There was something of an 80s flashback over the Christmas period which set me thinking about my teenage years – although I am not suggesting you should now read my regurgitated teenage angst. The flashbacks came in the form of three films on free-to-air television that I caught by accident (by which I mean I didn’t know there were on until I flicked past them).
Firstly, we had the excellent Footloose (Kevin Bacon, dancing) which is a film I must have seen several hundred times and never get bored. It’s those standing up for you rights and proving your responsibility moments that resonated with people of a certain age when it was released. It’s helped by the fact that the 80s electro-pop soundtrack was pretty good (for the time) and Kevin Bacon is moody and supports a tight fitting vest at one point!
Then, on New Years Day, we had another teen angst film in the shape of The Breakfast Club. From the John Hughes stable (he made one of my all time favourite movies, Some Kind of Wonderful) this was a teen film with a difference. The film is – almost entirely – dialogue driven and there is very limited action. It’s set in the detention room on a Saturday where a small group of students (of all the stereotypes) must spend the day together as punishment for various misdemeanours.
Again, we are treated to the teen isolation, the misfits and the stupidity of the adult world. And, it also features a soundtrack that instantly brings to mind the mid-Eighties including Don’t You by Simple Minds – which is possibly the only Simple Minds track that I can listen to again and again.
Sandwiched in between Footloose and The Breakfast Club and shown sometime in that almost-dead period between Christmas and New Year was the first Back To The Future movie (which again has a soundtrack of it’s time featuring Huey Lewis and The News, Eric Clapton and Lindsey Buckingham). What struck me about it (apart from the now dated effects) was how good a film it really was. There are some superb performances in it (Christopher Lloyd and Crispin Glover) and it was a real combination of teen and sci-fi movies. It was also the first film I can recall going to the cinema more than once to see – it must really have inspired me as a 15 year-old. Superb stuff.
So, despite the fact that you can be critical of television over this past Christmas period, I really think that it served me some unexpected movie gems. And for that, I am grateful.