20 Comments

The 80′s: Love Series Part 4

There has never been, nor ever will be a time like the 80′s.  There, I said it.

How is it I can make such a bold statement?  Well, besides this being my blog and what I say goes, there was a simplicity to the 80′s that’s long gone.  And since my childhood activities consisted of TV and movies, I’ll be sticking to that for my analysis.

Now when I use the word simple, I’m not referring to the storytelling.  In fact, you could argue that it was HARDER to tell a good story back then.  (Hehe “back then”.  I’m an old fogey.)  Remember how cool it was to see Jurassic Park because of the wicked effects?  Even though there were precursors in stuff like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park was the game changer.  Remember all the effects heavy movies AFTER Jurassic Park?  Me neither.  The focus shifted from dazzling our minds, to our eyes.

There was none of that in the 80′s.  Yes there were special effects, but an entire movie couldn’t be carried by them.  The most elaborate effect in The Terminator was the sequence where the machine was walking without its Arnold suit.  The rest of the movie was all character interaction where some of the most memorable scenes are the talking ones.

“Listen, and UNDERSTAND! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, EVER, until you are dead.”

Raise your hand if you’ve got the urge to re-watch.

Those characters were full of life because without them, there was no story.  Nothing to fall back on.  Here are a few random titles:

Back to the Future

Heathers

The Breakfast Club

The Goonies

Ghostbusters

If you’ve seen any of those at least once, you’re mind just exploded with memorable lines and scenes.  That doesn’t happen as much when I see movies now.  I still see good movies, but they’re not like the 80′s.

And what about the music?

Pretty much every movie had a memorable sound track, with actual songs written for the movie.  And if there wasn’t a song, the music was recognizable enough to be associated with a specific film.  “The Power of Love”, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, “Ghostbusters”, all commercial hits in their own right and working to propel these movies to be more than just movies.

On to TV.

Basically the same concept as movies except these larger than life characters had weekly adventures.  A-Team, Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, I remember almost none of the episodes (Not a dig on their content, but on my fish like memory.) because it’s been years since I’ve seen them, but the characters are vivid as ever.  This was also the home of the the two-parter.

All season every episode was self-contained until one came along so huge, it had to be broken in two.  These two-parters REQUIRED you to know what happened the week before and didn’t resolve the cliffhanger in the first five minutes of part two.  This was before internet, cell phones and the myriad of other distractions we have today.  This was what you talked about all week until part two because there was no waiting for the DVD or saving it on your DVR.  If you missed it, you better hoped you caught the rerun in the summer.  And people still like a good two-parter today as evidenced by the huge ratings of last season’s Castle two-parter.

Besides the prime time stuff, I watched a bunch of cartoons and weird as it may be, I identified more with a man-cat like Lion-O, than what’s on today.  I don’t think I’ve grown out of cartoons because I still like watching those old ones.  It’s more that the conflict’s been sucked out of everything.

Exibit A: Transformers.  Autobots at war with the Decepticons who are trying to steal the earth’s energy.  Action-packed.

Exibit B: Transformers reboot.   Autobots at war with the Decepticons who are trying to collect all the microcons scattered around the earth?  WTF?  COLLECT?  Does that make any sense?  What happened to the conflict?  Please bring it back!  My young mind can handle it, I swear!

So here we are in 2011 and in the past few years there’s been a resurgence to the 80′s.  TV shows like Psych are clearly written by 80′s lovers with all the references they throw in.  The recent Expendables tried to recapture the glory days of 80′s action.  Hot Tub Time Machine.  The most ridiculous name for a movie designed so it could take place in the 80′s.

In the 80′s, character was king.  They stole the show, our hearts and we never forgot them.  If I can somehow infuse that into my storytelling, I’ll have given my favorite time the best tribute.

So . . . agree, disagree?  Something I missed?  I different era that spoke to you like the 80′s did for me?  Make your voice heard!

Info Stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and for the month of February, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to my Love series.  Eight loves that have shaped me into the writer I am.

Also if you missed Amy Rose Davis‘s guest post, give it a click and learn why she loves fantasy so much.

And tomorrow, February 11th, I’m being interviewed by Draven Ames on his blog.

20 comments on “The 80′s: Love Series Part 4

  1. Wow. The 80′s. I personally think most of the music was horrible in the 80′s, but there were a few bands and songs that redeemed the decade. LOL

    You did mention a TV show from the 80′s that I absolutely loved. The A-Team. We all love it when a plan comes together, don’t we? :)

    Honestly, the 80′s weren’t my favorite times for TV and movies, but I think it’s because I’m kind of a forward thinker and everything needs to be shiny and new, new, NEW! I love technology and special effects, and I absolutely LOVE the movies that have been made from graphic novels. I think Iron Man is my favorite. So I probably prefer this decade. Because it has Criminal Minds….

    And yeah…I loved Terminator. The 80′s did have some cool stuff going on. The best thing about the 80′s, though? That’s when Stephen King did some of his best writing!

    Btw, weren’t you just a little kid in the 80′s???

