Why the 80s was the Best Decade

Big hair, heavy makeup… shoulder pads. The 80’s were definitely a time to be remembered and sometimes being unable to forget can be a bad thing.

Here are the reasons it was the best decade

The movies
The Goonies, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid… the list goes on and on.

The music
According to Next Stop Magazine, “MTV hit the airwaves on August 1st 1981 and changed the face of music forever. Granted, the station has become nothing more than a place to watch some of the most awful people ever do things nobody should ever care about, but in the ’80s it was epic. Not only was the music awesome and completely identifiable to the decade, but the musicians were iconic.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The people
The people that dominated this decade are a force to be reckoned with. Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Hulk Hogan, Madonna, Michael Jackson,and so many others made this decade so memorable.

And, here is why it is the worst. You might see some replicants on this list, and that is for good reason.

Home decor
The horrible wall paper, puffy leather couches, all glass dining tables with funky black chairs, the list can go on and on. If you have bought a house built or remodeled in the 80’s, chances are you have seen one if not all of the above during your house search and renovation. Dusty pastels and track lighting are all too familiar in this decade.

Just as the music was amazing, it was just as disturbing. The electronic beats were always borderline head pounding and romantic at the same time. It just depends what side of the fence you are on.

Shoulder pads. Lots of them.

Whether you are a child of the 80’s or just someone who was in love with it, the truth is, if we are still talking about it, then it’s definitely worth mentioning. We all still workout to the smooth sounds of Guns N’ Roses, BIlly Idol and Madonna and understand more about what that decade is all about. Some styles have come back and others (thankfully) have not. Either way, there is no denying what an impressive time it was.

Just For Fun: Re-Making “The Breakfast Club”

It’s hard not to love the idea behind “The Breakfast Club,” and that got us thinking: how fun would a re-make be? Of course, much of what made “The Breakfast Club” fun was its originality, its teen movie charm, and of course, the actors and actresses involved. Certainly, a re-make would be a massive adjustment, and there are plenty of fans of the original who might not like the idea. But just for fun, here are a few ideas for each main student character.

Andrew Clark
Played, of course, by Emilio Estevez in the original, Andrew is the “athlete” of the group whose main problem in the Breakfast Club discussion is a poor relationship with his father. This character could easily be updated, as by now we’ve seen father/son relationship issues in far too many movies. Perhaps something a bit more “modern,” like an online gambling issue, could plague Andrew. He could spill to the others about a tendency to play games online at the Betfair Exchange for hours on end, gambling real money in the security of his own home. It’s just one idea of a fun modern activity that could represent a teen addiction. Casting: Dave Franco. It’s bold, but an oddly fitting choice.

Brian Johnson
Johnson, the “brain,” is a more morose character, and memorable as “the one who’s thought about suicide.” This is a bit too heavy of a topic to mess with, and the high school misfit driven to dark thoughts is a timeless character type. Casting: Ezra Miller. It’s type-casting at this point, but he’s an excellent brooder.

John Bender
The “criminal” who lives in an abusive household and incidentally has access to weed while at school could perhaps use a new spin in a hypothetical re-make. Perhaps he could be a young man (still with drugs) caught up in sketchy entrepreneurship. These days, kids can access plenty of get-rich-quick schemes. Whether it’s flipping iPhones, pirating movies, etc., he could have plenty of modernized ways to get in trouble. Casting: Dane DeHaan. He’s getting big, and seems ideally suited to a troubled teen role.

Allison Reynolds
The “basket case” who has a problem with telling the truth is perhaps the most generic and least interesting of the original characters. Perhaps she could be updated as the darker teen girl working at a bar despite being underage, or struggling in a relationship with an older guy. Casting: AnnaSophia Robb. We’d just like to see Robb take on some bigger roles after her excellent work in “The Way Way Back.”

Claire Standish
The virgin, and more specifically the “princess,” is another character it’s tough to mess with too much. Particularly after having been played by Molly Ringwald, this character is iconic, and could use a straight update. Casting: Emma Watson. It’s hard not to see her knocking it out of the park.

