Whenever there's a generic montage of the 80's it's always Reagan, Madonna, MTV, The Cosby Show shoulder pads, money, car phones, parachute pants and the Rubik's Cube. Then there's the movies.
The 70's were the era where the blockbuster film first took hold. "Jaws" was the first movie that advertised heavily on television and opened wide. "Star Wars" took it even further, then "Superman." By the time the 80's came, movie studios had the blockbuster down to a science. Make videos of the theme song, market for the summer, the more sequels the better and be all over MTV. Yup, how could the 1980's not be a golden age of cinema?
The following list isn't necessarily the greatest movies from that wonderful decade. Rather, it's the movies that best reflect that time whether it's trends, character archetypes or events. They weren't trying to be parodies, they were just holding a mirror up to society. Lastly, every movie had to pass my TBS test. Quite simply, whenever I'm flipping channels and one of these films come on, I have to watch for at least ten minutes. These are the ten most indicative films of the 1980's:
10 Tango and Cash (1989)
Okay, cliche number one, mismatched cops with different personalities and philosophies of police work. Sylvester Stallone was LAPD Lieutenant, Ray Tango. Ray was cerebral and very much into the stock market. Kurt Russell was Lieutenant Gabriel Cash. Now, you'd think the guy who was into money would be named "Cash" but he wasn't. That's what we called a twist 80's style. The two macho officers were constantly jabbering back and forth about who was the greatest cop in L.A. Hopefully, it wasn't either one of these guys because insurance rates would skyrocket.
9 Moving Violations (1985)
This one fits under the category of lovable losers uniting. Our hero is landscaper, Dana Cannon, doing a bad Bill Murray which is weird since he was played by Bill's brother, John. Dana gets his license suspended along with fellow losers like Wendie Jo Sperber, Fred Willard, Jennifer Tilly and Clara Peller and they're all forced to take a driver's ed course to get their vehicles back.
8 The Secret of My Success (1987)
Another 1980's category is the capitalism run amok movie. These movies are all about making a lot of money in the financial field and include "Wall Street," "Baby Boom," "Trading Places" and "Quick Silver." This one had Michael J. Fox and a kick ass Night Ranger tune.
7 Back to School (1986)
6 Rocky IV (1985)
5 Hardbodies / Spring Break / Bachelor Party / My Tutor / Private School
4 Armed and Dangerous (1986)
3 Top Gun (1986)
2 Police Academy (1984)
This movie satisfies two 80's requirements: it spawned a bunch of sequels and starred Steve Guttenberg. It's also best filed under the "gang of screw ups end up saving the day by working together and being true of heart" genre. Having Bubba Smith on your side probably doesn't hurt either. Kim Cattral and "Fridays" cast member, Bruce Mahler, are in it as well.
1 St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
Believe it or not, there was a time when Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez and Mare Winningham were considered movie stars. Even better, this movie was the first time the "Brat Pack" appeared on screen together, so this was truly an important film. Yes, it was directed by Joel Schumacher, but still an important film.
The characters had just graduated from Georgetown and this was their first year in the real world with real challenges. So, that's mistake number one because nobody takes anything that seriously when they're twenty three. Here are the crises our heroes are grappling with: Judd Nelson is worried he's gonna cheat on Ally Sheedy so he thinks the answer is to marry her. Rob Lowe can't hang onto a job and is having trouble in his marriage. Demi Moore is dating her boss and has money problems. Emilio Estevez is trying to bed Andie MacDowell and it all takes place during the course of a year. Did you know that St. Elmo was the patron saint of sailors and abdominal pain? Well, you will after watching this movie because it's also educational.
Plus, you've got great 80's fashion, the apartments are all decked out in neon and pastels and the theme song, "Man In Motion" by John Parr rocks. There is no way this movie could be from any time other then the 1980's, thus making it the quintessential '80's flick. Congrats all around.
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