I don’t know about you all, but this pandemic has me waxing nostalgic for simpler times. You know, the good old days of carefully crafting your own mixtape on a cassette and rocking a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers while cruising around town.
Even my hair is vibing ‘80s culture with a majestic mullet, courtesy of COVID-19.
Granted, not everyone in my house is content to spend a few hours reminiscing over scratch-and-sniff stickers, styling their hair with an entire can of Aqua Net, or gabbing with friends on the landline Garfield phone.
So if your kids are going at it like a pair of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, it might be time to throw ’em a Rubik’s Cube.
How about some quality family bonding time in front of the tube? The best part: there’s no need to wait all afternoon until MTV finally airs your favorite music video.
So get comfy in a colorful, over-sized sweater, kick up those Air Jordan high tops, and settle in for 10 of the best flicks the ‘80s has to offer (in no particular order—that would be way too hard).
1. The Goonies — A pirate-themed treasure-hunt action-fantasy movie that the whole family will love. Why do the kids in this movie call themselves “Goonies”? Nobody knows. But what I can tell you is this: if the movie had taken place in modern times, there would be a different twist on one particular conversation between Mikey and Brand:
Mikey: How long have you guys been in quarantine?
Brand: Long enough, Mikey. Long enough.
2. Back to the Future – October 21, 2015. If you know the significance of that date, you’re probably a fan of this one. Can you imagine having to go back in time to make sure your parents fall in love so they’ll have you? That’s exactly what this California teen does when an experiment by an eccentric scientist friend goes awry. A perfect combination of science fiction, humor, and adventure makes for one of the most popular ‘80s films that I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of watching over and over again.
3. The NeverEnding Story – The nerd in me just loves this movie about a book that, well, never ends. You’ll be captivated by the special effects, stunning scenery, and colorful characters, but my favorite part is that the movie’s messages about power, identity, imagination, and the joys of reading are some that kids of any age can relate to.
4. The Princess Bride – “Quawanteen. Quawanteen is what bwings us together today.” Hands down one of the most quotable movies of all time, this movie is chock full of every element of a classic adventure—princes, villains, evil geniuses, giants and giant creatures, sword fights, revenge, kidnapping . . . I don’t know how anyone could not fall head over heels for it (or a young Cary Elwes . . . hey, I’ll admit the guy is super good-looking). Inconceivable!
5. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Oh man, this is another ’80s film that will just never get old–Elliott and E.T.’s friendship is one of the most enduring in cinematic history. Even after almost 40 years (yikes–that really shows my age), E.T. continues to tug at heartstrings and prove Steven Spielberg is a master storyteller. Plus, how freakin’ cute is Drew Barrymore as a kid?
6. The Karate Kid – “Wax on, wax off.” Eight years after Rocky, director John G. Avildsen delivered another amazing underdog sports movie. The Karate Kid is a must-see for every young teen who dreams of being cool, and it’s made with tons of heart and some of the best life lessons.
7. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – I’d say as long you don’t follow the example of Wayne Szalinski and accidentally shrink your teens down to the size of insects (as much as you might be tempted), you’re probably doing OK for yourself. At least, that’s what I tell my wife when she gets mad at me for loading the dishwasher wrong.
8. Ghostbusters – Is anyone else incredibly bummed the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife is getting pushed back all the way to 2021? I’ve been drowning my disappointment in Chinese food and reruns of the original 1984 film, which reveals more hilarious and amazing nuances every time I watch it.
9. Hoosiers – One of Gene Hackman’s best, and also one of the most iconic sports films of the decade. A coach with a checkered past gets a chance at redemption by helping to train a small-town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship. This feel-good pick will have you on the edge of your seat.
10. Top Gun – “I feel the need, the need for speed!” This is a great movie to rewatch while we wait for the much-anticipated release of the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, around Christmas 2020 (it was originally supposed to come out in June, but COVID-19 rained on that parade, too). Maybe watch this one with a slightly older crowd, or cover innocent eyes when the first chords of “Take My Breath Away” start to play.