With the exception of a few blockbuster flicks like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the movies of 2018 are pretty meh. But if you take a look at the films that were released in 1988, they are mostly spectacular. Let’s all attempt to ignore the fact that 1988 was 30 years ago. The truth of the matter is that when you think about some of these movies, it feels as though they were released yesterday.
The big question is not if you have seen them, but how many times you’ve seen them, and how many more times you will enjoy them in the future.
This movie had us all laughing out loud until our sides hurt. Watching Tom Hanks innocently bringing a child’s curiosity and ignorance to a world of adults was nothing short of genius. And who can forget the scene when he ate the baby corn as if it were a real corn on the cob? I haven’t eaten baby corn the same since.
Oh, John McClane, how do we love thee? Men and women alike fell for Bruce Willis’s sardonic, bloody character in an instant. We cheered as he sent the German terrorist soaring from the window of Nakatomi Plaza, and we all know the rest of his famous catchphrase: “Yippee-ki-yay…” Go ahead, you can say it.
This film won Dustin Hoffman an Academy Award for Best Actor (and the movie got three other Oscars as well). We felt so deeply for Raymond as he had to attempt to navigate the real world for the first time as his scheming brother dragged him from his group home. But we secretly loved watching him use his skills as an autistic savant to count cards and win a fortune at Blackjack in Vegas.
Coming to America
Eddie Murphy hilariously portrayed Akeem Joffer — the crown prince of the fictional Zamunda — who comes to America to find his future queen in none other than Queens, New York. But he also played singer Randy Watson of Sexual Chocolate, as well as Saul, the old Jewish barbershop regular, and Clarence the barber. While his performances were unforgettable, so was that of Arsenio Hall, who played at least three characters himself.
Don’t say it three times! Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Beetlegeuse is a brilliant study of physical and character comedy. But the cast of this movie has a knockout list of stars: Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Jeffrey Jones. Plus we can thank Beetlejuice for putting Harry Belafonte songs back in the collective mind (and playlist) of the American public.
The Naked Gun
While Leslie Nielsen had had a long and diverse career dating back to the 1940s, he is perhaps best known for the Naked Gun movies. (Ok, Airplane too…) This is a movie that puts Queen Elizabeth II in several compromising positions and also takes place before O.J. Simpson was embroiled in controversy. And we laugh our way through the entire thing.
We couldn’t get enough of Melanie Griffith rising from her working-class roots into corporate America only to squash the smug Sigourney Weaver, sitting on her unscrupulous perch. We also loved the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Griffith, and Joan Cusack’s heavily made-up Staten Island character.
This is Robert De Niro doing what Robert De Niro does best: a tough and cynical guy from New York City. He plays a bail bondsman tasked with bringing Charles Grodin in. The chemistry between the two actors is on-point, as are the performances by the supporting cast: Joe Pantoliano, Yaphet Kotto, and Dennis Farina.
This film put Julia Roberts on the map. Just one year later she would star as Shelby in Steel Magnolias, and two years later she would become Hollywood royalty in Pretty Woman. It also happens to be Matt Damon’s film debut. Nonetheless, it has developed a cult following over the years.
The Great Outdoors
John Candy had a thriving career both before and after this film, but The Great Outdoors is without a doubt one of his most memorable. Plus there’s not much better than watching him and Dan Aykroyd in action together. It also happens to be yet another John Hughes film, and it was directed by Howard Deutch (director of Pretty in Pink). So it was destined for greatness from the get-go.