triva: At one point, the studio wanted Kris Kristofferson for Rambo, Gene Hackman as Sheriff Teasle and Lee Marvin as Col. Trautman.

6. Commando

Action, movies

TONI X: “I’ll be the first to admit that Die Hard is a better movie, hell, it’s the greatest action movie of all time – But Commando is the 80’s. It has a fantastic soundtrack that is all about the decade, slick cars, slick scumbags in slick clothes, a pre – Who’s the Boss? Alyssa Milano and most importantly – It has Schwarzenegger in it. No movie can be the definitive ’80’s Action Movie’ without Schwarzenegger. Not only this, but Schwarzenegger starts this movie by carrying a tree – for reals. They had to show this dude being such a beast in his first goddamn shot just so you know he means absolute business. 

 Commando also created the Schwarzenegger archetype, granted, there were other movies where Arnie showed superhuman feats of strength, but in those flicks he was playing either a macho fantasy warrior, a killer cyborg or Hercules himself. Commando implies he was just a human being who could rip a pipe out of a wall and impale Wez with it. This is the starting point for the now classic Arnold one liners and insane logic bending shootouts. 

Not only that, but every great 80’s action movie trope is here-the pointless nudity just for the sake of it, the hardass military brass trying to recruit Arnold, the country of Val Verde, a palatial mansion where all hell breaks loose and Bill Paxton – Straight Up 80’s.

But the most significant reason that Commando trumps Die Hard as an 80’s action movie is this. Die Hard is actually an adaptation of a novel called “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp, Hollywood initially adapted the novel into a screenplay as a sequel to Commando. If it wasn’t for Schwarzenegger turning down the role and retooling the script for Bruce Willis – Die Hard would have been Commando 2. Commando is not only the greatest 80’s action movie of all time, but it is responsible for the greatest Action Movie of any decade. That’s why it’s number one in my book.”

US Release: October 4, 1985
Director: Mark L. Lester
Notable Cast: Arnold SchwarzeneggerRae Dawn ChongDan HedayaVernon WellsBill Duke, David Patrick Kelly, Bill Paxton, and Alyssa Milano.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $35,100,000 (AFI: $78,703,098)

Best Quote: “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied.”

Trivia: Arius (Dan Hedaya) is said to be a deposed dictator from the country of Val Verde. Val Verde was a fictionalized South/Central American country used by Hollywood from the 1980s to early 1990s to depict a Spanish-speaking country similar to Cuba or Nicaragua without encountering diplomatic problems. It is also referenced in the films PredatorDie Hard 2, and the made for TV movie Deadly Enemies (Pilot)

5. The Terminator

Action, movies

Arnold was already known in some circles. Multiple winner of the ‘Mr. Universe‘ competition 4 times, and he had just stared twice as ‘Conan the Barbarian’, but it wasn’t until he played a near unstoppable killing machine in 1984 that he became a household name. The movie itself changed the genre forever, and kick started the career of James Cameron. The mythology sprouted from this movie led to 3 sequels, a TV show, and countless comic books and parodies. The Terminator is sent back in time to assassinate the mother of the still unborn leader of the future’s human resistance. That’s badass. This was a bad day to have middle name starting with the letter ‘A’…

US Release: October 26, 1984
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda HamiltonPaul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Dick Miller, Bill Paxton, and Brian Thompson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $38,371,200 (AFI: $90,903,200)

Best Quote: “Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Triva: O.J. Simpson was considered for the role of the Terminator, but the producers feared he was “too nice” to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990, (years, ironically, before Simpson’s first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Action, movies, Harrison Ford

Indiana Jones is one of the greatest action characters of all time, and Raiders of the Lost Ark was fresh and exciting, and it achieved that by looking to the past for inspiration. George Lucas wrote this movie based of the old serials he would watch as a kid. Constant action throughout, from fleeing booby traps to fighting Nazis to poisonous snakes and ancient desert prisons, Dr. Jones time and again beats the odds and achieves the impossible. And unlike most of the movies on this list, this was actually marketed to the whole family, so I think people in their late 20s and into their 30s have a special nostalgia attached to these movies having grown up on them. It’s as good as an action movie can be without gratuitous boobs and swearing.
US Release: June 12, 1981
Director: Steven Spielberg
Notable Cast: Harrison FordKaren AllenJohn Rhys-Davies, and Alfred Molina.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 5/9 (Art Direction, Visual Effects, Editing, Sound, Sound Editing)
US Box Office: $242,374,454 (AFI: $693,993,041)

Best Quote: “The Bible speaks of the Ark leveling mountains and laying waste in entire regions. An Army that carries the Ark before it… is invincible.”

Triva: Renowned British wrestler Pat Roach gets killed twice in this film – once as a giant Sherpa left in the burning Nepalese bar and once as the German mechanic chewed up by the plane’s propeller.

3. Lethal Weapon

Action, movies

The pinnacle of Buddy Cop movies, this is the king of mismatched partners at the start – the suicidal young hot-shot cop, paired with old crotchety about-to-retire veteran. This is the movie that created the clichés we now recognize in almost every cop movie released in the last 20 years. Riggs and Murtaugh investigate the apparent suicide of a friend’s daughter, and end up getting sucked in for more than they expected. The whole case culminates in a Christmas season street brawl between Riggs and Mr. Joshua (Busey) in a hydrant downpour out in front of Murtaugh’s house. The movie would spawn 3 more sequels and prove to make Mel Gibson one of Hollywood’s biggest stars over the next 15 or so years.
US Release: March 6, 1987
Director: Richard Donner
Notable Cast: Mel GibsonDanny GloverGary BuseyMitch Ryan, Grand L. Bush, and Al Leong
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Nom. – Best Sound)
US Box Office: $65,207,127 (AFI: $132,749,036)

Best Quote: “Well, I’ll tell you what. You make it through tomorrow without killing anybody, especially me, or yourself, then I’ll start trusting you.”

Triva: Film’s soundtrack includes Elvis Presley song I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Darlene Love, who plays Murtaugh’s wife, was background dancer in Elvis’ production Elvis.

2. Predator

Action, movies

After The Terminator made him a star, and Commando  created his archetype, then it was Predator  that made him an icon. The story of an elite group of commandos that are sent into the jungle on a rescue mission, only to soon discover they were sent there under false pretenses and find themselves under attack by an unseen assailant. It is here, even more so than in Commando, that we see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the fight of his life. This movie is all about survival and it was a shocking experience in ’87 to see something hunting Arnold, and not the other way around. From the gratuitous bicep closeups to the frequent use of mini-guns, this is about as “Guy Movie” as it gets.

US Release: June 12, 1987
Directors: John McTiernan
Notable Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse VenturaSonny Landham, and Shane Black.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Visual Effects)
US Box Office: $59,735,548 (AFI: $121,609,965)

Best Quote: “Get to the Chopper!”

Triva: Shane Black, who plays ‘Hawkins’, is far more famous for his screenwriting than his acting. His writing credits include stuff like The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and our #3 on this list – Lethal Weapon.

1. Die Hard

Action, movies, Bruce Willis

This is, sure-fire, without debate, the single greatest action movie of all time. Due on to the fact that this came out in 1988 and not 1990 that Predator misses out on topping our list. The ultimate story of the wrong time – wrong place, this time it was the right guy. A seemingly average cop from New York, without the muscles and armory of Schwarzenegger and Stallone (both of whom are referenced in the movie) John McClane must save his wife and her co-workers from a group of terrorists, and he has to do it barefoot.

