::Literate Blather::
Friday, May 02, 2008
Save Molly: 10 Great Teen Flicks from the 1980s

Our Picks for the Best Movies of the Brat Pack and Their Partners in Crime

Breakfast Club

Released: 1985

Director: John Hughes

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy

Worst Actor: Emilio Estevez – stiff and unnatural per usual.

Best Actor: Emilio Estevez – for the scene where he confesses why he’s in detention. It’s the best piece of acting he’s ever done. Unfortunately, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Plot: Five high school students – a criminal, a princess, a jock, a brain and a basket case – send a Saturday in detention. At first, they fall into their respective stereotypes, but slowly they open up and begin to see each other as real people.

Poignant Moment: Varsity wrestler Andrew Clark (Estevez) tells the others that he’s in detention for taping a nerds butt cheeks together. The story starts out amusing, but Andy realizes that he has tortured and humiliated another boy in order to please his demanding father. He ends up in tears and talks about how much he hates his father.

Funniest Line: “It’s sort of social, demented and sad, but social.”

Best Song: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by the Simple Minds

Why It Feels Dated: “The Breakfast Club” actually feels less dated than most 80s teen flicks. The movie is filled entirely in a school library on a Saturday – so there’s not much in the way of technology or fashion to make it feel old. Even the outfits wore by the kids would hold up in today’s world.

Cool Fact #1: The opening shots of the movie show different scenes inside the deserted high school and the camera shows graffiti scrawl that says: “I don’t like Mondays.” This is a reference to Brenda Spencer who attacked an elementary school with a gun killing two adults and injuring some children. When asked why she did it, she answered: “I don’t like Mondays.” This is clearly a reference to the potential for violence in Judd Nelson’s character Bender.

Cool Fact #2: In the same sequence, the camera alights on a glass case filled with awards and a picture of a student with the words: “Man of the Year” over it. The photograph is of Carl Reed – the custodian in the movie.

Sixteen Candles

Released: 1984

Director: John Hughes

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Justin Henry, Anthony Michael Hall, John Cusack, Michael Schoeffling, Jami Gertz, and Gedde Watanabe

Worst Actor: Michael Schoeffling as love interest Jake Ryan. He’s got as much range as a cricket trapped in a mayonnaise jar.

Best Actor: Jami Gertz in a minor role as a giggling drunk girl. She shows more emotional depth in two minutes than Molly Ringwald manages in the entire movie.

Plot: A high school girl turns 16 on the eve of her older sister getting married. Her family forgets and she proceeds to have the worst day of her life. But in the end, she ends up with the most popular boy in school.

Poignant Moment: When Molly Ringwald confines to her father, actor Justin Baker, that she’s fallen in love with the class jock.

Funniest Line: “Oh, Sam, let me take a look at you. Fred, she’s gotten her boobies!”

Best Song: “Sixteen Candles” doesn’t quite have the rock chops of other teen 80s flicks, but the move does have David Bowie doing “Young Americans.”

Why It Feels Dated: Mostly because Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald were 16 years old when the movie was released – and, well, have you seen them lately? They’re middle-aged!

Cool Fact #1: “Sixteen Candles” is often associated with sweetness and innocence and the start of the Brat Pack movies. It’s practically a kids’ movie, right? Not quite. First, there’s the full frontal nudity of Haviland Morris taking a soapy shower as Molly Ringwald and her friend spy on her and comment on her considerable assets. Then there’s the Anthony Michael Hall as the Geek basically date raping Haviland while she’s passed out drunk. Thirdly, how about Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong passed out drunk on the front lawn? There’s so much sex and

alcohol abuse in “Sixteen Candles” it resembles “Animal House” more than “Mary Poppins.”

Cool Fact #2: Premiere, the movie industry magazines, voted Michael Anthony Hall’s line to Molly Ringwald: “Can I borrow your underpants for 10 minutes?” as number 86 in their ranking of the 100 best movie lines.

Say Anything

Released: 1989

Director: Cameron Crowe

Starring: John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Pamela Adlon, and Loren Dean.

