Chosen few

Best Movies of the 80’s by Jürgen Müller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As is the format of these Taschen best of movies series, the introduction tells us what to expect. The criteria for the best movies of the 1980’s was surface level films from that period.

We are told this was the theme of the decade, according to the editor, expounded at length in the introduction in the language of academic art. In that vein, the eye shooting Blade Runner is used in the introduction to explore how cinema transformed into one of appearances.

The approach comes off as cogent, believable, and helpful to understanding a lot of cinema at this time, but some are questionable on other standards—91/2 Weeks made the cut.

Fifteen contributors—filmmakers, journalists, and academics—write the essays which are presented with glossy stills of the films, relevant quotes, and technical information about cast, crew, or filmmaking terminology.
This book looks beautiful, and the essays are a good read, always interesting and insightful. Even if I did not agree with something, it always provoked thought in some direction and not always in a favorable direction.

The Empire Strikes is one of the films chosen. To say it is surface level is not entirely correct. Witness was beautiful on the surface, as was The Mission, but they were also in-depth. Did they seriously consider these films as well? I do not know.

Many of the selections were disappointing, but a few selections were outstanding – I was glad to see The Elephant Man here.

Many of the selections could have been better, but I am not a big fan of a film of surfaces although was pliable to a few, such as the likes of Aliens back in the day.

However, Taschen’s Best Movies of the 1980’s is an outstanding coffee table and collector’s item as well as for the more inquisitive movie buff who likes to read interesting, more involved reviews and nice pictures.

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