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1984 Death Match: (Poll Closed)

  • The Terminator

  • This Is Spinal Tap

Posted 1 year.


  • Zachary Cook - 11 months ago

    What puts This is Spinal Tap over the edge for me, is the number of musicians who have said it's truth masquerading as comedy. Just like so many doctors have said that "Scrubs," not ER, is the best depiction of what hospital life feels like, so many rockers have said TIST is one of the best depictions of what it feels like to be on tour. Ozzy Osbourne famously thought the band was real, after his first viewing.

  • Scott Hicks - 11 months ago

    How can so many people vote for T1? Perhaps those with good taste have perished in bizarre gardening accidents.

  • Jeff - 11 months ago

    This is Spinal Tap is a brilliant comedy, but, despite Adam's claims, without The Terminator there would be no Judgement Day, one of the greatest sequels of all time. There's just no way that could be possible. And, while T2 is superior to the original, James Cameron's '84 classic isn't that far behind. It's a solid sci-fi serial killer film with someone going door-to-door killing people with one thing in common, their name. It's worth noting it isn't very graphic in it's violence. People get shot, usually in the torso and that's it. I kinda feel like - love scene aside (and what love scene is more narratively significant in film history than this one?) - the film could almost play as PG-13 today.

    Anyway, my favorite movies of 1984 are:
    10. A Nightmare on Elm Street
    9. The Last Starfighter
    8. Romancing the Stone
    7. The NeverEnding Story
    6. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
    5. Beverly Hills Cop
    4. The Karate Kid
    3. The Terminator
    2. Footloose
    1. Ghostbusters

    And, of course, This is Spinal Tap... all the way to 11. :)

  • Gil - 11 months ago

    This Is Spinal Tap. There's no contest here, and I say that as a fan of Terminator and T2.

    Yep, Tap is gut-bustingly funny. But it's so much more than the sum of its gags. Tap is a masterclass of impeccable comedic performance, with some of the finest and most skilful improvisation you're ever likely to see. Every person on screen is playing straight and true, with not a single wink or nudge to the audience, allowing us to feel genuine empathy and warmth for characters who, in lesser hands, could have been little more than a canvas for punchlines.

    And before you get upset that losing Terminator means losing T2 as well, go and listen to the commentary track included on the Spinal Tap DVD release. A quasi-sequel in its own right, the commentary track features Nigel, David and Derek commenting (in character) as the watch and correct Marty DiBergi's outrageously unfair hatchet job of a movie. Believe me, to lose that would be a tragedy far greater than the vanishing of any Terminator sequel.

  • Dan Hawkins - 11 months ago

    Spinal Tap, no contest.

    My top five from 1984:

    1) This is Spinal Tap
    2) Blood Simple
    3) Repo Man
    4) Stop Making Sense
    5) Under the Volcano

    Gremlins might take Under the Volcano on a different day. Ghostbusters and Terminator might crack the top 10.

  • Susannah - 11 months ago

    Beyond me why Buckaroo Banzai is not the hands down 1984 winner. But since it's not on here, I have to go Terminator.

  • Gavin - Chicago - 11 months ago

    I love both movies, but The Terminator just doesn't go to eleven. T2, on the other hand.

  • Matthew Fleming - 11 months ago

    Both classics, but....
    Terminator was genre-defining,
    Spinal Tap was genre-CREATING.
    Whether they were the first ones to the concept or not, I can't say, but the established the mockumentary form that went on to give us, not just other great films, but some great TV series as well.

  • Jack, Milwaukee - 1 year ago

    I vote Spinal Tap, so it can try to survive Terminator. I first saw it around age 13 while flipping tv channels, uncensored on PBS, during the discussion of knocking over Stonehenge. By the puppet show marquee I was thinking, "This can't be real!" The perfect viewing experience - well done, PBS

  • Zack Adams in Milwaukee, WI - 1 year ago

    The Stonehenge scene alone has my vote.

  • Totally depends on the rules. If we're playing "time machine" rules, meaning the defeated movie never existed and all its progeny are gone forever too, then we've got to keep Terminator. It's pretty hard to conceive of a media landscape without time-traveling Viennese deathbots, and where the phrase "I'll be back" isn't synonymous with California politics.

    BUT - I ran my reel-to-reel back and double-checked the transcripts from your last show... and we're definitely going with "bonfire" rules, where all copies of the loser are shredded and torched, but no one messes with history. With legacy-preservation out the window, we can just compare the movies mano a mano. James Cameron gave pop culture a big shot in the arm with his very cool deathbot flick, but let's be real: it's a sexed-up B movie. It's got great overall vision (and amazing effects), but it's a little rough. Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton aren't exactly Bogart and Bergman, here, and the dialog ain't Tenessee Williams either.

    Spinal Tap? It didn't exactly revolutionize cinema - but damn is it ever an original, well-made movie, and it's so, so funny. The leads are unreal in their command of this stuff: whip smart, lightning in a bottle improv; hilarious (and believable) quirks, affectations and mannerisms; straight faces through unexpected scenes that most actors could never get through without losing it.

    The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the cushion. The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Spinal Tap wins and takes an encore.

  • Bruce MacDonald, Toronto, Ontario - 1 year ago

    The Terminator is a better movie than This is Spinal Tap.

    In addition, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

    1984 indeed!

  • Jules Benson, Philadelphia, PA - 1 year ago

    I love The Terminator, but it's just another in a long line of drummers compared to Marty DiBergi's masterpiece.
    "It's such a fine line between stupid, and uh..."
    "Yeah, and clever."

  • Franco Asmaeil - 1 year ago

    Both are great and some of the best of their genre. So since it's a toss up I'm going to go with the one that isn't a comedy.

  • Kennedy in Vancouver - 1 year ago

    I love both these films.
    But Terminator has not aged well. It struggles from one haircut and set of shoulder pads to the next with its own 1984itude. Knowing that T2 survives the death match kind of seals it. I'd pick T2 over its fading ancestor.
    Spinal Tap on the other hand, still makes me laugh. It's age is actually a part of its identity that only enriches the movie. See also: the (25th?) Anniversary commentary which reinvents the film with Guest, McKean and Shearer all in character as Tap raging about the unfair treatment they received at the hands of Marty DiBergi. Fake music news!

  • Nicholas Calisti - 1 year ago

    Does This is Spinal Tap feature Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking cops with an assault rifle and a shotgun? No, it doesn't - The Terminator wins.

  • Lance Davis - 1 year ago

    And while I doubt you'll read my profane ramblings on the podcast, if you choose to for whatever reason, I'm from El Monte, CA.

  • Lance Davis - 1 year ago

    The humorless drones are putting Terminator over Spinal Tap?!?! Obviously, Skynet has hacked the new Filmspotting site. "I'll be back" is iconic, but it's not in the same pantheon as "You can't really dust for vomit" ... or "These go to 11" ... or "None more black" ... or "Lick My Love Pump" ... or "That's just nitpicking, isn't it?" ... or Stonehenge ... or "Shit sandwich" ... or 37,000 other quotes, moments, and sequences in TIST.

    OR WHAT?


  • Martin Cuevas Crystal Lake, IL - 1 year ago

    Oy. Just when you think madness is over this little gem pops up. Madness dammit!

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