Earlier today Brian Fulthorp tweeted a link to a post called “Dude, Where’s My DeLorean?” written by someone named Indy. The post seems to be a couple of years old but that’s neither here nor there. Indy reminisces about the good ol’ days, i.e., the 80s, when movies were good. All the usual suspects are cited—E.T.; Gremlins; Back to the Future; Star Wars; etc.—and modern films are derided as being “plain entertainment”; “busy and plotless CGI, brainless parodies of films audiences once adored, and snarky, unfunny raunchfests.”
Fair enough. I watch tons of movies (courtesy of those mediums like NetFlix that Indy has come to disdain) and I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a ton of crap out there. But apart from nostalgia, I can say the same for the movies of the 80s. Indy talks about watching the original Star Wars with a 12 year old who ended up being bored out of his mind. Well I saw the original triology as a kid, loved them, and after having watched them as an adult, I can sympathize with the 12 year old. They are boring; they look horrible; and let’s be honest and admit that the story isn’t really all that great.
Flicks is flicks and every era has its share of good and bad ones. Indy cites the Lord of the Rings triology as the lone exception when he asks if anyone born after 1985 will truly “know the thrill of a truly well-told, standalone story.” If I’m honest, the LOTR trilogy is almost as boring as the original Star Wars films. It looks a heck of a lot better; and thank God for Legolas being nice with a bow, but those flicks are long and drawn out. So if that’s the only saving grace Indy can think of then the post-85ers are doomed!
But again, setting nostalgia aside, of the movies from the 80s she mentions, the only ones I can watch again and again are the Back to the Future films. All of them were smartly written, well acted, and full of enough humor, action, and psuedo-drama to keep viewers of all eras interested. E.T.? I own it. You know how many times I’ve watched it in the last decade? Once. And I didn’t even get all the way through. Gremlins? Love it, or rather, I love the memory of it. I’ve tried to watch it again and it doesn’t capture my attention. Lots of movies are like that, but then again, lots of movies aren’t. It’s just the way things are.