Photo Above: Podcaster Riley Roberts gives her take on Splash. Photographer: Victoria Igloi.
Splash is a family film that began our modern-day fascination with mermaids, a film that made Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah bonafide movie stars, and began Hanks journey as American treasure. But, does the film live up to its legacy? In many ways, yes! It’s still a heartwarmer of a tale. But family friendly? Hmmm…maybe not.
On ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcast, mother-daughter movie critics Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Y) re-examine the film with a modern-day perspective and discuss how it turned the Disney princess trope on its fins, and yet, perpetuated the attitudes that successful men are pigs to women and that’s okay.
Please give a listen to Splash: A Lovable Disney Movie that Just Happens to Have Child Nudity, Bestiality, and a Sex Crime.* And, check out our other podcast episodes available on iTunes,Stitcher, and BlogTalkRadio. Also, please read our comprehensive behind the scenes guide to Splash here: https://80smovieguide.com/splash/
’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents PODCAST:
When you think of Thanksgiving movies, your brain might rush by Addams Family Values, Free Birds or Jack and Jill. Frankly, Thanksgiving movies of substance are few and far between. But hopefully, you’ll think of the greatest, most relatable Thanksgiving movie ever: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
But let’s focus in on one word: relatable. In 1987, Neal Page’s (Steve Martin) teeth-gnashing journey was an anomaly. We’d all had a frustrating experience or two, but Neal’s three-day journey to get home was an exaggeration for most everyone (except John Hughes, whose five-day ordeal to get home one Thanksgiving inspired the script). In 2018, though, more cars are on the roads, more planes in the air, and more B.S. at the car rental counter. Is Planes, Trains and Automobiles now the American Thanksgiving experience? On our ‘80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Experience podcast, mother-daughter movie critics Tara McNamara and Riley Roberts look at that concept, why a perceived “family film” got an R rating, and if this classic holds up for today’s youth.
If nothing else, let our podcast entertain you on your long, long ride to Grandma’s house.
UPDATE: Winners have been picked at random! Congratulations to Michael King, Chad Bailey, Elvis Vazquez, Dan Gurwitz, and Bill Desenberg! Everyone else, get your tickets at FathomEvents.com or at your theater! Info for which theaters and times are HERE.
For ’80s kids, there is no other Superman than Christopher Reeve. Hard to believe, but December marks the 40th anniversary of Richard Donner’s legendary 1978 Superman: the Movie and the 80th anniversary of the beloved DC character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster (couldn’t we all use some of that ability to reverse time?).
To mark the occasion, Fathom Events will present Superman in its original theatrical version, just as audiences saw it upon its initial release in December 1978. Accompanying Superman will be Max Fleischer’s animated Superman short “Mechanical Monsters,” presented in movie theaters for the first time since its original release in 1941. The 10-minute, Technicolor cartoon is one of 17 animated shorts produced in the 1940s that were based on DC’s legendary hero. The films will fly into 700 theaters nationwide on three days: Sunday, Nov. 25, Tuesday, Nov. 27, and Monday, Dec. 3. Tickets are now on sale at FathomEvents.com but we have five pairs of tickets to give away!
To enter, just Like or Follow @80sMovieGuide on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. (And, let us know you want the tickets so we don’t think it’s a random follow!) We will pick winners on Saturday, Nov. 17 (so however you reached out to us, look for a message there – we’ll need to know which screening date, time and location you want to attend). We have 10 tickets in our movie ticket giveaway so your chances to win are GREAT!
A box-office sensation, “Superman” broke industry records and went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide, leading to three direct sequels – and helping introduce the world to the enormous possibility of comic-book film adaptations.
Christopher Reeve stars as Superman and Clark Kent, with Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, Gene Hackman as villainous Lex Luthor, Marlon Brando and Susannah York as Superman’s parents Jor-El and Lara; Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine as Luthor’s sidekicks Otis and Miss Tessmacher; Jackie Cooper as Perry White; Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter as George and Martha Kent; and Jeff East as teenaged Clark Kent. “Superman” was written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman and Robert Benton from a story by Mario Puzo.
Congratulations to our winners! Robert Y. of Torrance, Calif.; Roger F. of Orlando, Fla.; Jim S. of Shadow Hills, Calif.; Andy G. of Plano, Texas; and Eff D. from Cincinnati, Ohio! Now, check out our next giveaway!
