Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) Book Review

Every decade has its iconic films. They speak to who we are in the moment, where we have been, and where we might go in the future.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore), by Hadley Freeman, was published in 2016. Freeman explores the tropes, narratives, and character arcs that dominated the era and its iconic movies. Speaking of such films as Pretty in Pink, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Coming to America, The Breakfast Club, etc, the reader is given the perspective as both a fan and a critic.

The thing I did not realize (or forgot) is that some of these movies are full of racism, sexism, and homophobia. It’s not surprising, given some of the cultural attitudes back in the day. I also did not recognize until I read the book that Hollywood was more progressive in the 80s (well to a certain point) than it claims to be now. There was more latitude (depending on the specific IP) given to women and minorities to grow beyond the stereotypes and expected storyline.

Writing with love, respect, and an equally critical eye, Freeman provides the reader with both a modern lens and how audiences responded to the films when they were initially released.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) is available wherever books are sold.

Throwback Thursday- John Hughes Classics- Sixteen Candles (1984) & The Breakfast Club (1985)

There is something about being a teenager that is immortal. The hormones, the questions, the sometimes difficult social hierarchy that is high school.

In the 1980’s John Hughes immortalized the teenage experience in Sixteen Candles (1984) and The Breakfast Club (1985).

In Sixteen Candles, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) is having what must seem like the worst sixteenth birthday in the history of world. Her sister’s wedding is coming up quick (meaning that her birthday has been completely forgotten about by her family), the boy she likes doesn’t know she exists and the biggest nerd in school is quite open that has a crush on her. Add into this achingly horrible day is her grandparents who seem to have a sadistic interest in embarrassing her and a foreign exchange student, Long Duc Dong and we  have what may be the craziest start to adulthood ever.

Other than the very awkward stereotype of Asians represented by the character of Long Duc Dong, this movie is excellent. The chaos that this one girl goes through on her sixteenth birthday is so representative of the chaos she will ultimately experience as an adult.

A year later, The Breakfast Club premiered.

They were five students with nothing in common, except for the fact that they are spending their Saturday in school and in detention. They were described by different labels. The Brain (Anthony Michael Hall),  The Athlete (Emilio Estevez), The Basket Case (Ally Sheedy), The Princess (Molly Ringwald) and The Criminal (Judd Nelson). What they will discover over the course of the day is that they have more in common than they would ever have imagined.

What I like about this movie, is that it shows that once we get past the labels and the fronts that many of us put up, we have more in common than we think.

I recommend both.

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