1984 in Review

One Interesting Film from 1984

I’m going to make another change starting now, which is highlighting a single film (maybe two if it’s a year with multiple movies I know well and want to talk about) instead of a brief rundown of a lot of films, most of which I haven’t actually seen. These might be great classics, hidden gems, films I go against the consensus on, or whatever else I feel like for the year.

For 1984, I chose Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. While not my absolute favorite movie from the director, it was unquestionably one of, if not his most, significant work for a variety of reasons. First, it was (effectively) the debut movie for the late great Studio Ghibli, a group that had an extraordinary record when it came to consistently great animated movies that was only matched by old Pixar. Second, it really helped legitimize anime features as a medium for film in Japan…in the west, unfortunately it was released in American theaters with 22 minutes cut under the title “Warriors of the Wind’; seriously, check out the poster, which is hilarious and horrifying if you’ve ever actually seen the movie: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/e6/Wotwuscover.jpg/320px-Wotwuscover.jpg. Finally, the movie is where a young Hideaki Anno got noticed as an animator; he would later that year co-found Gainax and would eventually make a rather notable TV series I will end up talking about in 1997 in the form of its film ending.

As for the film itself, it fits in perfectly with many of Miyazaki’s later works, featuring beautiful and complex animation, strong anti-war and environmental themes, strong female characters and fantastical settings/worlds. If you have enjoyed some of his other works (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle), I would definitely recommend this one.

Other Notables from 1984

Ghostbusters

The Terminator

This Is Spinal Tap

Beverly Hills Cop

Gremlins

The Karate Kid

Paris, Texas

Blood Simple

The Natural

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Once Upon a Time in America

1984 Nominees in Review

Amadeus: A (Won Best Picture)

The Killing Fields: A-

A Soldier’s Story: B+

Places in the Heart: B-

A Passage to India: C

A very good year, and pretty easily one of the best of the decade. I feel bad for The Killing Fields, as it would have had an extremely good chance of winning pretty much any other year of this decade based on both its quality and its subject matter being appealing to voters, but it was simply matched up against a better movie. There’s also nothing especially poor this year which is nice, although A Passage to India is a pretty disappointing final film for a director who at his best, made some of the greatest epics of all-time.

For 1985, we get both Gomez AND Morticia Addams in career making roles! It’s: The other movie besides The Turning Point that was nominated for 11 Oscars but didn’t win any; the first Academy Award win for someone playing an openly gay character; A movie generally considered one of the weakest to ever win Best Picture and one of the only to have a “Rotten” score on RT; John Huston directs another family member to an Oscar; and a movie that ended up being a nightmare for the Amish community because they got overrun with tourists as a result.

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