It Came From 1985

This issue: Why did all the most awesome movies of all time come out in 1985? The answer may surprise you…


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  1. I went through the years and found that 1985 was my year, even though I was only 1 year old these movies came to me on VHS and HBO as I grew. Even movies that are not that good like Jewel of the Nile I remember with fondness.


  2. When Matthew started his chiken metaphore all I could think is “We are talking about dead chikens right?”

    As for the movies:

    My year is 1999 with 23 movies and I was born in 82.

    5 years before:

    5 years after:

  3. I am a 25 year old male.
    Looks like my year was 1999, with Dogma (which introduced me to Chasing Amy, which had a HUGE influence on me), Fight Club, The Iron Giant, Galaxy Quest, Gamera 3, Mystery Men…although I think I saw these all on cable a year or so later, so 2000?
    Interestingly enough, my favorite film is actually 1934’s The Thin Man, which I first watched so long ago, I can’t remember.

  4. This was an interesting exercise. My methodology was to read down the list for each year from 1984 to 1993 (my coming of age years) and immediately tick off a mark if I remembered a movie with any fondness at all. This was to keep me from over thinking it or skewing results to years when I knew a favorite came out. My zeitgeist year was 1989. The numbers broke down like this 1984(22), 1985(27), 1986(27), 1987(25), 1988(33), 1989(42), 1990(18), 1991(19), 1992(24), 1993(15).

    I find it interesting that my 1988 number ramped up into 1989. Maybe my particular zeitgeist hit halfway through ’88 and carried through to ’89?

    1989 was a good year for ensemble comedies Christmas Vacation, Major League, Parenthood, and The Dream Team, all coming out that year. Other comedies I liked in ’89: War of the Roses, Who’s Harry Crumb?, and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.

    Genre/SciFi flicks from ’89: The Abyss, Batman, Indiana Jones/Last Crusade, Back to the Future II, The Fly II, Pet Sematary, and Puppet Master.

    Cult/Indy Flicks from ’89 that I liked: Heathers, UHF, Dead Calm, Dream a Little Dream, How I Got Into College, Gleaming the Cube, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Sex Lies and Videotape.

    I also liked Lethal Weapon II, The Little Mermaid, When Harry Met Sally, Tango and Cash, Say Anything…, License to Kill, Gross Anatomy, and The Fabulous Baker Boys.

    I don’t know what any of these films have in common really. None of the films from this year are absolute favorites either. 1988 had Die Hard, Roger Rabbit, Naked Gun, and A Fish Called Wanda, Tapeheads, and They Live.

    I wonder how this would shake out if I looked at from a strictly musical perspective…

    • I haven’t done the analysis, but 1989 holds a special place for me because it was when I started my first job: at a movie theater. I was there when all the movies you mentioned opened. Wonderful memories.

      • I turned 16 in 1989, I was a sophomore in high school, and like the guys mentioned in the podcast really beginning to figure out what I really liked in terms of television, film and music, and I was finally developing my own personality. Many of the tastes I had then carry through to today.

        Looking back at my numbers I was stunned at the drop off in movies I liked from 89 to 90 (from 42 to 18). Digging deeper I discovered that there was a Writer’s Guild of America strike in 1988 that affected the 88-89 television season, and almost certainly affected films that would have seen the light of day in 89-91. I’m guessing this resulted in more productions of inferior scripts that were already owned by studios at the time, that might never been made otherwise.

  5. Here’s me (born in 1982):

    1982 ||
    1983 |||
    1984 ||
    1985 |||
    1986 ||||| |||||
    1987 |||||
    1988 ||||| |
    1989 |||||
    1990 |||||
    1991 ||||| |
    1992 ||||| ||||
    1993 ||||| ||||| ||
    1994 ||||| ||||| |
    1995 ||||| ||||
    1996 ||||| ||||
    1997 ||||| ||||| ||
    1998 ||||| |||
    1999 ||||| ||||
    2000 |||||
    2001 ||||| |||
    2002 |||||
    2003 ||||| ||||
    2004 |||||
    2005 ||||| |||
    2006 ||||| ||
    2007 |||
    2008 ||||
    2009 ||||| |

  6. Here is my homework! My year is 1982(just beat 1985). I was only 7 or 8 years old, but two events made it a big time for movies: 1) our 1st VCR, 2) a new school for the 81-82 year. I watched lots of movies with my new friends; even some rated R!

