Lets be honest about the first Ghost Rider movie not being very good. It failed me in almost every way. Sure Ghost Rider looked cool, but the story was weak, the villain was weak and Nic Cage was super weak. But hopefully all of that will change with the upcoming sequel that’s not a sequel called Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Now personally, I thought this is the type of movie that could have went straight to DVD but Hollywood has other plans. Ghost Rider has a new look in this one, his skull visage still aflame but completely charred black. He looks a lot more no nonsense as he thrashes bad guys with his chains even while they’re driving and spits bullets into their faces. That sounds terrible but just watch the trailer to see:
As you can see this one seems to be a bit more violent, which is good because there isn’t anything too cuddly and nice when it comes to Ghost Rider. For me he’s like the Punisher in supernatural mode. The part at the end with him peeing fire kind of killed it for me but I’ll still be at the theater checking it out when the time comes.
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)
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)
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 Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Bill Murray. Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0 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…
This 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.
Opening 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 Martin, John Candy, Michael McKean, Matthew Lawrence, Dylan Baker, Edie 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 fromShe’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’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Randy Quaid, William Hickey, John Randolph, Diane 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
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.
In 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.
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 Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Henry Gibson, Courtney Gains, Dick Miller, Robert 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 inLeave It to Beaver. The movie was filmed on the same lot.
3. Uncle Buck
When 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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Back in 1996 Micheal Bay was and up and coming Director, with only the 1995 credit Bad Boys to his name, and pension for blowing things up. He had not yet sullied his name with predictably bad sequels like Bad Boys II or the Transformers movies. In fact, the movies he did in the 90’s, though now a bit cliché, were some of the decades best action epics.
The brightest spot on his resume has to be The Rock. This was a movie about a group of Marines who steal 15 chemical weapon powered rockets. They then threaten to launch said rockets against the city of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island, where they are holding 81 hostages. His demands require that all the men that has died under his watch, on Black Ops missions, be recognized as heroes and their families be rewarded a million dollars a piece from dirty money seized from weapons sales. His motives are actually noble which sets him aside from most antagonists in the genre. An honorable man pushed too far, the character is relatable and for that this movie is more than your run of the mill Dwayne Johnson/Vin Diesel movie. So in a joint operation, the FBI and a group of Navy SEALS must get onto the island and squash the threat. In 1996 I was all of 13, and when I walked into the theater I found my self thoroughly entertained for the entire 136 minute ride. Here we are now, 15 years later and the movie still holds up.
Our old buddy Nic Cage is our hero. He plays a chemical weapons specialist with the FBI named Stanley Goodspeed, and Sean Connery is basically an old James Bond. Ed Harris and David Morse play our missile thieves, and there are a slew of other recognizable faces as the movie goes on.
When we met Goodspeed, he is in the lab with Todd Louiso (High Fidelity, Snakes on a Plane) and Xander Berkley (24, Terminator 2) attempting to disarm a poisonous gas bomb. After succeeding he goes home to then learn that his girlfriend is pregnant, which only adds to his desperation to survive later on.
General Hummel (Harris) then makes the threat to launch the stolen rockets into the Bay Area. It is then that Goodspeed is called to San Fran because of his knowledge of the VX Gas used in the rockets. Once he arrives he meets John Mason (Connery), and we learn that Mason has been held, nameless and with no trial for over 30 years. Because however, he is the only man to ever escape Alcatraz, he is to be sent in with the SEAL team to guide them through the tunnels of the former prison. He is however told nothing of the rockets.
Once on the island, the SEAL team is led by none other than Michael Biehn(The Terminator, Aliens, Navy Seals, Tombstone) who promptly get his entire team killed. Nice job Mike! You can see Hummel takes no joy from having to kill more soldiers, but some of his men don’t seem to share his pain. With the destruction of the SEAL team, this leaves only Mason and Goodspeed to diffuse the rockets. And it’s only after Mason is let in on the real threat that he decides to help Stanley complete the mission. Thus truly begins The Rock as Connery delivers one of his greatest quotes ever…
So Mason and Goodspeed continue on in hopes of saving the day and are able to disable 12 of the 15 rockets before the John C. McGinley(Platoon, Se7en, Scrubs) led Marine team interrupts them. Things don’t end well for Dr. Cox however, as Mason lights his ass on fire. Booyah.
General Hummel then announces over the Island PA system that if the guidance chips removed from the rockets are not returned, he will execute a hostage. Upon hearing this Mason sends Goodspeed after the rockets and he heads to confront Hummel. This is the first time either of our heroes come face to face with the General, and it is not a battle of fists, but of minds as Mason and Hummel banter…
After this Goodspeed is able to take out only one of the remaining three rockets before being taken into custody. This now leaves Mason and Goodspeed prisoners, with the Marines still controlling 2 rockets.
Mason however did escape once, as it turns out, he still remembers how and they free themselves from their cells. Not in time however to stop the launch of one of the rockets. Luckily Mason’s instinct was right and Hummel is not a mad man, thus refusing to kill innocents. He diverts the rocket so it detonates underwater and causes a mutiny among his own men. The revolt, let by Tony Todd (Candyman, 24, Platoon) results directly in the deaths of Hummel, Major Baxter (Morse) and Crisp (Bokeem Woodbine). From here its a race to the last rocket and a question if Goodspeed can signal in time to call off the impending Air Strike. He does of course win the race and signal in time.
After this he is able to give Mason a give – his freedom. Goodspeed informs FBI Director Womack (John Spencer) that Mason has been vaporized. A lie that is helped along by Special Agent Paxton (William Forsythe). So Mason is free and all is good in the world.
I don’t feel that it would be a stretch to call this one of the best action movie of the last 20 years. I think this is before Michael Bay became so self-aware and you’re reminded of how he built his name. The pacing is good, really no lulls. The cast is great, and the dialogue, though often simplistic, is both powerful and memorable enough to quote. It’s a shame Bay hasn’t done anything of this quality in so long, but this is one of the movies that helped redefine the genre for the 90’s.
The impression Ghost Rider left with me as youngin’ is about the same as Moon Knight. He looked cool as hell, but I didn’t know or really care to know anything else about him! What else was there to know about someone who has a flaming skull head, rides a motorcycle and uses chains as a weapon? That sounds like my perfect Sunday for God’s sake! Of course later in life you find out a little of his back story, but by then the novelty he had when you were a pre-teen has sort of worn off. Then he gets a relaunch, and I use the word “he” loosely because it looks like the next Ghost Rider incarnation will indeed be a female!
Now that doesn’t mean that Ghost Rider will have pigtails made of fire or wear fishnet stockings while on the awesome motorcycle. Hell, by reading the interview with the team who will be tackling this thing I don’t even think Ghost Rider will have boobs. It’s explained a little better in these two excerpts from an article at CBR: