1986 in Movies

The XKCD New Years cartoon was one of those “make you feel old” entries that pointed out a few things that were turning 10 or 20 years old in 2016.  Pokemon, for example, will turn 20 this February.

For no particular reason I was sitting in bed this morning thinking about this and decided to look up on Wikipedia the movies that were released in 1986.  What titles would I remember from way back then?  What is turning 30 this year?

Before we were resisting capitalism

Before we were resisting capitalism

Then I started looking down the list and found what a prodigious year it was for the cinema.  Films I remember from that year, and sort of what I remember off the top of my head, include:

9½ Weeks – Probably the last Mickey Rourke looked good.  Had a girlfriend who really, really liked this movie.

52 Pick-Up – About a sex tape and named after a childhood card game/trick/prank

About Last Night… – Rob Lowe BEFORE the sex tape!

The Adventures of Milo and Otis – I am surprised that this is from 1986.  I think I found this when looking for a movie my daughter could watch when she was about 4. (From this list.)

Aliens – The action sequel to the suspense/horror original.  Saw this with Skronk and some friends at a theater in Fairfield.  Literally ashamed I do not own this on DVD or BluRay.

An American Tail – Animated immigrant mice.

At Close Range – I don’t think I ever saw this, but I remember Roger Ebert’s review of it, which is pretty much the same thing 30 years down the road I suppose.

Back to School – Rodney Dangerfield at the peak of his movie career.

Behind Enemy Lines – A knock-off of Rambo II.

Big Trouble in Little China – Kurt Russel cult classic. You probably either love it or hate it.

Blue Velvet – The beginning of the Pabst Blue Ribbon revival thanks to the well dressed man.

Brighton Beach Memoirs – Neil Simon on being young Neil Simon.

Captain EO – Became a ride at Disneyland.

Children of a Lesser God – Film Adaptation of the Broadway play.  Trailer voice over was that guy who does all the art house films.

The Clan of the Cave Bear – Film adaptation of the book with Daryl Hannah in animal skins.

Clockwise – Not very popular, but pretty much a primer on the John Cleese writing style. (Came from this list.)

Club ParadiseProof that Robin Williams alone cannot carry a film… or was that Popeye?  Michael Caine was in there too, but I think he was in half of these films somewhere.

Cobra – Stallone as unshaven bad boy cop in a cool car.  You’re the disease, I’m the cure… I think that was the Roger Ebert review.

The Color of Money – Trying to remake The Hustler and nearly succeeding.

Crocodile Dundee – ‘stralia!  Made my daughter watch this decades later.  That’s not a knife and all that. (From this list.)

The Decline of the American Empire – Went to see this with some friends based solely on the title.  Turns out it was a metaphor.  Not at all what we were expecting.  French-Canadian relationship angst. (From this list.)

The Delta Force – Chuck Norris; sand rails and dirt bikes taking out tanks by jumping over them.  Became the basis, along with Top Secret, for a Goon propaganda film about Ev0ke.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills – Nick Nolte, but no Eddie Murphy and not a cop.

Down by Law – I have no memory of this other than my friend Bill started saying, “Down by law!” a lot.

F/X – Special effects were getting so big that there was a movie about a special effect guy.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Holy crap, is this really going to be 30 this year?

The Fly – Jeff Goldblum’s face comes off!  Also, Eeeeewwwwww!!!

The Golden Child – Eddie Murphy bomb (at least in the reviews), he should have gone to Beverly Hills with Nick Nolte.

The Great Mouse Detective – A big year for animated mice.

Gung Ho – Japanese and Americans teaming up to build cars.  Only real draw was to see if Gedde Watanabe would reprise his “Automobeeeeeeel!” quote from Sixteen Candles.

Hannah and Her Sisters – Woody Allen during the Mia Farrow years, with Micheal Caine.  Angst.

Heartbreak Ridge – Clint Eastwood takes Grenada.  Basically a vehicle to retell that story of the guy who used a pay phone to call in an airstrike.

Highlander – The film that sold a million duster coats and spawned as many bad Sean Connery imitations .  I remember laughing at it then.

The Hitcher – Best hitchhiker film ever!  Scared the crap out of every woman I knew, a couple of whom literally angry at me for recommending it.  Scared the crap out of me too.

Hoosiers – About basketball players… in Indiana… yeah… Gene Hackman.

Howard the Duck – A Marvel film so bad they they didn’t even reference it until Guardians of the Galaxy.

Labyrinth – David Bowie teenage angst metaphor fantasy adventure thing.

Little Shop of Horrors – The remake.  In color.  Steve Martin.  There was a Mac OS extension that would play the line “Feed me!” whenever you inserted a floppy disk.  That sound sample came from this.

Luxo, Jr. – The first Pixar short.  Pretty sure I don’t remember it from 1986, but I remember it.

Manhunter – A of the stories from the Hannibal Leckor series, before Silence of the Lambs introduced us to fava beans.  Remade as Red Dragon, which was the name of the book.  Once tried to rent it, but picked up THE Manhunter instead, a bad dubbed horror film from Brazil.

Maximum Overdrive – Emilio Estevez being chased by angry animated vehicles.  From the mind of Stephen King.

The Money Pit – Tom Hanks film about a house that costs a lot of money.  Can’t recall if he has one of his trademark pisses in this or not.

The Mosquito Coast – Harrison Ford as the anti-Indiana Jones.  Makes ice in the topics, which you would think people would appreciate.