John McClane has become the standard for actions stars since, and this is the movie that ushered in the beginning of “90s Action”. After this, even in Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies, it was no longer about shirtless bodybuilders cutting down trees with bullets. This was a cop, with kids and marital problems and he was forced to handle a situation. He wasn’t called in because he was the best (IE: Predator, Rambo II, ect…), he just happened to be there.

Action Now with the announcement of a 5th Die Hard movie coming, the franchise is still relevant over 20 years later. This movie made Bruce Willis. But who doesn’t get enough credit is Alan Rickman. A hero is often times measured by the strength and quality of his villain, this is maybe what hurts Commando’s legacy. This was Rickman’s film debut, and he delivered one of cinema’s all time great villains. It was Hans Gruber than made John McClane great, and that is what spawned the sequels.

US Release: July 15, 1988
Director: John McTiernan
Notable Cast: Bruce WillisAlan RickmanPaul GleasonBonnie BedeliaHart BochnerWilliam AthertonReginald VelJohnson, Al Leong, Robert Davi, Grand L. Bush, Anthony Peck, and Rick Ducommun.

Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/4 (Nom. – Film Editing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Sound)
US Box Office: $83,008,852 (AFI: $160,766,536)

Best Quote: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf–ker. “

Triva: Bruce Willis was also shooting Moonlighting concurrently which accounts for why nearly all of McClane’s scenes take place at night. Willis would shoot his TV series during the day and then come to the Fox lot in the evening to work on this film.

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Best of the Genre (By Decade)

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 30 “70s Horror Movies”

This is to be the 4th piece of the series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s, the 25 Best Comedies of the 80s, or The 30 Best Sci-Fi Movies from 2000-2009. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…

*31. Grizzly (1976) Bonus!

Horror30. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
29. Horror Express (1972)
28. Scars of Dracula (1972)
27. Legend of Hell House (1973)
26. Magic (1978)

Horror

25. Asylum (1972)
24. The Omega Man (1971)
23. Zombie (1979)
22. Suspiria (1977)
21. Theater of Blood (1973)

Horror

20. Willard (1971)
19. Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)
18. Don’t Look Now (1973)
17. Black Christmas (1974)
16. Martin (1977)

Horror

15. Eraserhead (1977)
14. Shivers (1975)
13. Last House on the Left (1972)
12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
11. The Omen (1976)

Horror

Continue reading The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 30 “70s Horror Movies”

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 30 “00s Sci-fi Movies”

This is to be the 3rd piece of a fairly new series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s or the 25 Best Comedies of the 80s. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…

30. Transformers (2007)
29. Signs (2002)
28. War of the Worlds (2005)
27.  The Island (2005)
26. Equilibrium (2002)

25. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
24. Idiocracy (2006)
23. Vanilla Sky (2001)
22. A.I. (2001)
21. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Sci-Fi

20. Evolution (2001)
19. Pitch Black (2000)
18. I Am Legend (2007)
17.  Sunshine (2007)
16. Terminator: Salvation (2009)

15. Cloverfield (2008)
14. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
13. Primer (2004)
12. Children of Men (2006)
11. Moon (2009)

Sci-Fi

10. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

Sci-Fi

The third chapter in the prequel saga was easily it’s strongest, and though it obviously still can’t compare to the original movies, it’s not without its charms.

6 years worth of CG effects and stale acting all pay off when we finally see Anakin’s transformation. First he facilitates the murder of Mace Windu, slaughters some younglings, and then chokes out Padme. After that it’s all out war with Master Kenobi, which doesn’t go well for little Ani. The loss of his legs and subsequent dip into the river of lava left him slightly agitated, and triggered the emperor’s robots to transform him into the Vader we all knew and loved.

US Release: May 19, 2005
Director: 
George Lucas
Notable Cast: Ewan McGregorNatalie PortmanHayden ChristensenIan McDiarmidSamuel L. JacksonJimmy SmitsFrank OzAnthony DanielsChristopher LeeTemuera MorrisonKenny BakerJoel EdgertonPeter Mayhew, and James Earl Jones.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Makeup)
US/Total Box Office:
 $380,270,577/$848,754,768

Best Quote: “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.”

Trivia: George Lucas originally intended to have Peter Cushing reprise his role as Tarkin, years after his death, through the use of stock footage and digital technology. However, the idea was scrapped when the footage of Cushing was deemed unusable.

9. Minority Report

Sci-Fi

Welcome to the world without crime. In the futuristic Washington DC, there’s no crime because your ass is put away the moment you think of committing a murder. Thanks to the all-powerful ‘Pre Cogs’ and the Pre-Crime unit, murders are virtually unheard of. And the system is flawless, or at least we are lead to believe so until the head of the Pre-Crime Unit (Cruise) is pegged by the trio of psychics for future murder.

One of Crusie’s last big hits before jumping on Oprah’s couch and alienating half the country,  Minority Report also helped familiarize American’s with Colin Farrell’s name.

US Release: June 21, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Notable Cast: Tom CruiseSteve HarrisMax von SydowNeal McDonoughColin FarrellTim Blake NelsonCameron CrowePaul Thomas Anderson, and Peter Stormare.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Sound Editing)
US/Total Box Office: $132,072,926/$358,372,926

Best Quote: “Mr. Marks, by mandate of the District of Columbia Precrime Division, I’m placing you under arrest for the future murder of Sarah Marks and Donald Dubin that was to take place today, April 22 at 0800 hours and four minutes.”

Trivia: The “PreCogs” were all named after famous mystery writers. Dashiell HammettArthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie.

8. Wall-E

Sci-Fi

ET meets Short Circuit. I think it was impossible for anyone who grew up in the 80s not to think that when they saw Wall-E. Pixar pretty much always hits it out of the park, but for me, this has to be looked at as one of their best. Poor little Wall-E, left to clean up the mess left by the lazy humans that thrashed the planet. So when we join him he’s plugging along doing an impossible job, doomed to die alone. Until that is the appearance of Eve. Wall-E falls in love and is inspired to follow her into space where we see what has happened to the remaining human population. This is basically a post apocalyptic tragedy disguised as a kids movie.

US Release: June 27, 2008
Director: Andrew Stanton
Notable Cast: Jeff GarlinFred WillardJohn RatzenbergerKathy NajimySigourney Weaver, Ben Burtt and Laraine Newman.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/6 (Won: Animated Feature/Nom: Original Screenplay, Score, Song, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing)
US/Total Box Office: $223,808,164/$521,311,860

Best Quote: “Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space! BnL StarLiners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.”

Triva: Within the first 5 minutes there is monologue via the holographic billboards. The first dialogue between WALL·E and EVE begins 22 minutes into the movie. The first human dialogue begins 39 minutes into the movie.

7. Avatar

Sci-FiThe single highest grossing film of all time (not adjusted for inflation) is 2009’s Avatar, a classic story that can be related to films like Disney’s Pocahontas, and has some pretty obvious pro-environment undertones. But it was successful not because of the story, but for 2 reasons in particular.

1. It was, simply put, the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. It’s also the only movie I’ve seen where I can say it was worth the upcharge for the 3D.
2. The Party Crahser was in it.

