Thursday, September 13, 2007

Old Lady?!? Old Lady.

Everyone has a moment when they feel old, right? My first came when I turned 27 and realized that I was no longer eligible to be on The Real World. Not that I ever wanted to be on it, but I always loved watching it. Once that birthday came around, though, watching it was never the same. They were just kids, using every opportunity to grope each other and fight about who disrespected whom (without any real sense of what respect is in the first place).

Now I'm 30. I'm good with that. I had a big party, we rented a dunk tank.

My ongoing project is to have my 12-year-old sister watch all of the movies my brothers and I loved while growing up. I made her her own queue in Netflix, and so far we've watched Walk Like a Man, Vice Versa, The Wizard, and as of last night, Gremlins.

In the opening scene of Gremlins, the camera pans slowly down Main Street of the town. Here's the bank, a shop, Burger King, the florist... My sis turns to me--wide-eyed--and with a hint of skepticism in her voice says, "You guys had Burger King back then!?!" Hence, the name of this post.

Actually, this has been the funnest part of the whole project. I have to interpret the 80s for her, or she won't get the jokes.

Like with Gremlins: the guy in the movie drives a beat up VW Bug. Nowadays the Bug is kind of cool again. But I had to tell her that back then the Bug was definitely not cool, and that the character, therefore, is not cool.

Or in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead: One of the boys steals some money and purchases a state-of-the-art entertainment center. All of the characters gape at it in amazement. When the camera turns to the center, though, it is laughable. There are about 15 components to the stereo, and the TV is about 25 inches. I had to tell her that back then that was a giant TV (I think the one in her bedroom is about 25 inches!), and the stereo was awesome. Nowadays, with flat-screens that literally take up an entire wall, the scene didn't make much of an impact on her.

Another issue is clothes. In movies, clothes are chosen by wardrobe departments to say something about the character. But really, clothes in the 80s were so fucked up--she can't tell who is a dork and who is cool. For example, the movie Can't Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey (McDoodle or whatever his name is on Gray's Anatomy). Dempsey pays the popular girl in school to transform him from dork to hunk. Here's the movie poster--what do you think?

Is this Dempsey before or after his transformation? Those glasses. The string tie. And Good God, the pattern of his shirt!

Here are the movies I have in her queue:

Any others I should add? Ideas in the comments, please!


John said...

Boy, some of the movies most formative to the woman you became really suck, Stacey. Starkid? Teen Wolf Too? Baby?

A list of films that made a big impression on me as a kid (or, at least, ones I now appreciate for their goofy charm as an adult):

Ferris Beuller's Day Off
Project X
Princess Bride
Desperately Seeking Susan (for the fashion alone)
Time Bandits
The Neverending Story
The Dark Crystal
The Muppet Movie
The Great Muppet Caper
The Lost Boys
The Goonies
Honey, I shrunk The Kids
The Last Dragon
Red Dawn
The Secret of Nimh
Stand By Me

Stacey said...

Lots of those on your list were very popular at my house. The queue is just what I've Netflixed for my sister--she's already seen some of the best on your list (Goonies, for example).

Geez, Time Bandits looks awful. She's better off with Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure...

Wargames might take itself too seriously to entertain her. But Patrick would enjoy seeing the computers and such.

I hate the Muppets. I know--many people will ask HOW? What can I say? They're corny.

I also loved the movie Stand By Me. But we were strange children, John. I don't think Sis would like it as much. A movie from the 80s about the 50s.

John said...

What kind of soulless witch do you have to be to hate the Muppets? Jesus. Is Patrick aware that when you have your child, the embryonic fluid will be black as tar, and the resulting broodling will be a yellow-eyed goblin that never stops screaming?

Time Bandits is not terrible... and, for that matter, I'm not sure I care much for the implied slam against Bill and Ted!

I'm not sure why she wouldn't like Stand By Me. If she can deal with the temporal vortex of the 80's, she can deal with an 80's movie about the 50's. I mean, in retrospect, isn't the 50's so much easier to understand than the 80's from a Double Ought Millennial Perspective?

Mini said...

wow... you've been "found"! :) poppin' in to leave a comment.

the neverending story
lost boys


Stacey said...

She's seen The Neverending Story. Lost Boys would be a good one.

How about Labyrinth? She doesn't know who David Bowie is, so maybe she'd think it was corny.

Lynn said...

Breakfast Club.
It's not an 80's education until you see that. :)