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  • Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. It’s a pretty broad beat, but Rich delights in finding influences of the past in the present and showing fine arts fans the value of pop culture, and vice versa. ~ Copious Notes is a blog covering that broad spectrum. If you want to read about specific areas of interest, such as theater or opera, click on one of the categories to the right and you will be whisked away to all posts in that category. Also, look around the blog for links; multimedia items such as photo albums, videos, and interviews with artists; and other nuggets. Have fun, and thanks for dropping in. The header for this blog was designed by Danny Kelly and the illustration was drawn by Camille Weber.

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« The Ichthus 2008 photo album | Main | Tim Russert »

June 19, 2008


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tim x

My top 80's films:

EMPIRE OF THE SUN- without a doubt, the finest thing Speilberg has done.

THE NATURAL- Sorry, Rick. It's not only the best BASEBALL movie, it's the best sports film ever, imho.

FANDANGO- Funny, loose and oddly touching. Great ensemble cast...a very real essay of life during the last days of Viet Nam, and the final moments are absoulutely mesmerizing. The only film I ever felt Costner was truly good in.

RAISING ARIZONA- the Cohen's have yet to top this! Sorry, LABOWSKI ain't even in the same league...the single funniest film of the decade (possibly ANY decade!)

GHOSTBUSTERS- Yeah, I know...but it's damned funny and it holds up well,

VALLEY GIRL- Amazingly real account of teenage life in the early 80's (much more so than FAST TIMES, even though I love that flick) with a great cast and the best 80's soundtrack ever. The scene where Nic Cage is in the club by himself listening to the Plimsouls sing A MILLION MILES AWAY is heart breaking (you gotta know the film to know why.RENT IT!)

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK- Duh...the best of the lot, Mr Lucas! SOOOO much better than those last three!

Bobbi Rightmyer

My 2 favorite movies from the 1980's are A FISH CALLED WANDA (1988) and LABYRINTH (1986)!

Charles Edward Pogue

Oh, Roger, Cinema Paradiso...what a great, thoughtful choice! Lovely Film. To do this right, I'd have to have all the films from that decade in front of me and then start the labourious task of winnowing the list.

Roger Leasor


I hope I’m not too late.

I thought about this for a few minutes till I realized my list was already up to 23 films.


I stopped and considered your question. What’s a classic? And how much of your time and bandwidth should I take?

I settled on choosing ten films only. The films had to be films that I would still expect to be watching 50 years after they were made or 20-30 years from now. Now keep in mind, this would put me in my late eighties when I probably will happy to be watching ANY film EVER made!

That said, here are my ten “classics” in alphabetical order (almost);

Bladerunner – Dark, violent, beautiful. If I run across it while surfing the channels, I’m hooked every time.

Body Heat – Throwing a lawn chair through a door for Kathleen Turner makes perfect sense in this jewel.

Bull Durham – Echoes of “Death of a Salesman” with a happy-ISH ending. Remarkable performances. And of course…baseball. What’s not to like?

A Christmas Story – Someway, one day in my life I still hope to win a “major award”.

Cinema Paradiso – I love films about films (Stuntman, Day for Night). I start crying during the credits on this one.

Ghostbusters – Fresh and funny every time. Every time.

The Killing Fields – Sam Waterston and a completely compelling story.

Raiders of the Lost Ark – I know there are nay-sayers on this one, but wasn’t this kind of adventure flick why we went to the movies in the first place? It certainly was for me.

Wings of Desire – Every time I go to our public library I expect to see angels helping the scholars with their studies. The sequel was very fine as well.

The Fly – Sure, I’m biased, but it’s a damned fine film with a great screenplay (biased or not) and a wonderful performance by Mr. Goldblum. I would be quite happy to be watching this film 30 years from now.

The near-misses were;

Beverly Hills Cop
Blood Simple
Chariots of Fire
Do the Right Thing

Ask me in 15 minutes and the whole list might have changed.

