Podcast: Racism, rape culture & Jake Ryan: How SIXTEEN CANDLES influenced a generation

Sixteen Candles Riley Roberts

Humorously showing the emotional pain of teenagers aching for true love amid the social expectations of high school, Sixteen Candles turned a teen sex comedy into an pop cultural phenomenon that was watched by every ’80s kid. Mentored by National Lampoon, known for its intentionally offensive humor, John Hughes imbued relatable and aspirational three-dimensional characters with racist and misogynistic attitudes. The depiction of a Chinese foreign exchange…

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Podcast: ST. ELMO’S FIRE reflects how life in the ’80s truly was “out of hand.”

cast of St. Elmo's Fire 1985

St. Elmo’s Fire was a response to the teen films of the 1980s, examining what happens after college.  Joel Schumacher crafted an authentic and progressive story about the emotional lives and professional challenges of seven recent Georgetown grads, reflecting young women focused on career rather than marriage and introducing the idea of a gay lead character (a baby step, but…

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Podcast: How the U.S. Capitol insurrection can be traced back to RED DAWN

RED DAWN Patrick Swayze Lea Thompson Jennifer Grey Charlie Sheen C. Thomas Howell Darren Dalton Brad Savage

“Wolverines!” The call creates a Pavlovian swell of patriotic pride in ’80s teens. John Milius’ Red Dawn is one of the few teen action films of the ’80s — and definitely the most influential. It showed that teens were responsible, skilled, and capable enough to save their town and, possibly, the United States. It’s a blow ’em up, shoot ’em up,…

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Podcast: RISKY BUSINESS Declared Women are Products and Money is all that Matters.

Risky Business Riley Roberts

When you’re looking to explain the 1980s, look to Risky Business. Teens were attracted to the Paul Brickman comedy by the music video featuring Tom Cruise dancing in his underpants. Running constantly on MTV, teens watched and rewatched the “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” music video and its resonant clips of a line of beautiful prostitutes walking into Joel’s house,…

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Podcast: 9 TO 5 is a snapshot of 1980

9 to 5 Parton Fonda Tomlin

Pour yourself a cup of ambition, it’s the 40th Anniversary of 9 to 5! Wonderfully executed as a broad office buddy comedy, 9 to 5 made a definitive impact in creating empathy and understanding for women in the workplace. Film authorities Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, look back at the 1980…

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