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What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

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What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Old 09-21-23, 07:58 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
What about something like Sheís Having a Baby? Granted, it still touches on Americaís younger generation but it covers more universal topics like establishing yourself into adulthood, marriage issues, raising children, living in the suburbs, etc.

Itís also very definitely an ď80s movieĒ.
If you have to ask, the answer is no.
Old 09-21-23, 08:34 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by rexinnih
So many to choose from. Needs to be a John Hughes movie. Has to be the Breakfast Club - what a soundtrack!
When I read this I wondered if my brother, who was in his 30s and already married when TBC came out, saw these teen-oriented Hughes movies at all.

Originally Posted by rw2516
I'd argue youth culture only sets the trend for films that are made and marketed toward youth audience which is what?, 20% of population? Most people didn't see these movies and are only remembered as they are because people who were young at the time remember them. I wouldn't call an Elvis or Beach Party movie a quintessential 60s movie.
What about The Big Chill? An 80s movie that has everything 80s but is disqualified because the characters are to old?
Youth pop culture usually does progress to being the main culture a decade or two later, but by then newer youth cultures have developed to replace them. There is always a separation between youth and mainstream culture.
Perfectly legitimate to think that what defines 80s movies to you is high concept, blockbuster action flicks
Old 09-21-23, 08:35 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by movieguru
E.T. is the first one I thought of. It covered some emerging topics in the 1980's: divorce, single working mom raising kids, 80's tech, and cultural icons of the time like the Star Wars toys.

In my opinion, BTTF doesn't completely fit all the requirements. While it starts out in the 1980's showcases some styles and fashions of the 80's, it's not all about the 80's as most of it takes place in the 1950's and is more about the nostalgia of that era.
Nostalgia for the 50's was a big part of 80's culture, which is part of the reason Back to the Future captures that era so well.
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Old 09-21-23, 08:38 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by rocket1312
Nostalgia for the 50's was a big part of 80's culture, which is part of the reason Back to the Future captures that era so well.
Was it?

Happy Days and Grease were super popular in the 70s. I would say the 80s had more (a media version of) nostalgia for the 60s or an effort to reexamine and rewrite the 60s.
Old 09-21-23, 08:47 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

I think BTTF or Breakfast Club are the peak. Surprised not to see mention of the best of the OT Star Wars and my favorite Blues Brothers with the excess and absurdist plot.
Old 09-21-23, 08:54 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Was it?

Happy Days and Grease were super popular in the 70s. I would say the 80s had more (a media version of) nostalgia for the 60s or an effort to reexamine and rewrite the 60s.
I think filmmakers of the 80s were taking the things they enjoyed as kids in the 50s and redoing them. Raiders, Creepshow, Twilight Zone, etc.
Happy Days and Grease were about being a teen in the 50s. 80s movies are about little kid stuff of the 50s. Comic books, tv shows, movie serials, etc.
Old 09-21-23, 09:18 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Was it?

Happy Days and Grease were super popular in the 70s. I would say the 80s had more (a media version of) nostalgia for the 60s or an effort to reexamine and rewrite the 60s.
Sure there was 50's nostalgia in the 70's, but that definitely bled into the 80's. For instance, you had stuff like the rockabilly revival and all of the associated fashion like wayfarers and loafers and what not. But more importantly, there was a political nostalgia for the conservative values of the 50's and a renewed focus on the American dream, or at least the white, middle class, consumerist version of the American dream. Even the president himself was an artifact of 50's nostalgia.
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Old 09-21-23, 09:29 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by rw2516
I'd argue youth culture only sets the trend for films that are made and marketed toward youth audience which is what?, 20% of population? Most people didn't see these movies and are only remembered as they are because people who were young at the time remember them. I wouldn't call an Elvis or Beach Party movie a quintessential 60s movie.
I'd say that movies marketed towards teenage boys was the essence of "80s movies." Teen sex comedies, swords and sorcery fantasies, knock-offs of Star Wars, action movies, and slasher movies are what I think of as movies stuck in the 1980s.
Old 09-21-23, 10:03 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by Nick Danger
I'd say that movies marketed towards teenage boys was the essence of "80s movies." Teen sex comedies, swords and sorcery fantasies, knock-offs of Star Wars, action movies, and slasher movies are what I think of as movies stuck in the 1980s.
Agree. All those ooze 80s. But teenage boys are only a segment of the population. When I think of quintessential, I think of something that cannot be mistaken for being made any time other than the 80s, and everybody related to across all demographics. I go with BTTF. If you were to assign a genre to BTTF it would be 80s teen comedy. Yet it was so well done it appealed to all generations. It checks all the boxes of an 80s teen comedy, high school, skateboards, MTV rock song, local mall, etc. There were other teen comedies about time travel released around the same time. This one got it right.

Last edited by rw2516; 09-21-23 at 10:27 AM.
Old 09-21-23, 10:22 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

If itís the 1980s it has to be Top Gun. A wildly overrated but very popular thing.

Like the decade itself.
Old 09-21-23, 10:24 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
When I read this I wondered if my brother, who was in his 30s and already married when TBC came out, saw these teen-oriented Hughes movies at all.