What else did you need?

US Release: December 18, 2009
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: The Party CrasherSigourney WeaverZoe SaldanaSam WorthingtonMichelle RodriguezGiovanni RibisiJoel David Moore, and CCH Pounder.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 3/9 (Won: Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects/Nom: Best Picture, Director, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Score)
US/Total Box Office: $760,507,625/$2,782,275,172

Best Quote: Well, well, well. I’d say diplomacy has failed. ”

Triva: Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Col. Quaritch. James Cameron rejected him because he’d already cast Sigourney Weaver, and he didn’t want people to think it was Aliens all over again.

6. Serenity

Sci-Fi

Here it is again. Ineptitude at FOX killed Firefly, a show that could have been our generation’s Star Trek even quicker than NBC killed the original Star Trek. The result was creator Joss Whedon releasing Serenity as a way to help close off the story and give fans some closure. Granted, it didn’t work as most of us are still clamoring for a revival, but this is where we are.

The movie itself is all about the River Tam situation finally coming to a head, as our beloved outlaws are hunted down by the Alliance’s finest assassin. Though sad, it was a fitting end as we are allowed to see Mal come out on top and get a win for the Browncoats.

US Release: September 30, 2005
Director: Joss Whedon
Notable Cast: Nathan FillionAlan TudykAdam BaldwinSummer GlauDavid Krumholtz, Chiwetel EjioforGlenn Howerton, and Ron Glass.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $25,514,517/$38,869,464

Best Quote: “You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we’re after is not yours. So, let’s have no undue fussing.”
Trivia: In the cargo bay, just after a Reaver is shot, some of the crates behind River have the message “Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy” printed on them. It’s an inside joke. The ship set had to be rebuilt from scratch for the movie because the original, from the show, was destroyed.

5. District 9

Sci-Fi

District 9 took the alien genre in a whole new direction, taking place years after the aliens have arrived in South Africa. The story follows Wikus, a government agent tasked with relocating the segregated alien ‘Prawns’. The Prawns have lived in poverty in District 9 for 20 years, with little compassion from their human ‘hosts’. Once Wikus is exposed to their biotechnology and slowly transformed into one of them, the tables are quickly turned as the oppressor becomes the oppressed, and is soon sought after by his own government and forced to work alongside the ‘enemy’ to reverse the changes and help the aliens leave Earth. This is an alien movie that shows us who the real monsters are.

US Release: August 14, 2009
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Notable Cast: Sharlto Copley
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/4 (Best Picture, Film Editing, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay)
US/Total Box Office: $115,646,235/$210,819,611
Best Quote: “Here, you can take that, you want to keep that, as a souvenir of your first abortion, ay. You can feel like you’ve done one of these too.”
Triva: After the feature film based on the Halo video game series which was to be directed by Neill Blomkamp fell through, producer Peter Jackson went to Blomkamp and offered him $30 million to make whatever he wanted. The result was this film.

4. 28 Days Later

Sci-Fi

This 2003 Sci-fi thriller helped launch current Zombie craze, though really it’s not about Zombies. This isn’t a case of the dead rising from there graves so much as it is an infection of RAGE!

Ok, the rage thing was kind of cheesy, but the movie was great. We got introduced to Cillian Murphy and depending on what theater you went to, you got 1 of 3 different endings.

Speed and aggressiveness would have to be key factors that set this apart from other Zombie-type movies.

US Release: June 27, 2003
Director: Danny Boyle
Notable Cast: Cillian MurphyNaomie HarrisBrendan Gleeson, and Christopher Eccleston.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $45,064,915/$82,719,885

Best Quote: “He was full of plans. Have you got any plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world or just fall in love and f–k? Plans are pointless. Staying alive’s as good as it gets.”
Triva: Horror novelist Stephen King bought out an entire showing of the film in New York City.

3. Donnie Darko

Sci-Fi

Donnie Darko is the story of… well, a kid named Donnie Darko. Donnie suffers from extreme dissociation, time fugues, and insomniac hallucinations AKA Puberty. We follow Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he experiences weird dreams, hallucinations, thoughts of murder, moments of utter clarity, and creepy chats with a dude in the most horrific bunny costume ever seen. What we eventually find out is that Donnie is caught in a time loop, and only he can align his life properly to escape it, and save the world. I think. I guarantee you won’t figure that out after the first watching. This is a ‘time traveling’ mindf–k of a movie with a strange cast of A-list actors (Drew Barrymore, Patrick freakin Swayze), well deserved of it’s #3 spot.

US Release: October 26, 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Notable Cast: Jake GyllenhaalMaggie GyllenhaalMary McDonnellHolmes OsbornePatrick SwayzeSeth RogenJena MaloneBeth GrantNoah Wyle, Ashley Tisdale, and Drew Barrymore.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $1,270,522
Best Quote: “You’re right, actually. I am pretty- I’m, I’m pretty troubled and I’m, I’m pretty confused. But I… and I’m afraid. Really, really afraid. Really afraid. But I… I… I think you’re the f–king Antichrist.”
Triva: The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: “Not until 8th grade.” Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham’s house was extinguished “sometime after 8:00 last night.” The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 11/08/88. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US $5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director’s cut of this film.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sci-Fi

In my mind, this is right up there with The Dark Knight as the biggest Oscar snubs since the turn of the century. Jim Carrey’s sad bastard ‘Joel’ is stuck in his own mind as he’s hired a company to go in and erase any memory of his ex-girlfriend. During the process though he changes his mind and decides he doesn’t want to let go of her, leading to an epic game off hide and seek within his mind to try to save her from deletion. Carrey’s performance, the best of his career, really cuts true to anyone who has suffered heartbreak and just wanted to forget. The film though comes full circle when Joel and his ex – Clementine Kruczynski have a chance meeting and fall for each other again. It’s maybe the most warped romance ever.

US Release: March 19, 2004
Directors: Michel Gondry
Notable Cast: Jim CarreyKate WinsletElijah WoodMark RuffaloJane AdamsDavid CrossKirsten Dunst, and Tom Wilkinson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/2 (Won: Original Screenplay/Nom: Lead Actress)
US/Total Box Office: $34,400,301/$72,258,126

Best Quote: “Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.”
Trvia: The original screenplay by Charlie Kaufman included a short conversation between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) about the album “Rain Dogs” by Tom Waits during one of the opening scenes on the train. During this conversation Joel says he remembers buying the album and liking it, but he can’t remember anything about it. While the dialogue was stripped from the film, during the fast shots of Stan (Mark Ruffalo) showing Joel the items he has brought in that remind him of Clementine a copy of the CD “Rain Dogs” can be seen for just a moment. Also the “blue ruin” reference comes from a lyric on the same album.

1. Star Trek

Sci-Fi

2009’s Star Trek was a smash hit, and in a rare turn, it was actually the best movie of all the Trek movies, which isn’t something you often see in the 11th chapter of a franchise. I’m looking at you Moonraker. What Abrams did here was effectively launch another sequel, but also successfully rebooted the franchise. This was for me, the best movie of 2009, just edging out Inglourious Basterds. It was action packed, and funny, and the cast was great and extremely likable which isn’t easy when you’re replacing icons. The upcoming Star Trek 2 (12) is one of the most anticipated movies pending right now, and that is because this one was so universally enjoyed. Live long and prosper baby!

