When Your Old Favorites Suck… (and when they don’t)

Did you ever get excited to see a movie again that you hadn’t seen in a long time and you used to love, and then you watch it and you realize it totally sucks?  Did it always suck and you just realized it now?  Did you “grow” out of it?  Is it just too dated?

I recently caught a showing of St. Elmo’s Fire on TV.  Oh, how I remember how I loved that movie when it came out.  The excitement of seeing the Brat Pack in a grown-up world with such worldly, grown up problems!  Affairs, drugs, drinking, unrequited love – St. Elmos’ Fire had it all!  ( I even had the movie poster in my dorm room my freshman year in college.)

Now watching it, I realize this movie totally sucks balls!  It has it all, all right: bad writing, bad acting, cliché plot points, bad music.  (Well, maybe not the music – that was just an unfortunate byproduct of the times. The saxophone was quite popular in the 80’s – can someone explain to me why?)  It makes me kind of sad: realizing that I am no longer so gullible as to like drivel like this.

But, there is hope…

Caddyshack (1980): Anyone who knows me knows this always has been (and always will be) my all-time favorite movie.  If you don’t laugh about 25 times out loud while watching the slobs vs. the snobs, well… then there is something wrong with you.  (Love it so much, hosted a Caddyshack costume party last year.  Now, that’s dedication.)

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Airplane  (1980): I wasn’t allowed to see this movie in the theater when it first came out (I was 12) because it was deemed too risqué, but I did see it later on some friend’s massive Beta tape player.  This makes me laugh as much now as it did then.  How can jokes be corny and brilliant at the same time?  Only though the magic of the Zucker/Abrhams/Zucker team –  imitators need not apply.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1985): One of my all-time favorites.  I was a high school senior the year Ferris Bueller came out, so basically Ferris was me – or at least who I wanted to be.  Captures what I felt like at that age absolutely perfectly with not one iota of phoniness or contrivance.  When they talk of John Hughes speaking for a generation, this is the movie I think of and not 16 Candles or The Breakfast Club.

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Grease (1978): I completely understand how 10 year old girls go crazy over High School Musical or Glee – it’s just their version of Grease.  No, I didn’t understand what it meant when Rizzo was “knocked up” or that really the movie was telling me to change who I am to get the guy – but with all those great songs, what did it matter?  I played the album so much, I wore it out – and I can still sing every word to every song.  Grease still is the word – just ask any 10 year old girl.

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This is Spinal Tap (1984): I admit, I didn’t see this for a few years until I was in college, but it was a history-changing moment for me.  It was funny, yes – but it was dry – very dry –  and I loved it.   The mockumentary had been around before this, but this one was the best of the genre – and it still is.   (I have probably seen this move 50 times and I still see something new every time that I didn’t see before.) This one is definitely an 11.

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Animal House (1978): I didn’t see this one until college either, but since I was in college, it made total sense.  This movie is timeless, whether you are in college in 1963 or 2003.  Toga parties, cheating on tests, road trips, getting drunk: That pretty much sums it up.  (Although, I was in a sorority in college, and I have to break it to you that not once did we have topless pillow fights – – sorry.)

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Raising Arizona (1987): My first contact with the genius of Ethan & Joel Cohen.  Here we are 20 years later and the minds behind Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou etc. etc. and this one is still one of my favorties. I think I saw it at our discount college theater about 10 times and seen it about 30 since then.  It’s still hilarious.  Well, maybe only if you find round funny.

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About Last Night (1986): You may have noticed that the rest of my list is basically comedies.  It’s not that I’m not a sentimental person – I think it’s just that you’re not as sentimental about the same things at 16 as you are at 40 – chalk it up to experience.  But, there’s something about this movie…  I loved this movie in high school, I loved this movie in college, I really loved this movie as a 20-something living in Chicago, and I love this movie now.  Yes, the clothes, the bar scene and the music are dated, but watching Rob Lowe and Demi Moore fall in love, move in together, and then have the most gut-wrenching break up ever breaks me up every time.

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Tomorrow:  More old favorites that now suck ass.

2 thoughts on “When Your Old Favorites Suck… (and when they don’t)

  1. “Surely you’re not serious?”
    “yes, I am…and don’t call me Shirley.”
    Good list Tiff. Can’t be much argument about CS, Airplane and Animal House.

  2. This is the truth. I thought my boyfriend was the funniest guy who said all these great lines. I finally watched Caddyshack in the late 80’s and realized he STOLE all his lines from that movie!! I married him anyway.

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