It’s hard for us to believe that the 1980′s began over thirty years go. At least, it’s hard for me to accept that notion. Back then, a lot of us were kids, and these days, a lot of you have children. As parents, it is your job to make sure that your child has the best nourishment, and that includes both food and media consumption. You can’t let your children watch any old crap, which is why its important to pick and choose carefully.
That’s why I have eight recommendations, eight movies from the 80′s that helped define our childhoods and teen years, and if they were good enough for us, they are good enough for our kids.
What it’s about: A group of misfit kids search for buried treasure, when they aren’t befriending strange, deformed people and forcing their fat friend to dance.
Why your kids should see it: One common theme of all kids movies is a band of plucky kids who succeed where the adults fail. It’s even better if the kids are your typical outsiders who can only count on each other. They aren’t popular or rish, but they are loyal, brave, and resourceful.
This is Goonies, and why that movie holds up three decades later. It’s not the treasure hunt or flight from the gang of bad guys, it’s the group of friends we all wish we had. This movie teaches kids the value of friendship and loyalty, that sometimes the little guy can triumph over more powerful foes, and just because no one else believes you doesn’t mean you aren’t right.
It’s the ultimate fantasy adventure of the 80′s and the inspiration for movies like Super 8. If your children don’t know what a truffle shuffle is, or why “Hey You Guys!” elicits cheers, then they need to see this movie.
What it’s about: Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield actually make a great movie. It involves caddies. And a gopher.
Why your kids should see it: You probably don’t want to show this movie to your young children.Unless you only want to show them the scenes with the gopher, because that’s how I first watched the movie. I’d see it at a friends house, and his mom would just show us the end of the movie, and as a kid the combination of gopher and explosions was pure artistry. I didn’t really care about the golf plot, I just needed to see the gopher.
The gopher is a pop culture phenomenon, and that alone is something your children should not be ignorant of. They don’t have to know about the inappropriate stuff until they’re older. Teens who can handle the mature themes will appreciate it, though, as it educates them on why Murray, Chase, and Dangerfield were great. It’s history, and they need to know it, because it directly led to all the funny comedies that they love.
If you can’t convince your kids to watch it, you should make a point to tell them that they shouldn’t watch it. After all, it has some inappropriate material, including language and some nudity. Let them know that it’s chock full of stuff they should avoid, and it’ll get watched. (It’s probably how you watched it when you were a kid.)
Caddyshack is a very quotable movie, and when your kids have watched it, you can throw out the quotes fast and furious and bond with them.
Why your kids should see it: Their only exposure to the Predator franchise has probably been the abysmal Alien v. Predator movies and the mediocre Predators. They need to know the reason everyone goes nuts for the Predators with the original film. Plus, seeing Arnold Swartzenegger in his 80′s prime is nothing short of awesome, especially when he’s making things dead.
The story is simple but intense, and your children will learn several lessons, including why you can’t always rely on technology for all your answers. Your kids use the internet like a crutch, and this movie will show them that sometimes you’ll find yourself off the grid and need to use your wits to win. The final showdown between Arnold and Predator comes down to cunning, physics, and being able to run really, really fast. He couldn’t google his way out of situation, he had to use his own brain, and that’s a lesson this next generation needs to remember.
It is a violent movie, so you might not want your younger children watching. But 12 or older is a pretty good age. If they’ve watched the Harry Potter films, they can handle the violence. In fact, what was pretty intense violence for us as kids will be pretty tame for them.
Predator is a very iconic movie and your children will be at a pop culture disadvantage if they don’t know it.
What it’s about: A kid learns karate and enters a karate contest for kids.
Why your kids should see it: If you want to teach them how to wash a car properly, this movie’s for you. The story is a take on the David and Goliath tale, only this time David learns Karate from Pat Moritia and fights off insane bullies from Cobra Kai.
This movie was absolutely huge in the 80′s, and it taught kids that when the going gets tough, all you need is a cool training montage and you can overcome all obstacles. It’s a story about empowerment and believing in yourself.
Of course, any kid in Little League will relate to seeing the adults get way too intense about this children’s competition. This movie serves as an example of how not to behave as an adult, especially when your kids are competing. Sadly, it seems like the kids who watched it grew up to be dance and pageant moms, so when you watch it with your children, make sure you explain that the Cobra Kai sensei is NOT a good example to follow.
Yes, you might have already watched the new movie with Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid, but then that’s also a good time to teach your kids about Hollywood remakes and that sometimes the original is the better movie.
What it’s about: Nazis want to find the Ark of the Covenant and open it up. Indiana Jones disagrees.
Why your kids should see it: If your kids haven’t seen this movie by 10 years of age, they’ve seen plenty of parodies of the movie’s most iconic scenes. When they watch Indy run from the rolling rock, or all the Nazis melting at the end, they’ll declare that it’s just like whatever parody they watched, and that’s when you step in to explain that this movie is the source material for all those other references. It’s a great teachable moment.
Your kids need to know that being smart and intellectual doesn’t mean you still can’t be awesome from time to time. Indiana Jones is a professor of archaeology, meaning that he’s pretty book smart and good with a gun and a whip. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) It’s a good lesson for young, impressionable minds, even if it does make archeology seem more exciting than it is. That isn’t to say that people don’t die on archaeological digs, but it’s usually not because of Nazis invoking supernatural forces.
The movie is also a lesson in real-life problem solving. As we all pretty much know, Harrison Ford had a case of dysentery and didn’t want to film an elaborate sword fight, so during filming he improvised the famous scene when a guy jumps out, waves his sword around, and then Indy casually shoots him. It wasn’t in the script, but Ford made a classic movie moment, and that’s also a good lesson for the kids. Sometimes breaking the rules, thinking outside the box yields big rewards.
What it’s about: What happens when you don’t follow simple instructions.
Why your kids should see it: If your kids ever bug you for a pet, show them this movie and chances are they’ll realize that pet ownership is not a responsibility they care for.
Gremlins is the rare category of dark comedy horror Christmas movie. It’s got it all and has become a cult classic. While it is pretty violent and intense for younger children, older kids will love it. It’s edgy enough for them to be interested without them dismissing it as one of those really old movies like we did with movies from the 1950′s. (Great Scott I’m old!)
Plus, while there were only two movies, Gremlins burned itself into pop culture consciousness and pops up from time to time. Your kids will feel like geniuses when they get that obscure joke based on a movie that came out before they were born.
And as is typical of these types of movies, it features a character who must defy all odds and outwit a dangerous and crafty enemy. It teaches the value of problem solving and teamwork, and why malls can be very dangerous places.
What it’s about: A little wizard and big swordsman save a baby. And there’s monsters.
Why your kids should see it: