The year is over, most of 1985's movies have been forgotten as quickly as the losers of yesterday's bowl games, and the Top 10 lists are in -- lists that were, by and large, full of more obscure and foreign films than ever before. But one more Top 10 list ought to be aired: the biggest moneymakers of the year.
Five of them are sequels, five marginally more original, and few of them pleased the critics. Ironically, the movie that made the most money during 1985 was a 1984 movie: "Beverly Hills Cop." Given Hollywood's feelings about last year, it figures.
After that come the summer blockbuster, "Back to the Future"; the two Sylvester Stallone vehicles, "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rocky IV"; and Ron Howard's "Cocoon." In sixth place was "The Goonies," followed by a relative critics' favorite, "Witness." Rounding out the list are three sequels: "Police Academy 2," "National Lampoon's European Vacation" and "A View to a Kill."
And that list ought to convince anybody to bid farewell to 1985.
Of course, things will be different in 1986, right? Marginally different, anyway: This month will see the release of the first R-rated movie ever to come from the Walt Disney organization. Due under Disney's Touchstone Films banner is Paul Mazursky's "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," which stars Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler and Nick Nolte, the latter as a bum in a ritzy neighborhood. The film was based on "Boudu Sauve' des Eaux" ("Boudu Saved From Drowning") by Jean Renoir, not a filmmaker Disney has watched too closely in the past.
But don't look for huge changes in Hollywood's modus operandi: Things move too slowly for one bad year to have much effect on studio inertia. Sure, last January's "The Slugger's Wife" was one of the year's fastest and worst flops -- but sports comedies will be big for the next few months. There's "The Best of Times," in which Robin Williams and Kurt Russell get a chance to replay their pivotal high school football game; "Wildcats," in which "The Bad News Bears" director Michael Ritchie returns to what sounds like familiar turf as Goldie Hawn becomes a high school football coach; and "Touch and Go," a hockey comedy with Michael Keaton. (A more serious hockey movie is "Youngblood" with Rob Lowe -- it's the film in which Lowe drew some on-set criticism for honing up on his "St. Elmo's Fire" saxophone licks between scenes, when he was supposed to be concentrating on body checks and slap shots.)
Then there's a batch of movies that were supposed to have been released last year, but which ran into problems and delays. First up -- and one of the longest delayed -- is "9 1/2 Weeks," the controversial Mickey Rourke/ Kim Basinger tale of a steamy, sadomasochistic love affair. It'll be followed by Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in the troubled, Steven Spielberg-produced "The Money Pit" -- and, in early May by two extremely long-in-the-making productions: "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling" (Richard Pryor's semiautobiographical directorial debut) and Blake Edwards' "A Fine Mess" (a film version of the Laurel and Hardy short "The Music Box," which stars Ted Danson but was also the biggest movie credit of Julianne Phillips Springsteen at the time of her marriage; before it's out, though, she'll also be seen in "Odd Jobs").
And don't worry, lots of sequels are on the way. March will be an especially good month for Roman numerals: In addition to "Police Academy III" and the Tony Perkins-directed "Psycho III," there also will be "Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation."
Oh, one last note about 1985: It was a year in which a couple of incidents made it clear just what it takes to make a movie in Hollywood these days, and what it takes to make the movie makers take notice. Earlier in the year, the town eagerly read and gossiped about Steven Bach's book "Final Cut," which former United Artists executive Bach wrote about the making of "Heaven's Gate," the expensive flop that essentially destroyed a film studio. In December, 20th Century-Fox released "Enemy Mine," and nobody paid much attention when it was a quick flop -- even though "Enemy Mine" cost about $40 million, or $5 million more than "Heaven's Gate."