Color us black and white – it’s almost Halloween! It’s this time of year when parents think of sharing with their kids the one ’80s horror comedy that seems appropriate – Beetlejuice! And, in the ’80s, the Tim Burton classic was considered a children’s film with special effects makeup and monster creations all wrapped up in a wacky comedy. (Doubt it was considered a kids film? There was an cartoon series spinoff featuring our lovable demon and young teen Lydia adventuring around the Netherworld.)
The film is a bit problematic in regard to kids and teens. On this episode of our podcast ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents (listen here or on Stitcher, iTunes, and BlogTalkRadio), movie critics Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) explore how this beloved Michael Keaton film poked fun at suicide at a time when it was at an all-time high for teens. The two also examine how it holds up in today’s environment.
As always, we’re eager to hear your analysis and opinions. Let us know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter,Facebook, or Instagram.
Thirty years ago, Daniel Waters wrote Heathers as a response to the John Hughes perspective of teen life, reflecting that getting through high school wasn’t just a struggle, it was survival. Hosts Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, discuss how the Winona Ryder-Christian Slater classic delivers substantial insight into what it was like to be a teen in the late ’80s and compare it to what high school life is like now – and the impact of Heathers on today’s high school situation.
It's the 30th Anniversary of Say Anything, the film that truly launched Cameron Crowe as a filmmaker (yes, he'd written Fast Times at Ridgemont High and made The Wild Life, but was nowhere near the household name he'd become). Crowe proved himself to be the only true rival to John Hughes when creating teen films drenched in authenticity. The one element of the film that steps outside of that is the one the script mandate coming from the higher ups - an issue that reflected the times but sent '80s kids a message that hammered in what they were already being taught: Don't. Trust. Parents.
In this episode of '80s Movies: A Guide to What's Wrong with Your Parents, co-hosts Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) discuss how the John Cusack classic holds up today, how it reflects the teen experience then and now, and that one sticky issue. Listen above or listen/subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and BlogTalk Radio.
We share a mission with Ted Logan and Bill Preston, Esq. Cinema’s favorite air-guitaring airheads know that to move forward most righteously, you’ve got to travel back in time to understand history. And, that’s exactly what we do in the ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Our Parents podcast. In this episode, we look back at why Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, a “dumb” comedy about two guys who appear to be stoners, turned out to be most triumphant and how it does and doesn’t hold up today.
Just One of the Guys has aspiring journalist Terry Griffith going undercover as a guy to fight the sexism she perceives is keeping her from landing a coveted internship at her city newspaper. However, the film puts its hand up at the idea that a girl gets sexist treatment or even get her own story told. Instead, Terry builds empathy for the challenges of the put upon male. In the process, she throws her own gender under the bus.
’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcast hosts Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts (pictured above in what we admit is some terrible Photoshop, but fun nonetheless), Gen Z, look at this and other examples of how Just One of the Guys affected a generation, for good and bad. Along the way, they discuss what’s outrageous about high school life today.
Xanadu is a pure, sweet romantic musical fantasy down to the kissing animated fish. Wait…what? You know, like the man dressed like a spider crawling under women’s legs. Huh? Xanadu is a fever dream: crazy imagery and chaos that seems awesome but when you wake up, you realize none of it made sense. But, just Olivia Newton-John sings, it’s hard to deny that Xanadu is, indeed, “magic.”
’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcasters Riley Roberts (pictured above) and Tara McNamara give their take on the roller disco musical fantasy that will leave you both humming and scratching your head. They cover the What the Heck elements, what makes it hold up, and how – even in a squeaky clean PG film, it delivered another chip in the Gen X psyche.
Give the podcast a listen and then check out our Xanadu guide page for the full explanation of what went right and went went wrong.
If you haven’t seen Casual Sex? starring Lea Thompson and Victoria Jackson, you must. At first glance, it’s a cute rom-com about two women who are looking for Mr. Right after the AIDS health crisis scared them off Mr. Right Now hook-ups. It takes place at a Club Med knock-off, the exercise fad, jokes about mineral water, and Lea Thompson’s hair are so, so ’80s. But, on closer look , it’s a tale of ’80s Hollywood history. As the “making of” story is unwound, it’s an education in how male-dominated Hollywood stuck their thumb into and managed to totally alter and mangle what is likely the most female-centric film production of the 1980’s.
With Missouri, Alabama, and other states banning abortion, Dirty Dancing has never been more important or more relevant. Made in 1987, Roe Vs. Wade was decided law and women had won the battle to control their own reproductive rights. However, screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein felt a time might come when Americans needed a reminder of why the law was passed.
Dirty Dancing is a fun, coming-of-age, dance movie with a plot that hinges completely on obtaining an illegal abortion. Viewers are reminded of why abortion is the only means of survival for some women who, in desperation, will put themselves at risk to end their pregnancy. In our podcast, mother-daughter movie critics Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) examine the film through a modern lens, looking at the abortion plotline as well as why the uncomfortable age difference between Baby and Johnny played well with young, female audiences.
And, for more details on the history of Dirty Dancing and Bergstein’s clever strategizing of how she could relay a story about the importance of giving women agency over their own bodies and decisions, go to our Dirty Dancing page here: https://80smovieguide.com/dirty-dancing/
Stephen King had been on a decade long tear of financially successful horror films and 1989’s Pet Sematary would be one of his biggest moneymakers. But was it good? Hmmm. Yeah. So, on its 30th Anniversary, there’s a new Pet Sematary! Is it any good? We get into that…but what is already evident is that it’s a money maker. One week into its release, the Pet Sematary remake with Jason Clarke and John Lithgow is already in King’s Top 10.
But, 1989’s Pet Sematary reflects something the new one doesn’t: Gen X parenting. The oldest Gen Xers were just starting to have children by the end of the ’80s – and, basically, everything that goes down in the Creed family only happens because of the new hands-on parenting that Gen Xers had adopted. Check out our take on our ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcast…you’ll see the film in an entirely different light . And remember: little Ellie is a future Millennial.
The Breakfast Club is the face of the ’80s Movies – the classic gave teens a voice, showed their box office power, and cemented John Hughes as the decade’s most influential director. This weekend marks the 35th Anniversary of Claire, Allison, John Bender, Andrew, and Brian’s Saturday detention (“March 24, 1984, Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois….”)
The movie made an impact in the entertainment industry, in Hollywood history, and most certainly, on ’80s teens who absorbed a whole lot of negative messaging. From blaming their parents for all their problems to John Bender’s abusive and sexually harassing behavior of Claire that ends in his getting the girl, ’80s Movie Guide’s Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) break down how The Breakfast Club may be the ’80s most influential film in all the wrong ways on our ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcast. Take a listen and give us your take in the comments below.