Friday, August 6, 2010

A Love Letter to Films of the 80s

This post was written by this week's Cin-Ob Supreme,
DAN, from Top 10 Films!

I read a fellow Cin-Ob Supreme’s love letter to the 1970s and thought I had to do me one of those. But, as much as I love the decade that gave us Star Wars and Jaws and The Godfather and The Exorcist and…I could go on, the decade that has always fascinated me is the 1980s.

Now I’m guessing that comes from a nostalgic need to regress back to childhood when the world was less scary and most of the things that did terrify me were the movie monsters my mum would say weren’t real! But my film education probably started when I was about ten years old and that was the early 1990s when all the late 80s movies were premiering on TV. Those are the films I particularly remember and still love today.

Tom Hanks gets a heap of criticism for his 1989 black comedy The ‘Burbs but I think it’s his finest movie! Joe Dante’s cultural satire, Tom Hanks in pre-Philadelphia-I’m-a-funny-guy mode, neighbors that bury dead bodies in the back garden, and Corey Feldman – what more can you ask for?! The childhood fantasies were also big winners for me as a kid. Again, Joe Dante won me over with Explorers (oh, how I wanted to build my own spaceship out of a cardboard box after seeing this) and Innerspace, Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Star Wars clones like The Last Starfighter, E.T., rip-off Mac and Me, and the more adult fantasy-horror of The Golden Child and Big Trouble In Little China.

Another thing I loved about the 80s were the posters. Drew Struzan’s work was particularly notable ( – his acrylic paint and pencil drawings formed the posters for Star Wars and Back To The Future amongst many others. I particularly loved the fantasy and science-fiction posters that were released during the decade – remember the E.T. poster with the fingers touching together, one a human hand, the other alien? They really captured the sense of adventure within these films with mystery and intrigue that played on an ability to let your imagination run wild. Have a look at this one from Joe Dante’s Explorers:

It was also the decade that introduced me to the film that would forever maintain my fascination with cinema. That film is James Cameron’s 1986 masterpiece Aliens (1986). I watched it on our old couch with my mum when I was seven years old. It was showing on channel 3 here in the UK. I was glued to my seat from the minute Ripley’s escape pod floated across the starlight blackness and is picked up by the deep-space salvage team. At this point I had never seen Ridley Scott’s earlier film Alien (1979) so knew nothing of what to expect. It was the scariest, most exhilarating, most enjoyable film experience of my young life. Aliens remains one of my favorite movies ever made.


Anonymous said...

What a great reminder of some of my favorite movies! I saw The 'Burbs in the theater. I was 11, and it still conveyed the icky awfulness of suburbia to me quite clearly. I think of that film every time I com in contact with a cul-de-sac. Also, I just watched "Don't You Forget About Me," a sweet documentary homage to John Hughes, my personal favorite 80's filmmaker. Watch it if you love Hughes' work, it's got great clips an interviews.

Emily said...

Oh man the 80's were a great time for movies, so many of my favourites came out then! Great blog!

Angie said...

Angelika - great documentary! too bad Hughes didn't wanna participate in the end.

Emily - we're 80s kids so this post spoke to us too, haha!

Great job, Dan!

Will said...

Great post, Dan. I love 80s movies and it seems we grew up watching the same set of films too.

I love Drew Struzan's art. I don't know that he will ever be matched.

This all makes me want to watch some more 80s movies!

KeLLy aNN said...

great post!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I generally like the eighties, one of the most pro-80s films of the decade (or so I hard) was The Big Chill and that's a big favourite of mine.

Rodney said...

Great article Dan, and you've reminded me that I never got around to watching "Explorers"!!! I must do so immediately!!!!