In continuing with my ongoing revisiting of past years in the world of cinema, I will now explore the year 1988, which was the first year suggested to me by a reader after last week’s post. If you want to pick the year I’m doing next, tweet at me!
THE TOP 10 FILMS OF 1988
#10: Fright Night II
In the first and only sequel on this list, we praise the incredible follow-up to 1985′s Fright Night, which picks up precisely 3 years later. How fitting! In this one, Roddy McDowall exits a psychiatric hospital convinced that vampires don’t exist, and then discovers a bunch of vampires. A slam dunk on all fronts.
#9: Brain Damage
A man wakes up one day with a weird tumour on his head. Wait, no, that’s not a tumour, it’s a living parasite named Aylmer! And it’s gonna feed him hallucinogens via his brain, and he’s gonna get addicted to them! What’s that? Aylmer demands human victims? He’s not gonna actually kill people, is he? Oh, he is? Tons of people? Cool.
#8: Young Einstein
Shane Adamczak co-stars in this absolutely spot-on re-imagining of Albert Einstein’s life, in which the genius invents both rock n’ roll AND surfing, and goes on to save the world from Charles Darwin, whose incompetence nearly causes a nuclear reactor to blow up. This film, of course, is best known for being the launchpad to Yahoo Serious‘ career.
#7: My Stepmother is an Alien
Dan Aykroyd is a widower in search of love, whose main occupation is a series of attempts at communicating with other life forms in outer space. One day, Kim Basinger falls from the sky and seduces him. 48 hours later, they are married. Basinger then attempts to learn inter-stellar communication secrets from Aykroyd, while trying to hide her alien nature. Hilarious “I don’t know what human behaviour is” gags ensue! Meanwhile, tiny Alyson Hannigan and tiny Seth Green go on a date! A 5-star family film.
Tom Cruise, smug jerk, charms all the ladies and mixes a few drinks. A feast for the eyes, a vicarious feast for the mouth.
Before fully engaging in his mildly successful career as a musician, Phil Collins had an incredible run as an actor, highlighted by his performance in this film. Collins stars as Buster, a petty thief who forms a gang and robs a train, and then escapes to Mexico with his wife with all their winnings. Unfortunately, his wife hates the beach – the tension is palpable. Whatever will become of them? You’ll have to see it to find out!
#4: Funny Farm
Chevy Chase, a New York sports writer, moves to a small town with his wife in order to write a novel. All is well until the townspeople begin imposing endless bills on the two newest residents, trying to chase them away, and forcing Chase and his wife to put their house back on the market. However, after a while, Chase decides that the small town life is fine by him, and pays every resident 50$ to let his family live in peace. A delightful romp, by all standards.
#3: License to Drive
Corey Haim and Corey Feldman fuck up a Cadillac. Need I say more?
#2: Purple People Eater
I’ve always wondered why hit novelty songs don’t get turned into movies. Take this film as a prime example of why it should be done more often! A young Neil Patrick Harris stars as an animal-loving outcast who is forced to spend the summer with his grandfather, whose escalating rent is causing him stress. One day, a one-eyed, one-horned Giant Purple People Eater falls from the sky, and searches for a rock band to join. He & Harris hold auditions, form a band with other children, and raise money for grampa. Absolute gold.
Inspiring a generation of future filmmakers, Tapehead pits John Cusack and Tim Robbins against THE WORLD, as they try to follow their artistic vision and make really cool music videos. Meanwhile, somebody sneaks an incriminating video of a high-ranking politican into their personal vaults, causing the FBI to storm their studios, to the great surprise (and trauma) of both gentlemen. How will they deal with this pickle? Will their music video-making career survive? So many questions, so brilliantly answered. An easy pick for the top of the crop of 1988.
An honourable mention goes to Earth Girls Are Easy, because why not.