All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays.
While I tend to think of the '80s as a crassly commercial lull between the artistic adventurousness of the '70s and the independent experimentation of the '90s, there were things about the '80s that i hold dear in terms of what I love about movies. And if you're talking about the best of the '80s, the year that crystallized all the things the decade did well was 1988, a year that looks upon closer inspection like an embarrassment of riches.
One of my twenty favorite films of all time, as outlined in this article, was released in 1988, which automatically makes it a year worth closer consideration. The '80s may have begun with one of his strongest films, but the decade as a whole was a difficult one for Martin Scorsese, one of the most vital American filmmakers working at the time. His struggles to find a place in the '80s studio game make sense because he didn't make easy films to digest, and the '80s were all about easy to digest. It was the era of the highest of high concepts, and that just wasn't Scorsese. He made the year's most controversial film, and "The Last Temptation Of Christ" remains one of his finest hours, a powerful and adult movie that explores the inner life of someone who is said to be equal parts divine and human. It's a timeless film in look and style, and as soon as it was released, the controversy died down and the film was, sadly, not a hit.