Good Film Time Machine: 1985

Recently, I was looking at Robert Zemeckis’s body of work. I’d just watched Flight and really enjoyed it, so I was curious about what else he’d done. Back to the Future caught my eye because…well…I’m a fan, but I also noticed the year it came out. 1985. That year plays a pretty big part in the movie so you’d think I would have remembered. But, for whatever reason, it clicked for me as a good year for good movies. I did a little digging and holy crap, was I right. This was the year for a whole heaping pile of nostalgia. It was as much about big stars as it was about actors before they were icons. Check this list out and tell me if this doesn’t bring back the memories:

Back to the Future – whiney teenager goes back in time to make sure his parents hook up. Challenge: his mom wants to make out with him.

The Goonies – misfit kids have a real pirate adventure, working to solve puzzles and avoid gangster bullets.

Fletch – The last time Chevy Chase was enjoyable. He’s an investigative reporter trying to solve a murder, get the girl and make an ass out of himself (in a good way).

Better off Dead – a kid with the worst luck ever, and a bit of suicidal tendencies, tries to turn it around with a skiing contest. The catch is he doesn’t ski.

The Breakfast Club – high school stereotypes take time out in detention to show and discover that they aren’t stereotypical.

Mask – a sweet kid with a disfiguring disease fights the world’s perception of him.

Pee-Wee’s Big AdventurePee Wee Herman loses his bike. Fun ensues.

Witness – a big city cop realizes he’s kind of an ass, especially in contrast to the Amish, while trying to catch a killer.

A View to a Kill – Roger Moore’s last kick at the James Bond can. Christopher Walken and Grace Jones play the can.

Rock IV and Rambo II – Stallone keeps the franchises that have defined his career going. If you’ve seen one of these movies, you have an idea what they’re about.

The Color PurpleSteven Spielberg’s tale of slavery, rebellion and redemption. Probably Whoopi Goldberg’s best performance. And yes, that is Oprah.

Out of Africa – Two of the best actors…ever…in an epic story of a couple that have the worst timing…ever. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, ‘nuff said.

Cocoon – Old people feel young again. Thanks aliens.

Fright Night – a kid thinks a vampire lives next door and amazingly, no one believes him. FYI: he’s a peeping tom and he’s right.

LadyHawke – Two cursed lovers doomed to always be a part, must rely on Ferris Bueller to help them.

Legend – a very young and pantless Tom Cruise tries to defeat a big evil who stole his girlfriend. Not set in high school.

Silverado – Four gunslingers, each with their own “I was bullied” story, help each other get some payback.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins – A “dead” cop is made to look like an idiot until he smartens up and finds the U.S. President.

Summer Rental – John Candy just wants a fun, relaxing summer with his family. The world disagrees.

Teen Wolf – A teen becomes a werewolf (no false advertising), which is pretty cool for a while until it’s not.

Vision Quest – A wrestler gets better at wrestling thanks to multiple training montages and Madonna music. I remember a lot of jumping rope.

Weird Science – A couple of nerds use 1985 computer technology (MS DOS or Pascal…you’re welcome nerds) to create the perfect girl. Not a porno.

Any great 1985 movies I miss?

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  1. A great trip down memory lane – I had just graduated from film school! Couple of big memorable films that came out that year: Brazil and Kiss of the Spider Woman Also Pale Rider, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Subway. And we lost Orson Welles that year too. Thanks for jogging my memory Russell!

  2. Thanks for the comment and the thanks, Mandy. Some amazing movies out that year, including a few I haven’t seen (Purple Rose of Cairo and Kiss of the Spider Woman). I really should fix that.
    I’ll be doing a few of these ‘time machine’ blogs in the future, as much to remind me of the time period as much as the great movies I or readers may have missed. I hope you’ll share your comments again.

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