The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Saturday, December 31, 2016
FLICKS OF '86: I've listed my favorite films of
2006 and 1996. And now...

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1986, it gave its Best Picture award to Platoon, which wasn't even the year's best Oliver Stone movie. These are all better:

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
Written and directed by Woody Allen

He's right: The Marx Brothers are a reason to live.

2. Castle in the Sky
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki

"This is no longer a throne room. This is a tomb for the both of us."

3. Sherman's March
Directed by Ross McElwee

A man addicted to filming everything around him makes a movie that's mostly about his troubled love life. His love life's chief trouble, in turn, is that he keeps filming everything around him.

4. Chicken Minced Meat
Directed by Harry Egipt

Yes, I'm telling you that the fourth best motion picture of 1986 was a TV commercial. Not just that: It's a TV commercial from the Soviet fucking Union. I am aware that this sounds ridiculous. But have you seen the ad? It's the most insane goddamn thing, and I was tempted put it at #1.

5. The Singing Detective
Written by Dennis Potter
Directed by Jon Amiel

I haven't watched the big-screen remake of this miniseries, and I have a hard time seeing how it could work at feature length. Potter's story of a disfigured detective writer's fever dreams is best told at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time to get lost in the hero's hallucinations and memories.

6. Manon of the Spring
Directed by Claude Berri
Written by Berri and Gerard Brach, from a novel by Marcel Pagnol

To borrow a line from another picture: "You mean, all this time we could've been friends?"

7. Jean de Florette
Directed by Claude Berri
Written by Berri and Gerard Brach, from a novel by Marcel Pagnol

You see that movie at #6? It's the second half of a two-part story. You need to watch this one first.

8. River's Edge
Directed by Tim Hunter
Written by Neal Jimenez

A punk In Cold Blood.

9. True Stories
Directed by David Byrne
Written by Byrne, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Beth Henley

We all live here now.

10. Stand by Me
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans, from a novella by Stephen King

There aren't many decent Stephen King adaptations, and these days there aren't many decent Rob Reiner films either. For the two to coincide is extraordinary.

Honorable mentions:

11. Blue Velvet (David Lynch)
12. Man Facing Southeast (Eliseo Subiela)
13. 'Round Midnight (Bertrand Tavernier)
14. The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)
15. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton)
16. The Fly (David Cronenberg)
17. RocketKitKongoKit (Craig Baldwin)
18. The Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand)
19. Salvador (Oliver Stone)
20. Nomads (John McTiernan)

Yes, Nomads. (It's McTiernan's finest film, dammit.) Plus a shout-out to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the best by far of the John Hughes teen cycle.

Of the movies of 1986 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Mosquito Coast.

posted by Jesse 12:22 AM
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