One of my favorite decades was the 1980's. I think it has something to do with me being a child during that decade and missing out on some of the music and trends. Most of my memories start around 1985-1986, so I feel like I missed out on some memorable aspects of the decade.
I should also note that one of my passions is movies. My resume of movies I've watched is respectable I think. The last five years or so have made it difficult for me to see many films due to being on the road, so I've fallen behind. But one genre of films I love are 1980's films. There are a handful of 1980's films I've viewed dozens of times and can recite line for line. I know that's a typical "guy" thing to do, but trust me, I would never recite them in front of you if we were watching the movie together. Is there anything more annoying?
The films in my list tonight make me smile whenever I think of them. I could (and often do!) watch them repeatedly. Usually a movie goes into my list of favorites when I identify with a character. It isn't hard to do. So I'll tell you a little bit about my favorite characters and why I love the following ten films of the 1980's.
I'll try not to give too much away about the film, but these movies were all made over 20 years ago so if you haven't seen them by now, chances are you're not gonna.
10. Major League
Obviously Major League isn't one of the best films of the 1980's, but it's a film that I laugh at every time I see it. Growing up playing baseball, I'm sure I saw this film before I was allowed to watch "R" rated films. Major League features some of the most foul locker-room language you'll ever hear. It was a movie that was well known around the baseball field. Rick Vaughn, Roger Dorn, Jake Taylor, Willie Mays Hays are all unforgettable characters. The owner, Rachel Phelps plays the unlikable owner and Rene Russo as Taylor's love interest looks good as always.
The scene towards the end featuring Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) walking out from the bullpen to the song "Wild Thing" is probably the most memorable scene to me. But in this this list, I think it's impossible to pick one favorite scene from the movies because I like the entire thing.
Something I always pondered about this movie was the fact that the game the Indians win at the end isn't for the World Series, and it isn't for the pennant. No, it's a one game playoff to get into the playoffs! I think that's an overlooked detail. They sure are celebrating a bit much wouldn't you say?
9. National Lampoon's Vacation
Vacation always makes me laugh. Clark Griswold taking his family on a cross-country journey to Wally World in California makes for great comedy. Eugene Levy, John Candy and Christie Brinkley all have bit parts. But Clark and his determination to give his family the trip of a lifetime, all the while failing every step of the way, is unforgettable.
"This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles!" - Clark
8. Dead Poet's SocietyMy list doesn't include many dramas, but Dead Poet's Society is too good to leave off. In high school I was exploring writing and going through the ups and downs of growing up. I felt I connected with this film. It inspired me to find my own voice, or attempt to. There are terribly heart breaking parts of the story, but Mr. Keating's (Robin Williams) teaching changes the lives of a handful of young prep school students.
I remember My 11th grade English teacher played this movie in class.
I have to thank imdb.com (Internet Movie Data Base) for having the "memorable quotes" section:
"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."
I think anyone who enjoys this movie gets goosebumps when listening to the above dialogue.
7. Say Anything
I sometimes wish I was Lloyd Dobler, John Cusack's character in Say Anything. What a great premise for a movie: Semi-popular but quirky guy asks out valedictorian on a date the day of graduation and falls in love. Funny coincidence I dated our valedictorian in high school for a couple months, not knowing at the time that she would achieve that.
Lloyd is well liked, kind of a goofball and has no idea what he wants to do in life, except he knows that he might like to kick box. He broke all the rules of high school by asking out a girl that wasn't in the same clique as him. Anyone who can stand up and be who they want to be in high school despite what all their friends are telling them, is someone I can admire.
"The rain on my car is a baptism, the new me, Ice Man, Power Lloyd, my assault on the world begins now." - Lloyd
6. Rain Man
This one is kind of obvious. Not many movies fit into the category Rain Man does where when I think of it, the words "hilarious, funny, inspiring, sad, heartbreaking, dark" all come to mind. There are funny parts, sweet parts and sad parts. It's probably why it won best picture of 1988. It's rewarding in a film when you see someone change for the better and that's what we saw of Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise).
In the past few years I've watched this film a lot. My roommate on the Carnival Celebration and I would watch it once or twice a month and recite line after line.
"Oh that's gonna do me a lot of good because QANTAS doesn't fly to Los Angeles out of Cincinnati, you have to get to Melbourne! Melbourne, Australia in order to get the plane that flies to Los Angeles!" - Charlie
Any young man would like a movie like Big. It lets our imaginations go wild. I can imagine being 13 again. What if I were to wake up in my 20's? This movie is so much fun to watch. The young Tom Hanks had so many physical character traits that I love to watch. Facial expressions, movements, etc.
I love when he gets his first paycheck and yells "$187 dollars! Ahuh Ahuh!" and John Lovitz's character says "Yeah they really stiff ya don't they?" The excitement of getting a check over $100 would have been huge for any kid.
It's another one that toys with the emotions. Going through the list, that seems like a common theme so far. Saying goodbye to the woman he loved was hard, but he had to go back to being a kid. A couple times during my Australia trip, I've felt like Josh (Hanks) during the scene where he walks around his hometown and realizes he's missed important things like his class graduation and playing baseball on the weekends with his friends. But that is life. In order to experience one thing, usually means missing out on something else.
4. Uncle Buck
John Candy makes his second appearance on my list. It's getting harder and harder to pick my favorites. Who wouldn't want to have an Uncle Buck? I bet some of you have one in your family.
I love this film, everything about it. John Hughes directed it, and as always delivers a touching story. Uncle Buck goes through big change throughout the film. The biggest change being the relationship with his niece. Scene after scene of laughs, and of course a few heartfelt ones also make this one of my all time favorites - ever.
