Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best 80's Movie?

One of our very first posts here at PCPPP was a heated debate on which song is the best 80’s song of all time. We were so young and naive back then when we wrote it. It seems like it was just a few months ago when in reality it was closer to 5 months ago.  

The post, which can be found HERE, started with me stating the obvious - A-ha’s “Take On Me” is the best 80’s song of all time. It then pretty much consisted of Pat’s feeble attempts at naming a better song with me rejecting them one by one. It was pretty enjoyable.

But I have to say picking the best 80’s movie isn't quite so easy. There are a lot of great 80’s movies that I would be content with calling the best but I don’t know if there is a clear cut winner. Basically what I’m saying is that there is no A-ha’s “Take On Me” 80’s movie.

Therefore, it is up to us to figure it out. The AFI just can’t be trusted with their underwhelming National Endowment of the Arts endorsement and their incompetent board of legendary film makers. I mean they picked “Citizen Kane” as the best movie of all time. Did you know that thing isn’t even in color? And that silly, and supposedly shocking, Rosebud ending was a total M. Night Shyamalan rip off.  

Also, Pat, since you get so hung up on “criteria for judging” let’s say we are looking for the best movie that came out in the 80’s, and just as importantly, represents the 80’s. So no picking movies like “Platoon” or “Blade Runner”, Pat.

Christian: I’ll start things off by suggesting the movie Better Off Dead. It’s a hilarious movie about teenagers who are having to deal with the embarrassments of teenage life, feelings of being outcasts, and parents that just don’t understand them. It stars John Cusack (totally 80’s!), has a great soundtrack (Van Halen rocks!), has great quotes (“I want my two dollars!”), and has a dancing hamburger (dancing hamburger!). What more could you ask for?

Or, if that one doesn’t do it for you, how about The Breakfast Club? It’s a hilarious movie about teenagers who are having to deal with the embarrassments of teenage life, feelings of being outcasts, and parents that just don’t understand them. It stars Molly Ringwald and Michael Anthony Hall (totally 80’s!), has a great soundtrack (Simple Minds rock!), has great quotes (“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”), and has a dancing Molly Ringwald (dancing Molly Ringwald!). What more could you ask for?

Pat:  Christian, I hope it is as apparent to you as it is to me how you tend to ask these questions that you already have answers to in your head. You asked for my vote for the best movie from a ten-year span, and then, in addition to ruling out two particular films, you basically limit my choices to two films, implying that if I don’t pick one of those films I am wrong. You play the “Best of...” game like Turkmenistani leaders play the “Democracy...” game (seriously, have you ever checked out ‘Turkmenbashi”? Dude was kinda’ out there... ). It feels like you aren’t even really interested in my ideas. Rather you just want me to edify your own thoughts in order to help raise you to a level of glorification and prestige, all while standing on my shoulders. Seriously, it’s like you don’t even need me here except to say, every now and then, “Yeah!  Yeah! What Christian said! Yeah, Christian!”. It makes me feel small, very very small.

But, fine, I’ll play your game, but ONLY because I had a movie come to mind IMMEDIATELY when you posited the question-  Harold and Maude! It’s a hilarious movie about a young man who has to deal with the embarrassments and frustrations of post-teenage life, feelings of being an outcast, and parents who just don’t understand him. It stars Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon (totally in her 80’s!), has a great soundtrack (Cat Stevens rocks!), has great quotes (Harold: You sure have a way with people. Maude: Well, they're my species! ), and has a dancing Ruth Gordon (dancing Ruth Gordon!). What more could you ask for? was made in 1971. Is that a problem?

Christian: Yes. Very much. You can argue other aspects of the judging criteria for best 80’s movie but the one I will not budge on is the requirement that it actually have been made during the 80’s.

And you have me all wrong on this “Best of” topic. Sure, for the Best 80’s Song debate I had the right answer. There’s no doubt about that. It was a slam dunk. But on this one, I truly don’t have thee answer. The two I suggested were just that, suggestions. By the way here’s another:

ET? It’s a hilarious movie about an ET who is having to deal with the embarrassments of crashing his spaceship on another planet, feelings of being an outcast, and parents of his human friends that just don’t understand them. It stars Drew Barrymore during her drug period (totally 80’s!), has a great soundtrack (Actually, was there music in it?), has great quotes (“ET phone home”), and has a dancing space monkey (dancing space monkey!). What more could you ask for?

So really, my goal for this post was to have us come to a common census as to what the best 80’s movie is. I think we can do it. And since you seem to have issues with the judging constraints we can get rid of the “having it represent the 80’s too”. There. Now you can suggest anything you want to as long as it was released in the 1980’s. You want to suggest Dark Crystal don’t you?  Go ahead. Suggest it.

Pat:  Dark Crystal was just weird and kinda’ creeped me out,  

Coupla’ things first. You said “a common census”  above. I don’t want to be one of those pretentious grammar police (did they have those in Bladerunner?), but what the hell does that mean? Did you mean “consensus”? If I have shamed you, I apologize and retract my critique. But if I have learned you something, well then sir, I wear that badge with pride!

