Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Favorite Films... The 80's Edition

As you may already be aware, I am an 80's child, so I am so freaking excited to talk about today's selection because it's all about some (please note the some. I can't possibly cover them all because then we'd be here for three days) of my favorite movies from that decade.

Let's get started because I can't wait anymore!

1. The Dark Crystal


I'm pretty sure I don't have to say anything more. I mean, c'mon! It's the Dark Freakin' Crystal, man! But I'll deliver the spiel anyway... this is a 1982 movie by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and features some pretty damn awesome muppets. Puppets? Animatronics? Whatever you call them, they're awesome.

The plot centers around a young Gelfling, Jen, who's on a quest to find a missing shard of a magical crystal in order to save the world from the evil Skeksis. Along the way, Jen meets another Gelfing, Kira, and her rabid pomeranian, Fizzgig (just kidding about him being a pomeranian. He just really looks like one). Eventually they encounter Aughra, the Keeper of Secrets, and ride weird-looking things called Landstriders and then (spoiler alert!) they save the world.

But it's not easily done and there is some pretty intense, scary stuff to be found along the way, but I think this is the film that really inspired my love of all things fantasy.

Favorite Lines:

Aughra: Where is he?
Jen: He's dead.
Aughra: Could be anywhere then.

Jen: Wings? I don't have wings!
Kira: Of course not. You're a boy.

2. The Last Unicorn
 
Released the same year as The Dark Crystal, this animated film (based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle)  cemented my love of all things fantasy. I honestly don't know which one was released first, but it doesn't matter. 1982 is the year I fell in love with fantasy.

This movie features the vocal talents of Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. It tells the story of a unicorn (Mia), a magician (Alan) and a woman (Tammy Grimes) on a quest to find what has happened to all the other unicorns. It's said the Red Bull (not to be confused with the horribly-bad-for-you energy drink) has chased them all into the sea. Along the way, the unicorn is accidentally turned human and then accidentally falls in love with the son (Jeff Bridges) of the evil king (Christopher Lee) who controls the Red Bull.

Favorite Lines:

Unicorn: I am no longer like the other, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but now I do. I regret.

Molly: Why must you always speak in riddles?
The Cat: Because I be what I be. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, mum, but I be a cat. And no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.

Unicorn: I cannot change you into something you are not. I cannot make you a real magician.
Schmendrick: Ah it's okay. Don't worry about it.
Unicorn: Oh I won't.

3. The Never Ending Story


Released in 1984, this movie tells the story of tormented school boy, Bastian. One day, while escaping from bullies, he ends up in an old book store and ends up "borrowing" an ancient story book. He spends the day hiding in an attic reading the book and is drawn into the fantasy world of Fantasia which, of course, is in need of saving.

This movie had a huge impact on me. Atreyu (portrayed by Noah Hathaway) and his horse, Artax, were the coolest freaking thing ever. I wanted to be the female version of Atreyu so damn badly, I spent a lot of my formative years running around with a homemade bow—a slightly curved stick and some kite string— on my back (I occasionally still do this. I can just afford better weaponry now). And the scene where (SPOILER ALERT) Atreyu loses Artax in the Swamps of Sadness still depresses the hell out of me. Just thinking about it now is making me a little misty-eyed. All right, fine, a lot misty-eyed. But I'm sure I'm not alone.

*cue crickets*

This movie thrills and delights and makes you hold your breath and gasp and yelp and all those kind of things. The part with the wolf near the end scared the bejeezus out of me when I was younger and still makes my pulse race today. And the very end, with Bastian and Falcor remains just a very cool moment in cinematic history.

4. Labyrinth


Last, but not least, is this 1986 movie featuring Jennifer Connelly as Sarah the girl on a mission and David Freakin' Bowie as the Jareth the Goblin King. It has some awesome muppet action, some very cool songs (yes, that are on my iPod) and dances and endless quotable opportunities (at least if you're me).

The goblins come and take Sarah's baby brother away so she goes after him. She's given thirteen hours to navigate her way through the labyrinth. If she doesn't make it, Jareth will keep her brother. Along the way, Sarah encounters some strange places (the bog of eternal stench, anyone?) and meets a varied cast of colorful characters including friends Hoggle and Ludo, the Fierys, the Doorknockers (one of us always lies and one of us always tells the truth...), and more!

