The 2016 summer movie season is now in the history books, and it’s safe to say that it was pretty unremarkable. Sure, the studios made krillions of dollars and lots of kids walked away happy. But how many of these movies will you remember next summer? Or five summers from now?
It’s been a long time since we’ve been treated to a whole season of truly entertaining motion pictures to choose from. You would have to go back many years to find a summer where something new and dazzling came out virtually every week.
In fact, 1982 may very well be the last time we saw a summer jam-packed with great films. That year, from the middle of May to the end of August, a string of genre-defining and groundbreaking films came out that captured imaginations and reminded us just how cool cinema can be.
Check out this murderer’s row of classic films. All of them among the most memorable movies of the last 34 years, and they all came out in the summer of ’82.
- Conan the Barbarian – Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, etc., etc.
- The Road Warrior – Known to the rest of the world as “Mad Max 2,” Warner Brothers changed the name since the original “Mad Max” didn’t do well in the U.S.
- Rocky III – 2nd Stallone movie ever to break $100 million at the box office, began his dominance of 80s action films.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – They can make a hundred Star Trek movies, but none will ever top this one. Khhaaannn!
- Poltergeist – Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper proved that a PG movie can still scare the crap out of you.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Not only the biggest movie of 1982, but the biggest movie in the world until “Titanic” came out in 1997.
- Blade Runner – Had a tough time finding an audience at the time, but is now a sci-fi classic.
- The Thing – No one who has seen this John Carpenter classic will ever forget it. Ever.
- Tron – It was the butt of many jokes at the time, but this film featured groundbreaking effects and confirmed that video games were here to stay.
- The World According to Garp – This quirky John Irving adaptation proved that Robin Williams could act. A cult classic.
- An Officer and a Gentleman – Every woman in America fell in love with this romance classic, making it the 3rd biggest film of 1982.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High – The most memorable and quotable of 80s teen movies, it is the benchmark against which all T&A flicks are still measured.
- Pink Floyd The Wall – Midnight art house flick or Rock and Roll classic? How about both.
Any thoughts on this list? Email me and I’ll share your comments on the site.