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Saturday, February 18, 2023

8 From the 80s: Romantic Movies

Each installment Mike will look back to the decade of decadence and provide a list of eight things – from movies to music to memorable moments and everything in-between.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a TOP 8 list and any numerical notations are included to merely designate one item from another. Because, frankly, how can rate one thing over another when it came from a decade as totally tubular as the 80s?

80s Romance Movies – A Special Post-Valentine’s Day Installment
While the 80s were chock full’o teen sex comedies and coming of age rom-coms, there were plenty of standard romantic movies. Depending on how loosely you define a “romantic” movie, almost anything can fit, so I’m trying to keep this trip down memory lane to movies where the romance/relationship aspect is central, or at least very important, to the plot. 

8. Somewhere in Time (1980)
Maybe it was the actor’s strike at the time, or the fact that The Blues Brothers came out the same week or maybe it’s because it got bad word of mouth – for whatever reason(s) it didn’t perform well despite having Superman (Christopher Reeve) starring opposite Jane Seymour.  In the film, a playwright falls in love with a woman from nearly 70 years earlier and travels through time to find her. Somewhere in Time is one of those movies that people either like or hate, although chances are good that people from both camps will feel a tug at the heartstrings at the end of the film.

7. Splash (1984)
Boy meets girl but boy and girl come from (metaphoric) different worlds so boy and girl can’t be together. But boy and girl love each other and are able to get past their differences.  It’s a theme that is almost required for a movie to count as a romantic film, but Splash swaps out the metaphoric for the literal when our boy (Tom Hanks) falls in love with a mermaid (Darryl Hannah).  Admittedly, though, the biggest question isn’t whether or not they can make their relationship work – it’s if anything ever became of that Tom Hanks fella or the director, some former child actor named Ron Howard.

6. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Can a man and a woman be “just friends”? That’s the question asked herein as we watch Harry and Sally (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan) go through the process of finding out if it’s possible.  While many people remember it for the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene, what they might forget is that reveals and explores many truths about relationships in a funny, but honest way.  And let’s face it, we’ve all had at least one relationship that mirrored theirs to some degree.

5. Romancing the Stone (1984)
If Indiana Jones was a rom-com, it would look a bit like this (although maybe there would be more Nazis).  Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas are great together as the bickering, yet obviously falling for each other, leads. She, a writer and he, a smuggler (of exotic birds), are on a search for her missing sister and end up tracking down a giant emerald.  The fact that there’s a sequel (The Jewel of the Nile), should give you a hint as to how the relationship finds itself at the closing credits.

4. Dirty Dancing (1987)
While it can be dismissed as yet another take on the Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers theme, Dirty Dancing stands apart from the rest with a soundtrack packed with plenty of pop music hits and dancing.  Lots of dancing. And of course lots of DIRTY dancing. Patrick Swayze is at his Swaziest as he literally sweeps Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby, off her feet and out of the corner.  

3. Valley Girl (1983)
Probably (if not arguably), the most “80s” movie on this list, Valley Girl is – like Dirty Dancing and the dozens of others – a take on the Romeo and Juliet theme.  Julie (Deborah Foreman), a typical “Valley Girl”, falls for Randy (Nicolas Cage) even though she already has the ideal hot and popular boyfriend.  There’s tons of 80s fashion, fads, music and more to be had.  So even if you’re not in the mood for a romantic movie, you can still dig all of that AND a killer soundtrack.

2. Say Anything (1989)
At first glance this seemed like it would be yet another John Cusack 80’s movie like One Crazy Summer or Better Off Dead, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Say Anything isn’t quirky or a straight up comedy (although it has its moments) – what it IS is a smart and honest look at love and how the belief that one needs to live up to certain expectations may not be what is best for you in the long run. And then there’s THE scene. Often imitated and parodied, the shot of Lloyd Dobler holding the radio above his head while Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes plays is absolute gold and will melt even the coldest of hearts.

1. Sixteen Candles (1984)
Yes, the movie is mainly about everybody forgetting Molly Ringwald’s character’s birthday, but ultimately it’s a story of a shy, awkward girl who feels aimless and forgotten (with good reason) who, without turning herself into something she isn’t, still manages to get the guy that every girl wanted. There’s a lot of laughs for sure, but the best part is the shot of Samantha and Jake Ryan at the end of the movie.

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