Why do film scholars hate 80s movies...and is there something wrong with me...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Kilduff, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    for LIKING them?

    I'm asking this because I'm a hardcore 80s movie fan. Despite having only been born in 1982, I love the films of the decade (so much that I've purchased many books off Alibris about the subject and the colorful individuals surrounding it).

    What I've noticed is that critics have an unerring hatred for the decade's filmmaking. It makes me feel a little odd to enjoy a Simpson/Bruckheimer or Joel Silver/Lawrence Gordon production knowing that these producers are generally looked down upon by cinema historians.

    Why do critics hate 80s movies...and is it okay for me to like them?

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Recording "Top Gun" off TCM right now.
     
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Why do they hate them? No idea. Perhaps, like most music from the decade, most 80s films are considered too low-brow?

    Is it wrong to like them? If it is, then I don't wanna be right [​IMG]
     
  3. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2000
    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For me it's a toss up between the 70's and 80's as to my favorite decades.

    The critics probably look down their noses at the 80's because a lot of entertaining and profitable movies were made. I guess to be considered a "good" movie, it has to be complex and boring.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,504
    Likes Received:
    7,683
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I don't think film scholars look down at that decade of films. Some of the most reknown films in history came from that decade.




    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,808
    Likes Received:
    689
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Why do critics hate 80s movies...and is it okay for me to like them?
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    The statement that critics hate 80s movies is too general. As to whether it is okay to like them, why do you think you need someone's approval. If the movie entertains you, who cares what someone else thinks.
     
  6. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,670
    Likes Received:
    101
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Quentin H
    Hmmmm...off the top of my head:

    Raging Bull, Blue Velvet, Hannah and her Sisters, Die Hard, Broadcast News, Amadeus, Do the Right Thing, Ran, Brazil, Aliens, Prizzi's Honor, Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Cinema Paradiso, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Arthur, Das Boot, Tootsie, The Right Stuff, Fabulous Baker Boys, The Natural...

    And that's just what I can think of right now! The 80's are full of critical darlings and some of our best directors were hitting full stride.
     
  7. Arman

    Arman Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    IMHO, I think those film scholars do not really hate the film decade 80s, it's just that 80s produced the least amount of true great film classics (American or foreign) or probably it has produced the most amount of film trash as compared to any other filmmaking decades. Like what Quentin did for the 80s, we can enumerate (even on top of my head I could top that [​IMG]) much more great classics in any other decades. I'm also thinking maybe it was during the 80s that there are less and less "critical darlings" were produced each year of that decade.

    Like what Roger Ebert observed, if you would look at the Top 10 or 20 greatest films lists made by many true film lovers or scholars or among the great directors themselves, you would notice that Raging Bull (1980) is the most recent in most of their lists. (Technically, you cannot consider 1980 as a year from the 80s). By looking at those great lists, it seems like less and less true great films are being made.

    Anyway, maybe only time can tell. Who know maybe 30 years from now, the future film scholars will view the films nmade during the 80s differently.
     
  8. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2001
    Messages:
    6,307
    Likes Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Adam_S
    There are probably a lot of reasons, some of my speculations (sure to viciously debunked) are:
    • These critics went through college at some recent point in the last thirty years and learned to think like elitists and encourage conformity of thought by their strict standards of what is acceptable taste in order to be accepted in the elite and exclusive intelligentsia class they've created for themselves. in their spare time they read and reread and reread James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon and write long, technically perfect (with large words and lifeless literary devices) but thoroughly dead prose, that everyone else in the group oooohss and ahhsss over.
    • The movies you like that these critics hate are the modern equivalent of Freddy Got Fingered, Jackass, and The Scorpion King. if you disliked any of these movies you're comitting the same sin against the 2000s, and do you have any room to complain?
    • These critics grew up in/with, began their careers in/with, the sixties and seventies, and they are deeply, deeply resentful that movies became extremely popular again (the blockbuster/spielberg era), and are continually wishing that they can have their 60s and 70s back when movies weren't as popular and activity so better movies were made.
    • They HAD to watch ALL the movies you liked, as well as ALL the ones you probably thought were stupid yourself. They didn't WILLINGLY seek them out for personal enjoyment, but viewed them because if they didn't they'd be fired. That sort of coercion does not bring a person to be generous with a pretty stupid movie. Case in point, my family's three favorite comedies are "What About Bob?", "The Great Outdoors", and "Funny Farm" all released in the late 80s and all are extremely funny. I'd hate to see reviews of these movies, it'd be just painful for me, as I imagine they're mostly not nice. when Imdb has these comedic gems all rated in the 5-6s I can't imagine what would be done to them by critics! And these are smart, touching, and paininducingly funny movies, I watch them today and can't find fault with them, outstanding modern comedy! But they're also accessibly funny, it's not the sort of critically acceptable funny like Hannah and her sisters, or modernly The Royal Tennenbaums, are acceptable comedy because they're less accessible. The occasional gems like When Harry met Sally which ia so good they can't ignore it were grudgingly accepted.
    • They had to watch a new police academy or Ernest movie nearly every year for the entire decade. You do the math. I just hope no psychiatrists were killed as a result of such Chinese water torture. (btw I like the police academy and ernest movies as I thought they were hysterical when I was 8).
    • Reagan, Bush: 12 years of conservative presidents had to frustrate the hell out of a profession that's mostly rabidly liberal. The effects this had (or they believe this had) on the movies was no doubt cursed vehemently many times.