Casinos in the 80s

Although casino’s are a very popular leisure activity today, particularly online, they also did excellent business during the 1980s. Several casinos opened in the early 80s and just before, with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Casino and the Tropicana opening in 1981. Donald Trump also opened two casinos in the 1980s and this was really a boom time for Atlantic City throughout the decade.

It is well documented that certain members of the Brat Pack lived a real party lifestyle at the peak of their success and will certainly have hit the famous gambling spots in both America and Canada when filming on location. Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson were big money players on the tables and still enjoy a friendly game of roulette or poker to this day.

It wasn’t all about happy times for casinos during the 1980’s however as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino suffered an horrific fire, killing 85 people. 5000 people were in the hotel and casino at the time of the fire, which was caused by an electrical ground fault. This was a huge story at the time, and newspaper sales increased with many people wanting to find out more about the disaster. The MGM was repaired and improved following the fire and sold to Bally’s Entertainment who renamed the resort Bally’s Las Vegas.

Things are a lot different now to three decades ago as the majority of players prefer to do their gambling at online casinos. That being said, 80s casino nights are popular to this day and people often put on these events at parties and even in their own homes. The 1980s is sure to be a feature somewhere in both the Las Vegas and online casino industry for the foreseeable future.

The Outsiders Comes to Blu-ray

Francis Ford Coppola’s fantastic film has finally come to blu-ray. Featuring the Brat Pack’s Rob Lowe in his role as Sodapop Curtis, The Outsiders is a timeless classic you can watch again and again. The group of young men would maintain entertainment betting odds on who would perform different questionable acts but the Greasers were basically a good bunch of lads at heart. Throughout the film you get to see a different side to these young men and exactly how heroic as well as vulnerable they can be.

While a little dark and depressing in parts, The Outsiders is a realistic portrayal of teenage gangs from that era and deservedly received four Young Artist Awards nominations. The movie hasn’t been available in the UK and this is a first blu-ray release. StudioCanal are the company behind the release of The Ousiders Collectors Edition Blu-ray.

The Outsiders Blu-ray Bonus Features

– Introduction and Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola.
– Audio Commentary with Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio and Patrick Swayze.
– Staying Gold: A look Back at “The Outsiders”.
– S.E. Hinton on Location in Tulsa.
– The Casting of “The Outsiders”.
– NBC’s News Today from 1983 “The Outsiders Started by School Petition”.
– Deleted and Extended Scenes.

– A Collectible Booklet “The True Story” – the story behind the movie.
– 8 Exclusive Postcards – Portraits of Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez

The movie is also being released on DVD and both versions can be purchased at Amazon. The blu-ray is priced at £12.93 and the DVD at £9.99.

Mare Winningham

Mare WinninghamIt feels like Mare Winningham should be in the Brat Pack due to her role in St Elmo’s Fire as Wendy Beamish. This was however her only role in a Brat Pack movie and she never really associated herself with the party scene of the other Brat Packers. Like her character in St Elmo’s, she was possibly the sensible one in real life too! Winningham was never really an 80s teen idol either but she has continued to work steadily in film and TV right up to the present day.

Born on May 6, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona, Mare Winningham grew up in California. She took a number of acting courses at a young age and by the time she graduated college had already landed an agent and a role in the television movie Young Pioneers in 1976. Various TV roles followed for Winningham including an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Marlene Burkhardt in the movie Amber Waves.

Mare Winningham’s big break came in 1985 she was cast as the introverted Wendy in St. Elmo’s Fire, directed by Joel Schumacher. The film revolved around a group of friends who had just graduated from Georgetown University and it showed the difficulties they had adjusting to adult life. The success of St Elmo’s never really had the knock on effect for Winningham’s career and she quickly went back to TV work.

In 1995 Mare was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie Georgia. In 1998, she was honoured again, winning her second Emmy Award for her role as Lurleen Wallace in the television movie, Wallace. The number of award nominations and wins for Mare Winningham shows just how talented an actress she, even though she is one of the less well known faces from the Brat Pack era.

Mare Winningham Trivia

Went to Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey.

Is the only St Elmo’s Fire cast member to ever be nominated for an Academy Award.

