There is nothing quite like a trip down memory lane, musing over the films that I can remember from my childhood. I can still remember the flying HBO logo that used to start most of the them. It brings about alot of fond memories, if even only for a moment. Having older siblings tend to skew what movies you were able to get your hands on at a young age. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street way before I probably should have. I saw Evil Dead 2 and They Live before I could even cognitively comprehend what they really were. I actually hated Evil Dead 2 the first time I saw it. To be fair, I was 12 years old at the time and thought it was supposed to be a serious horror movie. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why my brother got such a kick out of it.
Well…I do now.
I could go the easy route and list the obvious. Everyone remembers The Goonies and Back to the Future. And considering how big a John Hughes’ fan I am, I could write an entire column on his films alone (Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, and tons more). I’ve actually read a really interesting theory about Ferris Bueller being Cameron’s imaginary friend (I poop you not).
If you have ever watched and enjoyed a John Hughes’ movie in your life, you owe it to yourself to read this.
It almost moved me to tears. That man was truly special. But you can find countless columns about all of those more mainstream ones on the interweb. So I wanted to try to think of films that some people may have forgotten or ones that were more personal to me…uh…personally.
1. The Wizard (1989)
Director: Todd Holland
This one makes the list due to personal reasons more so than it’s own cinematic merits. It was the first time we got to lay our eyes on the Nintendo PowerGlove and a little game called Super Mario Brothers 3, so it instantly earns geek cred (and instantly makes me feel old as dirt since it reminds me there was no internet when I was growing up). Well, the reason I put The Wizard on my favorite movies from my childhood is because this Fred Savage cinematic vehicle was my very first date with a girl. I was a calm, collected 10 years old at the time and even used the yawn-stretch maneuver. Sure, the movie was terrible but putting your arm around a girl was considered getting some at that age. And I got to watch a movie about video games too? And probably had nachos? Yeah, that was a good day.
2. The Monster Squad (1987)
Director: Fred Dekker
The Wolfman does, in fact, have nards. If you’ve never seen this classic, that probably seems like a random non-sequitur. So I’ll explain the plot this way: it’s a less-good-natured Goonies & Frankenstein vs. the Universal Monsters (Dracula, Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon). I’m not sure how it was marketed at the time. But if it was marketed as a kids’ movie, then I’m pretty sure it scarred some f–king kids. People die in horrible ways, children are mortally threatened, virginity is questioned, the whole nine. I was surprised to find out that Monster Squad was written by Shane Black, one of my all time favorite screenwriters (having written Lethal Weapons 1 through 4, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Long Kiss Goodnight).
But it does help explain its awesomeness.
3. Sneakers (1992)
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
I’m a sucker for an unfolding mystery. One of those films that you learn the important information as the main character does. Hence why I’m a huge sucker for Sherlock Holmes’ stories and cinematic interpretations. Speaking of, if you haven’t checked out the BBC’s modern reinvention of the classic sleuth in Sherlock, watch A Study in Pink. Pretty brilliant if you can get past the fact that Sherlock is kind of a douche (although he was in the books too). But Sneakers felt like a Sherlock-ish tale, mixed with cyber-security and some conspiracy theories. It doesn’t hurt to have one of the most impressive casts in a movie you probably haven’t heard of (Robert Redford, Sydney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, David Strathairn, Ben Kingsley, and James Earl Jones). Sure, the use of technology is wildly outdated and borderline comical at this point, but still a quality mystery nonetheless.
Honorable Mention: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Class, Back to the Future, Little Monsters, Commando, Jurassic Park, Aliens, Cobra, Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, The Empire Strikes Back, Bloodsport, Rumble in the Bronx