    I really don't think that the 80's were as bad as they currently have the reputation for. my favorite film ever comes from the 80s (Empire of the Sun). I think that history will show that the 80s will become a decade much like the 30s in how it is treated by influence and importance. I mentioned before I think there's something of a revolution in film coming, and that the first major titles (AI, Gangs of New York, Magnolia, Fight Club) have already trickled in. These are stories that have moved beyond post modernism and are writing a new language of film, we just don't have the perspective to see it yet (and I don't see it either, I just see that there's something there, no one else sees it yet though).

    of course the above was meant to be satirical, but I think that some (legitimate) factors are: 1)college education encourages the creation of a new, intellectually based (rather than economically) classism, 2) 80's aren't that bad but suffer in comparison with the two preceding decades 3) 2 is exacerbated by the fact that most critics have an overpoweringly strong nostalgia and love for those decades 4) being forced to watch escapist (mere entertainment) fare immediately antagonizes one to that entire class of pictures 5) politics are influencing their perspective to some extent.
     
  9. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Film critics tend to be a conservative bunch. For a movie to be considered 'great' it has to stand the test of time. Newer movies (i.e. anything from the last two deacdes, which of course includes the Eighties) will inevitably have a tough time impressing the critics. Wait another twenty years, and movies like The Three Colours Trilogy will have got into the critics' lists. Then people will be saying 'what have critics got against movies made since 2000?'.

    I think the only general trend against Eighties movies is a dislike of the pervading theme of love of material possessions that ran through a lot of the more popular movies of the period.
     
  10. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1999
    Messages:
    2,249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would give anything for the style of the 80's to return. No wait...I mean the style of the filmmaking (whew. Almost unpacked the mothballed parachute pants there). I just loved how goofy, good-natured and extremely lightweight so much that came out of the 80's was. What is so wrong with movies that are fun and rewatchable? If the critics hated what came out of the 80's, they can go stuff themselves on Merchant Ivory films while I kick back to some Savage Steve Holland.

    Bruce
     
  11. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    6,047
    Likes Received:
    738
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    I would suggest that cinema changed due to the sheer amount of money generated by films like The Exorcist, The Godfather, Jaws, and Star Wars - off the top of my head. The era of personal film-making came to a close in the late '70s, with Raging Bull being one of the last great films from that period of time.

    Of course there were still fine films being made, but the overall atmosphere of Hollywood changed and films became more formulaic as the studios really cranked up the sequels, the low budget slasher films, the Star Wars knockoffs and generally began looking for the "sure thing" or the blockbuster vs. taking chances on the types of films that dominated the late '60s and early to mid '70s.

    Compare the overall trends in film-making from 1967 to 1977, vs. the next ten years ( as an aggregate ) and I believe that the films from the prior period are much more ambitious and thematically challenging.

    Obviously I'm dealing in generalizations, but that is my take on the '80s and why fans of '70s cinema ( a group which includes most film critics, I believe ) might be inclined to look upon that decade with some degree of disdain.

    - Walter.
     
  12. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    4,044
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    For great 80s movies, there's also Ferris Bueler's Day Off.
     
  13. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,814
    Likes Received:
    415
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Hey! Most of my guilty pleasure movies come from the 1980's, and the decade also had it's fair share of great movies, Raging Bull, The Right Stuff, Platoon, Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner, Brazil, Full Metal Jacket, Aliens, Howard the Duck etc etc...
    As for film scholars/snobs looking down on that decade, who cares? I look down on film snobs and their limited [subtitled] taste in film.[spits][​IMG]
    Film critics? Roger Ebert is the only film critic I have closest affinity (there's that word again) with, um about 72.49%.[​IMG]
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,063
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well like any decade, there are both great films and trash from the 80s. Perhaps it would be enlightening if you could tell us which films from the 80s you love that critics seem to bash.

    Anyway some great films from the 80s (IMO):

    RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
    PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
    THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
    BACK TO THE FUTURE
    E.T.
    HOPSCOTCH
    THE PRINCESS BRIDE
    BLADE RUNNER
    RETURN OF THE JEDI
    DIE HARD
    THE TERMINATOR
    WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?
    INDIANA JONES & THE LAST CRUSADE
    NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION
    VICTOR/VICTORIA
    THE BLUES BROTHERS
    ALIENS
    THE KILLER
    WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
    DAS BOOT
    A FISH CALLED WANDA

    You know it's interesting. I find decades have very little to do with the quality of films, but music is a different story. Again, there is both good and bad music from all decades, but I certainly feel there were decades far, far superior to others. As a matter of fact, I feel a poll question coming on, so I'm going to go over there and post. [​IMG]
     
  15. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,504
    Likes Received:
    7,683
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    First off, Ferris Bueller wasn't a rich kid, but a middle class one and was far from being smug if he was so popular with so many different groups in high school. Secondly, actually we should be sorry for you because you're the one that actually has a problem with those film characters.[​IMG]
     
  17. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    What about the ultimate 80s film? Back to the Future? One of my favorites.
     
  18. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,063
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Actually just the other day (Kiss of Death), although I'm not sure what that proves one way or another.

    And I think The Postman Always Rings Twice (Lana Turner) and My Darling Clementine (Victor Mature) are classics that will still be appreciated as such 50 years from now. [​IMG]
     
  19. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,808
    Likes Received:
    689
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Personally, I think the popularity, over time, of a movie among mainstream audiences is partially a function of marketing. "Popular" films are kept that way by the studios because they constantly keep the movies forefront in peoples memories by re-issuing the film over and over. Disney is a good example of the process in regards to its animated films.
     
  20. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,814
    Likes Received:
    415
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Sadly I think Andrew comes from the if it's that popular than it can't possibly be any good, and won't stand the test of time class of film fan. I can't understand how people can think like that?
    Why does a certain clique of film fan look down on films like ET or Raiders or Star Wars? And if they say "but they're no good!" than my answer is "sez you!".
    The Indiana Jones trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy are amongst the most requested titles for dvd release, they've already stood the test of time.
    Sorry if I sound a bit heated, but film snobbery always touches a nerve.
     

Share This Page