Top 10 '80s Movie Moments We Once Loved But Now See in a Different, and More Disturbing, Light

Posted at 5:00 AM Jul 28, 2008

By Jennifer Mathieu

When you're young, dumb, and you've used so much Aqua Net that your neurons aren't firing normally, it's easy to fall for movie tricks that make things seem one way but when you really think about it years later, they are really another way. It's happened with a lot of '80s movies, so here's a collection of the Top 10 '80s Movie Moments we see differently now that we’ve aged a little bit (just a little bit), in no particular order.

The Breakfast Club: Allison's Transformation


Could Ally Sheedy's basket case character Allison have been any cooler, what with her dandruff art and her parents who ignored her and her goth wardrobe? I currently love to hate how this classic teen film had to involve an MTV-style makeover of Allison into a Claire Standish, Jr. And only after Molly Ringwald's Claire has completely done her up does Emilio Estevez decide to plant a big wet one on Miss Allison. Whatever! When I was 13, I thought it was sweet. Now, I see it as just another example of how teenagerhood really crushes individuality of any kind. It might have been cooler to see Molly get all punked out, now that I think about it.


Say Anything: Diane and Lloyd Get Back Together


OK, so remember the scene where Diane (Ione Skye) shows up at Lloyd's (John Cusak) kickboxing studio and she asks him back even though she'd completely broken his heart and given him a pen? At first watching, the 16-year-old heart in me found that totally sweet and believable. Only now, I get the feeling Diane was just a lost, freaked-out girl whose dad had been convicted on tax evasion and she was running to the only man nearby. Even Lloyd intuitively gets this. ("Are you here because you need someone, or you need me? Forget it, I don't care.") So I guess that for any guy out there who wants a girl, make sure her dad (John Mahoney) and he's ripping off old people.

Sub point: As much as I love Lloyd, reflection as an adult makes me find it highly unlikely that a) a teenage boy would write a love letter to the girl he lost his virginity to her and b) Lloyd and Diane would have gotten together at all.

Sixteen Candles: Jake Ryan Goes for Samantha Baker


Ah, the classic Sixteen Candles. The dreamtastic teenage girl fantasy of meeting Mr. Hunk-ola and having him kiss you over a burning birthday cake. Let's think back for a moment though and face facts. The only reason -- the only reason -- Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) was into Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) was because he found that note she'd written in Independent Study that said she wanted to have sex with him. THAT WAS THE ONLY REASON. He didn’t know her, had never really spoken to her, and he was basically tired of his blond cheerleader girlfriend throwing parties and wrecking his parents' house all the time. Samantha was a demure sophomore ready to give it up. That's all. And that's why he was interested in her. Creepy!

Sub point: No way would Samantha's family have ever let her miss her sister's wedding reception!

Sixteen Candles: Every Scene Involving Long Duk Dong


When a bunch of us watched this film at my bachelorette party, we thought it was going to be laughs laughs laughs. Yet we all found ourselves collectively cringing in embarrassment as the movie does nothing but make fun of Asian people over and over and over again. Ouch.

Sixteen Candles: Anthony Michael Hall's Character Essentially Rapes That Girl

amh.jpgWow, Sixteen Candles really hit a trifecta. Again, this point went unnoticed by me when I first watched this film in junior high. Again, during the viewing at the aforementioned bachelorette party, we squirmed uncomfortably as we discussed the fact that Farmer Ted basically does it with Jake's ex-girlfriend as she is passed out in a car and in no state to consent to sexual intercourse. By the way, Jake basically handed his ex-girlfriend off with a wink and nod, which makes him even less dreamy, now that I think about it.

The Breakfast Club: Anthony Michael Hall Still Has To Write The Essay


Lest you think I'm picking on AMH, I'll provide another moment that made me shake my head in frustration when I rewatched this movie as an adult. Despite the fact that they've all shared moments and cried and smoked pot and danced to We Are Not Alone by Karla DeVito, Anthony Michael Hall's nerd character still has to write the essay for Principal Vernon. It reminds me of being in school and having to do the entire group project by myself because I was a straight-A student. Not fair at all, yet at first viewing, I thought nothing of it.

The Karate Kid: Daniel Wins The Tournament


I'll straight up admit that I had and still do have the hots for Ralph "Daniel LaRusso" Macchio. He was totally yummy in that nerdy Italian Stallion way. When my dad took me and my brother to see The Karate Kid in theaters, I had no trouble believing that Daniel would have won the All Valley Karate Tournament. Now, viewing the same film with my adult eyes, I take one look at Johnny (William Zabka) and think, "No way in Hell." I mean honestly, did you check out the muscles on Zabka?

Sub point: Now, as an adult, I also do not believe that Pat Morita's character would have actually been able to "fix" Daniel's leg with a little rub and tug. Seriously, was there even any Icy Hot on his hands when he did that magic trick? Come on.

