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From Top Gun to Stand By Me: why the 1980s is my favourite film decade

Charmaine Blake



It was the best of times for action, romance, teen and time-travel movies. It was also surprisingly liberal and diverse. But most of all it was fun

Im such a raging narcissist (or sociopath) that I generally assume my taste is the same as everyone elses. How can people possibly think differently from me? Obviously everyone prefers Albert Finneys Poirot to David Suchets Poirot, Blur to Oasis, hard cheese to soft cheese, Anchorman to Knocked Up, 80s goofball Tom Hanks to 90s Oscar winner Tom Hanks, right? Right?

So when I was asked to write about my favourite decade for films I sighed and said, Well, I guess the 80s have already been taken, right? Because, obviously, my favourite film decade is everyones favourite film decade, right?

Wrong. It turned out I was the only 80s taker, which amazed and rather depressed me. Because the truth is, as much as I have slowly come to accept that some (insane) people truly do prefer brie to cheddar, I do not believe anyone actually doesnt love 80s films. Theyre just too much of a snob to admit it.

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/20th Century Fox

Eighties films have a weirdly terrible reputation. Sandwiched between the solemn 70s and the pretentious 90s, they are seen as neon coloured popcorn schlock, the opposite of art, made in an era when producers took over from screenwriters and suddenly hedonistic bozos like Don Simpson dominated instead of auteurs such as Francis Ford Coppola. And yet, 80s movies have endured in a way disposable junk really should not. And thats for a simple reason: 80s movies are FUN.

Sure, its nice to feel that warm glow of superiority you get from watching, I dont know, Five Easy Pieces (look at me! Im watching a quite depressing movie about an oil rig worker. Bravo me!), but, lets be honest, its not exactly a laugh. When you want to kick back and genuinely enjoy yourself, its the 80s you reach for, and, yes, I said you because I know for a fact all of you highbrow Guardian readers still watch Top Gun, The Blues Brothers and Romancing the Stone, no matter how hard you try to hide those DVDs behind your Michael Cimino Collection.

And that is for a very simple reason: no other decade has made fun movies as brilliantly as the 80s. While the pitches are easily parodied firefighters who fight ghosts instead of fire; poor girl wants to go to the prom the scripts, at their best, and many were the best, are masterpieces of concision, storytelling and boiled to the bone pure comedy. Seriously, go back and look at Back to the Future. Here is a film that should be confusing but isnt, should require endless exposition but slips it in almost unnoticed, has multiple tones going on but they never feel crossed or weird, and has some of the funniest dialogue ever committed to screen. And dont even get me started on the casting. BTTF is the most perfectly cast movie of all time, yes, even beating The Godfather (dont @ me). Snobs snort about how 80s movies are just catchphrases, but a catchphrase is just a really memorable line, and the lines in 80s movies ring through the decades because they are bang on: Ill have what shes having, As you wish, Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Eighties movies mastered the art of being both smart and silly. For that reason, they perfected the most fun genres. The 80s owns the action comedy (Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones), the romantic comedy (When Harry Met Sally , Say Anything), the teen movie (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Dirty Dancing, Heathers), the time travel movie (Back to the Future, Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure), the Christmas movie (Die Hard, Scrooged, Gremlins), the odd-couple movie (Lethal Weapon, Trading Places, Midnight Run), the fish out of water movie (ET, The Terminator, Coming to America), the John Candy movies (Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck), the Cher movies (Moonstruck, Mask), films about childhood (Hope and Glory, Stand By Me, Big), the superhero movie (Batman), the womens weepies (Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment), the unacknowledged homoerotica movies (Top Gun, Three Men and a Baby), the musical montages (Ferris Buellers Day Off, Flashdance, Top Gun) … I mean, I could continue all day but Id run out of internet.

From left, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. Photograph: Fox/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

But I would like to add one more infrequently acknowledged truth about 80s, and one that Guardian readers should really take into account here: yes, there was some terrible racist (Sixteen Candles, 48 Hours) and misogynistic (Fatal Attraction) garbage in 80s movies, but on the whole they look astonishingly liberal, especially compared with what we see today in mainstream movies. They took on abortion (Dirty Dancing, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), social class (Pretty in Pink, Dirty Dancing again) and feminism (9 to 5, The Witches of Eastwick, Tootsie). When was the last time you saw a blockbuster comedy at your cinema starring an all-black cast? The answer is 1989, because that is when Coming to America was released. And when was the last time a black actor was the biggest star of his decade? That would be the 80s again, with Eddie Murphy, a man so talented he is still, alas, in a category of one.

These kinds of novelties keep 80s movies feeling so fresh, but with the fun built in. So, frankly, you can take your Citizen Kanes and your Deer Hunters and you can stick em. You want to spend your Friday night with Apocalypse Now? Knock yourself out. Ill be over here, hooting away to Trading Places. And you know youll end up wandering over and hooting next to me on the sofa. Pass the frozen orange juice.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Dont Learn Them from Movies Any More) by Hadley Freeman is out now.

