Weekend Roundtable: Favorite Movie from the Year You Turned 10-Years-Old

Last week, we looked back at the best movies released during the years we were born. For this week’s Roundtable, I thought it would be interesting to jump forward a decade and identify our favorite movies from the time we each turned 10-years-old.

In my opinion, age 10 is about the time when a child starts to understand a little bit about movies and develop a taste in them. That taste may change later in life, but prior to age 10 pretty much all movies (the ones our parents will let us watch, anyway) seem awesome. From my experience, the 7-year-old me didn’t make much distinction between good movies and bad movies; as far as I could tell, ‘The Cannonball Run’ was just as good a movie as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. By the time I turned 10, however, I started to have some cognizance that maybe ‘Gremlins’ was a better movie than ‘Cannonball Run II’.

This topic has two important rules:

  • The movie must have been released to theaters during the year you turned 10-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 10-year-old you thought was your favorite from that year.

Shannon Nutt

The rules of this week’s Roundtable pretty much pigeonholed me. Being born in December, this left me with only one month to choose from, and in December of 1979, I only saw one movie: ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’. It bored me to death in 1979, and all these years later I still consider it one of the lesser ‘Trek’ movies.

So, if you’ll indulge my bending of the rules, I’ll pick a movie I saw earlier in 1979, which was (and still in many ways is) my favorite movie from that year: ‘Rocky II‘. I hadn’t seen the first ‘Rocky’ when I went to see the sequel, but thankfully I was with a friend of the family (the truth here is that growing up we lived across the road from a large and very Italian family who essentially dragged my parents and I to this movie on opening night) who explained everything I needed to know before going in. Needless to say, by the time the final fight took place, I was up out of my seat and cheering the Italian Stallion on. (Hey, the adults were doing it too.) While today I’d never list ‘Rocky II’ among my all-time favorite movies, I think Rocky Balboa might be my all-time favorite movie character and I still admire this first sequel very much.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’m pretty sure I caught a grand total of four movies theatrically when I was 10: ‘Scrooged’, ‘Ghostbusters II’, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ and – drum roll! – ‘Batman’. Three of those were released in really rapid succession, so clearly the Tyner family shied away from movie theaters during the tail-end of 1988 and the bulk of ’89. (We were more on the VHS/Laserdisc/cable side of things.)

If there were any justice in this world, I’d be writing about ‘UHF’ right now. Even at that young age, I could already call myself a lifelong rabid Weird Al fan, and I was frothing-at-the-mouth excited about catching his first movie. It was in and out of theaters so quickly that I practically didn’t even have a chance, although I’d make up for it by devouring ‘UHF’ about 27,000 times in the years that followed.

So, instead, I get to write about ‘Batman‘! It’s the first time I ever remember that seeing a movie theatrically felt like an EVENT. I watched ‘Batman’ opening weekend in a packed theater with my best friend at the time, and we timed it so that we’d get home right when the ’66 ‘Batman’ movie aired on TV. That… was not the double feature that 10-year-old Adam thought it would be. Anyway, ‘Batman’ was the first superhero movie I’d seen theatrically after my comic book obsession was really in full swing. (I had seen ‘Supergirl’ in theaters when my interest in comics was more casual, but let’s focus on the positive here.) It would go on to be the first VHS I got that was mine, all mine, and ‘Batman’ was even one of the first DVDs I ever picked up. I haven’t watched Tim Burton’s take on the Dark Knight in about fifteen years, but now I’m getting the urge to revisit a movie that meant so much to me growing up.

Aaron Peck

Being born in 1983 affords me the privilege of using ‘Jurassic Park‘ as my favorite 10-year-old theatrical event. I remember waiting in line with my dad, amazed that he was accompanying me to a PG-13 movie, as I was only 10. My parents were really strict with ratings.

I’d never seen anything like it. As a 10-year-old, the special effects dazzled and frightened me. After seeing the movie, my cousin slept over at my house. We slept out on the trampoline, and found it to be a tough proposition. All we could do was imagine what it would be like if a group of raptors suddenly jumped over the fence. We concluded that we’d probably die, but it’d be cool to actually see dinosaurs before they killed us.