Pretty In Pink: She Doesn’t Pick Duckie


I guess this one doesn't really count as, even when we were young, most girls felt Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) should have ended up with Duckie Dale (Jon Cryer). Apparently, John Hughes originally planned for Duckie and Andie to end up together and changed it when audiences reacted negatively. I don't know who was in those audiences, but I felt it then and I feel it now. She belonged with Duckie. Even if he was kinda stalker-ish.

Some Kind of Wonderful: Keith Blows His College Money on Diamond Earrings


Oh my God, I loved this movie. I loved the way Keith (Eric Stoltz) ended up with the punk rock Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson). I loved the way Lea Thompson’s character Amanda told off that Hardy Jens guy (what kind of name is that?). I love the date that took place in the museum (thanks to Duncan). Even today, I am willing to believe that all of that could happen. But what I cannot believe, what I cannot get over, is the fact that Keith was stupid enough to blow all of his college money on some diamond earrings for the woman he loved. When I first saw this film, I thought that was the epitome of self-sacrifice and romance. Now, having just paid off my student loans, I think it was the stupidest thing he could have ever done. You fucking moron! You just blew your college fund on some fucking earrings!!!

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: No One Believes Jennifer Grey


When I first saw this movie, I thought Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) was the coolest, most incredible high school boy ever to walk the Earth. Now, as an adult, I look at this film with my grown-up eyes and feel incredibly sorry for…Jennifer Grey. As Ferris's sister Jeanie, she is forced to endure her parents' obvious favoritism toward Ferris as well as a police force and a school system that refuse to believe anything she has to say. Ferris is a liar and a cheat, and Jeanie follows the rules. Yet Jeanie gets punished (except for the fact that she gets to kiss a young Charlie Sheen…meow). Not fair. Not fair at all!

Sub point: I cannot believe they actually thought running the odometer backwards would work. Dumb ass teenagers!


Unlucky13 said:

First, off this a great new blog, and a great article.

However, I would like to defend the Karate Kid. Just because someone has muscles doesn't mean someone can take a punch. Remember, Daniel kicked Johnny in the face, right under the chin! Having muscles really doesn't protect your face. So a good kick from the leg, which uses very powerful muscles, to the face, which has little padding, can knock some out. Thus, Johnny with his glass jaw succumbed to the smaller Daniel. Maybe instead of "sweep the leg", it should have been "protect the face".

J said:

Awesome post. I grew up with all these movies. Thanks for the dissection. Interesting to reflect on how movies are (or are not) different today.

Daniel Himself said:

Unlucky13, Johnny getting hit in the jaw really had nothing to do with it. Look at the Crane kick in the Karate Kid. First of all, The stance Daniel is in tells you what foot is going to hit you (The Right foot as that's the one that's going to do the strike as the left foot lands back down). Johnny if he was sooooooooo good to get to the finals after fighting more legitimate opponents than Daniel did, should have caught that kick and made him Road kill!! When I was a kid, I thought it was stupid as hell that such a move would work (Only in the movies) but was ever so rewarded in Karate Kid 2 when the main villain catches that same dumb ass move and returns an elbow to the Karate Kid's dumb idea that lightning strikes twice (But than the villain went on to get defeated with an equally dumb move anyway!!)

Can you imagine anyone using the Crane Kick like Daniel did in a MMA match??? Excuse me while I keel over in laughter!! >:-D

kat said:

these are all valid points however... jake ryan is still freaking hot. *drool*
i may have to erase this article from my mind, one can not doubt john hughes in his infinite wisdom on all things teenager!

Dweeb said:

Great post, interesting take on the realities of 80's movies versus real life. Yeah, a lot of films upon second viewing seem to lose the magic, but remember, these are just movies! The times change and so do our values, what is not politically correct now wasn't such a big deal back then. I still love every one of them with my nostalgic heart.

Anonymous said:

Nah, the complaints about the Karate Kid are off base. It didn't work because it was such an awesome move that was performed flawlessly -- it worked because it was so unexpected. Johnny doesn't have a clue what's coming, he thinks Daniel is just done (his buddy yelling "He's hallucinating" is supposed to tip you off that they don't know what's going on).

So Daniel gets in the equivalent of a sucker punch, because Johnny's never been taught "proper karate," just "how to win a tournament" karate.

Earl said:

Nah, the complaints about the Karate Kid are off base. It didn't work because it was such an awesome move that was performed flawlessly -- it worked because it was so unexpected. Johnny doesn't have a clue what's coming, he thinks Daniel is just done (his buddy yelling "He's hallucinating" is supposed to tip you off that they don't know what's going on).

So Daniel gets in the equivalent of a sucker punch, because Johnny's never been taught "proper karate," just "how to win a tournament" karate.

zeeol said:

11. Tom Hanks has sex with Elizabeth Perkins in Big, even though he is actually a 12-year-old boy.

Oh wait no, that still rocks.

markus simms said:

When I saw this sentence "Samantha was a demure sophomore ready to give it up. That's all. And that's why he was interested in her. Creepy!" I knew it had to have been written by a female. And scrolling up found I was right!

NO guy would think that was "creepy" -- it's opportunity!

