1988 vs 2012, Movies

1988 vs 2012

My family was out of town so I spent some time putting together this list of major theater releases in 1988 versus today. I was curious because I could not find any good movies in my Netflix disc queue. Where are all the good movies, I thought? The results are telling:

1988
2012
And God Created Woman
Beneath the Darkness
Puss in Boots
The Devil Inside
Cop
Contraband
The Couch Trip
Beauty and the Beast: 3D
Braddock: Missing in Action III
The Divide
She’s Having a Baby
Joyful Noise
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Coriolanus
Action Jackson
Haywire
Shoot to Kill
Red Tails
Hairspray
Underworld: Awakening
Bloodsport
W.E.
Frantic
The Grey
Moving
Man on a Ledge
Prison
One for the Money
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Big Miracle
Masquerade
Chronicle
Off Limits
The Woman in Black
Stand and Deliver
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
D.O.A.
Rampart
The Milagro Beanfield War
Safe House
Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw
The Vow
Stars and Bars
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Biloxi Blues
This Means War
The Fox and the Hound(re-release)
Act of Valor
Johnny Be Good
Gone
Beetlejuice
Good Deeds
Bright Lights, Big City
Wanderlust
18 Again!
This Is Not a Film
Above the Law
Being Flynn
Bad Dreams
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Appointment with Death
Project X
Colors
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
The Moderns
Attenberg
Plain Clothes
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
Return to Snowy River
Footnote
Powaqqatsi
Friends with Kids
Sunset
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The House on Carroll Street
John Carter
Dead Heat
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Shakedown
Silent House
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
A Thousand Words
Call Me
Gerhard Richter Painting
“Crocodile” Dundee II
21 Jump Street
Willow
Casa de Mi Padre
Rambo III
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Hunger Games
Big
October Baby
Funny Farm
The Raid: Redemption
Big Business
A Royal Affair
Poltergeist III
Goon
The Presidio
Mirror Mirror
Bull Durham
Wrath of the Titans
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
Titanic 3D
The Great Outdoors
American Reunion
Red Heat
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
Waxwork
Damsels in Distress
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Keyhole
Coming to America
Surviving Progress
License to Drive
We Have a Pope
Short Circuit 2
The Cabin in the Woods
Arthur 2: On the Rocks
Lockout
It Couldn’t Happen Here
Monsieur Lazhar
The Dead Pool
The Three Stooges
Bambi
Chimpanzee
Die Hard
Darling Companion
A Fish Called Wanda
Fightville
Midnight Run
Jesus Henry Christ
Big Top Pee-wee
The Lucky One
Caddyshack II
Marley
Cocktail
Think Like a Man
Monkey Shines
The Avengers
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
Payback
The Blob
The Five-Year Engagement
The Rescue
Headhunters
Vibes
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Clean and Sober
The Raven
The Last Temptation of Christ
Safe
Mac and Me
Sound of My Voice
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Young Guns
First Position
Married to the Mob
Dark Shadows
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Under African Skies
Crossing Delancey
Where Do We Go Now?
Betrayed
The Dictator
Hero and the Terror
Rust and Bone
Hot to Trot
Battleship
The Deceivers
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Eight Men Out
Crooked Arrows
Earth Girls are Easy
Fury
Moon over Parador
Virginia
Running on Empty
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Miles from Home
Chernobyl Diaries
Messenger of Death
Men in Black 3
Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters
Moonrise Kingdom
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey
Oslo, August 31st
Kansas
Piranha 3DD
Patty Hearst
Snow White and the Huntsman
Bird
Lola Versus
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Heartbreak Hotel
Prometheus
Alien Nation
Safety Not Guaranteed
Clara’s Heart
Rock of Ages
Punchline
That’s My Boy
The Accused
The Woman in the Fifth
The Kiss
Your Sister’s Sister
Bat*21
Kumare
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Little Dorrit
Brave
Mystic Pizza
The Invisible War
Tapeheads
To Rome with Love
Feds
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Moonwalker
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Everybody’s All-American
Madea’s Witness Protection
