Monday, June 26, 2017

Ask JKM a Question: My Favorite Year in Film?

A reader named Gene writes:

Hello. Long-long time reader here. I know that you stated before what your favorite decade for films are. The 70's I recall?? But can you narrow it down to your favorite year for releases?

For instance, I realized that the year 1995 was a banner year for my personal best list....'Heat', 'Se7en', 'Usual Suspects', all in 1 year! ....what is yours?”

That is a great question, Gene. I love thinking about years in cinema history that I experienced, and remember fondly.

As usual, however, I am going to be evasive, and not name just one “great” or favorite year, but three favorite years. (Yes, I find it difficult to choose)

Here goes:

My favorite year for film is….1982.


Take a look at this incredible release roster for that year:

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
John Carpenter’s The Thing
Blade Runner
Swamp Thing
The Road Warrior
Conan: The Barbarian
The Secret of NIMH
The Dark Crystal

And (lest we forget….) Megaforce!

It’s amazing to me that the impact of these films is still being felt thirty-five years later. 

Star Trek is still going strong, Blade Runner 2 is due out in just months, 2015 gave us another Mad Max sequel, Fury Road, and a Dark Crystal TV series is on the way. 

Accordingly, I would nominate 1982 as the greatest year for genre movies in the 20th century, and one that carried the most impact and influence, as well.

My second choice is 1979. This is a personal (and affectionate) choice. I was nine/ten that year, and the first wave of great post-Star Wars genre movies came to movie theaters…and thrilled me.

Here’s the roster for 1979:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
The Black Hole
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Time After Time
The Warriors
Mad Max

Last but not least, I am very fond of the year 1999. 

Perhaps I look back at 1999 so warmly because of what was happening in my life at the time. This was the year my wife and I bought and moved into our first house together, a historic home in Monroe, N.C.  I was writing full-time, two or three books a year, and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. The same year, we adopted our two kittens, Lila, who died in 2014, and Ezri, who is still going strong.

There was some amazing films released that year, including the following landmarks:

The Blair Witch Project
The Matrix
The Sixth Sense
South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
Stir of Echoes
Eyes Wide Shut
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

I would love to hear from readers on this subject. What is your favorite year in movies, and why?

Don’t forget to send me your questions at


  1. John: 1982 was a landmark year for Sci-Fi no question. However if I had a time machine, 1983 would be a cool destination:

    Return of the Jedi
    Twilight Zone: The Movie
    Dead Zone (quite a Stephen King trifecta!)
    Blue Thunder
    War Games
    Trading Places
    Psycho II
    Mr. Mom
    National Lampoon's Vacation
    And two Bond films of course - Octopussy and Never Say Never Again
    National Lampoon's Vacation
    Risky Business
    The Right Stuff
    A Christmas Story

  2. John,
    I totally agree that '82 was a banner year for movies.
    In fact, I'd list the years from 1981-87 as producing some of the most lasting and memorable films that are still being recalled (and re-made) today.
    We're pretty lucky, because I feel like we're in a similar age today. In spite of reboots and re-imaginings, there are many great films to look forward to and the effects are truly wonderful. Present day movie-going and the anticipation of seeing the latest genre offerings feels very similar now to how it did back then.

  3. Great choices. 1982 still staggers my mind and would be my choice by a mile. It seemed every week that summer a new movie would be opening that would go on to be a classic. Plus there were plenty of great non-genre films like Rocky III, An Officer and a Gentleman, Tootsie, 48 hours, The Verdict, etc.

    A few of my other favorite years:

    1984 (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Purple Rain, Dreamscape, The Last Starfighter, 2010, Supergirl, Dune)

    1987 (Robocop, Innerspace, Harry and the Hendersons, Batteries Not Included, non-genre Empire of the Sun, No Way Out, The Untouchables).

    1994 (Forrest Gump. Pulp Fiction, Speed, The Lion King, Interview With The Vampire, Ed Wood, The Shawshank Redemption)

    2002 (Minority Report, Jason X, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Spider-Man, Catch Me If You Can, The Road to Perdition, One Hour Photo, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

    2011: Mainly for two reasons, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Super 8.

    2016: I know, it's way too early but hey it's a favorite list and I really loved Rougue One, The Neon Demon, The Legend of Tarzan, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Shallows, Nerve, and Star Trek Beyond.


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