Worst Actor: Loren Dean as the

Lili Taylor’s boyfriend, Joe. Talk about wide-eyed and dim-witted.

Best Actor: Ione Skye as the cute, lovable, and brilliant Diane Court. Who among us would be worthy?

Plot: Upon graduation, slacker, but all around nice guy, Lloyd Dobler, decides he wants to date the smartest and prettiest girl in his class, Diane Court. They date through the summer, break-up because of the legal troubles of her father, and then end up back together again.

Poignant Moment: A heartbroken John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” on a boom box outside of Ione Skye’s bedroom window. He looks like a wounded puppy as he holds the box over his head.

Funniest Line: “She’s gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.”

Best Song: “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith

Why It Feels Dated: When is the last time you saw a high school student wearing a Clash t-shirt?

Cool Fact #1: The following actors were considered for the role of Lloyd Dobler before it was given to Cusack: Kirk Cameron, Robert Downey Jr., and Christian Slater.

Cool Fact #2: Director Cameron Crowe asked the band the Smithereens to write the love song for the movie and they came up with “A Girl Like You.” However, Crowe thought the lyrics gave too much of the movie’s plot away and passed on it. He finally settled on Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”

Valley Girl

Released: 1983

Director: Martha Coolidge

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Elizabeth Daily, Michael Bowen, Cameron Dye, and Heidi Holicker

Worst Actor: Deborah Foreman as love interest Julie Richman gives an uneven performance – not to mention that ridiculous grin that you want to slap off her face with a free-range chicken carcass.

Best Actor: Nicolas Cage as Randy (in his first major movie role) sets himself apart with a complicated and emotionally charged performance.

Plot: Basically, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” set in the Valley and Hollywood. Cage plays the Hollywood punk bad boy who falls head over heels in love with Valley Girl Foreman. Peer pressure gets to her and she bre

aks up with him. But in continues to pursue her and eventually they get back together.

Poignant Moment: A heartbroken Nicholas Cage gets raging drunk at a punk club and upon leaving gets into an argument with a group of Latino gang members cruising by in a low rider. His buddy saves him and Cage ends up puking in the alley. His buddy decides to help him get his girlfriend back.

Funniest Line: “That techno-rock you guys listen to is gutless.

Best Song: “Eyes of a Stranger” by the Payolas

Why It Feels Dated: Nicholas Cage has his own hair (and no hair piece).

Cool Fact #1: Hard to fathom that a movie this deep was written in 10 days.

Cool Fact #2: The movie poster for the movie features Nicholas Cage wearing a black vest and tie without a shirt. His hair is spiked up and his abs are rock hard and ridged. In other words – he looks like an idiot.

Pretty in Pink

Released: 1986

Director: Howard Deutch

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy, and Andrew Dice Clay

Worst Actor: Has Andrew McCarthy ever been good in anything? He’s at his pouty worst in “Pretty in Pink.” One wishes that Andrew Dice Clay had gotten roaring drunk one night and pounded McCarthy into Wisconsin cheese.

Best Actor: James Spader as Steff – the reprehensible rich asshole.

The performance is pure sweetness – especially the scene when he blatantly hits on Molly Ringwald after shaming the crybaby Blane into thinking he’s slumming because he has a crush on her.

Plot: Poor girl, Andy, and the popular rich boy, Blane, fall in love. Their friends fight against it. Blane crumbles like feta cheese and dumps Andy – but in the end he comes crawling back on prom night.

Poignant Moment: Andy deciding that Blane dumping her for another girl at the prom won’t break her – and then making her own prom dress out of some pink curtains or something.

Funniest Line: “Money really means nothing to me. Do you think I’d treat my parents’ house this way if it did?”

Best Song: The best song, unfortunately, was left off the soundtrack. It is “Positively Lost Me” by the Rave-Ups.

Why It Feels Dated: It’s “Pretty in Pink.” Just saying the name of the movie makes us feel like old bastards.

