perfect day for movies

For a few days in a row now it's been overcast, rainy, and a bit gloomy. I love it. It's been cooler; I can sleep with windows open, the fan off and be perfectly comfortable. I don't like driving long-distances in the rain or during heavy downpours, but I love a good thunderstorm.  

As a lifelong reader, and nerdy girl, a rainy day meant I could spend the day inside, reading without feeling like I was missing playing with friends or taking advantage of the nice weather outside. Rainy days are perfect for watching movies, too.  

When I was a kid, we watched movies as a family. I remember the day we bought our first VCR. We climbed into the station wagon for our short drive to the electronics store. The VCR was large, silver, bulky and magical. We could record live television! We could watch movies at home!  

The town in which we lived at the time was small. My brother and I often rode our bikes downtown for a hot dog, ice-cream, to the library or to spend our change at the Five & Dime, which of course hadn't been a dime store for decades but everyone still called it that. The movie rental store was also downtown. I remember being amazed by the rows and rows of films available to watch. Even then I was a junkie for pop culture. 

Once we settled on a film and returned home, we'd pop some popcorn and start the film. I had friends whose parents were pretty strict about what they could and could not watch. But since we all watched movies together, I watched mostly PG13 films even though I was nowhere near thirteen. In the 1980's PG13 usually meant there was a swear word and possibly implied sex or sexual innuendo, rarely did it mean violence.  

Almost all of the films I associate with my girlhood, I watched with my family. Sometimes more than once. We could pause, take bathroom breaks, ask questions about what was going on, fast forward a particularly racy or violent scene, which my Mom did when we watched Dirty Dancing at a slumber party. Of course, after she went to bed, we went back and paused Patrick Swayze's naked butt and giggled uncontrollably. 

It's easier than ever with streaming and OnDemand to watch movies, very quickly after they are released in theaters. But I wonder how many people take advantage of the technology as a family. Rebecca wrote something about this and reminded me that PG13 in today's movies doesn't translate in the same way. I've now become one of those people who are all "in my day," and think of the 80's as this kind of magic in-between time where most of my friends had one television, maybe two in their house, and where I walked to the grocery store, downtown, to my friends' houses alone and without fear. (Though there were a few times walking home from my friend, Annie's house, where I thought Freddie Kreuger was chasing me, but that was my overactive imagination, and the result of watching horror films at 10). 

To feed my nostalgic impulses, I'm sharing some of my favorite films that I remember watching with my family.  

Stand By Me, 1986, R

I just realized Stand By Me is rated R. I remember watching it with my parents when I was 8, maybe 9. I've seen it many times since then, and each time, I love it more. I was fascinated by the boyhood friendships represented here, by boyhood, in general. This is a film I can watch over and over, and though it's immensely sad; it's also deeply satisfying.

Footlose, 1984, R

I loved this movie so much. It's also rated R. My father had the soundtrack on vinyl and my brother and I would dance around the living room to it, so many times we made the record skip permanently. There's a lot to this film besides dancing. It's a story about "the new kid," with which I identified strongly since every few years of my life, I was a new kid, always on the outside. It's also a story about a preacher's daughter, with whom I identified even more strongly. It's about the lengths a town goes to in order to protect itself from tragedy, and how out of control those restrictions become. And there is dancing. 

I refuse to see the remake. I can't imagine it carrying the same kind of weight for me as the original film does. 


Adventures in Babysitting, 1987, PG13

I was talking about this film with friends over the weekend, and how I haven't seen it in years. I had a huge crush on Elisabeth Shue after this movie. I didn't remember until I saw the trailer why they went into the city in the first place. This is one of those fun, 80's films where one crazy thing happens after another. I see it as a classic from my childhood and now I want to watch it again. 

Goonies, 1985, PG

I actually think I watched this at my friend, Annie's, but then insisted I wanted to watch it again. While it's about adventure and pirate treasure, it's ultimately about friendship and the things that bind us together. I think it's a perfect rainy day movie, and as PG it's pretty family friendly. I'm sure my parents got tired of it, but I couldn't get enough.  

Labyrinth, 1986, PG

When I first showed this movie to M, she was like, "What is this movie?" My response: "It's amazing!" The music, all originally written by David Bowie, the puppetry, as well as the fantastical plot: Sarah wishes her brother to the Goblin King, accidentally, combine into this memorable and wonderful movie. And Jennifer Connelly is really good. Oddly enough I had this weird dream about her, but her as Sarah. Another good rainy day, slumber party style movie. 

 *My favorite part of the trailer: "the excitement of David Bowie."

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986, PG13

1986 was a good year for movies. I feel like every kid of the 80's has seen FBDO. While it may seem outrageous and over-the-top, I think it accurately grapples with the way you feel as a teenager, trying to figure life out, feeling as though no one "gets it". My favorite of John Hughes' movies and one I remember each person in my family enjoying. It's also highly quotable and streaming on Netflix!

Big, 1988, PG

I remember really liking this movie, though I haven't seen it in years. Elizabeth Perkins and Tom Hanks are fantastic, and the whole film has this really vulnerable quality to it. One of the reviewers on Amazon mentioned that there are a few places where the cursing may be a bit too much for really young viewers. I don't remember that about the film, but I haven't seen it since I was 10. 


Back to the Future, 1985, PG

This might quite possibly be my favorite movie from the 80's. I recently bought the trilogy on Blu-ray and the special features and documentaries included are pretty cool, though I was a bit disappointed that there weren't interviews with all the cast members. The original film, itself, is still a clever and entertaining story and the series as a whole, helps us entertain the "what if" scenarios of our daily actions. There's a lot to like about the storyline, the music, the mad scientist, the imagined futures, and the nostalgia that runs throughout the series as we see the past, present, and future collide makes for an interesting study in Americana. But mostly, it's fun and who can forget the identifiable music. Great Scott!