I Love The 80’s Movie Releases: Top Gun/Pretty in
Pink/Footloose/Some Kind of Wonderful/Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Paramount
B- Sound: B/B-/B-/B-/B- Extras: C Films: B-/B/B-/B-/B+
being nearly 20 years since the 1980’s, it is about time to look back on the
decade, have a few laughs, remember the good times, and milk them for all they
are worth! Now from Paramount Studios is a plethora of 1980’s films that have been
released time and time again under different headings of ‘special edition,’ or
‘limited edition,’ or ‘we want more money edition’ (I jest). Here we review only some (5 titles) under the
new heading of ‘I Love the 80’s;’ but I assure you they are mostly the
same as all the other releases that came before it. The once again released
titles reviewed here are Top Gun, Pretty in Pink, Footloose, Some Kind of
Wonderful and Ferris Bueller’s Day
Off; some of which have already been reviewed on this site multiple times.
Pretty in Pink has now been released 4 times on
DVD. Some Kind of Wonderful has now been released 4 times on DVD. Ferris
Bueller’s Day Off has now been released 4 times on DVD. Footloose
has now been released a staggering 5 times on DVD. While Top
Gun has now been released an unheard of 6 times (4 on DVD, 1 on HD, 1 on
Blu-ray)! The scary part is these
releases are not even upgrades. They are not upgrades in picture, sound, or
even extras for the most part! To make a
long rant short; there has to be a line somewhere and the studio needs to stop
releasing these already ‘bargain binned’ titles under different headings like
the public won’t notice. One day we will
hear about 9 million copies of Top Gun on
DVD buried in New Mexico along with ET for
2010 remake on the horizon, with Hairspray’s
Zak Efron supposedly in the lead role, maybe it is time to put on your dancing
shoes and get Footloose. Though it had a very mixed reception when it
debuted in 1984, Footloose still stands the test of time as a 1980’s
classic. Footloose also managed to
launch the careers of pop culture icons like Kevin Bacon and the then little
known Sarah Jessica Parker. Ren
McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is a teenager who was raised in Chicago where rock
music and dancing was his life. Suddenly
McCormack is thrown into small town life where rock music and dancing have been
banned, due to a group of teenagers being killed after a Rock Show years
before. The Reverend Shaw Moore (John
Lithgow) rules the town with an iron fist and keeps the town’s people in fear
of rock music and dancing. The problem
surfaces when Kevin Bacon’s character and the other town’s teens rise up to
demand music and dancing for their senior prom.
There is a love struggle, a teen struggle, and many more struggles
throughout the film that is classic John Hughes. The film is great with an even better 1980’s
soundtrack. A must see film that
addresses a variety of issues that strike close to home with censorship and
teen rights to this day.
after big hits like Sixteen Candles,
The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, and Pretty in Pink John Hughes released his latest ‘brat pack’ creation
with Some Kind of Wonderful. Hughes ripped the film’s title from a John
Ellison song that debuted 20 years earlier from the band Grand Funk Railroad; which is not surprising since Hughes had
always made a habit of using quirky musical nods in his films. For instance each of the main characters in Some Kind of Wonderful is named in
homage to the Rolling Stones or one
of their songs. The premise of Some Kind of Wonderful is not all that
different from Hughes previous film Pretty
in Pink and often gets criticism for recycling an already over used
idea. Hughes thinking was obviously it
worked once, why not again? Eric Stoltz
plays a working class boy with big dreams, but falls head over heels for the
most popular girl in the school (Lea Thompson).
Meanwhile Stoltz is oblivious to the fact that his best (opposite sex)
friend, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, is madly in love with him. Also Stoltz does his best to avoid the
spoiled and well connected rich kid played by James Spader, who is close with
Lea Thompson’s character and could ruin any chance of Stoltz winning her over.
before Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink (as slightly mentioned above)
was written by Hughes and had pretty much the same story line. The only exception is that all the gender
roles were reversed. Molly Ringwald
played Andie Walsh the working class girl, Andrew McCarthy played Blane
McDonough the popular boy, and Jon Cryer was ‘Duckie’ Molly Ringwald’s opposite
sex friend who was madly in love with her; though she did not know it. Andie and Blane face the classic Romeo and
Juliet scenario when they try to get together and their circle of friends do
not approve. Andie lives a poor life with her unemployed father, while she sews
her own fashionable clothing and works at a Record Store owned Iona played by
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters). Iona is Andie’s New Wave mentor on life and
love; while Duckie plays the resistant force of Andie and Blane’s love, telling
Andie that Blane will only hurt her.