Is Die Hard the most action-packed Christmas movie ever made? Or the best summertime blockbuster set during Christmas? We’ve had 30 years to decide, but really, no debate should be final until you see the first cinematic adventure of John McClane (Bruce Willis) swing into Nakatomi Plaza on the big screen. And, ’80s Movie Guide is here to help!
On Sunday, Nov. 11, and Tuesday, Nov. 14, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies present Die Hard as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics Series on more than 700 screens nationwide. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will provide brand new commentary before and after the film to add perspective and insight. Then, you can move on to a new debate: is Hans Gruber the most real life frightening movie villain of all time?
We are giving away 5 pairs of tickets to the screening and location of your choice!! To enter to win, just interact with our social media @80sMovieGuide. You get an entry for every interaction, for example: Follow us (1 entry) and comment (1 entry) on Instagram, Like this Post on Facebook (1 entry), Like Our @80sMoviesGuide page on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (1 entry), Retweet on Twitter (1 entry)…you get the idea! We will choose our FIVE WINNERS on Nov. 5 – enter now!
On both the 11th and 14th, Die Hard will play at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are available now at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices.
We will update the site with the names of the winners. After you enter, watch for us to reach out to you on the morning of the 6th. If we can’t reach the winner, we will choose another winner. Good luck and Yippee-ki-yay!
Pop culture is embracing the ’80s for Halloween this year – both the Today and Good Morning America personalities dressed as iconic ’80s celebrities, movies, and TV shows. But one Hollywood restaurant is stepping up their Halloween game, and it will make your Soul Glo! Fat Sal’s Sandwich Shop is now emblazoned with the Golden Arc’s and has transformed into Coming to America’s McDowell’s restaurant, complete with the noted Scottish tartan uniform and a menu that takes a foodie spin so a certain red-haired clown can’t make any copyright claims.
Items include the Sexual Chocolate shake (chocolate shake, chocolate syrup, chocolate shavings, cherry, whipped cream, and a fat slice of chocolate cake), The Big Mick (hamburger patties, lettuce, pickles, and onions and fries on hero bread), and Zamunda Fries (blackened chicken, cheddar, mozzarella, onions, peppers and habanero aioli). Music from the soundtrack plays on the speakers and a plaque celebrating Akeem, The McDowell’s Employee of the Month, is hanging on the wall. Next door, you’ve got the pop-up Mi-T-Sharp barber shop, of course!
McDowell’s at 1300 Highland (that’s Highland and Fountain) and closes for good at 3 a.m.- if you go, please tweet or Instagram us photos @80sMovieGuide!
Source: The Daily Meal, Sexual Chocolate Shake photo @ReubenMourad, exterior shot @johnnyrobott
July 13, 1985: where were you? Without knowing you personally, I know that sometime during that day, maybe for one minute, or maybe for an hour, or maybe all day, you were plopped in front of a TV set. You were watching Live Aid, a massive concert performed in various countries with the most famous and celebrated music acts, as it was being broadcast on TV. This was the massive concert organized by Brit artist/producer Bob Geldof to raise money to feed those starving in Africa due to a widespread famine (it occurred seven months after his wildly successful Band-Aid holiday single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”) and an estimated 1.5 billion people across 110 countries watched it. The next question: which performances stand out? Let me guess: at least one group you remembered was Queen.
Bohemian Rhapsody is made in 2018, but it’s an ’80s movie, no doubt. The film opens and ends at Wembley Stadium for Queen’s reunion performance at Live Aid in which Freddie Mercury energetically stole the show. The movie is a trip down memory lane, but it also fills in a lot of blanks.
Kids in the 1970s were always singing “We Will Rock You/We are the Champions.” I specifically recall one of these moments when I was 7, propped on top of my backyard monkey bars, and learning the band who sang the anthem was named Queen. I was confused, and I asked: “Is there a girl in the group? If it’s all men, why wouldn’t they name the band King?” The answer I received was a shrug. Twenty years later, after the passing of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury from AIDS, I finally understood (or thought I did) the name: Aha! I get it! And, then assumed everyone in the band was gay. Only now, 40 years after I first pondered that question, and having seen Bohemian Rhapsody, do I finally understand the moniker.
I grew up with the music of Queen but the band members weren’t too much on my radar – no more than the artists who made up Toto or ELO. I remember the “Is He Gay?” speculation of Elton John (yes), Boy George (oh, yes), George Michael (OF COURSE…oh wait, I guess not…oh, scratch that, TOTALLY), and the rumored tryst of “Dancing in the Streets” duo Mick Jagger and David Bowie (who cares?). Freddie Mercury was someone I was aware of, but didn’t occupy much of my thoughts – and certainly didn’t care if he was or wasn’t gay. But now, knowing a little more of Mercury’s outrageous personality and the phenomenal, original music that stands the test of time, the idea of watching a band biopic is absolutely mouth-watering and I couldn’t wait to see it.
