Top 10 Movies of 1988 :: #TBT

Though I know I went to the drive-in movies as a child, it is my late teenage years, and early twenties, that I have my biggest drive-in memories of. Whether it was with a group of friends, or a particular boyfriend who had a penchant for going to drive-in double features two or three times a week, especially in the Summer, I have so many vivid recollections of piling in a car to watch, or bringing along folding chairs and blankets to make it a makeshift, after dark picnic. Hey, I even left my virginity behind during a showing of 1988’s Licence to Drive at the drive-in, so how could I ever forget?

Mystic Pizza (1988)


Continuing with the #ThrowbackThursdays movies, I thought I’d celebrate my nineteenth year with movies of 1988. These are not necessarily the “best” in any cinematic kind of way, some may be cheesy and not necessarily stand the test of time, and these lists may not reflect what any film school or scholar would publish, these are just my favorites from years past. Ten isn’t enough in most cases, so there will be movies I love left off, but that’s the nature of lists.

I’d love to know what some of your favorites are from the year selected, too, so please share in the comments.

101-beetlejuice-quotesMy Top 10 Movies of 1988

10. 1969 (1988)
Written & Directed by Ernest Thompson

OK, Ralph, you know, I don’t have to help you, but let me tell you something. If you flunk out and die in Vietnam, that’s the end of our friendship, fuck you, you know.” ~ Scott

Winona Ryder is a common thread in quite a few of the movies I’ve chosen, and loved, in 1988. This one I fell hard for, which is no surprise since Robert Downey, Jr. is in it (loved you since 1983, RDJ). I remember rushing out and buying the soundtrack after I saw this one, and my Mom finding it funny that I was obsessively listening to songs from the year I was born (in some cases, this was my first time hearing them). I haven’t seen this one in years and years, the last time I’m thinking was in the early nineties – I think I need to hunt it down and have a re-watch soon.

19. Dangerous Liasons (1988)
Written by Choderlos de Laclos (novel) and Christopher Hampton (play and screenplay)
Directed by Stephen Frears

It’s beyond my control.”

I was enthralled with this film, and saw it multiple times in the theater, finding myself captivated by the intrigue, the story and the setting. Such amazing performances in this, especially from John Malkovich (who I had quite a crush on, as Valmont), Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer. Though I do love 1999’s Cruel Intentions and 1989’s Valmont, this one is forever my favorite version.


8. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Written & Directed by John Cleese & Charles Crichton

Don’t call me stupid.” ~ Otto

Why on earth not?” ~ Wendy

Oh, you English are *so* superior, aren’t you? Well, would you like to know what you’d be without us, the good ol’ U.S. of A. to protect you? I’ll tell you. The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire, that’s what! So don’t call me stupid, lady. Just thank me.” ~ Otto

Well, *thank* you for popping in and protecting us.” ~ Wendy

If it wasn’t for us, you’d all be speaking *German!* Singing “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles...” ~ Otto

The first time I saw this film I laughed so hard that my entire body ached afterwards. There is something so completely hilarious, clever and delightful about this film, credited both to the writing, and the fact that it boasts one of the funniest casts ever. My long-standing love of Kevin Kline only grew after this laughing myself sore movie.

37. Die Hard (1988)
Written by Roderick Thorp (book), Jeb Stewart & Steven E. de Souza (screenplay)
Directed by John McTiernan

“You’d have made a pretty good cowboy yourself, Hans.” ~ John McClane

“Oh, yes. What was it you said to me before? “Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker.” ~ Hans Gruber

Alright, a confession, before Die Hard I was not an action film fan, at all, about the closest I came to “action” was the Star Wars and Godfather series. But said boyfriend (of the drive-in love) talked me into seeing this one, and though I went kicking and screaming, I ended up enjoying the hell out of it. It still holds up, and yes, I still enjoy it,and somewhere in my head I can hear him saying “I told you so“.


6. Working Girl (1988)
Written by Kevin Wade
Directed by Mike Nichols

Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.” ~ Cyn

I love movies about bucking the system and the norm, and getting what you want, especially if the protagonist is a strong female. I will say, though, that I do wish we had more of Cyn and Tess’ friendship in this, as I loved every moment of the two of them. When I think of the movie the very first thing I think of is the ferry and Carly Simon singing about letting the rivers run.


