Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top 10 Most Underrated 80's Movie Classics

The 1980's served as an extremely important decade for all of pop culture. The music, movies, hairstyles and clothing live on and are often still referenced today. There is no denying the impact such films as "The Breakfast Club," "Back to the Future," and "Ferris Bueller's Day off" had on the world both then and now. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find many gems from the 80's that may have flown a bit more under the radar but offer just as much nostalgia. I now offer you the 10 most underrated 80's classics:

1. Adventures in Babysitting (1987). This is a movie that most people have seen at least once. It lacks the critical acclaim that a movie like "Breakfast Club" has attained but its memory lives on just the same.  The always lovable Elisabeth Shue stars in this epic tale about a night of babysitting gone horribly awry. It's one of those films that after you watch it, you feel like six or seven hours have gone by because so much happened. You have an ill-fated trip to downtown Chicago, a group of car thieves chasing the kids through the ghetto, a house party, a jazz club, and a gang fight on a subway train...And that just sums up about half the mayhem. This film had me begging my mother to get Elisabeth Shue to babysit for me (the offer still stands), and will always be remembered as a classic 80's adventure.

2. The Lost Boys (1987). This is a movie that transcends the horror genre and made vampires cool and hip. The "Twilight" series owes at least a vile of blood to this cult-classic. Director Joel Schumacher created a very visual film that might be the quintessential pop-culture based movie of the entire decade. The film always seems to be stuck in limbo because it blurs the lines between horror, comedy and action, but does so beautifully. The young, good-looking vampires were groundbreaking at the time and helped set a trend for future screen appearances from the creatures of the night. This would also be the first of many "Corey and Corey films." No explanation should be needed there. This is one that we all remember renting at the video store and staying up late to watch with our friends while eating from one of those old Doritos bags and drinking Pepsi Free.

3. Revenge of the Nerds (1984). On the heels of the timeless "Animal House" came "Revenge of the Nerds," a very underrated comedy about a fraternity of nerds who are trying to fit in at a large university. Hilarity ensues as they battle with members of the Alpha Betas for college supremacy! So many memorable one liners came from this awesome film such as the unforgettable character "Booger" belching out "we've got bush!" following a hilarious panty raid scene. This movie also helped us realize that nerds are just as cool as party-crazed football players. The intellectual elite CAN get the girl in the end and none of us will truly be free until nerd persecution ends. Oh by the way..."Just clap your hands everybody and everybody clap your hands, we're Lamda Lamda Lamda and..Omega Moo."

4. Vision Quest (1985). This flick did for amateur wrestling what "The Karate Kid" did for Karate. This movie develops a wonderful blend of action film and love story as Matthew Modine plays a head-strong high school wrestler bent on wrestling the best prospect in the state. His "vision quest" is well documented throughout the film as he draws strength and direction from a woman who he falls in love with early in the movie. The climax is fantastic and in the end, you are genuinely cheering this kid on as he faces both of his toughest challenges at once (wrestling Shute, and starting a relationship with Carla). The soundtrack to this movie keeps you going throughout as artists like Journey, Dio, Madonna and John Waite valiantly guide you through the film.

5. License to Drive (1988). The "Corey and Corey" shenanigans continue in this coming-of-age classic about a kid trying to get his drivers license and the freedom that it represents! We can all relate to this time in our lives and "License to Drive" depicts our feelings of teenage angst and rebellion to a tee. This is one of those films that you wish you could live just once. Corey Haim's character steels his grandpa's car so he can take out a very lovely Heather Graham, only to have her pass out mid-date as he and his friends encounter numerous whimsical adventures before returning the car home safe and sound.The nostalgia is strong in this one, and it's a movie that you can watch as a 30 year old and still wish to live just one night like Corey Haim in this movie.

6. The Monster Squad (1987). And here we have "the Goonies" meet "The Wolfman." A group of young kids who are obsessed with monsters find out that THEY ALONE must stop the forces of evil from taking over our world. That premise alone should send you directly to to purchase a DVD copy of this awesome 80's trip down memory lane. This is actually the only time in movie history that Frankenstin, Dractula, Wolfman, the Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon are together in the same film. You can tell this was heavily influenced by the aforementioned "Goonies" as you basically have this lovable cast of kids trying to work together to defeat these monsters. If you are reading this right now and have seen the movie, surely right now you are imagining the film's most memorable quote "Wolfman's got nards!"

7. White Water Summer (1987). Kevin Bacon stars as an over-the-top summer tour guide or sorts as he takes four young boys out into the wilderness in hopes of turning them into men. A young Sean Astin opposes Bacon's teachings which leads to many tense moments as the group finds themselves at odds with the majestic landscape and each other. Despite some dramatic moments, "White Water Summer" still provides necessary 80's cheese complete with some tremendous music and scenery. If it makes any difference, I would still venture out into the wild with Kevin Bacon as my fearless leader despite some of the events that occur in the film.

8. Teen Wolf (1985). Long before MTV ripped off this title and used it to make a show about a "Twilight" ripoff, there came this little movie starring Michael J. Fox from 1985. Fox had just done "Back to the Future" and was one of the biggest stars in the world when he made this. Obviously, this movie does not get nearly the press as "Future" did and deservedly so, although you can't deny the greatness of the wolf! Fox becomes a wolf, becomes good at basketball, and finds popularity with the prettiest girl in school. But the real story here is that we should all feel comfortable in our own skin and be comfortable with who we are...Ok that might be a little deep for a film like this but Michael J. Fox as a wolf playing basketball is just 80 kinds of awesome and you know it.

9. Summer School (1987). Mark Harmon plays a cool PE teacher forced to teach an English class during summer school. This one reeks of 80's cheese, but lets face it, that smells oh so good. This is one of those that you would catch on the USA Network at 11:00 at night on a Friday. There is just something so charming about Harmon and the way he deals with this group of underachieving malcontents. He teaches them how to drive, lets them use his an apartment for a house party and takes them to the beach for field trips. What could possibly go wrong?

10. The Wizard (1989). This was THE film for the "Nintendo Generation" and was basically a 90-minute commercial for the company wrapped up in a feature-film starring Fred Savage. This movie is as ridiculous as it is awesome as a group of kids run away in hopes of becoming video game champions. As a kid, there was just nothing cooler than this imaginable. The final scene where the game "Super Mario Bros. 3" was revealed for the first time might be one of the most nostalgic moments in all of film. The groups adversary Lucas is hilarious beyond belief as he is allegedly a master of every Nintendo game ever made. He also has a powerglove, which is "so bad!" They also managed to weave a heartwarming tale about family in with all the video game playing but as a kid it was all about the gaming!

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