US Release: May 8, 2009
Director: J.J. Abrams
Notable Cast: Chris PineZachary QuintoLeonard NimoyEric BanaBruce GreenwoodKarl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon PeggJohn ChoAnton YelchinWinona RyderChris HemsworthJennifer MorrisonRachel NicholsClifton Collins Jr., and Tyler Perry.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/4 (Won: Makeup/Nom: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)
US/Total Box Office: $257,730,019/$385,680,446

Best Quote: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
Triva: There is a supposed “odd-numbered movie curse” associated with the Star Trek films in which the odd-numbered films tend to be weaker and the even-numbered ones tend to be stronger. This curse was supposedly proved false with the poor reception of film ten, Star Trek: Nemesis This new Star Trek is the eleventh film. Years before, Simon Pegg‘s character in Spaced joked that every odd-numbered Star Trek film being “shit” was a fact of life. Pegg noted: “Fate put me in the movie to show me I was talking out of my ass.”

So that is our list, I hope you enjoyed it. Here are a few fun facts about the results…

MOST APPEARANCES IN THE TOP 30
Chiwetel Ejifor/Ewan McGregor/Glenn Morshower/Odette Annable/Jamie McBride/Julie White/Cillian Murphy/Tom Cruise/Mitch Baker/Sean Bean/Christian Bale/Sam Rockwell/Terry Crews/Jude Law/Giovanni Ribisi/Julianne Moore/Anton Yelchin/Sam Worthington  (2 Movies Each)

MOST FREQUENT DIRECTOR
1. Stephen Spielberg – 3 Movies (War of the Worlds, AI, Minority Report)
2. Michael Bay – 2 Movies (The Island, Transformers)

MOST POPULAR YEAR
1. 2005, 2009 (5 Movies Each)
2. 2001 (4 Movies)
3. 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 (3 Movies)
4. 2008 (2 Movies Each)
5. 2000, 2003 (0 Movies)

Also check out our other Best of the Genre (By Decade)

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 80’s Comedies

This is to be the 2nd piece of a new series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s! These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…

25. Throw Mama From the Train (1987)Comedies
24. The Great Outdoors (1988)
23. Sixteen Candles (1984)
22. A Christmas Story (1983)
21. Family Vacation (1983)
20. Big (1988)
19. Spaceballs (1987)
18. Trading Places (1983)
17. Coming to America (1988)
16. The Goonies (1985)
15. The Breakfast Club (1985)
14. Stripes (1981)
13. Three Amigos! (1986)
12. The Naked Gun (1988)
11. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

10. Caddyshack

Comedies

I expect that we’ll get at least one email complaining this wasn’t number 1 on the list, but such is the interweb. That being said though, Caddyshack’s inclusion was obviously a no brainer to be on this list. This is a movie that really helped kick off the whole decade, and produced some of the most oft-impersonated quotes in film history.  From Chevy Chase to Rodney Dangerfield to Ted Knight, this movie was a classic the minute it came out. It also features what is arguably Bill Murray’s most memorable role ever as he engages in guerrilla warfare with a gopher. Here we are over 30 years later and still, everyone remembers that gopher dancing to Kenny Loggins…

US Release: July 25, 1980
Director: 
Harold Ramis
Notable Cast: Chevy ChaseRodney DangerfieldTed KnightMichael O’Keefe,
Brian Doyle-Murray, and Bill Murray.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $39,846,344
Best Quote: “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! ”
Trivia: The noise the Gopher makes are actually vocalized by a dolphin, and the dolphin sound effects used are the same ones that were used for Flipper.

9. Better Off Dead…

ComediesThis is probably the least watched movie on the list, and one of the big reasons for that was the fact it opened against Teen Wolf, and Michael J. Fox was unstoppable. So the first lead role for the then mostly unknown John Cusack bombed, and was for years relegated to late night showings on Comedy Central. That is where I first discovered it and it didn’t take long for me to get sucked in. The Howard Cosell races are my favorite parts, but Roy Stalin was as good an 80’s High School villain as you could ask for. Plus, find me another movie with this many attempted suicides, that turned out this funny. For the 80’s factor, they had a claymation hamburger come to live and sing Van Halen. Check and mate.

US Release: August 23, 1985
Director: Savage Steve Holland
Notable Cast: John Cusack, Curtis Armstrong, Diane FranklinKim Darby, Amanda WyssSteven Williams, and David Ogden Stiers.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $10,297,601
Best Quote: “Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.”
Trivia: When Beth (Amanda Wyss) shows up at the high school dance, the person standing behind her is wearing Freddy Krueger’s sweater. Wyss played Krueger’s first victim in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

8. Planes, Trains & Automobiles 

ComediesOpening against strong box office competition in 3 Men and a Baby, this movie still managed to become a hit, pairing 2 of comedies biggest names at the time – Steve Martin and John Candy. This movie is a Holiday staple at my house – Best. Thanksgiving. Movie. Ever. Not only was it hilarious, but actually heart warming at the same time without being to cheesy. Martin is great as the straight man to Candy’s over the top, outwardly friendly shower curtain ring salesman who soaks his underwear in the sink. The pair seemed to gel so well on-screen that one can only assume had Candy not passed, they would’ve done another film together eventually. And no, before you ask, those are not pillows.

US Release: November 25, 1987
Director: John Hughes
Notable Cast: Steve MartinJohn CandyMichael McKeanMatthew LawrenceDylan BakerEdie McClurg and Kevin Bacon.
Oscar Wins/Nominations 0/0
US Box Office: $49,530,280
Best Quote: “You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You’re a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They’re not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! ‘Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith, he’s got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.’ I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, ‘How can you stand it?’ I’d say, ‘Cause I’ve been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.’ You know what they’d say? They’d say, ‘I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy. Woah.’ It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh! And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener! ”
Triva: At the beginning of the movie when Steve Martin races Kevin Bacon, is a direct reference to the scene in the movie Quicksilver in which the character played by Bacon is racing someone on a bicycle. Later, Neal phones his wife to tell her that he has been delayed (again), in the background, you can hear the fight from She’s Having a Baby (also directed by John Hughes) between Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern, when she screams that she doesn’t like his friend’s girlfriend.

7.  Christmas Vacation

I can’t think of a more ultimate Christmas movie (Shut Christmas Story fans.) than this Chevy Chase classic. Even aside from that I can still watch this movie any time of the year as a comedy too. The story follows Clark Griswold, a guy struggling to be the ultimate family man but usually failing throughout the movie until the end. This is the same Clark Griswold from the movies Vacation, European Vacation and if you have the stomach to remember it – Vegas Vacation.

Anyways Clark and his wife decide to have their parents over at their home for the holidays which both are dreading yet they feel obligated to do. Things really get interesting when Clark’s red neck, RV driving cousin Eddie and his rambunctious family show up at the Griswold house. Eddie was played to perfection in this film by Randy Quaid by the way. This movie embraces the Christmas spirit in a big way and also shows us why we hate having over extended family for the holidays too.

