The best of ’86 on the big screen

Brian Golden

I ran across an interesting CNN article this morning on the ten best summer movies from a quarter century ago, way back in good old 1986 (I was all of nine years old at the time). And there were definitely some good ones – “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Fly,” “Hoosiers,” “Labyrinth,” “Platoon,” “Space Camp,” “Stand By Me” and “Top Gun” among them. Which got me to thinking, just how good of a year was 1986, cinematically speaking? As it turns out, some of my all-time favorites were released that year, many which are now considered cult classics, others simply because they hearken back to my days as the über geek (Melissa would say nothing has really changed since then) and some because they’re simply great movies.

The science fiction fan in me was amazed to find that classics such as Ridley Scott’s “Aliens,” John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China,” Disney’s “Flight of the Navigator,” “Howard the Duck,” “Highlander,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and, of course, “Transformers: The Movie,” were all released in ‘86. And then there’s “Ice Pirates,” which I haven’t seen in over 20 years, but for some odd reason remains ingrained upon my subconscious, a scary thought to say the least. Of those eight movies, I must say that “Aliens” and “Transformers” had the most profound effect on me. The first? Because it scared the living daylights out of me. The second? Because my hero, Optimus Prime, actually dies, a heart-wrenching moment that is still, to this day, painful for any true geek out there (go ahead, Melissa, do your best).

As for my other favorites from 1986, I just had to include “Crocodile Dundee,” Eddie Murphy in “The Golden Child,” “The Karate Kid: Part II,” “Lucas,” “The Manhattan Project,” “Three Amigos!” and “Troll,” another one that scared me half-to-death (remember, I was nine). And then, of course, there’s Chuck Norris (and Lee Marvin) in “The Delta Force,” but that goes without saying.

All in all, I must say I was surprised at the number of movies released in 1986 that remain favorites of mine to this day. Now I’ll let Melissa proceed to comment on my complete and utter lack of “cool.” I’m sure it won’t take her long as it’s one of her favorite pastimes. I must say, it’s days like these that I truly miss my geek-in-arms, Tyler Murphy.