Monday, May 20, 2013

1980s WITD Poll Votes

At Wonders in the Dark, voting for the film of the year continues to march through the years, up into the 90s, and so here, I'll repost my votes for the previous decade (with some slight amendment, I have to admit), along with my best of the decade votes. This is the 1980s - an odd stretch, that people seem to remember badly and not too fondly, and that I find - a mixed bag. Though looking through all these films - I find that somewhere in the middle of the decade the number of films I have records of seeing spiked - and stayed spiked ever since. Though this happened before the number of films I went to see in theaters spiked - very odd. Anyway - here it is - my favorites of the 1980s.

The Decade:

PICTURE: City of Sadness
DIRECTOR (single film): Hou Hsiao-Hsien, City of Sadness
DIRECTOR (decade): Hou Hsiao-hsien
LEAD ACTOR (single film): John Hurt, Elephant Man
ACTOR (decade): Chow Yun-fat
LEAD ACTRESS (one film): Brigitte Lin, Peking Opera Blues
ACTRESS (decade): Brigitte Lin?
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Isabella Rosselini, Blue Velvet
SHORT: Broken Down Film, Osamu Texuka
SCORE: Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Frederick Elmes, Blue Velvet

Plus bonus picks:
Script: City of Sadness (Chu Tien-wen & Wu Nien-jen)
Music: Stop Making Sense has the best music, I have to say. Something Wild, though, has the best use of a song - though over all, Blue Velvet's use of music is on a very rarified level. That sounds like three different votes, and probably is, since they use three different criteria.
Sound: this, though, I think is Ran
Martial Arts: I think the best martial arts film, as a martial arts film - is Project A part II. {eking Opera Blues is a better film as a film, I think - though not in a landslide - but Jackie Chan's virtues are more tightly bound to the actual stunts and acrobatics than Tsui Hark's...
Documentary: The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

1. City of Sadness
2. Blue Velvet
3. Elephant Man
4. Fitzcarraldo
5. Sans Soleil
6. Dekalog
7. Peking Opera Blues
8. Do the Right Thing
9. Brazil
10. Blind Chance
11. Dust in the Wind
12. This is Spinal Tap
13. Raiders of the Lost Ark
14. The Emperor's Naked Army Matches On
15. Blade Runner
16. Ran
17. Kegemusha
18. Merry Christmas Mr. Laerence
19. The Big Red One
20. Black Rain

(I just noticed how many of the 80s best films are World War II films: City of Sadness (sort of; begins with the emperor's speech announcing the end of the war), Emperor's Naked Army, Nerry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, the Big Red One, Black Rain - and Come and See, which is as good as anything here; shoot, you can make a case for Raiders of the Lost Ark, too. More than one part of the Dekalog too.)

And By Year:


A fairly extraordinary year, to end the decade...

PICTURE: City of Sadness
DIRECTOR: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
LEAD ACTOR: Chow Yun-fat (sometimes, you just want a Movie Star)
LEAD ACTRESS: Kati Outinen (if Match Factory Girl is 89...)
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jack Nicholson, Batman
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rosy Perez, Do the Right Thing
SHORT: Creature Comforts
SCORE: Danny Elfman, Batman
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Takashi Kawamata, Black Rain

Plus bonus picks:
Script: This is also City of Sadness, the best film of the 80s, one of the all time greats.
Music/Sound: Leningrad Cowboys Go America? No, not really - Do the Right Thing, in a walk.
Martial Arts: Some nice films to choose from, but Jacky Chan's Capra remake, Miracles, takes the prize.

1. City of Sadness
2. Do the Right Thing
3. Black Rain
4. Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia
5. Mystery Train
6. Miracles - Mr. Canton and Lady Rose
7. The Killer
8. Why Has the Bodhi Darma Left for the East
9. Kiki's Delivery Service
10. Batman


PICTURE: Dekalog
DIRECTOR: Kieslowski
LEAD ACTOR: Forest Whitaker, Bird
LEAD ACTRESS: Carmen Maura, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Michelle Pfeiffer, Dangerous Liaisons
SCORE: Toru Takemitsu, Wuthering Heights
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Junichiro Hayashi, Wuthering Heights

Plus bonus picks:
Script: The Dekalog, collectively, and individually, they'd come close to being the top 10
Music/Sound: Married to the Mob has the Feelies again... Demme's soundtracks are usually as interesting as his films
Martial Arts: I forgot this last week. This is a good year for it though - Dragons Forever is absolutely thrilling

1. Dekalog
2. Dragons Forever
3. Wuthering Heights
4. Rouge
5. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
6. Damnation
7. Family Viewing
8. Chocolat
9. Beetle Juice
10. A Fish Called Wanda


This is a very strong year. Very strong.