 5. Heathers (1988)
Written by Daniel Waters
Directed by Michael Lehmann

“If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game-show host.” ~ Veronica Sawyer

Another favorite film on the list with Winona Ryder, which also features another 80’s-90’s crush of mine, Christian Slater. This dark comedy opened the door for me to discover so many other dark comedies, because before this I don’t think I’d ever realized how much I enjoyed them. For awhile, this was one of the most quoted movies among my group of friends.

heathers01_zps9cb90f944. Beetlejuice (1988)
Written by Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson (story), Michael McDowell & Warren Skaaren (screenplay)
Directed by Tim Burton

“You can see us without the sheets?” ~ Adam

Of course I can see you.” ~ Lydia

Well, how is it you see us and nobody else can?” ~ Adam

Well, I’ve read through that handbook for the recently deceased. It says: ‘live people ignore the strange and unusual. I, myself, am strange and unusual.” ~ Lydia

You look like a regular girl to me.” ~ Barbara

Another Winona film, one that I vividly remember seeing this movie at a theater by the beach late in the afternoon with friends, and then later that night seeing it again with my boyfriend (the drive-in boy) at the time. He called me Lydia for months after, somewhat due to my dyed blue/black hair and goth sensibilities (I didn’t mind as I love Winona – one of my all-time favorites). This is a fun ghost story/campy horror/comedy about an unconventional family.

lydia_deetz_discovers_ghosts__by_gamera68-d31vy1v3. Satisfaction (1988)
Written by Charles Purpura
Directed by Joan Freeman

“Wanna know what it’s like to be me dog? No? Well, I’m gonna tell you anyway. Being me is like… being me is like… ah geez I forget.” ~ Billy

If I believed in “guilty pleasures” this would definitely be one, but I do not subscribe to feeling guilty over things love movies and music that make me happy, and this one is a movie I love that definitely makes me happy. This is a “watch to cheer me up” movie, one that I never grow tired of, and always sing-a-long to. Most unexpected cast appearances by both Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts and Debbie Harry, though it is the band itself that I ADORE the most.

julia-roberts-first-movie-_satisfaction2. Running on Empty (1988)
Written by Naomi Foner
Directed by Sidney Lumet

“Why do you have to carry the burden of someone else’s life?” ~ Lorna

Running On Empty is one of those movies that crept into my heart on first viewing and never let go. This is one of my favorite River Phoenix films, and includes one of my favorite music in movie scenes (the Fire and Rain scene). Martha Plimpton is fantastic in this film, as well.


1. Mystic Pizza (1988)
Written by Amy Holden Jones, Perry Howze, Randy Howze & Alfred Uhry
Directed by Donald Petrie

“Jesus Christ, these shoes are killing me.” ~ Daisy

“Daisy, do you have to talk like that?” ~ Leona

I’m sorry, I meant to say ‘These fucking shoes are killing me.‘” ~ Daisy

Lili Taylor is one of the biggest reasons I love this movie as much as I do, that said, the rest of the cast is great, too. The way the stories reveal friendship and family, connections, and love and life in some of its complexities is what makes this a favorite movie of mine. It also has a sing-a-long scene, something I have such a soft spot for.


2 thoughts on “Top 10 Movies of 1988 :: #TBT

  1. The Land Before Time and…
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?…those two movies were basically my childhood
    Beaches – which I don’t think I’ve actually seen since I was young, but any movie that makes a pre-teen cry like that has to be on the list
    Gorillas In the Mist (also made this young girl cry)
    Coming To America
    Grave of the Fireflies (although I only saw it this year…)
    My Neighbor Totoro
    Hellraiser II
    Oliver & Company – I always thought I was named after that dog…I didn’t understand how names worked when I was 7 I guess??
    They Live

    1. I took my brother to see so many of the ones you listed. Oliver & Company I remember seeing a few times. Boyfriend at the time LOVED Billy Joel, and kind of introduced/reintroduced me to his music. I remember getting him a stuffed dog from that film that BJ did the voices/songs for, for his birthday, or Christmas, or something (random memory).

      I have never seen They Live which just seems wrong.

      Beaches killed me. SO many tears.

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