So we’re up to 1984 now, huh? Totally tubular, dude! Oh wait…I can’t use the word “tubular,” it’s SO 1982!
If George Orwell had been right, 1984 would have been much different than it was in reality. It was certainly ominous but not nearly as bad as the Orwellian version of 1984. What was so ominous about it? Well, the Soviet Union hated the United States so much that they boycotted the 1984 Olympics that were being held in Los Angeles. And there was the constant threat of nuclear war that resulted in President Reagan calling for an international ban on chemical weapons. Fun times! I remember our school having an assembly and making us all watch some TV movie called The Day After. The movie was released in 1983 but this was way before Blockbuster so we didn’t get our hands on it until a year later. Plus we were living overseas and relying on friends and relatives back in the States to record shows onto a VHS cassette and send it to us, assuming they knew how to hook up their VCR to record, which was a lot to ask considering most people couldn’t even get theirs to stop blinking 12:00.
Here’s a clip of The Day After (featuring a very young, pre-Footloose John Lithgow) to give you an idea of what the overall mood was in 1984.
Speaking of Footloose, that was one of the top movies of 1984. I loved that movie so hard. I remember going to see it at the theater on base, all excited when those dancing feet showed up on the big screen as the credits started to roll. I was actually pretty annoyed when I heard there was a remake in 2011, but once I finally got around to watching it (on Netflix since I refused to give them my $2.99 in case I hated it), I discovered that they actually did a pretty decent job. Check out this comparison of the final dance scene in the original compared to the one in the remake.
Footloose isn’t the only movie from 1984 that’s been given the remake treatment. Red Dawn and Karate Kid have both been revamped. So has Nightmare on Elm Street, but I heard that the new version totally sucked.
There were so many great movies that came out in 1984, I’m not surprised that movie studios have decided to copy them rather than, you know, come up with something original. Let’s just be thankful that they haven’t tried to mess with any of these others (yet):[fancy_list style="star_list" variation="red"]
- Gremlins (It would be interesting to see what a 21st century Gizmo would look like, though.)
- Sixteen Candles (There could never be another Molly Ringwald!)
- Ghostbusters (Aren’t there rumors about a new one?)
- The Neverending Story (Of course you can’t retell a story that never ends, right?)
- Beverly Hills Cop (I’d actually like to see a remake of this one.)
- Breakin’ (Duh!)
- Purple Rain (Yeah, like Prince would let that happen.)
Now on to the music…
Some of the movies that were popular in 1984 also produced hit songs and albums. Purple Rain was huge, one of the top-selling albums of the year. My personal favorite? “When Doves Cry,” of course. The Ghostbusters theme song was so popular that, even in 2013, you’re bound to get it stuck in your head as soon as someone asks you who you’re gonna call. And there’s the Footloose soundtrack, with hits like “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise,” and the title track, “Footloose.”
Here’s a quick rundown of 1984’s top hits:
And a few that didn’t quite make it to the top but are worth posting:
Oh, these songs make the awkward 13-year-old me with the scrawny legs and bad haircut so happy! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to resume my time travels on YouTube and find some stuff to dance around to in my living room while I tell my kid about how I used to tear pictures of John Stamos, Ralph Macchio, and Rick Springfield out of Tiger Beat and plaster them all over my wall.
P.S. Proof of the aforementioned scrawny legs and bad hair cut, I present to you a photo of me, my mom, and my kid brother in Benidorm, Spain. No, it’s not a mullet! I tried to copy Lisa Lisa’s (of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam) style and failed miserably so I was growing it out. DON’T LAUGH!