Totally Awesome ’80s in April

mad max 2 poster

The 1970s saw the Studio System’s destruction and independent film’s rise. The production code died in the late 1960s and the new rating system allowed for more freedom in depicting previously censored items such as sex, nudity, language, and violence. Directors raised on classic Hollywood cinema such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, and Francis Ford Coppola, began making their own films and the New Hollywood era began.

The 1980s continued this trend, but even more so. Movies such as Jaws and Star Wars caused studios to realize movies could make more money than ever believed and the blockbuster era was created. The advent of the home video market created a boom in low-budget cinema that bypassed movie theaters altogether. Erotic Thrillers became all the rage. As did raunchy sex comedies, horror slashers, and sequels.

I grew up in the 1980s and so I have many nostalgic memories of watching movies like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Goonies, and Back to the Future on the big screen. But also wandering through the video store and renting films like First Blood, and Beverly Hills Cop. It was a wonderful time to be growing up watching movies.

The decade wasn’t just for big blockbusters though, plenty of smaller, highly acclaimed films came out as well. And there were loads of movies made for adults that I missed back then. I felt all grown up watching Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenneger blow up bad guys whilst spitting out one-liners and curse words, but I had no interest in truly mature fare like Gandhi or Platoon.

I did have an interest in the low-budget films that were filling the shelves of my local video store. I ate up silly comedies, even sillier horror films, and dumb action movies that were filled with dumb jokes, bloody violence, and lots of naked boobs. Hey, I was a pubescent boy, what did you expect me to like at that age?

I thought it would be fun to spend some time this month revisiting the decade of my youth, and maybe watching some films that slipped through the cracks not only while I was living through it but that I’ve not gotten around to even as an adult.

My goal is to not watch the big blockbusters of the 1980s, but films that epitomize the decade in other ways. In the same way, I’m not really interested in watching art-house films or foreign language films from that decade either (at least not for the purposes of this month’s theme). I want movies that scream they were made in the 1980s but aren’t something I would have been interested in watching during the actual 1980s.

Sort-of. As always I’ll wind up watching things that break these rules. I already watched Robocop which was a big hit and in fact was watched by me on videocassette when it came out in 1987. But I hope to not make that type of film the main films I focus on this month.

I made a Letterboxd list full of the types of films I’d like to watch. Unlike previous lists, I didn’t stop at 30 films but allowed it to grow (and it will likely continue growing for a few more days) to a number that I’ll never be able to complete. Honestly, I never watch all the films I put onto these lists so I figured I might as well make it big and impossible so I’ll have more ideas of things to watch when I’m thinking about what I want to watch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s