    • Yes, I was a young babe in the 80′s and my little mind soaked up lots and lots movies and TV. Plus with the help of my best friend V.C. Arrh, I could watch this stuff whenever I wanted.

      I’ve actually come the appreciate 80′s music more these past few years because of my wife. She got me into stuff like Depeche Mode and I love it.

      Agree about Iron Man. That’s a movie that would’ve have been possible without today’s technology. And Inception is another good example of technology being used the right way. It’s blended so well, you’re never taken out of the story. But as good as those movies are, is their a Marty Mcfly? A truffle shuffle? Does anyone announce they’ve been slimed? Sadly no.

      • I have to admit loving Ghost Busters and Back to the Future. But…I don’t remember what the truffle shuffle refers to.

        I do NOT like Depeche Mode. LOL

        Loved Inception. A lot of people didn’t get it, but I had no trouble following it.

        • The truffle shuffle was the embarrassing dance the kids from The Goonies made their friend Chunk do before he could come into the house. One of the funniest scenes.

          I heard that about Inception, but I had no problems with it too. I guess it’s one of those movies that requires your full attention or you could get lost.

  2. The Goonies! OMG, love! I wonder if it’s on Netflix instant watch…

    Gah, it’s not! Shame, Netflix, Shame!

    I have a slightly different viewpoint on the 80s. Susan has made it her life’s mission to make sure I watch a number of 80s classics that I missed because I wasn’t a TEENAGER in the 80s. But cartoons…yes 80s cartoons were SO MUCH BETTER. Voltron, Transformers, Thundercats, Johnny Quest… In the 80s there were cartoons that were WORTH WAKING UP EARLY FOR ON SATURDAY MORNING. Since then…nah, I’d rather sleep in.

    I absolutely think that the advent of fantastic special effects, while cool, has had a detrimental effect on story telling because so many movies rely on those to carry the story as you said. In a lot of cases it has become plot optional.

    • Hey, Kait, I agree with you about the special effects maybe carrying a movie at the expense of a plot. I think it all depends on what kind of mood you’re in. My tastes are so eclectic about books, movies, music, etc. Sometimes I enjoy watching a movie that just has great special effects and where I don’t have to think too much. Because I have to think so much on my job, and then when I write. At that point, I just want to be entertained. And then there are times where I want to dig deep into a story and feel what the characters feel. So…it just depends.

    • Occasionally you get good cartoons like The Avengers on Disney or The X-Men and Spider-Man ones in the 90′s, but for the most part I don’t get them. I am intrigued by the Thundercats reboot in the works. I’m not crazy about the art, (Except for Panthro) but I’ll give it a shot.

      And on this day I pronounce that I too will make it my life’s mission to introduce you to 80′s classics. I’ll need to take a meeting with Susan to find out where we’re at with your conversion. There’s no escape. Best to submit.

  3. Ah, yes, Jurassic Park. The surround-sound of rattling grass. Then, as the brontosaurus reared up to munch a tree top, I whispered, goggle-eyed, “How they’d train it to do that!” Crazy, huh? But magic then!

  4. Ah, the 80s. Now you’re speaking my language. I graduated high school in 1987. The Goonies was filmed in my home state. And remember Short Circuit? Yeah, part of it was filmed up by my high school!

    And the MUSIC! I hear some of the songs from back then, and instantly, I’m back at a middle or high school dance. Oh, the angst!

    LOL on “didn’t believe the brontosaurus.” You know, those puppies are hard to train…

    Amy

    • Glad we speak the same language. As I wrote this post I realized I could’ve done an 80′s series, but I suppose VH1 did that already.

      That’s pretty cool you’ve got all that 80′s history right in your backyard. Too bad you couldn’t snag an autograph from #5 when Short Circuit came to your high school.

  5. I remember going to the actual tiny cinema in my home town to watch “Back to the Future” and “Teen Wolf”. Two years later they tore it down and made it into sheltered housing for the elderly. These days I compensate by watching old movies while I do the ironing, and sneaking Eighties tunes onto the mix discs I make for the car (When I’m driving, it’s MY music, ok?) Got the kids singing along to Mister Mister, Tiffany, T’Pau…Oh, I’m choking up just thinking of it….

  6. What memories your post brings back. I was into sci fi big time back then. Loved all the movies – star trek, ET, Aliens, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth. Not to mention the campy spaceballs or caddy shack. Jurassic park was awesome. Just introduced my son to the movie. Recently picked up the Back to the Future series to watch with him. Lot of creativity in the 80′s.

  7. [...] into them because I’m a big horror movie fan.  Particularly the slasher genre, it was during the 80′s after all.  A big staple of the slasher movie was Final Girl.  She’s the last one left [...]

  8. [...] post? Damn this internet break! Yeah, so during my break I missed reading and timely commenting on The 80′s: Love Series Part 4. Luckily, since I’m Fandrew #1, Andrew Mocete’s posts are high on my catch-up list. [...]

  9. [...] back on 80s movies and TV(AKA The Greatest Time Period in the History of Ever), much of it, by today’s standards, would be totally ridiculous. Back then I didn’t [...]

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