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Eighties edumacation

Okay, so when I was growing up my family didn't have much money, plus my parents are pretty conservative. This meant I didn't see very many movies as a kid -- really not until I was a teenager.

Thus, I have missed out on a bunch of classic '80s flicks. In the past several months, testitest has been educating me on what I've been missing. We've watched Wall Street, Amadeus, Dirty Dancing (actually that's one I've seen many times, and Dave hadn't seen), and on Friday night we watched The Goonies. (Dave was, like, "REALLY? You've never seen The Goonies? WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT AT SUMMER CAMP?!")

So, anyone wanna recommend me some '80s flicks that a sheltered young lady like myself should see? I'm thinking the following as a start:

Pretty in Pink

(Amazingly, I actually have seen The Breakfast Club, so no need to put that one on the list.)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
My picks for the best comedies of the '80s: "Airplane" and "Ruthless People".
Aug. 11th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Excuse me stewardess, I speak jive! Managed to see that one in college, but it's been a while. I think I might have to watch it again.
Aug. 11th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
Desperately Seeking Susan for an understanding of early Madonna.
Aug. 11th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you never saw The Goonies! Of the movies you listed, I've only seen Amadeus and Goonies.

My favorite movie from that time is Explorers. It can be a bit hard to find.

I'm sure you've seen Ghostbusters. If not, Ghostbusters. Funniest movie ever made.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
I most recently saw Ghostbusters a couple of years ago when the Brooklyn Academy of Music was showing it. Pretty damn awesome.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
In terms of teen comedies, Some Kind of Wonderful is actually the smartest film John Hughes ever did. Not many saw it, but it's definitely worth a look. Then, after watching all that Hughes, cleanse your palate with Say Anything (1989), which is the only teen movie of that decade that's truly safe for adults.

Another definite highlight--slight, but spot-on--is The Sure Thing, which is Rob Reiner's version of It Happened One Night. It won't surprise you with its plot twists, but it's a crowd-pleaser and the cast has loads of fun.

Some people will recommend Weird Science or Better Off Dead. I don't. And one of those Hughes films--either Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles--is widely loved, but deeply racist, and I don't like comedies where I feel like I need to shower afterward. Don't watch it with Asian people nearby.

I don't know if you like horror movies, but there are at least two certifiably brilliant horror films from this decade: Fright Night (a loving send-up of the genre, and the special effects hold up), and Near Dark, a western, deserty vampire film where the word "vampire" is never uttered. I'd put both of them right up there with Tremors for sheer fun--and if you haven't seen that, it's probably the best Halloween party movie ever made. (Back to the eighties, some people are also big fans of The Lost Boys, but it never made much of an impression on me. But I'm a straight male, and may be immune to Coreys.)

Finally, I'm not sure why you're doing this--to get cultural references? To get a sense of the decade? to actually be entertained?--but if you want a feeling of the zeitgeist, you could probably do worse than see Wargames or (ahem) Red Dawn, which imagines Russians invading America and is as silly and chest-thumping as it sounds.

But if you just want eye candy, many female friends of mine are fans of Young Guns, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Silverado. For some reason there was a brief flirtation with westerns for a year or so there.

I haven't seen Earth Girls are Easy since it came out, but I remember feeling like I was being punished for having a brain. UHF, much as I love Weird Al, is only worth a rental if you're getting something else done (like ironing, maybe) and try not to look directly at the screen.

Final note: I assume you've seen all the girly romantic comedies of this period, since my own 18-year-old students were still watching them back when I taught: Moonstruck, Working Girl, and Pretty Woman for some reason. But I recently re-watched Crossing Delancey and I still liked it to pieces. So don't ignore it if you get the opportunity.

Closing thought: I have heard there are guys who do nothing but quote Fletch. But is it worth the price of watching Chevy Chase smirk for ninety minutes? That's a decision between you and your conscience.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
Trading Places
Naked Gun

are all classic comedies from the 80s.

Can't Buy Me Love.
Broadcast News is a great movie.

I'll think of some more as soon as I post this.
Aug. 12th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
I saw Goonies for the first time last year.

I loved Sixteen Candles, but that was before I was sensitized to the badness of "drunk girl being given away by her boyfriend to another boy, while she was passed out" and "ha ha, Asians talk funny."

Scanning the top-grossing movies from the '80s at boxofficemojo.com, these were some favorites (in addition to those mentioned above):

Blues Brothers, E.T., World According to Garp, War Games, Risky Business (suburban boys pimping disadvantaged women is good hijinks!), The Big Chill, Silkwood, Never Cry Wolf, Gremlins, Purple Rain, Romancing the Stone (though how Kathleen Turner's writer character didn't know that leche = milk in Spanish, I'll never know), The Terminator, Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Cocoon, Witness, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, St. Elmo's Fire for horrendous '80s fashion, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Stand By Me, About Last Night... (based on a Mamet play, but with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe and Jim Belushi!), the Lethal Weapon movies (before we knew just how awful Mel Gibson is), The Lost Boys (vampires! and at least one of the Coreys!), Big, Working Girl, A Fish Called Wanda, Bull Durham, Midnight Run (De Niro and Grodin bounce off each other well), Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally, Uncle Buck, Born on the Fourth of July, Field of Dreams, Sea of Love (Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino steamin' it up), and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

I don't know if Breakin' and Breakin' 2 are out on DVD, but you can't get much cheesier (with breakdancing!) than those...and I was in high school when those came out. Most of the other movies I listed had pretty good reviews. The Big Chill, Uncle Buck, and When Harry Met Sally are the ones I can recite too many lines from.
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
I was gonna post something here...but everyone's got it covered.

Hmmm....how about:

Bad Boys
Red Dawn
BMX Bandits
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Seconding Bourbon Cowboy, Some Kind of Wonderful is the mandatory companion to Pretty in Pink. It's basically the story of PiP redone to Hughes's original conception before the test audiences intervened. The Sure Thing is also great. Don't remember if it was mentioned but Real Genius is great screwball.

In a more serious vein, there's Brazil, which is brilliant, and still timely. In the very serious vein, I'd throw in Sophie's Choice. I know people generally say that Streep was over the top, but her performance still haunts and moves me.


Aug. 14th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Related Trivia
Without looking it up, does anyone know the answer to this "Sophie's Choice" trivia question:

What was Sophie's last name in both the novel and movie?
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
I already see Caddyshack -- one of the top ten best movies ever made imho -- and a few others I liked lots. I'll add Hannah and Her Sisters and ET.
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Midnight Madness--really a crappy movie, but goofy enough to be funny if you're watching with the right people. That and it's the one all-night puzzle-solving movie from the 1980s that was played endlessly on HBO, and I'm surprised how many puzzle fans remember it.
Aug. 17th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
80's movies
STAND BY ME. a must. future mother in law
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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