US Release: December 1, 1989
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Notable Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’AngeloJuliette LewisJohnny GaleckiE.G. MarshallDoris RobertsRandy QuaidWilliam HickeyJohn RandolphDiane Ladd, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office:  $71,319,526
Best Quote: Hey, if any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here, tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people, and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head. And, I want to look him straight in the eye and tell him: what a cheap, lying, no good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, bloodsucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-assed, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”

Triva: The Griswold’s neighbor’s house is the same house Murtaugh and his family lived in all the Lethal Weapon movies. The houses on this street are on the Warner Brothers Studios back lot. Also, this was the final screen appearance of Mae Questel, whose film career began in 1930 as the voice of Betty Boop.

6. The Blues Brothers

Comedies

With a musical cast that includes Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and some of the best musicians to play on those artists’ albums, The Blues Brothers was an homage to all that was Rhythm and Blues through-out the 50s and 60s. Of course, it had an odd way of getting there: two white boys (Jake and Elwood Blues) are getting their band back together in order to raise money for the orphanage in which they grew up. They are on a mission from God. Hard to argue with that.

Along the way, the boys reassemble their band (an all-star cast of great studio musicians and Saturday Night Live Band members), are shot at repeatedly by a “mystery woman” (Carrie Fisher), piss off a country band called “Good Ol’ Boys” – AND Illinois Nazis are the catalysts to a record-breaking car chase into and through downtown Chicago.

What makes this a great comedy is a combination of the delivery of lines, the innuendo, and the simple ridiculousness of the plot. The mixture of audacity, satire, and love of music makes this John Landis film one of the best of the 1980s.  If you want to hear more of what Dan Aykroyd had to say about the incarnation of the film to the Chicago Tribune for the 30th anniversary of the film, click here.

Woman: Are you the police?
Elwood: No Maam, we’re musicians.

US Release: June 20, 1980
Director: John Landis
Notable Cast: John BelushiDan AykroydJames BrownCab CallowayRay CharlesAretha Franklin, Henry Gibson, John Candy, TwiggyFrank OzChaka KhanPaul ReubensSteven Spielberg, Steven Williams, Joe WalshJames AveryMr. T, and Carrie Fisher.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $57,229,890/$115,229,890
Best Quote: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
Trivia: At time of release, this film held the world record for the number of cars crashed. Also, Carrie Fisher guest-hosted the SNL episode the Blues Brothers debuted in.

5. Airplane!

ComediesIn modern times where so much of our comedies rely on alcohol, drugs, and grotesque imagery to achieve notoriety, it’s refreshing to re-watch Airplane! This is another of our top ten 80s comedies to have a simply brilliant and accomplished cast, but the humor it uses is much more sophist—er—high minded—no, wait—downright silly.

The basic premise of Airplane! is that a commercial jet’s crew becomes ill mid-flight. Typically, this would end in disaster, and would then be included on Grizzly Bomb’s “Holy-Jeez-that-was-a-Depressing Movie of the 80s list”. Thank goodness that a hero-in-waiting is aboard: former military pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays)! While he has a drinking problem, and an emotionally unstable relationship with stewardess Elaine Dickinson (Julie Haggerty), he might have what it takes to land the doomed plane safely. That is, if he can deal with control tower supervisor Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges), Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), and Striker’s former commander, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack). Oh, and by the way, the plane is filled with eccentrics and goofs. Good luck Striker!

What makes this flick deserving of the venerable five-spot on this list is its ability to satirize many of the conventions of proper social behavior. One way this shows itself is through simple puns (“Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley). Another is by breaking down social barriers:

Young Boy with Coffee: Excuse me, I happened to be passing, and I thought you might like some coffee.
Little Girl: Oh, that’s very nice of you, thank you.
[takes coffee]
Little Girl: Oh, won’t you sit down?
Young Boy with Coffee: Cream?
Little Girl: No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.

And finally, you can’t beat a good old ridiculous moment:

Controller: Bad news. The fog’s getting thicker.
Johnny: [jumps to an overweight controller] And Leon is getting laaaaarrrrrger!

Take some time to acquaint (or re-acquaint) yourself with this classic 80s comedy.

US Release: June 27, 1980
Director: Jim AbrahamsDavid Zucker, & Jerry Zucker
Notable Cast: Leslie NielsenLloyd BridgesRobert StackRobert HaysKareem Abdul-JabbarBarbara BillingsleyPeter GravesOttoJonathan Banks, and Jimmie Walker.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $83,453,539
Best Quote: “There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?”
Triva: Lloyd Bridges spoofs his role as an airport manager  in the TV series San Francisco International Airport. Also, Robert Stack appeared as an airline pilot whose nerve fails him during an in-flight disaster in The High and the Mighty. Peter Graves appeared in a similar “airplane disaster” TV movie, SST: Death Flight.

4. The ‘burbs

Comedies

Perhaps one of the most under-rated movies of all time, this is truly Tom Hanks at his peak. Ignore the Academy, all those Oscars he later won were simply makeup calls for blowing it here. The ‘burbs, for those not in the know is a heroing story about 3 neighbors who ban together in an attempt to battle the evil that’s invaded their neighborhood, like Batman protects Gotham City, and Daredevil watches over Hell’s Kitchen – Ray, Art, and Rumsfield – they own their block. Well either it’s about that or it’s just a bunch of paranoid suburbanites who harass the new family on the block. The movie also features Corey Feldman at his best – in a Batman T-Shirt and Princess Leia maybe a few years past her prime…

US Release: February 17, 1989
Director: Joe Dante
Notable Cast: Tom HanksBruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick DucommunCorey Feldman, Henry Gibson, Courtney GainsDick MillerRobert Picardo, and Nicky Katt.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $36,601,993/$49,101,993
Best Quote: “I’ve never seen that. I’ve never seen anybody drive their garbage down to the street and bang the hell out of it with a stick. I-I’ve never seen that.”
Triva: The Klopeks named the dog “Landru”, probably after Henri Landru, a notorious French serial killer. Also, At the very beginning of the movie, when the camera starts to pan down the street, a street sign appears, “Mayfield Place.” Mayfield was the town where the Cleavers lived in Leave It to Beaver. The movie was filmed on the same lot.

3. Uncle Buck

ComediesWhen Bob’s family has a medical emergency he and his wife desperately call around for someone to watch their kids while they are away. When all options fail the duty is passed from them (reluctantly) to Bob’s brother…Buck.

Buck is a real stand up guy. He’s a bachelor (sorta) with a lovely apartment, loves to smoke fine cigars and place wagers on various horse races. Buck is unable to say no to his brother and soon finds himself as a caretaker to three children, one of whom is ever moody teenager who relishes in making his life hell. From making stove sized pancakes, threatening an elementary school principal and knocking out a drunken birthday clown this movie has it all. Thank you John Candy for bringing us Uncle Buck.

US Release: August 18, 1989
Director: John Hughes
Notable Cast: John Candy, Macaulay CulkinAmy MadiganGaby HoffmannLaurie MetcalfPatricia Arquette, and Anna Chlumsky.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $66,758,538/$79,258,538
Best Quote: “Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam.”
Triva: Danny DeVito was considered for the role of Uncle Buck.

