Was June 1984 the Greatest Movie Month Ever?
Time it was and what a time it was.
1984 is often cited as one of the greatest years for movies. Not just because so many films released that year are considered genre classics, but because they're also eminently rewatchable.
It's an important consideration. For while 1939 is usually singled out as The Greatest Year for Movies ever, how many times can you really watch Gone with the Wind? The Terminator, on the other hand ... give me Sarah Connor over Scarlett O'Hara during a war with SkyNet any day.
I'd like to take this a step further, and suggest if 1984 is one of the best years ever for cinema, then June 1984 -- 30 years ago this month -- was the greatest month of movies of all time. This is an exhaustive study based on the highly scientific criterion of many times I've watched those movies hung over on a Saturday afternoon.
June 1 Once Upon a Time In America Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Streets of Fire
What was that about critical acclaim, again? Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America (the uncut version, not the one initially shown in American theaters) was considered by many to be the best movie of the year. I won't lie and say I pop this in the Blu-ray player every month, but it's definitely worth a semi-annual rewatch.
The third Star Trek, on the other hand, naturally suffers from comparisons to Wrath of Khan, Still, you get a half-crazed McCoy, the destruction of the Enterprise, and William Shatner kicking Christopher Lloyd to his death.
Streets of Fire is just good fun. And holy hell, Diane Lane:
June 6 Beat Street
I sometimes leave this on while doing other stuff around the house just for the soundtrack: Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious 5? Afrika Bambaataa? The Treacherous Three? More than adequate compensation for losing the father of your son in a third rail accident, right Rae Dawn Chong?
June 8 Ghostbusters Gremlins
What a weekend. If there's such a thing as an ancestral family film, then Ghostbusters is ours. It was the first movie my parents ever bought (on VHS, naturally), and every member of my family can quote it forward and backwards. We may be flung to the far corners of the continent, but will instantly share and comment on any GB-related tidbits. Like Jaws, The Godfather, Goodfellas, and a half dozen other films, I'm incapable of turning this off when it's on TV.
And I hate to give Gremlins short shrift, because it's a wickedly smart and satirical. It was also (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating. Respect.
June 15 Under the Volcano
One of Albert Finney's finest performances, and one of John Huston's final films. Not really a "feel-good" flick, however.
June 22 The Karate Kid Rhinestone Top Secret!
We all agree that Karate Kid is a classic, right? Say what you want about Mr. Miyagi's teaching techniques (though they're probably just as valid as what you'd learn at any shopping center taekwondo outlet), or the legality of a crane kick in competition, this is a movie any boy who was a misfit or dreamer (*cough*) in high school can relate to. Oh, and Elisabeth Shue. June 22, 1984 might have been the day that kickstarted my puberty.
Top Secret! is also great, if inferior to both Airplane! (also from ZAZ) or Real Genius, Val Kilmer's other great 80s comedy not called Top Gun.
The less said about Rhinestone the better. Hey, they can't all be classics.
June 29 Bachelor Party Cannonball Run II Conan the Destroyer
I'm in the oppressed minority of people who prefer 1980s doofus Tom Hanks to 1990s-2000s Serious Actor Tom Hanks. Bachelor Party is childish, profane, and was extremely unhelpful in providing examples of what kind of things I'd be allowed to do at my own bachelor party, but I still love it unreservedly.
Cannonball Run II is fascinating if no other reason than seeing who Warner Bros. thought would be advisable to cast in their illegal cross-country road race sequel. You've got A-isters (Burt Reynolds -- at the time, Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine), D-listers (Jamie Farr, Telly Savalas, Dom DeLuise), and cheesecake (Susan Anton, Catherine Bach, Marilu Henner). What a decade.
Finally, while it's a complete 180 degrees in tone from the original, the sequel to Conan the Barbarian gave us Grace Jones fighting with a stick and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his oily tumescence. Ladies and gentlemen of the cinema jury, the defense rests.
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