I wanted to like this book more than I actually did; I’m a sucker for pop culture writing. That said, it falls prey to two pitfalls I thoroughly dislike – nostalgia bias and the sense that the writer was looking for an excuse to write about her favorite movies rather than that she had anything novel to say about them.
I knew what I was getting into to a certain extent with the first point; you don’t write a book on what 80s movies can teach us without a bit of a fixation on the past. But, as fellow cannonballer Melanir notes, she compares her examples to Twilight MULTIPLE times within the first few chapters, and anything looks like Citizen Kane next to that dog. If Freeman is to compare the best of the 80s with the worst of the aughts, any reader would come away thinking the era of Long Duk Dong and rape by fraud was a renaissance.
Freeman does touch on some of the more problematic parts of popular 80s cinema, but only briefly, as this was a celebration in search of a topic rather than the other way around. She also hits only the popular films, which she admits in the opening of the book, but to keep the subjects so popular she must say something unusual about them, and just doesn’t; so what’s the point?
Ultimately this wasn’t a bad book, but one which didn’t have that much to say, though it related its rehashed material entertainingly.