Jamal said:

As per Karate think muscles determines who wins a fight? HA

therealduckie said:

I was hoping Hughes would have released that ending on a special DVD when the Pretty In Pink 20th anniversary came around.

I fear that footage will never see the light of day in my lifetime.

Daphne Holland said:

Wow! They're just movies. Regardless of some confusion on the part of the public, these are NOT real life...they're for ENTERTAINMENT value.

Funny analysis, but do you really think about the oppression of Asians as represented by Long Duk Dong at your bachelor party? That may qualify as a little more disturbing than some of these movie moments. The majority of these movies were based on making fun of stupid white spoiled brat teenagers. So what?

Lighten up a bit, there! :)

Mike said:

Don't forget that Jennifer Grey also had the cool car and Ferris got the computer. She didn't have it so bad.

Mike said:

Don't forget that Jennifer Grey also had the cool car and Ferris got the computer. She didn't have it so bad.

dijj monkey said:

What about Jennifer Jason Leigh engaging in statutory rape in a dugout in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

HughesGotOneRight said:

You got it right except for "Some kind of Wonderful". As you pointed out he messed up Pretty in Pink but he got the chance to 'remake' it with SKOW and got it 100% right. Keith never wanted to go to college. It was only his Dad that wanted him to go. Eric spent the money on the earrings to make up for hurting Watts for so long and to make the point to his Dad. Love is invaluable. I skipped college for the girl of my dreams too - smartest thing I ever did. You can go to college anytime - true love is worth way more than that. Hughes got it 100% right!

satan said:

What an awful article. Listen Ms. Mathieu, if someone can determine your gender by the way you write (i.e. word choices), you are not a good writer. In fact, you are a terrible writer. Go back to the Writer's Craft Workshop at your local YMCA, please.

On top of the general poor writing skills, you also seem incapable of forming complete sentences and have atrocious grammar.

unclefire said:

Hmm.. They're movies and many movies have goofy premises and things that happen.

The essay thing in Breakfast club served a key purpose. It was AMH's character summing up the movie and societal issues-- sure it was an internal monologue, but not one somebody would do w/out a need necessarily-- that is, the essay. It fit perfectly- and he was the braniac to make that sort of observation.

Vankata said:

I disagree with that article which is too tendentious.
I'm watching movies since decades and the list above is not the best 80's movie moments to love, nor now disturbing.

Alex White said:

How about the extremely lame visual effects in Ghostbusters, that demon dog looked like it was made out of papier mache and the glue wasn't dry yet.

Cornflakes said:

Um no, here's how it went: They wake up in the back of the Rolls after a wild night of teenaged drunken escapades. The town ho says "Hey did we...?" and poor Farmer Ted says "Yeah I THINK we did." We can already confidently say that Farmer Ted didn't take advantage of her because we know that she's the town ho, and for that matter, we don't know for sure if they actually did anything at all. She was passed out in a drunken but hilariously amorous stupor; he at some point passed out as well.

We all know that Farmer Ted has a penchant for the dramatic, so we can only assume that he insinuates that they had intimate relations for the pure 'nerd God' status of it.

losferwords said:

Wow! You totally don't know how to write English. Evidently, when you were in Junior High watching these movies... you should have been studying a little more.

Jim Jones said:

Dude that is so cool. Wow! What a trip.


malex said:

I have to call foul on your Some Kind of Wonderful comment.

In the argument with his dad, Kieth states that he planned all along on returning the earrings.

GaryB said:

Same thing applies to the Bible -- as an adult, it's an interesting historical document, but frankly, God sucks, and as a creation story it's pathetic.

Friendly Phil said:

I thought all these stupid emo movies sucked back then except for Ferris Bueller, but then again he went and married Sarah Jessica Parker - Yikes, scary.

Chicago Boy said:

Hey, I think you overlooked Ferris Bueller's Day Off big time!

In about 8 hours they

Stole a car
Went swimming
Performed a kidnapping
Went to the Art Museum
Went to a Cubs Game
Had lunch at 5 Star Restaurant that requires reservations 3 months in advance
Went to the Chicago Stock Exchange
Went to the Empire State Building
Were in a parade.

I grew up in Chicago and I've always wanted to have a Ferris day.

12C said:

Do us a favor and delete that comment by the troll ("satan"). He's just trying to get links to his site by commenting on a page that got dugg. Please, remove it... then remove this one too. Thanks

Chicago woman said:

I'm wondering if Chicago boy is really from Chicago. The Empire State Building? C'mon. They went to the Sears Tower. That'd be pretty impressive though if they did all that and went to the Empire State Building too.

Rich Hudson said:

I hate to be one of those jokers who sends in the inevitable "But you missed one" comments, but...
How about the first two Rocky movies, which could be subtitled "White guy beats up big black guy (unlike in real boxing)." Or all those Chuck Norris "American single-handedly kills a bunch of Vietnamese commies (unlike in the actual war)" movies.

charlfoo said:

The ending of The Breakfast Club with the makeover has always pissed me off. She was the only character I actually liked.

