In Cameron’s recent article about growing up in the ‘90s-‘00s and why this was the best time to be growing up with cinema, he raises some valid points. In the article he mentions that he’s 20 years of age and often receives pity regarding the cinematic era that defined his adolescence. Now this rebuttal is not to pity him or anyone of a similar age. Seeing The Lord of the Rings trilogy at a more impressionable age will no doubt justifiably create some wonderful memories and being a kid and having a new Pixar film to celebrate almost every year is something a child of any generation would appreciate. But as a child of the ‘80s and around 10 years his senior, it felt a response was in order.
The ‘80s was an era now too often clouded in nostalgia (anyone actually watched The Goonies recently? It’s basically 114 minutes of shouting). Modern day audiences clamour for it (see remakes of, The A-Team, The Karate Kid and Red Dawn et al. or unnecessary sequels to Tron and possibly even Ghostbusters and Top Gun) so first and foremost, this article will try and avoid that; anyone of any era can be nostalgic about something. But the ‘80s and early ‘90s was a legitimately great cinematic era to grow up in for so many reasons and here, in no particular order, are 20 of them.
This is by no means an exhaustive account so please feel free to add your own or tell me why I’m wrong.
20. Steven Spielberg
Now Steven Spielberg made the classics Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind before the ‘80s even started, but the ‘80s is where he came into his own and earned him the giant gold-plated pedestal on which he stands today. And yes, Spielberg has continued making movies since the period in question was over, but what was distinct about the ‘80s and early ‘90s was that this was a period of making almost exclusively family entertainment.
Spielberg is first on this list for good reason, he taught kids of the ‘80s how great an experience movies could be, the ‘80s was when Spielberg exposed a generation to movie magic.
In the ‘80s Spielberg made Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T, The Temple of Doom, Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and then continued into the ‘90s with Hook (ok, maybe not a classic but a fond memory-maker for many nonetheless – “bangarang!”) finishing with Jurassic Park in 1993. Not only that, he produced or exec produced Poltergeist, Gremlins 1 & 2, The Goonies, Back to the Future 1, 2 & 3, An American Tail, *batteries not included, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Land Before Time, beat that J.J. Abrams.
This article was first posted on November 15, 2012