We played this game last year when we discussed Favorite Movies from the Year You Turned 10. For this week’s Roundtable, let’s move ahead a little to identify our favorite movies from the year we each turned 15.
Age 10 was interesting, because that’s right around the time when kids start to understand a little about movies, and figure out that some are better than others. For most adolescents, age 15 is a prime movie-watching time in their lives, when they voraciously consume as many movies as they can – good, bad or indifferent. At least, that’s how it worked for me. By 15, we’re pretty opinionated about what’s “awesome” and what “sucks.” Often, those first impressions stick around a long time and are hard to shake later in life, even when we really ought to have developed better taste. That’s one reason why many people form such strong emotional attachments to their favorite movies from their teenage years, even though many of those movies probably aren’t objectively very good.
The rules for this topic are as follows:
- The movie must have been released to theaters during the year you turned 15-years-old (even if you saw it earlier in the year before your birthday).
- You must have actually seen the movie during its original run. We’re not talking about movies you caught up with years later and recognized as artistic masterpieces in your adulthood. I want to know which movie the 15-year-old you thought was your favorite from that year.
I turned 15 back in 1984, and though I wouldn’t actually roll the ol’ odometer over until December of that year (meaning I was actually 14 when I saw this movie), there’s no doubt that my favorite film of the year was ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom‘. Yes, I realize this is the same year we got ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (although I never saw the latter in the theater… you couldn’t sneak in the way teens can today). ‘Temple of Doom’ is my last memory of a movie actually being an event.
I still remember the long line waiting to get in. I still remember a packed house and I still remember the movie being delayed starting for about 20 minutes because of the line and because management wanted to get every seat filled. I even remember the manager coming in, asking everyone to move toward the center of the rows and telling us that people had driven from as far as an hour away to see the movie (which got some chuckles from the crowd as I grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh and there were plenty of movie house options in the area). And, of course, I remember that thrilling opening (still my favorite part of the film) with the big musical number, Indy chasing after that antidote, and his big escape from Lao Che and his henchmen.
I don’t remember much from the other films I saw in 1984 (other than the fact that I saw them), but I do remember this one, and it’s one of my best movie memories.
I have a good movie from the year I turned 15. ‘Jurassic Park’! Easily the best movie of the year, right? But it’s not my favorite. My favorite is ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery‘. Did you know the script for ‘Annie Hall’, when it was originally called ‘Anhedonia’, had a murder mystery subplot? It’s true. But that storyline was eventually dropped. Sixteen years later, Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman wrote another movie together, and we got to see what might have become of Alvy and Annie years later, when neighborly suspicions of murder help to jolt their dead shark of a relationship back to life.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I set a record in 1993 that, more than twenty years later, I still haven’t surpassed: watching the same movie theatrically six times.
As excited as I’d been to see so many different movies throughout my life up to that point, nothing had ever whipped me into a frenzy as ‘Jurassic Park‘ had. Kind of like that awful kid in the ‘Foxtrot’ comics, I was very literally counting down the days until I could see these dinosaurs stomp around on the big screen. I was there, front and center, on day one, and I spent entirely too much time that summer coming back for more.
As head over heels as I was in love with ‘Jurassic Park’, it actually got to be a bit much. You see, I was visiting family that summer, and they lived down the road from a discount theater that we kept turning to as a cheap way to pass the time (and avoid the searing Arizona heat). It only had three screens, though, and my choices always seemed to be “romantic comedy,” “awful family flick,” or, well, ‘Jurassic Park’. Sorry, but I’d rather stare down a flock of velociraptors over ‘Dennis the Menace’ any day.
I watched ‘Jurassic Park’ so many times that summer that I kind of overdosed. It was one of the defining movies of my youth and very likely my single favorite movie that I’d seen at that point in my life, yet I haven’t been able to bring myself to see it again since.
Fifteen was that formative age where I started experimenting with ways to get into R-rated movies, and 1998 had some great ones. Even though 1998 was the same year of ‘Saving Private Ryan’, I had my mind on another R-rated film. I even asked my dad to come with me because I’d heard that it was pretty tame. He ended up agreeing. I think it was the one and only time my dad went to an R-rated movie with me in the theater.
