If you're a movie fanatic like me, every now and again you reminisce about a great movie experience; those movies that defined the era they were in, set trends or were the talk of the town for a period of time.
Sadly, I find that in recent years the quality of movies has declined, and now I seldom remember a movie the day after I watched it. Anyhoo, here are some of my favourite movies that defined the era they were in and have a cult following to this day.
The Harder They Come
I was only one year old when this movie came out in 1973, but it became a favourite of mine when I watched it about 15 years later. Jimmy Cliff turned in a powerful portrayal of reggae singer turned criminal Ivanhoe Martin and the film's soundtrack -especially the hit Many Rivers to Cross - is legendary. It set the foundation for other popular Caribbean movies such as Dancehall Queen to follow, and if it were released today I'm sure it would be an Oscar contender.
I still believe that Star Wars is the greatest adventure ever told. Thirty-two years after the release of the first movie in the franchise, the force is stronger than ever. George Lucas' tale of lightsaber-wielding heroes, captured princesses and alien species laid the groundwork for many of the science fiction films we see today.
Althought Roots was really a television miniseries and not a movie in the true sense, I thought I would still include it. Looking back, for the story of multiple generations of African Americans, starting with their ancestor the slave Kunta Kinte, to be told on tv in the US in 1971 was quite an achievement.
Harrison Ford followed up his acting debut in Star Wars with that of adventurous archaelogoy professor Indiana Jones. The first movie in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, was released in 1981 and started off a decade of pretty cool adventure movies. To show the popularity of the series, an Indiana Jones movie was released last year, even though Harrison Ford must be 100 years old by now. Just kidding.
Before he was the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the star of a little movie called Terminator, which blew into theatres in the summer of 1984. Since then, the phrase "I'll be back" has become part of movie history.
I remember going to the Globe Cinema with my sister and cousin to watch Terminator and let me tell you, a serious crowd was waiting to get in to watch the film. The three of us couldn't even sit together, it was that crowded. I had to watch the movie again on video because the audience was screaming from start to finish and I couldn't hear a word of the dialogue. Ah, movie memories.
The 80s were great for science fiction, and Aliens was right up there at the top of the list. It isn't every day that a sci-fi adventure gets nominated for Oscars; Aliens was that good.
The adrenaline-rush of a movie Top Gun must have been single-handedly responsible for a boost in recruitment for the US Navy. Every kid back in 1986 wanted to fly an F-111, and I suspect the sales of aviator sunglasses went through the roof too. Oh, yeah, and Tom Cruise was in the movie, too.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I've watched Dirty Dancing at least 15 times. I knew the lyrics of every song on its soundtrack and I knew some of the dialogue too. (I obviously had a lot of time on my hands back in 1987.) Anyhoo, Dirty Dancing was more than just a mere dance movie; it was about class consciousness and coming of age. And the fact that Patrick Swayze looked hot didn't hurt either....
Waiting to Exhale
One of the most popular female ensemble movies of all time, Waiting to Exhale (1995) had it all: a killer soundtrack, Whitney Houston and a pyromaniac Angela Bassett. Men hated this movie as much as women loved it, and lived in fear of their wives or girlfriends making a bonfire out of their prized possessions just like Bassett's character Bernie did.
It was good to see black women in a movie who weren't drug addicts or prostitutes and I'm sure Waiting to Exhale can be seen as the predecessor to other urban movies about upwardly mobile African American women.
When it burst on to the scene in 1999, The Matrix was more than a movie, it was an experience. Revolutionary special effects, killer style and swagger to the bone, the movie was an assault on the senses. That I had to watch it again to understand what the heck was going on wasn't an issue. I'm glad I took the red pill.