So, I never really needed to learn how to START loving 80s teen movies — or 80s anything. I have some sort of genetic marker guaranteeing my love of them.
And this is not some sort of super-snarky tongue-in-cheek appreciation thereof. I honestly (heart-on-sleeve) love them. But so many people lose track of what the decade had to offer, or they watched Xanadu and some aerobics tapes and figured they had it all pegged. (wrong!)
There is a problem in the world. People are only willing to A). hate on or mock the 80s and its art/culture/music/etc or B). appreciate the 80s artforms and culture in a sardonic and ironic way. (ie so not really at all.)
But here’s the thing: I non-ironically love so much of it. Oh sure, the mainstream 80s were pretty ridiculous. But there was so much more to offer. The “left of the dial” 80s were utterly gush-worthy. So strap on your helmets kids, because I am about to gush.
The music — sigh — like The Smiths, The Field Mice, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, The Stone Roses, Talulah Gosh, The Pastels, etc etc… If a ten ton truck crashed into us, to die by your side would be OK, but it would be heavenly set to this music.
Now, let’s talk movies. Heathers, Pump up the Volume, all of John Hughes, et cetera… well you’ve probably all heard of those before and don’t need to be bored by me telling you how wonderful they are.
But “Ladies & Gentleman the Fabulous Stains”, “Repo Man”, and “Night of the Comet” are some under-appreciated and incredibly DARK, inciteful, culturally reflective, and occasionally hilarious movies. (Honorable mention goes to “Eating Raoul”)
Repo Man deals swiftly, acerbically, and hilariously with such topics as: suburban punk rockers, aliens, sushi, cults, boredom, pants-folding, mainstream and fringe-element cultural brain-washing, Scientology, truth, religion, American long-haul car culture, car repossesion (duh) and meth — and is set to a ferocious soundtrack featuring the likes of Iggy Pop, The Plugz, The Circle Jerks, and Black Flag. Damn, does life get any better than this?
Extra Bonuses: Harry Dean Stanton. Emilio Estevez (yes, this is a bonus, jack-ass.)
Best tagline ever: It’s 4am. Do you know where your car is?
The script line that was so good that I wanted to have it every morning for breakfast and simultaneously bemoaned the fact that I hadn’t penned it:
Duke: The lights are growing dim Otto. I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.
Otto: That’s bullshit. You’re a white suburban punk just like me.
Duke: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains: Teenage trio start a band — find success and burn out beautifully.
Highlights: Baby-faced Diane Lane playing young punk princess Corrine “Third Degree” Burns. The idea that “all great ideas become co-opted and watered-down”. The ferocious femininity. The sort of proto-riot-grrl-ness of it all. Cameos by members of The Clash, the Sex Pist0ls, the Tubes, etc… Oh, and BRENT SPINER makes an appearance?! What– bestill my nerdy heart.
Night of the Comet: The same comet that killed the dinosaurs returns and all the foolish, comet-reveling masses who stay out to party down and watch the comet… oh, well they’re all burnt to a crisp.
Who remains? Reggie (Regina) video game player extraordinaire, her subversively vacuous sister Sam, and the “hunky last man on Earth” Hector (shout out to Star Trek again, in the form of Robert Beltran…also of 80s cult satire “Eating Raoul” fame).
People hate on “tone switching” a lot. But let me just say that tone switching is not an inherently bad thing. QUITE THE OPPOSITE. However, part of people’s confusion comes from the fact that most of the time the tone-switch-eroo-ing is done poorly. Here, in “Night of the Comet”, it is pitch perfect.
But let’s talk about Samantha some more.
She’s the jewel in the crown… with her radical vacuity. Her subversive vacuity.
It makes me want to hand-draw Valentines’ cards. She roams the post-apocalyptic wasteland of LA in her pep squad uniform. And when her Mac-10 sub-machine jams, she vents: “Daddy would’ve gotten us uzis!” This brings me to…
The script line that was so good that I wanted to have it every morning for breakfast and simultaneously bemoaned the fact that I hadn’t penned it: Regina Belmont: C’mon Hector, the MAC-10 submachine gun was practically designed for housewives.
Samantha: You were born with an asshole, Doris, you don’t need Chuck.
hooray for cultish 80′s satires
and if you want an even more detailed and delightfully wicked take on cult films… check out this cool girls’ blog: http://houseofselfindulgence.blogspot.com/ I wish I knew her.