I see a lot of movies, I make movies, I teach movie making, and I review movies. But there is a huge gap in my movie life which I realize makes me an exception to my contemporaries and to those younger than me: the 1980s.
I’ve included a list below if you want to see some of the Hollywood films I’ve never seen. You may be surprised. These are all very popular, sometimes cheesy, and most are high-grossing films of those years. But I’ve never bothered to see them.
Here’s a few reasons I think may explain why:
1) Money. I rarely could afford to go see movies, and so I only went to things I really really really wanted to see.
2) I didn’t have a VCR until 1989.
3) From 1984 to 1988 I lived in England, and that meant the cinema was even more inaccessible to me. In those four years I saw maybe three films in the cinema (True Stories (as a Talking Heads fan I took a train into London just to see it!), Crocodile Dundee, and Beetle Juice). Very few friends had VCRs either.
4) I wasn’t interested in a lot of these films to be honest. To me, a lot of these looked pretty stupid, and by the time I was 11 I was reading film and television critics, watching Siskel & Ebert, and learning what I should bother with. I also found very few of the Saturday Night Live people funny, except Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy. Can’t stand Dan Ackroyd, nor Chevy Chase, so you can guess I’ve never seen Vacation. (The same goes for now–I’ve never seen an Adam Sandler movie).
When I finally did get a VCR I didn’t go back and watch these–i went and rented all the famous old films I had been reading about. I watched a lot of Hitchcock, Godard, Lynch, etc. etc. I’m still catching up. I still haven’t seen all of Tarkovsky’s films, and he only made seven!
I’m generally distrustful of Hollywood. It’s movie making for the masses. And the masses like Transformers.
Here then is a list of popular movies of the 1980s I’ve never seen:
Revenge of the Nerds (or sequels)
Rambo (or sequels)
Friday 13th (or sequels)
All Nightmare on Elm St. sequels (except for the fifth self-referential one)
National Lampoon’s Vacation (or any sequel)
Back to the Future (I can’t remember, maybe I have)
Pretty in Pink
The Breakfast Club
Die Hard (or maybe I have, can’t remember)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
All Disney animations from The Little Mermaid onward. Actually, now I think about it, I haven’t seen the ones before them either, except for Fantasia and a few childhood memories of Peter Pan and Aristocats
St. Elmo’s Fire
Police Academy (and sequels)
Star Trek II or III or IV
Conan the Barbarian
Mad Max 1 2 or 3
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
1980s films I’ve seen but probably only seen once and haven’t bothered with since:
Empire Strikes Back (once, maybe?)
Return of the Jedi (two times, I believe)
The Princess Bride (meh)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (once)
Goonies. Nope, never seen it.