PICTURE: Dust in the Wind
DIRECTOR: Kazuo Hara, Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
LEAD ACTOR: I am tempted to say Kenzo Okuzaki, documentary or not, not least because he is so aware of the camera, and his performance for the camera.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: the choices are overwhelming; Vincent D'Onofrio, though, I suppose has to take it. But Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Charles Grodin, R. Lee Ermey, etc. - what is there to choose among them?
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Maggie Cheung, Project A II?
SHORT: The Unnameable Little Broom? if that's the right year...
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dust in the Wind (Ping-bin Lee)

Plus bonus picks:
Script: The Princess Bride
Music/Sound: Ishtar - if you admit that you play the accordion they won't let you play in a rock and roll band.
Documentary: The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On is among the best ever
Martial Arts: (I forgot to add this during the voting, though I'd already started putting them on the ballots - odd, since this is the year the film I think is the best straight martial arts film came out.) Project A Part II

1. Dust in the Wind
2. The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
3. Full Metal Jacket
4. Project A II
5. Where is the Friend's House?
6. Evil Dead II
7. Raising Arizona
8. The Princess Bride
9. Ishtar
10. Daughter of the Nile


THere's a lot of good stuff in 86, and of course, one of the films of the decade at the top... It is also pretty much the beginning of the stretch where the Chinese completely took over my film viewing... And world cinema, for that matter.

PICTURE: Blue Velvet
DIRECTOR: David Lynch
LEAD ACTOR: Richard E.Grant, Withnail and I
LEAD ACTRESS: Bridgitte Lin, Peking Opera Blues
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Isabella Rosselini
SHORT: Rocky VI (though isn't Street of Crocodiles a short? or have I only seen part of it?)
SCORE: Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Frederick Elmes, Blue Velvet

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Blue Velvet
Music/Sound: I thought this one would probably be Assayas' Disorder (New Order and Pere Ubu? not likely to beat that...) - but that was because I had the idea that Something Wild came out in 87. That's got the Feelies - now, while they get in range of Pere Ubu, over all, in any sort of general contest, they do fall short... but in these films: it's Slipping (Into Something) vs. Non-Alignment Pact - great as Non-Alignment Pact is, it's not gonna win that comparison. And add in the Feelies doing Fame, and the Demme film wins, even without looking at the way the music is used in the films. But there - the way Demme scores the big turn in Something Wild to the musical turns in Slipping (into Something) - it's no contest. That's one of the great music/film moments ever.
Martial Arts: Peking Opera Blues

1. Blue Velvet
2. Peking Opera Blues
3. Terroriser
4. Something Wild
5. Down by Law
6. Ferris Bueller's Day off
7. Dream Lovers
8. From Beyond
9. Shadows in Paradise
10. Withnail & I


This is another very strong year, with obvious greatness and a disproportionate number of films that are rather better than they should be. Being particularly definitive of what might be a minor type of film. Teen comedies and jokey horror and the like, that are hard to compare with the Great Films of All Time, but are still infinitely enjoyable.

DIRECTOR: Hou Hsiao-Hsien, A Time to Live, A Time to Die
LEAD ACTOR: Jonathan Pryce
LEAD ACTRESS: Sandrine Bonnaire, Vagabonde
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jeffrey Combs, Re-Animator
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kim Darby, Better off Dead (? - though this is not far off - she is so strange and wonderful...)
SHORT: Broken Down Film, Tezuka, which is one of the best short films ever.
SCORE: Toru Takemitsu, Ran
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda, Asaichi Nakai, Ran

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Taipei Story
Music/Sound: Desperately Seeking Susan takes this prize.
Martial Arts: (Added after the fact - I wasn't voting for them regularly then) Police Story

1. Brazil
2. Ran
3. Come and See
4. A Time to Live, a Time to Die
5. Taipei Story
6. Tampopo
7. Reanimator
8. When Father Was Away on Business
9. Vagabond
10. The Sure Thing


Oddly underwhelming year, despite the very fine films at the top.

