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May 18, 2011

The Movies of The Mike's Years

Oh, lists.  You're so easy and fun and at the same time thought provoking and debatable.  You're like some crappy ABC series, and for that, I think I love you.

Long time Midnight Warrior Emily C over at The Quest to Watch Every Movie Ever recently brought up a list meme that's going around the cyber 'verse, and I, The Mike, decided it was about time I jumped in.  The rules for this list are pretty simple. For each year you've been alive, you pick a movie.  I'm gonna pick a movie from each year that I think most represents who I am as The Mike - and (in a break from FMWL tradition) I'm not even limiting myself to genre films!  That's right.  This one time, and one time only, you can look into what's going on in the other areas of The Mike's movie lovin' mind! (And yes, I realize that I'm like 431 in blogger years.  Sorry. Now let's do this!)
1981 - Escape From New York - John Carpenter's flick, led by the mega-antihero Snake Plissken, is too cool for school.  I can't get enough of its gritty universe.
1982 - Conan the Barbarian - The easy answer would have been The Thing, but since I just went with Carpenter I'll let my love for Mr. Schwarzenegger's films shine. Some of the drama between Conan and Subotai, as cheesy as it is, moves me.
1983 - Something Wicked This Way Comes - I'm a sucker for horror tales that focus on real human characters, and Ray Bradbury's tale of an ominous carnival that preys on human desires is a classic in my mind. (I almost went with Valley Girl, because I am a bit convinced I WAS a Valley Girl in a previous life. But then I was like, AS IF!)
1984 - Gremlins - For a child of the '80s, this is the gateway to old-school sci-fi and monster movies.  I still want a pet mogwai.
1985 - The Breakfast Club - A classic whose dramatic punch can't be understated.  The rare '80s film that improves with age.
1986 - Hoosiers - MAN, this was a tough year.  Ferris Bueller, Highlander, Transformers The Movie, Big Trouble in Little China - so many of my favorites.  But, as a movie nut and sports nut, I have to give an edge to my favorite sports movie, which gets me pumped up every time.
1987 - Adventures in Babysitting - It KILLS me (I do bleed) to not list Predator here.  But Adventures in Babysitting pretty much got me through my childhood.  Can I call this a tie?  Because I'll give up the rest of the '80s for both Adventures in Babysitting AND Predator!  Oh, and The Monster Squad too!
1988 - Die Hard - Though this was a great year for horror films - including They Live, which was the subject of my favorite thing I've ever written - I can't pass up what might be the Citizen Kane of action films.
1989 - The 'Burbs - There's no argument here.  This....this is my neighborhood.
1990 - Goodfellas - Oh look, a good movie thrown in for good measure!  I wanted to go with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, but Scorsese won the coin toss.
1991 - The Addams Family - I must have watched this update of the classic TV show a hundred times on HBO when I was young.  So many memorable lines and deep laughs, I just can't get enough of it.
1992 - Scent of a Woman - Pacino at his loudest.  Great stuff.
1993 - Wayne's World 2 - I can recite this movie from memory.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it contains instant happiness and relief from the world's problems. Excellent!
1994 - The Shawshank Redemption - Gaaaahhhhh, I kind of want to throw Ed Wood a bone for being black & white and about horror/sci-fi films gone by.  Alas, Shawshank is just too good.
1995 - Copycat - I'm picking this over some better thrillers (like Seven and Heat and The Usual Suspects) because my sister flat out loved it and I was always like "Meh, it's OK" to combat her - when in fact I totally loved it too. I admit it now for the world to see.
1996 - The Rock - This is the movie that made me who I am. Every passionate thought I've had about a film since June 7, 1996 was born when I saw The Rock that night.
1997 - Grosse Pointe Blank - I don't give Cusack enough respect these days (probably because most of what he's done the last decade sucked hard), but the man used to be an icon to me.  Grosse Pointe Blank, like The 'Burbs before it, wins my dark comedy lovin' heart.
1998 -The Spanish Prisoner - This is another year where I love a lot of movies.  Out of Sight, Rushmore, and The Truman Show are all personal faves.  But The Spanish Prisoner is just the kind of mystery that speaks to me, and I get caught up in it like I have few films since Hitchcock.  Mamet rules.
1999 - American Beauty - It's cliche now because everyone followed it and mimicked it, but this movie really did move me deeply when I first saw it.  It still remains among my very favorite movies.
2000 - High Fidelity - My roommate at the time swears up and down that Jack Black's character in this film was based on me.  I can't confirm or deny this, but you should know that I'm a surprisingly awesome singer. (OK, maybe I'm just an awesome singer in my mind. BUT DON'T YOU DARE CRUSH MY DREAMS!)
2001 - Lantana - This is another underseen human-based thriller - like The Spanish Prisoner - that just catches me and doesn't let me go.  Oh, and Barbara Hershey's in it!
2002 - Dog Soldiers - 2002 was one heckuva year for films Mike loves.  Spider-Man changed my perceptions and revived the young Mike who wanted to be a superhero, Minority Report ruled, Moonlight Mile and The Salton Sea both moved me deeply. But, Dog, it gets my blood pumping like nothing since The Rock can.  Tonight that's the winner.
2003 - Big Fish - I'm not usually one to fall supremely in love with a movie, but this was in my Top 5 of all-time after first viewing.  It's been years since I watched it and the memory has faded a bit - I overloaded hardcore when it was in theater and I had free passes - but the thought of it still gets me a little misty eyed.
2004 - Spartan - More Mamet.  Like Spanish Prisoner and Lantana, this one haunts me with its depth and intrigue.  Also features what might be the most amazing musical score ever to hit my mind.
2005 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Back to back wins for Val Kilmer, who teams with Robert Downey Jr. in what is probably my favorite film since at least Big Fish.  It's just a ton of improper fun.
2006 - V for Vendetta - I'm a little surprised to find this atop my Flickchart for 2006, but I am quite the fan of this dystopian action tale.  And Natalie Portman is my birthday twin, so why not?
2007 - Hot Fuzz - I like to think that Nick Frost's character in this movie was based off of me. Little hand says it's time to rock and roll...
2008 - Iron Man - Aside from The Fantastic Four - whose movie sucked (OK, I loved the first one, but I'm not admitting it here) - Iron Man was my favorite hero as a kid.  Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. brought him to me and made me quite happy.  For that, I salute them.
2009 - Watchmen - My comic nerd twist continues, as Zack Snyder's epic version of the graphic novel wowed me.  It might not have been an exact follower of the comic, but it's as good as we can dream to see.
2010 - Monsters - This is a tough one to call, as most movies from 2010 are still pretty new to me, but Monsters is one I've seen at least five times already.  So it gets the vote for now, we'll see how time treats it.
2011 - Dawning - While I could go with films that actually came out this year in theaters - if I did it'd be a toss-up between Thor and Hanna thus far - I'm gonna show some love to a film that hits DVD in June, Gregg Holtgrewe's Dawning.  It's a movie that's meant a lot to me on its own merits, but it's also special because Gregg has been a great friend of FMWL and a gracious recipient of feedback from myself and some other bloggers.  I hope that you'll have a chance to understand this pick more when it hits DVD June 28th,  and you can click HERE to add it to your Netflix queue today!


