The 80’s were kind of hilarious. From the bright, flashy colors of the clothing to the oddly soothing tones of the new wave music, it is not an easy decade to forget. What a lot of people fail to remember about the 80’s is that they laid down a great foundation of geekery in many of us by releasing movies that truly fed and nurtured the inner nerd in us all. From a young Tom Hanks stuck inside a game of Dungeons and Dragons, to a movie about a bunch of nerds who refuse to let themselves be bullied into submission, here are 6 awesome 80’s movies that had a huge impact on us as young geeks. One of which we probably SHOULDN’T have been watching. Oh, and one that is just cheesy-hilarious. Let’s start out with that one…..
Okay, let me get something straight right from the start. This is not a “good” movie in the sense that it is well-written or based on fact at all. It is actually 80’s anti-Dungeons and Dragons propaganda (not even kidding you). But that fact makes it even MORE meaningful for geeks like me who grew up playing tabletop games.
Add to the fact that it is Tom Hanks freaking out and shooting people because he thinks they are D&D monsters and you have a movie all geeks must see! Just peep that clip if you don’t believe me.
What can you say here? A movie about teen geniuses who use their genius for pranks. Much like the first film in this post, this film also features a future movie star in his teen years. In this case, Val Kilmer. What was cool about Real Genius was not the fact that it had pranks and was hilarious, but it was the fact that it was a geek movie ABOUT geeks, but didn’t undermine them or crap on them. They were actually embraced.
On top of that, “popcorn house” is still pretty much the greatest prank of all time, real or not.
Can’t lie. As a young man watching this movie the idea of being able to make a woman on my computer was about as far off into awesome as my mind went at the time. The cast was pretty awesome to boot (in keeping with the trend on the list, this one features a young and already cocky Robert Downey Jr).
What is funny about this film is you hear the idea and see the trailer and assume “Lisa” will be used for ‘naughty’ purposes. What makes the film so cool and profound for nerds is she actually just teaches them how to stand up for themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. I think a lot of young geeks could benefit from that.
Also, the shower scene. Can’t even be mad at that. They handle it like true nerds would.
Ah, here we go. I have said it for many years, and will say it again. Tron was well-ahead of its time. A movie that worked just as well a few years back (with the sequel) just shows you how advanced it was for 1982. The basic concept alone was badass. “The Dude” gets sucked into a video game he creates and has to fight his way out of it.
I could go way deeper into the plot than that, but that is the basics. The real marvel, as we all know, came from Tron’s visual aesthetic, which still somehow shines to this day.
Must be all that neon.
Okay, this one might be a fluke, but I had to include it because it sort of defined what the 80’s version of a geek was, but also gave them the chance to rise up and shine (a lot like Real Genius, but with way more boobs). While I can wholly admit, young nerds should NOT have seen this movie (as it was a hard R-rating, if you catch my drift), yet, most of us did anyway.
While it could be said the archaic version of nerds in the movie was kind of a stereotype and insult to nerds (inhalers, dorky laughs, pocket protectors), the reality is, the movie did make you feel like the meek would inherit the earth eventually.
The irony being, we have.
With all the Ghostbusters talk lately (all female cast, all male cast, all simian cast etc,) it probably would have been a mistake to leave this nerd nurturing classic off the list. What was cool about Ghostbusters was that it was a funny movie, a mainstream movie, AND a geek movie. As much as it got popular, from proton packs to crossing the streams, it was all geekery through and through.
Should be interesting to see how this franchise is handled when the two new movies drop sometimes in the distant future. Hard to imagine either of them topping the original, though.
Honestly, can it work without Bill Murray? I have my doubts, but we will see.
[Lead Image via Deadline]