Much like Marty McFly in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (which is not on Netflix), today we’re going back in time to 1985, when we found the remains of the Titanic, learned how to get our money for nothing but our chicks for free, and spent countless hours in front of the television, enamored with the comic stylings of “The Lucie Arnaz Show.” (Okay, us cult movie fans were more likely to be enamored by the works of Dr. Herbert West.) Here are ten flicks of the year, and don’t worry, I’ve saved the best for last.
10. Stick (1985)
Elmore Leonard provided the source material and co-wrote the screenplay for this Burt Reynolds vehicle about an ex-con who ends up as a driver for a wealthy oddball (George Segal). With Candice Bergen, Charles Durning, Tricia Leigh Fisher and an albino hitman. Reynolds also directed the film, and the results are more Reynolds than Leonard, but it’s still an entertaining time killer.
9. Lust in the Dust (1985)
Divine made a rare appearance in a non-John Waters film in Paul Bartel’s screwball western as a dancer who befriends a gunman (Tab Hunter, who also produced) in the desert and the two join several others in the pursuit of a nearby treasure. With Lainie Kazan, Cesar Romero, Geoffrey Lewis, Henry Silva, Courtney Gains, Woody Stroke and Nedra Volz.
8. Creature (1985)
William Malone’s entertaining 1985 ALIEN derivative (also released as TITAN FIND) about a group of astronauts that face off against an alien on a lunar base prominently featured Klaus Kinski in the advertising, but he’s not in the film much. It’s still a fun ride, with future Francine voice Wendy Schaal and future FERRIS BUELLER dad Lyman Ward.
7. Barbarian Queen (1985)
Amidst the era of sword and sorcery epics was this Corman-produced flick about a queen and her female warriors attempting to free the queen’s sister and the king from Romans, featuring the late Lana Clarkson in the lead. With Katt Shea and Frank Zagarino, and written by Howard R. Cohen.
6. Beer (1985)
An entertaining satire on the advertising industry, BEER tanked upon original release but is definitely worth an hour and a half of your time, as ad exec Loretta Swit enlists three average guys (including David Alan Grier) to be the new face of Norbecker Beer, encouraging the nation to “Whip out your Norbecker.” With Rip Torn, Kenneth Mars and Dick Shawn.
5. The Stuff (1985)
..and it’s a beer best paired with Larry Cohen’s similar consumerist satire in the guise of a horror flick, as former FBI agent Michael Moriarty investigates the origins of a strange yogurt-like substance that seems to be sweeping the nation’s supermarkets. With Paul Sorvino, Garrett Morris, Danny Aiello, Andrea Marcovicci and Rutanya Alda.
4. Latino (1985)
Haskell Wexler gets plenty of (deserved) attention for his cinematography and for MEDIUM COOL, but few have seen his second fiction film, starring Robert Beltran as a Vietnam veteran sent to train Contra rebels in Nicaragua. It’s not the amazing spectacle that is COOL, but it’s still a solid drama about an underseen topic, and Beltran gets a chance to shine.
3. Clue: The Movie (1985)
You can read all about CLUE’s transformation from box-office failure to cult classic here, or you can just watch what will always be the best movie ever based on a board game. At least until I get my GO TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS screenplay sold.
2. The Boys Next Door (1985)
Penelope Spheeris helmed this underrated story about two psychopaths who graduate high school and take a particularly violent road trip, starring Maxwell Caulfield and Charlie Sheen (both of whom are excellent), with Patti D’Arbanville, Christopher McDonald and Moon Zappa.
1. Commando (1985)
Remember when I said I’d save the best for last? I lied. Mark L. Lester’s COMMANDO (co-written by Jeph Loeb) isn’t the best movie of the year, or the best Schwarzenegger vehicle, but it may be the best Schwarzenegger vehicle of the year, so that counts for something. It’s certainly one of the most quotable of Schwarzenegger films, as every addition to the body count as ex-special forces commando John Matrix(!) sets off to rescue his daughter from a group of mercenaries is basically just an excuse for a one-liner. With Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Alyssa Milano, James Olson, Vernon Wells, Bill Duke and David Patrick Kelly.
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