My 2016 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

Happy “Almost End Of 2016”, everyone! Let’s kick this year in the balls & move on. But first, I’m doing my End-Of-Year Lists for the rest of this week. List-making is the BEST & it’s totally sad how much I look forward to making these at the end of each year.

I’ll start today by ranking My Twelve 2016 Blind Spot Movies. As always, I’ll count down to my personal favorite. I have to say that I chose wisely last January, though – I enjoyed every single one of these so there are no “losers” on this list. I of course wanted to love them all but I can say that all of these are definitely worth your time if you’re interested in them.

Here we go! Counting down to my favorite, with the links to my full reviews included:

12. Eyes Without A Face

11. An Education

10. True Romance

9. Summer Wars

8. Phenomena

7. Magic

6. THX 1138

5. Running On Empty

4. Play Misty For Me

3. Battle Royale

2. Natural Born Killers

1. Akira

**I switched my Top Three around SO many times! I’m still not sure of the order of those but the Top Three are easily my favorites on this list & ahead of the others by a long way. See you tomorrow for My Top Ten Books Read In 2016. 🙂

Running On Empty (1988) Blind Spot Review

Running On Empty (1988)

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Starring: Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch, River Phoenix, Martha Plimpton, Steven Hill

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The eldest son of a fugitive family comes of age and wants to live a life of his own.

My Opinion:

Here’s a quick list of links to my 2016 Blind Spot Reviews so far, including where I’d rank Running On Empty:

11. Eyes Without A Face – 7/10
10. An Education – 7/10
9. Phenomena – 7/10
8. Magic – 7/10
7. Summer Wars – 7/10
6. True Romance – 7/10
5. THX 1138 – 7.5/10
4. Running On Empty – 7.5/10
3. Play Misty For Me – 7.5/10
2. Battle Royale – 8/10
1. Natural Born Killers – 8/10

This was a slight cheat for my Blind Spot list as I think I saw at least part of this film at the time but didn’t remember it. I’m not sure why I never fully explored it as I absolutely loved River Phoenix and I was completely & utterly obsessed with Stand By Me. That remains my most-watched movie to this day due to the multiple times I watched it at the age of 13/14. And, no, I’m still not over River’s death! You know how some of you younger bloggers feel about Heath Ledger?? River was the Heath of my generation. So damn talented… What a sad loss for the acting world – River was already fantastic at such a young age.

So, I’ll start with River’s performance in Running On Empty. He’s the true star of the film & his role won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor (although I’d call it a lead role). I still often wonder what he’d be like today, at the age of 46, and how many Oscars he’d have (he’d most certainly have some). He’d be another Leonardo DiCaprio. Yep – there are some damn fine actors from my generation! Anyway, he was great playing a boy of (17?) in this film and he had just the right mix of maturity yet boyish playfulness. I sometimes get annoyed when teenagers are too mature in films – it’s not believable.

So, yeah – River is the best thing about this movie but there are strong performances from everyone involved. Christine Lahti is probably the most moving as a mother who knows she may need to let her son go in order to give him a chance to live a normal life. Judd Hirsch plays the father who insists that the family will always stay together, on the run, no matter what. And Martha Plimpton plays a girl who, along with the opportunity to go to a prestigious college, makes River’s character long to lead a normal life instead of always having to move from place to place & assume new identities every time his fugitive parents are in danger of being discovered. They’re a very close-knit family and you can’t help but want them to be able to somehow live happily ever after despite the mistakes the parents made in the past (they’re ex-hippies who bombed a napalm laboratory, seriously injuring a janitor who wasn’t meant to be there).

I think this is a sadly overlooked Sidney Lumet film as he’s done so many absolute classics (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, etc). It’s a shame as Running On Empty is a very good film with moving performances (especially from River – it’s amazing that I somehow missed out on this one as a fan of his). It has, admittedly, maybe not dated all that well in the same way a lot of 80’s films haven’t so it won’t necessarily be one that a younger generation will go for. If you grew up on 80’s films, however, this is a must-see that I think plenty of people didn’t see. I’m not sure why it didn’t get more attention but I’m glad that River Phoenix at least got an Oscar nomination. And I’m glad I finally took the time to watch it! And to once again have him break my heart… River did 80’s coming-of-age dramas perfectly.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**Yes, this Jackson Browne song was in my head the whole time. No, it’s not in the movie. Hmm – I should add this movie to my list of My Top Ten Movies With Song Title Titles! FYI – Stand By Me was number one on that list…

My Top Ten Movies With Song Title Titles


With these top ten lists that I do, the ideas often come to me while discussing movies/music/life in general with my hubby. With this one, it was the death of a singer on this list that got me thinking about movies that share their titles with song titles. And, boy, are there ever a lot of them!!!

I immediately thought of several but this time got a big helping hand online – I’d have forgotten about some obvious ones if I hadn’t gone searching. This seems to be a fairly popular topic! As always, though, this is my own personal top ten of my favorites as I often have different taste from a lot of people.