And then, I did. The reality is that the film is interesting and well worth seeing, but don’t expect to feel a deep connection with the story, the band, or Mercury. It reminded me most of Mamma Mia!, where you feel fulfilled by hearing all the music you love, yet the storyline feels shallow, even though it’s trying so hard to give you depth. But still, you recommend it to your friends. If it comes on TV, you leave it on. It’s satisfying, even if it isn’t all that you hoped.
The journey of Bohemian Rhapsody begins with a young Parsi Brit with a mouth full of teeth named Farrokh Balsara. He’s a Heathrow Airport employee already full of swagger. When he introduces himself to Smile, a local band he’s taken a liking to, they quickly join up. From there, everything seems to move so fast, it’s hard to gauge time and if the group struggled at all as a musical act or was an instant success. Zoom, zoom, zoom – the film is 2 hours and 15 minutes, so it’s understandable a lot had to go, but what it loses is the heart, the understanding, the relatability, and the connection the audience so wants to experience.
The film centers on Freddie Mercury who knows exactly who he is professionally but is searching for his identity on a personal level. Rami Malek falls into the trap of playing a well-known personality – he does a killer impression of the Freddie Mercury persona yet doesn’t quite capture Mercury’s spirit. On the other hand, Gwilym Lee NAILS EVERYTHING about lead guitarist Brian May, it’s almost an uncanny valley: he looks, moves, and speaks absolutely identically to May.
The film also repeatedly lumps significant events together, as if they happened simultaneously. Again, time constraints – okay – but if we’ve learned anything from Oliver Stone’s JFK, it’s that when an audience “learns” something in a biopic, they assume it’s true, even if it’s more “based on truth.” It’s worth at least a look at the Wikipediapage after the movie, just so you know what’s what. (And by the way, the film covers most of the major events, but this ’80s Movie fan is a little disappointed there is no mention of the Flash Gordon soundtrack – “FLASH! AA-AAA! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!”)
The end result is learning how it all came to be, the creative genius of Queen’s timeless music, and witnessing the original thinking so many others have copied since. Kudos for showing that Queen wasn’t all Mercury – it was a group effort and they are reflected as equal contributors who get plenty of screen time.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a long road with directors and talent signing up and falling out, including director Bryan Singer being fired halfway through filming and Dexter Fletcher (who directed the heartwarming Eddie the Eagle) hired to salvage it. It seems that making the film about Queen was as much of a beautiful mess as the band themselves. And like Freddie Mercury, the film isn’t perfect, but it has an amazing range and hits all the high notes.
UPDATE: Winners have been picked! Congrats to Jason R., David W., Bradshaw D., David, and Instagram winner Changomania!
George Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! Largely considered one of the best horror films ever made, Fathom Events is presenting the newly restored and remastered version in 600 movie theaters with screenings on Tuesday, October 24, and Wednesday, October 25.
The Fathom Events presentation also features a new behind-the-scenes look at the making of this groundbreaking film, which ushered in a completely new approach to making horror films. For years, audience have only been able to see Night of the Living Dead in washed-out, murky versions; this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the newly restored version on the big screen.
This will likely sell out. But, ’80s Movie Guide is giving away FIVE PAIRS OF TICKETS! All you have to do is FOLLOW and/or LIKE one of our social media accounts (@80sMovieGuide on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook). You get one entry for every action you take – for instance, if you leave a comment, you get an extra entry. If you repost or retweet, you get an extra entry. Just make sure we know you want the tickets!
The FIVE winners (two tickets each) will be picked at random on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Winners will then be notified by the social media account they connected with (we will need to get name, email, and your choice of theater and time). Names of the winners will also be listed here in an update. Any unclaimed prizes will go to the entrants who seem like they want the tickets the most through their entries.
The 1983 Michael Keaton-Teri Garr comedy classic Mr. Mom is getting a 2019 makeover as a digital series on Vudu. It looks like the first of many as MGM inked a deal with the Walmart-powered streaming service to create content from their vast library with “Movies On Us,” which aims to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
The original Mr. Momwas written by John Hughes and directed by Stan Dragoti. It was hilarious at the time because men were rarely stay-at-home dads in the ’80s, and it highlighted how women were becoming a part of the workforce. Now that women have careers and dads serve as equal partners in raising the kids, it may be a little harder to push that concept. But, they’re going to try! The series will actually revolve around the film’s toddler Megan, now grown up, taking a job and leaving her husband to tend to her little one.