Haha. Just kidding. That was terrible. Couldn’t get a decent copy of the real trailer, so instead here is my favorite part…

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Comedies

Who didn’t want to be Ferris Bueller in the 80s? Little did we know he’d grow up to marry that horse from Footloose, but in his youth, he was as cool as they come. I mean come on, hot girlfriend, his best friend has Gordie Howe jersey, and he can hack into the school’s computer from a mid 80s home pc. That’s impressive for a guy who doesn’t even have a car. Ferris inspired those around him. Women wanted him, men wanted to be him. And around every turn he is able to outwit his nemesis Principal Pederast. Plus, he could talk to the camera years before Zack Morris found the ability. He was a trailblazer, Abe Froman would be so proud.

US Release: June 13, 1986
Directors: John Hughes
Notable Cast: Matthew BroderickAlan RuckMia SaraJeffrey JonesJennifer Grey, Edie McClurg, Charlie SheenBen Stein, Louie Anderson, and Kristy Swanson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $70,136,369
Best Quote: “Cameron has never been in love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”
Trvia: Anthony Michael HallEmilio EstevezRob LoweJohn CusackJim CarreyJohnny DeppTom CruiseRobert Downey Jr. and Michael J. Fox were all considered for the role of Ferris Bueller.

1. Ghostbusters

Comedies

So if you haven’t seen this great piece of Americana, be ashamed of yourself. There are no excuses.

Basic plot: Three doctors of psychology and parapsychology start their own business capturing ghosts around the New York City area. There has been a spike in paranormal activity, and the Ghost Busters are there to investigate. When they find that Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) has found herself in the center of all the activity, hell breaks loose…almost literally.

With a screenplay written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, two Second City alumni, you know that this film had no chance BUT to be funny. Add to that director Ivan Reitman (who had done Meatballs and Stripes just before), a stellar cast (with the incourageable Bill Murray), and special effects that can still hold up today: the result is the top of the proverbial 1980s comedy mountain.

This has to be one of the most quoted movies of all time, and its re-watch value is through the roof. Here’s your challenge: Try walking up to someone and saying, “He slimed me.” Ask them what it’s from. If they don’t know, educate them by giving them a copy of the movie. If they do know, you just made a friend. Go watch the movie together.

US Release: June 8, 1984
Director: Ivan Reitman
Notable Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie HudsonSigourney WeaverHarold RamisRick MoranisAnnie PottsWilliam Atherton, and Reginald VelJohnson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/2 (Visual Effects, Original Song)
US/Total Box Office: $238,632,124/$291,632,124
Best Quote: “Yes it is. This man has no dick.”
Triva: The role of Winston was originally written for Eddie Murphy., the role of Peter Venkman was originally written for John Belushi, and the role of Louis Tully was originally written for John Candy.

So that is our list, I hope you enjoyed it.

Here are a few fun facts about the results…

MOST APPEARANCES IN THE TOP 25
1. John Candy (7 Movies)
2. Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd/Brian Doyle-Murray (4 Movies Each)
3. Bill Murray/Eddie Murphy/Michael Anthony Hall/Harold Ramis (3 Movies Each)

MOST FREQUENT DIRECTOR
1. John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck)
2. John Landis (Coming to America, ¡Three Amigos!, Trading Places, The Blues Brothers)
3. Harold Ramis/Ivan Reitman/David Zucker (2 Each)

MOST POPULAR YEAR
1. 1988 (4 Movies)
2. 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989 (3 Movies Each)
3. 1986 (2 Movies)
4. 1981 (1 Movie)
5. 1982 (0 Movies)

Now, just take a minute and vote in the poll below. Thanks dude!

Also check out our other Best of the Genre (By Decade)

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 90’s Action Flicks

This is to be the first of a whole new series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.

For this first topic I asked all 11 members of my staff to give me a list of their Top 10 Action Movies of the 1990s. These movies were to be ranked from 1-10, and the results surprised me a little. But before we get there, there was some discussion over what qualifies as an ‘Action Movie’. For the purpose of this exercise, we looked at movies that are unmistakably Action, and ignored some of those that are more broadly categorized. The 3 movies that best fit this example were Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and Leon/ The Professional. While all 3 of these movies have action in them, it just seemed like they were too good to be crammed in as genre flicks, as they run a lot deeper than movies like, Tango and Cash or Bad Boys II, which are simply focused on blowing shit up. We were looking more for the ‘Blowing Shit Up’ stuff.

90’s action was about more than just explosions though, it also really expanded on the Sci-Fi aspects as well. As technology advanced and they found themselves able to do things previously not possible, you really saw the whole genre shift on a closer parallel with the Sci-Fi genre than ever prior. As the decade went on, and Stallone and Schwarzenegger got older, Hollywood also started to move away from the muscle-bound action stars of the 1980’s and more towards special effects driven stories.

Anyhow, as for the results: From the 12 people asked to make a Top Ten list, it resulted in 56 different movies being named. I’ve tallied up the points, and I now give you the Top 25 of them…

90's Action
Babies make the best sidekicks.

25. Universal Soldier (1992)
24. Hard Target (1993)
23. Last Man Standing (1996)
22. Hard Boiled (1992)
21. Desperado (1995)
20. GoldenEye (1995)
19. Point Break (1991)
18. Mission Impossible (1996)
17. Total Recall (1990)
16. Demolition Man (1993)
15. Boondock Saints (1999)
14. Under Siege (1992)
13. Con Air (1997)
12. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
11. Independence Day (1996)

10. Blade

90's Action

In 1998 most people had never heard of the Marvel Comics ‘Vampire Hunter’ Blade. That all changed though when New Line Cinemas cast Wesley Snipes and gave him a sword. Granted, a lot of people still didn’t realize they were watching a ‘Comic Book’ movie, but they loved it. The success of the film also did something else, it proved that you could still make comic movies even in the aftermath of Batman & Robin.

This movie told the story of a half-man/half-vampire with all the powers of the vampires, but very few of their weaknesses. He hunts down the undead to avenge his slain family. Stephen Dorff hands in maybe the strongest performance of his career as Frost; the new head of the vampire community.

Aside from a very capable cast (which included Terrier‘s Donal Louge) Blade had all the elements that made 90’s action great. It was fast paced, filled with gun-play, and featured new technology paired with old-school tactics. The movie revitalized Snipes career for a few more years and spawned 2 sequels and a TV show.

US Release: August 21, 1998
Director:
Stephen Norrington
Notable Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Dorff, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, and Traci Lords.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $70,087,718/$131,183,530
Best Quote: “Some motherf–kers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.”
Trivia: Jet Li was offered the part of Frost, but opted to do Lethal Weapon 4 instead.

How 90’s is it? – This whole movie was like a really cool commercial for sunglasses, but with more blood. Very 90’s. I award a copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1 on VHS.

9. Bad Boys

90's Action

Before he smashed robots into one and other for a living, Michael Bay actually made some really good action flicks. The first of which helped launch Will Smith from Rapper/TV Star into a bonafide movie Superstar.  Now one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, Smith owes many of his career opportunities to Bad Boys. This is also arguably the only movie Martin Lawrence has ever been in where I didn’t hate him.

