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The 80’s Movies Timewarp

  • 07-01-2022 1:09am
    Registered Users Posts: 626 ✭✭✭

    Looking at the recent and upcoming movie releases, they’re filled with callbacks to iconic 80’s movies either as reboots or sequels with the original and by now ageing stars.

    Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Rocky (Creed), Top Gun, Rambo, Die Hard, Ghostbusters, Terminator, Predator, National Lampoon, Blade Runner, Dark Crystal, Tron, Robocop, Halloween, Mad Max, Karate Kid (Cobra Kai), The Thing are some of the most obvious/recent ones and most of them are still being recycled today in one form or another. When you look at movies from other decades, while there’s always been remakes, there’s been nothing like the constant revisiting/recycling of 80’s movies.

    With a few notable exceptions, most of the 80’s reboots/sequels have been garbage that often come across as inadvertent parodies of the originals and desperate attempts to recapture previous glories.

    So, was the 80’s the absolute pinnacle of cinema that we are now condemned to endlessly revisiting the 80’s iconic movies, or have all the great screenwriters gone to Netflix etc. Is cinema itself by recycling those 80’s movies, now like those old TV shows at the end of their run that churned out flashback episodes to try and remind the audience why we used to like the shows in the first place.

    When these reboots turn out bad, you often hear the ‘you’ve ruined my childhood’ wailing, which suggests these people who grew up with the originals in the 80’s, never fully grew up. Apart from the movies, there’s the whole 80’s nostalgia industry based on those same (usually male) adults now in their late 40’s/50’s buying toys and dolls etc based on 80’s movies and pop culture. (Of course you don’t call them dolls or toys anymore, they’re ‘collectibles’).

    Anyway, I’d be interested to hear other peoples take on this constant/endless reliving of 80’s movies. Is it just middle aged people who want to recapture their lost youth, or are younger people genuinely interested in seeing these movies repurposed for their time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,360 ✭✭✭MfMan

    IMO, the 80s was a decade that 'lightened up' a great deal after the bleak austerity of the 70s. The movies you list points to that I think; big-budget entertainment but not many of great substance. It's often been said that the 70s was one of the greatest decades of all for cinema with any amount of classics being released, though thankfully not too many yet seem to be the subject of remakes.

    The 80s, particularly the first 5 years, was undoubtedly the greatest era I've experienced for (pop) music.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,716 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    these things go in cycles - the 80s is long enough ago that today's kids mostly haven't seen the movies. Also to anyone who wasn't around in the 80s they now look very dated. We watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles the other day, still a great movie but it looks like a relic from the distant past. The equivalent for me as a kid in the 80s would have been watching one of those Bob Hope/Bing Crosby movies from the early 50s!

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,143 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy

    For a lot of young teenagers now, the 80's are the generation their parents grew up in so they'll have grown up listening to music from that era and quite likely being shown films and tv shows that their parents enjoyed in their childhood (e.g. my own kids loved Dogtanian and the Muskahounds, The Land Before Time, Labyrinth and many other "classics" from the 80's that we showed them when they were small).

    Add to that the fact the current crop of those involved in making films in Hollywood would include a lot of 40 / 50 somethings who themselves grew up in the 80s and it's no great surprise that there's a great nostalgia for a decade that (while it was pretty miserable here in Ireland) was a real boom time for most of the rest of the western world...

    It's all cyclical:

    In the 70's and early 80's Happy Days a show about growing up in a suburban middle class America in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    In the 80's we watched The Wonder Years, a show about growing up in suburban middle class America in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    In the 90's we watched That 70's Show a show about growing up in suburban middle class America in the late 70's.

    I can't think of one for the 00's but certainly the modern equivalent would be The Goldbergs: a show about growing up in suburban middle class America in the 80's.

    No doubt in another 10 years or so, there'll be a hit sitcom based on growing up in suburban middle class America during the 90's....

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,786 ✭✭✭✭CastorTroy

    Well we have That 90s Show coming out. Don't know if it'll be a hit though.

    I think there are plans for a new Labyrinth as well.

    Then we have sequels in comic form as well. Jack Burton and Snake Plissken even starred together.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,838 ✭✭✭✭silverharp

    If back to the future was made today they would be going back to 1992

    A belief in gender identity involves a level of faith as there is nothing tangible to prove its existence which, as something divorced from the physical body, is similar to the idea of a soul. - Colette Colfer

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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,786 ✭✭✭✭CastorTroy

    I do notice a trend of setting movies and tvs shows in the 80s and 90s more these days. Though I think it's a combination of nostalgia and avoiding the problem of having to explain why someone can't just use a mobile phone or the internet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,929 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,786 ✭✭✭✭CastorTroy

    Yep, though I think people chose to forget about it. 😀 Or the British remake of That 70's Show called Days Like These

    I didn't mention it since Sleepy just mentioned there may be a 90's themed series

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,786 ✭✭✭✭CastorTroy

    On this, I just found out there's a Grange Hill sequel movie in the works that will follow up on some of the students.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,351 ✭✭✭✭bodhrandude

    Some of these students wound up on Eastenders when it debuted in the early eighties namely Michelle and Ian haha, What Sleepy said really, American Graffiti preceded Happy Days which shared some of the same cast. Also don't forget Malcom in the Middle which in some ways was similar to the Wonder Years except that was about growing up in the eighties and nineties.

    If you want to get into it, you got to get out of it. (Hawkwind 1982)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,838 ✭✭✭✭silverharp

    I dont think Malcolm was set in the past though , it was a current time show to when it was filmed where as Wonder Years did lean into hsitorical events like the Vietnam war.

    A belief in gender identity involves a level of faith as there is nothing tangible to prove its existence which, as something divorced from the physical body, is similar to the idea of a soul. - Colette Colfer

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,143 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy

    Yeah, I left Malcolm in the Middle out as unlike the others I mentioned, it was set in the time it aired. The "period-piece" family sitcom seems to run on a well worn path of being set 20ish years ago...

    CasterTroy makes a great point that setting things prior to the late 90s (or arguably even the mid 00's) lets a writer work around the "why don't you just call him / google it?" issue in their story.

  • Registered Users Posts: 529 ✭✭✭BaywatchHQ

    I've not even seen that many 80s films but I did watch the full Halloween franchise recently and thought it was overrated. The best was probably the second. I think the Rambo trilogy was great and I think the 2019 film was ok too. I wouldn't mind seeing a Rambo remake with a new actor, movies like that would be good in any decade.

    A good 80s film I watched recently was National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. It must have been overshadowed by Home Alone which was released shortly after. It was written by John Hughes too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,685 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Most are just meh retreads or totally dependent on the nostalgia factor.

    I think the Creed movies work as 'new'. If you had never heard of the original Rocky movies would you still them? I would.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,776 ✭✭✭speedboatchase

    It's fairly simple. Movies that have the most possibility of becoming a hit are 'four quadrant': appealing to males and females over and under 25. If you reboot an 80s movie, not only do you know that the concept has a possibility of success, you have multi-generational brand awareness. Anything before the 80s is trickier, since it will likely not have the direct link between a parent and their child (possibly a reason why West Side Story flopped).

    On top of that, streaming services are on a huge IP binge at the moment. They need a lot of content and they need it fast, so it's more time-consuming and risky to invest in dozens of new IP. Instead, just go with what worked before and downgrade if it necessary (e.g. the number one movie of 1990 - Home Alone - is rebooted but not worthy of a cinema release).