Friday, June 08, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for June 8, 2012

All these 80s films featured a montage. But not every montage is featured in this flashback post.

[Moar Montage!] -- Last week, I talked about that wonderful conceit of 80s films: the (training) montage. I did not, however, provide actual samples of said montages. And, although they enjoyed the music mix I offered via SoundCloud, several friends felt they were cheated out of their weekly trio of 80s tunes. And, what's more, they succeeded in getting me to admit that the post itself was something of a cheat. So, this week, I rectify that situation and return balance to the 80s Flashback universe. This week, you will see three montages from 80s films. Which scenes and tunes have I selected for this montage mania? Read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"Let's give the boy a hand."

I am sure we can all agree that Chris Penn did not achieve the same level of success or notoriety as his older brother, Sean. But prior to his untimely death at the age of 40, Chris did have a very successful career as a character actor, and usually one who merited lower tier billing. But he was comfortable in that tier. And one role Chris was very comfortable playing was that of the awkward, but well-meaning, best friend. And he was never more awkward than in the original Footloose (1984) in which he played the backwoods bully, Willard Hewitt, who ultimately befriends the rascally Ren McCormack (as portrayed by Kevin Bacon). Penn's Hewitt is more lunkhead than limber athlete, so he needs McCormack's help if he is going to avoid making a fool of himself at the big dance. Instead, he spends about three minutes doing a fair job of embarrassing himself by stumbling through "Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams. It's the title track of Williams' 1984 album which reached reached number 10 and number 26 on the Billboard pop chart and the R&B Albums chart respectively. The single hit number one on three charts: the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles, and the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. It also went to number one as part of the Footloose soundtrack album, which is what most folks remember when they think about this song. I mean, how often do you get to see a cornhusker being this corny ... or emasculating?

Flashback #2"Fight ‘til the end | Cause your life will depend | On the strength that you have inside you."

In last week's flashback, there is a music mix of possibly the best 80s music ever used in training montages. However, one of the songs in that mix was not used to power an audience through the protagonist's training scenes. No, it was used for something even better: a competition montage! Yes, in The Karate Kid (the original from 1984, not the one with Will Smith's kid) Daniel Larusso punches and kicks his way through the brackets to the final fight while Joe Esposito sings "You're the Best." Maybe there's something subliminal in that song, which was originally intended for the Rocky III soundtrack, because Larusso turns out to be quite the formidable opponent. He even defeats several members of the dreaded Cobra Kai! This is strange because the Cobra Kai spent much of the film soundly kicking Larusso' ass -- and just about every other part of his anatomy. But, hey, it's the movies!

Flashback #3"Ain't no reason that I'll ever be untrue | There's no need for me to try."

Long before So You Think You Can Dance forced ballet dancers into an invasion of the body poppers, there was the 1984 movie, Breakin' (also known as Breakdance: The Movie in some countries). Breakin' teamed a frustrated jazz dancer (Kelly) with a pair of street dancers (the brooding Ozone and comical Turbo) and groomed them to be the ultimate dance fighting band, er group. And how do they prepare for the big dance showdown and give the middle finger to snobby professional dancers? Turbo and Ozone train Kelly in their street moves, helping her develop a hybrid dance style that's sure to please the crowds. And they achieve this fusion of street and stage in just under four minutes, the length of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody." This song was originally released on the Rufus and Chaka Khan album, Stompin' at the Savoy (1983). It hit #1 on the US R&B chart. In Breakin' it becomes a showcase for popping and locking -- turns out it was difficult to film actual breakdancing, but the stop-motion action of body popping comes off just fine on film. And although the acting and plot were nearly non-existent in Breakin', the dancing was fine enough to warrant a sequel, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. (Come on, every sequel is better when you add "Electric Boogaloo," right?).

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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