Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

The Era of the Blockbuster – Films of 1980s

Image by Alan Light

In the eighties the world of film opened up to me for the first time. This was the era of Star Wars, E.T and Back to the Future. Competition was fierce in special effects technology and if filmmakers got this right, it almost guaranteed them blockbuster status.

Let us cast our minds back to this funky little decade. Forget the bright colours of clothing and bad haircuts. What was happening in film? Trilogies were big business with each successful film squeezing out as much money out of the audience as it could. It was the ‘greed is good’ time, when the western world was thriving and films were as varied as a nun’s underclothes.

Harrison Ford had a good decade. First with the Star Wars trilogy then with the three Indiana Jones films. See, what did I tell you about trilogies? We had Mel Gibson’s Mad Max movies – 3 also, bringing a bit of weird storytelling onto the big screen. Ghostbusters could only manage a sequel and each movie got stranger and more out-there than the last, so I’m really not surprised.

Scooting over to comedies there were some crackers: The Naked Gun (x3), Beverly Hills Cop (x3), Crocodile Dundee (x 3) and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids (x3). One of my fav 80s comedy films was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – oh Matthew Broderick. The worst comedy series had to be the Police Academy films. I think they reached number six but I stopped caring after the first one. Just a little too silly for me.

And now for the dramas. Who could forget the era of the Brat Pack with films such as The Breakfast Club and St. Elmos Fire. This elite group of actors included: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Robert Downey Jnr, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, as well as many others. They had attitude and like to par-teeee. My favs were Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. Aw, every girl wanted to be Ringwald in the 80s.  Where is Molly Ringwald now? Sounds like a question for another post.

Action films were all the rage with actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis filling our screens with testosterone, sweat and a little bit of fake blood. How they survived crashing through windows, exploding aircraft and vertigo-inducing falls, I’ll never know.

The Bond films were quite confusing for audiences of the 1980s, changing actors every few years including: Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and one-timer, George Lazenby. Finally they settled down a bit with the 90s Bond man, Pierce Brosnan.

The eighties brought us muppets and aliens, Freddy Krueger and Ghandi. It took us to Africa, the American south and into space. We learnt what happened when a child is left alone… at home, what happened when old people became young again and finally understood what ‘Carpe diem’ means. Miss Daisy won herself an Oscar and our love for dance was renewed as our feet were set loose (a bit loose?).

We were terrified by the number 13, shrunken children and a very fake looking shark. Waxing on and off became cool and we realised that kids really shouldn’t play near train tracks. We met Julia Roberts, Jim Carey, Tom Cruise and Michael J Fox.

It was an 9-18ct gold era for film. A bit of fluff, sugary, addictive type films with a lot of impressive new technology and some great stories. We laughed, we wore quizzical smiles, we cried, we were shocked and disgusted. This is the 1980s in film and I love it.

What are your fav 80s film memories?


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This entry was posted on August 31, 2011 by in Best Picture Films and tagged , , , , .
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