PICTURE: This is Spinal Tap
DIRECTOR: Hou Hsiao Hsien, Summer at Grandpa's
LEAD ACTOR: Philip Baker Hall, Secret Honor
LEAD ACTRESS: Gena Rowlands, Love Streams
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Harry Dean Stanton, Repo Man
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sigourney Weaver, Ghostbusters (why not? she's funny, she's cool amidst the nonsense, she's game - why not?)
SHORT: Jumping, Osamu Tezuka
SCORE: This is obviously Spinal Tap - not sure why it's not nominated, the songs were written for the movie... or - wait - wasn't the music for Purple Rain original to the movie too? holy crap.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Zhang Yimou, Yellow Earth

Plus bonus picks:
Script: This is Spinal Tap
Music/Sound: no matter what was original and what wasn't - Prince vs. The Talking Heads offers as great a competition as you could ask.
Martial Arts: (Added after the fact) - Wheels on Meals

1. This is Spinal Tap
2. Twenty-Eight Up
3. Summer at Grandpa's
4. Secret Honor
5. Repo Man
6. Stranger than Paradise
7. Love Streams
8. Ghostbusters
9. The Funeral
10. Stop Making Sense


PICTURE: San Soleil
DIRECTOR: Chris Marker
LEAD ACTOR: Tom Conti, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
LEAD ACTRESS: Sylvia Chang, That Day on the Beach
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Takeshi Kitano, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sandra Bernhard, The King of Comedy
SHORT: not yet... (Unless I were to arbitrarily abstract Hou Hsiao Hsien's "Sandwich Man" from the anthology of the same name...)
SCORE: MArk Knopfler, Local Hero
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Kiyoshi Hasegawa, The Makioka Sisters

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Marker again, Sans Soleil
Music/Sound: David Bowie singing Rock of Ages has to get a mention somewhere.
Martial Arts: (Added after the fact) - Project A

1. Sans Soleil
2. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
3. The Makioka Sisters
4. L'Argent
5. The Boys of Fengkui
6. That Day on the Beach
7. Zelig
8. Local Hero
9. The Green, Green Grass of Home
10. Project A


This is the thinnest year for me in a long time - I don't know if the year is that bad (probably not, since what I have seen is quite strong, with a handful of stone classics), but I have seen astonishingly few films from this year.

PICTURE: Fitzcarraldo
LEAD ACTOR: Klaus Kinski
LEAD ACTRESS: Susan Berman, Smithereens
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Karen Black, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
SHORT: (I might get around to voting this week... gotta hope, lot of good looking stuff on offer...)
SCORE: Vangelis, Blade Runner
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Thomas Mauch, Fitzcarraldo

Plus bonus picks::
Script: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Music/Sound: Smithereens, with its Feelies songs - can't beat that....
Martial Arts: (Added after the fact) - this is probably Fantasy Mission Force - another reason for the Best Actress of the decade vote - though an odd one.

1. Fitzcarraldo
2. Blade Runner
3. Fanny & Alexander
4. Burden of Dreams
5. Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
6. Chan is Missing
7. Forty Deuce
8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
9. The Draughtsman's Contract
10. In Our Time


PICTURE: Blind Chance
DIRECTOR: Oliveira, Francisca
LEAD ACTOR: Andre Gregory?
LEAD ACTRESS: Barbara Sukowa, Lola
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Lola
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: why is this one so hard?
SHORT: alas...
SCORE: Williams, Raiders
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Shinsaku Himeda, Eijanaika

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Blind Chance
Music/Sound: This is a Sound one - Das Boot, which gets as much from the sound as the visuals, really thrilling.
Martial Arts: (Added after the fact) - Prodigal Son

1. Blind Chance
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. Eijenaika
4. Lola
5. Francisca
6. Chan is Missing
7. Prodigal Son
8. Possession
9. Gallipoli
10. Das Boot or My Dinner with Andre


PICTURE: Elephant Man
DIRECTOR: Kurosawa
LEAD ACTRESS: Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Peter Boyle, Where the Buffalo Roam
SHORT: not yet...
SCORE: I think this is the Elephant Man, too...
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Freddie Francis, the Elephant Man

Plus bonus picks:
Script: Let's give this to Airplane!
Music/Sound: I'm inclined to be perverse and name Harry Nilsson for Popeye...

1. The Elephant Man
2. Kegemusha
3. The Big Red One
4. Atlantic City
5. Raging Bull
6. Melvin and Howard
7. Return to the 36th Chamber
8. The Last Metro
9. Airplaine!
10. Heaven's Gate

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