Whether you think back on 80s cinema favourably or not, it can’t be denied that one of the distinct characteristics of films from this decade is “fun”. Even the more challenging or serious 80s films, like Blue Velvet (1986) or The Shining (1980), had more colour or were, somehow, easier to watch. The stories were zanier, genres were broader, but the vibe was upbeat.
Let’s try an experiment. Can you think of one upbeat Hollywood film that was released in the last five years that’s not one of the following:
- a remake?
- based on a true story?
- a sequel?
- a homage to older cinema?
- or some kind of self-parody?
I’m sure there are a few, but you can be sure they’ll be obscure!
So before you turn your back on 80s cinema, just ask yourself if you are sick of just how ridiculously serious “great films” are today. All the upbeat films of today are either indie-comedy-dramas, which all tend to be the same, screwball comedies, kids films or part of a franchise (and even then most of them are quite dark). I’m not against dark films, I just want a bit of variety in my life and the boldness of the 80s is something that doesn’t ever have to date. Maybe if the film industry paid more attention to the film’s of this era, there would be less of a separation between audience demographics, and our cinematic selections would be richer.
And so, in the spirit of staying upbeat while the 80s slowly fade away, here are five upbeat 80s films you may not have seen…
The Sure Thing (1985)
Love John Cusack? Wait until you see him in his best role!
This crazy sci-fi adventure is a guaranteed two hours of rich entertainment. This is introspective cinema of an entirely different kind.
After Hours (1985)
Martin Scorsese tries his hand at comedy and delivers yet another gem. It’s incredible that this film isn’t more widely appreciated. Watch out for Cheech and Chong!
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
A magical high school comedy starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage – need I say more?
They Live (1988)
Trashy John Carpenter sci-fi action starring wrestler Roddy Piper as a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that reveal which people are actually aliens! This is almost too much fun.