And did I mention the songs and dancing? Here's a prime example...



Since I can't possibly top that, I'm going to end here for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow when I talk about some other movie genre that I love. Will it be superhero/comic book movies or spy/secret agent movies? Or something else I haven't yet thought of?

Until  next time...


51 comments:

  1. Something unique about those types of 80's films.
    And did you know that after the Dark Crystal, Henson was incredibly depressed for a long time? It didn't do very well, and he was crushed because he'd put so much into the world-building, hoping to do more of them.

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    1. I did know that. And it makes me very sad.

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  2. I remember all of those (except for Labyrinth, for some reason) but I think The Dark Crystal was my favorite of the bunch you have here. Thanks for the walk back through memory lane... :)

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    1. I'm guessing David Bowie doesn't remember much about Labyrinth either...

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  3. Labyrinth is one of the best movies of all time, not just the 80s. I couldn't resist recently buying a onesie that says "The Babe with the Power" for my little one on the way. Though I call bullcrap on Sarah for that scene with the Doorknockers. No way she could figure out that logic puzzle that fast (and not make me feel stupid). ;)

    I read a novelization of The Dark Crystal and really enjoyed how it was fleshed out. It's a great fantasy story.

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    1. If I had a baby, I would've bought a Babe With The Power onsie too. Probably more than one. One for each day of the week.

      And no matter how many times I watch that Doorknocker scene, I still don't get it. But I'm smart in other ways...

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  4. I have never seen any of those films. My films of the 80s were The Lost Boys and Cocktail... I think I'm probably a bit older than you :-)

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    1. I've never seen either The Lost Boys or Cocktail. But I could sing the Kokomo song from the latter.

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  5. I'm not familiar with The Last Unicorn, but I own the other three. My little girl loves to dance and I keep debating on if she is old enough for The Labyrinth as I'm sure she would go crazy with the fun songs.

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    1. I'm looking forward to introducing my niece to these movies. Though I'm guessing she's going to look at me and wonder how it is that I am so uncool.

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  6. I've seen The Neverending Story and Labrynth. But I've never seen the other two. David Bowie rocks!

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  7. The Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal were and are two of my all time favorites. The other two were fine, but didn't fall into my most loved category. Glad you mentioned them!

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  8. Except for The Last Unicorn (which could never do justice to the book imo) I adored ALL those movies. I loved those same lines in the Dark Crystal and we used to laugh our butts off at the "Smells bad..." swamp in Labrynth. I'm surprised I didn't see Legend here with the delicious Tim Curry (We are all animals, my dear...). Or maybe that came out later.

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    1. I had to leave some of the 80's movies out. I seriously could've blogged about them for days. Legend, unfortunately, didn't get the spotlight. This time.

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  9. Though I grew up during them, I've never considered myself a child of the 80s. I never saw The Last Unicorn or Labyrinth, and sadly, when I tried to re-watch The NeverEnding Story in college, it bored me. But hey, Dark Crystal!

    (For me, I guess the 80s were more about the cheesy comedies, movies like Spaceballs, Goonies, Better Off Dead, and of course The Princess Bride.)

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    1. The cheesy comedies are another post. And The Princess Bride will definitely be making an appearance before this moviefest is over.

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  10. The Dark Crystal is a movie that has continued to grow on me over time. I think my initial attraction to it was that, because it was Frank Oz, I could talk like the Skeksis. That was a lot of fun. At this point, though, I think it was rather a masterpiece despite the contrived bits in the story (like the wings).

    The rest of those movies didn't do much for me. I liked NeverEnding when it came out, but it has devalued over time, especially since the sequels were so awful.

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    1. I never watched any of the sequels. Or, if I did, they were so bad they made no impression on me at all.

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  11. I've seen all those except for the unicorn one, but only The Neverending Story was special to me at the time I saw it. The Dark Crystal, I tried to watch that again about a year ago and feel like it was a bit of a mess. So I watched The Time Bandits again and thought that was a bit weird too. After that, I decided to quit rewatching all my old favorites before I ruined everything.

    That said, I did hear folks talking about The Dark Crystal on a podcast the other day. They mentioned that originally, the whole movie was supposed to have been spoken in a made up language. How weird would that have been?