Some more teen squabbling occurs and the rest is 80’s history.
Pretty in Pink is definitely superior to Some Kind of Wonderful; perhaps because
it came first, perhaps because it had a better cast, or maybe just because it
was a better film all around. Whatever
the reason, Pretty in Pink is a
classic film that had just all the right elements for the time. The film is fun, completely nostalgic at this
point, and has an odd sense of undying relevance. If you have not seen Pretty in Pink, now is the time to take a trip back to the past.
Some Kind of Wonderful is also worth viewing, but no
where near as classic as Pretty in Pink. If you like one, you will most likely find
the other enjoyable as well.
previous reviews of two of the films reviewed here, refer to the links below:
Top Gun (a very in-depth look):
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
reviewer feels that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a classic 1980’s film that had
all the right elements for the time. The
script was fun, a bit nonsensical, played to what teens wanted to see, and has
all the makings of 80’s classic. This
reviewer does agree with the previous review that the film in no way would have
worked without Mathew Broderick and his stunning charm, but the fact of the
matter is we will never know anything else.
The film is full of one liners and nostalgic moments that rank up there
with films like Caddyshack that
people to this day still reminisce about.
technical features on all of the discs are very similar, with the exception of Top Gun having an upgraded DTS
soundtrack. The picture on all 5 films
is presented in a 2.35 X 1 Widescreen enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions. The quality is adequate, but for the most part
is color weak, with poor video black, and a bit of a gritty feel at times. The sound on the films, with the exception of
Top Gun, is equally disappointing in
its Dolby Digital 5.1 Surrounds that project way too heavily from the front and
do not do the great 80’s soundtracks justice.
Top Gun, unlike the other
films has a better quality English 6.1 DTS Surround track along with the Dolby
Digital 5.1 Surround option. The 6.1 DTS
track gives the film (for the most part) the soundstage it deserves with well
balanced surrounds that pop in every aspect and give the film a real and full
sound. All in all, however, there is
still a good deal of work that needs to be done on these releases’ in both
picture and sound to perfect them.
extras are not so lovely either. Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink, and Footloose all have no extras; while Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has one weak
John Hughes Commentary track. Top Gun is the only film here that has
several extras that include a Commentary with Jerry Bruckheimer, Tony Scott
& Naval Experts, a 4 Music Video Gallery that displays Kenny Loggins’ ‘Danger Zone,’ Berlin’s ‘Take My Breath Away,’
Loverboy’s ‘Heaven in Your Eyes,’ and Harold Faltermeyer and Steven Stevens
‘Top Gun Anthem.’ A few old TV Spots
are also available on this Top Gun
release. Even with Top Gun having these extras it does not compare to the previous special edition release’s extras; nor do
the other films, which themselves all had special editions with many more
‘extra’ that exists in each I Love the
80’s DVD is a bonus CD with tracks from A-Ha,
Echo and the Bunnymen, INXS, and Erasure.
The tracks are not the best from each of the bands’ libraries of
songs and each DVD has the SAME CD. The
DVDs may have gotten a bit more credit from this reviewer if the CD at least
had a variety of tracks from different bands.
reviewer can not in any way approve of these ‘quick buck,’ ‘double dip’
releases. They are not improved in the
areas of picture, sound, or special features; and in many cases are worse than
editions that were already released.
These five releases are just a repackaging of the same old junk that has
been gathering dust for years at your local Wal-Mart. If fans of these films are dying to relive
these 80’s classics, go buy the better Special Edition releases or wait for
Blu-Ray to hopefully put out a far superior edition. At least they did one so far that way.
- Michael P. Dougherty II