Dude-A-Thon said:

Actually, the run-the-odometer-backwards trick DOES WORK in my 1991 Toyota. I learned this when my car was stuck in a snowbank and I kept spinning the wheels in reverse to get out. I did it enough to see the odometer turn backwards.

chris said:

It's so funny that things you saw in movies in the 80's would be considered stalking or a crime today. How about Weird Science when the patrons at the bar are partying with 16 year olds?

Also, I have to disagree with the karate kid. Mr. Myagi did a great job teaching him. That could happen.

moorey said:

Asian people? 10 points for you, American person!

Ted said:

Fuck! I felt like Molly Ringwald not picking Duckie was proof I'd never fit in. I figured movies were based on reality and mine was going to bleak.

Bradster said:

Oo! How about when Prince smacked the crap out of Apollonia in "Purple Rain" and she went back to him in the end? Oh, and that "Lake Minnetonka" prank he pulled on her? Come to think of it, she was a real doormat...

Josh said:

Can I get a little Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in the house?

GoatBoy said:

"What an awful article. Listen Ms. Mathieu, if someone can determine your gender by the way you write (i.e. word choices), you are not a good writer."

Like that hack Dorothy Parker!

John M said:

The only thing these movies show is how much our society has been "wussified" over the years. your commentary above clearly demonstrates that. Instead of remembering how great those movies and scenes within were you pick out how offensive they are, and even suggest how awful the people were for making them. Wimps, that is what we have all become. Political correctness has removed "balls" in this country. It also is what will separate us all in the end. I know which side I'll be on...

TOm said:

I went over to netflix and queued most of these!

Marivs said:

I really disliked Karate Kid. He looked pathetic in this crane pose (or whatever it was supposed to be) the idea of learning blocks by waxing a car or painting the fence (if I remember it correctly) is at best ridiculous.
But then I'm a guy and see it with different eyes , no points for cuteness here:)

Whatever said:

What about the entire "Warriors" movie?

Locke said:

How about Top Gun. Initially, Maverick good, Iceman bad. Watch it this century... Iceman: never did anything wrong except be better than everyone else. Maverick: arrogant prick, cheater and quitter.

greghousesgf said:

I heard it was Molly Ringworm, er, wald, who raised a stink about ending up with Duckie. Oh, and Ferris Bueller was a dick.

Dennis said:

In Sixteen Candles, I thought that Anthony Michael Hall's character could not remember whether he did the hot drunk girl. I think she told him that they did it. He started to ask her if he enjoyed it, then spoke under his breath of course he did. Then he asked her if she enjoyed it. She said she kind of thought she did. So he did not rape her.

In Pretty in Pink, Andie doesn't end up with Duckie because Duckie is gay. That is kind of like my life experience. I couldn't figure out in high school why girls wouldn't go out with me. I thought it was just because I was the nerd and the outcast. After college I finally figured out I am gay.

Dabbler said:

I agree with pretty much the entire list. Pardon my grammmmer but here's a little rant:

I also think it's important to remind everyone that those movies weren't really about how we'd WANT things to be, they were about how things are. And how things are is dick Jake highschool boys would pawn off their gf's to a nerd and be taken with a willing sophmore. The way things are is that the smart girl doesn't get dates so she attaches to Dobler-characters who really WOULD write a love letter to his first time AND take her back without much protest.Duckie is too much of a hanger-on to get the girl - this one could be questionable but for the most part even weird girls would rather have the guy they have a crush on. People are Racist and make fun of the way people talk. Rule Breakers succeed, straight and narrows get shafted AND don't have fun. Rad looking weird girls get made over,willingly, to become friends with other girls, Nerds still write the paper. Dumb boys waste their college money on stupid shit for girls that don't want them, and cool punk tom boy girls wait around forever for them as friends until they figure it out.

None of these movies were meant to be POLITICALLY CORRECT, they were just meant to represent this stage of life Correctly. And I still think they did that pretty damn well as far as movies are concerned.

Ms. Mathieu said:

There are several movies mentioned that I have not seen or forgot about! Thanks for the 411...I've *got* to check out Warriors...

Re: Bill and Ted...I guess I didn't mention it because that movie was so unbelievable to begin with I suspended disbelief even when I first saw it in theaters.

It was much, much harder to suspend disbelief when, years later, I watched Keanu Reeves attempt to act as an undercover agent in "Point Break" and as a Shakespearean gent in "Much Ado About Nothing."

However, I think those were 90s movies. :-)

murx said:

You seem to not have grasped the point of Ferris Buellers Day off.
It's about making your OWN mind and decisions, going through with it and coping with the problems that arise.
Jennifer just has no mind of her own, is not grown up (not even on the way there) - she is only a drone following the rules, and a snitch to - and thus she is treated like a child, not favoured, not believed on 'important' matters. But even worse, she tries to use those rules just for her selfish, childlike ego...
She doesn't stand up for her own ideals, Ferris does and THAT is the whole point of growing up.
Just following orders and rules, sign up to the army.
Become a responsible individual that *understands* when and more importantly NOT to follow the rules is what should be thaught to juveniles...

farter said:

Awesome post...
The karate Kid, when the guy win the tournament, when i was kid that scene very effect me. but when i see it again in TV 3 monts ago , ewwww.... it's so.... what can i say... dull..?

