Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday 80s Flashback for October 8, 2010

[Making Movies] -- The theme for today's flashback is songs from the movies. But not just any old song from any old movie. We're talking iconic scenes from iconic films; we're talking scenes whose impact was possible largely in part to the right song being played at the right time. Now, one could argue that 80s movies were nothing more than vehicles to push hit singles onto a public hungry for music (uh, that hasn't changed much). And looking back over the releases from that decade, that argument probably holds true for most of them. But there are some rather sparkling examples where the stars aligned and magic happened.And we're going to celebrate them today.

Flashback #1
: "His name is Blaine?! That's not a name, that's a kitchen appliance!!"  Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (O.M.D.) has their musical DNA all over the 80s movie catalog. But their greatest celluloid moment is very likely the Pretty In Pink (1986) scene where Duckie (brilliantly portrayed by Jon Cryer) sulks in the rain after failing to convince Andie (Molly Ringwald) that Blane (Andrew McCarthy) will only hurt her. This scene becomes even more poignant in later viewings, especially if you know that Andie was originally scripted to end up with Duckie. But Molly Ringwald had the screenplay changed because she wanted her character to end up with the "cool guy." (If you want to see this love triangle play out as originally intended, see Some Kind of Wonderful from 1987). This flashback video has O.M.D's "If You Leave" playing over a montage of scenes from Pretty In Pink. The rain scene is, however, strangely absent.

Flashback #2
: Before Molly Ringwald got the preppy in 1986, she portrayed Samantha "Sam" Baker in Sixteen Candles (1984) and somehow got the attention of her high-school senior crush, Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), all the while being pursued by the geeky but lovable Farmer Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). Choosing one moment to highlight from this film is difficult, but I have to go with the closing scene of Sam and Jake sitting on the dining room table. This scene is amazing: We have Jake being the only person to remember Sam's birthday (hence the cake); we have Sam not wanting to make a wish because "it already came true;" and we have Thompson Twins singing "If You Were Here" in the background. Now, I have to admit that up until this very scene, I didn't like the Thompson Twins very much. OK, I didn't like them at all. But from this point on, I have been a fan.

Flashback #3
: Molly Ringwald was the bridge between Flashbacks #1 and #2. The amazing John Cusack is our bridge between #2 and #3. Cusack had a small but necessary role in Sixteen Candles, but for our final Flashback of the day, Cusack is the main man. As Lloyd Dobler in Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, Say Anything... (1989), he was the everyman's everyman. Say Anything has been called the greatest modern movie romance and it ranks highly among the top 50 high school movies. I'm sure the scene featuring our final Flashback of the day is responsible for that high praise. For who among us can honestly say they were not moved when Diane Court (Ione Skye) was stirred from her sleep by Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" only to find the source of the song to be a boom box outside her window -- a boom box, and this is the key point, held aloft by a distraught Lloyd Dobler. This scene is so iconic that it has been imitated and referenced many times over since the movie's release to ultimately favorable reviews (it has "100% Fresh" rating at

I always say Flashbacks follow the Rule of Three, so that's all we have this week. Besides, there really is no way to top that last one, is there?

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