top 5

Five 80’s Nostalgia Films Guaranteed To Give You The Warm Fuzzies

Retro- Geek, Instagram Throw-backs, Vintage style and Hipster- Chic- It’s totally rad these days to focus on retrospect in fashion, print, design and most importantly (for us), cinema. You only have to look at the recent Netflix sensation STRANGER THINGS to see a programme saturated with 80’s popular references.

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The 80’s as an era was characterised by the introduction of ‘high-concept’, big budget Hollywood blockbusters. As big business took control of the studios, film budgets skyrocketed due to new technologies, developments in special effects and inflated salaries of name-recognition stars. After the innovations of the 70s, films in the 80’s were less experimental and original, but more formulaic and entertainment was king. By the end of the 80’s the average U.S. movie budget was $18 Million, a staggering increase from the $5 million figure at the start of the decade.

Here are the 80’s films that never fail to give us the warm fuzzies.. Schweet!

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Our Top 5

1 . Beetlejuice (1988) from Director Tim Burton

Chosen by Sarah

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What’s the film about ?  Beetlejuice was written by horror specialist  Michael McDowell and directed by Tim Burton and is about a couple of recently deceased ghosts who contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.

Why Sarah selected this film…  I really love Tim Burton’s approach to movies and find the worlds he creates to be darkly beautiful.  This is a particular favourite of mine because it’s the perfect blend of humour, iconic acting performances and amazing special effects – all in all, a movie I’ll happily see time and time again.

Trivia  I was surprised to find out that Michael Keaton’s part of the film only lasted seventeen and a half minutes out of the ninety two minute running time – it seemed so much longer!

The Film’s Trailer:

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2. E.T the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) from Director Steven Spielberg

Chosen by Emily

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What’s the film about ?
ET the Extra Terrestrial directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, , tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an
extraterrestrial, called “E.T.”, who’s stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help it return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

Why Emily recommends this film…
The films is complete escapism, it brings alive many childhood fantasies and innocently deals with fundamental life lessons such as compassion, integrity and loyalty. Similarly to the Goonies, Hook and a number of other fantasy films of the same ilk, ET follows the plot from a child’s point of view. This device really does revert the viewer to childhood where illusions can’t be broken and magic is real, if you only have the power of belief. Watching it today, the music, Special Effects and plot are so evocative it can still transport me back to a happy innocent place.  Released on June 11, 1982 by Universal Pictures, E.T was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film of all time—a record it held for eleven years until Jurassic Park, another Spielberg-directed film, surpassed it in 1993.  

Trivia: Spielberg himself was the first voice of ET. During shooting, Spielberg acted out the voice parts of E.T. by positioning himself just to the side of the camera, uttering famous phrases like “E.T. phone home,” but also occasionally speaking in full sentences to better connect the character to the child actors

The Film’s Trailer:

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3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) from Director John Hughes

Chosen by Sarah

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What’s the film about ?  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was written, co-produced and directed by the amazing John Hughes and, as most people will know, it’s about a high school wise guy who is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the principal and his older sister thinks of that.

 

Why Sarah selected this film…   This movie makes me smile every time I watch it.  I don’t know whether it’s the fact that the movie encourages living life to the fullest or you feel as if you are on this crazy adventure with Ferris, Cameron and Sloane but I always feel uplifted and happy every time I’ve seen it, which is now a considerable amount of times!

Trivia  John Hughes personally designed Ferris’ bedroom, mirrored mostly on his own bedroom when he was in high school.

The Film’s Trailer:

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4. Ghostbusters (1984) Directed by Ivan Reitman

Chosen by Emily

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What’s the film about?
The 1984  original Ghostbusters film directed by Ivan Reitman,  has become somewhat of a cult classic. The story follows a group of scientists,  Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and his Columbia University colleagues (Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson) as they get kicked out of their prestigious academic posts, and start a private practice as professional ghost-catchers, ridding New York of the Ghouls.

Why Emily recommends this film…
I remember first watching it when I was six in America and just like it’s theme tune, it’s stuck with me ever since. The film is iconic, fun and for it’s time, technically very clever. It made  excellent use of the new special effects technologies that came out of the 80’s, using a subject matter that lent itself to showcasing the visual effects. Although many aspects of the film might seem slightly corny watching it today, one must remember,as with any film, it was a product of it’s time. The soundtrack, entertaining plot and light hearted comedy, deliver up a generous helping of cinematic nostalgia.  The film received two Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Song (for the hit song “Ghostbusters“) and Best Visual Effects.

Trivia: The “marshmallow” goo was actually shaving cream. More than 50 gallons was dumped on Walter Peck (William Atherton), almost knocking him to the ground.

The Film’s Trailer:

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5. Blade Runner (1982) from Director Ridley Scott

Chosen by Sarah

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What’s the film about ?  Blade Runner is based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick and is a classic envisioning of a dystopian future, set in 2019 Los Angeles.  The film focusses on a replicant hunter who must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a spaceship and who have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Why Sarah selected this film…  This movie doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy with nostalgia, as such, but I selected it because I’m still blown away by Ridley Scott’s creative vision, especially with regards to the location in which the film is set.  I have read quite a few Philip K Dick books and have enjoyed every one of them and this movie is one of the best interpretations of his ideas out there, along with Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly.