It’s the story of a couple of Miami Detectives who drive around in a $100,000 car and shoot everything that moves. A huge catch of heroin from a bust of their’s is stolen out of the police evidence locker and they must get it back. My old man used to complain about how often my little sister and I watched this movie because of the abundance of F-Bombs. Apparently those are only ok in mobster movies. He is Italian. Anyhow, this movie is the first time I can really remember such stylized camera work from an American Director. It was like watching a John Woo movie, but with less doves. This is a style that Bay is now known for and probably has trademarked, but when I was 12, it was totally fresh. The sequel that came out in 2003 however, not so much…

US Release: April 7, 1995
Director: Michael Bay
Notable Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Tchéky Karyo, Téa Leoni, Joe PantolianoMarg HelgenbergerMichael ImperioliKim CoatesTheresa Randle, and John Salley.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $65,807,024/$141,407,024
Best Quote: “You know you drive almost slow enough to drive Miss Daisy.”
Trivia: Michael Bay actually sacrificed part of his salary so a key sequence during the film’s climax wasn’t eliminated due to budget constraints, much like what Arnold did in Terminator 3.

How 90’s is it? – From the music to the Micheal Jordan references, this movie was super hip in 1995. I give it a Dodge Viper, a #23 jersey, and a ‘Fresh Prince Greatest Hits’ cassette.

8. Speed 

90's Action

Speed came out in 1994, and probably remained the most spoofed and quoted movie around until Austin Powers showed up in 1997. This movie was a phenomenon, and I think people often forget just how big it was. You can look at what Bad Boys did for Will Smith, and argue that Speed did even more for Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.   Keanu transformed himself here from half of ‘Bill and Ted’ into an actual movie star, building on what he started in Point Break. And Sandra Bullock, well she went on to become “America’s Sweetheart” dethroning Julia Roberts, and eventually winning an Oscar. Dennis Hopper also greatly benefited from the movie’s success, keeping him relevant until his death last year.

This was one of those movies where even if you didn’t see it, you know what it was. “Yeah, that’s the one with the bomb on the bus right?” The sequel however had less of an impact, but that’ll happen when you replace the star of the movie. Without Keanu Speed 2 was doomed from the start. It’s not surprising they tried after the success of the first one though. And it’s even less surprising that this movie made the list.

US Release: June 10, 1994
Director: Jan de Bont
Notable Cast: Keanu ReevesDennis HopperSandra BullockJeff DanielsJoe MortonAlan Ruck, Patrick Fischler, and Beth Grant.
Oscar Wins/Nominations 2/3 (Won – Sound/Sound Effects Editing)
US/Total Box Office: $121,248,145/$350,448,145
Best Quote: “Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”
Triva: Quentin Tarantino were offered the chance to direct, but turned it down. Tarantino later named the film as one of his 20 favorite films since 1992.

How 90’s is it? – It’s Seattle-90’s. Everyone in this movie has a flannel shirt, so I give Speed the entire Nirvana discology, and a Starbucks gift card.

7. Die Hard 2: Die Harder

90's Action

This is the inclusion that will likely surprise the most people. Not that it’s on the list, but that it’s in the Top 10 ahead of movies like Con Air, Face-Off, and Under Siege. I know it surprised me, but I have to honest. I love this movie. And as I was preparing this article, and watching the trailers again for each movie, this is the one that I felt most pumped to watch. After all, what’s the big knock against this movie? It’s too much like it’s predecessor? Well what’s wrong with that? The first Die Hard film is the greatest Action movie of all time.

Anyhow, this time around, and the Christmas following his LA adventure, John McClane is at Dulles Airport in D.C. waiting for his wife’s plane to land, and wouldn’t you know it? Terrorists take over the Airport. Forced to deal with things on his own because Dennis Franz won’t help him, McClane proves once again, it doesn’t pay to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This movie gave us what is easily the best ‘ Yippie-kai-yay‘ delivery of the franchise.

US Release: July 6, 1990
Director: Renny Harlin
Notable Cast: Bruce Willis, William Sadler, John Amos, Dennis FranzBonnie Bedelia,  William AthertonReginald VelJohnsonFranco NeroFred Dalton Thompson, Robert PatrickMark Boone Junior, and John Leguizamo.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $117,540,947/$240,031,094
Best Quote: “Yippie-kai-yay, motherf–ker.”
Triva: The General is from “Valverde”, the fictitious Latin-American country used in the Schwarzenegger classic Commando. This could imply that McClane can John Matrix exist within the same fictional universe.

How 90’s is it? – This one is ‘New 90’s’ as John had to “get with the 90’s” and learn how to use a fax machine. I award this movie one Zack Morris cell phone.

6. The Last Boy Scout

90's Action

Joe Hallenbeck is basically a washed out John McClane, working as a detective and disgraced after his exit from the secret service. He’s a drunk and a smartass, and extremely entertaining to watch.

Jimmy Dix is basically a washed out Michael Vick, dating as a stripper that looks like Halle Berry and disgraced after his exit from Pro Football. He’s a drug addict and a pain in Joe’s ass.

This movie took on Sports Gambling and struggling TV rating for Pro Football. Not very realistic there, but hey, it’s a fun watch. This movie is as close as you can get to an “80’s Action Movie” released outside the 80’s. Shane Black’s screenplay is so full of buddy cop moments and one-liners it’s impossible not to like this if you grew up on movies like Lethal Weapon (also written by Shane Black) and The Running Man. It probably would have led to sequels if not for an under performing Box Office total, opening against Hook during the Holiday season and being deemed ‘too violent’ for Christmas.

US Release: December 13, 1991
Director: Tony Scott
Notable Cast: Bruce Willis, Damon WayansChelsea FieldNoble WillinghamTaylor NegronDanielle HarrisHalle BerryBruce McGill, Kim Coates, Billy BlanksEddie GriffinMorris ChestnutMichael Papajohn, and Rick Ducommun.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $59,509,925/ NA
Best Quote: “This is the ’90s. You can’t just walk up and slap a guy, you have to say something cool first.”
Trivia: The conversation between Joe and Jimmy about the $650 pants was taken from a deleted scene in Lethal Weapon. Murtaugh’s daughter is wearing an expensive dress for a New Year’s Eve party, and he asks “It doesn’t have a little TV in it?” She says no, and Murtaugh mutters “I am very old.” Lethal Weapon is also he movie that Darian is watching on TV.

How 90’s is it? – It’s not. It’s just SUPER late 80’s. So for that it gets a ‘Member’s Only’ jacket and a Prince LP.

5. Die Hard: With a Vengeance

90's Action

Widely recognized as the better of the 2 Die Hard movies released in the 1990’s, it’s also the first one not to feature Al, Holly, and Richard Thornburg. It also is the first one not to take place at Christmas. This, the 3rd of the series focuses more on John himself, as opposed to the first 2 movies which simply had him thrown into bad situations.

Hans Gruber’s brother Simon (Irons) is holding the city of New York in a grip of terror and he wants to play a game with John. From stolen gold to exploding Subway trains this movie never really slows down. The franchise welcomes back John McTiernan, director of the original movie to breath some new life into McClane, but this time giving him a sidekick. And quite the sidekick Sam Jackson makes, constantly at odds with McClane and everyone else. The pair race around the city playing Simon’s games, all the while Simon is filling dump truck after dump truck with gold bars.

This is a movie that to this day, if I catch it on TV I have to watch it, and it was this, combine with Pulp Fiction, that made Sam Jackson a household name.