Cool Fact #1: Robert Downey Jr. and Anthony Michael Hall were co

nsidered for the role of Duckie. Molly Ringwald said that if Downey had taken the role, the original ending of Duckie getting the girl would probably have happened. The ending we want involves Duckie and Blane dying in a gay suicide pack and Steff winning over Andy.

Cool Fact #2: DaRK PaRTY will forever hate “Pretty in Pink” because of the decision to leave the Rave-Ups off the soundtrack – despite them performing two songs in the movie. What a raw deal for a band as good as the Rave-Ups. Instead, the fame went to OMD – a crap techno-rock band.

The Sure Thing

Released: 1985

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: John Cusack, Daphne

Zuniga, Anthony Edwards, Tim Robbins, and Boyd Gaines

Worst Actor: No one stands out as terribly bad in “The Sure Thing,” which is a credit to Director Rob Reiner.

Best Actor: John Cusack hands in the comedic performance that makes him, well, John Cusack. Cusack has magnificent timing for a comedian and one of the best ironic expressions for delivering sarcastic one-liners. This is the movie were he learn how to do all that.

Plot: A college freshman slacker’s buddy promises him a “sure thing” if he comes to California for spring break. He travels with an egghead female across the country. The two of them can’t stand each other – so, of course, they fall madly in love with one another.

Poignant Moment: The last scene of the movie ha

s Cusack’s English professor reading his essay called “The Sure Thing” and when it becomes clear that he didn’t score – because he was in love with Daphne – she lights up like a Christmas tree and they are back together again.

Funniest Line: “I was in Paris once with my wife. Boy, am I glad she’s dead.”

Best Song: “The Sure Thing” doesn’t have the blockbuster soundtrack of other teen flicks of this era, but I do like “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart.

Why It Feels Dated: There’s a Huey Lewis song on the soundtrack. Huey Lewis was sounding dated in 1989.

Cool Fact #1: The movie was the second by Rob Reiner. His first, of course, was the classic “This is Spinal Tap.”

Cool Fact #2: Some of the campus scenes were filmed at University of the Pacific, but the college in the movie is on the east coast. So Reiner had fake snow pumped on the grass for a scene were Cusack runs across the snowy campus. The fake snow killed the grass at UOP after the filming was completed. Oops!

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Released: 1986

Director: John Hughes

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stein, and Cindy Pickett.

Worst Actor: Jennifer Grey as Jeanie Bueller, Ferris’ little sister, is an annoyance throughout the movie. Grey’s skills as an actress are questionable – and here she proves the questions are warranted.

Best Actor: It was be easy to pick Matthew Broderick as Ferris – because he truly shines as the high school rapscallion. However, Charlie Sheen’s role as “Boy in Police Station” nearly steals the film.

Plot: An irrepressible high school bard, Ferris Bueller, decides to skip school with his girlfriend and best friend to experience the perfect spring day

in Chicago. But he has to face off obstacles like getting caught by his father, a wily high principal, and his jealous little sister.

Poignant Moment: When Cameron, in a rage against his rich father, has a temper tantrum and crashes his Ferrari. Kids!

Funniest Line: “You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she’s a whore.”

Best Song: “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton

Why It Feels Dated: “Ferris” holds up surprisingly well. The most dated thing about the film is probably the uniforms on the Chicago Cubs players.

Cool Fact #1: In order to get just right “drugged” out appearance for his role, Charlie Sheen stayed up for 48 hours before filming. It probably wasn’t too difficult for Charlie who was known as quite a party boy in his younger days.

Cool Fact #2: Actors who were considered for the role of Ferris included: John Cusack, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Eric Stoltz, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., and Michael J. Fox. Actors considered for playing Cameron included

Anthony Michael Hall and Emilio Estevez (and it should be noted that Alan Ruck, the actor who finally got the role was 29 years old).

Better Off Dead

Released: 1985

Director: Savage Steve Holland

Starring: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Curtis Armstrong, Kim Darby, Demian Slade, Scooter Stevens, and Diane Franklin

Worst Actor: Rather than talk about bad acting -- because there really isn't any here let's talk about the job Curtis Armstrong does as Charles d

e Mar. He's brilliant!

