Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Six

#6 — Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987) By the time I was in a college film class in the early nineties, the textbook was already citing the James L. Brooks screenplay for Broadcast News as a ideal example of how writing for film should work. Specifically, the author spent several pages marveling over the efficiency of Brooks’s dialogue in developing character. That’s for good reason: scene after scene, the conversations that happen between characters are natural, funny and engaging, but always have a deeper purpose. Brooks doesn’t build foreshadowing puzzles into the dialogue nor rigidly constructed plot point delivery. … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Six

Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Seven

#7 — The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, 1983) All through this process, I’ve deliberately avoided treating the countdown too much like a countdown. What I mean by that is that I didn’t want to go too hung up on where the films ranked, particularly in consideration of where I probably would have placed the individuals titles had I gone through this process, say, over the course of 1990 when my opinions hadn’t yet gone through a couple decades or marination and adjustment. The progression of any list of this nature is going to be fairly arbitrary, anyway, so why get … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Seven

Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Nine

#9 — Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984) Based on the available evidence, it’s mightily difficult to portray the creation of great art on film, especially those pinnacles of expression that can be defined as “fine art.” The process of turning inspiration into moving manifestations of such usually winds up seeming wan and empty. Even when there’s actual, canonical works to draw from, drawing the line from a dramatization of intellectual toil to a finished piece is often burdened by a veneer of phoniness. Even when the art of filmmaking is addressed, a topic that is theoretically near to the heart of creators … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Nine

Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Ten

#10 — Bull Durham (Ron Shelton, 1988) I believe in the church of baseball. There’s something magical that happens between those white lines under summer skies. It’s a sport in which two full teams face each other other, but the most decisive match-up, the one that dominates the game, is between two people–the pitcher and the batter–trying to outguess one another over and over again. In its patience, persistence, camaraderie, individualism and surge from relative sedateness to a field full of controlled chaos, it genuinely gets at something inadvertently revealing about the quintessential American spirit. As romantic as it can … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 80s — Number Ten