US Release: May 19, 1995
Director: John McTiernan
Notable Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson,  Jeremy IronsAldis HodgeDick Cheney, and Anthony Peck.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $100,012,499/$366,101,666
Best Quote: “Yippie-kai-yay motherf–ker.”
Triva: The line spoken by McClane “Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo” is taken from a song called “Flowers on the Wall” by The Statler Brothers, which appears in the Gold Watch section Pulp Fiction (1994), also featuring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

How 90’s is it? – Kinda 90’s. This movie, unlike a lot of the other ones on this list isn’t unique in style to the decade and could really fit in any time period, so for that it gets an Aerosmith T-Shirt, a Coke, and a smile.

4. The Rock 

90's Action

This is the movie that made Nic Cage, at least for a while, an action star, leading him to later do some movies as Con Air, Face/Off, and Gone in Sixty Seconds. And it reminded people the reason that Sean Connery was one of the world’s first real action stars – He’s a badass.

This was also Michael Bay’s follow-up to Bad Boys, which tricked us into thinking he’d never do a bad movie. Bay’s stylistic camera shots that averaged less than 3 seconds each, and the fast paced flow of plot helped to define the decade’s ‘Action Identity’, and no movie exemplifies that more than The Rock.

For a full review of the film: Click Here 

US Release: June 7, 1996
Director: Michael Bay
Notable Cast: Nicolas CageSean ConneryEd HarrisDavid MorseWilliam ForsytheMichael BiehnJohn C. McGinleyTony ToddBokeem WoodbineGregory SporlederClaire ForlaniTodd LouisoBilly DevlinJames CaviezelXander BerkeleyRaymond CruzJohn SpencerPhilip Baker Hall, and Anthony Clark.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Nom. – Best Sound)
US/Total Box Office: $134,069,511/$335,062,621
Best Quote: “Your ‘best’! Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and  f–k the prom queen.”
Triva: Quentin Tarantino was an uncredited screenwriter on this film.

How 90’s is it? –  Maximum 90’s. This movie is so 90’s in fact that it’s gonna get a OJ Trial Transcript and signed Tanya Harding Ice Skate.

3. True Lies 

90's Action

Schwarzenegger’s last truly great movie, and no surpirse he was paired with Terminator scribe and director James Cameron. This movie examines some of the everyday life stuff that a Schwarzenegger character would have to deal with. The most memorable scene however, isn’t one centered around Arnold, but around Jamie Lee Curtis…
90's Action
Bill Paxton and Tom Arnold added quite a bit more humor than was in Schwarzenegger and Cameron’s previous collaborations. True Lies marks the end of an era, which at the time we did not know, but this would be last truly great movie to star the Governator (at least to date). This is for Arnold almost what Unforgiven is for Clint Eastwood. A movie where he plays a character that is very similar, but in a different light. Unforgiven is Clint once he is old and broke down, while True Lies is a comedic look at the behind the scenes of his life. The movie was obviously a huge hit and almost spawned a 2002 sequel, but tensions after 9/11 caused them to delay, and as of 2011 they have not moved forward.

US Release: July 15, 1994
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: Arnold SchwarzeneggerJamie Lee CurtisTom ArnoldBill PaxtonTia CarrereEliza Dushku, and Charlton Heston.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/1 (Nom. – Best Visual Effects)
US/Total Box Office: $146,282,411/$378,882,411
Best Quote: “Same thing happened to me with wife number two, ‘member? I have no idea nothing’s going on, right? I come home one day and the house is empty, and I mean completely empty. She even took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ICE CUBE trays out of the FREEZER?”
Triva: Spencer Trilby (Heston) is based on Nick Fury, the Marvel character. Like Fury, he has an eye-patch, same mannerisms, and heads a peacekeeping organization.

How 90’s is it? – It has Tom Arnold in it. Is that answer enough? No? Ok, well if came from a time where you could still have Middle Eastern terrorists in movies instead of them just being used as Red Herrings. For that I award a retroactive failing grade from the “PC Police” for being too awesome.

2. The Matrix 

90's Action

When I saw the trailer for this movie I thought: “Gonna be all special effects, no story”. Boy was I wrong. The fact of the matter is The Matrix had some of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen, and the advancements in special effects changed the way movies were made. The story was very similar to that of the Terminator Franchise. Futuristic war against the machines, one man destined to save humanity and all that jazz. So it’s not that the concept was as new as people thought at the time, rather it was presented in a new way that dropped jaws. Nothing like this had ever been seen visually and that is what made people go back to see it for a 2 or 3rd time.

Kenau hadn’t really taken advantage of the success of Speed, and the weakening grip that Stallone and Schwarzenegger had on the Action genre. It looked as though he could be the next big thing, replacing aging stars like Van Damme, Segal, and even Bruce Willis. But it was 5 years until The Matrix came out and he really hit one out of the park.

This movie did something else too. It launched the career of Hugo Weaving, who played Agent Smith. If you don’t recognize the name, you might recognize his resume: The Matrix trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V for Vendetta, The Wolfman, and the voice of ‘Megatron’ in the Transformers movies. He will also be playing ‘The Red Skull’ in the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger.

The movie itself simply changed the whole industry, and remains (despite a slew of terrible  sequels) extremely popular still today, more than a decade after it’s release.

US Release: March 31, 1999
Directors: Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski
Notable Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence FishburneCarrie-Anne MossHugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, and Gloria Foster.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 4/4 (Won – Editing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Sound)
US/Total Box Office: $171,479,930/$463,517,383
Best Quote: “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”
Triva: This cast almost looked very different – Jean Reno turned down the role of Agent Smith for Godzilla instead. Ewan McGregor turned down the part of Neo for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. And Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Morpheus, but turned it down saying he couldn’t understand the script.

How 90’s is it? – Cutting Edge 90’s! This movie gets a ‘White Zombie’ CD and a new trench coat.

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

90's Action

Without a doubt, the 90’s movie I’ve seen the most times (edging out The Sandlot and Mallrats) is Terminator 2. It was no surprise to me that this turned out #1 as it was at the top of almost everyone’s list.

This is probably Arnold at his absolute best, and I doubt we’ll ever see him do anything this good again. This movie, brought in over $500 million at the Box Office and shattered records all over the place. It held the record for opening weekend Box Office of an R rated movie for 12 years, and still holds the record for the biggest Box Office increase for a sequel over the original with over a 400% jump.

The movie’s effects, groundbreaking in 1991, still hold up now, 20 years after it’s release. Before the massively over-rated Titantic and Avatar movies, James Cameron made sweet shit like this. And as far as I’m concerned, there is no argument to be made against this being atop the list. It is simply, as perfect a 90’s action movie as you can ask for.

US Release: July 3, 1991
Director: James Cameron
Notable Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda HamiltonEdward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, Joe Morton, Jenette Goldstein, Xander Berkeley, Nikki Cox, Danny Cooksey, and S. Epatha Merkerson. (Michael Biehn also appears in the Director’s Cut…)
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 4/6 (Won – Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Makeup, Sound)
US/Total Box Office: $204,843,345/$519,843,345
Best Quote: “I need your clothes, boots and your motorcycle.”
Triva: The Minigun used in the Cyberdyne scene was so heavy that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in fact the only person on stage that could carry the gun.

How 90’s is it? – It was Trend-setting 90’s! This movie popularized many 90’s trademarks and for that it’s gets an autographed photo of George Thorogood, season 3 of The Simpsons, and an unopened copy of Windows ’95.

Also check out our other Best of the Genre (By Decade)