This 90 Minutes Has Ten Years: Our Review of ‘The Movies: The Eighties’

Posted in TV, What's Streaming? by - August 15, 2021
This 90 Minutes Has Ten Years: Our Review of ‘The Movies: The Eighties’

This was the episode of the new Tom Hanks produced series that I was looking forward to. The 80s wrapped up so much of my youth. I was wondering how many familiar favorites would the episode mention on-screen. And if there would be any titles that I hadn’t seen, or need to revisit.

Seeing the familiar titles and scenes blazing across the screen doused me in nostalgia. I buckled in for another examination of the North American movie-making industry, and I tripped down memory lane. Featuring appearances by Spielberg, Scorsese, Molly Ringwald, Christopher Lloyd and Hanks, the episode guides us through the 80s. The talking heads discussed the transition to bigger budget films, franchises, the blockbuster. There’s also the personal and emotional dramas that rose to popularity, alongside classic films by John Hughes and Cameron Crowe.

Some of the films have aged better than others, and some films are a little problematic in their portrayals (I’m looking at you Sixteen Candles). The episode doesn’t examine those problems  they through hindsight, but instead they examine the films through the impact they had at the moment of their release.

Despite the fact that genre films really had a resurgence in the 80s, the episode didn’t touch on that on very much. But we do get to revisit some of the most popular films of the time. It shows the rise of directors like Tim Burton. He, among many, really began to make a name for themselves in the 80s. And it shows the incredible skill of performers like Meryl Streep who racked up Oscar after Oscar after the 80s.

The production remains fun, glossy, and filled with memorable movie moments, but never really gives us the deep dives cinephiles are longing for. Instead, it’s reminiscent of the preceding episode. It feels like a pleasing appetizer to a meal that you’re waiting impatiently to arrive.

It must have been frustrating for the producers as well, distilling a decade into just under an hour and a half. How do you do the films justice? Which ones make the cut? Which ones would the episode pass over? I found it interesting that they spoke to Lawrence Kasdan about his work on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Big Chill, but didn’t touch on his western which momentarily revitalized the genre in the 80s, Silverado.

I love hearing about the films that they covered, undeniably. And I love hearing writers, directors and actors talk about how those movies impacted them. That’s whether through the viewing, or their involvement in it, but, like the Seventies episode, I was left wanting.

And I think an interesting follow-up to this series would be getting directors and actors to be the main topic of the series. Hanks can talk about his favorite movies, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how it influenced his own work. The same goes with Spielberg. Have them talk about their own films and how their love of movies was created and by what film.

As I say this, I am loving this series because it’s letting me remember the excitement of when these movies were brand new, and the impact they had on me, and the world.

Next time, we dive into The Nineties!

This post was written by
TD Rideout has been a movie fan since the moment he first encountered Bruce the Shark in 1975. As passionate about cinema as he is popcorn movies, his film education is a continuing journey of classics new and old. He is at his most comfortable with a book, a drink, his partner and his dog.
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