Perfectly legitimate to think that what defines 80s movies to you is high concept, blockbuster action flicks
I think everything goes in twenty year cycles. So, the 1970's had 1950's nostalgia. The 1980's was more nostalgic towards the 50's with movies and shows like The Wonder Years and various space race astronaut movies. By the 1980's, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley were set in the 1960's and no longer in the 1950's as well.
Old 09-21-23, 10:29 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Siskel & Ebert original review forBTTF

Old 09-21-23, 11:21 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by rocket1312
Nostalgia for the 50's was a big part of 80's culture, which is part of the reason Back to the Future captures that era so well.
As I said in an earlier post, BTTF also uses the 50s as a mirror for the 80s and deconstructs a bit of that nostalgia.
  • Elaine says, "Never trust a girl who pursues a boy", but that's exactly what she did (and more) 30 years ago.
  • Goldie Wilson very vaguely addresses of the racism of the 1950s, as does the band at the end
  • Marty gets comments about his fashion and music and the president of his time
  • Doc Brown's deal with the Libyans hints at nuclear proliferation
  • Hilly Valley has declined from an idyllic town to... a little crappy

It's all done with a wink and a smile, of course, because we're there to have a fun time, but there's definitely some bite to the film.
Old 09-21-23, 11:33 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

BTTF is the obvious answer, but for me, EVERY time Sixteen Candles is on, I watch it. I love that movie.

ET and Gremlins take me right back to my childhood.
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Old 09-21-23, 01:08 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

I know there are much better choices out there but this is the first movie that came to my mind. It could never be able to be made today...



Old 09-21-23, 03:16 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

I think it should be a requirement that the movie should have to have a least one scene in a mall. BTTF only has a scene that takes places outside the mall. Fast Times and Bill & Ted's EA would qualify as well as a bunch of others I can't think of off the top of my head. Maybe Weird Science?
Old 09-21-23, 03:36 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Lifeforce has everything you could want from an 80s movie...boobs, aliens, boobs, gore, boobs, boobs, and boobs.
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Old 09-21-23, 03:52 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by printerati
Lifeforce has everything you could want from an 80s movie...boobs, aliens, boobs, gore, boobs, boobs, and boobs.
I've never watched it but your description sounds interesting.
Old 09-21-23, 04:00 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by rw2516
I'd argue youth culture only sets the trend for films that are made and marketed toward youth audience which is what?, 20% of population? Most people didn't see these movies and are only remembered as they are because people who were young at the time remember them. I wouldn't call an Elvis or Beach Party movie a quintessential 60s movie.
Lawrence Welk and Tony Bennett had huge careers through the '60s and '70s but appealed to an older crowd. Again, the youth culture dictates the trends and our feelings for certain decades. The 1960s had the largest percentage of youth in US history which was shaped by Beach Blanket Bingo in 1964 and Easy Rider in 1969.

I wasn't around in the 1960s but those images are certainly cemented in my perception of the 1960s. It certainly isn't Lawrence Welk or Tony Bennett.

I agree some trends are a chicken-and-egg debate.

Originally Posted by rw2516
What about The Big Chill? An 80s movie that has everything 80s but is disqualified because the characters are too old?
Youth pop culture usually does progress to being the main culture a decade or two later, but by then newer youth cultures have developed to replace them. There is always a separation between youth and mainstream culture.
The Big Chill was an '80s movie about a thirty-something group recalling the past glory of their youth in the late 1960s and putting their experience into a modern (1980s) perspective. I feel the "Youth culture" is about the here-and-now trends without the burdens of life-experience, self-reflection and nostalgia.

Originally Posted by rw2516
The films from the first few years of a decade are more in step with the previous decade. The films from the last few years of a decade are setting the trend for the early years of the next decade. It's films from the middle years that belong solely to that decade.
This is true as our cultural shifts do not happen in perfect synchronization with turning over the calendar. Political and economic change can be a big determining factor with the 1980 election win of Ronald Reagan. The US became very pro-military and pro-capitalism (trickle-down economics) and we saw films such as Top Gun, Red Dawn, Rambo, Missing in Action etc. as well as Risky Business, Wall Street, Working Girl etc. reflect these new attitudes.

In the case of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) the film was in pre-production in 1981 with a script based on research Cameron Crowe did in 1979. The music, the cars, clothes and production design were all very much of the time it was filmed ('81/'82).

Old 09-21-23, 05:05 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

While Iím sticking with my original answer (The Breakfast Club), I just wanted to say how much Iíve appreciated the discussion in this thread. I donít feel like weíve had this high quality of discussion about movies here in a long time!


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Old 09-21-23, 06:09 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
While Iím sticking with my original answer (The Breakfast Club)

Good. Because there's no right answer.

Surprised nobody brought up Flashdance or Scarface. It's not about opinion as the varying experiences we had. We're like the three blind men describing an elephant. Imagine a group of today's young adults time travelling to the 80s and when they come back describing what they experienced. Each would be different.
A lot of people would choose Saturday Night Fever for the 70s. I would choose FM because it perfectly mirrors what I experienced.


Old 09-21-23, 06:34 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

I was also thinking The Last American Virgin.
Old 09-21-23, 08:08 PM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Has Beuller come up yet? That captures many different aspects of the essence if the 80s.
Old 09-22-23, 05:49 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Movies that ooze 80s New York

Fear City
After Hours
Ghostbusters
Crocodile Dundee
Baby Boom

Sadly Jason Takes Manhattan mostly oozes 80s Vancouver.
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Old 09-22-23, 09:47 AM
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Re: What do you think is the quintessential 80ís movie?

Originally Posted by L. Ron zyzzle
Has Beuller come up yet? That captures many different aspects of the essence if the 80s.
Yes - several times.
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