The Good Mother
Magic Mike
Rattle and Hum
Neil Young Journeys
They Live
People Like Us
Child’s Play
Take This Waltz
Distant Thunder
Ted
Ernest Saves Christmas
Amazing Spider-Man
1969
Katy Perry: Part of Me3D
Another Woman
Collaborator
The Chocolate War
Savages
Fresh Horses
Farewell, My Queen
High Spirits
Ice Age: Continental Drift
The Land Before Time
The Imposter
Oliver & Company
Union Square
Buster
Shut Up and Play the Hits
Cocoon: The Return
The Dark Knight Rises
Hanna’s War
The Queen of Versailles
Scrooged
Iron Sky
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Ruby Sparks
Tequila Sunrise
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Watchers
Killer Joe
Mississippi Burning
Searching for Sugar Man
My Stepmother Is an Alien
Step Up Revolution
Twins
The Watch
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
360
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Torch Song Trilogy
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Dangerous Liaisons
Total Recall
Rain Man
Hope Springs
Beaches
2 Days in New York
Talk Radio
The Bourne Legacy
Working Girl
The Campaign
The Accidental Tourist
Ek Tha Tiger
Dominick and Eugene
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Compliance
The Boost
Cosmopolis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Expendables 2
ParaNorman
Robot & Frank
Sparkle
Hit and Run
The Apparition
Premium Rush
The Ambassador
Lawless
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
For a Good Time, Call…
The Possession
Anna Karenina
Bachelorette
The Cold Light of Day
Detropia
Raaz 3D
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Words
Arbitrage
Barfi!
Finding Nemo: 3D
The Master
Resident Evil: Retribution
Stolen
Amour
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
Dredd
End of Watch
Head Games
House at the End of the Street
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Trouble with the Curve
Magical Mystery Tour
Hotel Transylvania
Looper
The Waiting Room
Won’t Back Down
Frankenweenie
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
The Oranges
The Paperboy
Pitch Perfect
Taken 2
3,2,1… Frankie Go Boom
Argo
Here Comes the Boom
Nobody Walks
Seven Psychopaths
Sinister
Smashed
Holy Motors
Alex Cross
Paranormal Activity 4
The Sessions
Chasing Mavericks
Cloud Atlas
Fun Size
Pusher
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Skyfall
Flight
A Late Quartet
A Liar’s Autobiography
The Man with the Iron Fists
Wreck-It Ralph
Lincoln
In Their Skin
Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Chasing Ice
Silver Linings Playbook
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Life of Pi
Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
Nema Aviona Za Zagreb
Red Dawn
Hitchcock
The Collection
Killing Them Softly
Reliance Big Pictures
Deadfall
Dino Time
Heleno
Hyde Park on Hudson
Playing for Keeps
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Guilt Trip
Monsters, Inc.3D
Zero Dark Thirty
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
The Impossible
Jack Reacher
Not Fade Away
This Is 40
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Parental Guidance
Quartet
Tabu
Promised Land

Back to the Netflix queue, the number of movies is not the problem. The quality of movies also does not seem to be the problem. I think the problem is the seriousness of movies. Every movie today is a grand epic of a bummer. The films of 1988 were more fun. 

There are some shades of 1988 in 2012. “The Cabin in the Woods” borrows both liberally and purposefully from the horror movies of the 1980s, but in 1988 we see the genre tiring out with sequels. “The Expendables 2” was made on the belief that great action does not require computer generated effects. Just look at 1988’s “Die Hard”. How many effects laden action movies have topped this classic? For comedies, 2012 could have used a little 1988. There are twice as many movies in 2012 as 1988, but not even half as many comedies. I reiterate, the movies of 2012 are too serious.

2012 also saw the birth of the crowdfunded movie. Individual donors made “Iron Sky” possible, and the filmmakers took regular people’s money and made an awful movie out of it. Someday, though, we will see filmmakers take money from individual donors and make a good movie. The stink bomb that is “Iron Sky” also highlights a trend from 2012. Bad movies are not just bad, they are God-awful terrible. Back in 1988, bad movies tried to be good, and they were better for it. I’m looking at you “Action Jackson”.

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