Best Actor: Another top-notch performance from the teen wonder, John Cusack, in what might be his funniest role ever.

Plot: Hmm. Not really much of a plot here. Cusack as Lane Meyer is a high school student who falls in love with a French exchange student after a terrible break-up with his girlfriend makes him ponder suicide.

Poignant Moment: Good question. We’ll get back to you on this one.

Funniest Line: "I've been going to this high school for seven and half years. I'm no dummy. I know high school girls."

Best Song: Another bad soundtrack for a teen flick, but notable is Elizabeth Daily (from "Valley Girl" ) singing "One Way Love (Better Off Dead)."

Why It Feels Dated: This is another movie that holds up surprisingly well, except for the clothing.

Cool Fact #1: When actress Amana Wyss arrives at the high school dance there is a person behind her wearing a Freddy Krueger sweater. Amanda was Freddy's first victim in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

Cool Fact #2: The clay-mation scene of a hamburger dancing and singing to Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some!!" is worth the rental price at the DVD store (see video above).

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Released: 1982

Director: Amy Heckerling

Starring: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Brian Backer, Robert Romanus, Ray Watson, and Forest Whitaker

Worst Actor: The performances in “Fast Times” were excellent – so no weakest link here.

Best Actor: The obvious choice here is Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, the wasted surfer dude who has some of the best one-liners in the movie. But the real soul of the movie rests with Judge Reinhold as Brad Hamilton who just can’t seem to catch a break.

Plot: A group of high school kids in southern California experiences the trials and tribulations of being a teenager – sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

Poignant Moment: When Mike Damone has quick, sloppy sex with Stacy Hamilton in her pool house and the camera lingers on her naked body. It’s an awkward scene – and hits home her desperation and loneliness.

Funniest Line: “What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?”

Best Song: Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin

Why It Feels Dated: The clothing in “Fast Times” just doesn’t hold up, especially Stacy’s work uniform.

Cool Fact #1: Sean Penn went all “method actor” with the role of Jeff Spicoli. He actually put out a cigarette on his palm in order to better understand his character and would only answer to the name “Spicoli” during filming.

Cool Fact #2: The biggest annoyance with “Fast Times” is that Mike Damone tells Rat that the best way to score with chicks is to put on the second side of “Led Zeppelin IV.” In the next scene, Rat is in the car with Stacy and the Zeppelin song “Kashmir” is blasting. Kashmir,” however, is on the album “Physical Graffiti.”


Released: 1989

Director: Michael Lehmann

Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, and Penelope Milford

Worst Actor: The cast is all aces in “Heathers.”

Best Actor: Christian Slater channeling Jack Nicholson as the dark J.D. (see video below)

Plot: “Heather” is dark comedy at its finest. The movie is about a clique of popular girls all named Heather. They despise everyone, but themselves. Veronica Sawyer is in and out of the clique until she meets the new boy at school J.D. With J.D.’s dark influence upon her, Veronica and J.D. begin to kill the other girls and popular students. Veronica finally rebels against J.D. and stops him from blowing up the whole school.

Poignant Moment: When Veronica accidentally murders one of the Heathers by poisoning her with drain cleaner and J.D. convinces her to cover it up by penning a suicide note.

Funniest Line: “Football season is over, Veronica. Kurt and Ram had nothing left to offer the school except for date rapes and AIDS jokes.”

Best Song: Amazingly, no song in “Heathers” deserves this distinction.

Why It Feels Dated: Big hair.

Cool Fact #1: How is this for weird? In the movie, Heather Duke asks Heather Chandler (played by Kim Walker): “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?” Walker died of a brain tumor in 2001.

Cool Fact #2: The roles of Veronica and J.D. were originally offered to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Connelly. The producers also tried to get Stanley Kubrick as the director.

Read our picks for some of the most poetic violent scenes in movies

Read about Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery of character movies

Our picks for the coolest sci-fi flicks of all time

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Blogger KyleeJ said...
Love 'em all, but The Breakfast Club is my favorite.

Blogger GFS3 said...
Hard not to put the "Breakfast Club" at the top of the deck.

Long live John Bender!

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