Film by film, mother-teen daughter movie critics Tara McNamara and Riley Roberts examine what makes movies from the 1980s so amazing and so, so wrong.
Racism, rape culture & Jake Ryan: How SIXTEEN CANDLES Ruined a Generation
Humorously showing the emotional pain of teenagers aching for true love amid the social expectations of high school, Sixteen Candles turned a teen sex comedy into an pop cultural phenomenon that was watched by every '80s kid. Mentored by National Lampoon, known for its intentionally offensive humor, John Hughes imbued relatable and aspirational three-dimensional characters with racist and misogynistic attitudes. The depiction of a Chinese foreign exchange student nodded to audiences' prejudices that Eastern cultures were a joke, worthy of our disrespect. And, Sixteen Candles bolstered rape culture by depicting an aspirational man who demonstrated that even longtime girlfriends were disposable sex objects. Further, it taught teen girls that their value was in a "hot bod," and that if someone had sex with them when they were passed out, it wasn't rape. Teen film authorities Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, look back at how Hughes' l teen film greatly impacted a generation in ways we are still trying to correct.
ST. ELMO'S FIRE: A Historical Document of the Era's Off-Balance Values
St. Elmo's Fire was a response to the teen films of the 1980s, examining what happens after college. Joel Schumacher crafted an authentic and progressive story about the emotional lives and professional challenges of seven recent Georgetown grads, reflecting young women focused on career rather than marriage and introducing the idea of a gay lead character (a baby step, but a step). However, as film authorities Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, discuss, the dramedy also promoted shocking values, including beautiful and fun characters Jules and Billy coking it up and an adorable portrayal of Kirby stalking the object of his obsession.
PRETTY IN PINK: Why Duckie Couldn't Get the Girl
Before John Hughes, a movie couldn't be made that was just about who was going to take a girl to prom. But with a high school divided into the haves and the have nots, Hughes was able to make a love story of Romeo and Juliet proportions. The relationshp was bigger than working-class Andie and Yuppie son Blane: there was Duckie, the OG simp. Pretty in Pink (1986) was ahead of its time in celebrating emotional males with feminine energy and highlighting a parentified child dealing with a deeply depressed dad. However, it doesn't go far enough. Film authorities Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, look back at the teen classic with a modern lens and call out the impact it had on a generation.
How the U.S. Capitol Insurrection Can Be Traced Back to RED DAWN
Wolverines! Red Dawn is one of the few teen action films of the '80s -- and definitely the most influential. It showed that teens were responsible, skilled, and capable enough to save their town and, possibly, the United States. It's a blow 'em up, shoot 'em up, and set them on fire pic. But the intended message never reached its young audience and the result, as hosts Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) identify, is that the film has continued to inspire in all the wrong ways.
RISKY BUSINESS: Women are Products and Money is All that Matters
When you're looking to explain the 1980s, look to Risky Business. Teens were attracted to the Paul Brickman comedy by the music video featuring Tom Cruise dancing in his underpants. Running constantly on MTV, teens watched and rewatched the "Old Time Rock n' Roll" music video and its resonant clips of a line of beautiful prostitutes walking into Joel's house, a Porsche screeching at top speed to outrace Guido the Killer Pimp, and Cruise sporting Ray-Bans. It was all so, so cool. The video had a purpose: it got kids and teens to watch the R film in the theater or on HBO. It was satire, a warning, but that's not what teens took away. Joel's mother's fragile egg was a precious item, but it wasn't meaningless: it represented the kids of the '80s. And, as film authorities Tara McNamara, Gen X, and Riley Roberts, Gen Z, explain, '80s teens -- like the egg -- came out of the experience slightly cracked. The duo look at how a teen sex movie in the Reagan era impacted a generation.
MODERN PROBLEMS: Chevy Chase's Comedy is about the OG Crisis of Masculinity
MODERN PROBLEMS is the weirdest, off the rails, PG-rated Christmas hit. Families flocked to to the theater to see scenes involving a male ballet dancer's testicles exploding and Chevy Chase snorting "demon powder." While it used to run on HBO all the time in the '80s, it's a little hard to find now. Find it. Watch it. And then decompress by listening to film authorities Tara McNamara (Gen X) and Riley Roberts (Gen Z) explain how it's indicative of many hot topics of the early '80s and how it explains what's wrong with your parents.
Tara has an excellent depth of knowledge of filmmaking and I think this is a unique and interesting way to look at 80s film. She has a long history of radio and television work and that experience shines through and her expertise makes this one of my favorite podcasts. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves 80s films or just films in general.
A show dedicated to talking about how terrrible movies were from the 80s. This might be a interesting concept, looking at 80s movies through a more modern perspective, but the hosts are obnixious, humorless, and self-righteous with little love for the movies they review. Begs the question why create a show geared towards 80s nostalgia only to lecture on how terrible those movies are? Daughter woke-washed.