SJS said:

"Movie tricks"? It's not immediately clear what is meant by that. Perhaps you mean "significant plot elements"?

Breakfast Club

I found Allison to be more appealing in her "dark" phase, but that's just me. The character was desperately unhappy, and the lesson she had to learn was that to be happy, one has to change oneself; she was mostly an outcast because she pushed people away, while desiring their attention. Be yourself, and if you're still not happy, change your own self.

AMH writing the essay was not really about "you're the braniac, you do the work", but rather about trust ... the rest of the group, HIS group, trusted him to tell off The Powers That Be. Had the essay been the standard sort of repentant pap desired, yes, it would have been an imposition... instead, HE gets to write the manifesto. That's respect.

Everyone got something they wanted. Can't get more fair than that.

Karate Kid

My friends who practice the martial arts respect strength, but they respect speed and accuracy more.

Further, the hand-rubbing technique can do much the same as icy-hot, but it cannot be used in conjunction with icy-hot: the friction warms the hands, and icy-hot would eliminate most of the friction.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Jennifer Grey was spiteful and resentful from living in her brother's shadow, and so was a very unsympathetic character. She was not a nice person at all, at the start of the movie, but she grows up over the course of the movie. Of all the characters, she undergoes the most (personal) growth and maturation, and learns to take responsibility for her own happiness.

As has been pointed out above, the reverse-to-spin-odometer-backwards trick can work, so it's not dumb. Given that it was a classic Ferrari, the technique could have reasonably been expected to work. Ending your essay this way was perhaps the worst-possible approach, unless you were trying for ironic.

Anonymous said:

Wow, this was poorly written. You need to get an editor, or at least read what you've written out loud.

Abe Froman said:

My only problem with FBDO was that I thought most odometers were tied in to the front wheels. So, running the car's rear wheels in reverse would have no effect.

BeyondRandom said:

lol thanks for the laugh!

@zeeol: I was thinking the same thing about Tom Hanks in Big lol

Erik said:

In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, didn't they run the odometer forward to try and lap the odometer back to the original reading? Haven't seen it in a long time and that's what I seem to remember. Loved the post, grew up with all these movies and actually just watched Karate Kid the other night on the Spike Channel.

Tricia said:

I always thought it was completely ridiculous that Jake wound up with Samantha. I know that wasn't the way it worked in my high school. However, it was a movie and they were/are supposed to have happy endings.

My disagreement is with your "subpoint" about her parents not letting her miss her sister's reception. Sam had a heart to heart with her dad and told him about Jake, dad felt guilty for missing her birthday and agreed with her that her sister was self centered and things always came easily for her. Jake shows up at the church. Everyone else is already gone, she's the only one still standing on the church steps. Dad is the only one who remembers her and when he looks back, Sam tells dad "It's the boy" and he gives her a thumbs up. It fits with the rest of the premise that no one would care whether she was there or not. They FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY.

Pretty in Pink...From personal experience I know that when you are a 17 year old girl, crying over some boy who broke your heart, and he shows up and says sorry, you choose him over the nice guy who has always been there for you. Only when you are older do you realize that this may not be the best course of action. My daughter is 15 and watches this movie all the time. I don't think we are supposed to watch them with our cynical adult eyes.

And don't knock Keanu, he's just pretty. And sometimes, that's what the movie needs. ;)

Wolfie Rankin said:

Yeah Ducky should have got the girl, I saw that from the start.

I think with Ferris' friends dads car, wasn't it a Porche?
You can roll back the odometer on many types of cars.... but
car nerds tell me that you can't on a porche because something works differently on them.


Dollie said:

How dare anyone say even a solitary negative word about the precious, nostalgic 80's films that so greatly influenced the overly idealistic person I am today? What is wrong with you people? These were clearly the best days ever! The weenies of today would know nothing about that, they are too busy being "correct" to one another and then bashing each other to the core the second they walk out of the room and molesting their kids in bathrooms! This world is screwed! I give up, time to eat pills and watch more 80's movies and remember happier times when the world wasnt so damned fake!

Breeder said:

"What an awful article. Listen Ms. Mathieu, if someone can determine your gender by the way you write (i.e. word choices), you are not a good writer."

Or that jerk, Hemingway!

Verika said:

I love 80´s movies!

They may seem too naive to us now, compared to what society is like nowadays, and to all the new superproductions we enjoy these days, but I kinda like the innocence that those stories had. Of course, I agree about the fact that when we see them today, we get to a totally different interpretation of some scenes, that were so sweet then (to our very young eyes), and that look so foolish and unreal now (to our grown up point of view). Despite all this, I believe 80´s movies are to some of us (call us "the nostalgic") a blow of warm breeze to our "adult" hearts.