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Elizabeth Debicki Brought her A-Game in ‘Widows’



Article by Mark Olsen LA Times

“The heist thriller “Widows” has arguably the most impressively stacked ensemble cast of the year, including Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Brian Tyree Henry, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Jacki Weaver, Colin Farrell and Cynthia Erivo.

Which makes it all the more impressive that 28-year-old Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki has been singled out for her performance as Alice, a young woman who gets out from under the repression of her abusive husband and her exploitative mother to discover she has more to offer than anyone, including herself, had previously known.

“She resonated on many, many levels,” Debicki said of the part during a recent interview in Los Angeles. “I mean, I’ve been looking and waiting for some time to play somebody like Alice, somebody who was very real and raw and multidimensional, had an arc that was quite an amazing sort of growth in that woman’s life. So there was me as the actor looking at it and thinking, ‘I just want to get my hands on that.’”

In the movie Davis plays Veronica, a woman who is suddenly in debt to a dangerous gangster when her husband, a career criminal, dies during…………………………………..”

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Everything you need to know about ‘Mary Poppins Returns’



Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disneys Mary Poppins Returns.

Image: Jay Maidment

“It’s been 54 years since Mary Poppins came into the world in movie form. And now, five decades on, we’re getting a second helping in the form of Mary Poppins Returns — a sequel to the beloved classic.

Of course, we have many burning questions about this hotly anticipated film. But fear not: Mashable spoke to the film’s producer Marc Platt during a set visit to Shepperton Studios, near London. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Mary Poppins movie.

Is Mary Poppins Returns based on a book?

Marc Platt: We went right to the source. We went to P.L. Travers. And, it turns out that P.L. Travers wrote eight books, and the original film really capitalises on only one of the books. And what we found in her books was really a treasure trove of new characters and episodes. We realised that we could bring the sequel our own version and our own story. An original story of Mary Poppins all these years later in a very exciting way, but that we could draw upon the original source, P.L. Travers.

When is the sequel set?

MP: She wrote her books in 1934 and 1935. Our film, Mary Poppins Returns, is set in those years, which is the Depression Era in England. So, it takes place about 25 years after the original film took place. We went after David Magee who was an Academy Award winning screenwriter — he also notably wrote Life of Pi, Finding Neverland —  to work with us on the screenplay.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack.

Image: Jay Maidment

What is the plot?

MP: Our story is, as I said, set in the 1930s. Michael Banks — the young boy from the original film — is now a father of a family and he’s living in Cherry Tree Lane in the house and he has children. There’s been a loss in the family, and so there’s a need for Mary Poppins to come back into their world and to the world of these new children, and to the world of Michael Banks and his sister Jane, to see if she can bring joy back into their lives.

How did they decide who to cast as the new Mary Poppins?

MP: When it came to casting, really, we could only think of one person to step into the shoes and to own the role of Mary Poppins and that was Emily Blunt, an actress who we’ve worked with on Into the Woods and most recently we did Girl on the Train with her.

She’s not only a consummate actress, who possesses a tremendous craft as an actress, she sings beautifully. By the way, she dances magnificently, you’ll see in the film………………………………………………………”

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What to watch this Thanksgiving if you’re with…



What to watch for every kind of crew.

Image: Getty Images

“The turkey’s been destroyed, the pie’s been reduced to crumbs, and the plates are in the dishwasher. Everyone’s starting to get restless. Then someone suggests going out to see a movie, some others murmur in agreement, and you just know you’re in for another two hours of indecision and cluelessness until it gets too late and everyone just decides to go home.

Except you’re not. Not this year. Because this year, you’ve got us to help you.

Here’s what to watch this Thanksgiving if you’re with…

… your uncle who gets way too into his Oscar pool: The Favourite

This period piece is definitely one to know if you’re invested in the acting categories, as Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone all stand a good chance of getting in. Plus, it’s just plain fun—think Thrones-level scheming, plus more oddly compelling camerawork and a healthy side of pitch-black humor. Did we also mention there are cute bunnies?

Darn it, that’s not playing nearby: The racial dynamics Green Book are… problematic, to say the least, but it’s bound to win over the same auds who previously rewarded films like The Help.

… your entire family, extended relatives included: Ralph Breaks the Internet

If you’re looking for the crowdpleaser of crowdpleasers, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Animation. They’re second to none when it comes to entertainment gentle enough to amuse the kiddies and smart enough to impress the grown-ups, and Ralph Breaks the Internet is no exception. Just be prepared to cover the youngest ones’ eyes in that finale—things get pretty intense.

Oh no, that’s sold out: Instant Family probably won’t blow any minds, but it might warm some hearts. (Families with under-13 kids should proceed with caution, though.)

… your mother-in-law who really loves Christmas: The Grinch

It’s an entire movie about how Christmas is not just great, but the absolute best, and will definitely, eventually soften of even hardest of cynics. Which is to say it is the perfect story for the loved one in your life who spends January through November waiting for December to come back around.

She thinks cartoons are just for kids: Well, it also doesn’t get more classically Christmas than The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, even if this version puts a new spin on that old tale.

… your parents who keep asking for movie recs: Creed II

Creed II is an easy win, even if it’s not quite as good as Creed 1…………………………………………..”

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