In these tumultuous times, it seems everyone is searching for an escape. Growing up in the eighties, I must admit Farrah Fawcett-Majors was an escape for me. Not sure many kids my age didn’t have her iconic swimsuit poster adorning their walls. That smile, that hair, those, er, eyes!
Well, on to another escape of mine … eighties movies. What a decade for some of the most iconic films that still resonate today.
Here are my Top 10 movies from The Eighties in no particular order:
I was a senior in high school in 1985, so as you can imagine, I was a huge fan of Lacy Underall. This golf-themed laugh-fest is probably one of the most highly quoted movies from the decade, thanks to Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray and Chevy Chase in their comedic primes. Time to stick this in the DVR … “While we’re young!”
Something that doesn’t really blend well with me … airplanes and laughter, but that changes while watching this movie. So many great sight gags throughout with a great cast that includes Robert Hays, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“Can you fly this plane, and land it?”
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
“Hey Bud, Let’s Party!” … great line by Jeff Spicoli, played by Sean Penn. Hard to think about this movie without thinking about Phoebe Cates emerging from the swimming pool. The cast also includes other great eighties character actors Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Robert Romanus. Oh, yeah, don’t forget about Mr. Hand, played by Ray Walston. For some odd reason, whenever I watch this movie, I get a craving for pizza!
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Another classic. Hard to believe this movie is now 34 years old. Again, probably one of the most quoted movies of all time. You know we’ve all been there … the dreaded family vacation. Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) is taking his family (Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dana Barron) cross-country to Wally World. We get to meet some interesting characters along the way, including Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca), and The Girl in the Ferrari (Christie Brinkley). Brinkley, in prime supermodel form at the time, has a memorable scene with Chase at the hotel pool … “Well, are you gonna go for it?” I think the answer would have to be, “Hell Yes!”
Sixteen Candles (1984)
One of the best films by the best director of the eighties, John Hughes. This guy simply nailed teen life during that period. Even my daughter, who is almost 30 years younger than me, loves this movie. A funny love story, I guess you could call it. Sam (Molly Ringwald) has a crush on Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), but Jake already has a smoking hot girlfriend, that is until he tires of her partying ways. The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) also has his eyes set on Sam but eventually finds himself with an even bigger prize. John Cusack, Joan Cusack, and Brian Doyle-Murray also have small roles. Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe) has some of the best lines in the film … “What’s happenin’, hot stuff?”
The Breakfast Club (1985)
I must say that seeing many of my favorite movies have a 30th-anniversary sticker on them isn’t doing much for my psyche. This one is another of John Hughes’ masterpieces. Who would think spending detention on a Saturday in the school library could be so much fun? Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy play such different characters, but they find out over the course of the day that they are much more alike than one might think. Great movie to take you back to your high school days … ugh … 30 years ago.
Back to the Future (1985)
When you first hear the title of this movie, you probably wondered what the hell it meant. And then you watched it and it made perfect sense. Oh, what I would give for a time machine these days! What a great concept by Robert Zemeckis. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time with an old scientist (Christopher Lloyd) and meets the younger version of his parents, played by Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson. Marty’s young version of his mother even had the hots for him, that is until they kiss. Great story in this one, including a great scene with Marty playing Johnny B. Goode at a school dance, which impresses Chuck Berry’s cousin, Marvin. The rest is history!
Vision Quest (1985)
The fact that this movie isn’t even available on BluRay like the rest of the movies listed here says a little something about the respect it gets. Despite the snub, this wrestling movie, yes wrestling movie, is one of my favorites from the era. Matthew Modine plays Louden Swain, a high school wrestler who has his sights set on wrestling for a state championship, that is until Carla (Linda Florentino) makes a stop in his small town. Louden must choose between his heart and his passion. Can he have both?
Top Gun (1986)
I must admit that after watching Top Gun, I wanted to become a fighter pilot. Unfortunately, I’m afraid of heights and don’t like to fly. Well, damn, Tom Cruise (Maverick) made it look so cool. And of course, he always gets the girl in the end. Val Kilmer (Iceman), Kelly McGillis (Charlie), Meg Ryan (Carole), Tom Skerrit (Viper), Anthony Edwards (Goose), and Tim Robbins (Merlin) make up a strong cast that plays off the testosterone of the Naval flyboys.
“Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.”
“Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” One of my favorite quotes. Very, very true. Another great teen movie by the master, John Hughes. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) and his friends Sloan (Mia Sara) and Cameron (Alan Ruck) find themselves with a day off from school, thanks to a fake illness. What to do with a full day off from school? What’s not to do? It’s great fun watching this trio make the rounds in Chicago, all to conclude before the end of the school day and the return of Ferris’ parents from work. Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, Jeffrey Jones, Edie McClurg, and Ben Stein play roles in this magical day outside the drudgery of high school.
“Bueller … Bueller … Bueller …”
Putting this list together was harder than I thought. Many good movies were left off, including Stand By Me (1986), Die Hard (1988), Rambo (1982), The Blues Brothers (1980), and Beverly Hills Cop (1984) just to name a few. The decade definitely left its impression on me in more ways than one. Sad to think it has been 30 years, but happy so many of my memories will forever be on film!