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My Favorite 80s Movies that Everyone Should Watch

Throughout my childhood, my mom has shown me numerous movies and television shows that she watched throughout her life. I would always look forward to the weekend where her and I would change into our pajamas, gather blankets for the couch, and set up for our movie night. A typical movie night would start with my mom asking what mood I was in. Were we looking for adventure? Rom-com? Something serious? I was never the best at giving her an answer but every time without fail, she would pick out a movie that I would absolutely love. This is still a tradition that my mom and I share and occasionally my brother joins too. I wanted to share my top four movies and one show (in no particular order) that my mom showed me. It still shocks me to hear that not everyone has seen these classics!

Goonies (1985)

The film follows a group of kids, “The Goonies,” on their adventure to discover a pirate’s long lost treasure in hopes that they can pay off their parents’ debt.

Watching Goonies as a five year old, I was entranced by the characters. Not only did I develop a crush on the protagonist, Mikey, I also wanted to be like Andy, the sweet highschool girl who was captain of the cheer team. I have now watched this movie countless times and I continue to love the theme of friendship and the witty dialogue. Goonies has remained one of my comfort movies and  I can recite nearly every line.

Where to Watch: HBO Max 

Stand By me (1986)

In this film, a group of 12 year old boys go on a mission to find the dead body of a local who was killed nearby. 

Keeping with the theme of coming of age movies, Stand By Me is a must watch. I guarantee you that you will shed a few tears, especially towards the end of the film. The movie revolves around friendship, vulnerability, and the development of self awareness as a pre-teen. I remember crying the first time I watched it in middle school and it still gets me to this day. It is a movie everyone should watch at least once.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video Premium 

Labyrinth (1986)

After her baby brother is kidnapped, a teenage girl ends up in a maze as she attempts to recover him from a Goblin King. 

This film is definitely a bit more outlandish than the first two. The unique characters, soundtrack, and the fantasy setting are so unique. Not to mention that David Bowie plays the Goblin King! I have so many memories of my aunt and mom singing the songs from Labyrinth. I highly recommend watching and I am sure that you too will pick up on some of the lyrics- my favorite is “As the World Falls Down.” 

Where to Watch: Netflix

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

In this film, a nerdy teenager helps a cheerleader at his school pay for an expensive outfit in exchange for her pretending to be his girlfriend for a month.  

This move is one of my favorite rom-coms that my mom has shown me. Its lighthearted nature and character development makes it have re-watch value. Although it is a bit of a cheesy high school romance story, I promise that you will find yourself rooting for Cindy and Ronald by the end. 

Where to watch: Youtube

Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Gilmore Girls follows a mother and a daughter as they grow together throughout the years and focuses on their relationship with family and friendship within their small, Connecticut town.

I know this one is not a movie or from the 80s but I couldn’t help but talk about it. My mom showed me Gilmore Girls last year and after I moved to college I continued to finish the show on my own. I would call and update my mom and what happened in the show and we would share opinions. Now, I have even made my boyfriend an avid watcher. If you have not yet watched Gilmore Girls, you are missing out and should start binge watching it now in this perfect fall setting!

Where to Watch: Netflix 

I am so glad to have had so many memories alongside my mom and discovering new movies and shows that I will have my own kids watch someday. I hope you are able to enjoy re-watching or watching these movies for the first time. Spend time with your family next time you see them laughing and crying, or singing along to some of my favorites.

Anna Claire is a second year at UCSD, majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. She loves to read, write, go on hikes and is passionate about social justice. Her favorite places to be are the beach or in the desert surrounded by Joshua Trees and a starry sky.
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