Saturday, May 10, 2014


What were the top five box office movies for each year of the 80's? Which ones were my favorites? Which were my least favorites? I'm not sure...I'll have to think about it. And without any further ado...

80's top box office month : 1983

And the top 5 box office movies for 1983 were...
1. Return of the Jedi
2. Terms of Endearment
3. Flashdance
4. Trading Places
5. War Games

Favorite movie from the top 5: Return of the Jedi. Hard for me to choose between Return of the Jedi, Terms of Endearment and Trading Places. You have a science fiction movie, a family drama and a comedy. Apple vs. Oranges vs. Avocados. But since Jedi is my favorite of the Star Wars trilogy, I'm going with that one. However, if we are talking about the updated version of Jedi where the apparitions at the end of the film are Yoda, Obi Wan and the young Anakin from the second trilogy!!, I'm choosing Terms of Endearment just for spite.

Return of the Jedi (Acceptable ending)

Return of the Jedi (Unacceptable ending)

Least favorite movie from the top 5: War Games. I'd rate the battle for last of the top five as a toss-up between War Games and Flashdance. I always thought War Games was overrated when it became a hit. It's not bad, but I was never really wild about it. Maybe I just need to see it again, though I don't have much of a desire to do so. Flashdance was a popular movie that is pretty easy to make fun of. The screenplay for Flashdance was written by Joe Eszterhas. And since I recently enjoyed his book The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God, I can't put his movie at the bottom. I know that isn't the best reasoning, but sorry War Games, you lose!

War Games

The Big Chill #13

The funny thing about a 1983 movie where thirtysomethings talking about the days of 1968 and Civil Rights, Vietnam and student protest is trying to imagine these same thirtysomethings in 2014 talking about 1999, since it is the mathematical equivalent. What would they talk about in this 2014 updating? The dot com crash? Y2K?

The Big Chill may be best viewed alongside of the similarly themed (and earlier) The Return of the Secaucus Seven.

The Right Stuff #33

I had to think a bit about my favorite movie of 1983 from the top 5 at the box office, but I won't hedge on naming The Right Stuff as my favorite film from that year. Of course, growing up in an age where the Mercury and Apollo astronauts were revered definitely puts a bias in me from the beginning. Tom Wolfe's book strongly emphasizes the Cold War aspect of the story of the Mercury Seven (and Chuck Yeager). The film stresses that too, but the individuality of the characters and the heroism of their mission is what comes through to me and puts it at the top of my 1983 list. And when Chuck Yeager emerges from the wreckage of a burning plane at the end of the movie, well, how can you not feel the testosterone drip off the screen? 

But why is this award winning classic only at number #33 for the year? I looked at the movies on the box office list for that year directly ahead of The Right Stuff and they include: Porky's II: The Next Day (a forgettable teen sex comedy), Spring Break (a forgettable teen sex comedy), Class (a forgettable teen sex comedy) and My Tutor (which is a forgettable know). 


  1. The Right Stuff is The Right Stuff and was so underappreciated that someone should be arrested.

  2. I entirely agree with you. I recently revisited The Right Stuff and it hold up perfectly well today. Much better than any other of the five films on your list, with the possible exception of Return of the Jedi.

  3. And I also recently visited the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which only increased my appreciation for the movie and the Mercury program that much more.