Life Moves Pretty Fast has been on my TBR since TheShitWizard read it back in January and, while I didn’t vote for it, was excited to see it as the CBR Book Club selection.
“These movies, which were largely seen as junk when they came out, were deeply formative, and everyone I know in my generation feels exactly the same way. They provided the lifelong template for my perceptions of funniness (Eddie Murphy), coolness (Bill Murray), and sexiness (Kathleen Turner).
Having been born in 1988 I am wholeheartedly a ’90s girl but I will always have a soft spot for ’80s movies. My best friend in high school, whose sisters were born in the mid seventies, loved all things eighties and we spent most of our Junior year working through the John Hughes oeuvre among other eighties teen classics. My parents introduced me to Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally… when I was younger, these two classics are still favorites of mine, maybe even more now that I am an adult. Freeman touches on all these as well as Dirty Dancing, Ghostbusters, Steel Magnolias, Baby Boom (which I’ve literally never heard of), Batman and Back to the Future. Her list of movies discussed is anything but exhaustive, she hits her personal favorites which are mostly comedies or films with strong female characters, and people who lived through the eighties will probably find this a bit lacking.
“It’s downright inconceivable* to devote only one chapter in a book about lessons gleaned from eighties movies to The Princess Bride”
*I’m using Vizzini’s definition of the word here, of course
Hadley Freeman is a very enthusiastic writer who clearly loves the subject of eighties movies as well as the impact of movies as a whole on society. She touches on the topic of classism (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off among others) and racism (Eddie Murphy’s career) but she focuses a lot on how feminist eighties movies were. I wish she could have focused on the postives of eighties movies without feeling like she had to drag movies from the nineties and early aughts in the mud. Freeman acknowledges that many of her favorite films would never have been made in today’s world thanks to the decline of the studio system and the death of the mid-range budgeted movie.
Freeman views eighties movies through the rose tinted glasses that most people think of the movies they loved as children. For example, as a nineties child, I was not pleased that she dissed Clueless as anti-feminist and the turning point for a decline in teen movies truly for teens and women’s roles in general. Although I’ll admit that John Hughes had a near perfect grasp on teenage life that has yet to be matched.
Your mileage will vary based on your own 80s movies film experiences but you can’t deny the exuberant, well researched writing gives this encyclopedia a boost. I am off to read *my* choice for Book Club Fifth Avenue, 5 A.m.