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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Travel back in time

Exploring the top five must-watch movies from the 1980s
Provided by Samantha Lepow
Sophomore Samantha Lepow holding a piece of framed artwork of some of her favorite movies from the 1980s. The movies pictured starting at the top are as follows: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Back to the Future,” “The Goonies,” “Big.”

“Trust me,” my dad said while putting on another movie I had never seen. “Have I ever steered you wrong?”

Growing up, movies have been a huge part of my life. Films from the 1980s, particularly, have strongly impacted my entire personality. My dad loves movies, and whenever I’m home with nothing to do, it’s always, “Want to watch a movie?” Movies have been a way for us to bond since I was little, and I have him to thank for my vast knowledge of the big screen.

Though my dad and I watch movies from all time periods, ‘80s movies reign supreme. There is just something to be said about how they make you feel. They bring a sense of calmness to our hectic lives. They are simple. They are lovable.

So let’s hop in a time machine like Bill and Ted, while I tell you about my five favorite classics.

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5. Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future is a fun science fiction movie about Marty McFly, an average teenager from the mid-1980s, who accidentally gets sent back to 1955 by a time-traveling DeLorean automobile. McFly somehow prevents his future parents from falling in love, threatening his existence, and is forced to reconcile them and get back to the future before he is completely erased from the space-time continuum.

I don’t remember the first time I ever watched this movie. However, I do know I was pretty young, probably around eight or nine, considering it’s a family favorite in the Lepow household. The Back to the Future movie series has had a strong impact on my life, consuming my thoughts with ideas of real-life hoverboards and inspiring my dream to be in the technology industry when I grow up. Even though I enjoy all three of the trilogy, Back to the Future 1 and 2 specifically hold a special place in my heart. Overall, the series is very lighthearted and entertaining, as it puts viewers on the edge of their seats, praying that Marty returns to his proper time and that everything returns to normal.

This is a compilation of different aspects from the movie posters of the movies mentioned in this article. (Graphic by Samantha Lepow)

4. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Little Shop of Horrors follows a floral shop worker, Seymour Krelborn, who finds a rather interesting plant that feeds on human blood and brings it back to the shop to attract customers. The plant brings much business to Mushnik’s flower shop because of its unique structure but soon starts to wither, which causes Seymour to discover that it has a very odd diet and refuses to accept traditional plant food. Originally a musical, this 1986 movie adaptation is a sci-fi fan favorite for all ages.

I believe I first watched this movie when I was seven or eight; if I remember correctly, it gave me nightmares. There was just something unsettling about a cute venus flytrap that, over time grew into a room-sized, people-eating creature that could gobble up a full-grown adult in a matter of less than ten seconds, nonetheless a small child like myself at the time. However, now this film is one I really enjoy, with its extremely catchy soundtrack and engaging storyline. I especially love how Seymour, a shy young man, is turned into a town celebrity with the introduction of Audrey II. It also has a comedic component, cracking jokes here and there, lines constantly quoted by me and my dad.

3. The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid follows the story of Daniel LaRusso, an Italian-American teenager from New Jersey who moves with his widowed mother to a lower-economy neighborhood in Los Angeles. There, LaRusso encounters harassment from some new bullies, one of whom is Johnny Lawrence, the ex-boyfriend of LaRusso’s love interest, Ali Mills. As a result, LaRusso is taught karate by handyman and war veteran Mr. Miyagi, who helps him defend himself and compete in a karate tournament against his bullies.

I didn’t really think I would enjoy The Karate Kid when my dad told me we needed to watch it. I thought to myself, “I don’t even like karate. Why would I enjoy this movie?” When I first saw The Karate Kid, my dad made me sit on our couch with zero distractions, pausing it every 15 minutes or so, going, “Did you hear that? Did you hear what Mr. Miyagi just said? That’s a very important lesson right there.” To be honest, this really got on my nerves. My ten-year-old self just wanted him to stop talking so I could enjoy the exciting new movie.

However, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t make sure my friends pick up on the lessons to be learned in the film when I show it to them for the first time. One that’s really stuck with me is “Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no.’ You karate do ‘guess so,’ (get squished) just like grape.” This quote from Mr. Miyagi essentially says that if you attempt to accomplish a task, you have to put your all into it. If you don’t give everything your best effort, be prepared to face the consequences for it. This is just one of the many useful pieces of life advice I’ve gathered from The Karate Kid.

This is a compilation of different aspects from the movie posters of the movies mentioned in this article. (Graphic by Angel Harper)

2. Sixteen Candles (1984)

This movie takes place in suburban Chicago, where high school sophomore Samantha Baker is hopeful that her 16th birthday will be the beginning of a great new year but is shocked when her family forgets the occasion because her older, beautiful, self-absorbed sister Ginny is getting married the next day. Sixteen Candles embodies the classic teenage girl’s journey with insecurities and growing up.

I first saw this movie in middle school and immediately fell in love with its characters. The main character shares my name, which is just in itself a reason to love her. The casting for Sixteen Candles was spectacular, including lots of well-known actors from other 80s movies, some of whom got their start with this movie. This led me to start watching other movies starring Molly Ringwald, like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, which are just as enjoyable but, due to needing to narrow my list down to five, have to be left off this story. Watching Sixteen Candles now makes its message much more relatable, considering my 16th birthday is this month, and I can identify with Sam Baker in new ways with the struggles of maturing. It is very much the classic dream high school story, where the not-very-popular girl gets the well-known, attractive guy. This is only part of what makes it such a fun, lighthearted movie for everyone to watch.

1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off tells the story of high school senior Ferris, who skips a day of school with his best friend, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Sloane, for a day in Chicago. Ferris pretends to be ill so that his parents allow him to stay home from school, but is then faced with the problem of trying to avoid them on his day in the city and make sure he gets home before them so they miss him in the act. It is a story of friendship, love, and laughter, capturing what it means to be a teenager.

If you know me at all, you’d know that my favorite movie of all time is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I remember my first time seeing this film being on an airplane but I don’t remember any other details from that time. Since that viewing, however, I have been obsessed with everything about this movie. From its iconic lines scattered throughout, like “Bueller? Bueller?” to the scene where Ferris is singing on a parade float literally, everything about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is iconic. I’ve watched it so many times that I know every single word and could pretty much recite the entire movie as it plays. I even know the whole “my best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend…” scene if you know what I’m talking about. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a film that will never get old and even as time goes on, will remain relevant because of how relatable its content is to every high school student.

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