Posts tagged 80s Movies
Most of you know that when my beloved Saints lost I no longer had a reason to watch this year’s Super Bowl. Well lo and behold, Mashable has posted a quick story about this new Youtube ad that just showed up. It’s only 10 seconds long, but ends with 2.5.12, the date of the Super Bowl. Dear lord please let this be true, because it gives me a reason to care again.
Foreword: I’m probably going to take heat for picking two John Hughes movie songs in a row, but I’m doing it anyway.
In 1984, a talented writer with little experience but a knack for understanding the era’s teens made his debut with Sixteen Candles, a brutally honest and completely hysterical look at teenage life in the American Midwest. The movie starred Molly Ringwald, and I, along with every American teenage boy at the time, fell immediately in love with her. John Hughes would go on to write and direct a string of comedy/dramas that would change the way movies about teens were made. Hughes was a master at capturing life as a teen, and part of that magic came from his ability to evoke emotions through the music he wove into his movies.
In his article John Hughes: The Soundtrack to a Generation, Todd Martens describes the range of teenage emotions in Sixteen Candles through it’s songs: Recklessness? The Specials “Little Bitch.” Romantic Anticipation? “If You Were Here” by the Thompson Twins. Spazzed Out Heartache? Spandau Ballet’s “True.”
But it’s “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark (yes that’s how they spell it) that wins my spot for #6 in the Top 10 80s songs of all time. I think it’s the (probably fake) strings at about :18 that hook me. Whatever it is, I can’t imagine Pretty in Pink without this song. It immediately evokes images of Jon Cryer as the uber-friend Duckie (years before Cryer would just give up and plod through his role in 2 1/2 men), Andrew McCarthy as Blane – the guy every girl gushed over even though I didn’t get it, James Spader as Steff McKee, maybe the biggest D-bag in the history of movies, and of course Ringwald as Andie Walsh. If Molly Ringwald was what made me fall in love with this movie, the music is what has kept me coming back for more.
Fun Fact: This wasn’t the original song OMD recorded for the movie. Their song “Goddess of Love” was in the first cut of the movie, which had Duckie and Andie together at the end, but it played poorly for test audiences. When they reshot the ending to the way it was released, the song didn’t’ fit and was replaced with “If You Leave.” Jodie Foster turned down the part of Andie, and Anthony Michael Hall turned down the part of Duckie.
If you read my post that laid out the criteria for creating this list, you’ll recall that 80s music, in my opinion, were vital in some of the bet 80s movies ever. And #7 might be the biggest example of this. In 1985, John Hughes wrote and directed a movie about 5 teenagers, each from a different walk of life, as they spend a Saturday in detention at Shermer High School. What followed was a movie that, perhaps more than any other movie before or since, defined a generation. I know that for me at least, it felt like these people were me, and I was them, and they were speaking a language that I knew well.
The Breakfast Club gave voice to an entire age of kids as they struggled to come to terms with who they were. Two other artists, including Billy Idol, were offered “Don’t You Forget About Me” before Simple Minds agreed to record it. When it became the theme song for The Breakfast Club, they became stars overnight in the US. It would be their only #1 in the States.
I think that The Breakfast Club is one of just a handful of movies that can speak to a time in history unlike others. The Breakfast Club is the Gold Standard of Teen films – the film against which all other teen films are measured. But it loses it’s bite, it’s feel without this song, . The song’s become synonymous with a phenomenol film, recognizable within it’s first two notes, and stands the test of time, even without the film. And that’s why it’s #7 on my list (I’ve decided to include the original video as well as a great movie montage, if for no other reason, than to hear the monologue/letter that ends the movie).
Fun Fact: Simple Minds was actually a Scottish Band, and they had a second hit, albeit not as big, called Alive and Kicking. By the time Don’t You Forget About Me became a hit, the camaraderie of the band was already coming unraveled.
…and the montage….