Perhaps that’s why ‘Snake Eyes‘ still appeals to me today. I’ve always been a sucker for Nic Cage, and honestly, I think he’s great in it. Yes, the entire movie is surrounded by a personally intrinsic nostalgia that could easily be clouding my judgment. I’ve come to terms with the idea that most people think it’s somewhere between a bad and terrible movie. That doesn’t matter to me, because in 1998 it was the best movie 15-year-old me saw.
M. Enois Duarte
Man, I remember the late ’80s and early ’90s as some of the best years for movies, especially because those were the years when I was driving friends and myself to see something new every single weekend. (Of course, I didn’t actually have my license yet for a couple of those years, but that will be our little secret.) Sometimes, we’d go back for a different feature the following day, practically spending our weekend gorging on movies.
In 1989, I drove us to the drive-in to see ‘Batman’ and ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’. One of my all-time favorite theaters, Century Cinedome, is where I enjoyed ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, ‘Back to the Future Part II’, ‘The Burbs’, ‘Harlem Nights’ and so many more. I could go on, but the point here is personal favorite of that year, and since I’m a sick-in-the-head horror hound, what kind of genre fan would I be if I didn’t pick a horror movie?
With so many to choose from that year, and believe me, there’s a wealth of gruesome goodies to choose from, I’m going with the Stephen King adaptation of ‘Pet Sematary‘. I read the book about a year or two earlier, so I was pretty excited to see it on the big screen, especially after seeing creepy commercials with Pascow’s ghost, the dead cat Church hissing at the dad, and little Gage’s disturbing march down a hallway with a scalpel. Admittedly, the movie hasn’t aged very well over the years, losing a good deal of its scare factor, but I remember fondly enjoying the movie at the Cinedome. For that time, it effectively scared the bejeezus out of me and I enjoyed how faithful it was to the book.
As much as I loved and theatrically revisited the summer tentpole ‘Waterworld’, dumb 15-year-old Luke would be disappointed if I didn’t name ‘Batman Forever‘ as my (then) favorite movie from 1995. My pubescent eyes were blinded by Joel Schumacher’s inflicted neon haze and couldn’t see how much better the Tim Burton ‘Batman’ flicks were compared to this one.
Casting handsome Val Kilmer was cool. Coming off ‘The Fugitive’, watching Tommy Lee Jones ham it up as Two-Face Harvey Dent was great. Seeing Jim Carrey as a smart-yet-zany scientist version of Ace Ventura was pure gold. And the little perv in me especially liked seeing Drew Barrymore in white lingerie. The only thing I didn’t much care for was the introduction of Robin. Even at 15, I was aware of Chris O’Donnell’s bad acting. If only the 25-year-old Luke could show the 15-year-old Luke ‘Batman Begins’. It would blow that pimply kid’s mind to see the night-and-day contrast. In the defense of 15-year-old Luke, at least ‘Forever’ was better than ‘Batman & Robin’!
Like E., I turned 15 in 1989. Man, that was a really big year for movies that would appeal to a 15-year-old: ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, ‘Back to the Future Part II’, ‘Lethal Weapon 2’, ‘Ghostbusters II’ (hey, I liked it at the time), ‘The Abyss’, ‘Turner & Hooch’, ‘Tango & Cash’, ‘Bill & Ted’… the list goes on. Not all of them hold up, but I couldn’t get enough of them. That year was a bounty of riches for a movie-obsessed teenager.
Looking back as an adult, I’d name ‘Do the Right Thing’ or ‘Glory’ or ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ as among the best movies released that year. But as a 15-year-old, I was fully on board with ‘Batman‘ fever.
Honestly, that movie shocked the hell out of me. As a kid who didn’t read superhero comics, my only association with Batman was the campy 1960s TV show. When I heard that somebody was making a Batman movie, I scoffed and was certain that it would bomb. Then the trailers came out and they looked really cool. Then it opened and was an absolutely explosive success. All of my friends told me that I HAD to see this movie. And when I did, it blew me away with how much fun it was. I went back to see it at least four times in the theater. (My best friend at the time saw it eight times.)
I can appreciate what Christopher Nolan did with his first two ‘Dark Knight’ movies as much as anyone (the third one, not so much), but for me, Tim Burton’s is still the definitive movie Batman.
What movies were you crazy about the year you turned 15? Tell us in the Comments.