10 NEAR FORGOTTEN MOVIE GEMS FROM THE 1980'S

  1. WINTER KILLS. A crazy, wild, hard-to-believe-they-made-it, (almost) brilliant conspiracy thriller starring a young and beautiful Jeff Bridges, the equally beautiful (and also sadly forgotten) Belinda Bauer, and John Huston eating enough scenery to start a summer stock theatre. It is a truly odd, really fun, really original piece of filmmaking.
  2. PENNIES FROM HEAVEN. From writer Dennis Potter comes a deeply dark musical set in the depression that is stunningly shot by Gordon Willis. Starring Steve Martin in a (successful) bid for serious actor respectability, the tremendously talented Bernadette Peters & Christopher Walken dancing with dangerous alacrity. It's a devilish movie. A beauty.
  3. THE THING. John Carpenter's ultra scary horror movie set in a frozen tundra research station. There's a truly creepy monster on the loose and no one is safe. The whole thing is guaranteed to give you the creeps, heebeejeebees and night sweats despite the freezing temperatures.
  4. THIEF. Michael Mann's deeply influential crime movie stars a never better James Caan, Tuesday Weld and a deeply humanistic Willie Nelson. It's a sharp-as-ice character piece and truly tense heist film set in Chicago that has style to burn. That style has been ripped off by filmmakers ever since it's release.
  5. PRINCE OF THE CITY. An epic NYC cop movie, three hours long, by Sidney Lumet. Today it would be an HBO miniseries. It's deep, complex and full of pain. Treat Williams is in nearly every tortured frame. And a pre Law and Order Jerry Orbach steals every scene.
  6. SHOOT THE MOON. Alan Parker's great drama is a beautifully observed divorce story that aches with every gorgeous frame. Albert Finney and a never better Diane Keaton break your heart as a fading couple trying to keep themselves their family and their shit together in early 80's Northern California. It's one of my fav films ever.
  7. LOCAL HERO. A charmer of a movie if there's ever been one. Bill Forsyth's completely original completely surprising gem about business, loneliness, small towns and mermaids benefits from a perfect script, great acting and an amazing score by Mark Knopfler.
  8. HOUSE OF GAMES. David Mamet's twisty, tough and insanely clever directorial debut works as well today as when it was made. It's the fun of the long con played out in a Runyonesque world of colorful characters, biting dialog and tense surprising sequences. Joe Mantegna is as charismatic and original as any tough guy put on film.
  9. SALVADOR. Oliver Stone's angry and vital journalist in war zone story is messy and funny and dirty and lived-in. It's also true. It's also great. James Woods burns the screen playing a sleazy yet passionate reporter on the trail of dangerous truths. Jim Belushi also shines as his dirtier, sleazier best friend.
  10. ANOTHER WOMAN. Woody Allen creates a tiny little pearl of a movie. Gena Rowlands, the great Ian Holm & a quietly compelling Gene Hackman star in a sad tale of love, eavesdropping and infidelity. In an era where Allen made such masterpieces as CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS this perfect short story of a film is worth checking out