In the new the era of fake news it should go without saying that there are "studies" to prove almost any theory and more than enough bullshit media experts out there to quantify them. Case in point, FYE.com (an online shopping source?) recently released a study claiming "millennials don't appreciate classic movies." The study, which apparently polled 1,000 millennials and 1,000 50-plus-year-olds, was quickly picked up by the New York Post (kind of a trashy rag), put on the iInternet, and suddenly... it's news.
According to the statistic experts at FYE, the three classics most commonly shared by the millennials and the 50-plusers are Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, and The Godfather, but only 55 per cent of those thousand millennials had seen The Godfather (while 81 per cent have seen The Lion King). What does this all mean? Nothing.
The survey is flawed because we always consider the art of our times to be classic. This is why I like Mötley Crüe and my buddy Scotty (who is just that much older) swears by KISS. Certainly, KISS is a much better band and far more deserving of classic status, but when I was riding my BMX to the gas station to buy some cream soda and ketchup chips and hopefully run into the Grade 5 chicks, Crüe blaring on the Walkman was where it was at. So to me, that's classic.
And the same goes with movies, even I prefer Clueless to Casablanca simply because I'm not 97 years old. So since there doesn't seem to be much good coming to the theatres this week, let's list a few lesser-known '80s classics, for all those millennials out there looking to go beyond Back to the Future, Goonies and Top Gun.
The Lost Boys – 1987
Believe it or not, there was a time when vampire stories were all lame re-imaginings of Victorian-era Dracula stuff with frilly collars and coffins in the castle basement. The Lost Boys changed everything. This film brought vampires into the youthful future with a slick concept and a bang-up cast including Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric and Corey Feldman. This film and Near Dark, which was released the same year, are the reason my generation thinks Twilight is a heap of crap.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High — 1982
Social media likely makes high school 567 times more complicated these days, but I bet the take-home message is still very similar to when this SoCal summer-in-the-life flick was released. Directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and written by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), this one captures all the heartache and joy of finding your place in the world, one pool party at a time. Phoebe Cates shines (she also ruled in Gremlins) and Jennifer Jason Leigh does too, but the take-home legend on this one is Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, the high-water mark of surfer/slacker/dude stereotypes and one of the best characters of the decade.
Footloose – 1984
Dancing is mainstream TV these days (musical theatre is even considered cool) so this is a great example of how the times have changed. Kevin Bacon blows into some redneck farming town that has banned fun and uses his punch-dancing to change the world and get the girl. Chris Penn also rules as the cowboy with two left feet and a giant heart. Taken alongside other '80s classics like Flashdance and Dirty Dancing, Footloose helped set the footwork for the dance-crazed future we live in today.
Beverly Hills Cop – 1984
This was an important movie because it created the Buddy-Cop genre, propelled Eddie Murphy to superstardom, and was one of the first times a film starring a black actor rule ruled the box office (Cop was the highest grossing film of 1984, beating out Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Karate Kid.) Murphy's smart, hip and wise-ass Detective Axel Foley is a regular dude navigating a rich man's world and this one will resonate with audiences today as well as it did in the '80s. In future films Murphy used his success to help introduce audiences to other black actors including Sam Jackson (Coming to America), Halle Berry (Boomerang) and Chris Rock (Beverly Hills Cop 2).
Urban warfare, BMX, and Christian Slater... more to come next week.