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Rampant Bicycle

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Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for you?

by Rampant Bicycle » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:18 pm

I have recently discovered (and been rather charmed by) the blog "Some Wonderful Kind of Noise," in which a 19-year-old kid watches all sorts of things that folk of my generation grew up with for the first time, responding in real time and then with a more elaborate later-on writeup of his thoughts.

Yes, it's probably going to make you feel old a little when you realize that this kid seriously had no idea who Steven Spielberg or John Williams are and had no clue that Raiders of the Lost Ark featured Indiana Jones. But it is a bit heartwarming - and occasionally vindicating - to discover that it's NOT just nostalgia goggles, many of the things I loved growing up still have the power to touch even non-80s kids.

It's made me think, though, about the differences in the 'film culture' between even people in my own social cohort. I know someone who has never seen The Neverending Story and hadn't seen The Dark Crystal until I made them sit down and watch it. I keep threatening to make some of my social circle sit down and watch Adventures in Babysitting as cultural exchange. (No, it's not Oscar material, but the idea is a swap of kid/teen culture here. ;))

So here's my curiosity-question for the Squad:

What's on that shelf of culturally-essential movies for you? What were you and your friends obsessed with?

The list I've come up with so far (incomplete, and in no particular order) is below. Note that a number of things that would be candidates for this list have been left off deliberately so that others can come forth and discuss. ;) Also note that many things I love for other reasons are not included here by virtue of their not being something others of my social cohort also adored, or because I got into them after, oh, high school or so, when tastes and social groups both tend to fragment.

Labyrinth - One of the big ones if you are of my cohort. An imaginative young teen suddenly discovers that the things she thinks she's been making up may be more real than she thought. I effing love this movie, and not just because every girl remembers her first Bowie. The Froud designs. Henson's Creature Shop. A 'portal fantasy' story that ultimately ISN'T about how The Real World Is Better For You; adult me recognizes that as a valuable lesson that many similar stories kind of leave out.

I cannot think of a single girl my own age who couldn't recite this verbatim:



The Neverending Story - A boy who loves books discovers one that is in all ways more than he bargained for. Even though it only covers a tiny, tiny fraction of what the book has to offer, this is still a rather charming fantasy film. Again, this one is kind of a vindication of the value of imagination; there seems to have been a little surge of these in the 80s for some reason.

Here, the bookstore owner explains how some books are safe...and others...well:



Ghostbusters - Wisecracking ghost hunters set out to make New York safe from supernatural forces. Hilarity ensues. No, really, hilarity ensues; this is one of the comedies of the period that I remember with particular fondness. It's coming back to theatres, you know. Witty and fun. I <3 it.

For the curious, here's the team's first attempt to meet a ghost:



Raiders of the Lost Ark - The original Adventure Archaeologist dodges traps and punches Nazis in a quest for an ancient artifact of nigh-incalculable power. Part of me wants to just go "If I have to explain why this movie is awesome..." and leave it at that. But, I mean, really, guys. Pulp action brought forward from the 20s and 30s into a movie that is just gorgeously balanced and a hell of a lot of fun.

What is not to like? (Okay, snakes, maybe.) I mean, c'mon:



The Goonies - A team of kids in danger of losing their homes chase a pirate treasure. Raiders for a younger set, though any child who loved Treasure Island as much as I did would have found this movie to be a slam dunk. Bonus points for leaving us with a music video that is kind of amazingly batshit (actual song begins about 2 minutes in):



The Princess Bride - A romantic adventure that has it all - but I'll let Peter Falk introduce the story for me here:



I was a theatre kid in high school, and this meant that this movie was quoted CONSTANTLY. And still is. At the board game event I attended just last week, I had someone stare at the cards before us for several long moments and then say "...so clearly I cannot choose the cup in front of YOU..."

The Last Unicorn - A unicorn discovers she may well be the last of her kind, and sets out to discover the truth of what has happened to the others. Okay, anyone who gives even HALF a shit about fantasy at all, stop reading this and go get the book. Right now. I mean it. Go. I'll wait. It is lovely and deserves to be read.

Got it? Okay, NOW you can go watch the animated version that kid me was insane for. The intro gives a pretty good idea of the flavor. Just, uh, try to ignore that one song where somebody thought it'd be a good idea for Mia Farrow to sing, ok?



Watership Down - A frightening vision leads a group of young rabbits to make an epic - and very dangerous - journey to discover a new home. This is a dark (if pretty great) book, and the film is equally so - it's somewhat infamous for traumatizing young folk whose parents thought "oh hey, a movie with talking bunnies. That'll be fine!" without first screening it to see the considerable amount of violence and dark themes both book and film contain.

Wish I could find a video of the opening rabbit creation myth, but clips are scarce, so here's the trailer in the meantime:



Also, this is another case where I'm an advocate of reading the book as well. It's quite good.

Back to the Future - An 80s kid finds himself trapped in the 50s when a time-travel experiment goes awry, and has to work out how to get himself back home with his timeline intact. One of the first "time travel shit goes wrong" films I ever remember seeing. I find it hard not to grin a bit just thinking about this movie; like Raiders or Ghostbusters, it's just...fun. Plus, Christopher Lloyd's turn as Doc Brown FTW.



I think it would be pretty easy to go on all day, but at this admittedly-incomplete point I think it's a good idea to open the floor.

Kid-culture exchange: go!
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Tolkoto

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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by Tolkoto » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:01 pm

By biggest non-animated one as a kid was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze. Yes, it's silly, but I still love it today. It's just so much fun. I remember getting it on VHS when it was new and I was like 4. Every kid in the neighborhood packed themselves inside my porch to watch it.
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by Alex Connolly » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:12 pm

Four in particular stand out for me.

