The last hurrah for Fox before the onset of Parkinson’s disease forced an early semi-retirement from screen acting is a perfect way to bookend a short but entertaining career.
The Frighteners sees Fox play Frank Bannister, a paranormal investigator and con artist who uses his spectral buddies to haunt homes in order for the disturbed inhabitants to call on him to ghost-bust those poltergeists out of there. The film shows off the skill of Peter Jackson – his eye for imaginative special-effects and fast-moving plots held together by classical Hollywood narrative.
About the AuthorEditor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. Glad to see Casualties of War high up on your list and obviously Fox will forever be associated with Back to the Future.
Take out the parts of Casualties of War that takes place in the modern times and it is one of the best war films ever made. He becomes the corporate mailboy who rises meteorically to the top of his company (by impersonating an executive) in order to win the love of an icy woman executive.
Its financial success was down to shrewd marketing on Universal’s part and the popular appeal of Michael J.
He knows instinctively how to manage a disparate group of characters and Greedy is no exception.
Doc Hollywood and Cars share a similar plot line of the big city hotshot forced to spend time in a small town community where he learns something about himself and finds someone to love. It is also the film that set Peter Jackson on his merry Hollywood way after finally breaking into the mainstream. He meets his match when an ungodly spirit with evil intent starts making things go bump in the night for local residents. His script, co-written with wife Fran Walsh, is knowledgeable of horror films from the past, and is certainly in debt to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films and John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London in terms of mixing horror with comedy.
An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana. Back To The Future is a great film series, and one of the truly great Hollywood trilogies (regardless of the critical panning of number 2!), and is Zemekis’ best work on film. However I would like to have seen Bright Lights, Big City on here is acting is amazing in this. As another commenter mentioned How could I forget to mention this movie in my previous comment.
He spends his days running frantically between his real job in the mailroom and his fantasy position, with various sexual shenanigans with the boss's wife thrown in to keep the viewer alert.
The film was shot and finished before Back To The Future but only released after the success of the time-travelling adventure story.


Fox, as well as the film’s release coinciding with the crest of Back To The Future’s box office wave. His likeable good looks and cheeky humour was a crowd-pleaser and, perhaps more importantly, a winner with the ladies.
Lester’s passionately anarchistic Class of 1984, a film released in 1982 that wanted to draw attention to the growing problem of anti-social and criminal behaviour in American schools. He proved how to handle comedy and the ensemble cast in the brilliant Clue, and here he does it again with the family of Joe McTeague. The film is a by-the-numbers romantic comedy made worthy of viewing thanks to a wonderfully eccentric group of colourful characters. It’s a fun film with a typically 80s mentality of self-worth, career paths, financial success, and big business. Although comedy has always been his strongest suit, he tried his hand at more dramatic work with films such as Light of Day and Bright Lights, Big City.
His earlier schlock horror-comedies were loved by the few people that had seen them but at the time had failed to ignite audiences away from his New Zealand homeland.
Now the only man in town who can see spirits but has no real clue how to get rid of them must do-it-himself in order to get the girl and discover what really happened in the car crash years earlier that killed his wife. Part of the charm of the film is the fact it is frequently funny, and its inventive play on the paranormal is a forerunner to popular television shows such as Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters. It is a fair argument to say that without this time-travelling adventure a top ten Michael J. Frighteners is a great film, but I’d have had it well down the list (if it was included at all). Fox is excellent here and it’s such a good story his chemistry with Joan Jett is well received.
Fox is charismatic while working with a cliche-ridden script that ties up everything very neatly at the end. Originally, Eric Stoltz was cast in the role of Marty Mcfly in Back To The Future but director Robert Zemeckis never felt he was right for the part. However, it’s a fun take on the werewolf story with a little John Hughes-inspired teen angst and the trappings of a sports movie brought in to restore order to the film’s loose plot line. For Love or Money sees Fox play a happy-go-lucky concierge at a top New York hotel with the dream of one day owning his own establishment.
It was one of Fox’s earliest film roles, appearing here as the fresh-faced, good-natured student of a tough, inner-city school. Not only is McTeague played by Kirk Douglas, but we also have Ed Begley Jr., Bob Balaban, Phil Hartman, Olivia d’Abo, and Colleen Camp lining up as relatives eager for his money, not forgetting star Micheal J.


It never becomes preachy though and remains funny throughout thanks to an energetic performance from a youthful-looking Fox, the experienced direction of genre veteran Herbert Ross, and an assured, crowd-pleasing script from Jim Cash. Most successfully however was his work with Brian De Palma on the Vietnam war film Casualties of War. I think The Hard Way was ordinary, to be honest, but I may have been in a crappy mood the day I watched it, and don’t have fond memories of it.
When Fox became available after completing work on Teen Wolf, Zemeckis, having relieved Stoltz of his acting duties, hired Fox for the film and the rest is history.
In many ways it is a loose update on The Secret of My Success with a more 1990s-inspired slant towards self progression. The film ended up being one of Michael J Fox’s most financially successful films after the Back To The Future movies, becoming the 7th highest grossing film of 1987. One of Fox’s most reserved yet powerful performances is delivered in a hard-hitting character study of soldiers during the conflict. This is the funniest film Fox has been in thanks in no small part to James Woods’ caustic, chaotic pissed-off-guy-with-a-badge performance. Either the small-in-stature-big-in-personality actor would have never made the jump to big-budget feature films from his regular-paying TV job, or simply his later work would be that unfortunate breed: likeable but quickly forgotten.
Pleased to see The Hard Way is high up there (a hugely underrated film), as well as The Secret of my Succe$s. The studio, Universal, seeing the success of Back To The Future’s opening weekend, released Teen Wolf to coincide with Fox’s new found stardom.
Because it is such a good film, and worthy of a mass audience, it deserves its place on this list.
The film also boasts a brilliant performance from Sean Penn who would later work for De Palma again in Carlito’s Way. Woods has rarely been better in a comedy and this is arguably one of his finest performances. Like the actor himself (a good-natured, easy-going, pleasant on the eye, funny and charming persona), the film will win the hearts of those willing to let a little sentimentality and a whole lot of whimsical romance be the order of the day.
Greedy might be a lightweight comedy without the sweet-natured narrative of Lynn’s Three Men and a Baby or the devilishly inventive concept of Clue, but it’s frequently amusing and features one of the funniest, and most underrated, opening sequences of any comedy in the 1990s. That Fox doesn’t get upstaged is testament to his own turn as a reflexively-conceived Hollywood superstar desperate to go the way of John Sullivan and bring meaning and societal worth to his next film.



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