Ah, to be 10 again.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

1977 was a great year for movies, but this one’s a no-brainer for me: ‘Star Wars‘. And when I saw it, that’s what it was called: ‘Star Wars’. Not ‘A New Hope’, not ‘Episode IV’. Just ‘Star Wars’. I remember hearing the radio ads for it when driving around with my dad and thinking, “This is going to be awesome.” And it was. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I went to see it in a little theater in Manchester, NH and saw it another four times during its theatrical run. I’m not sure that the theater even had stereo sound, let alone “Dolby Stereo” (the early name for Dolby Surround). But I loved it.

I bought the action figures, a Landspeeder and an X-Wing Fighter. I still have them and should probably let my 10-year-old play with them some time. It’s one of my life’s great disappointments that ‘Episode IV’ is one of my son’s least favorite films in the series and ‘Episode III’ one of his favorites. Every time he tells me this, all I can say is, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” How could this happen? But then, he does look a little like our old mailman. Honey, is there something you want to tell me?

Honorable mention goes to ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘. As a sci-fi buff (even at that age), I was fascinated by the idea of intelligent, benevolent aliens. To this day, I still make Devil’s Tower replicas out of my mashed potatoes and I peck out the five-note melody on virtually every keyboard I come across. We are not alone, indeed.

Mike Attebery

So far as I can tell, I saw two movies in the theater when I was 10: ‘Willow’ and ‘Twins’. Technically, I saw ‘Twins’ at a drive-in. I’m torn here, because I don’t really like either movie all that much. I remember talking about ‘Willow’ with my friends on the playground, but I had more fun seeing ‘Twins’ at the drive-in. Truth be told, I recall very little of either film. There was some sort of weird contraption with tubes and such in one. And I think some burning haystacks in the other. ‘Twins’ made me laugh. ‘Willow’ scared the heck out of me at times. Ummmm… I guess the winner is ‘Twins‘. Because of Arnold. I was 10, so Arnold = win. And drive-ins rock.

Tom Landy

Wow, there are so many good choices from 1986 that it’s tough to decide on just one. I think my absolute favorite is probably ‘Stand By Me‘ – based on Stephen King’s novella ‘The Body’ – mainly because I was the same age as the kids in this terrific coming-of-age story and felt like I was going on the adventure with them. I also remember liking the music so much that I had a collection of cassette tapes with songs from the soundtrack that we bought at some gas station.

For nostalgic reasons, I also have to give ‘Star Trek: The Voyage Home’ an honorable mention here. I remember seeing it at an old theater that doesn’t exist in Winnipeg anymore during a school field trip.

Man, those were good times.

Luke Hickman

There are boatloads of movies released in 1990 that I recall seeing then and still love now. I thought that it would be difficult to pick a favorite, but when I saw a certain title, I looked no further. Many viewers criticize it, but I’m a huge fan of the entire trilogy, so ‘Back to the Future Part III‘ easily takes the cake as my favorite film from 1990. I love that the franchise went the opposite direction you would have thought, considering the word “future” is in the title. I adore the Western aspect. The standard genre tropes (spittoons, shootouts, trains, getting dragged behind a horse, etc.) are all here, as well as the series specific tropes (Tannens, manure, being called “yellow,” waking up with his mom talking to him in the dark, etc.). Some may not like ‘Back to the Future Part III’ much, but I find it to be the perfect final chapter to a perfect trilogy.

Josh Zyber

1984 was a pretty huge year for movies, and my mom let me see a lot of them, even some that were R-rated. (Mom was pretty laissez-faire when it came to movie ratings.) As an adult, my favorite movie of all time (‘Dune’, as many of you know) comes from 1984, but I didn’t see that until years later so it doesn’t qualify here. Regardless, I have no shortage of options to choose from: ‘Gremlins’! ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’! ‘Beverly Hills Cop’! ‘The Karate Kid’! ‘Red Dawn’! ‘Police Academy’! Maybe some of those haven’t held up as well as I’d wish, but 10-year-old me had a blast watching all of them.

And yet, when it comes down to it, my favorite movie that I saw in 1984 also happened to be the top-grossing movie of that year. I laughed my ass off watching ‘Ghostbusters‘, even despite the fact that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scared the ever-living shit out of me. (Seriously, I had nightmares.) The jokes more than offset the trauma. It’s a comedy classic that has remained just as funny no matter how many dozens of times I’ve seen it since.

Your turn now. What movies were the highlight of your tenth year on this Earth?

72 comments

  1. NJScorpio

    10 years old? That would be 1990. A great year for movies.

