Skip to main content

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1992

This series is not about the best movies ever made. It’s not a list of the movies that I think have done the most for the craft of movie making. It’s not about the ones that speak to my soul or the ones that make the earth a better place to be. It’s simply about listing the movies that are my favorites from any particular year. A few things go into that decision. Sometimes its nostalgia and I’ll admit that. There are some movies that I saw when they first came out and the illicit a response from me and there is no denying that. The other thing that I think about is how a movie has grown on me over time. I had no interest in JFK when it was first released, but now as an adult I can appreciate a few things about it.
It is with that preamble explanation that I announce my favorite movie from 1992…Wayne’s World.
I just heard a lot of eyes roll.
I’m as much of a comedy nerd as I am a movie geek. I love comedies of all kinds. And one of the things that most fans of comedy have in common is…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1980

The year that I turned 3 years old because I have a picture of myself with tears in my eyes sitting next to a birthday cake that said “Happy Birthday You Big Dummy”.

That might seem like a very cruel thing to say to a small child, but there actually was a little context to it. One of my favorite things to do when I was little was to sit in my grandfather’s lap and watch television. “Paw-Paw” would watch all kinds of things, and I’d watch with him no matter what it was. Sometimes it would be Sesame Street just to please me. At other times it would be The Andy Griffith Show or All In The Family. His favorite was Sanford And Son. The slogan on the cake was from that show, but my three year old mind didn’t get the joke so my feelings got hurt.

1980 was a good year for film releases. Dolly Parton was working 9 to 5, Clint Eastwood was back in Any Which Way You Can, and Dan Akroyd and John Belushi were on a mission from God in The Blues Brothers.

I didn’t have to think about this one very much at all. My very favorite movie from 1980 was most definitely The Empire Strikes Back.

After the success of Star Wars in 1977 it was pretty evident that there would be a sequel. George Lucas had laid the groundwork for a series in that first film and this time he was able to build on it. He handed the directing reigns over to Irvin Kershner and he focused more on the special effects that were going to be required for this installment.

Empire picks up about a three years after the destruction of the Death Star that we witnessed in A New Hope. The Rebel Alliance has gained strength but the Empire is beginning to regain some footing. Luke goes to Dagobah to train with Yoda, the last remaining of the old Jedi, in the ways of The Force. He leaves to go and rescue Han and Leia after they are taken captive by Darth Vader. In the ensuing fight Luke learns a huge secret about who he is.

This is the very definition of the second part of a trilogy. It dives right into the action. We don’t have to spend any time getting to know the characters because they were already established the first time around. As a result we get a huge battle scene in the first 20 minutes. We see AT-ATs for the first time. And once the battle is over and the story slows down for a while we’re still introduced to a lot of the things that make this world so fantastic.

Yoda explains The Force to us in much more detail than Obi-Wan was ever given the opportunity to do. We also get to see so many different environments in one film. The ice planet of Hoth, the jungle planet of Dagobah, and the heavenly views of Cloud City were the main ones.

It’s hard to name one thing that I love about Empire. It is my favorite Star Wars movie. I love that it’s almost like an episode. It picks up where the last one left off and at the end of it we’re left completely hanging.

As I said in my review of Star Wars, George Lucas is not a very good writer or director. That’s what makes Empire so great. He wrote the story for the film, but the script was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. Kershner directed it and took it to a whole other level. Lucas focused on the stuff that he is good at…world building.

Out of the original trilogy of films, this is the most quotable, has the best battle scene, and lays the foundation for everything else that came after it. The original Star Wars had a lot of the ships and aliens and creatures and all of that good stuff…but Empire introduced all the giant mechanical weapons, more ships, more droids, and just made that universe so much bigger.


I really looked through the list of films that came out in 1980 and tried to be sure that I wasn’t looking at that year with a bias. But having gone through the list three times I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that no other film from the year that I turned 3 has had more of impact on who I am than The Empire Strikes Back.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Stretching From Here To Pletcher"...a tribute to Steve Latham

Today is a dark day.
If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts before then you’ve heard me tell the stories of my experiences in high school. I was bullied. I was bullied a lot. It’s something that has affected me my entire life. It has caused social anxiety issues that I deal with to this day. It’s not something that I like to remember, but it’s my history and it’s a part of who I am.
Granted, I was an awkward teenager. I didn’t play any sports. I wasn’t on the little league team. I didn’t even like watching sports...I still don’t. I don’t know enough about football to have an extended conversation about it. The stuff that I was into was a lot nerdier than that. I liked Star Trek. I liked reading science fiction and fantasy novels. I liked writing stories. I liked watching old black and white monster movies. I liked British sitcoms. Like I said…weird kid.
When I was a junior in high school I signed up to be a library aid for one class period a day. I figured I liked to be around book…

Seventeen

He was a kid.
He wasn’t literally a child. I mean, he was technically a grown man at the age of 23. But he hadn’t really experienced much of life. The small town life had been all he’d every really known and he had not yet figured out what his place in the world was. He made $6.50 an hour at a job that didn’t really hold much of a future for him. He spent his days working and at night he’d sit alone in his room, watching TV and wishing that there was more to his existence.
She was a kid, too. She was only 22. And in her short life she’d actually already lived a lot. She’d lived long enough to have been hurt by the man she loved. And she’d been around long enough to have a precious little boy that meant the world to her. She thought she had everything she needed. She thought that if it were just her and her son that she’d be fine.
The Universe had other plans.
These two met one day. They went on a date. Neither of them was really out to find a relationship. They were each just trying …

13 Reasons Why: A Parental Review

As I walked by my daughter’s bedroom a couple of weeks ago I saw her staring intently at her phone. I could tell that she was enthralled in something and I figured she was catching up on some of her favorite shows.
“What are you watching?” I said, trying to be the dad that knows what his daughter is doing.
“It’s a new show on Netflix,” she replied. “It’s called 13 Reasons Why. Everybody at school is watching it.”
I thought nothing else about it. I very rarely condemn anything that my kids are watching unless I know that it is something extremely violent or raunchy. The title actually registered in my mind because I had seen the book on the shelf at the bookstore and online a few times. I knew it was a young adult title so I figured a Netflix show based on that should be alright. I mean, she’s seen The Hunger Games, right?
A couple of days later my wife tells me that she saw a few stories online about some kids that have committed suicide after watching the show. That sounds a little f…