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Movies & TV

04th Jul 2017

As The Breakfast Club comes to Netflix, JOE looks at the best 1980s teen movies

Tony Cuddihy

Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club comes to Netflix this week.

If you were around for it, we’d like to apologise for making you feel old. If you weren’t around for it and have never come across the most classic of all John Hughes films, The Breakfast Club, then get out of our sight and do not come back until the situation has been rectified.

The only film that ever made school seem sexy (thank you Molly Ringwald) arrives on Netflix on Thursday 6 July and to celebrate we’re looking at our favourite teen movies of the 1980s.

These are in no particular order (although we all know that Back To The Future is the best film ever made, really).

Note: Nobody was ever the same after that fateful summer/fall/morning/night/etcetera.

The Breakfast Club

Starred: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Gleason.

Why we love it… If the first thing you think of isn’t Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me, you’re doing it wrong. The song makes the film, and the film makes the song. We’re also fairly certain that certain Simpsons characters were based on the film (Seymour Skinner is like a cartoon version of Principal Vernon, Judd Nelson’s Jonathan Bender = Nelson Muntz, anyone?), while Molly Ringwald made us feel all confused and light of head as youngsters.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Starred: Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara.

Why we love it… In a word, truancy. And Matthew Broderick’s crackerjack performance. But mostly the truancy.

When you spend roughly 200 days of every teenage year wishing you were anywhere else, Ferris Bueller becomes a bit of a figurehead.

Also, Mia Sara. Hubba hubba, as they probably didn’t say back in the 1980s.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Starred: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz.

Why we love it… It was written by Cameron Crowe, it starred several future Oscar winners, and is seen as the first of its kind. Without this, the later John Hughes films may not have existed.

In a film of little pieces of cinematic gold, seeing Sean Penn acting like Bill and Ted-era Keanu Reeves is both bizarre and brilliant.

The Lost Boys

Starred: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest.

Why we love it… It’s gloriously schlocky and actually scared the living bejaypers out of us when we were whelps.

The power of make-up and a Doors soundtrack, we call it, while Kiefer Sutherland had an air of absolute menace, even as a 20-year-old. Released in 1987, this was prime ‘Two Coreys’ time, with Feldman and Haim working together (though never as successfully) for years afterwards.

The Goonies

Starred: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan, Kerri Green.

Why we love it… It has one of the great love stories of our time (Chunk and Sloth, of course), a great soundtrack, the best baddies this side of Biff Tannen, a young Josh Brolin and the hunt for buried treasure.

It just has bloody everything, and is as good now as it was back in 1985.

Adventures in Babysitting

Starred: Elisabeth Shue, Bradley Whitford, Penelope Ann Miller and Albert Collins.

Why we love it… This displays Crocodile Dundee levels of kitsch bordering on racial stereotyping, but as a relic of the 1980s it doesn’t get an awful lot better. Elisabeth Shue marauds through the dangerous streets of Chicago with three youngsters in tow when she should be rifling through the secret drawer in the search for hidden Mars bars.

It’s not heavy on plot but it still tickles us.

Stand By Me

Starred: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland.

Why we love it… This film was everything to us when we were twelve. Scratch that, even all these years later, it’s a masterpiece.

Some films just have a certain magic and this is one of them, as four boys walk down the train tracks to find a dead body and undergo several life changing experiences before puberty has even hit.

It’s poignant enough without the sad fact that River Phoenix – the film’s standout performer – would die at such a young age.

It also recently came to light that it’s one of the few film adaptations of his work that Stephen King, who wrote the short story The Body on which it was based, truly loved. You can read more about that here.

The Karate Kid

Starred: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Why we love it… It’s effectively Rocky with a Bananarama soundtrack, what’s not to love? Wax on… Wax off…

Say Anything

Starred: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney

Why we love it… THAT Peter Gabriel-in-a-boombox scene sets us off every single bloody time, while this was career-making stuff from both a ridiculously young John Cusack (who, apropos of nothing, also cameoed in Stand By Me) and first time director, Cameron Crowe.

Back To The Future

Starred: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson

Why we love it… The DeLorean; Doc Brown and the way he might say “Great Scot!”; Marty’s life preserver; the Marvin/Chuck Berry phone scene; Calvin Klein boxer mix-ups; the DeLorean; “hello… HELLO… is anybody home? Don’t be so gullible McFly…”; did we mention the DeLorean?…

…oh, and the fact that it’s one of the greatest and most popular movies ever made.

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