It’s the 30th Anniversary of Young Guns (currently steaming on Hulu and Netflix) and we’re celebrating. Young Guns is considered the most historically accurate version of Billy the Kid on film, but let’s be honest – the real Billy and the Regulators weren’t quite as attractive. By putting hot, cool actors like Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in a testosterone-heavy “band of brothers” environment with a “heavy-metal” ’80s score, did Young Guns make gun ownership sexy to men? We explore how Young Guns affected its teen viewers in 1988 and how it still affects Gen X today on the latest episode of ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents. Give a listen to our take on Young Guns below and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.
Also, check out the complete guide to Young Guns: https://80smovieguide.com/young-guns/
In Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony countering his 1982 high school rape allegation, he said that the high school yearbook editor tried to project the image that the school was “Animal House, Caddyshack, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Any teen who lived in the ’80s can back up that those films were wildly important to Gen X. In the ’80s, a day wouldn’t pass without hearing at least one boy quoting one of these films. By the way, no one was quoting the upstanding citizens of the film — they most quotable quotes came from the numbnuts of the groups. “Hey bud, let’s party!” from Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), “Whoa, did someone step on a duck?” from Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), and “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily” from Bluto (John Belushi), just for starters.
The goal of ’80s Movie Guide is to address how the media and pop culture influence the opinions we hold, the choices we make, and how we see the world. Movies are immersive experiences and thus, more than any other medium, have the ability to subconsciously inform the viewer on how to conduct themselves. Teens and children are always looking down the road – if you’re 7, how do 10-year-olds act? If you’re 10, what do the cool 13-year-olds do? If you’re 13, what are 17-year-olds doing and how can I be sure I’m in the right group to do that? If you’re 17, how should I behave when I’m 20?
That’s why ’80s movies are so, so damaging to an entire generation. We are not saying Kavanaugh did or didn’t violate any women, but we are saying that the stories coming from women about the 1980s are entirely accurate. Moreover, when you examine ’80s movies, you see where a world might exist where both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford,are both telling the truth. Let’s do a brief overview, focusing on Animal House.
Animal House put the “teen sex comedy” genre into motion with a film described as “the wildly obscene antics of a college frat house.” Some of those antics include Bluto (John Belushi) climbing up a ladder to be a peeping tom gawking at a room full of girls getting undressed. He moves his ladder to get a better look at one woman. After staring at her for quite a bit, he falls off his ladder – how funny! Oh, boys will be boys!
Delta Tau Chi faces a probation hearing, charged with “individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits us listing them here.” Fraternity leader Eric “Otter” Stratten offers this defense: “The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female party guests. We did. (Wink.) But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals!”
Otter is the hero of the film, the cool guy. Here are some examples of his behavior (all played for laughs):
He pretends to be engaged to a girl who recently died to play on the sympathies of her sorority sisters into having sex with him and his friends.
He has sex with the drunk wife of the university’s dean, proving there’s no greater revenge than screwing your enemy’s woman – he impressed her at the grocery store with a line about the size of his cucumber.
He proves that theory again when he “scores” with the girlfriend of a rival by harassing her with lines like, “Can I massage your thighs while you eat?”
Additionally, it promotes racism. It shows drinking and driving. A college professor introduces his students to drugs. Four young men abandon women and leave them with no way to escape in a situation set up as dangerous. It’s implied a sweet young man knowingly has sex with a 13-year-old. Lout Bluto throws a young woman into a stolen car against her will caveman style … the next scene shows her arms around him while he drives, the graphic telling us they got married and Bluto became a Senator.
Oh, and there’s this – Larry “Pinto” Kroger debates whether or not he should have sex with a drunk, unconscious girl. Ultimately, he makes the right decision, but it does validate the thinking that he has a “right” to have sex with a drunk, unconscious girl. Pinto is a virgin, portrayed as not as masculine as his friends, which is why the movie implies he can only “get” a sexually forward 8th grader who has consumed so much alcohol she almost needed to have her stomach pumped. The scene isn’t appalling because Larry makes the right choice, the scene is appalling because it tells young viewers that if you don’t take advantage of a passed out girl, you’re soft, a pussy, a “homo”:
Animal House does have equal opportunity disrespect – authority, blacks, and pledges are all disrespected alongside women. Remember, though, this is the film that sets the entire genre into motion.