Jinx said...

Bloody brilliant. I used to love Conan the Barbarian when I was wee, don't know how resisted The Thing though.

Box Office Boredom said...

Hey! Blogger loves me today and allows me to comment. As the "roommate at the time that swears up and down that Jack Black's character in this film was based on me", I still swear, replace Music with movies and you have The Mike.

I can confirm, these movies mold The Mike. I was around him as he watched many of these films over and over again. Aside from Dawning and Monsters which are newer additions -And it should be noted, He's just wrong on Watchmen. I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a spork before watching it again! ;-)

Replace Watchmen with Torque and you got your self a quality list!

Oh and Mike...quick...without thinking or looking it up, finish the following quote all the way to the line "did a great show." :

"So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about..."

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Great list! I'm definitely doing this!

The Mike said...

Jinx - I really should have gone with The Thing. But I just had to get Arnie on the list, and am now glad I did since I bumped EVERYTHING else he did. :/

Jason - What would you think if I said I haven't seen Evil Dead 2 YET?

Oh, and "it's about three AM and we're looking for 10,000 brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night! So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So, we go and it's closed. So, there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby breakin' in to this little sweet shop, right? Well, instead of a guard dog they've got a bloody great big bengal tiger! I managed to control the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopkeeper and his son...that's a different story all together. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But, sure enough, we got the M&Ms, Ozzy went on stage and did a great show." (Seriously, off the top of my head. Best speech ever.)

Fred - Thanks, I look forward to yours!

Emily said...

Awesome list The Mike!!

There are so many films on your list that I contemplated putting on mine- in fact, it pained me to choose between The Breakfast Club and Back to the Future, as The Breakfast Club has been one of my favorites since I can remember. It's probably one of the movies that I quote from the most. I love the addition of Adventures in Babysitting and The 'burbs- they totally would have been on my list had I not excluded those I had on my ABC list. I also LOVE Grosse Point Blank, High Fidelity, and V for Vendetta- and Monsters as well!!! Good taste as always :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Great list--as usual! =D

In my opinion, 1984 is the toughest year for picks. So many great movies came out then! And no obvious winner like the Greatest Year for Movies (i.e., 1939), which gave us The Wizard of Oz. But I'm glad you picked The Gremlins because someone had to, and when I do my list, I won't! =P

This will definitely be easier than the Alphabet list. I might actually come up with something this time. LOL!

Christine Hadden said...

Love your list! I absolutely have to do this as well, because I am a list-o-holic. There, I've admitted it. That's half the battle.

My list will be longer due to *ahem* my age, but hey - it means I get to include all the good stuff from the 70's :)

The Mike said...

Thanks ma'ams!

Emily C - I didn't even think about Back to the Future! But, I still would have probably gone with Breakfast Club. At least the two of us have it covered.

E - 1984 is certainly a tough one, and was another spot where I almost slipped in Arnold with The Terminator. But I could not pass up Gizmo...he's my favorite.

Christine - Looking forward to yours! And you're right about the '70s, as I was writing this I kept saying "Man, all the horror movies I love were from the '70s!" to myself. (And besides, it's totally not due to your's just that your knowledge requires more years!)