My Top Ten Christopher Lloyd Movies

Happy Birthday (soon) to Christopher Lloyd, who turns 79 on Sunday.

I like Christopher Lloyd but this wasn’t an easy top ten as he’s not been in a lot of great films that I’ve seen. I like the top six, I LOVE the top two, but I can take or leave the rest. And I barely remember most of numbers 8 through 16.

But let’s do this list anyway! To be in two of the greatest movies EVER is still impressive. And it also gives me a chance to again mention my favorite episode of Amazing Stories (at the end of the post).

Here we go! Here are My Top Ten Christopher Lloyd Movies (counting down to my favorite movie, not ranked by performance):

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

16. Dennis The Menace
15. Piranha 3D
14. Quicksilver Highway
13. The Tale Of Despereaux
12. A Million Ways To Die In The West
11. Clue

Top Ten:

10. Eight Men Out

9. The Addams Family Movies

8. Mr. Mom

7. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

6. Anastasia

5. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

4. Back To The Future Part III

3. Back To The Future Part II

2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

1. Back To The Future

Saw But Don’t Remember:
The Dream Team, Angels In The Outfield, Baby Geniuses

Some I’ve Not Seen:
The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Radioland Murders, Man On The Moon, My Favorite Martian, Piranha 3DD, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, I Am Not A Serial Killer, Going In Style

Big Honorable Mention:

Amazing Stories – Go To The Head Of The Class

Remember Amazing Stories?? Oh man, I loved that show. Some of the stories were fantastic while some were a little dodgy. My very favorite one was a fun story starring Mary Stuart Masterson & Scott Coffey as teenagers who decide to get revenge on their evil English teacher, played by Christopher Lloyd. I used to watch this every October. When I was young & had time for that kind of thing… I’ve not watched one horror movie this October. Well, here’s the synopsis from IMDb and an old commercial for the show.

“A teenage horror buff is so smitten with a sexy classmate that he helps her use black magic on their loathsome English teacher, with shocking and bewildering results.”

Mr. Mom (1983) Guest Review

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This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Josh of JJames Reviews. Thanks for this, Josh! Let’s see what he thought of Mr. Mom. 🙂

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Mr. Mom (1983)

Directed By: Stan Dragoti

Written By: John Hughes

Starring:
Michael Keaton
Teri Garr
Martin Mall
Ann Jillian
Jeffrey Tambor
Carolyn Seymour

Running Time: 92 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) loses his job. When his wife, Caroline (Teri Garr) finds work before he does, Jack stays home with their three children. Both Jack and Caroline must grapple with personal identity crises as they adapt to their new responsibilities.

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My Opinion

Humor is Mr. Mom’s greatest strength. Even after thirty-plus years, it is funny enough to maintain attention, not least because it features many quotable lines: “220, 221, whatever it takes;” “Well, you should take pride with some of that fat, porky;” “You can give me two. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing;” and more. Writer John Hughes and Director Stan Dragoti deliver laugh out loud moments with such frequency that Mr. Mom never lags, never becomes less than entertaining.

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Humor is not the film’s only strength. In Jack and Caroline, Hughes and Dragoti develop two relatively complex lead characters. Both are believable and generate concern, facts that mean we can root for them and be happy when they finally start to adapt. Their stories are not dramatic masterpiece material, of course, but they are soulful enough to give this comedy weight.

Minor characters, like Joan (Ann Jillian), Ron (Martin Mull) and Jinx (Jeffrey Tambor) have only one note, but Mr. Mom does not suffer for their lack of development. Why? Because the minor characters’ purpose is to fuel humor, not to drive drama, and they are all very funny.

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As impressively, Hughes and Dragoti mark passage of time seamlessly and quickly, without ever resorting to cheap narrative tricks or lengthy exposition. They do not overwhelm their film with plot-filling montages, instead trusting skillful editing, simple dialogue and visual cues to fill in temporal gaps. Consider how we learn Caroline has found a job, or how we see Jack’s struggle to adjust to his new lifestyle.

Mr. Mom’s performances are also very good. Michael Keaton is enchanting in this comedic role, using exaggerated gestures and facial expressions to deliver punch lines convincingly. Martin Mull is just as good as a sleazy boss with inappropriate intent toward to his female subordinate, and Teri Garr plays the comedy straight man well, providing just enough stabilization to support Keaton’s attention grabbing efforts.

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Yet, this film is not perfect. Chief amongst its flaws is that it has not aged well. Set aside the 1980s fashion, hairstyle and decorations. Consider instead the way Mr. Mom panders to sexist stereotypes. Men do not know how to shop the supermarket; women are scorned by executive work forces; housewives watch soap operas and mostly ignore their children; and so forth. In 1983, Mr. Mom’s hyperbole no doubt effectively questioned society’s perceptions of gender roles, but in 2014, it isn’t so effective. If only because the modern world sees many men take active roles in households and childcare, just as many women now work in professional settings. We can still make more progress, of course, but today’s society looks different than 1983’s, a fact that makes Mr. Mom dated. Indeed, some of the film’s stereotypes are now borderline offensive.

Additionally, Jack and Caroline’s children are under featured, explanations of their presence, activity and care ignored, leaving us to wonder exactly what is happening with or to them.

The movie’s predictability is an even bigger issue. The moment Jack starts staying home, we know what is going to happen, both in terms of plot and character growth. Nothing in this movie surprises us. To be sure, Mr. Mom is funny enough that it doesn’t crumble under the weight of such conventionality, but a less predictable path would have served it well all the same.

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Yet, through humor, fun performances and interesting characters, Mr. Mom still overcomes most of its flaws. It remains an entertaining comedy. Yes, it has limited thematic application for modern viewers, but it is fun all the same.

Conclusion

Despite some flaws, John Hughes’ screenplay vitalizes this comedy. The actors also help keep it lively.

My Rating: 7.5/10