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The 20 best movies of the 80s (and another Ralph story)

Longtime Malcontenters may recall my late step-grandfather Ralph, the pathological liar with poor table manners. One Thanksgiving when I was around 16 we visited my grandmother in her Indiana trailer (as depressing as it sounds). “Young man, I have a movie you’re gonna love,” said Ralph, who we alway placated so as not to upset my overly sensitive grandmother.

So, with my mother’s blessing, I spent part of my Thanksgiving alone in my step-grandfather’s “study” watching the 80s classic “Zapped,” about a nerdy teen (Scott Baio) who gains telekinetic powers he uses to disrobe hot chicks like Heather Thomas. Co-starring Willie Aames and Scatman Crothers.

“Zapped” did not make my list:

  • Blue Velvet
  • The Elephant Man
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Raging Bull
  • My Life as a Dog
  • Hannah and Her Sisters
  • The King of Comedy
  • Raising Arizona
  • After Hours
  • The Verdict
  • The Vanishing (the Dutch version)
  • The Shining
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Heathers
  • Zelig
  • Blade Runner
  • Drugstore Cowboy
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Broadcast News
  • Hoosiers

And yes, I’m aware there are no Oliver Stone movies on my list. Only “Wall Street” merited consideration. “Just One of the Guys” barely missed out.

(Check out my compilation of the top 20 movies since 1990.)






6 thoughts on “The 20 best movies of the 80s (and another Ralph story) Leave a comment

  1. I didn’t expect to see Hoosiers listed. Great movie. But not sure I agree about your intentional omission of an Oliver Stone movie. He’s overrated, but if had 2 hours to watch an ’80’s war flick, I’d prefer to spend it watching Platoon over Full Metal Jacket. Also, what about Glory?

  2. Oh my god… Gymkata was the subject of many jokes between Kathy G. and myself. BLAST from the past. In fact, we acted it out like Tush.

  3. Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man! Repo Man!

  4. There is nothing better than stumbling across “Zapped” or “Just One of the Guys” on TBS on a dreary Saturday afternoon…

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