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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Comedy > I Love The 80’s Movie Releases: Top Gun/Pretty in Pink/Footloose/Some Kind of Wonderful/Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Paramount DVD-Video)

I Love The 80’s Movie Releases: Top Gun/Pretty in Pink/Footloose/Some Kind of Wonderful/Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Paramount DVD-Video)

 

Picture: B-     Sound: B/B-/B-/B-/B-     Extras: C     Films: B-/B/B-/B-/B+

 

 

With it 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 the Atari.

 

With the 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.

 

In 1987 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.

 

One year 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.

 

 

For some previous reviews of two of the films reviewed here, refer to the links below:

 

Top Gun (a very in-depth look):

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1685/Top+Gun+DTS+set

Blu-ray edition

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7304/Top+Gun+–+Special+Collector’s+Ed

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/3211/Ferris+Bueller's+Day+Off+-+The+Bueller

 

 

This 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.

 

The 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.

 

The 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 extras.

 

Another ‘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.

 

This 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


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