Airplane! is not one of HE’s favorite 1980 films. Just because everyone laughed and it made a lot of money ($171 million or $580 million in 2021 currency) and was the last mainstream movie in which a suave jet-pilot character, played by famous TV actor Peter Graves, conveyed a sexual interest in a young boy…that doesn’t make it great or classic or anything in between. It was just a highly successful goof-off parody film…nothing more. Never forget that the mere act of making people laugh is the lowest form of humor.

Nor will I buy into the long-established counterview that Michael Cimino‘s Heaven’s Gate is some kind of masterpiece. Visually it’s very handsome and impressive, but it also is, was and always will be one of the most grueling sits of my life.

And I’m no fan of Dressed to Kill either — it reeks of sexual loathing and disdain for poor Angie Dickinson‘s character, and I hate that scene in which she’s followed around inside the Metropolitan Museum by a good-looking asshole smoothie who hasn’t the balls to say anything to her, and is therefore worthless. I was around 17 or 18 when I learned the wisdom of “he who hesitates, masturbates.”

HE’s top 1980 features (in this order):

1. The Empire Strikes Back (magnificent from start to finish)
2. Raging Bull (a great film except for the odd closing tribute to Haig Manoogian, which has nothing to do with Jake La Motta and therefore leaves you with a “what? reaction — this is why RB is in the second slot)
3. Ordinary People
4. Atlantic City (sublime Burt Lancaster, and he was only 66 when the film was shot.)
5. The Elephant Man
6. Coal Miner’s Daughter (Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm are aces)
7. Breaker Morant (lean, grave and masterful)
8. Used Cars (brilliant Preston Sturges film)
9. The Stunt Man
10. Diva
11. American Gigolo (has improved with age)
12. The Shining (when you consider what Stanley Kubrick‘s adaptation could have been, you can’t help but sigh with a certain air of regret — it’s a very rigid, almost constipated film)
13. Somewhere in Time (i.e., the version with the original uncut crane-and tracking shot that ends the film)
14. Kagemusha
15. Stir Crazy

HE’s 1980 not-bads, so-so and stinkers (in no particular order)

1. When Time Ran Out
2. The Sea Wolves
3. Little Darlings
4. The Fog
5. Popeye (alleged cocaine movie)
6. The Big Red One (decent Fuller but no groundbreaker)
7. Gloria (relatively decent Cassavetes film)
8. Urban Cowboy
9. Fame
10. The Blue Lagoon
11. The Blues Brothers (alleged cocaine movie)
12. Caddyshack (popular but built upon an attitude of adolescent wee-wee humor)
13. Flash Gordon
14. The Blue Lagoon
15. 9 to 5 (not bad, amusing enough)
16. Seems Like Old Times
17. Where The Buffalo Roam
18. The Last Metro
19. Superman 2
20. The Gods Must Be Crazy