As an American, I love movies. Most of us do. I love all kinds. The ones that I always have to watch at least a piece of are 80’s flicks. If I asked you to name the first three 80’s movies that pop in your head, what would they be?
The Breakfast Club – 1985
Classic! This film depicts every single emotion any teenager ever felt in the 80’s. Heck, I am sure teenagers feel the same way today, it is just a different time.
There was the princess played by Molly Ringwald. Snotty and self-righteous, she was either the girl we loved to hate or the girl we hated to love. She felt insecure.
There was the jock played by Emilio Estevez. He was the muscle headed dim wit who played football because he felt there was nothing else he was good at. He felt stupid.
There was the geek played by Anthony Michael Hall. Hall pulled off the nerdy know-it-all well and we rooted for him. He felt alone.
There was the bad boy. A wise cracking bully, he picked apart everyone in the room that day, but when it came down to it, he felt saddest inside.
There was the misfit played by Ally Sheedy. Man, was she an oddball. I identified with this character most of all. Shy and well, just flat out weird she barely talked through the whole movie. Who would eat a pixie stick and potato chip sandwich?
And we can’t forget the bully played by Judd Nelson, who captured the essence of bullies then and now.
When I watch it today, I still feel that giddy teenager feeling, but I watch it with seasoned eyes. See, I didn’t get the whole character association thing until some twenty years later. I just thought it was an awesome movie.
The Karate Kid – 1984
Romantic! Here’s a kid, who doesn’t know crap about karate, but is tired of getting bullied at school. Impulsive Daniel Larusso, played by Ralph Macchio, hooks up with Mr. Miyagi, a patient handyman and is taught the ropes of self-defense. Of course, Daniel gets his ass kicked but it all works out in the end. Elisabeth Shue plays Ali Mills, his love interest.
What can The Karate Kid teach us about ourselves? Well, when I took a bus to the Orleans Theatre in Northeast Philadelphia with my friend Tina to see this movie, I didn’t learn anything. I watched a great movie starring one of my favorite Brat Pack actors. I walked out feeling happy as I ended it on a double chocolate brownie ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins.
Today, in the wake of so much bullying in society, I look back and see that there was a message in that movie and that message was: don’t think the little guy can’t beat you.
Red Dawn – 1984
I first watched this movie on VHS tape. I remember walking down to Watkins, a little video store in Bridesburg, PA. It was me and Tina again and we were hell-bent for more Brat Pack. For you youngins, VHS tapes came onto the scene in the 80’s and were the greatest thing since bubble gum. I mean, imagine being able to get a tape, pop it into a machine and watch a movie at leisure. (Stop laughing at me!)
Class is in session at a Colorado high school as Soviet & Cuban Troops parachute onto the football field. The kids become armed and flee the school into nearby woods. It is Colorado, so you don’t have to guess that it is cold. The band of feisty fighters becomes “The Wolverines!” as they wage their own war.
I watched this movie again about four years ago, and I have to say, I felt a little embarrassed. It seemed lame. This feeling of lameness actually made me feel good because… it meant I matured!
When I watched it in the 80’s, an again not so long ago, I came away with one feeling (besides my maturity) and that was… we always fight for what is right, no matter the cost.
I could definitely list at least ten other movies from the 80’s that were downright awesome. But I want to hear from you. Are any of my three on your list? Do you have better ones? Please share!