The Top 10 Movies We Binged in the 80s and 90s

Chad Hoolihan

Having no affiliation with any spiritual or philosophical movements, Chad instead attempts to find meaning through watching movies.  He also enjoys  watching birds fight over food in supermarket parking lots.

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4 Responses

  1. We had pay-cable movie channels from the time I was nine (1986), but it was not until the next year that our living arrangements made it such that I was able to sneak in R-rated movies on HBO, whether in portions (Hardbodies, Born American, Ninja III:The Domination) or completely (Stand by Me, which my parents said no to let me see because it was Stephen King and there was kids swearing). I’ve watched The Empire Strikes Back over 100 times, most of those stem from its pay-cable premiere in 1986, when I’d watch practically every showing. There was indeed also the John Hughes trilogy (Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and The Breakfast Club, all seen in their edited for TV versions), the Tom Hanks films (The Man with One Red Shoe, The Money Pit), the Jami Gertz films (Quicksilver, Solarbabies, Crossroads), but singular titles I also remember watching over and over included Remo Williams, Brewster’s Millions, Running Scared, Iron Eagle, Real Genius, Three Amigos, Short Circuit, Bill Cosby’s concert film “Himself”, The Karate Kid Part II, The Manhattan Project.

    • Chad Hoolihan says:

      There were so many movies that we could’ve used. Remo Williams and the Bill Cosby concert were on nearly every day.

      Do you remember Superfuzz?

    • Much as Tom Kapr above describes how, starting in 1996, he kept “detailed lists of movies I’d seen and wanted to see” I started in 1986, inspired by my affection for Roger Ebert, to compile similar lists of what I had seen, with year of release, who starred in it, who directed it, what it was rated, and how many stars I gave it. Within a few years, due to a constant input of the daily paper (at first, USA Today, then the Houston Chronicle) I had the ability to spout off movie statistics like some people can do with sports, and I could tell you also approximately how much money the film made at the box office, and what studio released it as well, and when it was released, and I could cross reference actors, directors, producers – I invented my own mental game of “six degrees of separation” long before it was attributed to Kevin Bacon! (This was instigated because I noticed all the Brat Pack actors were in at least one other movie with each other.) This applied, though, only to movies after 1984, and after the turn of the century, my recollection of the stats of the new movies after 2000 started to get real hazy.

      But everytime I think I know 80’s movies, someone always comes along and asks me about this title I’ve never heard of, and I’m sorry to say I’ve never heard of Superfuzz. The last time someone stumped me it was the movie Rad, from 1986.

      There are some films I saw on HBO in 1987 once and have not seen again, if only for reasons of availability. These include “Jake Speed” and “Out of Bounds”. It used to also include “No Retreat, No Surrender” which I remember liking but I watched the Blu-ray recently and the film is awful.

      Some films which were famous in the 80’s I never got around to seeing until the past few years, including Ghostbusters, Poltergeist, Predator, the Friday the 13th films, the Nightmare on Elm Street films (yes, a lot of horror).

      I’m glad a lot of even the cheesy 80’s titles have gotten a DVD, Blu-ray, or HD Web release, so much so that I have maybe only one VHS left from the 80’s, the 1988 biopic “Hanna’s War”, which was a staple of Showtime and The Movie Channel, not HBO.

      I wonder if there is any source beyond the trade publications at the time which tracked the ratings of movies on HBO. The 1986 release “Spacecamp” (which I recently saw on Blu ray, and for the first in many years) was a bomb in June of 1986, it was too soon after Challenger, but it was one of the highest rated movies in August of 1987, when it premiered on HBO (so said USA Today at the time). If you ask people now what movie they associate with 1988, they’ll probably say “Die Hard” but Rain Man, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Coming to America, Big, Twins, and Crocodile Dundee II all bested it at the box office. The same with Lethal Weapon, which hovered around the same $80 million “smash” range, and was outgrossed by the likes of Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II. But it was the repeated showings of both movies on HBO that created the audience for more successful sequels. For films like Remo Williams, I often wonder, did successful ratings precede repeated showings, or did repeated showings create successful ratings?

  2. Ty Tag says:

    Thanx for including me in this awesome article,Police Academy was also a series I have seen countless times.

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