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    1. I've never seen Time Bandits, but there have been many films from my past that just make me squint at the screen and say "I used to love this??"

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    2. I rarely reply to replies... but I'm almost tempted to freak out here. I won't, but I'm tempted. How could you have a list like the one above and have never even seen Time Bandits? Is that even possible?

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  12. @Rusty: Time Bandits is another one that has grown on me over time. My initial reaction to that one was "what the heck?" but I've grown more and more to appreciate it.

    However, I've always loved Baron Munchausen.

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    1. I always got that one and Buckaroo Bonzai mixed up... Time Bandits, and the rest of those early eighties fantasy movies have to live up to my memories of them first and foremost. I'm really not being fair to them.

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  13. I remember all those movies fondly - though I was disappointed by Neverending Story, probably because I read the book first. I, too, have Labyrinth on my iPod. Had a HUGE crush on Bowie after that movie...

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    1. I've never read the Neverending Story book. I am such a bad English teacher/writer person.

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  14. I've not seen any of those, though I keep meaning to see The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

    Maybe some day...

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    1. Well, you know I highly recommend them. =)

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  15. Great picks. I am a GREAT admirer of Jim Henson's work and love those two movies.

    I have to add to your fantasy list from the 80s. My absolute favorite is Clash of the Titans- Ray Harryhausen's swan song. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

    And don't get me started on 80s John Hughes movies, John Cusack teen movies, Adventures in Babysitting, Time Bandits and Spaceballs.

    Great post!

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    1. That's the problem with doing lists like these. Things are always left out and I always have to keep going with more lists until I've managed to mention every movie ever made.

      We loved Adventures in Babysitting when I was a kid. And Spaceballs will possibly make an appearance later on this week.

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  16. ooo, i love movie week! i am going to have acreally hard time narrowing my faves to just ten, theres just so many!

    and swashbucklers are the best!!

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    1. I know. That's why I've had to devote an entire week to movies. And it still won't be enough!

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  17. Really liked Labyrinth, but didn't know about The Last Unicorn.

    Are those lines in the Last Unicorn novel? And would you recommend it as well?

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    1. It was at least a decade between me seeing the movie version of The Last Unicorn and reading the book because much younger me didn't realize there was a book.

      But the book is lovely and Peter S. Beagle worked on the movie script.

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  18. Swamps of Saddness. . . )': That scene makes me cry every time. Dark Crystal was another one that left a big impression on me as well. Great list.

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    1. So I'm not alone? Oh good. It's always nice to have company when you're crying about a fictional boy losing a fictional horse in a fictional swamp in a fictional world. =)

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  19. I think my 80s Kid badge is about to be revoked - I've not seen any of these. BUT, in my defense, I was *very sheltered* and didn't really get to go to a lot of movies until I hit my later teens, and even then my warden - I mean, my mother, didn't let me go out much.

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    1. I am SHOCKED Mina!

      I have seen them all, and own all but Labyrinth, which really did nothing for me. :) Kids love NE Story 1 and 2 even now.

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    2. I know. I hang my head in shame.

      Hang on - I did see Gremlins, that's gotta count for something, yeah??? :-)

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    3. Seeing Gremlins definitely counts for something. My mother wouldn't let us watch that movie. I didn't see it until after I'd graduated from high school.

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  20. The Ever Ending Story? Sorry. It got that nickname since when I saw it in the theater, it stopped like three different times. The film broke or something. We had to keep going to the manager (well somebody did--it was a packed house) to get them to fix it.

    And I met a boy named Atreyu. At school. I kid you not. I wanted to ask him about his name, but I thought better of it. He's since graduated. (I did mention him on my blog once, but not by name as the name was so distinctive and he was a minor at the time.)

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    1. I would have wanted to ask him about his name, too.

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  21. The only movie I've seen off this list is The Last Unicorn, which I loved. I especially loved the wizard. I want to see the Labyrinth sometime, I've heard so much about it.

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    1. The wizard was great, but I was all about Prince Lir. I still kind of am...

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  22. Ahh Labyrinth. How I adore thee. Best 80s movie ever, and that's a fact.

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  23. Oh, the Labyrinth. What a weirdly compelling, seriously borderline disturbing film.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that was its tagline.

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