There’s been much said about Ghostbusters turning 30 this year, and rightly so. It’s a modern classic and one that’s permeated popular culture. It was the little film that could, with groundbreaking special effects, wonderful comedy and a theme song that was simultaneously cheesy and brilliant. Lines from it are still quoted and kids around the world wanted to become Ghostbusters just like their heroes on the screen.
1984 had more to offer than just Ghostbusters though, so let’s look at some other films that are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and why we still love them…
The Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger blew us away in the two Conan films, but it was James Cameron who turned him into one of the most memorable cyborgs in history. Hell-bent on killing Sarah Connor, the Terminator couldn’t be reasoned with, couldn’t be argued with, and Cameron’s maverick film-making style was great back then. Even if some of the sequels have been a let-down, this is classic sci-fi action.
The NeverEndingStory: When a young boy starts reading a fairytale about a world on the brink of destruction, we see his imagination come to life. This fairytale world’s survival is actually as dependent on the boy reading it as it is on the events in the story, and their fates are interlinked. It may look a bit dated, but it’s still one of the best fantasy films ever made and has a lot to say about why reading is so important to us.
Splash: It’s not a romantic comedy, it’s a comedy with romance! It’s got Daryl Hannah as a mermaid, Tom Hanks was funny and John Candy rocked as his womanising, lecherous brother! The premise is so goofy it’s brilliant, and more than a little familiar if you saw The Little Mermaid. It’s sweet, silly and helped popularise the name Madison with girls. Pure ’80s gold!
Top Secret!: Doing for spy films what Airplane! did for in-flight disaster movies, Val Kilmer plays a weird Elvis Presley/Beach Boys hybrid rock musician who visits East Germany for a concert and gets dragged into the resistance. It’s Cold War parody hijinks with the trademark Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker style of slapstick and sharp wit, and makes current spoof movies look truly pathetic by comparison.
Cat’s Eye: Some people hate anthology movies and some people love them. This 3-story film of Stephen King tales follows the adventures of a cat called General and those he interacts with. The first has James Woods quitting smoking, and the price for lighting up a cigarette again is terrifying; next up is Robert Hays taking a bet to walk around the ledge of a skyscraper with failure meaning a very long drop; and the General coming to the aid of a young Drew Barrymore, who has a troll living in her wall who’s planning to kill her when she sleeps. Full of Stephen King in-jokes and cameos by Cujo and Christine, it’s a good – if not particularly scary – thriple play of entertainment.
Repo Man: This film is hard to describe, and even if we did you probably wouldn’t believe it. Still… Emilio Estevez takes a job as a Repo Man, repossessing cars. That sounds normal. But throw in a ’64 Chevy with a trunk full of weirdness, aliens, CIA clones, knitting cops and lobotomized nuclear scientists and things get more than a little odd. It’s a film as brilliant as it is quirky, but be prepared for some weirdness.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Does this one even need explaining?! The original Wes Craven Nightmare film helped turn Freddie Krueger into one of the silver screen’s most notorious villains. It also helped launch Johnny Depp, and remains as good as ever even after this long. Throw in one of the most disturbing endings ever and you’ve got a horror classic.
The Breakfast Club: Still the teen-angst movie of note, the idea of five kids from different social groups being stuck in detention together and learning to accept each other (and their own shortcomings) is brilliant in its simplicity. It’s well-written and every young actor turns in a great performance. From the David Bowie intro quote right to the very end, it’s one of the most influential films of modern times. Entertaining, too! Cracking stuff froim John Hughes.
Sixteen Candles: Another John Hughes gem, although one that isn’t quite as polished as The Breatfast Club. It’s Molly Ringwald’s birthday and her whole family has forgotten, focusing instead on her sister’s wedding. Throw in a foreign exchange student, the king of the nerds (who actually gets the girl of his dreams), a wild party and a Rolls Royce and you’ve got something a bit like Animal House… only sprinkled with ’80s awesomeness.
Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom: It used to be the weakest of the Indiana Jones films. Then they nuked the fridge 24 years later. However, there’s still a lot in it to make it watchable with Indy racing about a giant subterranean temple trying to get some magic rocks, freeing slave children, drinking bad Kool-Aid and getting into a fight on a steamroller conveyer belt. In his quest to get his hands on his stones, Indy’s joined by a young boy and a showgirl. Make your own jokes from there.
Supergirl: Hey, at least it wasn’t the Halle Berry Catwoman film.