One of my favourites is "Secret Admirer", too.

KatyG said:

@John M: If what you say is true, Grindhouse would never have been made. Sheesh

Janet from another Planet said:

You really need to fix the following gaffs:

"So I guess that for any guy out there who wants a girl, make sure her dad (John Mahoney) and he's ripping off old people." Wha?

"Sub point: As much as I love Lloyd, reflection as an adult makes me find it highly unlikely that a) a teenage boy would write a love letter to the girl he lost his virginity to her" Seriously dude, you need to omit that last "her."

And come on, that oriental guy was fvckin' funny!!!

Lisa said:

The thing that really disappointed me about SKOW was that Watts KEPT THE EARRINGS! Whether Keith wanted to go to college or not, he was about to turn 18 and strike out on his own. Without the college education, what kind of job was he going to be able to get? What kind of place would he be able to afford to live in? Watts was cool cool cool and then turned out to be a selfish pig in the end. I felt that way even when I saw the movie as a teenager.

I loved Iola in PIP, and it saddens me now to realize that her trasformation was basically her acknowledgment that at a certain point you kind of have to tone things down and be more "age appropriate." I'm at that age now. Sigh.

zatch said:

Revenge of the Nerds.... rape, invasion of privacy, poisoning, stalking, gay bashing.. this movie had it all...

gina said:

i completely agree with you and i've noticed these things myself. when you get older, you realize how completely off these scenes are. The one that always bothered me the most was that she didn't pick duckie. he's there for her throughout the entire movie, cares about her no matter what and has always accepted her and what does she do? pick the "handsome" guy who never gave her a second glance before. ugh.

That Fuzzy Bastard said:

As regards Long Duk Dong:

Mike said:

I think you are WAY over-thinking these movies... They are all great for what they are. Relax and stop being so politically correct all the time.

knid said:

re: Pretty in Pink - I was always under the impression that John Hughes rewrote the ending because he was concerned that otherwise the movie would suggest that socio-economic-class-crossing romances couldn't work.

re: 16 Candles - A guy and a girl wake up in a car, both of them having been too drunk to remember if they had sex the previous night. Why was either of them more "date-raped" than the other one?

Also, what exactly was so bad about the Long Duk Dong character? Would you have preferred that the Asian character be quiet, studious and reserved? While the language-barrier humor was kind of broad, otherwise, the comedy didn't come from portrayal of cultural stereo-types. In fact, Dong's character flouted them.

Marc M said:

Where's Top Gun on this list?

Deek said:

Movies were far better during those times than they are now, so I honestly have to disagree with this blog.

Suspension of disbelief said:

K - while I agree with, well, everything here, they are movies and do expect a certain amount of suspension of disbelief.
More importantly, you left off the most glaring totally-different-through-adult-eyes movie of all time: "Pretty Woman"!!!! (Maybe it's not an '80s movie? When was it made?) When I was young, I loved that movie. So romantic with just enough risque to make me feel like I was getting some kind of peek into adult stuff I wasn't supposed to know about. But she's a hooker!! As a feminist, I say do what you want with your body. But she's a hooker!! Drive down any hooker row and try to find one who looks like Julia Roberts. I dare you! Not to mention, STDs! As an adult, that movie makes me cringe and change the channel.

The End of Days is Nigh! - Quick, grow a pair! said:

"John M said:
...It also is what will separate us all in the end. I know which side I'll be on..."

Umm, excuse me, what end? Are we getting theological here? Because I'm pretty sure any deity I want to be involved with is not going to be sending people to hell for not being insensitive ball bearers.

checyguy said:

Actually, your sub-point about the speedometer is wrong.

Many - but not all older mechanical speedometers WILL roll back the odometer if driven in reverse. The odometer was directly driven off of a worm gear, and the speedometer needle uses a 'air bearing / hub' as to allow slippage and not break off when the driver uses reverse.

Please do your research before posting shit you know nothing about.

Deborah said:

To this day, I have never seen Sixteen Candles...much to the shock of many. I just never understood why "the hot guy" would chase Molly Ringwald. Thanks for clearing it up. :)

johnny said:

As far as the 80's teen flicks go (or any generations teen movie), they fed us what we wanted. As a teenage boy (nay, half-man), I wanted to score with a hot chick, and I wanted to see as much underwear and make out scenes as possible. Hollywood was more than willing to take my money in exchange. I feel dirty now.

And let's not forgot Blazin' Saddles (although the genre in your list was teen flick which disqualifies this movie). I first saw Blazin' Saddles as a teenager and thought it was funny. I found it in my uncle-in-laws collection and popped it in. I was horrified! I should spend the rest of my life apologizing to every ethnic group and every civilized person for my prior insensitivity.

Aimes said:

Oooooh! I didn't think a fun article like this would rate such angry comments, but it did! Wow. Anyway, your writing flows and your commentary made me giggle, and both those things keep people coming back where impeccable grammar, spelling, and punctuation would not.