What fun!



Pradnya Haldipur

It must be mentioned....Some Kind of Wonderful! Eric Stolz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson. "Any fool can get into college. Only a select few can say the same about Amanda Jones"


I like Dariush's list.

And Pretty Woman is from 1990 (unless you count that to be part of the 1980s decade).

I'd also list Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amadeus, Tootsie, ET, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and oh, there are probably many more I'm not thinking of. Haven't visited IMDB yet.

Wait. Heathers. Classic.

Rich replies: 80s is the criteria, but it's easy to confuse some of those on the edge. I spent half the day thinking Apocalypse Now would be on my list, but that's 1979.
And yes, Heathers=classic.


1980's? It has to be PRETTY WOMAN!
"don't you just love Prince"...
Julia and Gere at their best.


My No. 1 pick: The Goonies!

Also: The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Tootsie, 9 to 5, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ordinary People, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Color Purple and about 612 more.


Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Raiders of the Lost Arc
Do the Right Thing
Fast Times...
Breakfast Club
The Fly
Pretty in Pink
Back to the Future (series)
Dead Poets Society
Batman (1st Burton)
N.L. Vacation

Charles Edward Pogue

Personally, Rick, I'd put up PSYCHO III...a very black comedy...before I'd put up DOA. But neither are classics.

I don't think anything in the 90's can claim classic status yet...I think something's gotta have retained some sort of consensus of high regard for at least twenty years to be considered "classic".

I don't know that any of the eighties films I listed I would yet regard as classic...they're just films I continue to like and think hold up (for me, at least) after a passage of time.

Rick St. Peter

I confused Heaven's Gate with The Deer Hunter...oops, my bad! And I left the whole subgenre of 80's teen sex comedies off, but how about:

The Last American Virgin
Losin' It
Going all the Way
Private School
I'm sure there's more...

More from my overrated list:

1. THE BIG CHILL (babyboomers, get the hell out of my decade!)
2. St. Elmo's Fire (was it overrated or did it really just suck)
3. The Natural (and I love baseball movies, Major League should have made my first list, along with 8 Men Out).
4. The Doors

The movie I can't believe I left off my first list: Say Anything, I wanted to by Lloyd Dobler when I grew up!!

Chuck, if Rich put's up a 90's list, it's ok to list Dragonheart but you gotta keep Kull off! Although, if I can list Heaven's Gate, I guess you can list Kull!!!

BTW, I actually dig D.O.A., Meg Ryan at her absolute smoking peak and I like Dennis Quaid in anything...including Everybody's All-American, underrated 80's sports flick.

Charles Edward Pogue

Hey, Rick, the operative word here is "classic". HEAVEN'S GATE??? I'm reminded of Clint Eastwood's comment when he heard Michael Cimino did 68 takes of one scene. "If you have to do 68 takes, you aren't directing, you're guessing."

I agree; ET very much over-rated. I saw it once in the theatre and have never been compelled to see it again.

What? No, PORKY'S on your list? Now there's a classic!

Rick St. Peter

Caddyshack always feels like a late 70's movie to me but it is ABSOLUTELY a great great comedy and since it is an 80's film I would put it up with Fast Times as perhaps the 2 best comedies of the 80's. "Hey Lama, how about little something, you know, for the effort..."


81 Grad

Can't forget the 80's started with Caddyshack! I would put that at the top of any comedy listing. Nightshift made a star of Michael Keaton before he was Batman.

Rick St. Peter

In no particular order: Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Platoon, the John Hughes Collection, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (although the older I get the more I appreciate Temple of Doom),Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours, Trading Places (Eddie Murphy had quite the run), Do the Right Thing, Purple Rain (more for the music than anything else), Raging Bull, The Princess Bride, Hoosiers, Empire Strikes Back, Full Metal Jacket, Silverado (actually an HBO film), Real Genius, Wall Street, Heaven's Gate and Batman (came out the week I graduated from high school in 1989 and I saw it like 5 times that week alone)...

