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Friday, August 8, 2008

The Best Years of Our Lives: 1982

This is the first entry in what I hope to make a semi-regular series where I’ll look at some of the best years for movies and talk about why I think they're so great. After considering the options for a while, I decided to start with 1982, a year which has particular significance for me because it’s the year that I was born and also the year that one of my favourite movies, E.T. was released.

But that's not all 1982 has going for it:

As I said, this is the year of E.T., which would go on to become the highest grossing film of the year and one of the top grossing films of all time. Rounding out the top 3 in terms of box office were Tootsie, a comedy classic, and An Officer and a Gentleman, a romantic classic with an iconic and much parodied ending. As an aside, looking over the year's box office top ten, it's funny to think that the #10 film - Annie - came in at $57 million domestically, a number which would only be considered so-so at best today. To put this in proper perspective, the #10 grossing film of 2007 - 300 - ended up with $210 million domestically.

On the science fiction front, 1982 is the year of The Wrath of Khan, considered by some to be the best of the Star Trek movies, Poltergeist, Blade Runner and Tron which, while not much of success in terms of either box office or critical reception, has become a cult classic and proven to be a highly influential film in its technical and visual aspects.

Although 2005 was lauded as being the year of mainstream GLBTQ representation in Hollywood with Oscar nominations going to Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica, 1982 saw the release of two landmark mainstream films featuring gay characters: Making Love and Personal Best. Plus, there was also the Julie Andrews starring tranny musical Victor/Victoria.

Other notable films from 1982:
Fast Times At Ridgemont High, a high water mark in the genre of teen comedies and one of the only movies to feature Sean Penn as an entirely likeable character;
Sophie’s Choice, the second film to net Meryl Streep an Oscar;
First Blood, which marks Sylvester Stallone’s first appearance as John Rambo;
Pink Floyd The Wall;
The World According To Garp;
Querelle, the last film of the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder;
Fanny and Alexander;
The Return of Martin Guerre, which was later remade as the dreadful Sommersby, starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster;
My Favorite Year;
and a film that can make all Canadians proud: the Canadian-produced Porky’s, which was the highest grossing Canadian film in Canada until 2006, when it was displaced by Bon Cop, Bad Cop.

Looking at things taking place behind the scenes, 1982 is the year that the THX sound system is developed for theatres, and also the year in which child-labour and safety laws are reformed following an accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie which led to the deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors.

So what's your favourite movie from 1982?


Rick Olson said...

I gotta go with Bladerunner, in all it's many incarnations.

Norma Desmond said...

I finally got around to seeing Blade Runner last year and I just couldn't get into it. Is there much difference between the various versions?