Trivia:  In 1969, Martin Scorsese met Philip K. Dick to discuss the possibility of adapting the novel into a film but the novel was never optioned and the project fell through.

The Film’s Trailer:

Which films from the 80’s do you remember the most fondly and who do you think we should have included on our list? Please leave a reply below, we’d love to hear from you.

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This blog page was created by Film Focus Founder Emily Cook and Podcast Co-Host Sarah Moore

 

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An Inspirational New Year: 5 uplifting films to brighten your January

Come with us and step into the bright lights of 2016. January is a time for re-evaluating our lives and starting things afresh. We all know films are one of the most effective forms of escapism, so what better film to immerse yourself in than on with an uplifting story and inspiring message.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Different people will be touched by different inspirational movies, but some films are universally awe-inspiring. Messages of love, strength, acceptance, and perseverance can help get you through hard times (as well as a dark January).  Here are our top 5 inspirational films.

Video clip – Emily and Sarah discussing their favourite inspirational films

 

Audio clip – Emily and Sarah discussing their favourite inspirational films

Our Top 5

1.Dead Poet’s Society (1989) Directed by Peter Weir
Selected by Sarah Moore

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Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society

Synopsis:  Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the Northeastern United States in 1959,[3] it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry.
The film won a BAFTA  for Best Film and Best Original Film Score.

Why does it inspire you? I wanted to be a teacher when I was young and have been very fortunate to have outstanding teachers throughout my school years so this film struck a chord with me.  Robin Williams was majestic actor, especially in dramas, and really captured what it means to be a first-class moulder of young minds.  It made me want to be taught by him!

Trivia Fact: Bill Murray, Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman and Liam Neeson were all considered for the role of John Keating.

Trailer: Dead Poet’s Society

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2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Director Ben Stiller
Selected by Emily Cook

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

What?  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a comedic adaptation of a short story by  James Thurber‘s, the film is directed by and stars Ben Stiller who plays Walter, a timid and submissive proofreader for a magazine publishing firm. Walter is incapable of standing up for himself, so retreats into his fantasy world, where he is heroic, poised, self-assured, and the master of his fate.
Ben Stiller received a nomination for a Saturn Award for Best Actor.

Why does it inspire you? I enjoyed the creative devices used to submerse the viewer within the film, as we see the visualisations of Walter Mitty’s daydreams displayed on screen, we too find ourselves caught in Walter’s mind, one where there’s an unclear divide between reality and imagination. The underlying message reminds us we too can engage with our imaginations and make amazing things happen.

Trivia Fact: The drunk helicopter pilot jokes that “There are like eight people in Greenland”. When Walter goes to Greenland, he only sees eight different people.

Trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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3. Wild (2014) Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
Selected by Sarah Moore

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What?  American biographical drama film Wild directed by Jean-Marc Vallée is chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy. The film stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern who both received academy award nominations for their performances.

Why does it inspire you? Travel is something I enjoy and I often take walks as my way of relieving stress so watching a film about how a real-life woman trekked such a long distance alone made me feel inspired and humbled.  Reece Witherspoon is an incredibly underrated actress and she definitely deserved the Oscar nomination she received – she emulates courage and single-mindedness and you really feel her pain, both physical and mental.

Trivia Fact: The young Cheryl is portrayed by the daughter of Cheryl Strayed (Straid) who the movie is based on and she also has a cameo in the movie.

Trailer: Wild

 

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4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Selected by Emily Cook
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What?  Will Smith and his son Jaden star in this moving tale inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman (Will Smith) struggling to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Smith).
Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his leading performance.

Why does it inspire you? I found this film emotionally engaging, challenging and uplifting. Seeing a character with honourable motives striving to succeed against adversity reminds us what we too can achieve when we put our minds to it. The parallel between the actors’ on screen relationship and off screen relationship makes for powerful and compelling viewing.

Trivia Fact: There’s a cameo from the real Chris Gardner where he walks past Will and Jaden Smith

Trailer: The Pursuit of Happyness

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5. Field of Dreams (1989) – Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Selected by Sarah Moore

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What? Field of Dreams is a fairy tale celebration of the love of baseball, adapted by screenwriter/director Phil Alden Robinson from W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. The film tells the story of Iowa farmer Ray, played by Kevin Costner, who after hearing a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying “If you build it, he will come,” decides to act. Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his land, supported by his wife, Annie played by (Amy Madigan).

Why does it inspire you?  The reason this film was inspirational to me was that it’s about a man who throws caution to the wind and does something that other people would consider foolhardy, in the hope that something beautiful will happen.  I am quite a steady person but dream of starting my own sandwich shop or hopping on a plane to New York and never coming back!  I love the fact that Ray persists, even though it seems like he really should give up.

Trivia Fact: You can find the location of the field built for the film in Google Maps.

Trailer: Field of Dreams

We hope we’ve given you warm and fuzzy feelings to start the New Year. Have you been inspired by our list? Which films would you list as your top 5 inspirational films?

Happy New Year and Happy Movie Going!

This post was written by Emily Cook and Sarah Moore