With Animal House, college campuses changed everywhere…and with that, so did high schools (because kids reach upward). Debauchery in whatever form became cool. The movies that followed took the cue from Animal House.
The year after Animal House, the PG-movie Meatballs was released. Starring another “Saturday Night Live” star, Bill Murray, Meatballs is about a summer camp who keeps losing the camp competition to the nearby rich kids camp. The story focuses on the lives of the campers and the camp counselors and has the typical kind of leering lechery one expects from an early ’80s film. It may not have been intended as a movie for kids, but since it covers the difficulties of kids at camp, it was accepted as a kids movie. In other words, many, many children watched it and the movie’s catchphrase — “it just doesn’t matter” — became something kids chanted amongst each other on playgrounds. A troubling scene exists that seemed to raise no eyebrows at the time. Murray’s character Tripper aggressively tries to convince fellow counselor Roxanne to sleep with him. She repeatedly tells him no, to get off of her, that she will scream, and he doesn’t stop until their boss walks back into the room. Today, we recognize that as attempted rape. In 1979, that was just a guy “taking a swing.” By the way, Roxanne continues to interact with Tripper. She doesn’t call the police. She doesn’t report it, even to her boss. Take a look:
Perhaps that’s what led to Little Darlings (1980), starring two of America’s young darlings, Kristy MacNicol and Tatum O’Neal, as two 15-year-olds competing to lose their virginity first at summer camp.
Meanwhile, the guys behind Animal House made Caddyshack (1980)and disrespectful cinema really starts to take hold. Caddyshack features a golf groupie named Lacey Underwood (Cindy Morgan) who sleeps with everyone. Fun fact: Cindy Morgan, who played Lacey Underwood, did not want to do the nudity. Writer-director Harold Ramis was okay with making the change, however, uber-producer Jon Peters (one of the most powerful producers then and in Hollywood history) told her if she didn’t go topless, he’d make sure she never worked in Hollywood again. Now, when you search “Cindy Morgan” and “Caddyshack,” porn sites come up with her topless scenes with comments sections full of pervy messages.
Then, in Nov. 1981, Porky’s emerged. And that changed everything. Disrespectful is one element, but the boys will do anything to get laid concept really took off. The teen sex comedy was officially BORN. And, with success, it began devolving. We got…
The Last American Virgin (1981) – get girls drunk to have sex with them…and they don’t deserve your respect because girls love being mistreated.
Zapped! (1982) – beloved TV stars Scott Baio and Willie Ames get telekinetic powers and use it to make girls clothes fly off!
The Tom Cruise-starrer Risky Business (1983) – in the money is power ’80s, a teen becomes a pimp and turns his family home into a whore house, what a savvy businessman!
Revenge of the Nerds (1983) – having sex with the girl of your rival is the best revenge, even if you have to trick her (ps – she LOVES being raped)!
Class (1983) – whoops, I’m a teen who just slept with my best friend’s mom!
Blame It on Rio (1984) – whoops, I’m an aging man who slept with my best friend’s teen daughter whom I’m vacationing with but she totally wanted it!
Bachelor Party (1984) – made teens wonder why there would be a goat at a wild party and set the expectation that bachelor parties should be out-of-control hedonism from thereon out.
Sixteen Candles (1984…and YES, IT IS A TEEN SEX COMEDY) that ends in rape but she loved it…etc., etc.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) is, in many ways, the antidote to those films. Written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling, a woman (*gasp*!), it shows how difficult it is to be a teen and how much kids PRETEND they’re having sex so they appear cool, but in truth, are unprepared for it. Great message, but that’s not what young viewers took away from the film. They remember Brad’s fantasy scene that shows Phoebe Cates removing her bikini top. They also inaccurately remember that girls just want to get laid and guys are there to accommodate, by any means. In fact, here’s what teens remember:
Jennifer Jason Leigh explains how the MPAA unwittingly forced the movie to make changes that perhaps would have altered the movie’s takeaway message.
So, whether or not Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, only they know. But, the scenario that a boy and his friend thought it was funny to take advantage of a woman sexually? Pop culture and the era supported teen boys to think such behavior was acceptable. It’s entirely likely if they did what Ford alleges, Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge wouldn’t have lost a wink of sleep over it or even remember it later because, after all, boys will be boys. The culture suggested there was nothing wrong with that type of behavior. They were expected to “take a swing” – and why not? Of course, she’ll like it.
Luckily, times have changed. Let’s keep it that way.