Guilty Pleasures: Wargames, Escape from New York, Breakin', Krush Groove, Barry Gordie's The Last Dragon, Top Secret!, Top Gun, Rocky III and IV, Star Treaks II: The Wrath of Khan and VI: The Undiscovered Country (Shakespeare in Klingon!!), Beat Street and Wild Style (back when I wanted to be a break dancer), Stealing Home, Victory, Blame it on Rio, A View to a Kill (James Bond, Duran Duran and Grace Jones), Young Guns, Streets of Fire, and the immortal John Travolta in Staying Alive and Urban Cowboy!

Most overrated: Ordinary People, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, ET...

I guess that is enough for now, I'm sure I'll be back with more!


Charles Edward Pogue

Ah, how time and memory play tricks. Jeff Goldblum did not get an Academy nod for THE FLY. He did, however, win an Saturn Award for Best Actor.

Memory and time also make me forget most of the films of the eighties. I had to do a little research to realize (as I suspected), it was not the most memorable or significant decade for became, thanks in no small part to Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas, the era of the opening weekend and movie-as-carnival-thrill-ride.

Still a few notables stand out to me:


I'm sure there are lots of others that have slipped my mind, but again hardly my favourite decade for films.

A. Campbell

My top 5 of the 80's—

E.T., Raiders of the Lost of Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Die Hard

The Road Warrior, Aliens, Blade Runner, The Thing, Predator

Directors' showcases:
Brazil, The Shining, Raging Bull, Crimes & Misdemeanors, Blue Velvet, Do The Right Thing (ok, so that's 6 and not 5)

Places in the Heart, Tender Mercies, Chariots of Fire, Field of Dreams, Hoosiers

Tootsie, This is Spinal Tap, Ghostbusters, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Airplane!

When I went through the 80's films I've seen (as catalogued, over the years, on the IMDb), I was surprised at how many great comedies there were. Some of the rest:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Bull Durham
The Princess Bride
Raising Arizona
Working Girl
Withnail & I
Romancing the Stone

Notable 80s movies that didn't make the cut for me:
Platoon, Terms of Endearment, Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, The Terminator, Ordinary People, Amadeus, Dead Poets Society, Driving Miss Daisy, National Lampoon's Vacation, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Fly (sorry, Charles- no offense, it's a good one anyway), The Right Stuff (much as I like it), Out of Africa, neither Rambo, Empire of the Sun, When Harry Met Sally


The Breakfast Club
Stand By Me
Back to the Future
Better Off Dead
The Princess Bride
The Goonies

Joe Tackett

Red Dawn was the ultimate movie of my generation.

Charles Edward Pogue

I co-wrote a little film with David Cronenberg back in the eighties called THE FLY, which made every major critics' ten best in 1986, made the National Board of Review's top ten, won an Academy Award for make-up, and got Jeff Goldblum a nomination for best actor Oscar.

It'll probably be my tombstone film: "Here lies Charles "The Fly" Pogue.

It might have acquired classic status.


My list of top 80's movies would include:
1. Pretty Woman
2. Ghostbusters
3. Footloose
4. Terminator
5. Rambo
6. ET
7. Ferris Bueller
8. Material Girl
9. Rocky
10. 9 to 5


Dirty Dancing!


When I think 80s movies, I think Goonies. You also have to give some love for Top Gun.

Rich replies: My two distinct memories of Top Gun were, all the girls I knew drooling over Tom Cruise when a bunch of us went opening night, and I was working at a video store when it came out on tape as the first movie "priced to sell" upon release. Before it, most new releases were $50 and up (way up). I think Top Gun dropped at $24.95, and I think most of those girls bought it.


The Right Stuff
Out of Africa
When Harry met Sally

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    Questapalooza 2008

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    Summer Theatre 2007

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