For those of you who grew up at least in part in the eighties, you know that it wasn’t all about Molly Ringwald and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though not all cinematic masterpieces, there were a lot of really fun movies that glorified the geeks of the day. Here are a few you could pick up for nostalgia’s sake – or especially if you missed the eighties, make sure you’ve seen these if you haven’t!
Weird Science (1985)
“That’s not a bad idea, making a girl.” Especially if she’s Kelly LeBrock. This movie is the geekiest of the John Hughes set, and shows us that all you need to create a hot girl in your bedroom is a hack into a government computer, a Barbie doll, and that ever-favorite plot device, a bolt of lightning.
Real Genius (1985)
Remember when Val Kilmer was one of the 10 greatest minds in the country? This movie was the best of both worlds – military conspiracy PLUS college life. And lasers.
Short Circuit (1986)
Ally Sheedy AND Steve Guttenberg? And a robot? Tick off the eighties check list! Plus this movie follows a great eighties tradition of Cold War related what ifs. In this case, what if a military robot gets hit by lightning and comes to life and is adorable? Way cuter than WALL-E.
Space Camp (1986)
Raise your hand if this movie made you want to go to space camp. (I didn’t actually go, but I wanted to.) Plus, more robot friends! Every kid in the eighties wanted a robot, except for those who wanted an alien after watching E.T. (Also did you know the kid in this movie is Joaquin Phoenix?)
The Last Starfighter (1984)
I actually don’t remember the exact plot of this movie except that it was about a teenage boy who was recruited by aliens to fight in a war in space – because he was good at a videogame. Which is even better than having a robot friend, really. Also the CGI was really cutting edge for the time.
Because something we definitely learned from the eighties is that being good at videogames translates to, if not flying space ships, then controlling thermonuclear wars. Trivia: Wikipedia says this movie is credited for coining the term “firewall.”
The Wizard (1989)
The other thing you can do if you’re a kid who’s really good at videogames? Travel cross country, play in a championship, and debut Super Mario Bros. 3 to the world. Also remember how cool the Nintendo power glove looked in this movie? Imagine if we could have given that kid a Wiimote.
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Yet another kid abducted by aliens and yet another awesome robot-ish friend. Actually this one kind of made me want to go to space camp too.
This one doesn’t really need much comment. A cult classic, Tron showed us what a “computer genius” movie can really be. And it’s a real shame that even after the recent release of the sequel, it’s really hard to get your hands on the original.
Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
I don’t really need to comment on this one either, do I? I mean, it’s Revenge of the Nerds. It’s Robert Carradine and Anthony Green in the most awesome fictional geekfrat ever. The sequels are pretty awful but this one is definitely a classic. Also I can’t seem to hear “We Are the Champions” without thinking of this movie.
So what was YOUR favorite geek movie of the eighties?