    Some contenders for my #1 spot are:

    – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    – Edward Scissorhands
    – Home Alone (saw it in theaters!)
    – Total Recall
    – The Hunt For Red October
    – Gremlins 2 (also seen in theaters)

    But, my favorite movie from 1990 is just so damn good, there isn’t a question as to it’s #1 spot:

    Goodfellas!

  2. Greg

    1994

    A good handful of greats and some more cheesy films. Unfortunately I don’t remember if I actually saw any of the ones that year which I would have been allowed to watch. Might have seen The Lion King in theater but not sure. Ditto on The Mask. If it was a year prior it would have been Jurassic Park. That was the first PG-13 movie I saw in the theater. Still remember going with my dad.

  3. cardpetree

    1986: Top Gun, Aliens, The Fly, Howard the Duck, Iron Eagle, Cobra, The Golden Child, Space Camp. Was a decent year.

  4. Bill McClain

    I saw very few films in the theater before high school.

    In 1965:

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was made for TV, but was new that year.

    I remember seeing “For a Few Dollars More” and “Thunderball” at a young age, in the theater. First run? Memory fades… But if so, got to go with 007.

    -Bill

  5. HuskerGuy

    Turned ten in May of ’90 so I’ll go ahead and go with Home Alone as I distinctly remember where I was and who I was with when I watched it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out before my birthday, otherwise that would be the one. I may have seen other movies during the year, but can’t recall any specifically.

  6. skinnyb37

    Wow…gonna have to admit how poor my family was when I was 10. Just looked at the movies released in 1981 and didn’t see any of them in the theaters. I was huge into Ninjas, so Enter the Ninja certainly became a favorite as I saw it on video. And I did go over to a friend’s house when he had free HBO, and they showed Raiders of the Lost Ark. The only one I can claim I saw on the big screen would be Heavy Metal. Saw this every weekend (along with Rocky Horror) for almost a year…but that was much later (when I was 18-19). Das Boot was also a favorite later cause I was on a sub, but again…can’t claim I saw it at 10. We may have seen Great Muppet Caper but I think that was also a rental.

    Oh, And Adam…you are awesome in my eyes for the following: “Even at that young age, I could already call myself a lifelong rabid Weird Al fan, and I was frothing-at-the-mouth excited about catching his first movie.”

    Weird Al is awesome…if you haven’t had the chance to catch him in concert, you need to…his shows are great!

      • skinnyb37

        Let me know what you think. It’s basically just animated violence and sex set to an awesome (albeit old) soundtrack. Given your age, you may not appreciate it as much, but I love the movie. Good cameo voices though…see if you can spot them before you look it up 😉

  7. Ten in 1994, which means: The Lion King, The Mask and The Flintstones. Yep, I’ll always defend that last one. I know my HDD license is in danger of being revoked, but a man has got to be honest at all time. I like ‘The Flintstones’. Oh, and Richie Rich! A very, very fun and quotable screenplay.

    Amongst the 1994 films I saw and loved at a later point in life: Forrest Gump (not scoring any Zyber points there), Ed Wood (excellent all around), Jimmy Hollywood,

    • skinnyb37

      Stick to your guns on The Flintstones! Besides, wasn’t the intent to say favorite movie when you were 10? I used to watch The Smurfs for crying out loud…ever try to revisit that as an adult???

  8. itjustWoRX

    Ten in 1997…a quick glance at Wikipedia and I recall most of the movies I saw in theaters that year.

    Highlights included: “Austin Powers,” “Men in Black,” “Air Force One,” and my first epic–“Titanic.”

    But that year was special for me because I got to see Star Wars on the big screen for the first time, as that was the year they re-released the “special editions.” I had watched them on VHS but this was the real deal.

  9. Ryan

    Back in 1989, Batman was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen (though, today i think the movie is terrible).
    If I had to pick today, it would either be Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or The Abyss

    • skinnyb37

      I think I’ve posted this before: I signed up for the Navy and volunteered for submarine service on May 23, 1989. As a treat, my Mom took me to the movies right after that. We saw The Abyss…watching the sub go down in the 1st 5 minutes of the movie was a little…er…unsettling…

  10. Dennis Heller

    1978

    Corvette Summer

    Just kidding, but looking at the list, it’s possible I didn’t see any movies that year. Not even Superman. The Deer Hunter would have been an eye-opener.

    Surprisingly good year.

