Skippy's Guide to Life and Eternal Happiness
Skippy Goes to the Movies
Hey kids, Skippy here.
This month we're going to talk about movies. I don't mean
just any movies, I'm talking about Hollywood's mini-golden age.
That's right, the 'eighties, the age of Ringwald and Sheedy,
Estevez and Sheen. You are all laughing now, but that's fine,
you're just unenlightened. Once you have been exposed to my list
of fifteen absolutely cannot miss movies, well, the cards and
letters will just pour in, thanking me for saving your dreary
little lives. The following films are not in any particular order
and I don't have any thoughts on which you ought to see first,
though seeing them all at once might be interesting... I'll have
to see if Dean is up for it. Here we go kids, and as the old joke
says, hold onto your hat we may wind up miles from here.
- Valley Girl : The one that started it all. My
first eighties romantic comedy. Not to mention the finest work
Nicholas Cage has ever done, forget Leaving Las Vegas,
his portrayal of a New Wave kid with bad hair puts him in the
pantheon of eighties greats. I could easily fill the entire
column raving about this one, but that wouldn't be fair to the
others. So let's...crush...that...fly!
- Say Anything : John Cusack, cinematic God or
mere mortal with extraordinary talent? You be the judge. You have
to love a movie where the hero's main goals consist of becoming a
kickboxer and a house-husband, in no particular order. So many
scenes, so little time.
- Can't Buy Me Love : My first experience with the
'nerd gets the girl' concept of filmaking. This movie crushed a
lot of worlds when nerds actually went after girls. The film has
it all, though - comedy, romance and biting social commentary as
well. The last scene when Amanda Peterson puts on the hat is well
worth the price of admission all by itself.
- About Last Night : All I can say about this one
is that is one of two Rob Lowe movies I can stand to watch (the
other being Youngblood). Since I couldn't very well
have an eighties list without Rob and I never got to see his home
videos, About Last Night gets the nod.
- Better Off Dead : This one made it because of
the trailer. In it, John Cusack (hallowed be thy name) attempts
suicide by jumping off an overpass. He lands headfirst in a
passing garbage truck. The tree trimmer looks at him and says, "Now
that's a damn shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good
white boy like that." On top of that, the object of his
affections is French, nuff said.
- The Secret of My Success : The only Michael J.
Fox movie to make the cut, though I have to give a special nod to
Family Ties. The best bit of romance ever seen on
television was that one glorious season of Alex and Ellen. To
make it even more perfect, he wound up marrying her in real life.
Oh, the movie rocked as well.
- The Sure Thing : To be honest this isn't one of
my faves, but my friends would kill me if I left it off the
list. Besides, John (the Ironman) Cusack stars as, guess what,
the nerd who gets the girl (OK, so she's a girl nerd, but she's
- Sixteen Candles : Molly Ringwald in a 'nerd gets
the guy' story. Anthony Michael Hall at the pinnacle of his
career (and don't think that doesn't depress the hell out of
him). The panty scene, the parking lot scene, the party scene,
the hair scene, one of the best of it's kind. And yes, John
Cusack, shows up again.
- The Breakfast Club : Molly Ringwald, Judd
Nelson, Emelio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall.
Congrats kids, you made the finest movie in which the infamous
brat pack ever appeared. Funny, great music, and just a little
romance. The final scene of Judd on the football field still puts
a lump in my throat.
- Dream a Little Dream : The fact that Corey Haim
and Corey Feldman made this list should tell you how good this
movie is. It's not a romance, it's not a comedy, it is a twisted
little story, but thoroughly enjoyable. Meredith Salenger as the
love interest will make you forget Amanda Peterson. And remember,
"If you have mousse...use it."
- Mannequin : Made after the eighties had peaked,
but still, Andrew McCarthy is cool in a nerdish sort of way and
Kim Cattrall, yikes! It also had that eighties sensibility, that
romance shouldn't let a little thing like reality get in the way.
- Racing with the Moon : Sean Penn (you knew he
had to be on here) and Nicholas Cage. I think that I am the only
person to actually see this movie. It's half goofy comedy, half
romance and half dark look at life in pre-WWII America. I know
that's one and a half, but it's a strange movie.
- Red Dawn Forget about Rambo, this is the
prototypical Reagan era fantasy. The Russians invade and a pack
of high school kids whip their ass. USA...USA...USA!!!
- Risky Business : Tom Cruise in the movie that
started it all for him. The reason I love trains so much. Who
among can forget the immortal lines of Guido the killer pimp, "You
know sometimes Joel, you just gotta say what the f**k."
- Footloose : I know that it's a bad movie, but
honestly, you thought it was cool the first time you saw it.
Besides, it is the forerunner of the movie as music video era and
I had to get Kevin Bacon's name in here somehow.
As far as the quintessential eighties actor and actress, the
actor would have to be Judd Nelson. I know he was only in one of
the top fifteen, but have you seen him since the eighties? The
woman's spot would probably go to Molly or Ally, neither one of
them have had any kind of career since the eighties. And that's
what the award is all about really, the performers that are
inextricably linked to their decade. So much so in fact, that
when the decade fizzled, so did they.
That's the list folks, I know I left some beauties off of it.
But that's really my point isn't it? I'm sure that I will
receive a host of additions and subtractions to my list. People
have a right to their opinions after all, just so long as you
realize that your opinion is wrong. If there is one thing I would
like you to keep in mind when you think of the decade it is this.
When folks look back at the eighties another twenty years from
now, they're going to say, "Sheesh, Nicholas Cage had some
bad hair in Valley Girl."
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]