From Vogue contributor and Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, a personalized guide to eighties movies that describes why they changed movie-making forever—featuring exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and stars of the best cult classics.
For Hadley Freeman, movies of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future; all a teenager needs to know in Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action from Top Gun, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex in 9 1/2 Weeks, Splash, About Last Night, The Big Chill, and Bull Durham; and family fun in The Little Mermaid, ET, Big, Parenthood, and Lean On Me.
In Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decade’s key players, genres, and tropes. She looks back on a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, where children are always wiser than adults, where science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with giddy excitement. And, she considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about society’s changing expectations of women, young people, and art—and explains why Pretty in Pink should be put on school syllabuses immediately.
From how John Hughes discovered Molly Ringwald, to how the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced the evolution of comedy, and how Eddie Murphy made America believe that race can be transcended, this is a “highly personal, witty love letter to eighties movies, but also an intellectually vigorous, well-researched take on the changing times of the film industry” (The Guardian).
As this book attests, many Hollywood blockbusters of the 1980s have retained their popularity; to audiences beset on all sides by homogenized, focus-grouped studio behemoths, they can seem refreshingly lighthearted and surprisingly honest. In this love letter to '80s popcorn cinema, Guardian columnist Freeman (The Meaning of Sunglasses) breaks down the life lessons that she gleaned from the work of John Hughes, John Landis, and John Cusack, among many others. Focusing each chapter on a specific title, she uses anecdotes from her own life, interviews with actors and filmmakers, and feminist-flavored social commentary to drive home the continuing relevance of the films, which include Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, and Ghostbusters. Freeman amply demonstrates why the hits of three decades ago are still beloved of many not least for their now-nostalgic sound track choices and core themes of life, love, and friendship. This informative and humorous (if slightly obsessive) book is a recommended read for anyone who has felt abandoned in recent years by mainstream filmmaking.