Mare Winningham Links

Mare Winningham at IMDB

Ralph Macchio

Ralph MacchioRalph Macchio was born 4th November 1961 in Huntingdon, New York. He began his acting career in American TV commercials before landing his first movie role in Up The Academy in 1980 before going on to appear in TV series Eight is Enough about a family with eight kids. Macchio’s real breakthrough role came in the Brat Pack movie The Outsiders alongside a number of big 80s stars including Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise. He received positive reviews for his portrayal of Johnny Cade.

It was in 1984 that Ralph Macchio really hit the big time when he took on the part of Daniel LaRusso in the worldwide smash The Karate Kid. His fame rose to amazing heights after this but he was never able to repeat the phenomenal success of The Karate Kid with any of his other roles.

Macchio’s most successful movies after this were Crossroads in 1986, My Cousin Vinny alongside Joe Pesci in 1992 as well as the two Karate Kid sequels. It is only in recent years that Macchio has appeared on screen with any regularity. He showed up in Entourage in 2005 playing himself and he also had a recurring role in Ugly Betty.

Short online video ‘Wax on, F*ck off ‘ is in my opinion hilarious and although only brief, showcases how talented he is as a comic actor (link below).

Ralph Macchio most recently competed in Dancing With The Stars.

Ralph Macchio Trivia

Macchio first appeared in commercials for Dr Pepper in the late 1970s.

Is a big fan of songwriter/singer Bruce Springsteen.

Ralph Macchio Links

Follow Ralph on Twitter

Wax on, f*ck off


WisdomReleased in 1986 and starring two engaged Brat Packers in Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore, Wisdom was Estevez’s first attempt at directing.

The movie revolves around Estevez’s young ambitious character John Wisdom and how an old felony conviction comes back to haunt him as he applies and is turned down for a number of jobs.
Frustrated by his attempts to make a legitimate living, John and his girlfriend, Karen (Demi Moore), set out to commit a series of bank robberies, using the money to ease the plight of down-on-their-luck farmers.

Emilio Estevez wrote as well as starred and directed the movie. Wisdom received generally bad reviews from critics and didn’t fair too well at the box office, but it remains reasonably popular with fans of the Brat Pack genre. Estevez’s brother Charlie Sheen also appears as the City Burger Manager. The brothers have continued to appear together on screen on a number of occasions.

Wisdom Rating

While not a film I want to get out and watch too often, Wisdom isn’t as terrible as some people like to make out. Not a bad first effort for Emilio from behind the camera, I give Wisdom a Brat Pack rating of 6/10.

Wisdom Characters

John Wisdom – Played by Emilio Estevez
Karen Simmons – Played by Demi Moore

Wisdom Trivia

Wisdom made Emilio Estevez the youngest person to ever write, direct, and star in a major motion picture.

A bus which John Wisdom takes during the movie features the graffiti Plate O’ Shrimp which is a reference to one of Emilio Estevez’s other films, Repo Man.

Wisdom Links

Wisdom at the IMDB

Less Than Zero

Less Than ZeroLess Than Zero is the 1987 film based loosely on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis wasn’t initially a fan of the film and felt that most of the characters had been miscast, although he did have positive things to say about Robert Downey Jr and James Spader’s performances.

Andrew McCarthy is Clay, a young man in his first year at college who recently found out his girlfriend has been cheating on him with drug addict and close friend Julian, played by Robert Downey Jr. When Clay comes home for Christmas his girlfriend Blair, Jami Gertz’s character, tries to act like nothing has happened. As the film progresses, Julian’s drug problem becomes worse the plot revolves around his life and how it’s spiralling out of control.

The film version was very different from the book mainly because of the strong anti drugs message that it demonstrates and also the fact that Clay’s character is quite different and a lot of the decisions he makes aren’t the same.

A sequel to Less Than Zero has been written by Ellis called Imperial Bedrooms. A film is currently being talked about and is due to be released at some point in 2012.

Movies sometimes portray things like drug addiction and addictions treatment in a way that differs from what they really are like in real life.

Less Than Zero Rating

A bit dark in parts but some excellent acting from a great cast and anyway, the Bangles’ brilliant version of Hazy Shade of Winter means it was always going to get a good review from me! Less Than Zero gets a Brat Pack rating of 8/10.