Oh, and thanks for seeing the wrongness of Long Duk Dong. For those who don't get why his character is offensive - well, he's not an actual person. He mostly reminds me of one of those spring toys that pop out when you press a button on the box, and scare the hell out of you, usually at the most inconvenient time possible. Not a movie to show if you have any Asian friends around. If you don't, then go ahead, revel in the racism.

Allie said:

I've never managed to sit through Sixteen Candles. In fact, I tried to watch it again a few weeks ago for canonical reasons, and shut it off after 20 minutes. Racist, sexist, objectifying, and littered with sexual harassment/assault! Does it get any better than this?

David Baker said:

As a young punk rockish kid, I loved, loved, loved Allison before the transformation. I loved that movie, but always hated the transformation.

Sarah said:

I kind of disagree with you on a bunch of these. Firstly, there's a difference between things that simply seem unrealistic and things that are "disturbing."

Allison was my favourite character from TBC, the whole way through, and I never had any problem with her transformation. For all we know, she went straight back to dressing how she wanted to on Monday, and still stayed with Andy. Or she could have kept wearing the "pretty" clothes and he might have ignored her. The two aren't connected at all; Andy kisses her at the end of the day because it's the end of the day, and it's when they know each other best. It's not as thought she threw herself at him when she was dressed in just her own clothes and he rejected her, but was all for it when she'd been made over.

What makes all these movies amazing for me is that they are cheesy 80s movies; they've got a lot of truth in them, but they are also just movies, and, as such, are an escape. I love thinking that Lloyd and Diane could have been happy together, and that things could work out that well, and the reason for that is because I know that they don't always work out movie-perfect. But I like it when it can happen for characters I love.

As a side note: You know what? If you always got stuck doing group projects in school, maybe you should have done something about it. Note the Brian doesn't begrudge the fact that he has to write the essay; like SJS said, he's given the task not because the others, even after all the day's bonding, dismiss him, but because they respect and trust him.

I was initially interested in this list because there are a lot of moments that could be kind of off-putting in retrospect, but I feel like you've at least mis-titled, if not written an article that seems based more on knee-jerk reactions than actual analysis.

Katie said:

Wow, reading these comments makes me think most people don't understand humor....
I was in high school in the 80s and I love these movies then and I still get a kick out of them now, even though I look at them a little differently than I used to. But it was fun to read and thanks for sharing!
To all the other douchebags who complained...please, get a sense of humor.

E and O said:

I have to disagree with some of your points, in some pretty key areas. And yes, I'm fully aware of the absurdity of dissecting something so meaningless. I'm reveling in the absurd, roll with me. ;)

1) Breakfast Club, re: Allison

I don't think the message was intended to be: girl is only attractive and cool when she's prissed up like a doll. I think the makeover by Claire (Ringwald's character) was not meant to change Allison, but to do something sweet and sisterly for her. They even spell this out in the movie --
Allison: "why are you being so nice to me?"
Claire: "because you're letting me"

Allison's parents neglect her, she doesn't have someone caring for her and giving her normal loving attention. She doesn't know how to let someone be kind to her, she's never experienced it within her family. Her appearance isn't a sign of some cool, indie, self-assured goth girl. She looks like someone who's trying to hide so she doesn't receive negative attention (perhaps abuse or simply the heartache of continual parental rejection), or like someone who doesn't think she's worthwhile enough to take care of herself.

I mean, dandruff isn't a personality quirk, it's a sign that her family doesn't even help insure some basic hygiene. Which is NOT to say that the only way to have self-respect is to be dolled up like Claire, or that Allison could not find a cool dark non-tarty way to dress that came from a good emotional place. Just that everything about Allison screamed lonely, neglected, uncomfortable, and unhappy.

Then here Claire comes along and brushes Allison's hair (which can be a very sweet, sisterly gesture), gives her attention, tries to show that Allison is a worthwhile person. Being a spoiled privileged teenager, Claire expresses this in the only way she knows how: makeover. I think the movie played it right. Really, most of the film was about how people judge you by your appearance and only feel comfortable when you fit in a familiar box.

2) Sixteen Candles, re: the "morning after" scene

Even watching the film as a teenager, I never got the impression that the 2 actually had sex. In fact, that was part of the joke -- neither would admit they hadn't as it would bruise their ego and their reputation.

I mean, Anthony Michael Hall is wearing his bedtime headgear for Maude's sake. ;) I can't see that being the concern of a high school boy who had just lost his virginity with the most popular girl in school. Add to that that once saddled with Jake's gf, Hall's character quickly becomes irritated and turned off by her behavior. An hour into babysitting her and he doesn't look like he wants anything to do with her. There were no indications that he was trying to make moves on her, despite the fact that she was clearly vulnerable from the alcohol. He wasn't like, hey let me just hold you while we drive, or how about a kiss for my troubles. I didn't get anything creepy from the exchange. He looked more put-upon than anything else.