  11. Kyle

    1997

    There are a lot of movies I enjoy from that year but I know some of them I didn’t watch until a little later. Ones I would have watched then and enjoyed include:
    Men In Black, Jurassic Park: The lost World, Batman & Robin, Mortal Kombat: Anhilation, Tomorrow Never Dies and Liar Liar

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        Batman & Robin grossed $107.3 million (domestically) in 1997. The average movie theater ticket price in 1997 was $4.59. With those numbers plus William’s comment, we now know that 1 person liked Batman & Robin in 1997, while 23,376,905 people hated it.

        🙂

        • William Henley

          🙂 23 million viewers does not mean that 23 million people liked it, but I think that was the intent of your pun.

          Truthfully, I liked ALL the batman Movies up until Batman Begins. I didn’t care for TDK and hated TDKR

          • William Henley

            Now I will admit that Batman & Robin and Batman Forever are corney, as is the 1960s Batman movie, but they are enjoyable.

          • William Henley

            🙂 realize I didn’t say it was a bad movie, Julian. I said I didn’t care for it. Batman Begins was the last Batman movie I liked. I HATED TDKR mainly because of horrible plot holes and poor story.The Dark Knight was just Meh to me.

  12. Guy

    You could not have picked a worse age for me. I was 10 in 1999 so the two movies I was most excited to see were Episode I and Wild Wild West. I knew both of those were pretty bad right away.

    I’d seen Men in Black two years before and, looking back, I consider that the first non-kids movie to grab me in a big way. I assumed Will Smith was synonymous with quality and I’d watched the Wild Wild West TV show with my dad before. It seemed like a sure bet going in, but it was surely not. Still the most disappointed I’ve ever been walking out of a theater.

    With Episode I, I hated all the kid bait; Jar Jar and young Anakin were terrible. The Pod racing bored the hell out of me too. I did became pretty obsessed with Natalie Portman. Also, Darth Maul was undeniably cool and I was genuinely interested in the political workings of the Republic (yeah, I was that kind of kid), so it wasn’t a total loss, but it certainly wasn’t magical.

    I cited Toy Story 2 in the plot hole roundtable a few weeks back and it annoyed me back then even. Inspector Gadget was bad. My trips to the theater bore little fruit that year. Because the R would have kept my parents from taking me, I did talk my slightly clueless grandmother into getting me The Matrix from Blockbuster when it hit home video. I didn’t understand it like I do now, but I did really like it. The blank room, explain The Matrix to Neo scene fascinated me incredibly.

    I’m not sure a rental counts based on the groundrules, but it’s the best I can do. I have movies from the year I was too young to see that I really like now, but nothing I saw at the time. Almost any other year in my entire life would have yielded better results.

  13. Chris B

    I remember watching several movies in theatres in 1993, Jurassic Park (awesome), teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Part 3 (awful), but I think the one I enjoyed the most was the late great Robin Williams’ comedy classic Mrs. Doubtfire! I thought he was flat-out hilarious in it and the movie itself is so damn enjoyable through and through. I’ve seen it countless times over the years and it always makes me smile….Such an immense talent gone too soon.

  14. Wow, a lot of movies I have little interest in for this milestone (1981).
    Plenty of hits – Raiders of the Lost Ark, For Your Eyes Only, Das Boot, Halloween 2, Evil Dead, Mad Max: Road Warrior, American Werewolf in London, Stripes, Escape from NY, Friday the 13th pt. 2, Clash of the Titans, Time Bandits, Cannonball Run, Chariots of Fire, The Howling, Heavy metal, On Golden Pond, Dragonslayer,

  15. 1986- I can’t just name one.
    Deadly Friend, Critters, The Fly, Crocodile Dundee, Maximum Overdrive, Short Circuit, Heartbreak Ridge, Raw Deal, Tough Guys. Short Circuit and Raw Deal were very special because we saw those in a theater where we could sit at tables and be served food, that was so different and new we couldn’t get over it. We actually saw those two on the same day. A very memorable and unique movie experience.

    Maximum Overdrive- We took a trip to Sarasota beach and stayed in a house in an old retirement village and is probably my favorite family vacation. Maximum Overdrive was our family movie.
    The Hitcher, Band of the Hand , The Vindicator, and the Wraith I watched COUNTLESS times on HBO.
    It’s very hard to pick just one favorite, but I guess I was really smitten with Short Circuit when it came out. Johnny 5 is alive!

