Favorite Things-Movies from Childhood

I loved the tribute to John Hughes on last night’s Academy Awards broadcast.  As is the case with most people my age, I grew up watching Brat Pack movies. 16 Candles was my favorite, though the Breakfast Club was a close second.  I have shared 16 Candles with my daughter and son and to my delight, they both loved it!

Here are a few more movies I enjoyed so much as a child or teen that I wanted my kids to see them too:

My Bodyguard (1980) Starring Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin and Matt Dillon. Classic story of nerdy new kid being harassed by school bully.  Twist, nerdy new kid is smart and hires a personal bodyguard. There is a great moral to this story, something about not judging a book by its cover, I won’t go into all of that here, but suffice it to say, plenty of opportunity for discussion after viewing My Bodyguard. Watched this a few years ago with both kids and even though initially there was some  resistance, in the end, they both really liked it.

Little Darlings (1980) Starring Kristi McNicol, Tatum O’Neal and Matt Dillon (detecting a pattern here?).   Story of two teenage girls, one from the wrong side of the tracks, the other from presumably the right side, who make a bet to see who will lose their virginity first while attending summer camp.  Tatum O’Neal’s character targets a very sexy and much older character played by Armand Assante, while Kristi McNicol’s goes after Randy, the bad boy from the camp across the lake, who is portrayed by Matt Dillon.   Have to be honest, haven’t shared this one yet.  I am sure I could (my daughter is 16) but something about the Tatum O’Neal character going after a grown man bothers me. Still it made my list–go figure.  *I did not post or edit this video–so I cannot take credit for the comments at the end.  And as you know, I’d never sign anything “Jenny.”*

Heaven Can Wait (1978) Starring Warren Beatty, Buck Henry, Julie Christie and James Mason.  Warren Beatty plays a NFL quarterback whose life is snuffed out accidentally by an over-anxious angel.  Beatty’s character was not supposed to die, so he is given a do-over in the body of a millionaire who just was just murdered by his wife and his accountant.  The wife is played by a very funny Dyan Cannon and the accountant by an equally amusing, Charles Grodin.   I still enjoy this movie, though not as much as it did when I was 11.  My kids gave it two (four) thumbs down.

Ghostbusters (1984) Starring Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Sigorney Weaver.  No recap needed here–right?

I loved Ghostbusters so much that for years after first watching it, I would look for a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow man to appear at the first sign of significant storm.  I have almost managed to forget that they tried to ruin the memory of the original movie by doing a sequel.  Word is that there will soon be a  Ghostbusters 3.  Pretty sure I won’t see it.  Not surprisingly, my kids loved Ghostbusters.

And finally,  a drama.  And Justice for All (1979) Starring Al Pacino, Jack Warden and John Forsythe. Al Pacino plays a Baltimore defense attorney who is tired of the corruption ridden judicial system. His character is tested even more when he is forced to defend a judge he despises (played by John Forsythe) who has been charged with rape.   The only levity is provided by Jack Warden’s character, also a judge, who has a death wish that he tries to carry out in a variety of humorous ways throughout the movie.  I remember really loving this movie.  Particularly the, “This whole court is out of order” scene.   Bought it on DVD because I was sure my son would love it.  He thought it was okay.  Surprisingly, after watching it again I found it to be a bit dated.  Bummer.

Honorable mentions:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)–loved by everyone in my house.  Love at First Bite (1979)–daughter and friend watched this instead of scary movies during Halloween party, they loved it! Grease (1978)–Son has not seen this, daughter has watched it repeatedly.  Weird Science (1985)–My son really enjoyed this.

Which movies have you already, or will you in the future, share with your kids?


8 responses

  1. 16 Candles – I still want a red Porsche 944 … I don’t think it’s going to happen as now about all you can find are ones that need to be restored. AMH was brilliant and probably didn’t even know it. I think this was one of the first movies I recorded with my fancy new million dollar VCR.

    Caddyshack – my kids just didn’t quite get it.

    Monty Python – my kids ate that up. I heard clicking horse sounds for weeks after that one. One liners continue to surface as situation warrants a quote.

    • Speaking of Anthony Michael Hall, he looks nothing like he did as teen! Not sure if you saw him last night, if not, Google him. Unrecognizable!

      I don’t think my kids have watched Caddyshack. Not sure they’d get it either.

  2. Interesing blog, Jennifer. A key to understanding Hughes’ work is knowing the distinction between Generation X and Generation Jones (between the Boomers and Xers). Many of his films were about GenJones characters, and many in the Brat Pack were GenJonesers. This was sometimes confusing, since the same actors sometimes played GenXers (Breakfast Club) and sometimes GenJonesers (St. Elmos’s Fire) within the same year.

    Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten lots of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press’ annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. I found this page helpful because it gives a pretty good overview of recent media interest in GenJones: http://generationjones.com/2009latest.html

    It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. And most analysts now see generations as getting shorter (usually 10-15 years now), partly because of the acceleration of culture. Many experts now believe it breaks down more or less this way:

    DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
    Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
    Generation Jones: 1954-1965
    Generation X: 1966-1978

    • I have never heard of GenerationJones! Very interesting. And it makes perfect sense that a generation should be defined by shared experiences and not birth rate. This quote by Ira Wolfe from his new book Geeks, Geezers and Googilization echos that very point:

      “A generation is a group of people who are programmed by events they share in history while growing up…a common set of memories, expectations, and values based on headlines and heroes, music and mood, parenting style, and education systems.”

      I will definitely look at the link you posted–thank you for sharing it. I also appreciate the comments you made about John Hughes’ movies, though I am not sure I completely understand the distinction. With the birth dates being so compressed many of the participants, regardless of whether they were 12 or 16 at the time, experienced the cultural norms of the day in a similar way. For example, a latchkey kid who was 13 in 1980, probably experienced and remembers life much the same way that a latchkey kid who was a few years older during the same time period. Designating the latter as a member of Generation Jones really doesn’t change the sameness of the experience.

      Thanks so much for the comment and information!

  3. Caddy Shack and Stripes are two I can still watch today. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was a fav back then. Fletch and Spies Like Us were also slapstick favorites

    I was never really a Kristi McNicol fan, Tatum has had me every since I first saw The Bad News Bears.

    Charles Grodin is just plain funny! I love his version of Bob Newhart dryness.

    As for the Brat Pack pics, that is what the date always wanted to see…. To this day, I am not a fan of Esteves (sic?). While I did like Demi Moore back then, I can’t look at her now without thinking Lyndsey Wagoner (Bionic Woman).

    It may make me a geek, but my favorite movie franchise of the 80’s was the Indiana Jones series.

    In retrospect, I don’t think the 80’s will ever be remembered as the golden age of cinema.

  4. Great look back at these classic movies. ’16 Candles’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’ are making somewhat of a comeback with my teenage daughter’s group of friends.

    It must have something to do with their current fashion sense; they like ‘thrifting’ and looking for ‘classic’ styles instead of mall off-the-rack clothes.

    They also tell me they watch these movies for fashion inspiration. LOL! Can you believe that?

    • Molly Ringwald’s style was pretty unique for the ’80’s. I think her character in Pretty In Pink, which my 16-year-old also loves, was into 1950’s style–wasn’t she? I get why people would want bring back fashion from the 1960’s–the 1980’s not-so-much! Thanks for the comment Suzette!

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