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Top 20 most overrated movies of the 80s



You know these movies. They sit on the shelf next to your giant flat-screen TV, untouched, unviewed, still in the original shrink-wrapping. But you bought them anyway, because ... well, they're classics, right? And we ought to own all the classic movies of the 80s.

Sorry to say, but some movies from our beloved decade just don't live up to their own hype. A few weeks ago, I asked the readers of this blog to help compile a list of these movies. The following list is derived largely from those suggestions, along with my own opinions.

It's hardly scientific and surely will tweak some fans big-time. I'll admit that there are at least half a dozen here that I own and truly enjoy seeing over and over again. To be included on this list doesn't mean the movie sucks; it just means it's not as good as everyone might think it is. Let the debate begin.


Molly_2 20. The Breakfast Club (1985): Largely considered John Hughes' opus, but one blog reader called it "too preachy and hypocritical."

19. On Golden Pond (1981): A film that probably should have been made in the 70s, because its cast and theme seem so out of place to 80s fans.

18. Pretty in Pink (1986): Another beloved Hughes classic makes the list for its subpar dialogue and unlikely ending. One blog reader said: "Ducky annoyed me so much that it contributes to me not watching Jon Cryer's TV show."

17. The Last Emperor (1987): The Oscar winner for best picture was largely unnoticed by anyone under the age of 40 at that time. (I saw it in a nearly empty theater the day it was nominated for the Oscar.)

16. First Blood (1982): Stallone is ridiculed on our list of Worst 80 Movies of the 80s, but this one escaped. How? "Company leader to Raven! Rambo! Acknowledge!"

Againstallodds 15. Against All Odds (1984): Aside from possibly the best sex scenes of the 80s, there's little left. Critic Roger Ebert said: "The best thing to do is to accept the plot, and then disregard it, and pay attention to the scenes of passion."

14. Porky's (1982): Pales in comparison to other coming-of-age flicks that decade. Aside from the "Lassie" scene with Kim Cattrall and the "Have you seen this penis" cutup, what else is memorable?

Ewoks 13. Return of the Jedi (1983): One word for you: Ewoks. Another blog reader smartly points out that this flick "should have been omen enough for people that Episode One would be lousy."

12. Out Of Africa (1985): Look at the memorable quotes in Here's one: "I had a farm in Africa." Ooookay. Simply put by one blog fan: "Unwatchable." Amen, brother.

11. Batman (1989): Aside from Jack Nicholson as the Joker and the score by Danny Elfman, it falls flat. And worse: It gives birth to the comic-book-to-movie movement that has clogged Hollywood's creative arteries ever since.

10. Endless Love (1981): Great theme song. Totally unwatchable movie. No offense to Brooke Shields, but your "Blue Lagoon" is also on our list of 80 worst movies of the 80s.

D_dancing 9. Dirty Dancing (1987): "While it wasn't a great movie to begin's absolutely unbearable to watch now. It made a ton of money at the box office, but it's hard to find anyone who admits to liking it. In some ways it has become the movie versions of say, New Kids on the Block."

8. Nine to Five (1980): Once the symbol of the fight for workplace equality. Now just a really annoying Dolly Parton song.

7. Crocodile Dundee (1986): Great reader story here: "This past summer a friend of mine who was finally surrendering to the age of the DVD player and getting rid of his old VHS tapes and VCR had a movie party to watch some old favorites from high school and 'Dundee' came up in the pile. It was so much worse than I remember it being 20 years ago. I wanted to reach through the TV and slap Paul Hogan. What was cutsie and funny in 1986 was suddenly the annoying Aussie equivalent to Jar Jar Binks in 2006."

6. Dead Poets Society (1989): More great reader comments: "Saw it about a year ago and would have chewed my arm off to get out of the room. Gah. Preachy, maudlin, overwrought gobbledygook. It is how I think I will react to rewatching 'Scent of a Woman' 20 years from now."

5. Born on the Fourth of July (1989): Very dated and hard to watch nearly 20 years later. Of all of Tom Cruise's work in the 80s, it (along with "Legend") might be the hardest to sit through now.

Goonies 4. The Goonies (1985): "I tried watching it once on video, thought it was more obnoxious than cute, and turned it off long before the end. It had an okay Cyndi Lauper song ("Good Enough") but even that was ruined by kid voices exclaiming the name of the movie."

3. St. Elmo's Fire (1985): This movie generated 17 reader opinions, but people were evenly split between tagging it overrated or simply a guilty pleasure. "The brat-pack movie equivalent of the NFL Pro Bowl," said one. "I love it, but even I'm not going to pretend it's a great movie," said another.

2. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): Three times I've tried to sit through it, and I can't make it past the half-hour mark. And yet, for some reason, I own it on DVD. But I've never taken it out of the shrink-wrap. One reader said: "I finally watched the thing when I was 18 or so - not scared, but not impressed either."

Topgun 1. Top Gun (1986): Without a doubt, this movie drew the most fierce reactions, and so it lands at the top position. Reader says: "A jingoistic propaganda film for the Reagan Right-wing with poor acting and the dubiuos directing of Tony (I ain't no Ridley) Scott." Another says: "Stupid movie, stupid script, stupid acting, with some (not all) decent music." Yet another says: "My friends dragged me to see TOP GUN to, and lord almighty I just wanted to sneak out and go see One Crazy Summer again."

There you, fire away with your comments. And if you enjoyed this list, don't forget our others:


[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:22pm]


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