Tyler Durden's Best Of The Year

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Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
1982: First Blood

1982 was another weak year for me, because there were no really great films, only good ones. My runner-up is The Thing. It was very close to being top pick for this year, but First Blood is simply too fun and meaningful for me. Other films I enjoyed from this year are E.T, 48 Hours, Poltergeist, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Night Shift & Rocky III. Many love Blade Runner, but I don't think as highly of it as others.

In the era of mindless action films, First Blood emerges as the one with the most meaning. It tells the story of an ex-Green Beret named John Rambo, who is arrested by a small town sherrif, simply because he looks like a scruffy hood. Rambo makes a daring escape from the police station he is taken to and takes refuge in the wild. He soon mounts a one-man defense against the sherrif and the National Guard.

Rambo is Stallone's most sympathetic character ever. Even moreso than Rocky. Rambo is portrayed as a lonely guy tortured by memories of Vietnam. While the sequels went in different directions, this film is more subtle in it's portrayal of it's main character. And make no mistake, this is Sylvester Stallone's finest performance to date. He's not a very good actor, but he made a good effort to give this character the depth and strength he needed.

Everyone remebers Rambo as a one-man army, taking down armies of bad guys, with giant machine guns. It's a shame, because First Blood is the most interesting approach. Sure, it still has it's fair share of blood and action, but it works more for me as a character study of a man desperate to be a hero.

The film isn't without it's flaws though. The final monologue is very cliched and overplayed and rather unintelligible. And I'm not a big fan of Brian Dennehy's performance as the sherrif. But the good elements are enough for me to consider it one of the best films ever made.

I feel like I'm trying to convince people that a mindless action movie is actually a more complex drama about man's need for heroism. But that's how I really feel about this film. But otherwise, it's one of the top 5 action films of the 1980's.

"George, this is a little too much for me. Escaped convicts, fugitive sex... I've got a cockfight to focus on."

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Great pick! I love First Blood. And I agree with you about it being more than just a dumb action film. While it would become that with the sequels, this is a much more interesting, thoughtful film than that

Like you I'm also not a huge Bladerunner fan though I do love ET, would perhaps have that as my film of 1982

Not a fan thanks for the review anyway
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

Love, love, love this film. Another excellent pick, IMO.

I'm not a fan of the 'Rambo' movies and, while this is the first of them, it's a very different film. Had the sequels been more in the vein of this, rather then the follow up, I think I'd be a fan of the franchise.

I disagree with you about Brian Dennehy's performance, but then, that's a guy that can do no wrong for me.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

This was another very simple choice, though there were some other good films released in this year. My runner-up is Stripes, my favourite Bill Murray comedy. An American Werewolf In London was good, as is Evil Dead, but there are other horror films I enjoy much more, not to mention the latter's very superior sequel. I also like Blow Out, but there are at least two Brian De Palma films I find better. And last, but not least, Gallopoli & Escape From New York, two old favourites, EFNY especially.

Indiana Jones is a globe-trotting archeaologist, who races against the Nazies to find the Ark Of The Covenant, an ancient artefact that contains the remains of the Ten Commandments.

There's reasons why Raiders Of The Lost Ark is considered one of the greatest films of all time. Unforgettable characters, lots of exciting moments and that sense of fun that is infused in every scene make this a really great watch, even though I don't consider one of the greatest. It's a highly entertaining action film and one that stays in your mind for a while.

The opening is gold. Has there ever been a more attention grabbing, memorable and monumental start to a film? It's popcorn entertainment at it's absolute finest. Indiana Jones is a likeable protagonist. He's tough, funny and at times, romantic. He's definitely an iconic character that viewers keep going back to.

But the theme is by far my favourite thing about the film. It might be John Williams' finest work to date, next to Superman and Jurassic Park. I just simply love it.

I don't have as much to say about Raiders than others, and I'm not crazy about the film. But it is undeniably iconic and very fun. A very good film, if not just outside the limits of greatness.


Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
1980: Raging Bull

I would like to point out that 1980 is the absolute finest year of the decade, where great films are concerned. Many movies I consider to be my favourites were released in this stellar year. My main runner up is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which is, in my opinion, the best Star Wars movie to date. It has strong emotional depth to it and the gutpunch twist is near historical. I think very highly of this film and I almost gave it the top spot. Almost. Another sequel from 1980 I think is great is Superman II. It's not as good as it's marvellous predecessor, but still has a few good qualities. Used Cars and The Blues Brothers are also very good films, as are Airplane and Stir Crazy, some of the best comedies ever made. These are all brilliant films, in my opinion. The one film from 1980 that many think highly of is The Shining, but I consider it to be a lesser Kubrick.

There is a lot to like and a lot to hate about Raging Bull. It conveys the story of the most insanely jealous, violent and unlikeable character in any Scorsese film. Seriously, I felt genuine hate for La Motta. But somehow, this real-life character remains the center of one of the most absorbing dramas of the 1980's.

Scorsese's boxing scenes are frighteningly beautiful. No other way to put it. Well-shot and realistic to the core. Forget Casino's burial scene or any other violent sequences Scorsese has shot, these scenes are his most unflinching. These were my feelings on my first viewing of Raging Bull. Well shot boxing scenes, but an extremely cold emotional factor, not to mention some of the more misogynistic elements of the film. I didn't have much love for this film on my first viewing.

But after repeated viewings, I began to respect this film for what it was; a strong character study of a man desperate to show others that He is the best. And it's one of the best films ever, in terms of quality. Every scene is as good as the next and none of them are superfluous. The writing is letter perfect, with so many great scenes and dialogue. And the black and white cinematography is extraordinary, and is possibly the best shot black and white film to date.

Still, my favourite part of the film is the only one in colour, the home video sequence. The combination of music and colour has never been so beautiful, as the sequence peeks into La Motta's less monstrous, human side.

De Niro's performance is legendary for being a masterclass in Method acting. It's not my favourite De Niro performance, but it is tremendous, as De Niro becomes La Motta. His performance is so good, that you can't look away from the film at any moment he's on screen.

Raging Bull could very well be considered Scorsese's finest work; how a cold biopic could make such an absorbing drama shows how great a director Marty is. Raging Bull is certainly in my top 20 favourite films of all time and definitely tussles it out with another '80's masterpiece for the title of "best of the decade".

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
1. Rain Man (1988)
2. Raging Bull (1980)
3. The Terminator (1984)
4. The Untouchables (1987)
5. Scarface (1983)
6. Aliens (1986)
7. Commando (1985)
8. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
9. First Blood (1982)
10. Batman (1989)

Rain Man is a very personal favourite. It has the greatest set of lead performances in the 1980's and the subject matter is portrayed in a realistic and humourous manner. I love this film and I don't think there's anyone else on this forum who thinks as highly of this film than I do. It was very close between that and Raging Bull, which is a masterpiece in terms of quality.

The Terminator is just awesome and I love that film, and I knew from the start it would take third place. The Untouchables & Scarface are interchangeable, usually after I watch either of them. Scarface has the better style, but The Untouchables is just glorious in every way.

Aliens & Commando are great '80's actioners, and it may come as a surprise that they're both higher than Raiders & Batman. Truthfully, I like the former films more. Simple. Not that Batman & Raiders aren't bad films, I like them a lot (enough to call them best of the year.)

And finally, there's First Blood. Tremendous thriller. Just falls short of greatness, but still, a fine thoughtful thriller.

Those are my '80's picks, discuss and question them how you will. I may continue into the 1970's, but I still have some major film viewing to do.

But after repeated viewings, I began to respect this film for what it was; a strong character study of a man desperate to show others that He is the best.
He's not desperate to show that he's the best. That's not what I understood from the film. Not even in the ring did Jake show a complete desire to win at any cost. Remember the match where he just let Robinson batter him only to say he didn't get him down. It was his way of showing Robinson that HE was the boss, HE was the man in charge. If he cared about being the best, he wouldn't have eaten like a pig in between his matches. LaMotta always had to cut a lot of weight and that certainly takes its toll on your ring life and your performance in general.

In essence, Jake just wants unconditional love and loyalty from those close to him, no matter how he behaves. But his mental instability and jealousy make that very hard for his wife and brother. In the end, he drives them away and is a sad, lonely man entertaining others based on his name, still not feeling sorry for what he did to his ex-wife and brother. That's what the film is about.