Secondly...WAS THERE MUSIC IN ET? Hellooooooooooooo! Ever heard of Mr. JOHN WILLIAMS? I am not ashamed to say that I wore out the grooves on the 45 I had of the theme from ET. That song was amazing (even though I can’t even remember what it sounded like)! Please, Christian, don’t attempt to write unless you are fully present in the writing. I’m worried about seem vacant. Everything okay?

Christian: Noooooo, I meant “a common census.”  Uhhhhh... in that I wanted there to be a common, or often reoccurring, count or survey of the population of people that are writing this blog to equal the amount of people that have an agreement as to what the best 80’s movie is. I can’t believe you didn’t understand that. It looks like the learneder has now become the learnedee.

(Pat in parentheses:  I don’t think that’s what he meant. And now he’s just getting sloppy and embarrassing, but I don’t have it in me to tell him)

As for there being music in ET - of course there was music in ET! I’m pretty sure that there is some kind of music-movie law that requires every third movie to be scored by John Williams but what I meant was that ET doesn’t have a soundtrack filled with music by popular 80’s bands. If you had just used your common census on this, that point would have been clear.

So yes I’m okay.

Pat: OK, so here’s a list of the films that came to mind after your cruel edict that 1971 is outside the realm of “‘80s Film”:

-Can’t Buy Me Love (McDreamy before he was cool, and filmed at my friend’s school in Tuscon)

-Beverly Hills Cop (C’mon...”Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer? KILLER! I broke danced to that one a lot!)

-48 Hours (Eddie Murphy might be onto something here...)

-Pretty In Pink (I get reminded that I remind people of Duckie Dale too often to not mention this one. Plus, John Hughes kinda’ defined the ‘80s. That is, until Home Alone.)

-Chariots of Fire (I think this was my introduction to foreign film. And running.)

-An Officer and a Gentleman (My parent’s loved it. I hated it. Boooooooring! But, Richard Gere, Lou Gossett, Jr., Debra Winger with bad hair...kinda’ screams ‘80s)

-Iron Eagle (I have NO idea how this movie holds up, but I remember that at age 13 I thought film could get no more awesome! I think Lou Gossett, Jr. might be onto something here...)

-Top Gun (Okay, I only put this one in there because stream-of-consciousness writing made me go from Iron Eagle to jet planes, to more jet planes, to Anthony Edwards...and I didn’t like this one as much as everyone else, but you have to give it its due)

-I know they won’t count because of the time period in which they’re set, but both Dirty Dancing (never saw it...and still never seen it!  Can you believe it?!) and The Outsiders scream ‘80s to me.

-Ooh! Both of those last films reminded me of Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell, which then reminded me of...RED DAWN! That movie scared the hell out of me! And made me really excited to go to high school, in that there I might be able to save the country from Soviet fashion!

-Rocky IV...I think I might have gotten myself into a Cold War mindset.

But I think you might be right with Breakfast Club. Still holds up, except for that outfit that Emilio is wearing. Ally Sheedy is awesome, as is Judd Nelson, and nothing screams ‘80s teen angst more than, “No dad...FUCK YOU!”

Christian: I actually do like your list, but I feel those are more honorable mentions (to which I would also like to add Back to the Future, Poltergeist, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Tootsie) than they are winners.  

The only other one that I can think of that I might consider ahead of The Breakfast Club is Sixteen Candles. Even though I don’t remember, I’m sure there is some good 80’s pop music in there and I’m sure Molly Ringwald dances at some point. So I’ll leave it up to you: Which is the best 80’s movie? The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles?

Pat:  I’m going to earn the “perv” award, but I’m going to just come out and say it (and apologize in advance to the adult Ms. Ringwald, who I’m sure is a wonderful and decent woman). “Breakfast Club” wins because there is an extended frame of Molly’s breasts as she applies lipstick without using her hands. It’s as close as teen dramas from that decade got to b-grade porn. That scene got me through a lot of difficult times.


  1. As I was born in 1971 and so had to deal with being an embarrassed teenager in the 80s, I vote for the dark horse, Harold and Maude, which is not in the running.
    I did have a crush on Jake from Sixteen Candles, but I looked a little like Farmer Ted so it brings up all those outcast feelings of no one ever paying to see my underpants. Good times!

  2. I never saw Top Gun. It looked stupid to me at 11 and still looks stupid to me at 36. The Secret of Nimh was dark, yet awesome as was The Dark Crystal. Also, what about The Never Ending Story???? The Princess Bride was a life-changer. Did you guys even watch movies as kids?

  3. If you are rating teenage wet dream movies from the 80s one must include Weird Science. Not only hilarious, but by far one of the most eye popping.

  4. @Tumbleweed - Feel lucky that no one ever paid you to see your underpants, because trying to make a living at it is very very hard. Trust me.

    @Megiweg - I actually have never seen The Secret of Nimh, Dark Crystal, or The Never Ending Story, and until just now, I thought they were all the same movie.

    @Chris - I totally forgot about Weird Science! That should have gotten an honorable mention because it is totally 80's, has great quotes, great music, and a dancing Kelly LeBrock. I'm actually not 100% positive she dances in it but that doesn't really matter.