  16. frankie

    The year was 1986. I was in Montreal on a vacation trip with my brother and my unmarried “friend” of my parents neighbor guy. It was a pedophiles dream, if he was a pedophile. Anyway, him and my brother left the hotel for some reason and I stayed back and watched what I thought was listed as Crocodile Dundee. So I turn to that channel and it ends up being a porn called Crocodile Blondee. I watched about 5 or 10 minutes before changing the channel so I wouldnt get caught. While checking out of the hotel, Crocodile Blondee showed up on the pay-per-view bill and I had to play innocent. The hotel dropped the charge, and life went on.

  17. Martin

    The Movies I enjoyed the most in 1995 where:
    Toy Story
    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
    The Indian in the Cupboard

  18. Brett

    ’85 – Rambo: First Blood Part II

    It’s not my current favorite from that year, but it set the standard for how I’d judge large-scale action movies from then on. In that sense it was a game-changer for me.

    And I’m not at all ashamed to say I still love the hell out of it. The score, the photography, the editing, the stunts, and yes even the writing and performances (love the “expendable” conversation on the boat)–it’s the perfect movie of its kind, great from start to finish.

  19. Jakdonark

    I was lucky in that my Mom took me to quite a few movies when I was a kid, starting with ET back in 82. (And my wife and I saw the 30th anniversary release a week before my daughter was born, but technically the first movie she actually saw was Wreck It Ralph). I can remember pretty much every movie I’ve seen in the theater and most of the ones I’ve seen at home. I was trying to think of 87, and the first couple that came to mind, Predator and Robocop, both weren’t quite on the safe list at that age. GI Joe the movie wasn’t released theatrically, but I did see it on TV that year, and the only one on the list I could find that I saw was Masters Of The Universe. Being an 80s kid, it was Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, and He Man time. So when a live action He Man came out I flipped my lid. I enjoyed it in the theater, but it never could have lived up to my expectations. I haven’t watched it for a few years (haven’t upgraded that one to blu yet) but the last time I watched it I still enjoyed it. It’s part nostalgia, and it has that day trip shooting location in California that a number of great low budget 80s sci fi ish movies have.

    I’m certain I saw other movies that year, (I usually saw an average of 10 movies a year from 84 on, up to the high point of seeing 50 or so movies a year in my late 20s) so the other movies I saw must have been rereleases. I saw most of the classic Disney movies in the 80s, and Willy Wonka in 87 or 88.

    Update. I was looking through the imdb list, should have looked at that one first. Also saw Benji the Hunted and the Chipmunk Adventure. There was also a Care Bears movie that year but I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it. And not that I wouldn’t admit to it, because I’ll admit to seeing Spice World in the theater…

  20. filmbuddy

    1985 was an epic year:

    Back to the Future
    The Goonies
    Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
    Rocky IV (remember, I was 10… “Happy Birthday, Paulie!”)
    Fletch (honestly, can’t remember if I saw it in the theater, but I do remember seeing it a lot on HBO)

    • I wish I had a flux capacitor to travel back to 1985, to see both ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘The Goonies’ (my favourite movies) in theaters. I did catch a 35MM screening of the latter this year.

      • Chris B

        Every time I run into someone who loves the The Goonies I have to ask: Have ever seen The Monster Squad? It’s like The Goonies but without all the yelling and talking over each other…

          • William Henley

            Julian, what would you say if I said I didn’t care for The Goonies either? But I had never seen it until a couple of months ago, and as an adult looking back on this movie that was intended for kids 30 years ago, it just didn’t appeal to me. I can see how people who grew up with it might like it, but it just was not my cup of tea

          • What would I say? Eh, it’s okay to dislike ‘The Goonies’. It’s a movie for children. To me, it’s my youth. It’s nostalgia. It says Sunday mornings and Betamax screenings. It’s everything and more. We all have those movies.

  21. Since 10-year-old me wasn’t allowed to see T2 in theaters, I’d probably have to say City Slickers. I’ve tried rewatching it over the past few years and it doesn’t hold up at all for me. BUT, when I was 10 Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Billy Crystal and especially Jack Palance really knew how to tickle my funny bone.

  22. Ryan M

    In 1991, I probably saw only a handful of movies, but the one that I remember loving (besides Beauty and the Beast) was TMNT II. Go ninja, go ninja, go!!!

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