I always took that scene to me she passed out from alcohol, and he passed out from the exhaustion of playing babysitter to one of the most annoying bitches from any 80s film. And the fact that she'd rather say that she slept with the school geek than admit she was a trainwreck hot mess -- that just seemed in line with her character.

E and O said:

oh... another thought...

#3) Ferris Bueller, re: Jeannie

The only thing about the nobody-believes-Jeanie in the film that I find totally disturbing now is her 911 call. Here you have a young girl calling the police to report not just an intruder, but a possible rapist... and they ignore her. Because ha-ha, she's just a whiny hysterical female. You know they can't be trusted. They're always exaggerating about things like rape, which we all know isn't real anyway. Let's just accuse her of pranking and hang up. [sarcasm]

Yes, in the film the intruder is just the harmless, if unhinged, principal. BUT JEANIE DOESN'T KNOW THIS WHEN SHE CALLS 911. She legitimately fears for her life and fears she may be a victim of sexual assault. And there is NOTHING in the film that indicates she actually IS over reacting to the threat. Seriously, you're a teenage girl, home alone, you continually hear news stories about intrusions and sexual assault, and suddenly you find that someone has broken into your house... why the fuck would you NOT flip out??!!

But instead, we're supposed to think it's funny, because she's just a hysterical little girl, see? And it's funny that the 911 operator ignores her. Because assault of any kind is funny when it's a teenage girl. The threat of sexual assault of a teenage girl is even funnier.


It's a very sad example of a prevailing view on sexual assault of that time (and the current time as well). My only consolation to this point in the film is Jeanie is not a cringing victim ala slasher films. When she realizes no one is going to help her, Girlfriend kicks some mutha funkin ass. They should've made a sequel about Jeanie kicking ass, like Terminator 2 or Aliens. ;)

Marie said:


Scratch and sniff stickers, anyone?


Count Drunkula said:

I hated it when Cameron cried in FBDO. It was too unnecessarily dramatic for such a silly, lighthearted movie.

And Andie's dress in PIP was horrible. The original was so pretty and she ruined it.

Also I loathed Blaine when he said to her while greeting her on their date, "Is this what you are going to wear?" So rude, because she actually was dressed very lady like in her pearls.

I never liked SC and thought it was way overrated.

I did like The Sure Thing though and thought it was a fun comedy and the only performance of John Cusack that I ever enjoyed.

I loathed St.Elmo's Fire. UGH! That movie was so annoying and shallow. And everybody even Rob Lowe looked horrific with their hairstyles and bad 80's attire.

andy said:

I'm glad you've finally come around. I left pretty in pink thinking, "That clinches it, I will never get laid until after highschool."

John Hughes truly understood how awful the teen universe was, maybe it isn't all his fault that his social darwinism and Machiavellian message was so well received. I was eccentric in high school, and twenty pounds or so overweight, and girls treated me like a pariah. I finally grew out of my awkward phase and all those girls married big fat slobs, way worse than I was in highschool.

Whenever I date girls my age, I'm always thinking, "You would've hated me in highschool, and I would have loved you." Yay. I love blossoming late. ... Nope, still pissed off.

Anonymous said:

I LOVED Sixteen Candles when I was in middle school, but recently watched it again and was shocked and horrified by the things you mentioned, especially Long Duc Dong and Jake essentially giving Caroline to Farmer Ted to rape. I don't know how she possibly could've consented, much less enjoyed herself, given the state she was last seen in. It really broke my heart. I haven't seen all the others you mentioned (I was born in 1987) but I agree about The Breakfast Club too. Why can't there be sweet, romantic/angsty movies about teenagers that don't include racism, retrograde notions of gender and violence against women? Is that such an unlikely prospect?

Bumble said:

I only have one thing to say...

About your wish that Duckie was to win the girl
Andie ..
Everyone looking back at this film always says
that they wish Duckie would have got the girl in
the end --- and yes, John Hughes actually made
the original ending to have Andie decide to be
The fact of the matter is that it would not have
mattered how loyal Duckie was or how much of a
friend he had been to Andie - the truth is Blaine
was the popular rich pretty boy and would HAVE WON
{which basically he did}

the ending where Andie goes after Blaine even though
Blaine was flippant towards her and her group of
friends is reality {and for any girl that says she
would have chose Duckie is pure bullshit hogwash
and don't deny it)

Been there - done that **


website design said:

Not only adult or child's eye, every now and them we look back on things or decision we made in the past, we may have a different view now.

Throckmorton Jones said:

Nice list with good points I too missed watching these as a teenager. And some cars the odometer will run backwards... I believe it was fairly common in older cars.

Hannah said:

Duckie and Andie do end up together as originally planned in the 1986 novel based on Hughes screenplay. I find myself favoriting the novel. Duckie's anguish still makes me cry.

Dave said:

Apropos to your Ferris Bueller comments, here is an interesting article that paints Ferris as a psychopathic and Principal Rooney as the true hero of the film.

Nice blog, by the way.

Dave said:

Oops, forgot to paste the link. Sorry for the second post!

Here's the article:

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