Storm Boy (1976)

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A movie based on Colin Thiele's book of the same name, it was this gorgeous, lonely affair of a young fellow who lived with his hermit father on the South Australian coast. Coming into the custodianship of three pelican chicks after the mother is killed - allegory-heavy, but not forced - Mike, or 'Storm Boy', takes care of Mr. Proud, Mr. Ponder and Mr. Percival, the latter being the focus. It's a well-balanced film, balancing coming of age with lashings of tragedy and loss, as well as showing the renowned David Gulpilil as a younger fellow. The landscape imagery has been burned into the imagination.

The Peanut Butter Solution (1985)

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Bizarre memories of this. A classic summer VHS rental from the fish and chip takeaway, held snug within those puffy, scuffed cases. I can remember being enthralled and somewhat unnerved by the main character's situation. Life-changing fright, immediate after-effects, peer interaction, desperate measures and the ramifications thereof. I don't know how it'd hold up today - probably rather poorly - but at the time, it was giddy fun.

Frog Dreaming aka The Quest (1986)

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A movie surrounding the inquisitive adventures of a young fellow, trying to solve the mystery of a strange and deadly waterhole. Mixing aboriginal mythology with the usual hijinx of a kid's movie, plus sporting submerged imagery and a climax that left a young bloke as thrilled as he was unsettled, Frog Dreaming seems to dodge both cultural cringe and the hokey decay of the era and remains something I'd show my kids down the line.

Flight of the Navigator (1986)

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Remembered for the eerie opening scenes in the forest and the initial discoveries aboard the spacecraft more than the tomfoolery involving the military, I just found it a fascinating romp. The strange creatures aboard, the mercurial ship design and its classic chrome interior. One of those films that we simply don't see anymore. In fact, I bet most of the films listed here are legacy elements of the time and ones with very few, if any, descendants.
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by A.I Impaired » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:03 am

Star Wars was huge of course. Teenage mutant ninja turtles and ghostbusters were talk of the playground. But here are some movies that are more private loves of mine during the late 80's to early 90's:

Treasure island (1990)
Willow (1988)
Braveheart (1995)
Excalibur (1981)
Legend (1985)
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by Bowley » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:53 am

You guys covered a lot of ground. I can relate to a lot. Here's two that spring to mind:

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Jurassic Park - Easily. It needs no introduction. I was eleven and this was awesome. All those 2nd grade scented marker drawings of allosaurus eating triceratops (where all of the legs were on the same side) and my visit to the Peabody museum came to life in an instant. It got me to read the novel, most likely my first 300 pager, I devoured it in three days. The John Williams score was my first CD. I read with that music to numerous Battletech novels while growing up.



Godzilla 1985 (US Version) - This was basically my Cars, that movie the damn kid won't stop watching over and over again. I was probably like 5 or 6 and that Godzilla was fucking menacing but hard to take your eyes off of, also very tragic, even to a youngster. I didn't understand the nuclear metaphor at the time, but I didn't care. I'm also pretty sure I teared up at the final scene linked above.
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by Alex Connolly » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:34 am

Bowls, I will safely say Jurassic Park was my Star Wars cinema moment. It simply didn't get any better than the moment the goat disappeared.
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by asatiir » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:51 pm

I mentioned once in Exploding Barrel's G+ community once that Star Wars wasn't a part of my childhood beyond a bootleg VHS of episode IV. I don't think cinema was a big thing here in Dubai until the late 90s, all cinemas here before that only screen Bollywood movies. I didn't speak any of the many Indian languages and dialects (still can't) so you can probably guess how it was then. Most of the movies of my childhood were, like Star Wars Episode IV, were on bootleg tapes that we rented from the nearby video recording shop.

I probably watched a lot of movies that probably weren't suitable for my age, but most of the non age appropriate flew over my head.


Lobster Man From Mars (1989): I would not remember anything from this mainly because mom thought it was too "gross" and "horrific" for my age (I think I was 5 or 6 at the time). I can't really tell you much of what happened in the movie, but having it taken away at such a young age got me so fixated and curious what happened in the movie.


Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990): I remember seeing it on TV several times, probably censored knowing how media is here. Being young I did not recall any of the blatant racism all I remember finding the flying vomit hysterical as a kid.



Problem Child 1 and 2:
These two movies (especially 2) were the movies that were one of those "watching on loop" movies. I'm too afraid to go back to watch this and ruin and nostalgic feelings I have for both.

There are more of the usual, but I thought I'd include the most notable for now.
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Re: Kid culture exchange: What movies were the hotness for y

by Teryn » Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:36 am

I, well, was a Disney fan. Those didn't really need any introduction, and stayed popular to me up until after Tarzan was released when I was a teenager.

Other movies will remain my favourites, though they're MUCH older than some listed here, because I was introduced to them through VHS releases at the time. Didn't have many friends, so these are just personal favourites.

Stalag 17

I have no idea what it was about this movie that I loved so much, but I can only put it down to the "Billy Wilder" director's touch that lasted a few decades when this was still new.

A prisoner of war movie that probably began the entire genre, actually making your stomach turn *and* make you laugh out loud. Just for reference in this (non-spoiler) funny clip, they're all American POWs and the German man is their barracks' supervisor, who the men even feel comfortable joking around with.



Charade

A movie starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, both top-notch actors who complement each other well despite their age differences in this "Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made". A mystery/comedy/romance with twist after twist, and doesn't stop throwing surprises at you until the end.



Anyone else a fan of our parents' generations' movies through osmosis?

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