Welcome back to Angelina’s ‘80s Archive! It’s hard to believe that it’s already October, and people are beginning to have midterms. Next week, I’ll start covering some ~spooky~ ‘80s movies. Before that, though, I’d like to highlight some media from the last few years that gives me ‘80s vibes.
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Odds are, you’ve seen, or at least heard of, the To All the Boys film series on Netflix. Based on Jenny Han’s series of novels, it has been one of their most successful franchises. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has become one of my favorite teen movies over the past three years. I have watched it countless times all the way through and often put it on to fall asleep because I know it so well. The movie takes after the John Hughes tradition of thoughtful portrayals of teenagers’ issues and is filmed in a soft way reminiscent of an ‘80s teen film. At the same time, it also hinges on the fake-dating storyline of films like Can’t Buy Me Love (1987). Protagonist Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) is a big fan of the ‘80s herself, referencing movies like Sixteen Candles (1984) in the first film. In the second two films in the series, she references two of my all-time favorite movies, Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Say Anything (1989).
- WALLOWS, “1980S HORROR FILM” (2018)
Not only does the song say “1980s” in the title, but it also earns that decade in the style and content of the song itself. It sounds like it’s from a different time than when it was released. I can’t fully explain why, but “1980s Horror Film” gives me the same feeling that I get listening to The Cure’s 1985 song “In Between Days.” It’s just an all around great song with a full story to it, which I appreciate. I highly recommend giving it a listen.
- DASH & LILY (2020)
Another incredible release by Netflix. This one’s a little harder to explain than the others as to why it gives off ‘80s vibes, but I’ll try my best. Like John Hughes’ films, especially Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), are love letters to Chicago, Dash & Lily is very much a love letter to New York. Though it’s set at Christmas time, I would not get tired of this show if I watched it through every week. I love both Dash (Austin Abrams) and Lily (Midori Francis), which is honestly pretty rare. Unlike a lot of current films and shows, the characters are not portrayed as overly relying on their phones and other devices, which is refreshing. Nearly every choice seems natural to the characters. It is a lovely rom-com series, which we don’t get enough of anymore. My dream is that it gets renewed for a season 2, but as it stands the story is perfectly wrapped up as a limited series. There’s also a little bit of ‘80s going on with the inclusion of The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” (1988) and references to Die Hard (1988).
- VICTORIOUS 3.2, “THE BREAKFAST BRUNCH” (2012)
I can’t describe how much I love this episode of television. Don’t hate me, but I may prefer it to the movie. I’ve written on here before that The Breakfast Club (1985) is not my favorite John Hughes film. Victorious takes everything melodramatic or goofy about the movie and turns it into a punchline. Favorite quotes include “Pipe down, side salad!”, “You’re so conceited, Tori,” and “She has tacos. Do you approve of this?” The parody of Andy’s (Emilio Estevez) library dance scene is perfect. Victorious is currently available on Netflix!
- THE WONDER YEARS (2021 – )
ABC’s new The Wonder Years is centered on a Black family in Alabama during the 1960s and told through the eyes of young Dean Williams (Elisha “EJ” Williams), narrated by adult Dean (Don Cheadle). Like the original The Wonder Years, which started its run in 1988, this new series takes place during the Vietnam War. Unlike the majority white original series, the new Wonder Years puts an emphasis on the racial issues of the time that continue in the U.S. today. It just started a couple weeks ago, and I am already in love with this series after watching episode 1. My article last week was very down on reboots and remakes, but this show is definitely an exception. I can already tell that this series can hit that masterful Wonder Years combination of a childhood affected by both historical and personal struggles.
- THE GOLDBERGS (2013 – )
Film geek Adam (Sean Giambrone), popular Erica (Hailey Orrantia), and overconfident Barry (Troy Gentile) are siblings navigating childhood and young adulthood in 1980’s Philadelphia. Though it can be frustrating in its lack of consistency to the actual timeline of 1980’s pop culture, for example, dedicating an episode to Say Anything in the first season of 9, when it wasn’t released until 1989, I have watched The Goldbergs since it started when I was in eighth grade. I was just beginning to get into the ‘80s at the time, and now I am a senior in college. I’ve really grown up with the show and always get excited when they do another ‘80s movie episode. It is fun, it is ridiculous, and it is always quotable to me. “JTP? JTP!”