Off Beat – Judge Rheinhold gets mistaken for a cop and doesn’t just say, “Sorry, no, it was just dress up.”  Also, something about roller skates.

One Crazy Summer – Bobcat Golthwaite is hilarious, we should put him in a movie!

Peggy Sue Got Married – Kathleen Turner goes back in time to make a mint by inventing pantyhose.  Or maybe it was just a metaphor.

Pirates – I would say “worst pirate movie ever,” but then Yellowbeard springs to mind.

Platoon – Because Charlie Sheen got first choice.  Go to war, get stoned, feel bad about all we did. Catharsis or something.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side – The real curse from the original was being damned into making a seuqel.  Never saw it.

Pretty in Pink – Molly Ringwald vehicle because Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club rocked.  Wasn’t quite the same.

Running Scared – Undercover cop car joke, Cubs jersey… oh, and Billy Crystal as a cop.

Ruthless People – We could not get enough Danny DeVito and Judge Rheinhold back then.  Also, Bette Midler.

Salvador – We’re very concerned about press freedoms in Central America.

Stand by Me – Lord, is this 30 years old too?

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – Even number, so decent film… for the series.  The Enterprise goes to 20th century SF to talk to whales because some space probe demands it.  Scotty talks to a Mac mouse because those are so new and crazy!

¡Three Amigos! – Proof that just putting three comedians in a film won’t make it a hit, if we allow that Chevy Chase might be a comedian.

Top Gun – Most homoerotic film about Navy fighter pilots ever.  A film so pro-Navy that they felt buying an ad to run before the movie on VHS rentals would be redundant.  Would watch again.

Wise Guys – What we had to put up with between The Godfather and Goodfellas.

That is what, more than 50 movies from 1986 of which I have some recollection?  That seems like a lot of movies from a given year to remember something about.  Yes, looking at the titles did help spark some memory, and yes that happened to be a year when I was probably in the prime of my movie going days, though I will say that I don’t remember them all because I saw them in 1986 in the theater.  The advent of the VCR and video rentals put a lot of them in front of me after they left the big screen.

Anyway, that was my trip down memory lane this morning.  And I didn’t even go into Stellar Emperor or Stellar Warrior, online video games I was playing in 1986.

8 thoughts on “1986 in Movies

  1. bhagpuss

    Four of my very favorite movies of all time are on that list – Aliens, Blue Velvet, Ferris Bueller and Pretty In Pink. I’ve watched them all many times and hope to watch them many more. That’s the weirdest one-line review of David Lynch’s classic I’ve ever seen, by the way!

    Down By Law is up there, too and Ruthless People, while I don’t think it’s that great in and of itself, is the film that made me laugh harder and more uncontrollably in the cinema than anything I have ever seen. There seemed to be some kind of mass hysteria thing going on and its the example I always drag out when trying to explain to people why seeing movies at the cinema is the ur-experience (he says, as someone who now watches most of them on a 10″ tablet…).

    1986 is right in the heart of my “going to the movies” years and yet I never saw more than half of those movies at all and most of the ones I did see I saw later on tv or video. Even Ferris Bueller I never actually saw on the big screen.

    Of course, although we share a lot of releases from Hollywood, there’s a difference between what shows in the UK and the USA and that difference was probably more noticeable 30 years ago. Missing from your list but very well-remembered by me, are

    My Beautiful Launderette
    Room With A View
    Absolute Beginners
    Mona Lisa
    Sid And Nancy

    And US releases that you didn’t mention include another of my all-time favorites, Something Wild. It certainly was a heck of a year but then so are most years when it comes to movies. A lot get made and they make a lot of memories.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I might have mentioned My Beautiful Launderette (which we just watched last week) and Room With A View, but I think they are on the 1985 list.

    Something Wild I recognized, but I could only recall the movie poster as opposed to anything about the movie itself. There were a couple other marginal items on the list, like Under the Cherry Moon, where I couldn’t say anything about the movie itself, so I set a higher threshold. (Also, totally waiting for somebody to call me out for not mentioning Short Circuit. Never saw it.)

    And it might have been a weird on-line review, but you knew what I was referring to, didn’t you?

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  3. Shintar

    I’m glad I clicked on “The Adventures of Milo and Otis” out of curiosity because I had that on VHS as a kid but the German title is totally different so I never would have made the connection! The memories…

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  4. Anonymous

    The Money Pit had a meta peeing scene with Tom Hanks. Instead of him it was a statue of a cherub with “prostate problems”.

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  5. Cabon Scout (@cabon_scout)

    Aliens is one of my favorite all time movies. Bill Paxton was excellent in this movie as Private Hudson. One of his best lines was “Man! You ain’t been keeping up on current events. We just got our asses kicked.” I’ve used that in fleet ops many a times:-)

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  6. Knug

    OK, I’ll call out for not having Short circuit not on your list. Number 5 is alive! I played it a few months ago for my adolescent sons. They watched the robot, I watched alley Sheedy in the tub . . .

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  7. mbp

    I am surprised at how many of those movies I can recall seeing in the cinema. I was supposed to be completing a Masters dissertation at the time, Obviously I was easily tempted away from my studies by the lure of the big screen.

    Two standaout movies on the list for me are Aliens (my favourite of the series by far and one of my all time favourtie movies) and Ferris Bueller. Ferris is on Netflix these days and I actually convinced my teenage daughters to watch it with me last year. I think they enjoyed it. I am tempted to try the Breakfast Club on them but I am not sure if that is an appropriate movie to watch with one’s parents.

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