John Hughes always managed to end his movies that featured John Candy with a still shot of Candy smiling. Seeing it always makes me smile, yet I feel immense sadness because Candy was such a likable person who died too young. It's almost as if he's saying goodbye to me at the end of the film.
"Here's a quarter. Go downtown and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face."
3. Back to the Future
I'm not sure I've met anyone who says "That Back to the Future movie was stupid." But I'm sure there are people out there who dislike it. I think I could watch this movie a couple times a year for the rest of my life and still be entertained. I've dreamed of time travel, who hasn't? (Right?) The possibilities are endless of what you could see and experience. So an adventure about time travel is the perfect movie for me. The music, and countless memorable scenes make this an all time classic.
Marty and the Doc are the main characters of course, but Biff Tannen helps make the movie. I like Back to the Future because it is 100% fun. No dramas or sadness, just pure entertainment.
2. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
I had a hard time not picking this movie as my number one. It's a movie that makes me laugh and cry. Not a lot of films do that to me. I remember watching this for the first time as a kid. Again, it was rated R, but somehow I got my hands on it. But I sat there at the end with tears running down my face, kind of wondering what the hell just happened.
Again, John Hughes made me laugh til I hurt then punched me in the stomach with a dose of real life. Two strangers Del Griffith (John Candy) and Neil Page (Steve Martin) end up spending nearly a week together, trying to make it home for Thanksgiving. Everything that can go wrong, does and it ends up being a road trip from hell.
Who can forget Steve Martin swearing at the car rental teller at the airport, using the F word a good 20-25 times? "Give me four wheels and a seat!" is the only clean line from that rant I can type here.
If you haven't seen this film, I don't think I gave too much away, but go see it. You'll be glad you did.
At the end of this film Candy is left smiling at us with his big jolly smile.
1. The Breakfast Club
The set was an empty high school and there were only seven characters (I included the principal and janitor). Five high school students spend a Saturday in detention and over the course of eight hours, get to know each other and in doing so, manage to change each other's perspective on one another.
This movie gets my #1 ranking because of the way it makes me feel when I watch it. The majority of the years I spent watching this movie were when I was growing up, going through the sometimes uncomfortable teen years, so in a way, the movie was there for me, like a good book.
I feel when I watch the Breakfast Club that I relate with many of the characters. Sometimes I feel like Brian the Brain, other times like John Bender, the rebel and more often than not Alison the basket case. Over the course of the movie they learn that maybe they're not so different after all. And as a viewer, the lesson I learn is to get to know someone before I judge them.
I highly doubt that any of the characters fall in love in real life, but it wasn't the worst way the movie could have ended.
My communication 101 professor in college played this movie in class for us to demonstrate different aspects of communication. We then had to write a paper about it (describing who we thought we were - just kidding)
That concludes my list for this week. I wanted to put Ferris Bueller Day Off on there, but ran out of room. It's hard to imagine a top 1980's movies list without Ferris, but the above films are the ones special to me. I don't deny it was a great film, but if it was on my list, then John Hughes films would take up most of the list, so I needed to spread it around, you understand. I'll give it a well deserved photo anyway.
I probably won't come back to the 1980's for quite awhile. While the movies had me dreaming of going to high school back then, I don't have as much to say about the music, even though I enjoy listening to 80's tunes.
Here are some 80's films that didn't quite make my top 10, but maybe they make yours. Feel free to comment with your top 10.
Funny Farm, Parenthood, Risky Business, Bachelor Party, Back to School, Bull Durham, Caddy Shack, Can't Buy Me Love, Coming to America, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, Lucas, The Money Pit, Pretty in Pink, Revenge of the Nerds, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Back to the Future II, The Shining, Raging Bull, Alien, Airplane, The Blues Brothers, Scarface, Platoon, Hoosiers, Full Metal Jacket, Weird Science, Trading Places, Heathers, Three O'Clock High, The Terminator, Teen Wolf, Top Gun, The Great Outdoors, Stripes, Stand by Me, St. Elmo's Fire, Sixteen Candles, The Burbs, Fletch Lives, How I got into College, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, See no Evil Hear No Evil, Weekend at Bernie's, This is Spinal Tap, Ernest Goes to Camp, Good Morning Vietnam, Harry and the Henderson's, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, Robocop, The Secret of my Success, Spaceballs, E.T., Porky's, Labyrinth, Rocky IV, Short Circuit, The Three Amigos!, Amadeus, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, The Hitcher, Missing in Action, The Natural, Red Dawn, Police Academy, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Big Top Pee Wee, The Quest, Real Genius, Class, The Naken Gun, Mannequin, Die Hard, Ghost, Footloose, Look Who's Talking, Bad Boys, Strange Brew, Pet Semetary, Gleaming the Cube, Flight of the Navigator, Iron Eagle, Crocodile Dundee, Raising Arizona, Rambo, Predator, The Princess Bride, The Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon, Fatal Attraction, Evil Dead II, Dirty Dancing, Adventures in Babysitting, When Harry Met Sally, The Wizard, Who's Harry Crumb, Driving Miss Daisy, Kickboxer, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Escape from New York, On Golden Pond, Better off Dead, D.A.R.Y.L, One Crazy Summer, Wall Street, The Untouchables, Throw Momma from the Train, 48 Hours, Diner, Blade Runner, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ghandi, The Toy, Poltergeist, Big Trouble in Little China, An American Tail, The Color of Money...
See ya next week.