Less Than Zero Characters

Clay – Played by Andrew McCarthy
Blair – Played by Jami Gertz
Julian – Played by Robert Downey Jr
Rip – Played by James Spader

Less Than Zero Trivia

$38 was the fee Brad Pitt got paid for his uncredited appearance.

Less Than Zero was the first movie where Robert Downey was credited as Robert Downey Jr.

Clay Easton was originally going to be played by Keanu Reeves.

Less Than Zero Links

Less Than Zero at 80s Movies Rewind

Less Than Zero Review from 1987 by Roger Ebert

The Outsiders

The OutsidersThe Outsiders movie, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is an adaption of the novel written by S.E. Hinton. Released in 1983, the film launched the careers of some of the biggest actors of the 1980s.

The story is based around a street gang called the Greasers. The Greasers are made up of Darrel, Sodapop, Ponyboy, Johnny, Dallas, Two-Bit and Steve. Darrel and his men have a rival gang known as the Social or Socs. The Socs are a lot wealthier then the Greasers and the plot develops as the confrontations between the two gangs grow more and more fierce.

Throughout the film you get to see a different side to these young men and exactly how heroic as well as vulnerable they can be.

Mickey Rourke, Nicholas Cage and Val Kilmer are all said to have been considered for role in The Outsiders but didn’t quite get past the audition process for one reason or another. Rourke would later appear in Rumble Fish, another S.E. Hinton novel directed by Coppola. Matt Dillon and Diane Lane who were in The Outsiders would also star in Rumble Fish.

While a little dark and depressing in parts, The Outsiders is a realistic portrayal of teenage gangs from that era and deservedly received four Young Artist Awards nominations.

The Outsiders Rating

An instant classic, Francis Ford Coppola’s telling of this story is dramatic with a number of convincing performances from a very young cast. A rock solid Brat Pack rating of 8 out of 10.

The Outsiders Characters

Ponyboy Curtis – Played by C. Thomas Howell
Johnny Cade – Played by Ralph Macchio
Sodapop Curtis – Played by Rob Lowe
Two-Bit Matthews – Played by Emilio Estevez

The Outsiders Trivia

Dallas falling out of his car at the drive-in was not a planned stunt. If you look closely, you can see Ponyboy looking at the camera and laughing.

Anthony Michael Hall auditioned unsuccessfully for the part of Ponyboy Curtis.

Rob Lowe did not get to see his cut scenes until “The Outsiders – The Complete Novel” was released 23 years after filming them.

The Outsiders Links

The Outsiders Official Website

James Spader

James SpaderJames Spader was born on 7th February 1960. Before breaking into acting, he bused tables, shoveled manure, and taught yoga. He began his career in TV movies before graduating to a host of classic 80s movies including Brat Pack’s Pretty In Pink alongside Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. His role in 1989’s Sex Lies and Videotape was critically acclaimed.

Spader’s other hits during the 80’s include Less Than Zero, Wall Street and Mannequin and although not having the lead role in any of these movies, the part he did play was always pivotal.

While a lot of his work during the 90s was very hit and miss including the obscure Crash where he played a car-accident fetishist as well as guest starring in an episode of Seinfeld, it was in 2004 when Spader’s career truly flourished. In Boston Legal, a spin off of The Practice, Spader played the role of Alan Shore for five seasons. His chemistry with William Shatner was electric and it landed him three Emmy Awards.

Married twice with three children, James Spader is an actor who has managed to continue his success in the 80s throughout his career.

James Spader Quotes

“I’ve had a lazy career, sometimes one film a year, sometimes none. I’m walking around in the street and doing this other thing, living, that I’m much more interested in. I just do some acting on the side.”

“You just want to work. I like playing character roles and I do not mind being a real son-of-a-bitch, or embarrassing myself. But as you go along you begin to realize that the work has a criterion and as your choices get broader you start cutting out the things that are not worth the time. On the whole I have been lucky; I do not look back with a huge amount of distaste for the work I have done.”

James Spader Links

James Spader dot com

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