    # of movies that “really spoke to me”:
    1979: 7
    1980: 11
    1981: 15
    1982: 19 (8 of which I didn’t see until 1-7 years later)
    1983: 12
    1984: 14
    1985: 17 (maybe just a really good year for movies)
    1986: 6
    1987: 10
    1988: 7

    For extra credit I checked if it was “quantity” or “quality”. I directly compared my 1982 Top 15 to mine from 1985(1 vs 1, 2 vs 2…), creating some surreal matchups

    1982 vs 1985 Winner Deciding Factor
    World According To Garp vs Vision Quest 1985 “Lunatic Fringe” warm up scene
    Conan The Barbarian vs Breakfast Club 1982 Thulsa Doom > John Bender
    Poltergeist vs Back To The Future 1985 1.21 Gigawatts > TV Static
    Star Trek 2 vs Goonies 1982 Khan Noonien Singh > Sloth
    Beastmaster vs Last Dragon 1985 Sho’nuff > Rip Torn
    Tron vs Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 1982 Lightcycle > Bicycle
    Porky’s vs Legend 1985 Mia Sara > Kim Cattrall
    Pink Floyd The Wall vs Better Off Dead 1982 Animation: Hammers > Hamburgers
    Fast Times at R.H. vs Return of Living Dead 1982 Phoebe Cates + Banana = Win
    Last American Virgin vs Vampire Hunter D 1982 Best Ending of the 80s
    Blade Runner vs Reanimator 1982 Moody Han Solo > Insane Weyoun
    First Blood vs Fright Night 1982 John Rambo > Chris Sarandon
    Swamp Thing vs Ladyhawke 1985 Pfeiffer > Adrienne Barbeau
    Dark Crystal vs Breakin’2 Electric Boogaloo 1985 Ozone > Frank Oz
    Grease 2 vs Enemy Mine 1982 Pfeiffer > Louis Gossett Jr.

    1982 wins 9-to-6. Interestingly, as Bruce suggested above, the music matters. I truly like the Score/Soundtrack better in each of the comparison “winners”.

    BTW, I think “Khan vs Sloth” would make an awesome Poll Of The Week :)

  7. let’s see what i’ve got

    looked at the first 100 films per year on imdb’s search

    born in 1985

    1995: 7
    1996: 4
    1997: 6
    1998: 5
    1999: 11
    2000: 6
    2001: 6
    2002: 14
    2003: 7
    2004: 11
    2005: 7

    so my highest year would be 2002 when i was 17.

  8. My zeitgeist would apparently be both 2001 (when I was 14-15) and 2004 (when I was 17-18), with 2004 being the all time leader. Oddly enough though 1990 had a significant bump compared to all the other years. I think that has to do with 1990 being about the furthest back I can remember so some of the zeitgeist holds significance for me as the “beginning of history” as far as I’m concerned.

    To share what lovely parts of 2004 agreed with me:
    The Chronicles of Riddick
    Dawn of the Dead
    Harold & Kumar
    I Heart Huckabees
    The Incredibles
    Mean Girls
    Team America

    Looking back on those particular years in terms of what was happening in my life, 2001 was my sophmore year where I began trying to shape my identity for the first time. And 2004 was my first year of college where I actually decided what that identity was going to be.

  9. With the help of Flickcharts, I determined that I share my movie year with Rodrigo (1999). This is odd because I was born in late 1972, and by rights my zeitgeist years should be in the late ’80s.

    I think this is because I didn’t become a serious movie buff until the late ’90s. I’ve always been more of a reader and until my late twenties I tended to see film as almost a lesser medium. Now, of course, I know this is silly. I still prefer books, but now I realize that good films are just as good for you as good books are.

    My 15 films from ’99 are: The Sixth Sense; The Green Mile; Austin Powers, the Spy Who Shagged Me; The Matrix; Dogma; Galaxy Quest; Rushmore; Toy Story 2; The Limey; Being John Malkovich; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Run Lola Run; South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; Three Kings; and Sleepy Hollow.

    In terms of quality, though, the year 2000 has more of my top 100 films (seven) than any other year, even 1999 (only three).

    The years 2000, 2001 and 2002 each have 11 films (Which I’ll refrain from listing here. You’re welcome.) 1998 gives me six, and 1997 gives me seven. No other year from 1931 to present gives me more than seven.

    This was fun, guys. Hope it helps.

  10. My movie year is 2006 with
    300, the departed, casino royale, cars, rocky balboa, Pan’s labryinth, crank, fearless

    I would have been 18 and a senior in high school and starting to read comics with runaways and astonishing x-men.
    This would be the same year that I found my identity

  11. The other great releases from 1985:
    Accept – Metal Heart
    Anthrax – Spreading the Disease
    Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion
    David Lee Roth – Crazy From The Heat
    Dio (R.I.P.) – Sacred Heart
    Exodus – Bonded By Blood
    Helloween – Walls of Jericho
    Megadeth – Killing is My Business…And Business is Good
    Motley Crue – Theatre of Pain
    Overkill – Feel the Fire
    Savatage – Power of the Night
    Slayer – Hell Awaits

    Bands that formed in 1985:
    David Lee Roth
    Dream Theater
    Guns N’ Roses
    King Diamond
    White Zombie

  12. Hercules in NY on

    Born in ’82
    1991 was my movie year. Check out the greatness:
    The Silence of the Lambs
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    Beauty and the Beast
    Point Break
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
    Cape Fear
    The Addams Family
    Hot Shots
    My Girl
    Out for Justice
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
    Father of the Bride
    The Commitments
    City Slickers
    Drop Dead Fred
    The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
    The Adventures of the Rocketeer
    Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
    Double Impact
    Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead
    Hudson Hawk
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

    and that’s just from the first page of IMDB


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