With this list, there are SO MANY movies named after songs (or vice versa) that I’ve had to make rules. So… don’t go telling me I’ve forgotten one of it doesn’t fit my criteria! 😉

  1. THE SONG HAD TO BE FIRST: The movie has to have come AFTER the existence of the song
  2. Songs written specifically for a movie don’t count (loads of songs are written for films & given the same name as the film’s title)
  3. Music movies don’t count (so, no musicals or Beatles films like Yellow Submarine or movies based on music people like What’s Love Got To Do With It – obviously these movies would have song title titles)
  4. The movie does NOT have to deliberately be named after the song (but it’s better when they are) and it doesn’t actually have to have the song in it (but it’s better when they do). Sometimes it’s a coincidence that a movie has a song title, sometimes it’s on purpose but the song isn’t used in the film (clearance rights, probably), and sometimes it’s named after a song and the song is used (like my number one – I prefer these).
  5. I have to have seen the movie. 

    Ha! Sorry… This one really needed rules for me to narrow it down to ten!

    So now, here are My Top Ten Movies With Song Title Titles (ranked according to how much I like the movie, not the song – but I’ll give my opinion on the song too):

    10. TIE: American Pie & Drive


    Song by: Don McLean & The Cars
    Is it named after the song? Pie, probably. Drive, definitely not.
    Is the song in the film? No
    Do I like the song? I like both but prefer Drive – I went through about a two-month phase of being a big Cars fan at the age of 17.

    9. Pretty In Pink


    Song by: The Psychedelic Furs
    Is it named after the song? Yes. As are many John Hughes movies…
    Is the song in the film? Yes, a re-recorded version
    Do I like the song? Yes

    8. Whip It


    Song by: Devo
    Is it named after the song? No
    Is the song in the film? No
    Do I like the song? Yes – I love Devo

    7. Some Kind Of Wonderful


    Song by: The Drifters & Soul Brothers Six
    Is it named after the song? Assume so but don’t know which one! 
    Is the song in the film? No
    Do I like the song? Totally different songs. I like the Soul Brothers Six one, which is the one I assume John Hughes liked??

    6. My Girl


    Song by: The Temptations
    Is it named after the song? Assume so
    Is the song in the film? Yes
    Do I like the song? Yes – it’s a great song!

    5. Can’t Buy Me Love


    Song by: The Beatles
    Is it named after the song? Must be
    Is the song in the film? Yes
    Do I like the song? It’s okay – I love The Beatles but it’s not one of my favorites

    4. Sixteen Candles


    Song by: The Crests 
    Is it named after the song? Yes
    Is the song in the film? A cover by The Stray Cats is
    Do I like the song? Not especially

    3. Dazed And Confused


    Song by: Led Zeppelin
    Is it named after the song? Not sure – Don’t think so
    Is the song in the film? No (the soundtrack is awesome, though)
    Do I like the song? It’s okay – they have other songs I prefer

    2. Pump Up The Volume


    Song by: M|A|R|R|S
    Is it named after the song? Unlikely
    Is the song in the film? No
    Do I like the song? Definitely 

    1. Stand By Me (as if my number one was going to be anything else!)


    Song by: Ben E. King (R.I.P.)
    Is it named after the song? Yes
    Is the song in the film? Yes
    Do I like the song? Love it. Like the film, it’s an all time classic.

    Honorable Mentions: (I just like the song with some of these)

    • Boogie Nights (Really like both the movie & Heatwave song)
    • Boys Don’t Cry (Good movie, LOVE The Cure song)
    • Just Like Heaven (Meh movie but, again, adore The Cure song. Witherspoon also ripped off Lynyrd Skynyrd for Sweet Home Alabama…)
    • Blue Velvet (Like the movie okay, loads of people have done the song. The most famous version by Bobby Vinton is good but totally not my type of thing)
    • Pretty Woman (Like the movie a bit more than I’d care to admit & the Roy Orbison song isn’t a favorite but is catchy as hell)
    • Take Me Home Tonight (Movie okay but I really like the Eddie Money song. As with Pretty Woman, I probably like Eddie Money more than I’d care to admit. Billy Squier too. Guilty pleasures! God I’m old & uncool…)
    • Babe (I don’t care about that stupid pig, but: Woohoo! Styx!)
    • Starman (sorry Carpenter fans but I keep falling asleep trying to finish this. I just use any excuse I can to get David Bowie into my posts. Great song!)
    • Lean On Me (Good movie & excellent Bill Withers song)
    • Running On Empty (I really need to re-watch this River Phoenix movie that shares its name with a really good Jackson Browne song)
    • Cars (the weakest Pixar films but I totally admit to liking the Gary Numan song)

    Look at Eddie Money’s beautifully feathered hair. Get that wind machine going!

    Put the needle on the record!