25 Years Later It’s 1986 All Over Again: Retro Throwbacks from Redbox

by | Dec 31st, 2010 | 11:10PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movie Lists, Movies

We are now officially 25 years out from possibly the greatest year of the ’80s–at least of my ’80s: 1986. And given the natural cycles of pop-culture nostalgia, it’s no surprise that these days the ’80s are back on the big screen.

In some cases we’re talking direct remakes like The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Clash of the Titans. (Read more in my look at recent ’80s remakes.) But other 2010 films went for a more thematic ’80s feel, riffing off the tone and style of some of our old favorites.

Here’s a few currently available from redbox, paired up alongside their 1986 inspirations:

Easy A

Director Will Gluck and writer Bert V. Royal put their love of the John Hughes flicks up front in this ode to the smart, sassy teen movies of the ’80s–Emma Stone’s heroine Olive not only name checks the Hughes Canon, but reverently and authentically keeps their spirit alive. Just count all the Ferris Bueller references–Hughes’ masterpiece came out in 1986, as did Pretty in Pink, which he wrote and produced.

The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone and pals’ testosterone-filled action romp owes much of its pumped-up, sweaty swagger to the Rambo films (Rambo: First Blood II had come out in 1985), but in 1986 Sly was doing a slow tough-guy smolder as Lieutenant Marion Cobretti, aka Cobra. Meanwhile, what was his Expendables buddy Mickey Rourke up to on screen that year? Flexing his manliness by getting all steamy (and covered in food) with Kim Basinger in Nine 1/2 Weeks.

Cop Out

The ’80s were also packed with the sort of black-white buddy cop films Kevin Smith, Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan goofed on in last year’s Cop Out–from 48 Hours in 1982, through Beverly Hills Cop I & II, Lethal Weapon I & II, and then Another 48 Hours in 1990. (Smith even got Beverly Hills Cop composer Harold Faltermeyer to score the Cop Out soundtrack.) But in 1986 it was Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines bickering and breaking all the rules as Chicago cop partners in Running Scared.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Other films pay homage to the Decade of Excess, but this one literally sends John Cusack and Co. back to the winter of… you guessed it, 1986. The ski-resort setting of the raunchy new comedy may remind you of 1984′s Hot Dog: The Movie or Cusack’s own Better Off Dead from ’85. (Listen for someone shouting out Dead‘s famous paperboy line in Hot Tub.) But 25 years ago Cusack was hitting the beach alongside Bobcat Goldthwait and Demi Moore in Dead director Savage Steve Holland’s One Crazy Summer.


Tinkering with the laws of God and Man? Coping with unexpected results? Mingling carnal desires with horror? Winding up with weird, goopy globs of fleshy critters? Vincenzo Natali’s 2010 scientific thriller owes more than a little of its own DNA to David Cronenberg’s 1986 masterpiece The Fly, right down to Adrien Brody’s sexy-geek echoes of Jeff Goldblum.

One Response to “25 Years Later It’s 1986 All Over Again: Retro Throwbacks from Redbox”

  1. David
    Posted on January 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    All of those remakes were less than stellar.
    I guess it’s hard to catch the magic twice.
    Going to see True Grit this weekend. We’ll see!
    “Salt and Light”