Another 80’s Movie

There’s been some­thing on my mind lately and it now feels like a good time to finally reveal that to you, with­out feel­ing com­pletely embarassed. There’s noth­ing quite like a nag­ging thought, jump­ing up and down in your mind like that ener­getic class­mate who real­ized the answer just before you did, remem­ber that kid? Fran­ti­cally wav­ing his hand, while try­ing to main­tain a sense of men­tal sta­bil­ity, yeah, that’s how I feel right now so let me just spill it.

We need another 80’s movie.

I know, you’re prob­a­bly think­ing to your­self right now that I’ve com­pletely lost it. After sev­eral weeks of silence, my mind has come to a screech­ing halt and I’ve crashed landed in Crazy-go-nutsville, Pop­u­la­tion: Me.

It’s pos­si­ble that I might’ve agreed with you prior to my writ­ing this, but at the moment I’ve con­vinced myself that this might save Hol­ly­wood from the mediocre scripts that are some­how green­lighted before some­one real­izes that Wil Fer­rel and Ash­ton Kutcher have not only jumped the shark but they are now flee­ing said shark in a fran­tic craze.

Let me break this down into a few thoughts wherein I hope to redeem my reveal­ing this absolutely insane suggestion.

Fea­tures of a Typ­i­cal 80’s Movie

Think back to films like ‘Six­teen Can­dles’, ‘The Goonies’, ‘Back to the Future’, ‘E.T.’, ‘Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off’ and flops like ‘Wil­low’, ‘Howard the Duck’ and those Ewok movies. What did these all have in com­mon, despite awful hair styles, awk­ward act­ing and pseudo-electronic music?

All of the films men­tioned above ulti­mately have that “feel good”, slow-clapping emo­tion that’s hard to repli­cate in mod­ern films of the early-to-mid 90’s and now the 2000’s. I’m sure you’ve seen some extra­or­di­nary films in your life­time which com­pletely changed your per­spec­tive and out­look about the enter­tain­ment indus­try, but why is it that even today we can’t help but quote 80’s films in every­day conversation?

Lost Sin­cer­ity

Do we need to thank the writ­ers of 80’s movies for breath­ing life, albeit sappy life, into the films which we remem­ber? Or, is there some­thing else at work here?

I’ve often thought about the impact 80’s films have had on my life and why I’m con­stantly reflect­ing to an era that many peo­ple are glad is over, but there was a sin­cer­ity that’s miss­ing in recent films and we need that back in order to close the book on a chap­ter of film that never felt resolved.

End of an Era

To me it just kind of abruptly ended with movies like ‘Bat­ter­ies Not Included’, ‘Who Framed Roger Rab­bit’ and ‘UHF’ and to this day I half-expected some­one like Billy Barty or Weird Al to hit a enor­mous golden gong dur­ing a live telethon to mark the end of 80’s enter­tain­ment (Farewell to the 80’s: Celebs on Call) and announce to the world that the cur­tain would be lifted and the spot­light would be shone on films of the new era; the 1990’s.

There was never such an occas­sion. Never a slow clap that would grad­u­ally increase into a full applause with a freeze-framed end­ing cou­pled with the awk­ward laugh that would tran­si­tion to a quick thumbs up from the jock or beauty queen who learned to accept those who were different.

Never once did I hear the likes of Depeche Mode, ZZTop, Ste­vie Ray Vaughan or Oingo Boingo fad­ing slowly away in the back­ground as the lights dimmed and the cur­tains fell mark­ing the end of an era.

Instead, we were lin­ing up for Dances with Wolves and yet another Pauly Shore movie, look­ing for­ward with the movie-going blind­sights on and for­get­ting why 80’s movies were so endear­ing, sen­si­tive, funny, sappy and sin­cere in that “feel good”, slow-clapping kind of way.

We need another 80’s movie. 

  • Greg

    80’s movies are pretty spe­cial to me too. They cer­tainly reflected a dif­fer­ent time and atti­tude. Pre-irony. I spent most of my child­hood in the 80’s, so the loss of inno­cence in film (if you will) kind of par­al­leled the trip through ado­les­cence into the 90’s. I think recent movies have traded a vary­ing degree of sin­cer­ity for a dose of real­ism. Okay, faux real­ism in some cases, but most peo­ple prob­a­bly don’t know the dif­fer­ence. Or care.

    Teens mostly drive the box office. Would today’s jaded kids accept and appre­ci­ate a revival of 80’s style “feel good” movies, or would they laugh AT them, instead of WITH them? Surely there are enough nos­tal­gic twenty/thirty some­things around to make it worth it. Right?

    I liked Willow!

  • amber

    I think you’ve hit it on the head… Lost Sin­cer­ity. John Hughes used to be a genius at let­ting his char­ac­ters grow up with­out los­ing their ide­al­ism. I don’t think I’ve seen that in films in a very long time.

  • Max

    I don’t know if I agree with you 100 per­cent here. For every Fer­ris Bueller, there was a load of Plain Clothes or My Demon Lover wait­ing in the wings, lurk­ing on HBO every after­noon for months on end.

    These fol­lowed the ‘80s for­mula well, and I would hes­i­tate to demand more of their ilk.

    And I sec­ond the Willow-love fest. He was a great swords­man… dammit… sniffle.

  • Scott

    I’m look­ing for­ward to Scott Kurtz’ new comic Truth, Justin and the Amer­i­can Way. It looks to cap­ture some of the 80’s feel and, hope­fully, its sin­cere opti­mism. But we shall see.

  • kar­tooner

    Greg: I’m glad I’m not alone in regards to my slight infat­u­a­tion with 80’s movies of yes­ter­year. Yes, Wil­low was cool indeed.

    Actu­ally, some­thing com­pletely related to ‘Wil­low’ him­self, or the actor that is, but, about 3 or 4 years ago I was for­tu­nate enough to meet War­wick Davis and well, he’s shorter in per­son but really enjoyed speak­ing with peo­ple about the films he starred in. Who can for­get the weird lit­tle Wicket char­ac­ter from Star Wars? Okay, don’t answer that.

    Amber: Funny, the orig­i­nal title of this post was going to be Lost Sin­cer­ity, but I opted for a more straight­for­ward title instead, and you’re absolutely right, John Hughes was a mas­ter of the 80’s movie.

    Max: Well, so long as you agree with me 8090%, then I’m con­tent. 🙂 Same applies today, in regards to the suc­cess ver­sus flop ratio. For every ‘Brave­heart’ and ‘Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan’ there’s a ‘Snow Dogs’ and ‘Cat­woman’. Wil­low was also handy with that wand, what with chang­ing that old lady into dif­fer­ent ani­mals and show­ing it to the ladies.

    Scott: Looks awe­some! Thanks for shar­ing the link. I’d never heard of it until now and I might actu­ally pre­order it.

  • Cfunk

    I liked Wil­low as well!

    I agree with you, all my favorite films are from the ‘80s.

  • Dave Seah

    Hey, good call Eric… those movies imprinted us with cer­tain expectations…how many of us have inter­nal­ized Star Wars as our yard­stick for “what’s right?” I won­der how many teens have imprinted on “The Matrix” before the fran­chise imploded into suck­dom, and of course the “Lord of the Rings” tril­ogy. You might be talk­ing about the lack of “heart” in movies…it seems pretty unfash­ion­able these days.